reclaiming my waltz, or learning not to be my own worst enemy

sleeping beautyThis was not the post I meant to write.  Instead of my original idea which was merely a retelling of the days events bland and commonplace as they were,I am instead confronted with a comparison between two very different but equally unique people.  Namely myself and my younger sister.  I’m the older sibling by two years ,growing up most people were convinced otherwise because for the most part my sister was quite willing to step into the gap between what my disability allows me to do for myself and what things still need to be done despite the fact that I cannot physically do them myself from a very young age. Now that I’m older it is easier for me to admit that I was terribly jealous of her.  For one no one would believe that I was older than her until after our parents had confirmed it, for another everything seemed to come easily to her, or so I thought at the time.  She has always been good at almost anything she laid her hand on and somehow managed to make it look a lot easier than it actually was.  Seen in that light my small talent at writing seemed, (to me at least), to be meager and thin indeed.Years later she learned to belly dance which only made the green eyed monster bite me harder because dancing is the one thing I really miss about not being born able-bodied. When I was six our next-door neighbors youngest daughter (who was 12) taught me to waltz. it was not the most graceful thing the world, unlike any form of dance my sister has ever undertaken but it was definitely a waltz.  When I was six I didn’t care that it wasn’t graceful or what most people call pretty I knew that I had accomplished something even some adults don’t do and that was enough.  As I got older I began to pick apart my accomplishment because I have begun to watch very talented able-bodied people in movies and on TV, add to that I had a very talented individual in my own house.  It was self-inflicted torture, and I was my own worst critic.  Over the past year I’ve tried to remember the only person who can make me truly content with myself is me.  Believe it or not that of a hard thing to swallow.  So I can’t sing as well as some people I can and have taught people howto better express themselves and communicate in an unfamiliar language.I will never have flawless penmanship and I won’t ever even come close to managing calligraphy but my overcrowded stilted chicken scratch handwriting, despite its near unreadable state is apparently priceless to certain people.  The only painting I’ve never done is paint by number projects and I will never be able to draw pictures that almost breathe like my mom can, but given time and a lot of practice I will be able to paint pictures with words that seem to sparkle and characters that breathes and live on after the last page has been turned and the back cover closed the last time.You know may be my waltz wasn’t as bad as I thought because almost 10 years later somebody wants me to teach them.  It may not be graceful and pretty but I can guarantee you it will be recognizable for a waltz and just like when I was six it will be one of the best things I’ve ever done.

sleep is overrated

cliff-divingA friend of mine in college used to say that sleep was overrated.  I think I’m trying to take a page from her book.  I went to bed at four this morning and cracked my eyes open at six and was up again by 7:30 a.m.In case you’re wondering what kept me up so long in the first place I’m trying to finish the last chapter in the partial draft of my novel  that I’m going to send in to be reviewed by a publisher later this week.As I said before I have no expectation that it will be will be well-received.  That is not to say thatI do not have any hope, but it is tempered with the knowledge that I’m not the only aspiring writer ever to exist on the face of the planet and editors are only human.  Does it mean that I will quit writing entirely if this first-person doesn’t like it?  Absolutely not but I do hope that if they say no they would tell me why and offer constructive criticism on how to make the story better for the next person who reads it.  Several people other than my immediate  family have read and liked it so I know it’s got promise, so the only thing I can do is write  the book that I and a few others believe in and hope that someone else takes a leap of faith. I think I know how cliff divimg feels now….close my eyes and step off the edge…maybe I’ll fly.

a resolution kept?… possibly

pen and scrollShortly before New Year’s this year I made a resolution to send my manuscript to a publisher before next New Year’s Day. through a long series of events I was reminded that some publishers take partial drafts to review. When I first heard of this particular publisher I did not have enough content that I was happy with to send in even a partial draft but in the year since I first found it that has changed.  I’m actually glad I didn’t submit anything last year because my writing has grown so much stronger since that point.  In the same two weeks I have been accepted as a contributing writer to a web site (though the webmaster hadn’t gotten it up and running yet it is still in the works) and then I get reminded of the publisher that I had almost forgotten about.  Maybe  it will work out ( in which case I will be ecstatically happy and we will literally throw a party in my family because my grandmother says we have to when I get published and I have never turned down a party yet and don’t plan to store) but if I don’t it is not the end of the world and definitely not the end of my story.  Too many people have taken time and effort to give me honest criticism even knowing I may not necessarily appreciate what they had to say I will not let them down.  But more importantly I won’t let myself down either.  It has taken me 24 years to accept my worth as a human being, having found it I refuse to give even a little bit of it up.

at least it wasn’t cholera

I probably should have never read The Secret Garden. It definitely did not help to mitigate my childhood worries. In the beginning of the book, the main character, Mary Lennox, an English child living in colonial India wakes up to discover her family  and servants gone, seemingly disappeared. It quickly becomes apparent that her family and the majority of the servants are dead from a cholera outbreak and the few servants left fled in panic, assuming the little girl had died as well The consequence was that she woke up in a completely abandoned house with only a garden snake for company. Since reading the book I have harbored a fear that somehow my whole entire family will die overnight and I will be the only one left in the morning. Fortunately for Mary she at least had the ability to get up and look around. I live in dread of being put in a similar situation because how long would it be before someone came to look for me? I can’t walk. Maybe I worry too much I do have help that comes is every day during the workweek. But if it happened on a weekend I’m still a up a creek for an indeterminate length of time.

I realize that I’m probably just being paranoid but I really don’t want to wake up one day to discover that my only living breathing companion is the dog who fell asleep on my bed the night before, on the last day of what passed from my normal life. Perhaps, if the unthinkable and admittedly unlikely does happen the only scrap of comfort I will be able to hang on to is that they didn’t die of cholera.

If fog is memory…….

fog oaksIf fog is memory, something which is a tangible but just barely and all too easily dissipated often burned off by the more immediate heat, just as memory is sometimes pushed to the furthest edges of consciousness by the present moment, love is a spider’s web.  Simultaneously strong and indescribably  delicate.  The line between love and hate is sometimes very hard to find, the line between friend and something else razor thin and hard to see. A solid friendship is like a piece of amber…..beautiful and complex, carrying within it a story for a later generation to find   Trust is a blade painstakingly forged but all to easily broken. Rain is terribly harsh and wonderfully forgiving at once. Life is a snowflake…each unique never to be exactly reproduced once it’s gone.

growing up should be banned

Fairy_BranchBefore people decide to cyber picket my blog in protest of the above statement allow me to clarify.Growing older is inevitable and as a person grows older they should be encouraged to take more responsibility for themselves and the things around them.  Growing up however is an entirely different story.  When wasn’t the last time you went walking in the rain without an umbrella? No, I don’t advocate doing that in really bad weather (thunder, lightning, freezing cold) but a little rain never hurt most people.  (I believe there is one young lady somewhere in the UK who is allergic to water) I used to play tag across my college campus with my roommate before she decided that it was too undignified for her.I still pester my folks every year to put up Christmas lights, heck I pester other folks too!  I love snow but since we rarely get it with any decent coverage down south  I have resigned myself to mostly brown Christmases. I don’t want snow that lasts almost to the first week of April but snow on Christmas would be nice.

I am 24, bubble wrap is still the best thing invented since sliced bread, thanks to Play Dough anybody can aspire to be the next Michelangelo or Rodin. So you don’t have the time or the money to go back to school and become the next Frank Lloyd Wright, go get yourself an Erector set or a bucket full of Legos and a book with pictures are great architecture to use as inspiration, I bet you’d be surprised at what you could create.So many people as they grow older forget how to play.  When people forget that they lose their imaginations, and when a person loses the ability to imagine anything beyond the immediate present or the immediate circumstances surrounding them at that point their ability to dream dies.  It is that ability to dream, to see the possibility of the world beyond the confines of the immediate present, and that I believe is one of the things that makes us, humans so unique.  Dreams are what propels us down the Road Less Traveled.  Stop and think, that one step that you take toward that barely visible light just around the bend could be a monumental step in someone else’s life, someone you may not have even met yet, someone who may not even be born yet.

waiting… again… on so many things

Pocket-Watches-It’s way past the time most people would have gone to bed, not me.  I’m waiting for my sister to come home.  I’m waiting for my computer to be moved into my own space (which sometimes feels like it will never happen).  I’m waiting on the web site which I just became a contributing writer for to get off the ground.  I am STILL waiting for the book that I’m writing to flow effortlessly out of my brain into a Word document, or if not effortlessly with a little more ease than the song and dance that it has been putting me through lately! COME ON GUYS, WHAT PART OF I HAVE A DEADLINE TO MEET DO YOU NOT GET? Get with the program. (yes I was yelling at my book characters) I’m waiting until I can finish going to the dentist before I start preparations for a trip to Germany in earnest.(Grin) even though he only went to bed shortly before I started writing this since it is now past 12 midnight here I can say that I’m waiting for my morning e-mail from my best friend, who, if he thinks to read this before sending said e-mail will probably smile ear to ear.  Even if he sees it  afterwards he will still smile though to know he is that appreciated.I’m also waiting on the chance to get what has to be one of the best hugs in the world.(Sigh) I know, good things come to those who wait, well I hope in the end it’s REALLY good because this sure feels like an awful long time to wait.

one foot in front of the other……

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I grew up watching the Christmas special Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, with Mickey Rooney playing the voice of Chris Kringle.  Anybody who had seen that remembers at least vaguely Chris’s encounter with the Winter Warlock and Winter’s question of how to change and the answer he received “just put one foot in front of the other…”.  I think I was somewhere between four and five when I first saw that cartoon.  My mother latched onto that silly song in her efforts to get me to walk, even if it was just a few unsteady steps, because a doctor had recently told her that if I hadn’t tried to walk before now that I wouldn’t be able to ever not even with help.  Suffice to say my mother felt that was an unacceptable answer. She sang that song every time she would stand me up to remind me not to cross my ankles and to pay attention where I put my feet.  I was sure I was going to lose my mind.  To this day whenever we watch it (yes I still watch it at Christmas along with Rudolph the red nosed reindeer and Frosty The Snowman) I glare her into next week if she even starts to hum it.

However when I got into tough spots in college I always heard Mom sing that silly song.  Now that I’m trying in earnest to finish the book that’s been in my head for so long  it’s like the crazy song is on continuous repeat.  Smile, it helps believe or not, because even if it is just one paragraph, one sentence, or even one tiny two letter word, it is still more than I had before, one step further across the floor, and one day I will be walking out of some publishers door minus one manuscript and with a sense of accomplishment that almost matches the day I proved that first pediatrician wrong.

family and bridging the generation gap

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Earlier this week my family received a letter from my second cousin Heidi telling us that my Great Aunt Lois had passed away.The event itself doesn’t effect me much because I never got to meet the lady, all I know is that she was my paternal grandfather’s sister.Cousin Heidi is the linchpin that keeps us all together as a family I think.  She si the family record keeper and chronicler and makes an effort to find everybody she can when someone dies to tell them, even the farthest flung branches of our family tree.  Despite the fact she never met either me or my sister she had both of our e-mail addresses in her address book and is always very prompt about returning e-mail,even to a younger second cousin she has never met (she grew up knowing my dad and his brothers) and despite the difference in age and the fact that we’ve never met it somehow doesn’t seem awkward. It occurred to me recently that one of the children from my generation ought to start keeping copies of the records as well for the generation that come after us.  I find it sad that in this world of instant communication we can lose touch with those bound closest to us and forget those that came before us so easily.  It is only when looking back that we realize how fragile the present is, if only one of our ancestors had done one thing differently our lives could easily be completely different.  Something to think about.