Here we are, smack in the middle of the holiday season, and I’m waffling on how much good cheer I plan to spread. Too much will spread me too thin, and too little will make me feel crusty and crotchety. I’ve already told my kids that I don’t feel like buying a tree this year. “Jeez, mom, why not just cancel Christmas?” my daughter said.
See? There’s pressure everywhere to be jolly and generous, to shine brightly, to bake and shop and make polite chitchat. It’s the time of year for white elephants—the kind that come in wrapping paper or as 2-ton grievances that crush the joy out of family gatherings.
Fear had me in its claws this week.
I was making dinner and had just called my kids to come eat. My younger son Boone was sitting by the baseboard radiator playing on his phone. He jumped up and took a few steps toward the kitchen counter. Suddenly he fell back, stiff as a falling tree, in a faint, bumping against a table before landing flat on his back. I was terrified, and so were his brother and sister. I’d never seen anyone faint before, and in the few seconds it took him to revive, I imagined a hundred worst-case scenarios.
The story on my lips all week was how I was sick with the flu for 11. Whole. Days. This was so blatantly unfair, especially since I was hit during spring break, when I was supposed to be enjoying a vacation and some eagerly awaited alone time while my kids sailed the Caribbean with their dad. My plan was to treat myself to a 3-night getaway at a Bed & Breakfast. I made it there only to spend the whole time in bed (in what was, admittedly, a much nicer set of sheets than what I have at home).
It was a summer day in 1977; I was watching “Days of Our Lives” with my mom while she folded laundry. The announcer broke in. “Elvis is dead,” he said, and my mom cried. I was too young to follow politics, and two years later, I would barely register the upheaval in Iran, but in my world, Elvis Presley reigned supreme. So I cried too.
I want to share a pet peeve of mine: when I listen to people call in to one of my favorite radio hosts, so many of them say, “I have a question for you,” or “Here’s my question…” and then they don’t ask a question! They tell a story.
Maybe there’s something slippery about the curvy question mark. Either we put it on the end of what should be statements, or we leave it out altogether and tell ourselves we’re being clear in our requests.
A friend shared recently that he was upset about having to clear his belongings out of his basement to make room for his wife’s things.
“Did you ask her to consider a different solution?” I said.
“Well, I told her that I was upset,” he answered.
I was one of those painfully shy kids who would hide behind my mom’s legs when someone spoke to me. Thankfully, I’m a recovering wallflower; I’ve shed that shy label once and for all.
Or so I thought.
I was recently challenged to pay attention to how I make eye contact. Apparently the slew of dating sites have it wrong. They’d like us to put all our energy into crafting a perfect profile and posting photos that show “I look good in jeans AND in heels!!” when the energy we send with our eyes and our smile is the true secret to attraction.
“He was sitting in a crowded bar, during a Bulls game, reading the Economist by the light of a cigar machine.”
That’s how Kate describes the first time she met her husband. Priceless, huh? It rings like the first line of a hard-boiled detective novel.
She knew he was the one because she felt so completely herself around him. Not surprising, since he was also being himself that night in the bar.
When I was working as an intuitive healer at a spa in Chicago, most of the people who came in wanted angel card readings. I began each session by asking “What area of your life would you most like to see improved? Where do you need some clarity?”
Even when the client answered ‘career’ or ‘finances,’ the cards often pointed toward romantic relationships. I love that about oracle cards — they speak to what’s on our hearts, whether we admit it or not. Digging further, I’d discover that the real question was: will I be loved?
Often there was a sheepishness or hesitancy around admitting this most basic, burning doubt and desire.
When I declared that February’s theme would be LOVE, it was with an ‘oh won’t this be fun?’ attitude. After all, a more universal or more important topic doesn’t exist. There’s so much to write about!
Yikes. Now that it’s time to pin those those warm, wispy feelings to the page, my excitement has turned to fear. What is there to say that hasn’t been said? And what do I know about anything? I sit down to write and my palms turn sweaty. I need to go shower, get dressed, find a new hairstyle. I need to make myself better before I can venture out on the internet.
Hmmm…my date with the blank page is feeling a lot like, well, a date. How quickly the rosy glow of love and attraction is overshadowed by resistance and doubt.