I offer my reflections as part of August McLaughlin’s Beauty of A Woman Blogfest. Go here to read other posts in the blogfest and a chance to win exciting prizes.
A few weeks ago, I found my passport picture from college. I will admit that my first reaction was dismay at the changes I saw in the mirror. My second reaction was how much I dislike people immediately judging others by their appearance. I have endeavored not to do so in my life, but realized I was judging myself harshly. Today, I stood before the mirror and wrote my acceptance of one of my “flaws.”
Today I looked at you without allowing my eyes to glide past you, as I so often do when checking my makeup or brushing my hair. I looked at you with loving acceptance. First I noticed my eyes. I will not call you crows-feet, you wrinkles at the corners of my eyes, as you do not remind me of crows, but of the years of smiles given my parents, siblings, husband, children, grandchildren, friends, and strangers. You provide the context, the setting, through which my spirit shines.
Next I noticed you, wrinkles bracketing my mouth, serving as a reminder of the polarity of life, the tension between happiness and anxiety, both mirrored in your folds. You are a testament to the pleasure and closeness of shared laughter and smiles. However, when I crease my face with worry, you are a visible admonition to release what I cannot control. I gradually feel the effort of contracting those muscles, and force myself to breathe, to relax, to let go.
A few years ago, I saw a college classmate whose face was bare of wrinkles, her flesh stretched over her cheekbones as if she were twenty-five, not twice that age. I realized then that you, my dearest wrinkles, carry the character of a person. You are part of me as much as my brown eyes or short stature. You are my history, carved visibly in my flesh, the official documents of my life more than any birth or marriage certificates set down on paper. How could I not love you?
With all my heart,
Seth Godin has pinpointed the horns of my dilemma. Of course, I would choose a life where I needed no escape. My life is much like many writers who have had day jobs, from Geoffrey Chaucer to Nathaniel Hawthorne, not that I belong in such august company. I am very good at my day job, but honestly, I tend to invest too much time and energy in it. There are months, or even years, where I do not have the energy for anything else.
However, I want to do more, and believe I have something to offer. Even so, I find it difficult to put my writing above other parts of my life. I feel selfish, and worry that my belief of something to offer is merely the figment of an inflated ego. I often think I should wait for retirement, but I also remember someone who worked for me once, and unwittingly gave me a lesson in waiting for dreams. For years, he had planned travel and other unfulfilled wishes he would accomplish once he was retired. Sadly, he passed away less than a month after his retirement, leaving so many unfulfilled dreams.
I believe I will make the leap of faith to write now. Dreams delayed often are often dreams unfulfilled.
Several months ago, I was tagged in a “Show Your Writing Place,” meme that was circulating around. Although my space has been set up for several weeks in my younger son’s room, I haven’t written the post until now. This picture shows the incense I burn in the morning for my meditation before I start working. The penguin cup was a Christmas present from my younger daughter. When it got chipped, I converted it to a marker/pen holder. My fountain pens, with various color inks are waiting for me. I do indulge in colored paper as well, especially when planning or mind mapping, which I am doing here.
The left side of the desk has my pencil holder, my cases for my fountain pens so that they can travel from work to home without injury, and a stack of loose paper for reminder notes. Given my ADD, I stick the notes in the clip on top of the little silver holder, plunk it down in the middle of the desk, and hope I see it. It’s not fool-proof, but works most of the time.
Despite my recent shift to minimalism, I still have my little ceramic boxes from decades ago, which now corral small, pesky items. The top shelf also holds my parents’ wedding picture. My mother passed away last April after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. I like to see my parents in a much happier time. My phone and bluetooth speaker are missing from this picture, but I find music essential for writing. The middle shelf has some of my craft books and a box of fountain pen ink. The bottom shelf holds my younger son’s books, since it is still his room when he come home on school breaks.
What does your writing space look like? Do you have objects nearby for inspiration or solace? I’d love to see, if you are willing to share.
I treasure this picture of my parents’ wedding in December 1945. My father was the first in my immediate family to serve in the military, followed by my brother, my nephew, and my nephew’s wife. My husband’s family has served as well, including his brother, his nephew, and his grandniece.
I thank these members of my family, but I also thank all the veterans, past and present.