When Your Soul Is Tired….

There is no tired worse than when your soul is tired.

I have been telling people when I would have a few moments of peace that those moments were good for my soul.

The other day, it all collapsed on me at once. It wasn’t one thing it was multiple things.

The thing that really got me thinking that I needed to care for my soul was when they found my neighbor dead.

At that point, I decided my soul needed to rest. It needed care, I wasn’t sure how to start; I began by emptying out. My journal has been busy. I have been writing about all those things that were making me weary.

I didn’t use this time to make anything. I haven’t even stepped foot in my workroom. I cleaned my living space. It tends to get cluttered when my mind is cluttered.

I filled up, I listened to only music that inspired me. I joined the local gym to take care of my body, I read  a book about a strong woman that I admire.

I took some time to relax and watch some movies that make me laugh.

I gave myself a facial, I gave myself a pedicure and a manicure, I took care of my skin.

I fed my mind and my body and ultimately my soul.

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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.

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.

 

Still I Rise; A Phenomenal Woman

I love poetry. It is one of my favorite forms of literature and spoken word.

It is always breathtaking to me to hear a poet read their own words. To hear the inflection the use and the words they stress as they try you to understand the meaning behind their work.

One of my favorite poets would have to be Dr. Maya Angelou.

The two poems in the title of this post are two of my favorites. They inspire me to be a better woman.

Phenomenal woman speaks to all women. It speaks to the power you possess and how you should carry yourself as to exhibit that power.

If you look up the word phenomenal it means: remarkable, exceptional, extraordinary, incredible, unbelievable and stunning.

That is powerful if you change phenomenal with any of those words yet, phenomenal encompasses them all.

I shall rise speaks to humans as a whole both men and women. It talks about the resiliency of the human spirit and now matter how low we get we can rise. The part that speaks to my soul in this piece is the part about the long night and in the morning we look at people and say I’m fine. We all do it. Even if we’re not, we say we’re fine. That is actually a running joke in my family, no matter what, we are always fine.

Dr Angelou and I are very different. I am light skinned, she was dark skinned. She was a college professor, poet, activist, pulitizer prize and Grammy winner, she received the Presidental medal of freedom. I am a high school graduate with a degree in the school of life. I have an important job for my community but I never achieve any of the honors she did.

She was phenomenal in her way and I like to think that I am in mine. I got the chance to speak with her once on the telephone when I worked as a librarian. I was asking her for a copy of one of her poems to give away at a Black History program. When the package arrived, there were two poems. One to give away and one for me.

No one knows until now that I have it. It is safely tucked away.

I was in a Barnes and Noble in the same city she was in the day she transitioned from this life. I had gotten me a cup of coffee and was sitting there when I heard the news. I cried, a friend had left. As I sat there wiping my tears, all I could think was the caged bird was free and oh what a song she must be singing.

Writing Prompt, If I Were A Television Character, who would I be?…

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If I could compare myself to any TV character at this point in my life I would say it would be Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds.

Played by actress Kirsten Vangsness, Penelope is in a role much like my own, only amp my job up by 1,000 %. She plays the support role for a team that goes out into the field into harms way. She is their eyes and ears. I play that same part in a different way.

Penelope had struggled with her weight all her life. I understand that struggle. Penelope has learned to love her curves outwardly but still desires to feel comfortable  in her own skin. I know that desire all too well.

Penelope wears really vibrant glasses and has fun pens and her outfits are stellar. I love my red glasses and my fun pens and I would drool everytime I open my closet if I had her wardrobe.

Penelope has her scars from being bullied by girls because she was an early bloomer and being forgotten by the boys when the other girls bloomed and she continued to grow. I totally get that.

Then there is Derek Morgan, who she is secretly Gaga over. Although she regularly makes comments to him and about his physical prowess. I have my own version of Derek in my life. He is not a coworker. He is my person and I am getting more comfortable making my own comments.

So, if I was a TV 📺 character, I would be Penelope Garcia.

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