Contemplating life outside my control

I can’t help it.

I’m a thinker.

I visualize.

I ponder.

I consider the grand ideal.

I mentally investigate the minutia.

Let’s face it, life inside my head is much more fascinating, intricate and possibly agonizing than life outside.

The subject matter makes no difference as to the level of thought traffic speeding recklessly through the pathways of my brain.

If each one of my thought patterns was issued a citation for every time it raced through my head, the stack of tiny tickets given to the quest for the perfect handbag purchase would reach the sky and might very well equal that of the contemplation of my marriage and relationships.

In the past, some, including myself, have referred to this type of thinking as being “selfish and self-centered.”

After award-winning and meticulous mental analysis, I have come to the pedantic pronouncement of, “So what?!”

As a human animal, my primary directive is to survive. Granted, I am not having to elude any ferociously hungry lions, but my DNA is hard coated to out-dash, out-smart and out-live the other creatures surrounding me.

Does this make me heartless and a conceited bitch?

On the latter, sometimes. On the preceding – never.

When my child is sick for a week, like he has been this past one, I will do everything I can to wash my hands constantly, make sure the folks at work are appeased so that I don’t lose my job and pitifully ponder the fact that I am stuck at home because I have to take care of a sick kid.

Does that mean I do not hold his head when he throws up?

No – held it every time and wiped his forehead with a cold cloth.

Does it mean that I do not comfort him while he sits in a tub full of lukewarm water trying to break the fever whilst wearing his bathing suit out of modesty?

Nope – I held his hand and washed his hair and took in every moment of my “grown-up” little nine-year old who still needs his mommy.

Could my selfishness prevent me from apologizing to him when I get overly exasperated at his inability to take medicine without building it up into a psychological frenzy?

Nearly, but not in the end. I walked away for a few minutes, vented my overpowering annoyance outside of his ears and immediately marched back to his side, told him how much I loved him and how sorry I was at letting my frustration get in the way of taking care of him.

How about for my daughter? Is there anything my exceedingly pensive posture can do to prevent or eliminate the attacks of a seriously misinformed little second grade boy who called her “hairy” and the fall-out of attempting to secretly shave her legs with one of my old disposable razors resulting in a nasty cut on her shin?

Not at all. But I took that sense memory rushing back into my body like a tsunami of the same insults incurred when I was her age and used them to not only console her but as an opportunity to teach her about life and it’s strange, sometimes hurtful occurrences that we all live through and come out stronger on the other side.

Last one.

Most recently, what about my husband and my best friend and their singing partnership? Do I allow my fears of being left behind to take care of the kids, not interesting, talented, witty or beautiful enough and singularly separate-from take over and obstruct my happiness at the success of the two people I love most in the world?

Not anymore. I opened the underbelly of my soul and expressed myself wholly and honestly, believing in the trust of our universe which, in turn, has empowered my true joy for their individual and combined gifts to bubble over the shallowness of my funk to be genuinely excited and thrilled for them before and after a great performance.

The conclusion I draw from all of my mindful, occasionally mysterious meditation on my life (and yours) is that we are blessed, bonded by mutual love and admiration and in this tricked-out, souped-up and totally-kickin’ Starship Enterprise-style-RV of life together.

And then I think:


Clearing Out Clutter

Okay – let’s start at the blog ending revelation which is I hold on to stuff –

and by stuff, I mean fabric I envisioned making quilts or curtains from, baby jars to decoupage into cool candle holders, letters from old boyfriends, scraps of paper with partial poems on them, grief, fat clothes, skinny clothes, curling irons and hot rollers from the eighties, ideas of how relationships should work, beliefs on where I should be in  my life, misconceptions on what I should weigh, fear of a punishing god or universe, t-shirts to start a tye-dye business, broken clocks, piggy banks, or vases I vow to fix,  fliers from a show I don’t perform in anymore, henna hair dye I haven’t ever used, pills and otc meds that are expired, emails, my tongue during times when I should actually speak up for myself, glasses from two or three prescriptions ago and various other items or beliefs that could fill a black hole –

out of my fear of being expendable. I don’t want to be tossed aside because I might be broken. Or left in a garbage heap because I am no longer in fashion. Or overlooked because I am not the cutest puppy in the bin. Or accidentally sold in a garage sale mish-mash box labeled junk because no one saw me there. Or even worse – intentionally given away because I was no longer loved or needed.

Yeah, I know – sucks to be me, huh? How do you think it must be for those that live with me? Or truly do love me?

Everyone has their own things that scare them and for some reason, mine is the oh-so-fun combo of fear of abandonment mixed with unworthiness to be loved topped off with a good old fashioned dollop of never-enough. Throw in a splash of survivor guilt and cannot quit until it’s perfect and you have quite the supersized unhappy meal deal from a rat invested hole in the wall that only serves entrees pressure cooked to diamond-like crispness.

Wait. Before you call Oprah to add me to one of her hoarder shows, I am actually a moderate case. I can still walk around my home and my car stays relatively empty of crap (on occasion). The unworthiness helps in this area because it is hard for me to believe it is okay to buy myself that used five dollar pair of pants big enough to hide my ass with the stuck zipper, therefore, I don’t acquire a lot of physical stuff to keep, but usually once I do – it will take years to get rid of it.

Which is where I am today.

Getting rid of it.

I have finally said “Fuck it! I am cramped and tired and need some space.” So, instead of getting rid of my family and friends, or changing my name to Toni Fredericks and moving to Kotzebue, Alaska to start completely over, I have been slowly, in tiny increments, clearing away some clutter from my life.

I have given away clothes I no longer wear because they don’t fit or that I plain didn’t like in the first place. I sold off all of my stacks of fabric that I never got around to making the most perfectly sentimental quit to keep me warm when everyone has left me. I got rid of discount handbags I never use anymore and decorative knick knacks I never displayed. I am tossing out what I think everyone else thinks I should weigh and am working towards my very own happy weight. I have chipped away at the granite around my punishing god and am molding it into a pliably unconditional love of the universe. I have purged emails clogging up my memory. If something upsets me or scares me, I try to vocalize it in the moment instead of holding on to it for ten years and then nearly getting divorced or losing someone I love.

I have a long way to go and many, many more things to purge. I am trying not to look at what I have left to expunge but rejoice in my new found free space. I have allowed myself not one, but two handbag purchases over $100. I bought some new pants that actually fit and flatter the junk in my trunk. I have conversations with the people I love instead of fights. I try to let my emotion naturally flow through me until it has abated without stuffing it deep down like an undercooked turkey. I continue to write, write and write some more about these truths and other revelations I may discover for well or ill because this is just who I am.

Most importantly, I am (hopefully) teaching myself and my children that I can love, be loved and let go – all at the same time.

Will the end result be a zen-garden style home with only a pallet on the floor to sleep and one organic cotton frock that keeps me both warm and cool? I don’t know but I am willing to slip-n-slide, make progress and fall backward and cut myself some slack to find out.

Yippe kay-aye

Not sure where to go today

Inside my brain, the hamster is working its wheel.  There’s nothing dramatic in the cage currently – it is simply full and spinning.  Every effort I make to stop and take note of some part of it reveals another stash of pellets for me to consider.

Maybe a hamster isn’t the best analogy.  For one, I don’t feel very rodent-like.  And two, it’s much too cliche for my attempt at writing a new angle blog.

Let’s start over.

Inside my skull, the beta swims quick loops around its small tank.  The same pebbles and plastic greenery are still there with each passing turn.  The water fills my lungs and yet I need to surface for air and food which often gets lost in the constant circling.

Ugh.  Nope – fish out of water also too over done.

Lion at the zoo in a too small habitat?  Caged bird that is afraid it cannot sing?  Sisyphus on a treadmill of stones?  Random sock lost in the dryer that keeps spinning on high heat?  Durang’s George dressed as Mother Courage thrust onstage in what appears to be Charlie’s Angels but with Jerry Matthers as the elusive Harvey the rabbit?  Frog in a blender on pulse?  Tiny worker ant confined to its own mound of dirt pining for the greater universe?

Clearly, I could go on and on trying to describe what it feels like to be me in my life without ever actually writing about the actualities of my existence.  And, currently, all of the comparisons seem to point to me feeling a bit too routine, too ordinary – too normal.  While at the same time, almost too timid to express these longings for fear of losing the infinite blessings that fill my cage/tank/habitat/universe.

So, I write it down.  Or, I think about writing it down but trip on my way to the computer trying to make the words come out perfectly the first time.  Or, I deem the laundry more important.  Or, the checkbook balancing act.  Or, internet surfing under the guise of trying to find an interesting subject to kick start my next blog.

Screw it.

Today the life of Kathleen involves the remaining chores to get the house in order before going back to work and school on Monday, getting our son over to/back from a friend’s house to play for a while, making sure the other child is entertained as she gets jealous when he gets to out, grocery shopping, outdoor Christmas lights down and put away, cleaning my home desk area, clipping the dog’s nails, watching some football without the Cowboys, craig’s listing two ellipticals we no longer want, and checking to make sure my kids don’t have lice after spending a week with their cousin who did.

See?  I sound like I’m whining when I should be grateful to have these two beautiful children, or a marriage and relationship that has lasted nearly eighteen years, or a home to clean that’ s not in foreclosure, or money to buy groceries.  I AM GRATEFUL – every day of my life, I am grateful.

I am also human.  A human woman who is now 41 who life far exceeds any dreams I could have ever had as a child as to what family meant or even what it meant to grow up.

So, I know the universe loves and accepts me when the contented routines of each day get paused as I walk through a day-dream of adventure in my own Kath-Bourne Identity traveling the globe fighting terrorism in search of my true past self under the guise of being a worldwide respected actor onstage in her own works sharing an ethereal connection with Sting carrying my Nobel Poetry and Peace prize in the back pocket of my size six jeans.