Garden of Steel Magnolias

Dreams from the trash

Although this ad is to encourage recycling, I started listening to the words. It transfixed me.  My family wondered why I was recording a recycling ad.  But listen with me: “They told me I was a piece of  trash and that is all I would ever be. . . a bottle couldn’t see the ocean . . . give up and go back to the dumpster.”

There are people told this every day.  I was one of them.  Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not important enough to have dreams. Dumb and ugly should know its place and stay there.  I refused, in little ways at first, but louder and bolder as I grew up.

It took years for me to dream, and more to feel I deserved to dream, but, much like that little plastic bottle, I have gotten there.

I wonder if the creators of the ad had any thought of deeper layers in  the words–of talking about people as well as plastic.  Life is recycling, after all, changing, growing, re-inventing oneself.

Am I  odd  alone in seeing this ad and thinking of all the “disposable” people in the world? Is it just my childhood memories coloring my vision?


Waiting for Stacy

Although I am back on track with check-ins, I can’t shake the feeling that I am spinning my wheels.  It’s one of those dreaded periods of self-doubt.  It will pass. If I am objective, I’m doing better than I had been.  

I am eating better, avoiding the foods that waft their siren song toward me, then stab me in the back by making me feel ill. I see their true appearance now! My wonky shoulder is slowing me down a bit, but I am seeing a doctor on Thursday, so I give myself kudos for self-care. I will discuss what exercise won’t hurt the shoulder, so hey, a two-fer.

As for tv marathons, between the World Series and NFL football, I have graciously ceded the tv to the men in the house.  Aren’t I just the nicest?  I have also put a timer on the computer games–15 minutes twice a day.  I still twitch when the timer goes off, but so far, I comply with it.

Today we are hunkering down for Hurricane Stacy.  We are on the edge of the worst winds and storm surge, but are still under a wind and flood watch.  My neighborhood was built in the early 1930’s, and the trees were planted at the same time.  While I usually love looking out the windows at the huge trees only feet away, I must admit I am a bit nervous.

I have spent a lot of time on the blogging class, but I know it will pay huge dividends down the line.  The logline class is more focussed, less of a time commitment, but still takes a lot of brain power.  I’m tweaking my resume for the day job, as well as writing an article.  Both are outside the normal 9-5 time commitment, so I feel like I do nothing but write these days.

Rather than feel overwhelmed by all the writing, I am energized by it. I have a chance to attend classes at the New York Writer’s Institute, since it is housed at the university where I have my day job.  I need to get some of my other commitments out of the way, but I am going to attend some of the talks and workshops when I can.

So that‘s all the news in my neck of the woods. I hope everyone in the path of the storm stays safe; here’s hoping we all keep our power!

The ROWers would love to get a comment and an encouraging word from you. The blog hop is here.


The Sunshine Award

Shan Jeniah awarded me the Sunshine Award.  Thank you, Shan, for the honor!  As soon as I wrestle the image onto the blog, I will display it proudly. Beyond the fact that Shan is one of the sunniest people I’ve met, she referred to a thought-provoking post by PurposeFairy , called 15 things you should give up to be happy.

There are many good points in the post, and I will come back to them in later reflections, but there were several about giving up criticism and negative thinking.  I immediately thought of my mother, who among all her good qualities, taught me by negative example as well. My mother grew up with incredibly difficult circumstances, but managed to rise above them for at least a few years. There is a picture of her on her 21st birthday, which ended up being her engagement picture, as she married my father less than three months later. She is looking to the upper left of the frame, with a flowing fall of dark auburn hair, wavy, thick and lush, covering the bare shoulder above the black strapless drape so often seen in formal portraits of the time. Although she is not smiling, she has humor in her eyes, but it does not detract from the strength and optimism there as well. I look at her, a woman whom I never knew, and wonder where all that positive energy went. By the time I was born, she had only a shadow of that strength, having given it up to live in her obsessive negative thoughts, her regrets, and disappointments. When I was younger, my sister and I would play a game: we would try to predict my mother’s negative answers to something we would say. It quickly became sad that she could somehow say something even more negative than either of us could imagine.

It became clear to me that one’s perspective is under one’s control. I always try to look at the half-full glass rather than the half-empty one. I would prefer to laugh about something than to cry.  I have made my mistakes, and sometimes fall into regret, but I prefer to look at what I learned from those mistakes. I have my negative self-talk, and my brutal internal editor that so many of us writers carry around, but I am far more comfortable with myself than I have been in a long time. I hate to talk about myself, so the “About” pages on blogs are torture, but I no longer twist myself into what I hope are pleasing shapes for a particular audience. I’m not waiting to be a crazy wild woman in my old age, but am there now.

I am still mulling over the bloggers to whom I will pass on this award.  Stay tuned!