Have you ever played small? Cut it out.

Making myself nothing to suit others is not humility; it’s ego and lack of trust. When I make myself small to “help” someone else feel like they are important what I’m really communicating is I think I’m too big for you to handle and you are too weak to see my greatness. Real relationships require real honesty. If I cannot allow myself to be fully me when we’re together, am I really allowing the other person to be all they can be? Of course not.

Making myself nothing is just another mask for fear. Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. What are we really afraid of when we do that? Rejection? Failure? Pride?

We get caught up in the lie that we are being too prideful if we boast (talk) about our accomplishments. Really? Isn’t playing small prideful as well? Yes, we can be very prideful in our ability to make ourselves small — I see it all the time in church. We get hung up on thinking that playing small pleases God. No it does not.

God did not create us to be small nor did He create us to fit in. We are created in HIS likeness in order to make a difference in this world. We cannot make a difference if we are playing down to nothing.

Making myself nothing so that other people can feel like everything is about manipulation and control. It’s about people pleasing and being liked.

Let go of the control.

Be who you were created to be and make a difference.

You can do it.

I believe in you.

Thought for today: Cowboy Wisdom

 Cowboys and “whine” do not mix.

I fell off a horse nine years ago, figuratively speaking anyway.  And then while I was still on the ground a whole stampede ran through and about did me in.

Nine years is a long time to be afraid of horses.

If you want to get over this fear, I suggest telling the truth to a cowboy. I’m not sure you’ll like the answer, I know I didn’t, but it will be the right answer. Like it or not.

Me: “I’m tired of this, am I ever going to learn how to trust again?”

Him: “You know what I’m going to tell you right?”

Me: “Yeah, yeah, I know cowgirl up and ride, right?”

Him: “Not this time darlin. This time I’m telling you to grow up and stop making people responsible for what happened in your past. You don’t get to decide for them which end of the horse they are going to be. Trust the rider, trust the horse. If you fall off, get back on, find your seat and ride. You don’t take it out on the horse if you fall off, right?”

Me: “Right.”

Him: “So quit taking it out on people. Once you learn that trick, then you can cowgirl up and ride all you want.”

Either I’ve lived in Oklahoma far to long, or he made perfect sense. He hurt my feelings, like a real friend will from time to time, but he’s right. You can’t ride if you can’t find your seat.

Trust the rider (me)

Trust the horse (them)

find your seat and ride. 

When you fall off (not if)

Pick yourself up

Dust off the dirt

and start again.

And whatever you do, don’t take it out on the horse.

Country Girls, Chatter Boxes, Lobotomies and Life

hy·per·bo·le

   [hahy-pur-buh-lee]

1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

Have you ever tried to tell a joke to someone and have them stare at you like you have a third eye? Me too. I’m amazed at how many people do not recognize hyperbole from reality, especially when it comes to humor. In light of that recent discovery,  I want to clarify a few points for my literalistically thinking friends and followers. (I’m pretty sure I made that word up, but you know what I mean.)

While my girlfriends and I love to talk about Johnny Depp, we’re not about to leave our husbands for him. He’s a brilliant actor for sure, but that’s all. And if you still do not understand the nuances of hyperbole, go read some Anne Lamott. She is a strong influence on my writing style today.

I did not really go buy a little black dress, red lipstick and fish-net stockings when I read “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” That is what we call a joke. All references to my “catch and release program” in Fishers of Men simply refer to how insecure, clingy and naive I was in my younger years.

Even though I think they are charming as heck, cowboys do not really give me the hiccups. Yes I did blush and giggle the very first time I met one, however, I like the simplicity and manners that comes with these guys. They make it safe and easy to be a woman. And let’s face it, something about being called “darlin” touches my heart. I never had that growing up and I’ve learned to enjoy it today. It’s when they stop calling me darlin’ that I worry.

A walking lobotomy is simply a phrase I use to describe how easily I can throw my IQ out the window when it comes to certain men. When I was younger (much much younger), if our eyes met across a crowded room and my heart started doing 280, chances are they either had a flask in their pocket or a criminal record. Or in the case of that blue-eyed wonder I met in front of the Sears Tower back in 1987, both.

I did not really hire a stunt double for my annual exam – again that was a JOKE.

I am not a stay home wife anymore. I am a self-employed comic, speaker, actress, artist and freelance writer. Having my personal office in my home is not that same as “staying home.” I am not a bored housewife taking artsy fartsy classes to pass the time. I’m an artist striving to improve my craft. I left my career in telecommunications to raise my family and care for a child with epilepsy. I’m very proud of both of my children and have no regrets. In order for me to return to telecom, I’d have to go back to college and start over. I figured if I was going to start over at my age, why not do something I’m good at and enjoy.

Contrary to popular belief, I am still married - to the same man I met back in 1988 (not the Sears Tower dude). We love each other a great deal and are comfortable enough with each other and our relationship to acknowledge that certain Hollywood stars are dreamy. He’s into Meg Ryan, Goldie Hawn, Emma Stone, and a few others. His tastes run more towards natural beauty than flash. I like that. The fact that I sometimes write jokes about cowboys, Hollywood bad boys, and my previous dating disasters does not in any way shape or form bother him. If it did, I would write about something else entirely. My husband reads my blog every week. I do not write anything that would shock or amaze him. We’ve been together since December 3, 1988. There isn’t a man alive who knows me better than he does.

He knows if I’m laughing and cutting up with a man, it’s no big deal. He knows that taking me to see a Johnny Depp or Robert Downey Jr flick is no big deal either.

I know not to go see Magic Mike or read 50 Shades of Grey. That would not sit well.

He knows if I’m rendered silent in the presence of a man (and yes that does still happen to me at times, I’m 47  and very human and if you say that has never happened to you, well I think you are lying.) or avoid someone like the plague – just trust that and move on.

And for all my girlfriends who texted me Monday night telling me to change the channel to the CMA’s – I know that the first Monday night football game of the season is on and there is no way I’m going to be able to convince that man to change the channel for five minutes just so I can watch Luke Bryan dance.

Have mercy.

Going to Boot Camp, Be back in a week

I’m in Poetry Boot Camp with Molly Fisk starting today — I’ll be offline while I’m taking this class.

For those of us who’ve traveled the roads of uncertainty – those of us who come across one angry gorilla after another when we turn corners – after a while it’s tempting to just sit in the middle of the road and stop walking — I’ve been there, I know. And know this,  keep walking because one day you’ll turn a corner and instead of a gorilla you will see the most spectacular sunrise ever – trust me on this. You are not gonna want to miss that view. Love you guys, see you in a week.

Mending My Life

Well written poetry heals souls.

Why bother using an Ivy League vocabulary when the truth is as simple as that?

Well

written

poetry

heals

souls.

When discussing great literature, I catch myself wanting to write as if I’ve graduated from Baylor instead of business college. That makes book reviews difficult for me sometimes. I want to match the intellect of the authors in question and write as if I were a scholar myself. My main problem with that however is the scholastic approach to writing does not match my day-to-day voice. I’m not an MFA graduate. I’m just me. Mac and Cheese as Molly calls me. Comfort food in many ways.

I went looking for my literary voice last year and found my heart. Granted my heart was at the time in a about a million pieces all over the floor. I was lost in the rubble when a ragtag band of modern-day poets and women’s rights activists invited me to internet tea last fall. We banded together as only women can and sifted through the debris of unmet needs, false hopes, unrealistic expectations of others and toxic co-dependency.  Their love and acceptance breathes life into my battle weary soul.

I have no idea how long I’d been holding my breath; it must have been a while. I just know that it had been long time since I’d had fresh air. I found a respite and breathing place with these women. I took big gulps of air at first and gushed quite a bit over their acceptance and caring. I’ve settled in quite nicely now and my heart rate and oxygen levels have returned to normal.

Recovering from a broken heart takes more time than I am sometimes willing to allow.  One of the unexpected bonuses, while I am picking up the pieces I discover that not all of them fit any more. This is good news. This means there is room for more –

More friends

More hope

More adventures

More love.

I have officially turned the corner and the scenery is to die for.

I wrote my first poem of sorts in many years on September 12 of 2011.  My poetic soul knows what I didn’t. You might say it was my battle cry.

The Fractured Mirror

To be handed one’s emotional ass on a silver platter and yet have so little regard for self, that the best revelation one can muster that anything is wrong  are stomach issues, persistent blushing, and chest pain is a travesty. While it is true that artists are capable of being emotionally empathetic to a fault and that our souls can easily be a magnet to acts of spiritual terrorism, we still have choices.

Does one choose to succumb to this warped sense of reality, thereby being a victim of the fractured mirror of others as well as their own learned misogynistic views? Or can the false mirror be broken and a new paradigm created?

Some world views are nothing more than a fractured reflection of one’s own self-hatred and false dichotomies.

Unrealistic expectations and lies of others do not define me. I DEFINE ME.

Thus began my journey back to wholeness and life. Molly gave us the following poem during my very first week of writing classes – I’d never read The Journey by Mary Oliver before. As soon as I read it, I knew I was home.

one day you finally knew what you had to do, and began. though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice, though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles, “mend my life!” – each voice cried, but you didn’t stop you knew what you had to do. though the wind pried with its stiff finger at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible, it was already late enough and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches & stones. but little by little as you left their voices behind the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds. and there was a new voice which you suddenly recognized as your own and that kept you company as you strode deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do, determined to save the only life you could save. – mary oliver

I’m continuing my journey next week by attending Poetry Book Camp led by Molly Fisk which means I won’t be here. While I’m gone might I suggest reading a good poetry book or better yet – write your own poems. Like I said – Well written poetry heals souls. Your soul is worth it.

I’ll be back before the month is out.

Take care.

Deana:

A very touching piece from a blogger friend over seas. Worth the read

Originally posted on countingducks:

But many of them are unfurnished and unlit. Those rooms are the possibilities afforded by our personalities and abilities. Gradually, if misfortune strikes, we will turn off the lights of one room after another, till the warm and blazing mansion of personality is now some brooding unlite  and dilapidated shelter on the hill.  Many of us have compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves but the numbers of the unfortunate in this world runs into many millions.    The more fortunate will gradually furnish more and more of their alloted space till those who pass them by look in wonder at the plenty which surrounds them. With all of us some rooms remain unlit, and possibly even undiscovered by their owners. These are the dormant talents and possibilities we all have within us.

We ask how a beggar can live on the streets. Because they shut down and become anesthetized to…

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