I was in 5th grade when I was taught to fear the police. We had a school assembly and my fellow 5th grader was invited up to the stage to participate in a demonstration.
It was about public safety or not ditching school or something like that. My friend Chris was invited up because he was the “bad boy.” He would frequently show up in my backyard with his skateboard and dog Holly to look for snakes. He was the class clown and could be disruptive.
So the officer did a demonstration where he handcuffed Chris and made him dance around the stage by pulling on his wrists. The kids laughed nervously. I focused in on Chris’ face and I saw thinly veiled fear.
I am white. I grew up in an almost exclusively white suburban neighborhood. My friends were white. My teachers were white. The cops were white. I had family members in law enforcement. They were scary to me. Intimidating, even my own relatives.
We knew about the open secret that they operated under the table with additional finances. They took bribes. They accepted free services. They expected free coffee.
The current events of recent late had me examining my experiences with police officers.
Is it “Serve and Protect” or “Control and Submit”? Who’s above the law?
LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE. Your hair is red as flames!
It’s not that you shy away from the
truth altogether. You know it when you are near it. It’s like Marco Polo in the
pool. Sometimes you cheat and get out of the water.
You worry about how others will judge
you. Then you double down on the bet like a greedy gambler chasing the high.
Truth or Fraud? It’s that crazy dash
between the shower and finding the towel. Naked, raw, exposed. You’re wet but
You know the right thing
instinctively. But your gut is a compass that you leave behind in the junk
drawer when you go out into the world.
How twisted do you have to be when
you bend your viewpoint so far that you have to look around a corner to see
yourself? No, wonder things hurt. You can’t recognize your own reflection by looking
in the fun house mirror.
The outer stuff is just fleeting. Your facial expressions will work even as your
eyebrows disappear. The outer wear crumbles away over time naturally. It is like
the mist that burns away after day break. It is not where the truth lives. Trees
shed their leaves in winter so that they can bloom again in spring.
Stop smiling when things hurt. No
need to deny yourself when you’re sad, mad or greedy. Allow yourself the
occasional desperation. Plant your flag in the pile of shit and own it. When
you are kind and straight with yourself; you nurture integrity. Trusting
yourself allows the feeling to sprout and grow. Be the gentle gardener!
There is nothing more attractive than
realness. People are drawn to it. Use your flash light (it doesn’t have to be
the super white glow in the dark teeth). Fuck them, no one can tell if you are
smiling in the dark anyway.
The Truth is your greatest super
power. Wear it proudly like a cape.
I was in the ER over the weekend because of my back. The pain was so excruciating that I spent a good deal of time face down on my bed sobbing. I knew I needed to do something.
I had been “functioning” for weeks with pain that would subside but never truly go away. It’s actually been years. Since the fall of 2018. I take meds and do things like yoga, stretching, acupuncture, special mattress topper, special seats, new shoes, compression socks, heat, ice packs, massage, pain meditation and more. Nothing truly helps.
The day before the ER visit I went to a private yoga appointment with a trusted friend and yogi. She offered me Reiki and I felt things shift and immediately some relief. Perhaps the Reiki released my pain that I had bottled up and inspired my need to ask for help.
I have been limping around like a wounded animal trying so hard to be brave and functional. I work. I take care of my dog. I am planning a wedding. I record podcasts. I go to community events. I participate in my writers group. I am a good friend. I am a dedicated and attentive daughter. I work to be a supportive spouse. I am so very tired. I am so very broken.
I feel like I am holding up the world above my head with wobbly legs. I am the table in the restaurant the rocks back and forth with one wonky leg. Any moment I could dump the contents on the floor.
And I take a lot of medications. I swallow pills. I try to read labels and make sure that everything gets take as prescribed. I drink. I sleep. I eat things that I want to make me feel better. Nothing really helps.
My daily work commute used to take me through Park Street T station. As I emerged from the station I was was blasted by the aroma of roasted nuts. Passing the vendor I noticed a devoted squirrel lingering in front of his cart. I chuckled and asked, “Good customer?” The vendor replied, “A regular.”
You are a mountain climber! No easy way to the top for you. Even if there was an easy way . . .would you take it? No way, of course not. You enjoy the slog!
If things are too easy you will get out the pail and shovel and start building your own mountain. You might make a small project more complex just for the challenge of it. Heard of “making a mountain out of a mole hill”? You sort of invention that shit.
The key challenge for you is always to figure out which is the right mountain. Challenges can be big or small. Take a breath and think about where you need to put your energy.
Taking things apart and putting them back together is one of your specialties. Just remember that you can’t always do that will people. People sort of object to being treated as objects. Funny, huh?
Do you remember the plastic model of a frog’s digestive system you had as a kid? The one you would spend hours memorizing. The one you could take apart and put back to together with your eyes closed. Just in case you woke up one day and were blind. Life is not always a simple as plastic model of an amphibian.
Summertime is productive for you. You realize dreams and see seeds grow from plans started earlier in the year. You need to take advantage of the warm months so you can incubate in the winter on new ideas!
Hard work and your persistent nature will take you far. Strap on your comfortable shoes and get climbing!
Once upon a time, in the land of the Goat Warrior Princess it was a glorious day in the kingdom. Our dearest F (who is also a sure-footed brave warrior from the Mountain Goat Clan as well as a glorious princess) was sleepy as she got up from her royal blue fluffy sheets. Even warrior princesses like soft and fluffy things for sleeping.
Still groggy, she walks around her quarters stretching her strong warrior arms, pushing back curtains and opening windows to let in the light and soft breezes of the day. She is tired from slaying demons (some real, some imaginary, some solely her own) the night before. Wearily she walks past the strange box that hums with the clickety-clack buttons. We wonder if this wretched box is cursed and drains our goat princess of her warrior powers. Sometimes our goat princess sends wise messages through the box to people in far-away lands. Why send her messages through the clickety-clack box instead of using steadfast ravens?
We watch as she dresses for battle. No chain mail or leather cuffs instead she puts on strange garments and slicks her wild red hair back demurely. Maybe this is some sort of disguise to confuse the badlands demons? Perhaps if the demons do not suspect her true identity then they will not engage her in battle to steal her inner light. Warrior princesses have this brilliant white light that shines through their hair, their clothes and their person. It illuminates dark corners of our world. It diminishes the power of the badland demons and threatens their existence.
She exits her abode and moves toward her beautiful metallic horse. It is grey, shiny and happily responds to F’s commands. As she sits astride it, we marvel at her speeding through the badlands with such bravery and confidence (just like everything she does that makes us proud to be in her service).
Our brave goat princess arrives at a shabby forest with a clearing that has other metallic steeds and walks toward a short, ugly brick and glass edifice. What type of poor kingdom is this? It must be a kingdom in need of a champion. The warrior princess ascends many floors by commanding a large coffin that carries her upwards. Thankfully she arrives at her station. We watch anxiously as a strange creature approaches our princess. This creature has the hair color of bed linens and things painted over her eyes which give her a continuously surprised appearance. Her lips curl and the creature bares her unnaturally glowing teeth at F. It may be a demon that has taken over one of the shabby kingdom’s villagers. Our goat princess is confident but cautious. We wait for F to raise her weapon and slay the beast by chopping its head off. Today is different. Instead a wry smile passes over the princess’s lips. F faces the demon and disarms them with pleasant chatter. The beast leaves with no armed combat. As F watches the demon walk away she whispers to herself “foul beast I should have beaten you to death with your own leg.”
Evil was thwarted this day and our goat warrior princess didn’t even need to draw her sword or chop off any demon body parts. She continues to be our champion and lives to fight another day. THE END FOR NOW…
I spent 10 years really fat and totally miserable. Although when I really reflect on it I had been building a lifetime practice of food dysfunction and always had a tenuous relationship with my body. I did not know how to respect and really inhabit my body in a loving way. Food felt like it might be taken away at any point (especially the “good stuff”). So I learned to hoard it or hide it away (sometimes in my mouth).
Growing up I was an athlete and very active as a gymnast, softballer, and player of pretty much any sport. But particularly as a gymnast I knew how to push myself but did not respect or reflect on any of my abilities. Nothing was ever really good enough. If I practiced a position I could always go further, train harder, jump higher, rotate more fully.
It’s early in the morning. A new day is supposed to be a fresh start, right? I peer through the windshield and squint at the overly cheerful sunshine that burns through the cracks in the trees.
I push the button and the window lowers. I inhale the woody taste of earth and pine. The smell tickles the back of my throat and I cough a little.
I feel groggy and slow to wake up. The back of neck is a rocky landscape that needs grooming. Trying to relieve the tension in my hands I extend and flex.
The car dings again as I turn the battery on. The gas gauge still says empty.
I look at my phone and clearly see 7:00 am taunting me. For some, this is the
hour to begin their day’s pursuits. For me, 7:00 am is the end of a triumphant night and time to head to bed. “You’re too old to keep rock and roll hours” I chide myself. Maybe, but keeping those late night hours is one of those bad habits I never broke.
I have been driving all night. Somehow I missed the turn. Went off course and fucked it up again.
The rental car smells. It’s remnants reek of prior occupants. Clues to lives left behind. What did the last people do in this car? Fast food wrappers and beach sand. Greasy palm prints on the windows.
I have no idea where I am. I thought I knew where I was going but somehow I ended up here and it’s a dead-end. It’s time to turn around now.
1. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
2. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
Where does resilience live? Is it born from experience solely or is it innate?
On Monday, October 14, 2013 I thought that my resilience was in good shape as I participated in my 5th Tufts 10K. I walked solo this year. My choice, partially driven by not feeling connected enough to anyone in particular to walk with. It now seems emblematic of my journey. How much I invite and accept others in my life and how much do I crave to stand on my own and walk solo on my journey?
I had trouble getting to the race. I left too late and got stuck in traffic. I started the race in a fluster. I got going and felt good. Pushed hard. Made good time. Noticed different groups of colleagues and co-workers along the way. Cheered on the elite female runners. Marveling at their individual strength and stamina. Walked the same pace as a senior woman (70+) who ran the majority of the race. She floored me with her enthusiasm and how her spirit infected the crowd around her. At the very end of the race I was joined by my favorite little person who walked across the finish line with me and we put our hands in the air.
Next day, in the morning of Tuesday, October 15, 2013 I was in the emergency room at Newton Wellesley Hospital with severe abdominal pain and trouble breathing. What was going on with my body? Continue reading “re·sil·ience”
My weight loss journey is indistinguishable for me from my mental evolution. I prepared myself for all the physical changes I experienced with very difficult emotional work.The physical changes as well as the aging process continued to inform my emotional evolution. At times the changes and the work was very slow and methodical. Other times the changes I made seemed to be second nature and felt effortless.
Striking Balance and Redefining Success
To figure out what success meant to me was difficult. I am an over achiever with a mean perfectionist streak. Sometimes it served me well. Other times it kept me locked and paralysed.I had to find and re-calibrate my own internal sensor and reset my expectations for success. I have had to learn what was reasonable and redefine my expectations. Success was achieved sometimes just by trying. I had to allow myself setbacks and discovered that I found value in faltering. Success WAS NOT the opposite of failure. Success was sometimes just an acceptance of myself and where I had landed in that very moment. Whatever I was thinking and feeling, acknowledging it and accepting it.
I dreamt that I had to keep safe 5 precious little piglets wrapped in tiger cloth. I had them in a basket and I was trying to hide them in basement. I was positioning them to be safe and to keep them away from 4 other women and a Man who wanted to hurt them.
The basement was dark and poorly lit. The people who were threatening me and my precious cargo were sort of faceless. I taunted them to provoke them so I could guess their moves and keep them from the hidden piglets.
I woke up just as my hand was on the handle of the door to the outside.
I was very honored to be invited to participate in a group discussion recently for folks who are considering or have had weight loss surgery. I was instantly reminded of the power of the group and how people challenge you. Poke you in the soft spots. So many opinions and questions flying around the group as well as inside my own head. Challenging my notions of “good enough” and internal as well as external body talk.
I finished processing a lot of changes I made last year (going through coach training, quitting smoking, releasing shame).
Now I finally feel ready to move forward. I enjoyed my summer. I swam, I organized, I socialized and I plodded along. I am spreading my wings and now preparing plans to further my coaching career and being the voice to the larger society on what coaching is and how to use it to elevate your life. I believe coaching can be applied in more than just individual ways to heal society.
I get so excited when I finally think I figured out something for myself.
I dreamt I was a beautiful, colorful and shiny fish caught in a net. I had scales that reflected light. I was awash in shimmery green, silver and purple. I was floating in the current. I wasn’t trapped so much as hanging out in the net. Like an otter who hangs out in the kelp.
The net was silver mesh. I was moving around in the net. I was kind of relaxing in the net like a fluid hammock. I realized that I was drawing energy from the net. Other fish were attracted to the energy in the net and to me. I was feeling super charged.