A Day Of Exercise (in many forms)

Today I worked out in my flower bed.

My plan was on the nice warmer winter days, I would go out and work on it but with my schedule those days didn’t exist (for me)  during the winter months.

This morning when I came home from work I was down. I was tired. I looked at the rock flower bed my grandfather had built over fifty years ago. It was in sad shape. Not the bed itself. It is as sturdy as it has ever been. It was suffering from neglect. Having set there from the autumn season.

 I went inside to sleep which happened quickly. I don’t even remember getting into bed. I slept for a few hours and when I woke up I was wide awake and my mind was whirling.

I decided to go out and see if it was warm enough to begin working through the vines and thorns to reclaim the flower bed and allow the daffodils and tulips that reside there to flourish.

I assessed the situation. I walked around the oblong rock flower bed, I chose my point of attack. I walked back to my carport and gathered the spade, shovel, rake, broom and clippers.

I was ready to do battle. There was walking, tugging, straining, climbing up into the flower bed, bending over to clear out debris, working with the shovel using muscles I don’t use everyday in that manner.  This was the physical exercise.

When stepping in between the fragile new growth, I had to be careful not to damage what I was trying to salvage.

When I used the spade and could not get the roots of the intruding vines and thorns, I had to use the shovel having to use care once again to not to damage the desired plants while evicting the intruders. This was the mental exercise.

Once the roots were removed to prevent the squatters from returning, I would shake the dirt from the roots and for the first time in my life, I realized how I enjoyed the smell of the fresh dirt. There was something alluring about the smell.

It’s not like I haven’t played in the dirt before. I have many times in that same flower bed. It is just this time I feel like I was more present.

It was so strong that when I saw my person later in the day, I made mention of it; how amazing the smell was to me.

As I worked with my hands, I thought what those weeds and thorns represented in my own life and how removing said interlopers makes room for the good to grow.

I thought about my grandmother. How she would walk up to the flower bed and work as much as she could, which was not long because she had spurs on her spine. I can work for hours and she could only work for minutes but there is a shared love of the flowers that grow there.

I looked at the metal pipe in the middle of the flower bed. My sister, cousins and I used to pretend it was a periscope. I smiled at the memories flooding my soul. This was the soul exercise.

A need to clean out a flowerbed became a body, mind, spirit connection and what started out as a chore turned into a blessing.

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The Confessional….

In my office, I am the Mama Hen. I work with 6 guys. I am older than all of them. Much older.

I send these guys into harms way on a nightly basis. They depend on me to get them the information they need to be safe. I am a 911 dispatcher.

I worry about “my boys”. If they have to be out on a call that is difficult, if they have to travel on bad roads, I worry about them. My job is to make sure they home to their families safely.

Now,  guys will rag on each other. They compare muscles and daring feats they have performed. They are dudes. When they speak to me though it is different. I can hold my own with them and I get in a good shot every now and then. It catches them by surprises from time to time but over all they are getting used to when I get cranked up, I can give them grief.

As a collective group they are a rowdy group of oversized boys.

When they wander into the office individually, that is when I know they want to talk about something a little deeper.

It may be their marriage, their kids, their spouses sickness and this was just last night.

They know that they can talk to me and I will be honest. I will listen sometimes giving advice, sometimes just being a sounding board.

Last night, the one I have know longest. The leader of the pack, came in and talked to me. His wife is sick and they are having trouble getting her built back up and it has come to the place where he is worried.

Been there and done that. You need to talk to someone who has been in a similar situation. It is getting to the place where it is scary for him and he is a tough guy. He has seriously been through some stuff.

I asked how he was dealing with his stress. He has to be on top of his game mentally and physically. He told me that he works out.

Being a walker for several  years and not much more of  a workout I asked him some questions. He is building muscle. I am trying to lose fat and not get saggy. Pushing fifty and being over weight all my teen and adult life. I have to be careful.

We talked about our gym at work, which is good enough for me but doesn’t have the equipment he wants. He told me some things that might help me. He told me which machines to use at the gym.

He talked about what he lifts when he goes to work out and how he encourages the new guys who come in. He even went so far as to tell me that he doesn’t lift heavy in front of new guys because it could discourage him.

I told him that being fat, I didn’t want to go to the gym. He asked me why. I said you are a dude. You aren’t going to judge the new guy coming into the gym. Women are catty. They are going to totally just the size of your ass; how quickly you get winded; if you can’t do it right the first time. They are going to judge you.

He looked at me straight in the eye and said, everybody starts at the same place. The bottom. I didn’t go in lifting what I do now. I used to be embarrassed when I would see other guys lifting triple what I did. It has taken me three years to get to this point.

They he said the thing that really gave me a shot in the arm. He said “And further more, I don’t see you giving a damn”. After he left the office, I thought about what he had said. Why do I give a damn. I am not doing it for them, I am not doing it for vanity sake. I am doing it for my health. I need to get some issues under control and if someone doesn’t like it, oh well.

I think I will go check it out. I may or may not go until warm weather when I can get out and walk more. I would rather be out in nature anyway.

This time, the confessional was meant for me to reveal my insecurities and maybe for my healing.

 

A Dinosaurs View of Dating Today…

I am one of those people who can talk to people of all ages. I have friends in their 20s and on up.

Tonight one of them called me and wanted to know if wanted to have dinner with him. I told him I had already eaten and promised him a rain check. His dad is a really good friend of mine. He has recently moved back from where his parents moved to and he is still not reacclimated to small town life.

I have a friend who is 22. She makes me think of myself a great deal. She is funny, smart, introverted, she had just not had the best luck with guys. She has been attracted to a certain type of guy and they have treated her like crap.

Not too long ago, she told me she was going to give herself 6 months before she dated anyone.

Now being a teen in the 1980s meeting people and dating was somewhat different.

This was when phones still had a cord and you would lay in the floor with your feet propped up on the wall and they could hear you giggle or shyly respond to a compliment.  They had to actually ask you out on a date. At my house, your parents met them before you left with them. You had to be careful because the whole family could hear what you were saying and believe me, my folks were listening.

Back in a time before texting and smart phones. We didn’t have messenger or tinder where you swipe one way of you are interested or the other way if you’re not. The only way this dinosaur knows about this stuff is that she has 20 something friends.

You were either dating back in the day or you were just friends. There was not a term called “we’re talking”. If you wanted to communicate you had to talk.

Sorry, I wandered. My friend was going to stay single for six months. Here is a sure fired way to meet someone, give up, swear off dating, give yourself the power to decide what you want, so someone can swoop in and shake you up to your very core.

I know this; it has happened to me twice. Both times turned out great or at least the second one has so far. The first time it happened there was an 18 1/2 year marriage.

The second I have enjoyed keeping company or talking to or whatever it is you do nowadays for 5ish years.

This was after being lied to and cheated on by this lame, cowboy wanna be.  So I know what it is like to say, nah I’d rather be alone.

And right on schedule a handsome, charming, brilliant man notices me. Still trying to understand what he sees in me but I ain’t knocking it.

So the night she told me about the six month thing, I told her to buckle her seatbelt. He came out of no where. He wasn’t on her radar. She was taken aback that he absolutely flipped over her. I see her point of view, I would feel the same way.

She of course started with I have never dated anyone like him before  and being the brutally honest type I said and those turned out so well.

Then she started finding little quirks about him. I knew what was happening, she was running scared. She told me in the past that she had done all the chasing, that when someone was interested in her she got more emotionally invested than they did and a lot faster.

She got spooked. He will drive three hours to spend time with her. He has taken her to meet his parents. He tells her that she is perfect. She doesn’t know what to do with that. I told her to enjoy it. I remember when someone told me I was perfect and beautiful although I couldn’t see it myself. That was another life time. It would take someone seeing it before I admitted it to myself .

She is at the point where he wants to meet her parents and she isn’t sure she is ready for that. I get it, there are family members that I don’t want to subject my person to simply to protect him from them. Family will latch on and pick something apart and ruin something good if you are not careful.

She doesn’t know how to handle this. She is not sure of her feelings. I told her to take her time. Not to make any rash decisions either way, to enjoy the time they spend together.

I understand walls, I have them but if he truly loves her, he will slowly tap and chip away at that wall. If he tries to bulldoze it down she will run like a rabbit.

I don’t know how it will end. I listen to her, weigh in when asked, choose my words so carefully that she made a comment that she sees the wheels turning.

She wants the fairytale. I truly hope she gets it. I have just seen enough of life to realize that everyone seems to think that everything is disposable, including relationships. I don’t see life that way, never have and I guess I never will. I take commitment seriously. I have lived through the worst thing I could. Guess that’s a good thing about being around before swipe left, swipe right and such existed.

Writing Prompt: When you were taught a lesson by a child….

I had a job where I worked around children for 13 years. Never having any offspring of my own, this filled a void in my life; the biggest lesson I was taught by a child was from my littlest little at the time.

At a point when my life changed completely, she was only six months old. As a matter of fact, the  day she was born we were having a cancer treatment and my late husband wanted to make sure that he would not harm her if he went to see her.

He passed away before she was old enough to know him. She doesn’t fully understand that I was once married.

I would follow her as she grew and began crawling, then walking, then running.

I was taking life the same way she was. Learning my way around at first crawling if I needed to. As she was learning to stand on wobbly legs, I was doing so emotionally. She quickly became her own little, quirky personality.

I think I admire that part about her as much as anything. When she has an entire conversation with no one on a cell phone with no service or plays with a computer keyboard saying she can run the world from right there, it gives me an insight into imagination.

She has taught me a great deal and when I am around, I am the chosen playmate. This is because when she lets her imagination run wild, I go right along with her.

Last year for Christmas, when she was 6, I gave her the little point and shoot camera  I bought the day she was born, just to take photos of her. For about a month, her entire family fussed at me because she was blinding them taking pictures. She took it with her to the grocery store one day and actually got some amazing photos.

When she shoots with my big camera, she will take one shot and say It’s good. I’ll say well let me check it. She will say why? It’s good and it always is. Now that is confidence.  She is fearless.

She will from time to time pull out the note that I put in with her camera and show me that she still has it.

She loves to collect rocks. She keeps her collection outside beside the porch but I always try to get her a rock if I go someplace new.

You see although not in chronological years, in many ways we are about the same age and she  taught me how to start over.

A Letter to My Teenage Self….

Dear Younger Me,

I know how you see yourself today.  You don’t see any pride or value in yourself. You see yourself as fat and ugly. You let the words of others make you cry. You feel like you will never be loved for who you are.

You do just enough in school because you don’t want to stand out or be noticed. You are much smarter than you let on. You just don’t like to be compared to your pretty, smart, athletic sister but you don’t have a name, you are just her little sister.

You don’t feel pretty, you are smart but about different subjects than she. You like math and history. You enjoy singing and poetry, yet you never let anyone see that side of you.

You are not athletic, although you tried. You are better at band and flagcorp. You’ve found your teen tribe with the band geeks. Some of them will be your friends all your life.

You will find love, more than once,  there will be a day a day when you can tell the boys that made you cry how bad it made you feel. Some of them will tell you that they messed up. Be kinder to them than they were to you.

You will not always be as big as you are now. Life will hand you struggles and you will hand them right back coming out better for it.

You will encounter pain and grief that at the time will seem unbearable. You will struggle with this and continue to move forward, just remember that forward is forward no matter how slow you go.

You will find out you are a great deal more creative than you think. You will surprise yourself with some things you will learn and become passionate about.

If I can leave you with a shining spotlight on what you have to look forward to it will be this…..

You will be loved and desired. Enjoy the intimate moments physically, mentally and emotionally. Be present for all those moments.

There will be a computer age that is laying right at the front door, embrace it, learn everything you can, you will use those things the rest of your life. They are not all bad though you will find out they can be used for good or evil.

You will not be the mousy girl with the loud laugh all your life , okay you will still have a loud laugh but although it will take it a bit of time you will find that backbone and you will find out that making yourself miserable while keeping everyone happy is no way to live.

Oh yeah, one more thing…. quit crossing your arms. You have big boobs, get over hiding them, not everyone is put off by that, some people actually enjoy those things. Just sayin’.

Now go live a life you will be proud of. Sprinkle glitter and sunshine everywhere you go, the my girl will be your legacy.

With more love than you will ever know,

The 49 year old you

Losing myself for a while… in a good way….

673F9D4D-8DD2-4973-B437-49A162D13F25For  several years I have been unable to sit and read an entire book. Being an avid reader my entire life, I found this somewhat disturbing. I have always been able to escape reality through the words of others, painting a masterpiece  in my brain as to the words I was reading on the page. Inspired, so much so,that I work on my own book from time to time. Will it ever be published? I have no idea but it is a goal to for which to strive.

Yesterday, I picked up a book designed with teen steampunk distopian readers in mind. The name of the book is The Nine Pound Hammer by John Claude Bemis.  The first of his clockwork dark trilogy.

I was fortunate enough to get to meet this author at a workshop a few years back in my former life as a youth services librarian. He autographed the books for me. It was pretty cool to meet someone who actually had done what I would  like to do.

Yesterday, I read his words for several hours. I will admit I am a slow reader but I take in every word allowing to add touches with the finest of paint brushes to the painting I am creating in my brain.

The fact that it is a steampunk novel is adding to my reading enjoyment.

As I read the words on the page I could see the lavish train in which the book starts. I could see the dirty children who were being relocated on this particular orphan train.

I saw faces of people who were not  the same as I that he met along the way and I felt the pain as he struggles to find where he is supposed to be in his life.

I felt the pull of the lodestone his father gave him guiding him from adventure to adventure.

For only the second time in six years I was anxious to get back to my easy chair and disappear into the pages of the mode of escape.

Thank you Mr. Bemis. For taking time out of your busy schedule to spend it with a would be writer and for the words that allow me to disappear for a while.

Taking Care of The Feminine Goddess….

Tonight, I care for my inner goddess. Every woman has one she just may not acknowledge it as freely as I do.

Women are warriors. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom, trying to climb the corporate ladder, building your own business, trying to save the world or to simply save yourself. You are a warrior.

Tonight, I began caring for her by changing the bed she will sleep in. I draped soft sheets over the mattress so they will feel good next to her skin.

I lit a relaxation candle and allowed her to inhale the natural eculyptus that filled the room. I gave the room soft lighting.

I fixed her a healthy steak dinner and washed her dishes. I apologized to her when I had to give her a shot in the stomach. A result of not taking better care of her in the past.

I washed her face and moisturized her skin seeing how tired she looked but promising to do better.

I washed her hair and combed it 100 strokes. I fingered moouse through the strands of her hair. I would allow it to air dry because it is more gentle on her hair.

I dressed her in her favorite garment. The one nobody else has ever seen.

I allowed her to soak her feet and gave her toes a new coat of color.

I rubbed lotion over the curves of her body. She reminded me that she didn’t hate those as much as she once did. She sighed as I rubbed the lotion on her legs and feet.

I fed her a snack of fresh kiwis and strawberries.

I made her a cup of chamomile tea and tucked her into bed.

An evening of self care has made a world of difference in the woman who tries to be a warrior, the kind that wants to save the world.