Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reversing Direction

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.  ~Margaret Young

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Do you have a courage ritual?

Here's a quickie about courage. We all have personal rituals that we perform when we need a little something extra. A pep talk. A virtual butt kick.

I've got a song.

I sing this one on the very top of my lungs in the car (do beep if you see me barreling down the highway, mouth wide open, red in the face, windows rattling) on my way to job interviews, first dates, new classes -- any situation where I could most certainly fall flat on my ass. Those times when I have to channel my inner rock star; grow some 'brass ones,'  paste on a big smile and JUMP! This played in my ears as I sat in the QVC green room, waiting for my airtime (every single show for 7 years). This played in my ears before I walked down the aisle on my wedding day, then later as I drove to family court for my divorce hearing. This played in my ears when I quit my job and began this terrifying and exhilarating journey.

Don't tell me not to fly. I've simply got to.
If someone takes a spill, it's me and not you!
Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade?

A song about authenticity and accountability and risk/reward. "Yes I know. I could very well be out of my mind, but I'm going to try and if it doesn't work, at least I didn't fake it." I'm not going to provide any context for this clip. If you haven't seen the film, get on Netflix right now and add "Funny Girl" to your queue.

What's your courage ritual? Please do share....

Love, Lelly

[P.S. I'm very happy that Gleeks are Googling this song and hearing -- and loving -- it for the first time.]

Working at the Car Wash.

I wrote about my 60-hour crying jag in an earlier post. At the time, I thought my subconscious was yelling at me to get into the shower and out of the house before I turn into something like:

[No worries; I’m fresh-y-fresh, clean and coiffed as I type.]

Today I am convinced that this crying jag was the final phase of an arduous 16-month exercise in change.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 

My tears were disposing my body of the sadness still left behind after months of difficult decisions, introspection and good, old fashioned, hard work. I think of this process as a trip through a car wash. 16 months ago, I drove up to the entrance covered in emotional gunk. I paid the attendant and slowly worked my way through cycles of lather and rinse, scrubbing away the sources of my unhappiness, getting to my shine. It was dark and sometimes scary, violent -- pelted with monstrous strips of heavy, wet regret. Sometimes pleasant, easy -- lathered with encouragement and hope. A few weeks ago I passed through my final rinse and emerged out of the dark tunnel of the car wash and into the brilliant sunlight. 

Beads of water sparkling like diamonds. 

A rainbow in my rear view.

Love, Lelly

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Managing the ups and downs.

Over the course of the last week, I have found myself on an emotional roller coaster. From confident, joyful and full-of-beans one day:
  • I am going to package my skills and knowledge together and give birth to my new, fabulous portfolio career! 
  • I’m launching my own direct sales business! 
  • I am going to raise thousands of dollars for a local church and change lives! 
  • I am going to lose 10 pounds! 
  • I am “this close” to finding the love of my life! 
...and crying my eyes out in panic and despair the next. I literally spent 2 and a half days on a crying jag, a la Diane Keaton in “Something’s Got to Give.”

Driving and crying
Baking and crying
Eating and crying (and then crying while standing on the scale)
Knitting and crying
Vacuuming and crying

Hmmm...something was wrong. My subconscious was literally crying for attention. Was I mourning my recently deceased love relationship? Suffering from depression? Succumbing to the isolation brought on by living and working alone? What was the source of all this misery and despair?

Somehow I've been managing to get things done, but I was on a scary, slippery downward slope. I was a heartbeat away from being that woman in the liquor store in her slippers and bathrobe and 3 good teeth, playing Keno with her unemployment check, bragging that she “used to be on TV.” 

My week at  a glance:

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: sitting at the dining room table watching the Golden Girls and stalking Facebook -- in my pajamas and coffee and wine-stained bathrobe --- my hair in its “I slept in my own sweat” fright wig state, mascara down to my chin. Last night’s cookie crumbs in the corners of my mouth.

Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays: laying on the couch flipping between HGTV, Food Network and Bravo and stalking Facebook -- in my still-damp Zumba clothes, leaving sweat rings on my sofa pillows and stinking to high heavens.

Sundays, God Bless me. I shower and do the Globe crossword and go to Mass before I hit the couch or the kitchen for marathon baking.

It is time to Pull.My.Sh*t.Together.

As I write this, I am sitting in Panera Bread, a living, breathing suburban cliche. (Seriously, if you had told me “Helen, in April 2011, you will be BLOGGING in freaking ShoppersWorld.” You have been in for a bitch-slap.) There’s someone hunched over a MacBook Pro on either side of me. Three silver, glowing apples in a row, sipping our designer coffees.

It’s ok. I smell good. My hair is combed and I’m wearing lipstick and a shiny new necklace. My subconscious is cool with this.

Love, Lelly