Do I lead with a causal explanation that it was yesterday when I realized Mother’s Day was this Sunday. Or do I invent a cover story, knowing that my mother is probably my most avid e-mail subscriber?
My forgetfulness really shouldn’t be taken personally, Mom. I routinely forget about my cup of coffee only to rediscover it hours later. I am constantly finding myself absent minded in front of the refrigerator without any intentions of consumption whatsoever. I somehow seem to emit sheer inattentiveness everytime I pull up to the ATM consistently leaving my debit card (enough to put me on a first name basis with the tellers at my local branch). Long story short..I tend not to remember things.
So, uh, don’t be mad Mom. I still have time. I’ll grill you dinner. Here’s a sneak peak of some recipe inspiration for Mother’s Day 2014. 😀
“Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.”
Tao Te Ching – 16th verse
2013 was a dirt path winding, barely visible, crooked through the woods. Step by step I ventured further into fragile self-awareness and awe drenched mindfulness. I tore my way past difficult terrain and stood broad even after my feet caught hold of sycamore roots. I dodged the falling flecks of granite and leering boulders; obstructions sent to lead me astray. I climbed until I reached the inevitable descent. I hit rock bottom to soak my feet in the icy stream and continued onward. I reached each peak with fiery grace and fury. Stopping in the earthly silence to meditate on my travel.
When I reflect on the year behind I see mountains; I see a scared little girl trapped inside her own delusions. I see her reach out from swelling, unforgiving mother nature and latch on to therapeutic creativity. I see someone who found the glitter in the black. Who grasped the opportunity to rebuild from ashes and lit herself like the phoenix. She has created beginnings from endings. She is an enigma.
There was a time when I joined a scooter gang. Three members total. We would dress colorfully and patrol the streets of my hometown after the sun had gone down and the restaurants closed for the night. Manual means of transportation only; nothing with electricity or motors. I wore a cookie monster backpack. We would ride our way to the gas station to buy a honey flavored Phillies. Outside we sat on the curb and passed around the cigar. After one puff realized we didn’t particularly enjoy the taste of honey, or the taste of cigar. Streets were rated and categorized by their smoothness and difficulty. Life still seemed effortless; seemed neat and filled with possibilities. I felt invincible.
There was a time I started a “professional” jump rope crew.
There was a time I joined a pyramid scheme.
Life still has time for me; still has time for possibilities.
*** Painted flower pot made using this technique. Made with ceramic pot, masking tape, and acrylic paint. ***
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you will never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Sometimes I “people watch” when I’m waiting. In lines at the supermarket or inside the plastic cages built at bus stops. I imagine their life in flashes. A memory of a college party, an explosive breakup, the birth of their daughter, sledding down a slope on a picnic table, and the resulted pain of broken bones. I like to imagine their sorrows and their happiness. Their ups and downs.
It exercises my empathy and broadens my perspective. It reminds me that we are all carrying the weight of the world; the baggage of our past. The world I live in is woven by my unique experiences. Every world is different. Every world is important.
I’ve been on some pretty terrible first dates, some of them even doubled as vivid embarrassments. One gentleman took me to a classy restaurant where dinner cost more than my monthly student loan payment. I wore a pantsuit and visible mismatched socks. He searched the menu for an appetizer without nuts or shellfish, mentioned something about an allergic reaction. Thirty-five dollar appetizer arrives and is piled high with shrimp and almonds. It was too expensive to waste so I ate it all. I ate it all while he watched and talked about Freud. It was mortifying. I remember chewing as fast as I could. One time I was so nervous I accidentally called my date “mom.”
I never devoted energy into racking up a list of dating deal breakers; I’d rather make sure we have similar life goals and aspirations. However, here are 5 ways to guarantee our first date is also the only date:
1. Catch Phrases. “”Who’s Da Man” or “Woah Dude” to name two. -100 points if the phrase is also a tattoo. -1000 if it’s decaled on their white minivan.
2. Enjoying Nickelback. Or bringing up Miley Cyrus. I feel like that fits in here as well.
3. Admitting to posting a missed connection ad on Craigslist. Guilty.
4. Using your Mensa membership as a launching point for all conversations. I get it, it’s the only part of you that’s interesting.
Sometimes I hide notes for myself to rediscover when i least expect it. Reminders of things I know I need to hear. Here is one of them. I believe this is something we don’t say to each other enough. Pass it on.