Feets, Don’t Fail Me Now!

Being the Jill-of-All-Trades that I am, one of my side jobs is working for my sister-in-law’s catering company. The running joke amongst my colleagues is me and stairs. When loading and unloading crates of supplies and pans of food, I can carry my weight. Until I hit the stairs. Porch stairs. Walkway stairs. Up, down, one step or 20. If I’m loaded up and I come to a step, I’m paralyzed. I take stairs every day. I run up and down subway stairs, the stairs to my office. What is it about this particular circumstance that stops me in my tracks? Well, I think I’ve figured it out. I can’t see my feet. And if I can’t see my feet, how can I trust that they will do what they are supposed to do? Maybe they’ll trip. Or slip on a patch of ice. Maybe they’ll miss a step and I’ll fall and break my neck. Maybe they’ll decide they have somewhere better to be and take off. The point is if I can’t see what’s happening, I can’t be sure. I can’t trust that the feet I’ve lived with for 57 years are going to manage the steps just fine even if I can’t see them. Better just to stay on flat land. Where it’s safe. And flat. And nothing bad ever happens. It’s not particularly interesting. But there’s nothing waiting to trip you up. No slipping or sliding, no flailing and falling. The truth is, though, if you never trip and fall, you never learn to pick yourself up and try again.

Fall or Fly

Now I Get It, Mrs. G!

There was this customer who frequented the establishment where I worked years ago. An older woman, let’s call her Mrs. G. Mrs G had buried two husbands and worked all her life and was quite well off. She was still attractive, had an apartment on Fifth Avenue and people to take of her in her old age. She seemed to have it all. Well, except for her youth and two dead husbands. But she was perpetually cranky. Bordering on mean. I didn’t get it. She had all of the means to sail comfortably through old age, why was she so crabby? Now as those of you who know me are painfully aware, I came out of the womb cranky. I’ve never understood why some people seem to have it all, and some don’t. I’ve spent my whole life wondering why I was gypped in so many of life’s departments. I’m not thin, I’m not pretty, I have no money. I have an entry-level job, and no prospects. I’m good at a lot of things and great at nothing. And I can’t wear beautiful shoes. Seriously, couldn’t whoever was handing out the door prizes at least have given me nice feet? So, I get why I’m cranky, but Mrs. G? C’mon!! Now, let me just interject here. I know that crankiness is a self-fulfilling prophesy, a kind of what comes first, the chicken or the egg, the “I’m cranky cause I was gypped”,or the “I haven’t always gotten what I want because being cranky is just a good excuse for not getting what I want”. I’m well aware, in my head, that I wasn’t gypped. I have as much beauty, talent, and yes, even potential to make more money as the next person. The difference between me and the successful, adorable person next to me, is that she believes in her success, her adorableness, her potential for greatness, the plain and simple fact that she has every right to be happy. And I’m just not quite there yet. That’s it, folks. And perhaps, if, just for a minute, I step into Mrs. G’s expensive shoes, maybe I’ve not only outlived my husbands, but most of my friends. Maybe, my kids aren’t close by and the only person I talk to is my caregiver, and she’s getting paid. A lot. Maybe I know I’m being cranky and judgemental, but it’s a habit I’ve picked up over the years, like smoking, especially when I’m scared or frustrated, and it’s hard to quit cold turkey, or ask for help. Interestingly enough, I have a lot in common with Mrs. G. She’s no longer with us, so she doesn’t get the chance to give up the habits that we know aren’t good for us. The snarky put downs, the temper tantrums, the face that is always scowling, (my mom was right, it is gonna freeze that way!), the cranky person who pushes people away, when what she wants more than anything is for people to like her. And nice-looking feet. Is that too much to ask?

Life, Interrupted

One Man’s Trash…

This is scrap metal. Right now, it’s basically garbage. Put it together in just the right way and it becomes something beautiful. Sometimes. Sometimes you have to take it apart and try again. And again. Today I got a rejection email from the Rhinebeck Arts Festival. Less than two weeks after I applied. No wait list, no we love your stuff, but…Just no thanks, your credit card will not be charged, we wish you success, but it won’t be here. This felt bad. This made me cry. This made me wonder why I’m spending so much time and money when I clearly SUCK!! This made me think about quitting. This made me eat an entire box of Weight Watchers ice cream cones. Oh, I can hear you now, “rejection is a part of the creative process, everybody goes through it, you’ll get in next time! Work harder, prove them all wrong!” Yeah, maybe tomorrow. Tonight, I think I’ll just wallow. Good thing the ice cream cones are gone. And that pile of scrap? Right now it’s just garbage. But put together in just the right way, it becomes beautiful again. Sometimes. And sometimes, you have to take it apart…and start again.

S. O. S.

I am having hot flashes. 9 months into menopause and I am hot. And not in the “hubba-hubba, girl, you look GOOD!” Kind of way. As well, my anxiety level seems to have ratcheted up a notch. Now, I have been taking anti-anxiety medication for 13 years. Medication which, coincidentally is now being advertised as a drug that alleviates the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes. Are you with me so far? Not only is it not alleviating my hot flashes, it’s not doing such a great job on my anxiety, and I’m not sleeping well. So I’m hot, I’m tired and I’m having bouts of teary hysteria in the work place. My hair looks terrible, my skin is shiny and I’ve gained 6 pounds since Thanksgiving. Oh, well, that might be the donuts. And the pizza. And the chocolate. And the nachos. I’m a mess. I’m trying to sail through these rough seas with grace and dignity, but I’m paddling a paper dinghy with just my short stubby fingers. I guess I’ll have to flash my light just a little brighter so someone can see. Or maybe just brightly enough so I can. Without getting hotter than I already am.

Recycling a piece of Copper