The Woman in the Mirror 

I’ve had self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember.

When I was very little, I had no worries. I was a total tomboy, who didn’t care what other people thought of me. I was happier dressed in clothes I could climb trees & get muddy in. And often did just those very things. I climbed up & down a cliff behind our house on a daily basis, snagging my hair on tree branches, and chewed my nails down to the quick, making my mom lament of me ever being a “girly girl”. 

She has often told stories about how she would wait until we were literally on our way out the door for church to get me in my dress, or I’d get something on it.
But, little girls grow up, and as they do, they eventually start to care about how others see them.

I was no different.

By the time I hit 6th grade, I cared about how I was perceived by my peers, as well as by adults. 

Alas, also by this time, we’d moved from Iowa, where I had friends, to a small town in North Dakota, where… not only did I know no one, but I was a complete outsider.

I was, and still am, a nerd. I read a lot, was good at school, & got good grades.  I wasn’t a troublemaker. I’m not good at sports (my nickname in volleyball was “jello-wrists”, no joke) except for horseback riding, and our small town lived for its sports. I wasn’t considered pretty enough to garner the “pretty new girl” attention, & I didn’t have the “right” last name. 

All of these things pretty much signed my social death warrant there.

In high school, at 5’7″, 125-130lbs, I was considered the “fat girl”.

I smiled here because I knew it was almost over. 

My saving grace through high school, was that my best friend had faith in me. She was a total extrovert, who moved to our town when we were in the 8th grade. She was good at sports, & was/is gorgeous & skinny. And she believed in my writing.

She sort of adopted me, & pulled me out of my shell, got me to leave our small town, & we went on adventures to other towns where we fit in much better, & made our own fun.

Even with that, I still stood in the shadows. I was always – “Oh, you’re S’s friend, right?” 

*sigh* yes, I’m her friend. 

I did make some friends of my own, separate from her, we did each gave our own groups that we’d hang out with, occasionally. And I did have boyfriends from those other towns that had no connection to her.

But I never felt as though I was enough.

Every relationship I’ve had has ended with me feeling as though I wasn’t enough for the other person. I always felt as though I was lacking, somehow, because of how things ended. Every. Single. One.

I’ve never really, truly, felt good enough.
And that includes my writing.

I’ve had certain friends tell me for years that I should write a book. That my words are worth more, that they have value.

I’ve always kind of just pooh-poohed the notion, telling them that I write my blog for me, to get the words out of my head.

After all, friends & family are supposed to say nice things to you, right? They’re supposed to back you up no matter what, right? Even if it’s trash?

Nephew… You live too far away to smack me on the back of the head right now, so sit back down.

I love you.

And I’m not done talking yet.

Because right now, I’m standing on the edge of a cliff.

I’m terrified – and exhilarated – and about ready to puke – all at the same time.

Because… I’m taking a leap of faith, & I’m going to try to build a pair of wings on my way down.

A little over a week ago, someone that I’ve admired & respected from a distance for a long time, but who has had zero idea that I existed, contacted me. 

We started talking, & in the course of becoming friends, I introduced this person to my blog. They liked my writing, & started telling me that I should write a book. 

I told them to talk to my Nephew, because it sounded like an echo.

My self-esteem still needs work – I know this.

I still look for acceptance & approval from others on my work, whether it’s my writing, my crafts, my remodeling I’m doing on my house. I’m never sure that what I’m doing is good enough, and I flounder in indecision about the choices I make unless I get feedback from people I trust.

I don’t know if it’s just a Gemini thing, or just a Jen thing… 

Even today, when I spoke to one of my coworkers about the possibility of me writing a book, she called me crazy. And I immediately started to doubt myself.

It’s easier to believe the bad stuff.

The woman in the mirror every morning looks at me with bleary, disbelieving eyes.

The woman in the mirror at night usually tells me it’ll be better tomorrow.

I’m hoping there’s a bad ass bitch hanging around somewhere in the background who’ll kick both their asses, smash the mirror, & yank me up by my collar one of these days.

Till then… I’ll be shoveling sand.

Advertisements

Getting To It and Leaving It

Yesterday I worked on my kitchen.

I’ve been tearing it apart for days, preparing to repaint, ripping off wallpaper, scrubbing walls, repairing busted plaster, cleaning up old grease & fuzz (can we all say GREASE FIRE?? Geezus) off the tops of the double oven & cupboards.

And, after 10 hours of painting, cleaning blinds from the windows, moving fridge & stove repeatedly, I ended up with this.

It might not look like much difference, but it really is.  It’s now all a soft, dove gray, except right behind the sink, where I’m working today to put the back splash.

Far from finished, but I’m getting to it. There’s a lot more painting to be done. The cabinets will be getting painted as well, but the doors have to be removed, the pulls taken off & replaced. And I’m doing it alone, so it takes time.

And….. I had a phone call yesterday that – fucked me up for a while.

My mom called.

I have such trouble typing this, because I haven’t really let myself deal emotionally with it, yet. And I can’t allow it to take me over right now, either. So I have to push it down, bury it in a box deep in the back of my brain, for now… Until I can think about it without losing my shit.

My mom’s baby brother’s cancer is back.

My Uncle J’s esophageal cancer, which we all thought was in remission. has come back – with a vengeance. It has spread. To lungs, back, bone.

There’s a period at the end of that sentence.

I’m leaving that for now.

I can’t.

My head is so full of pain and rage about this… And I can’t.

I won’t.

I won’t let the pain and rage win.

I’m going back to the kitchen.

Fuck this.

I Wear My Scars

I wear my scars in words

Draped casually over my wrists like bracelets

Lashed fiercely around my waist

Slashed along my lips

Dripping from every pore of my soul

I wear my heart in my eyes

So I keep them down, most of the time

Look away, or be burned

Or drowned

Or saved

Bathed in blue, they’ll tell you the truth

Never lie

But I don’t wear my love at all

I fling it, give it away, pass it to the Chosen like candy, 

Like a child bringing you dandelions in summer

Gathered so Excitedly — FREE FLOWERS?!?

YES! 

Sweaty, heaping handfuls of love passed over, watching your face for acceptance…

Appreciation…

Approbation..

Affection….

Reciprocation…

I wear my scars with words.

And lay them before you in humility.

9/21/17

Spices and Wind

Autumn is here.

I know, the Autumnal Equinox is still technically 2 days away…but, this happened today:

I was driving home, down 16th, which is a 40mph street, & had my window half open to catch the breeze, when this happy, little wanderer floated in and landed on the back of my hand.

I picked it up, & held it like a touchstone all the way home, reveling in the leathery feel of the leaf’s skin, the crisp, sharpened edges, the slightly cupped curl it created as it rested between my fingers.

I love fall…

I love the way the air feels like a lover’s caress on my skin, gentle & warm most of the time, but with the occasional swipe of a rough briskness.

I love how rich all the colors seem to get. The deep golds, the burnt oranges, the bloody reds, the almost-black purples. Even the crunchy brown after the leaves have fallen, & lie dead on the lawn, waiting for the rake to sweep them into piles for bagging. 

I love the smells that permeate the air, the sharp smell of burning fireplaces in the evening, the fresh earthy smell of wet dirt after it rains, and the air is cold enough to bite, so you have to bundle into a hoodie, the spicy scent of the fall’s leaves as I crunch through them when out on a walk. 
Those leaves remind me of my favorite flowers – carnations, & how they smell like spices & sex to me. Such an innocuous, and seemingly innocent little flower, so normal and unassuming, and yet they entice me to stick my nose deep into them, dragging the scent within my lungs from their lacy petals, so reminiscent of lingerie it almost seems indecent to have them just sitting out in the open where everyone can see. 

Next time you get around a bouquet of carnations…close your eyes, don’t look at their plain-jane faces…close your eyes & use your other senses. Get your nose up close, smell the sweet cloves, the spicy wash of something almost exotic, run your fingertips over the petals, feel the lace edges…and you’ll see what I mean. It can be a sensual rush.

And to me, carnations are such an Autumn type of flower because of that spiciness…reminding me of the leaves as they fling themselves from their trees. 

Wild little things with plain faces and beauty inside, if only you look… throwing themselves out into the world, searching for a place to land…

The Good, The Bad, &The Guilt

Today has been…all three.

The Good: I volunteered earlier this week to do a “Parade of Homes” this morning for the local Builders Association, taking tickets, welcoming people to one of the houses on the tour, for a 4-hour stint. 

I and another of my coworkers were paired together, and we had fun, chatting with the folks that showed up, even though it was cold, sitting at a table in the house’s open garage (a brisk 46 degrees, with a nice breeze dancing in from one corner occasionally, thanks!). We had a pretty steady stream of people from the opening time of 10, and were supposed to be relieved by our replacement at 1pm.

The Bad: Our replacement never showed.

About 1:45, we finally got ahold of the organizer of the volunteers, & let her know that we couldn’t stay anymore (my coworker had a child that wasn’t feeling well, & I had other plans as well for my afternoon) , & she was very gracious & thankful that we’d even stayed that long.

So, we packed it in, & left.

When I got home, I started working on my kitchen again. I’m preparing to re-paint, & need to scrub walls, so went & bought a cheap sponge mop at the dollar store, along with a degreaser spray for the walls. 

Then, I decided it was time to clean my ferret, Vinnie’s cage, & give him a bath.

Bath given, I turned him loose on the floor, & started cleaning his cage. He usually runs around like a Tasmanian devil possessed after a bath while I clean his cage. 

Not today.

The Guilt: While replacing the newspapers at the bottom of his cage, after scrubbing, I heard a strange noise in the kitchen.  It sounded like he’d gotten stuck somewhere, & was scrabbling, trying to get out.

He wasn’t stuck.

He was by the cat’s water bucket.

And his back legs were not working.

His back feet were twitching, like he was trying to make them work…but he couldn’t get his hindquarters up off the floor to work like normal.

And I hadn’t noticed when it set him on the floor in the towel.

He was fine just yesterday, what happened?!? 

How could I not notice there was something wrong?

Did he fall somewhere in his cage?

He hasn’t been out of his cage for the last couple of days, and it’s a large, 3-level cage that stands 6 feet tall. He could’ve gotten stuck in the wire-works, somewhere….

And I didn’t see it.

Ferrets are relatively quiet animals, not making much noise, Vinnie quieter than most, he hardly even chatters when he’s excited.

But, how did I not notice this??

Many domesticated ferrets die of cancer as well…

Is this it??

I feel horrible, guilty, and sad.

I know, that if there’s no visible improvement by the beginning of the week, that I’ll have to take him to the vet.

I’m pretty positive that there won’t be improvement. Things like this usually don’t work that way.

You can figure out the logical conclusion.

And that makes this guilt even worse.

Excuse me, I have children to call…