Monday, May 23, 2011
Pictured: My wedding bouquet
I live my life in pops of color. Pop of yellow, dash of blue, poof of purple.
It's just more fun that way.
I looked down at my attire the other day, walking to work and marveled at the rainbow, right down to my toenails. So long, monotone. I'm drawn to you, coral, and you, lemon. Especially you, lavender.
After reading a recent article in Psychology Today about people with two careers (aka "The Slashers" as in Carpenter/Surgeon. . . mind the punctuation here), I wondered what my slash might separate/bring together.
I am an aspiring counselor. My mind lives in color because of the cacophony of clients and curiosities that enter my office, causing me to be emotionally and mentally dextrous. It's a palette of grays and blues but colorful nonetheless.
But I want to produce color. And I want to do it with flowers. Of late, I've been drawn to the buckets at Jewel and Dominick's, decidedly uninspiring but after grabbing a couple bushels I scurry home and turn them into something lovely.
I like snipping the stems, again and again, to make sure water uptake keeps things standing up.
I love the smell, and knowing the difference between a rose and a daisy just from the fragrance.
I enjoy seeing an arrangement of mine out of the corner of my eye and staring, imagining the fields (greenhouses?) they came from, or at least believing they once felt fresh air. It's all a marvel.
So I'm committed to a new "slash". One where I get to touch all the natural colors that inspire our lives and our homes. Something like Counselor/Floral Designer. Something vibrant and alive.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
For some time, I've been feeling a shift. It happens to all of us during the truly adult years. (I say truly because let's be real; 18 years old is not an adult. Call me when you've got more bills than fingers.)
It's the shift prompted by the jolt-out-of-bed realization: "Who I am is not working for me anymore." Who I am after a childhood raised with Jim and Ruth and toting along best friends like Cathleen and Naomi. Even Dara and Debbie. And who I am after pleasing, placating and preening friends and associates for three decades. I felt I had to and if they ever saw a bubble of anger or a spritz of honesty well. . . I'd be left in the dust.
I surmise some of it is from being an only child but know that this mode also worked for me for a LONG time. It helped with my career eventually, and certainly got me to a place where I was presented with amazing choices about my future. But now? I know what I want. And I know that saying "no" to something means saying "yes" to something else. And it's just fucking time to take off the helmet, gloves and knee pads and get in the ring; of life, honesty, self, future. Fight for that stuff because it matters.
Naturally, old habits die hard so, next time you see me, you will not see 22-inch biceps and the evaporation of traditionally female physical features. No. I'm still the same person, but the evolution is nigh.
What's tremendously cool about this evolution was watching it unfold in my Group Counseling class last semester. A motley crew of classmates, some fathers, some single ready to mingle and other married and wading in the water. On the surface, we had made judgements about each other; being human this is unavoidable. But toward the fifth week and session of the class well, something shifted. In me.
I spoke up. I told T that he came across as cocky and perhaps that's why his anger spikes.
I told J that he was an ideal boyfriend, so feel good about dating and know that you've got the stuff it takes to be bold.
I told S that I felt I couldn't get close to her because she was showing me a self that she wanted me to see, not her real self.
Now, listen. . . honesty has it's place. I am not about to walk into work and raise a pitchfork and proclaim that a colleague's manner of speaking to me fills me with rage because of how condescending they are. (Shit, maybe I will.)
But there is absolutely nothing like being able to truly be yourself. To shed the skin of preoccupation with others' reactions and know that the honesty you give to others is precisely the fuel for a catharsis. Group counseling is intense(ly rewarding).
I had drinks with my group mates last night. The camaraderie we felt in those 16 weeks was present over beers and burgers too. There's a safety with the group, and a real love that percolates for them. For the first time, maybe ever, I got to really see someone. And that kind of naked experience, with tears and emotions literally at your fingertips, soft and delicate to hold. . . well, it changes you. On a cellular level.
This post is dedicated to my group. I was already picking away at what the next version of myself might feel like. You gave me courage and showed me a bit more how to love myself. I'm glad we can clink glasses and hug each other even outside of the perfect circle. Cheers.