Saturday, June 11, 2011

Trapped in their reflection: Beauty

I've known beautiful people. When you look upon them they draw up envy. They seduce you into believing their beauty has afforded them a good life. They have you believe, if only...

What is magnificent about beauty is external beauty and internal beauty are distinct. Some beautiful people have relied heavily on their external appearance they have not developed their own vocabulary. They use other peoples words to describe themselves. They fall in love with themselves using those words and shine.

I've never had a problem wondering if I was beautiful. I'm unusual looking. I'm distinct. I'm ordinary when I'm around my family.  I look like people from home. I've come to know this after many hours in the mirror and in therapy.  I'm a work in progress...

People never fawned over how beautiful I am. Besides the crazy person using a lame pick up line, no one has stopped in their tracks and regarded me as stunning. I don't feel bad about this. It's just not my experience in this life time.

I appreciate beauty. Beauty in all its forms. Young, old, robust, graceful, distinct, unusual, fascinating... I look at people's eyes and if there is a spark then I stop in my tracks. I've seen so many people who lack that spark. They wander aimlessly in their life. Those with 'the spark' I know are there. They are alive.

When I open a magazine and see all these young people, I pray and hope that they will get past this time in their life. This contrived time. A fantasy for the masses.  That moment. It does pass.

What I find beautiful now as I've gotten older is much different than what I found when I was younger. There is an appreciation to it. A depth.  Experience.  When you are able to care for your kids, your partner, and have enough gumption and verve to put yourself together – you are beautiful.

I had a moment when Sonny was 2 years old. I was on a trip to DC and had a quiet moment. I stared at myself in the mirror. My hair was spent mostly in a bun so it was in disarray. My eyebrows had become one. I'd gained weight. The person that stood there wasn't the person I knew. I had to learn to accept my life as an adult. A parent. A caretaker of another human being.

When I see my beautiful friends and I realize how much they are caught up in their beauty, I feel sorry for them. We age. Gravity gets a hold of us all. This shell of a body does not last. I encourage them to develop a deeper sense of themselves so they can endure this reality.

My advice is...don't compare yourself to others. Appreciate yourself for who you are. Appreciate every wrinkle and know that it was earned. Wrinkles from the worry if your child is going to be ok.  Wrinkles that surround your mouth because of the many smiles you've given to your child and laughter you've shared.  Those kisses they need to endure the world around them.  

Take care of your body. We only get one chance at it. I work everyday at caring for mine.

Beauty has many sides – work on them all. Inside and outside. Physical, mental, spiritual. All aspects of them people see. They sense it when you walk in the room. If you haven't done it, taking care of yourself, then you'll know. It will take extra energy to be out there. Stop! Fix it! Shine!

How could I let anyone love me when I didn't love myself?

It's not that I didn't try. I've read every self help book available to mankind. I tried self love. I stayed in those quiet moments but nothing. I hugged myself better. I cried all that sourness from my soul. I forgave. I let go. I breathed.

When you spend so much of your time pleasing people and trying to make them happy then you lose yourself. You lose the essence of who you are. When they've gone on with their lives then you are left to figure yourself out. You don't hear their voices telling you what to do. You hear your own. You hear your longings. You hear your knowledge.

Coming to terms with all of that is tough. Standing in who you are takes energy and strength. Somewhere, somehow you find it. Divine grace. You become you.

I've been blessed with many people who have carried me along when I couldn't. They dreamed for me when I couldn't. They saw past all of what I was. They knew my spark. For that I am grateful. I know now without them I wouldn't know me.

A painful childhood, a young adulthood searching, a period of confusion, then silence. I can say there were men throughout this time that helped me but that wouldn't be true. Those men reflected back to me what I believed I was. They were me. They were reaching for being loved.

I look now down into the future and I am afraid. Not because of not feeling confident but childish trepidation. First steps into a vast unknown. My unknown. My life.

I excited by life's possibilities, of what it brings. The dreams that have not been realized. The possibilities that lay about. I know possible.

So many people have been around me to help me. They are still there. They believe in me. They love me. I believe in me. I love me...Finally!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Poem: Who I am is not a luxury

Who I am is not a luxury
Priorities don’t see me
The ME that is from within
The ME that is from your perception

My sisters and brothers fail to be included
Is it FEAR that keeps us excluded
Fear of demanding
Fear of engaging
Fear of trusting
Fear of wanting

You assume I have a choice
Choice between who I love
Choice between who I am
Choice between what I am

Our lives have become a political ploy
We were catered to when time and energy were a toy
We were catered to when interest was there
Were we catered to when dollars were there

The sexual economy ensures me in your movement
My political value is not seen
I stand amongst my people
The light has been shown but now the darkness has descended

Now is the time of courage and foresight
Our struggle is not one of equality
Our struggle is one of recognition
Our struggle is grown from within

Each movement does not see me as critical
Each movement asks me to payback
Each movement can not understand me
Each movement is ashamed of me

When I brought us together it was to sing
I wanted US to sing
Sing that song of liberation
Sing those songs that have been forgotten

Enemies come from within
Enemies come from outside
Enemies can be embraced
Enemies are our friend

We can choose to be divided
We can choose to be conquered
We can choose to be valued
We can choose to be

When HOPE is gone there can not be salvation
HOPE does not exist only in imagination
HOPE stares back wanting recognition
HOPE keeps us on our mission

Love is what keeps me at it
Love is what keeps me in it
Love is what keeps me for it
Love is what keeps me

Fear is courage turned inside out
Fear is courage turned upside down
Fear is courage turned around
Fear is courage turned inside out

Challenge is all around us
Challenge is what life teaches us
Challenge is what you can not escape
Challenge is all around us

Who I am is not a luxury
Priorities don’t see me
The ME that is from within
The ME that is from your perception

December 15, 2003    
Nick Metcalf

Please EDIT Yourself OUT of My Life if...

When I was younger I would spend a lot of my time and energy being friends with all sorts of people. Eventually I had to learn what I could cope with and what I could have in my life. I don't have the same amount of time and energy. I've learned what and whom I am capable of having in my life.

This is my short list of people who get edited out of my life:

Drama Queen / King – If you thrive on drama and enjoy that kind of excitement then PLEASE go. I've been in crazy relationships where I would run to help and support them then I'd find myself becoming a villain in their story. Not because of anything I said but because I provided support to a detrimental relationship (lovers or friends). I can love from afar and do not need to be in the middle. It is always my hope that they come to understand the chaos they create.

Gossips – I don't appreciate people who tell horrible things about someone just to feel better about themselves. If we have a mutual friend in common and you believe I can help then please share what is going on. If you believe I can be helpful by giving a call or spending time with them then I'm usually game. If you talk about someone just to feed your inadequacy then please keep it to yourself. I believe no one benefits when someone is standing over someone or kicking them while they are down.

Manipulative – If you are someone who believes you are a character in a Soap Opera and your role is to influence people so they engage in destructive behavior then lose my number. I've known people who insert themselves in situations or create circumstances that they have no business doing. Upon reflection, in my opinion they thrive on people feeling insecure, distrusting each other, feeling anxious, and anger. By creating a chaotic environment they are in the power position and they believe they are saving people or somehow helping them. When I meet these people and realize what they are doing then I run, quickly.

Untrustworthy - If I tell you something in confidence then I believe you are being a friend. I have learned that trust is a two way street. If you violate my confidence then I am never going to tell you my private thoughts again. We can be friendly but do not assume that I am going to share my moments of angst, insecurity, longings, and inadequacy. You officially ARE NOT a safe person.

Narcissist– If our conversations only consist of you talking about yourself then don't bother. I DO NOT get paid to be your friend. Friendships are a type of relationship that require mutual support. I want just as much time to share my life as I give you. I'm not keeping score but I know myself well enough and if you are not a person I call when things are going awry then you've fallen outside of my small circle of friends.

Abuser – Verbal or physical. I do not tolerate this behavior from anyone close to me. I've struggled with this behavior being directed at me so I've developed a sense of personal safety that I enjoy. I know what behaviors that I consider safe and what I can be around. I make sure I do not associate with individuals who deliberately seek to be verbally and physically abusive. I am not a fighter so I will not subject myself to scenes where I have to call upon those skills.

Not Self-Aware – I spend time being reflective. I spend time learning about myself and the world around me. It truly is something I enjoy. If you are just getting by in life and don't understand why you are doing what you do then we will not get along. I believe it is important to be self reflective and aware.

I don't use the word “Friend” casually. I've learned my friends have my back. They are the people I call upon when I am in crisis. It is their advice I seek when I need to understand something. I trust them implicitly. They are the people I want around me when I celebrate an accomplishment. I want to be a part of their journey in this life. I want to show them as much devotion as they show me. Friendships require time and energy.

With all that said, I'm a friendly person and am always looking for a friend but don't get it twisted. I know who I want to be around. If you meet any of the qualities in the list above then I'll save you the effort, we won't get along. No harm. No foul.

I believe when people interact they generate energy for themselves, each other, and the world around them. It takes effort to maintain my energy. I've learned the qualities in the list above take away my energy. I choose to be in a relationship that I can thrive in than one that takes me down.

Life is about your experience not anyone else. You control and manage who is in your life. You have the right to have people you want there. If someone is being destructive to you then I'd suggest you seriously consider deleting them out of your life. I know I have....

Each story begins with a tale of triumph, determination, and a calling....

Each story begins with a tale of triumph, determination, and a calling.  The culmination of the story ends with validation.  When we bear witness to the lives of people who share a part of themselves we gain a deeper understanding of what we are, who we want to become, and how we’ve survived. 

There is no greater calling but to share our story.  To share our experience.  To share our understanding of this human experience.  Somehow and in someway we increase the ability for ourselves to become better or worse.  With the many steps forward that we take there are ones that are taken backward. 

Evil and bad things happen to create balance.  The sweetness of love, the glee of happiness would not ever be known if you did not know the darker side.  It is from the lessons that we learn to endure the balance.  Life will keep throwing things at you regardless so standing still won’t help but living with as much tenacity is the justice.

June 20, 2004