Tuesday, October 3, 2017

White Iris

I was accused of being fragile the other day.
Obviously, this person does not know me. She made the assumption based only on a couple of my comments on social media. In my mind, I know I should blow that off entirely, based on the fact that she has no clue who I am or what I've been through. I know I am not fragile. I know I have been through things she couldn't imagine dealing with and still coming out mostly unscathed. I know I have learned plenty from all of those challenges and scares and sometimes soul-wrenching times. I know this. She does not.

It's easy to call someone names somewhat anonymously, even easier when you know nothing about that person and they clearly do not matter you in the least. Easy. And so very wrong.

The thing is: Sometimes I do feel very fragile.

I feel fragile after events such as yesterday when so many innocent people are simply wiped out by hate. It's senseless. It's scary. It reminds us of our fleeting mortality. It makes us wonder how our loved ones would cope if it was us. It makes us, if we're human at all, so very sad for those lost who had so much left to do and for their loved ones who will hurt forever.

I feel fragile when I get hit after hit while trying so hard to build my health up, or while trying to build my career up.

I feel fragile when, after all of the strides I've made against my social phobia, I have a set back and want to hide in my house again. My last big set back was a year ago at a book event. That same event is coming up very soon and it's kicking those feelings right back in again. I don't want to go. I want to hide in my house or play in my garden and ignore the fact that half of my job is to market my own work.

Yes, I feel fragile now and then. The thing is, while I might FEEL fragile at times, I am not fragile.

I am not.

Yesterday after dwelling on the event longer than I should have, I finally stepped away from my desk, away from the news, and dug into deep cleaning my house. I clean when I'm mad. I also clean when I'm upset. It's my way of bringing some control and order back into my world that feels too chaotic and unsettled than I want to deal with. I turned on my music, loud since no one else was here, absorbed myself in the beautiful music and lyrics, and made one of the places in my house organized, spit-shined, and pretty to look at. Today I will do more of that.

I am fighting my third virus in four weeks and my energy is low, but last night I re-started my system cleansing and healthy habits. Taking control as much as I can, although I can't control the viruses my system can't fight off.

Yesterday, I could not write. I was far too distracted and distressed, first by the nasty comments that were so fully unnecessary (not only am I and others who agreed with me fragile, apparently, but we are part of the problem by being military related and for refusing to allow victimhood), and then by the tragic, senseless murder of so many beautiful souls out enjoying music they love and having a nice time. I couldn't write yesterday.

Today, I am writing, starting right here. It's not easy to write this. It won't be easy to go on about my business and work on a story. But I'm not fragile and this is what I do. I refuse to give in. I refuse to give up. Writing and music have pulled me through a heck of a lot over a lot of years, and they will again.

Last night before bed, I even responded on that post again. I shared a music video: Hank Jr.'s "I'm For Love" with the line "if you don't like it, can't you just let it pass..." One of those who had been debating against my stance jumped in and liked the video and joked about it and you know what? That felt a whole letter better than leaving it as it was. Now, she wasn't the one making those comments. But I can now let that go and move along.

Back in May, I took photos of the beautiful white Iris I'd planted the fall before in my flag garden. Later that day, it rained. Hard. It rained hard enough to flood part of the yard.


 Yes, I was concerned about my white Iris in gorgeous full bloom. I didn't want them to fade before their time. I wanted to enjoy them as long as possible.

After the rain, I had to go back out and check on them. You know what they looked like after such a deluge? They looked like this:

Iris look terribly delicate and fragile. They're beautiful. They're artistic. They're soft and unassuming.

Apparently, they are also terribly hardy against elements that try to destroy them. White stands for purity. That's why I specifically planted white Iris in my flag garden. Atop the pole that shows in the first photo flies the US flag and a POW flag. I am not fragile. I am not part of the problem. I am the strong, hardy-through-rough-elements wife of a retired soldier who has been through hell and back with him, and I am still standing, still climbing. I am part of the solution, or at least that's my goal.

I am also an indie author with social phobia, bucking trends instead of going with the flow and staying true to myself rather than taking the easier route, and instead of hiding from that event that already has me on edge, I'll be there. Will it induce another set back? Possibly. But I'll be there.

Yes, I have fragile moments. No, I am no more fragile than those white Iris I look forward to seeing next spring. Maybe I'll even add more this fall.

By now, after sitting and writing this, I feel stronger already, ready to dust off the last few days and prepare for the next challenge.

So... onward and upward... and here's a tune to take with you.



Saturday, August 26, 2017

Imagining A New Story: Flying High

The little one in this photo lives in the Mid-Atlantic. Her cousin, three months older than she is, lives in the West. Fortunately, visits back and forth have been often enough they do know each other well. They met at six and nine months. Even then, Mr. J., the crawler, would get a toy for Ms. A. who was still barely creeping. He could see she had more trouble getting around and often helped her out with what she wanted. They ate in side-by-side chairs with trays and had no trouble sharing their food back and forth, both taking and offering and even feeding each other. I've spent a lot of time with little ones, and that sharing thing is not at all typical of the age. Such a wonderful thing to see. They were best buds from the start.

Of course the bad part of visits is having to leave. Both little ones pout for several days after they're parted and they constantly talk about each other. Thank goodness for modern technology so they can
video chat. Oh, their little faces light up when they see their beloved cousin in real time!

Still, separation is hard for us adults, so you can imagine how these two, who we nicknamed Thing 1 and Thing 2 after a very active cousin visit when they were always in trouble together, feel about not seeing each other often when they don't really understand why they can't or how much distance there is across the U.S.

So yesterday when I had Ms. A. outside playing in the cool, pleasant Mid-Atlantic filtered sunshine, she decided to collect acorns. I suggested we could send some to J since he doesn't have that type of foliage out in the desert where he has to wait until evening to play outside. A promptly got a bucket from the sand box and picked up every acorn she saw and was then ready to give them to J. But, she wanted to give them to him in person. By her 3-yr-old logic, we could just go on an airplane and take them to him. Right then.

A bit of pouting happened when I said we could not just go right now because it was too far, but we could put them in a box and mail them. Being the imaginative little thing she is, A did not leave it at that. She made a new plan.

She took that bucket of acorns back to the porch to find her own airplane and stuffed as many of them as she could inside. I asked if she was sending them on a plane to J. She said, no, she wanted to give them to him herself, using her hands to show the act of handing them over. Then she walked a few steps away, acted like she was picking something up from the driveway, said she had "Little J" in her hand, and put him in the airplane, flew it a few steps, put it down, and opened the door. Then she was off running a short way, her arms wide open, and wrapped her cousin in her arms, pretending he was there with her so she could hand him the acorns.

Yes, that could sound heartbreaking, but in a child's imaginative play, I found a good lesson. She made things the way she wanted them, if only for a moment. The smile was real. The hug was real. The emotions were real. To her, it was real. She remade the story the way it worked for her. No "can't" or "too far" in her story. She simply made it happen.


This is the power of imagination, the power of writing your own story. If you can see it in your thoughts, you can make it real. Real is subjective anyway. Why not throw yourself whole-heartedly into what you want and make it happen, even if in your head momentarily? Even better, put it on paper. Write it the way you want it. For that time, it is real.

Who knows what can happen when you start seeing what you want as reality instead of as a pipe dream, or dwelling on why you can't have it? Go ahead. Make it real. After all, we authors do it all the time and it doesn't hurt our actual lives; it enhances them. The human brain is plenty strong enough to accept created reality and still jump back to actuality as needed. Trust me on this. Writing about what you want can make a real, true, actual difference in your life.

Try it. Let me know how it works.