Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Three Faces of Me

In a recent series of conversations with a new acquaintance, I saw with crystal clarity how often I refer to myself as one of the following three characters. I’m pretty sure I’m not schizophrenic, but chances are you’ve heard me refer to myself as at least one of these broads. Allow me to introduce you.

Miss Tallulah Devyne Chardonnay is penultimately feminine, charming and flirtatious. Sequins and pearls and matte red lipstick, fine leather gloves and cashmere sweaters and a walk that makes men dizzy. Tallulah is a soldier in the online dating world. Long legs, sultry voice and big doe eyes. Ever the Lady (capital L), she is the guardian of my “fine china.” Tallulah is responsible for 75% of my shoe collection and all of my Little Black Dresses She wears Big Apple Red on her toes and Bubble Bath on her fingers and has a fondness for cocktail rings and statement necklaces. Her signature fragrances are Angel, FlowerBomb and Prada. She was born in the late 90s while dating a tall handsome tradesman with a penchant for tailored suits, the Bay Tower Room, dirty martinis and Frank Sinatra. She enjoys dancing cheek-to-cheek.

Nana is slightly scattered peri-menopausal, and not quite ready-for-primetime. Nana is learning how to text. She blushes frequently and often forgets why the hell she walked into a room, opened a closet door, ran down to Shaw’s. She is a master knitter who is baking her way through Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Cake Bible. Nana hates online dating and frets over the first meetings. She’d much rather sit at home with a good movie or good book. She jokes -- perhaps a little too often -- about getting hacked to pieces and dumped in the Charles. She parks the car under a streetlight, keeps her keys and phone within easy reach, checks in with loved ones from the ladies room and again when she is home safe in her bed. Nana wears tasteful diamond studs, progressive lenses and Dansko clogs. Her signature fragrance is Inner Grace. She moisturizes and wears a hat in the sun. She refers to her guests as “Company” and uses words like “golly” and “yikes” in daily conversation. Nana evolved out of a particularly troubling relationship with neurotic an older man. She secretly wishes that Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia were her housemates.

Lelly is secret code for my true self; my essence. She was the bubbly chatterbox at age 7, the wannabe hippy at age 13, the awkward brainiac at age 16, the fractured divorcee at age 39, the spellbound auntie at age 45. Lelly is a bit of a conundrum, counting “Hell Boy,” “Hard to Kill,” “Con Air,” “An Affair to Remember,” “Send Me No Flowers,” “Pillow Talk,” “Lover Come Back,” “Scarface,” “Terminator” and all of the “Child’s Play” franchise as all-time favorite movies. You can easily find her in a crowded room by listening for her laugh (usually punctuated with a snort). She knows that the real reasons that she enjoys knitting and baking and sewing is that they provide real world math problems to solve -- but she’ll never admit it. She prefers “Angel” or “I Love Lucy” over “The Today Show” for her morning soundtrack. She loves dark chocolate, Sour Patch kids, dry red wine with Raisinettes, dirty vodka martinis and the occasional Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

At the end of it all, Lelly is equal parts feminine and flirty Tallulah, kooky, old-fashioned Nana and calm and focused Helen. I blog as Lelly because my ultimate goal for this crazy year is to step out of the drag and live an authentic life.

A Lelly life.

Every single day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2 TBL peanut butter, 1 C milk, 1 med banana, 4 C courage. Add ice and blend vigorously.

Each day in this wacky new life of mine brings new challenge (start-from-scratch business opportunities, job interviews, sales calls, first dates, etc.). I've got to whip up a fresh batch of courage each morning along with my breakfast smoothie. A dyed-in-the-wool Yankee stoic, I confess that I've needed double batches of courage and fearlessness to post my vulnerabilities here in this blog. Taking a bit of a breather, here are some quotes about fear that I turn to for support and inspiration.  I hope they help you too.

Love, Lelly

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. -Japanese Proverb

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. -Henry David Thoreau

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt

In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. - H. P. Lovecraft

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. -Dale Carnegie

Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not. -Virgil Thomson

The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear. -Gandhi

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.
- Unknown

People living deeply have no fear of death. -Anais Nin

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. -James Stephens

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
-Frank Herbert

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today. -William Allen White

Who sees all beings in his own self, and his own self in all beings, loses all fear. -Isa Upanishad, Hindu Scripture

Where no hope is left, is left no fear. -Milton

I live in a state whose motto is Hope. - Lelly (circa 1977)

Many thanks and mad respect to The Positivity Blog.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Her potential cheered

Her potential cheered from the trees shivering beyond the pool as she considered her future. She could climb Everest, join Greenpeace. Go to college, learn Spanish, read the classics. Vote. ...she saw the path before her rising and falling, making sharp turns over ragged cliffs. No worn broadloom. No comfortable rut. A dazzling existence beckoning with uncertainty. Proof that there are miracles.
The Wive's Tale
Lori Lansens
Copyright 2009 by LLMT, Inc.

I am newly blessed with the time and patience to sit in stillness (outside of yoga practice) and observe. I can sit in my patio and hear urgency and singularity of purpose tapped out by Woody, the lovelorn woodpecker that has taken up residence on my siding. I hear the buds pushing to break ground and stretch to the sunlight. I hear little boys screaming with delight as they tear through shrubs chasing lightning-fast chipmunks.  I am able to listen not to just what is said out loud, but the volumes spoken with eyes, breath, fingers. I hear the tears, the smiles, the fear and the bullshit.

I hear my potential cheering from the trees.

Close your eyes and listen my friends. What do you hear?

Love, Lelly

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


So it turns out that living dangerously and fully requires a fearlessness that I frankly do not know that I possess.

From the outside looking in, I’m a pretty ballsy lady, to be sure. I have cuddled a live koala in Australia, sung karaoke in Japan and munched on moules marinière in France — solo. I even spent a week on my own at a particularly racy Club Med, cloaked in a pair of dark glasses and the current installment in the Harry Potter series. I absolutely love to speak and perform in public and relish any and every opportunity to shine a spotlight on my inner ham — whether hopping onstage to sing with the band, presenting at an industry conference, teaching a class or charming insomniac shoppers on national television.

Sure each of these experiences brought butterflies to my tummy and a fair amount of sweat to my palms. Nervous? Excited? Certainly! Frightened? Eh, not so much. In each of the situations I describe above, I was in complete control of how I interacted — or rather chose not interact — with others. I could participate on my own terms. I was Acting well within my Comfort Zone.

Onstage or in a foreign country or even in a lounge chair with my nose in a book, I really didn’t have to put a lot of emotional skin in the game. All I had to do is Know My Shit. Prepare. Don the appropriate costume. Perform. Assume the role of American Tourist, or Single Woman on Vacation, Savvy Business Woman or Industry Expert. My Shit. My Drag. My Mask.

I know that I cannot create a life that is truly worth living if I remain the passive participant. I am coming down off the stage. Taking off the dark glasses. I am learning when to take off the stiletto heels that keep me hovering above and away from mere mortal men.

No Shit.  No Drag.  No Mask.

Exposed. Unprepared. Vulnerable. Spontaneous. Open.


Love, Lelly