Weekend ~ 2/14/14 ~ Love, Anonymity and Time Warps

Heart Photo red wlogo

Yesterday a blog I read directed me to a site where you discover how many of you are out there. So you know I was curious. I hopped on over and was fascinated by what I discovered. Whilst increasingly putting myself out into the world I have been progressing further into anonymity. How is that you ask? Well, let me tell you.

I started with my Maiden name and Voila! There is only 1, ME. Honestly I wasn’t surprised. Next I used my first married name. There are 12. My second married name elicited 137 matches. Last I typed in my chosen name, my current name. There are 686 of us.

I used to avoid all social media. I had no presence on the net. I never voiced my feelings for others to peruse and yet I was easy to find in the world. Now Here I am with my own blog, twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and Pinterest accounts (sorry Facebook I still abhor you) and am still much more hidden. I’ve become increasingly incognito, must have been subconscious. (At least that is what I am telling myself).

Now my friend,  (previously referred to on this blog as the Yente. That is until she informed me this was a meddling gossipy old woman, not a matchmaker. Hence the nickname correction), the Shidduch replied to my post Ode to My Valentine. Her one observation (the one she makes time and time again) was “when you speak of vulnerability you always say you don’t want to reveal too much of yourself. No photos, no identifying signs. But, really, you pour yourself out on that page, as vulnerable as can be. Such an interesting if banal juxtaposition in many great artists who prefer to reveal their internal voice only, feeling it on its own is far stronger (and less vulnerable) then they (i.e. you) as a person navigating this unforgiving, many times uncaring world would be”. She felt lucky to know both the flesh and blood woman as well as the bleeding artist.

I responded to my apparent dichotomy” I cannot speak to other artists, only myself. There is something of a sense of divinity I feel when creating, like I am a vessel, a conduit for the words or images. (How narcissistic does that sound?) By keeping my corporeal being out of the mix I prevent the contamination of ego. And in that vein I give over to the muse when she calls. It’s easiest to just get out of her way. (No, perhaps it’s schizophrenic?) Of course this is not referring to the times I am blocked. There are plenty of those. I see why many see the line between artist and insanity as attenuated. (Really I’m just a chicken).


These days I have no sense of time. No sense of things. Nothing moves as it once did. What seems long is short, short is long. I am stuck in a time warp since surgery. Since my cancer was confirmed. Since I became a survivor and began the cue of waiting, hoping to remain cancer free. My odds are good, the best they could be really. So much has changed it is hard to fathom it has been only two months. How could that be possible?

I’d like to forget, pretend really that cancer was ever a word associated with me. But you can’t. I can’t. I haven’t even gotten the hospital bill yet nor gone back for my follow-up scans. Sometimes at night I roll over and a twinge reminds me of my still healing incision. So how could it possibly feel so far off, so long ago that life was simpler.

I wrote an old high school friend, a fellow cancer survivor. My email entitled simply Cancer arrived in her mailbox, 6 years out from her treatment for ovarian cancer, on the 2nd birthday of her son. She wrote of my news, of cancer, of her survival:

“We may regain our health, and perhaps find greater happiness than we knew before our illness, but there is no denying the tragedy that we’ve all endured; all is not necessarily well that ends well.  There is simply no regaining time and innocence lost.

Managing as a survivor – at least for me – means fighting in some sense to deny the centrality of cancer in my life.  For if you can’t ever really get away from it, if you can’t just “forget” for a moment that you were ever sick, or temporarily erase the memories of that fateful meeting with your oncologist, or the moment you were wheeled into the OR for your surgery – how are you supposed to fully inhabit a life among the living?

If only those memories could be extracted from my consciousness, removed like the cancer itself.”

Oh how I wish I could resend my email. How I wish neither of us had been touched by disease. That I could roll back time. If it were possible she would wish it for us both. But as she puts it support is everything, to know the unique comfort of other survivors. Still I wish simply to have been able to write “Hello Old Friend. Tell me all about your life and loves.”


Then last Sunday I got a message from WordPress congratulating me on my Blog’s 3rd anniversary (It actually said 4th but that’s simply not true). I thought, “That can’t be possible. How did three years fly by unnoticed?” Admittedly there were fits and starts, life ran off the rails, went off the reservation, amuck, astray…. haywire.  Hence the holes in my blogging.  And all that was before cancer.

Perhaps this is no longer simply an artistic outlet, an exercise in stretching outside my comfort zone.  This was never a commercial blog. It was never about making money (still isn’t). I sought this avenue as a means of expression, an outlet for my heart. One I hoped to share with others, to create a community of likeminded artists and inspire one another. I love being a Muse. And secretly I fancy I am. That I have moved someone, affected their life in some little positive way. Because if there were no tomorrow I want to think my time here made a difference, that I make a difference. The possibility of life ending without warning brings up deeper questions- ones I grapple with every day.

Then it dawned me. This is why 3 years passed by nearly unnoticed. I’ve been doing something I love. To be bold, strong, courageous, colorful, and free, not afraid of whom you are. Creative expression seems timeless. And this is my creative canvas, one that gives me freedom to express my passions. It is my way of dreaming, conversations, laughter and intimacy. All of this is what makes my blog what it has become. So much a part of who I am it’s breathing. Underwater perhaps, but I’m a fish so no worries. Thank you for being a part of it.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now go out there and give away some kisses!


Blast from This Blogs Past


The Weekend Reading List


Something Extra

The Power of Love ~ Gabrielle Aplin

Dreamweaver, Purpose Seeker

Kite Dreams

I think I should start with a disclaimer. I do not believe in regret. For every decision made, every choice not taken shaped the core of my being. But I still know dreams unmet.

I was once given advice, from whom I don’t recall. He said set your goals, dreams just beyond your reach. You will always be striving. His theory being, I suppose, that if you catch your dream like the greyhound and the lure, you stop striving, having won your race. But is there a place where dreams end?

I have sought my raison d’être. The sense of purpose I have in this incarnation, questioning “What am I meant to impart on this life? And I’ve learned sometimes your path suddenly Zigs when you were prepared to Zag. And snap things refocus. Cancer is like that.

As a wee one I dreamed of being a country singer. Most days alone in the shower or the car I am just that. This suffices to actualize the idea. But is it a dream fulfilled?

I once bet my grandfather a dollar. Foolishly he accepted, hand shake sealing the pact. I was 8. Of course I knew what flavor ice cream lay in his fridge better than he. I was so proud, smug really at my victory. Now what to do with it? I had a dream and it had a purpose. This would become the start of my Kharman Ghia fund. It still sits labeled in my photo album, my grandfather in his grave and I Kharman-Ghialess. Still I dream of driving the coast along highway 1.

One night we collided inside the boom boom of P eins, lights flashing, music pounding, heat penetrating our cores. Magnetically bound, drawn to and fro, supernovas ready to explode. Later that night we poured into the cab. Our entourage eight piled on, me across his lap. His breathe warm upon my ear. “It’s just one kiss” I thought “It’s all he seeks.” Our friends egging loudly “DO IT” they screamed. My mind spun between taunts. “Was this love or war?” I wondered from the back of our suddenly too crowded car. My refusal was survival. If I dared partake your lunar fire, I’d be lost. I turned my head away instead. And so you remain a verse unloved.

When I was married last, as to be distinguished from the first, he had a motorcycle. I used to climb on back as an exercise of trust, still bearing the scar from a past relationship’s pipe burn. I had to lean into him, put my life in his hands and trust him to navigate the turns. We had to move as one. I always thought this was a good marital exercise. Only I never got to pilot. I always wanted to learn to drive, to take charge of the speed and the direction, set our course. I have yet to pilot my own bike and learn how much my partner is willing to trust in me.

I still dream of Paris though I can’t say it is my dream or some seed implanted in my id as a girl whose mother loved her time as an au pair. Yet deeper I know the root lies in a past life along the Côte d’Azur diving into the ocean bleu- farming sea salt. I still gravitate towards sunflowers and lavender like whiffs of memory so long past they have become part of the fabric of my being. In school I learned the language just to taste it upon my tongue. Yet I have not gone to France.

I am a dreamer, a truth seeker, a hapless romantic, a wandering philosopher, a secret hermit and soul rooter. I walk the line between two worlds past and future, trying to maintain my sanity and balance. In the secret place I don’t dare voice. I dream of life fulfilled, a life where I live by my heart upon the edge of the sea. Where my days are spent languidly creating. Surrounded by loving community- one I’ve envisioned and build again and again in my head. I’d have a soul mate in crime, a partner strong enough to demand the best in me, and I the same of him. I would breathe in reflection and exhale the same.

But I know that life can turn us on our heads. And sometimes on the journey the Zag reveals a dream never imagined. I have met a warrior strong and brave. I have walked in her shoes and I would die happily in her embrace. When I look into the mirror I see god reflected back. Perhaps that is the dream.

Inspired by this week’s  Dungeon Prompt, Purpose and the Art of Holding Back  

The Power of Vulnerability

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I’ve made no secret about my love for TED Talks. Well this week I watched two talks by very divergent women both addressing a fundamentally important trait, vulnerability, and our deep rooted need to be seen. Vulnerability is the birth place of Love, of Joy, of Creativity, of Belonging. Yet most of us fear it deeply.

Here’s the thing. The reality is we live in a vulnerable world. Getting fired, firing someone. Telling someone you’re interested in them or waiting for the results of your biopsy. Life presents us daily with moments of vulnerability. As Brené explains the key it not to numb out by spending money, overeating, abusing drugs and alcohol. Because you cannot selectively numb emotion, cut out only the bad and keep the good. If you choose to numb yourself you will lose it all, the good as well as the bad.

Brené Brown: Researcher Storyteller

Connection is why we are here.  This is what brings meaning to our lives; it’s how we are wired. When Brené asked people about love they shared their heartbreak. When she spoke to people about belonging they share their pain of exclusion. When she asked about connection, they spoke of being disconnected. She came face to face with people’s fear, their shame. What if others saw something they didn’t like? Yet underneath all of this lay vulnerability.

In order for connection with another human being we had to allow ourselves to be seen. We had to be vulnerable. So what did she do?  As an academic taught to believe that “if it cannot be measured it does not exist” she set out to deconstruct and outsmart vulnerability with her research. Her findings were that the only thing that separated those with a sense of love and belonging from those that struggled for it was their belief that they were worthy of it.

Next she delved into those that had this sense of worthiness, the whole hearted. She found they had Courage to be imperfect, Compassion to be kind to others and themselves, and Connection as a result of their authenticity. They were unafraid to be their true selves and let others see them. And most importantly they embraced vulnerability believing that what made them vulnerable also made them beautiful. They believed it was a necessity.

Amanda Palmer

Now Amanda is a force to be reckoned with and I have to admit it took a Ted talk to discover a fellow Seattleite. In the Art of Asking she addresses the relationship between artist and fan. Her profound encounters of prolonged eye contact in which she fell in love a little bit with each person, a silent Thank you, the exchange of being seen in the another’s reflection. She made an art out of asking people for help. By asking she connected with others.

Believe me asking for help takes vulnerability. Amanda relied on the kindness of others, couch surfing and crowd surfer, falling and trusting into her audience. And again when she crowd funded her album. But the ultimate moment of vulnerability, in my opinion, was at her Albums kick-starter party in Berlin, “The visceral feeling of trusting strangers” as Amanda explained. She striped herself bare and walked out into her audience and let them sign her body. The sheer strength it must take to be that completely vulnerable. Literally lay yourself bare to your audience, to trust them explicitly.

Personally I’m not advocating you actually strip yourselves down. But metaphorically embrace the concept. Can you be authentically open, emotionally vulnerable; willing to accept what another brings toward you in your daily interactions? Are you willing to truly be seen, to share yourself? Willing to wholly display your heart?

Because the answer is to let ourselves be seen deeply, to love wholeheartedly without any guarantee, practice gratitude and joy in the toughest moments and absolutely believe that you are enough! This is what I took from Amanda’s and Brené’s talks. This is what I am working to embrace more fully in my life. I already know I’m enough, but am I strong enough to be vulnerable and let others truly see me. Are you?

Omen Songs (Poem)


Omen Songs

I no longer speak
half-God but I can still dream
of firefly lanterns

cricket serenades
bull frog brigades bellowing
cicada warnings

with each passing tick
tock tick tock the truth tells time
in translations lost

I understand still
yearnings sung across lessons
marking aged landscapes

because God speak dwells
inside life come full circle
native tongue regained

~by DCT

Love is Not Love

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
~William Shakespeare


Images: Dana Constance Thomas