Friday, April 24, 2015

Just Being Honest Here

I’m going to get real honest here, lay it all out there, because I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I’m 34 and single, and that’s not always easy. Sure I get to make my own plans, spend my money how I want to, no strings to tie me down, etc. But the truth with a capital T is that it sucks. Life wasn’t meant to be lived alone, there is a reason God put two people in the Garden of Eden. We are to learn and grow, procreate, and become more like Christ. Theoretically, all that can be done on your own, right (procreation=sperm banks)? But there is something about sharing a life with someone that refines us, rubs the prickly thorns and edges off of us. Two people from dissimilar backgrounds come together and make something new, together. Yin is not complete without Yang.

And yet, it is true that you can’t expect someone else to complete you. You can’t rely on someone else to validate you as a human being. This is what I’ve been told anytime I comment on how I’d like to meet the right man, I’d like to be married and raise a family. To be honest, it feels incredibly invalidating to be told that I should be satisfied with being single, that I should feel complete and whole on my own. Being complete on my own isn’t the issue, I’m enough on my own, that is true. I’m a complete human being, with just as many strengths and faults as the rest of humanity. Just don’t tell me that I need to be happy being single, that I need to be ok with it. My happiness doesn’t hinge on my relationship status, but it would be NICE. It would be nice to spend my God-given talents in the way they were meant to be spent.

I feel like everything about me what designed to be a wife and mother, but I feel like in admitting that (in a feminist era) is to relegate myself to a subpar desire. Perhaps it’s growing up in this era where I’ve been taught that I should desire power, prestige, career, money, and recognition – not home and family. Perhaps I’m an anachronism.  I need to be honest though. I never wanted a prestigious career, nor power, nor worldly recognition. I’ve always only wanted to nurture the lives of my own family. That is what I, Heather, was designed for. I’m a naturally empathic person, I care so deeply for others, I love nurturing and caring for other living things (partly why I’ve always had animals or worked with animals), I have a big heart with a lot of love to give, seeing other’s success bring me so much joy, seeing my friends and family happy brings me immense joy. Other’s have told me I can use those innate qualities for a different career, but that’s not my desire. At all.

 It’s kind of like how someone can be born into this world with innate desires and talents for composing beautiful music. Their drive and desire matches their ability to compose discordant notes into sweet melodies. So what does this have to do with me? I feel like Mozart without a piano. I have the symphony in my head, but lack the instrument to bring it to life.

So while I am a complete person, whole on my own, my desires are unfulfilled. I should be able to proclaim that it sucks without the world telling me I shouldn’t feel that way.

Then there are the people that tell me marriage is hard, and doesn’t solve anything – I understand this all to be true, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. I’ve also watched plenty of marriages fail; I don’t know what to say about that. We all have our agency, and sometimes people make really shitty use of that agency.  Well, to be honest, we ourselves make really shitty use of our own agency. Anyways, having never been married, I can only compare it to having a horse. Stay with me here, I know. I grew up with all sorts of horses, none of them were my picks. I got hand-me-down horses or ponies, rescued horses with problems, and even a free-lease thoroughbred for a short while. Finally, when I was 25, I bought my dream horse. She was exactly what I wanted, but not perfect. She was very green (untrained) and needed a lot of work, but the qualities I wanted in a horse were there. She was willing and trusting and confident and kind – what more could you ask for? I had her for about 6 years before unfortunately having to sell her. But those 6 years were the best in all my horse ownership because 1) it was the horse I wanted and picked, 2) the horse had the qualities I sought for, 3) the horse taught me so much more about myself than I taught her, 4) we had some really fun adventures, 5) we had some scary and difficult times together. Non-horse owners will not understand the relationship that develops between horse and rider, but it is very much like a relationship. You have times where you piss each other off (every horse owner will understand what a pissed off horse looks like, lol), but in the end you still love that horse and wouldn’t trade it for the world (even if you threaten them with the meat truck).

I think I’m just rambling now, but I needed to get this out there. It’s ok to not be ok with being single.  Que ABBA song “Take a Chance on Me.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Good Climb and the Bad Climb

There is a hill I like to hike after work, on my way home. I put my hiking shoes on - the ones made with good traction, so I can climb the hills with confidence. This one trail I have done several times is tough, not very long, but so very steep. It’s great for building muscle - you’re on your toes climbing for a while. It’s also exhausting; it gets your heart pumping and quads burning, and your lungs desperately expanding for maximum oxygen absorption.

Most days, I love this hike, but some days I really hate it and it seems painful. What’s the difference? The difference in whether I love it or hate it all lies in my perspective. When I focus on just the few feet in front of me and where I’m placing my feet, I love the hike – even with the burning muscles and deep breathing. Then, before I know it, I’m at the top of the hill, enjoying an incredible view. I take a moment at the top to offer a prayer of thanks for the beautiful creation of this earth, and for the good energy provided by it. I sit in meditation on this one rock for a few minutes and connect myself to the earth and to God. I feel the power of my body and strength of my lungs, I feel satisfied and peaceful. I made it to the top without even realizing it; feeling like the climb is over too soon even.

Then comes the days when I’m in a hurry - feeling frustrated or frenetic. When I look too far ahead and see how much farther I have to go on this trail, suddenly the muscle burn seems too much,  I feel like I’m out of breath, and it seems like I’ll never make it to the top of the hill. When I move my focus from the present of just what’s in front of me, to how much farther I have to go, the climb becomes unbearable. What I enjoyed before is no longer enjoyable because I changed my perspective. 

And so it is in life. Our perspective changes everything; it can make something wonderful seem painful. On the flip side, our perspective can show us that what may be painful now, will turn into something good in the long run – like the pain of burning muscles means you’re building strength. So too emotional pain, difficult life circumstances, change, loss, and whatever else we may have to face, can all be viewed as a good, intense climb up a hill leading to a beautiful view, or we can view it as a long, never ending, painful slog. We can choose to see our difficulties as resilience building, or we can see them as only pain. The choice is ours. We have to actively choose our perspective.

What will you choose?

P.S. - Happy Earth Day. May we all remember this wonderful planet and do at least some small part to be good and wise stewards of it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"For Women who are 'Difficult' to Love"

Just needed to share one of the most beautiful pieces of contemporary poetry I've come across. It gives me chills.


 "For Women who are 'Difficult' to Love"
   by Warsan Shire

 You are a horse running alone
 and he tries to tame you
 compares you to an impossible highway
 to a burning house
 says you are blinding him
 that he could never leave you
 forget you
 want anything but you
 you dizzy him, you are unbearable
 every woman before or after you
 is doused in your name
 you fill his mouth
 his teeth ache with memory of taste
 his body just a long shadow seeking yours
 but you are always too intense
 frightening in the way you want him
 unashamed and sacrificial
 he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
 lives in your head
 and you tried to change didn’t you?
 closed your mouth more
 tried to be softer
 less volatile, less awake
 but even when sleeping you could feel
 him traveling away from you in his dreams
 so what did you want to do love
 split his head open?
 you can’t make homes out of human beings
 someone should have already told you that
 and if he wants to leave
 then let him leave
 you are terrifying
 and strange and beautiful
 something not everyone knows how to love.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

To See and Be Seen

To See and Be Seen
By Heather Larson (April 2015)

I want to be seen. Seen as I am, known as I am.
Don’t box me in to your rose-lensed fantasy.
Don’t be afraid to see these scars - they’re real.
Don’t tell me who you think I am and am not;
I will show you, but you have to look.

I’m not your dragon storybook girl.
I’m not your 7th grade imagination girl.
I’m a real live flesh and blood girl;
Bleeding from an indignant heart.
Don’t frame me within your desires.

I’m not the summer breeze across the palms.
I’m the tempest and quelled sea coexistent.
Don’t tell me you can read the weather;
Just watch, then tell me what it is you feel.
I will show you, but you must choose to see.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

For the Wearied Traveler

For the Wearied Traveler
by Heather Larson (December 2014)

When once the world held its promise for you,
Outstretched its arms in a wide embrace,
Offering freedom and knowledge,
Requiring only your first step,

When days now past held some form of peace
For your wearied, sojourned heart and soul -
When you stood hopeful in your place -
Unshaken by love and fear,

When the years drift through ages unmapped
And your resting bed calls to claim you,
There waits a perfect stillness of time
Eager to embrace you.