Souls Carried by Inanimate Objects

Grandpop's WWII bracelet

Grandpop’s WWII bracelet

Connecting with the past is something that’s intrigued me since I can remember.  The idea of tangible objects being held by another person, in another time is overwhelmingly fascinating to me.  I used to think it was only the ancestry aspect, because I find so much joy in genealogy.  But it’s more than that.  For an old soul, being among old items, with or without a direct connection, allows the mind to wander and dream.

Not every old item leads me to a faraway daydream.  I don’t find old paint cans mesmerizing but as I stood two feet from Van Gogh’s Postman the other night, I envisioned him standing just in front of me.  I could almost see his left arm poised in mid air while he determined the next vibrant stroke to complete the subject’s whiskers.  I saw his right hand Continue reading

Could I Have Been An Olympian?

As everyone knows, the Olympics are in full swing. Even though I’m a fan of the games, by next week the Olympic theme song that is played throughout the day will likely drive me mad. Two weeks straight of the same ten second piece of orchestrated music at the start, end and every commercial break in between will cause my ear drums to reach for the remote and hit mute. Maybe it’s because I have the games on while I go about my business each day.

Regardless, I love the sense of pride and the dedication from Olympians. There is always a heart wrenching story or significant feat embodied in the spirit of the games.

I grew up as a fish. My parents could not get me out of our pool to eat and my summer attire consisted only of a bathing suit. I dreamed of being a real swimmer with a swim cap and goggles and eventually joined a swim team where I did fairly well. During the summer of ’92, my bathing suit transitioned into a gymnastics leotard and my poor Great-grandmother suffered the “look at me, I’m a gymnast” phase, cartwheels in her rowhome and all, when I stayed at her house during one week of the Olympics that year. Poor Grandmom. She never dared to crush my dreams either, though quite frankly, I don’t remember her appeasing me and saying I’d make it either.

Toddler Mae fashioning summer attire for the rest of her childhood.

I don’t remember really ever trying very hard to be anything I dreamed of. I was the queen of one season sports or clubs. I’m probably not in the memories of any of my teammates or fellow members because I dashed in and out, never leaving behind anything substantial and never hanging in to form real memories. Until recently, I thought it was me. I thought maybe I’m just a flake and like so many things in life, I just never knew was it was to give my all and keep persevering. But it’s not true. I’ve come to only understand recently that my Mom discouraged me. But before a judging finger is pointed her way, I understand and I do not place blame. My Mom had severe anxiety and taking me to events was very trying on her. I don’t believe she held me back from anything that I carried full potential in, but I guess we won’t know. I don’t think I would have been an Olympic swimmer, but I wonder if I had stuck with something now and then, if I could have had a different mindset in life. Maybe I could have fought harder.

Now that I’m an adult, I can’t base the rest of my life on the fact that I played one season of softball or did one year of Girl Scouts. I am in control of my own fate and if I don’t try or stick with things, it’s my fault. It’s time to learn a new mindset.  And maybe because I’m not an athlete, that doesn’t set the baseline for other things. I’ve stuck with the things that really do matter in life; I’m not a complete failure.

I didn’t even mean for this post to go in this direction. It was supposed to be a lighthearted joke about my Gram who used to say constantly, “If my parents had had money to get me singing lessons, I could have been a famous singer”. Gram had not a lick of a voice or an ear for keys, but it was something she dreamed about as she grew up in a family of fourteen children.  I found myself saying to my husband the other night, “If I had been able to stick with swimming, I could have been an Olympic athlete”. We both knew it was wrong, but we laughed anyway.

If you think about it, it is funny how at the still-young age of 29, it is so easy to see dreams that are too late to happen in the faces of young Olympians. I’d like to think that I’ll encourage my future and non-existent children to follow their dreams young and be able to support them along the way, and without trying to make them accomplish mine.

Past Lives: Who Were You Before?

This post could be the one that pushes me into either crazy territory or a relatable one.  I’m supposed to be truthful and share who I am in this blog, so I’ll get on with it.

Do you believe in past lives? Whether your religion abides by this belief or not, it might have crossed your mind.

I wasn’t raised to believe that we were reborn but there is something in me that leads me to believe that maybe I’ve been here on earth before. I don’t know who I was or where I was born. I don’t even know when I was here or how many times. I know that there are things I’ve been drawn to since I was a child, and these feelings drew me despite the fact that my family never led me there.

I grew up Irish/German Catholic, in America and in the 80’s. I have had a subconscious fear of someone stealing my shoes since I was a child and I’ve been drawn to 30’s and 40’s music even before my peers went through a rap and bad pop phase. I have however, since the time I began school, had a fascination with the Holocaust.  I’m not going to sit here and say this means anything, nor will I claim any actual connection to this time, but it’s a very odd feeling. I longed for Continue reading

I’m Not Having A Cuban Baby; I Don’t Think

I don’t want to rush life but I also don’t want to watch it pass me by either, while I sit there and try to convince myself that “there is always more time”.  There isn’t.

I’m coming up on my 29th birthday.  This will be my last year to add one more notch to the belt of “awesome experiences of my 20’s”.

I always thought I’d have a child by now.  I thought I’d have a baby at a younger age because I liked that my Mom was one of the younger ones in the school parking lot.  I suppose that isn’t a good reason, but we all have reasons we don’t realize until it’s spelled out; and now that I’ve done that, it seems silly.

I met my husband last night at our local pub after work.  Technically we met nine years ago, I’m not a floozy but this was the first time we’d seen each other since we left for work.  He had been there with a friend from work and had asked me to drop by.  His friend is little more than twice our age.  We are both old souls, so we fit in well with this crowd, mostly if they have a sense of humor.  This man is quite intuitive though, which I noticed quickly the first time we met.  He also has awareness for things that most common people lack.  As a recent widower, he talked about how he senses his wife around him and various other experiences he’s encountered over time.

He told me yesterday that I’d be pregnant Continue reading

What Did You Want to Be When You Were Five?

The beginning of my short ballet career.

Being five was great.  Everything in the world was possible and no one laughed at your dreams, well, maybe a little but hopefully more of a giggle than a snide snicker.  I wanted to be a hairdresser and also a ballerina.  I also wanted six kids, three boys and three girls and have a house like the Brady Bunch.  Oddly enough, we eventually moved into a neighborhood with Brady Bunch style ranch houses that I giggle at whenever I see them.

My poor Mom used to let me play with her hair relentlessly and I did so in a tutu.  My Gram got me a pink tutu for Christmas when I was three and I crammed my skinny but tall figure into that thing for years until the seams finally prevented me from donning the garb.  It might have been life’s way of saying, “give up kid, you’re clearly too clumsy to be a ballerina, time to pack this thing away”.  I was probably ten.  The netting was so incredibly scratchy and nothing about this outfit was soft or comfortable like the ones I see little girls wear today.  I’m not bitter, I’m just saying I might have succeeded in a more comfortable tutu.  No?  Did I stretch the excuse too far?

I did take ballet when I was about seven.  It lasted for a few months or however long a standard class session is.  It was really hard for me because I’m uncoordinated and I had my Dad’s rhythm.  I felt like it would be so easy, after all, I’d already mastered all the dance moves from Dirty Dancing in my living room.  How hard could a few little ballerina moves be?  Apparently hard; for me anyway.  The class was tied in with tap dancing and that seemed like a plausible career too because I’d seen Gregory Hines do it on Sesame Street and it looked easy.  The only place that wasn’t carpeted in our house was our tiny 10×10 kitchen and since you can’t wear your tap shoes on concrete (or so I was told) so I didn’t get much practice time outside either.

I’m not too sure why I never pursued hairstyling except that maybe doing my own hair didn’t turn out too well and that phase just died out.  I did dye my own hair and sometimes chop at it during my teenage years, but that was because I couldn’t afford to get it done anywhere but my bathroom.  My Mom never stopped me from playing with her hair though because she said it felt nice and I still dance in front of the TV to be goofy.  I do more of a high kick strut with a fake cane and top hat as I pass through the living room now.  My husband will usually give me a pity snicker and wait for me to move but my parents really get a kick out of it when I visit.  It seems the living room will always be my grand stage because I’m embarrassed to dance anywhere else; except at weddings after a few Jameson and cranberries.  And no, I don’t want to see the video of it afterwards, even if I look like I have full confidence; that is temporary.

What did you want to be?

I Thought I Had It All Figured Out

There I was, not so long ago; no, it was only last week.  It feels like forever only because I was so sure then. I had it all figured out; then, gut instincts kicked in.  The direction I was about to go, all of a sudden didn’t feel right.  Maybe it’s not the direction, as much as the way I intended to get to the destination.  If opportunities sound too good to be true, they probably are.  So now what?  How can I encapsulate all the directions I want to take my life?  Can we have it all?

Happiness comes down to knowing what is most important and being grateful for what you have, while not settling for what you don’t.  The important part is getting to the place where all these feelings collide and feel real.

There is so much more to offer than working 40+ hours per week and paying the bills for things that just keep us mundane.  We have covered that in the past, no need to rehash that. How we end up and what we give up in order to live life to the fullest is interesting.  What I’m willing to give up seems insane to some people. We are not all made to live the same life, though I want elements of normalcy in the mix.  I don’t feel troubled about life as much as hopeful and excited to see what we can make of it.  I say “we” because it’s not just about me, it’s about my best friend and husband too; the husband is also my best friend so that makes life a little less complicated.

“They” think I’m crazy to give up cable.  I say it’s crazy to spend hours in front of the TV watching other people live.  I’m willing to work hard for the type of life I want, I just don’t know what it should all consist of yet; writer, historian, mother, student, broadcaster, traveller?  It is very easy to say I can do it all, harder to do.

Time will either tell or speed by; in the meantime choices will need to be made and I hope a little divine intervention can help my mind along. I don’t doubt I will make something of myself, though I am anxious. I just need a little more direction than I ever expected or wanted to admit.

Handling the Lottery Win…Mentally

To be honest, I didn’t expect it, so there isn’t any disappointment. Like most offices in the states that participate in this lottery, we had an office pool. It was going to be interesting to split it between 244 people. I felt exhausted thinking about the chaos that would ensue and the way people would then sue like crazy, we’d probably never get paid.  To not play though would be foolish.  Who wants to be that guy on Monday who sits alone when people have already booked a cruise and rolled in with their new car?  What a disaster that would be.

It’s funny to think of the possibilities; not so much on what we’d buy but how it would change us. I figured, if we split the jackpot and won just a simple million, I’d try to be conservative and invest it well so it lasted awhile. But you can’t be anonymous anymore when you win. So of course I’d do some good things for family and close friends, but imagine what it would be like when you go to the pub for a night out. Everyone would expect you to pay, all the time, and if you don’t, you’re a jerk. Continue reading

The Most Honest Post I’ve Written

The only person in my family that knows about this blog is my husband.  He’s pretty supportive, though he doesn’t say much and even if his way of support is portrayed in the form of a challenge.  He challenged me that I couldn’t do this 365 blog when I first mentioned it.  I’d like to believe that what appears to be lack in faith, is instead his way to push me.  My Irish and Philadelphian roots are built with stubborn and defiant characteristics.  I used to think these were flaws, but they make me who I am, so I will not shy away from them if that’s what I need to survive.  In fact, those “flaws” are the reason I’m writing you.  He said I couldn’t, therefore I do.

There aren’t a lot of things that I think I’ve done necessarily right in my life.  I had so many dreams when I was a teenager and a surprising amount of adults to supported them, particularly people who had no real investment in me.  There is nothing they’d gain from my success.  They just cared.  I never thought about it before.  Teachers, co-workers, older friends all took the time to mentor me, without request and without agenda.

I’ve told you before that I’m an old soul.  My favorite memories are sitting with my Grandmoms and just talking.  These are some of my earliest memories and with two gone and one left, I see this part of my life slipping away.  I expected encouragement from them, but instead I got simple friendship.  I could actually consider them people I loved, respected and wanted to spend time with.  We’d laugh and talk about things that matter, not just superficial weather or sports talk.  When I think back though, even though they were incredibly important to me, they weren’t my motivators.

As I got my first job at a Hallmark store, I was enveloped by the family of people who owned and worked at the store.  They saw me through some of the harder times and though many were much older in experience and years, they counseled me without me even knowing it.  They encouraged the school-skipping and concert going city girl, and led me to believe anything was possible.  I continued to find people like this wherever I went.  Maybe I was a project or maybe I actually was as special as my parents said, but maybe I was just blessed with meeting the right people and accepting such unlikely friendships.  There I was, in California and my closest friends had children my age.

I didn’t sit down to write this blog, I had another vision in mind.  I started thinking about my plans.  I gave up so many plans to be logical when I was about twenty.  I gave up the steps I needed to take to fulfill my dreams, and instead kept dreaming with no real track to ever get there.  That’s changing.  Whether it’s logical or not, is not my concern anymore.  I’m going to be putting my husband and I in a financial situation that falls into a category of the unknown, possibly stupid.  I’m going to be leaping from a steady job to who knows what.  It’s scary.  But I can’t help but feel that I owe it to myself and to every person who gave me the reason to believe I was good enough to get what I want.  I’m doing something because I want to and for the first time, it’s not out of defiance.  Whether or not I find what I’m looking for, I can at least die saying that I tried, instead of feeling like a coward.

 

Photo courtesy of gettingsmartonline.com