Thoughts on life, Thoughts on work

Don’t let me die now, ok?

I’m driving through a green traffic light and thinking…

I’m only forty and I could get hit by a red light runner right now and die…

…and my life would end while I’m feeling like I haven’t really lived yet

what a shame

It occurred to me that for the past 9 years the happiest I’ve ever been in my career is when I’m leaving jobs I hate…
It doesn’t bare any significance for me that I have actually been very good at all these jobs.

I’ve earnt great money, held the impressive job titles, worked for companies others desired to be a part of and yet…

…I’ve been miserable.

Empty, disconnected and dragging my tired, yearning soul through meaningless days

It’s hard to express in words the heaviness that fills your limbs, the lack of clarity or interest in tasks you once used to like…

it’s as though your very essence is blocked, nothing feels right and it seems you are playing a role without believing the script…

And here I am again

2 days from a final goodbye that will bring familiar feelings of regret and relief, sadness and satisfaction, chaos and closure.

I both love it and fear it

I know this game so well yet I feel compelled to change course…it’s as though some quiet voice of reason is telling me to be brave.

“…you are destined for more, you’ve only scratched the surface my dear…you are different to them and better than all this and you just don’t belong here…”

One minute I’m playing a game of poker and holding the biggest pile of chips…the next I’m doing a jigsaw puzzle with a million pieces and no picture to guide my hand.

My eyes are wide open but I don’t know what to focus on

I’ve brainstormed, quiz-completed, friend-talked, book-read, passion-hunted and mind-mapped every single possibility to the point of exhaustion..

I sense the void of unemployment nudging itself over the horizon and into my peripheral

I feel the thrill of new beginnings and new possibilities…but I carry the burden of decisions I am not yet able to make and questions I can’t answer

“So what now?”

(Shrug) I don’t know

“What do you want to do?”

(Sigh) I honestly don’t know

“Yeah but, what do you want to BE when you grow up?”

I actually have no fucking idea

So please don’t let me die yet

Ok?

life

Conversations with God

I suddenly felt out of place standing over him….displaying a superiority that I didn’t intend….

When he had called out to me, strutting past in my heels, asking if I could spare some change for a “sexy homeless man”, something made me stop.

Taking in his shabby clothes and young but aged face I considered dropping a 2 dollar coin into the dirty hat to make a gold
quartet, but I simply said “why are you homeless?”

And although his position hardly granted him the right to care that I asked, I felt compelled to add “if you don’t mind me asking…”

He didn’t, as it turned out

For half an hour painful tears and raucous laughter alternated as he confided stories of a painful childhood….why he couldn’t find a job…how “love” is what’s needed to save the world….how he walked all day once, just to get away from how bad his feelings were, why he didn’t belong at the halfway house (full of druggies and alcoholics)…how his heart was so full….insensitive parents who just didn’t “get him”….judgement from society….and he also told me about his psychic abilities…..

“I help strangers who stop to talk to me. I know they are sad and I ask them why. They can’t believe I know…that I feel their pain….I tell them how to fix it and they think I’m God”

I realised then, that I was still standing there, on the sidewalk…looking down on him, while others stared and I suddenly felt out of place.

So I crouched down beside him, asked him his name, and gave him mine. I don’t know whose hand came out first, but they met in the middle.

In the space between us that was neither mine nor his.

He grasped my hand and it lasted longer than I expected, longer than it should have felt comfortable…yet it felt absolutely necessary.

I told him he was destined for much more than this. That his heart was indeed full, and he needed to shine his light on the world.

He told me to stay beautiful….

* * *

I returned home at the end of the day, to a hot shower and a bowl of pasta, glass of red wine and my favourite tv shows on the big screen tv….

As I lay in bed, soft pillow under my weary head, the loving weight of my husbands arm across my body, I couldn’t help but think about all those homeless people…somewhere out there….trying to keep warm, hungry perhaps…afraid, lost, frustrated by their struggle and, most certainly, all alone.

And I wondered where God was tonight….

crap I say, humour, life

Embracing the new me

I fulfilled a life long dream one week ago today…and in that same moment I embarked on a nightmare I didn’t quite anticipate…

Ever since I’ve been old enough to look in a mirror and form an attachment to the image I see there, I’ve hated my teeth.

They aren’t awful. They aren’t even bad. But I’ve hated them.

Maybe it’s because it’s in my nature to have everything perfect in my life, maybe it’s because I am sick of biting the inside of my cheeks or perhaps I’m just vain…(or maybe it’s because my teeth actually are that bad and I’ve managed to convince myself otherwise…but my subconscious knows the real truth, and secretly booked the appointment)…..who knows?

But whatever they are….or aren’t….

I did it!

At nearly 37 years of age…and with my 16 year old son there to share the experience and sympathise…

I got braces!

I knew it would be painful (people tell you that)
I knew it would be expensive (they tell you that too)
I thought they would look ok (because son and I had googled lots of pictures beforehand!)

And I also “knew”…..deep down….that it would be worth it….eventually

But what I didn’t know was just how badly it would effect me.

At first I thought I was really cool for actually getting it done. Like I’d joined a club!

Then I tried to eat. There is something about the sensation that you are literally eating your own teeth, in public, that very quickly removes all feelings of being “cool”

Then I decided to just suck it up. I went to work the very next day, with lipstick and a very painful “lip closed” smile on, and proceeded to tell my clients, through pink gloss smeared, metal capped, “spring stretched” (yet still noticeably crooked) teeth, self consciously covered by closed lips, just how happy I was to be finally “fixing” my awful teeth.

God I felt like crap…

My son (who’s dealing with it much better than I am…perhaps because he’s surrounded by “metal mouths” at school – or maybe because he simply didn’t inherit the vanity gene – said quite pragmatically to me, while examining his new train tracks in the mirror…”you know what, Mum? Braces look much better on straight teeth”

hmmmm….funny that

Then I got drunk on the Friday night and, while clumsily attempting to apply soggy beeswax to the protruding metal prongs in all 4 corners of my mouth, and while feeling the pain, inconvenience and frustration (all while simultaneously feeling massively sorry for myself) I looked at myself in the mirror….

no makeup
mouth open
bare
exposed
metal
crooked
ugly

and emotionally raw

the wine and the realization hit me…

This is it. For at least 12 months (I’m clinging to the orthodontists diagnosis…it sounds far better than the info they give you to bring home – 18-24 months?? Ummmmm…no thanks!)

THIS IS IT

Like it or not…I will have a mouth filled with wire. I will surrender to the pain, the pressure, the sharp edges scraping my soft cheeks.

And I will accept the ugly new smile, that (ironically) makes me think my old teeth weren’t actually that bad.

I will brush 3 times a day, floss, pick out chunks of food constantly and cut my lips just to smile.

I will feel self conscious. I will cover my mouth when I laugh. I will accept a peck on the cheek (or awkward closed mouth kisses) when I just so desperately want to KISS!!!!

Oh.

Really…?

I cried. (I’m not ashamed to admit it)

I really, REALLY, REALLY cried! Sobbed and shook and felt the most sorry for myself since I can remember!

And then I fell asleep….and woke up to a hangover and crooked teeth covered in wire.

* * * *

At some point the discomfort eased and eating became some kind of normal.

I can talk to people now and not mention it until they say “hey, have you had braces put on?”

I can smile and I can laugh…and I can ignore the scraping of metal with the help of my new friend “beeswax” or, time not allowing, great big doses of “toughen up, Princess”

I think I’ve actually made friends with my braces, as we’ve learned to co-exist, and I know they will eventually leave me in a happier place.

I can honestly say I’ve surrendered some of my vanity too.

I realise that the face you’re given to present to the world is merely that…

A face.

If you can be honest with yourself and your struggles in life, and just keep smiling (somehow!) people will see the real you.

And they will still love you

And at the end of the day that’s what really matters.

* * * *

Oh, the irony….

crap I say, life, Uncategorized

(in other words…I am awesome)

I’ve spent most of my life comparing myself to other people…

…seeing their beauty or their talent
…thinking WOW…they are amazing, they are perfect!

and then…realising I am not exactly like them…I’ve felt bad.

We all do it.
It is as instinctive as it is destructive.
It smashes our self worth and undoes all the self esteem we’ve struggled to attain.

Appreciating strengths in another is all good and well…but when we use that as a measure of how we think we should be, feeling inferior as a result, we are missing the point completely.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realise, it is not perfection that we should be seeking

because perfection does not exist

And I’ve stopped feeling jealous of other peoples talents…

(Who gets to decide what makes “awesome” anyway?!)

I now embrace all that is imperfect, unique and beautiful in ME

I’m glad I don’t look, act, think, feel or “do” exactly like anyone else…because that would be so boring! (besides…I’ve kind of come to like my own brand of weird)

I love the rain. I kiss my cats. I get excited to put clean pajamas on. I love the smell of toilet paper. I hate having dirty hair. I can spend hours straightening pot plants and ornaments (I like things symmetrical) I’m often dancing on the inside and always singing out loud…I used to care how I sound (I don’t anymore). If I cut one fingernail short I have to cut them all. I smell shampoo before buying it. I hate gold jewelry. and licorice. oh, and anything coffee flavoured. well…except for coffee. I LOVE coffee!

This is ME…

and I think I’m pretty bloody awesome 🙂

keeping it real, as always

Mandy