Ah yes, rhyme. One of my stickler words that I can never spell. That and its cousin rhythym. See, I couldn’t even spell it right then. It’s rhythm. I had to look it up. I always have to look it up. I find it kind of amazing that I can’t get a handle on that word. I seem to get a handle on most other things going on but for some reason, rhythm is not one of them. I remember in the sixth grade we had monthly spelling bees. I took great pride in my spelling prowess so by the time February rolled around and I still hadn’t won I was practically offended. At who or what I’m not sure as no one could spell these words for me. In any event, I marched downstairs and announced to my Dad that I was going to win the spelling bee that day. So in to school I went, ready. And…I won! Really only because all of us remaining kids spelled “license” wrong. I had a second chance and I pulled it off. It was the first time I realized the art of mindfully visualizing what you want. You put that image in your head, you focus your energies on it, you literally put your mind to it and there is a very good chance you will make it happen. It has served me well over the years. And I’ve been able to properly spell license ever since.
Oh man magnetic. You mean like when you are so attracted to someone when you don’t even know why? Or that feeling of wanting to go somewhere that doesn’t make sense to you? I do believe that magnetism is closely related to chemistry. It’s all this stuff that we just can’t control. And when you can’t control, it makes you want to control even more. And when that doesn’t happen, the resistance goes up and then that in and of itself becomes a lot of work. So much work in fact that this situation is now occupying your brain when in fact you don’t want it to occupy your brain. But because the chemical magnet works whether you want it to or not, you kind of don’t have a choice, until you become strong enough to make the choice and muster all of the strength you have to break the spell and even then sometimes it’s not enough. Yeah, that’s where I’m at. Perhaps today’s Daily Prompt should have been Ironic.
I attended a funeral the other day. I always find it an interesting homage to someone, the whole funeral ritual. What strikes me in particular is riding in the funeral procession. Everything stops. The traffic stops, people on the street stop, even sound seems to stop. As I look at the calm, I always think, what a tribute by total strangers. Everything stops to honor a life, hopefully well lived. Everyone stops to notice, yes, this person is no longer with us. It’s one of the few things left that society notices. Well, most of the time but it’s certainly not like it used to be. These days everyone is too busy marching around in their own little worlds, cell phone in tow, to give a damn about anything. I honestly don’t like where we are at these days and I find myself staying out of the fray more and more. That of course, is not the right thing to do, for the more you stay away, the harder it is to deal with. Without coping mechanisms, life is that much harder upon venturing out when you must. The man being honored was 91. I can’t help but think how different the world was for him than it is for me. Time moved slower, the right things were important and people cared. We should be paying homage to that era of humanity and let it resonate with us enough to get back to where we belong. Civility.
Substandard. Now there’s a word that I just recently used. To describe my performance. Or lack thereof. I have always held myself to a higher standard, because, hey, if you don’t, who will? I remember when I first moved to L.A. to work in Hollywood in 1990, I immediately noticed the difference between the West Coast kids and the East Coast kids like me. We simply outworked them. Our natural (nurtured?) East Coast hustle outpaced the laid back attitude of the California natives. Not that it had anything to do with substandard anything, it’s just a memory that popped in to my head. The details are as precise as a laser in my memory of the Hollywood years. I was fresh out of college and in retrospect, was so high strung about making my mark and being successful (there are those high standards again) that I remember just being stressed out all the time. In California. How ironic. I didn’t last long. I could go on and on as to why but at the end of the day, I just didn’t like it. Also ironic because as a kid all I did was dream of going to California like my cousins did. Then, I finally get there and…that. After the L.A. letdown, I had it in my head that Northern California was the place for me but the Bay Area was an impenetrable fortress of real estate hell, much like it is now. Instead I found my home in the American South, with its charm and its ease and its balminess. Now that was some magic. ATL in the Nineties. My words will never do it justice but my memories, they will serve me well. I will cherish them forever, until I can remember no more.
The word lust reminds me of Jimmy Carter. Yes, it’s true. Back when he was campaigning or maybe even President he admitted to lustful feelings in an interview. And Lord Almighty, the whole world just about fell apart. It was so scandalous. People were scandalized! Shocked, dismayed, the moral fabric of their being unraveling before their very eyes that a statesman, a leader, THE PRESIDENT would discuss such a sordid topic.
Flash forward to today. Most of us WISH that were the most lurid thing going on. We are so far afield of that 1970s Jimmy Carter moment it doesn’t even feel like the same lifetime to me. But it is. Somebody told me today that they felt like everything was upside down on the priority list. Respect, decorum and civility are racing to the bottom, while ignorant, abhorrent behavior is fighting for that championship belt. I often think of my grandmother when pondering this current state. I feel thankful that she did not live to see society’s downward spiral into shame or, more aptly, lack thereof. She was too gentle, too much of a lady to have to witness the unraveling of civilized behavior. Me, I’m used to it, having been down in it since the start. Not that I can pinpoint when that is. Although, I do maintain that Sept. 11th, 2001 ruined everything. We were coming off the swinging 90s with Slick Willie when all of a sudden came the darkest of moments. We have been at war since, and the world has gotten angrier and angrier. Something shifted that day. A chasm burst open and let loose humanity’s dark side. Hard to believe it’s been almost 16 years. Will we ever recover?
What a pest this pesky day job thing is. I use the term day job loosely because I am still my own boss, successfully having a summer full of hustle to further my goal of never working for The Man again. However, every once in a while you run into a gig so intense, so consuming that it upsets your cosy little apple cart and you end up not writing at ALL for well over a month! I didn’t mean for it to happen, it just happened. So the dust has settled, I’ve gotten some damn sleep and I am back in the driver’s (writing) seat again. I also use the term summer loosely because I am actually wearing a hoodie. In July. If this is any indication of the coming winter, I would rather not discuss it. Although the good, no great news is that I no longer have to get up, out and into it anymore. The Man will just have to get by without me. God knows I’m getting by without him.
Who doesn’t love sunny? Here in New England, we cherish it. We long for it. We pine for it. The window is small for sunny here. Most of the time we are battling. Battling the weather, battling the traffic, battling each other. I swear this place is taking years off of my life just by being so arduous a place to live. Then why am I here you ask? That is a good question. I guess it has to do with family ties that bind and all that and the pure fact that this is where la familia landed when they came over from Italy. If they had gone all the way to California, I would be there. (she says wistfully) But I’m not there I’m here and while I’m here I may as well make the most of it. I did leave. For a long time. But for whatever reason, we all come back to Massachusetts. It’s like there’s some strange pull. The ocean. The foliage. The Red Sox. I don’t know what it is but it pulled me back and here I am, typing and looking out my window, grateful for this sunny June day.
As I told a younger cousin recently, we are all on this earth driving our own bus. And if you don’t take the wheel, someone else will. It can be tough of course, but all of us have what it takes deep down inside. Some of us discover it earlier than others but it is there, always. I never used to be in such command. I was a shy kid and didn’t like speaking up. I did however have the luxury of watching my super fierce, badass Italian grandmother take charge on the daily. It didn’t help me at the time, in fact she scared the hell outta me, but eventually her energy seeped into my being and all of a sudden as a woman in my 30’s I was like “Wait a minute…” I still remember those early days of finding my power as a woman, it felt great then, it feels great now. I’ve been seeing a ton of excellent quotes lately. The one that comes to mind here is; “The only one who can stop you is you.” And I’ll just leave it at that.
Ah yes. This word commit. It feels so…heavy. So permanent. It’s not that I have trouble committing per se, it’s more like the who, what, when and where part of it that makes me hesitate. I mean, when inspiration hits me, count me IN. Not only will I commit, I will consistently show up as I wrote about a while back in “Life as a Steady Eddy”. I’ve been committing less lately, perhaps to temper that burn out that I feel. Now, romantically, that’s another story. One to be written on another day, with another word prompt that will have to drag it out of me.
I feel like there’s more of a lack of committing these days. To each other. To ourselves. To the greater good. I keep waiting for the tide to turn on that last one, especially as it relates to the toxic political environment here in the U.S. I am waiting for that one person, then two people, then ten to stand up and say “Enough! Let’s commit to stopping the vitriol, the negativity, the violence. Enough!” At this point, there seems like there is no way out. I am going to keep hoping though. That I can commit to.
Sometimes I get stuck in the loop. The stressed out treadmill. Self-doubt is a mofo, we all know that. I’ve been reading a lot of quotes lately about fulfilling your potential. I never really felt like I had that power until recently. When I lost my job, something clicked inside. Kind of like this “Now or Never” feeling and I have no time to be afraid, no time to hesitate, no time to doubt myself. The time is now to embark on the greatest slogan ever written; “Just Do It” Perhaps the most inspiring three words ever put together. Just Do It. Don’t think about it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t wonder about it. Just. Do It. And here I am. Five months later, making it happen. I do marvel at the turn of events and my current results. I also know that I had that power all along. The timing wasn’t right I guess. But is it ever? Don’t let the self-doubt loop you in. Just Do It.