Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wall Clouds

I was raised in Tornado Alley. I have vivid memories of being a very young child, sitting in a hallway, bathroom, or closet (depending on where we lived), with a radio giving weather updates, the beeping of the national weather service coming out of the small radio and the deep voiced warning, a flashlight in hand, and blankets. Our family hovered together, listening, waiting, until Dad gave the OK to go back to life as usual. I have seen trees whipped to the side in unnatural ways, wall clouds, green and orange skies, and even dust devils that mimicked tornadoes—albeit miniature versions. I don’t fear the looming threat of tornadoes. It’s a way of life here, and when the season hits, you simply brace for it. The aftermath of tornados is always shocking no matter how long you’ve lived here. Trees uprooted, homes missing, cars squashed, and yet, some things completely untouched.

Life is full of tornadoes. How quickly they come in—sometimes we sense it in the air with the thickness of the humidity, the off-color skies, and the eeriness. Sometimes, they come without warning.

I can survive. If I lose everything, I can continue. My family has lost nearly everything before to circumstance. My friends have had homes burn to the ground. I know that life does continue. And so I don’t fear the doom. I know each day, each event, it is merely a blip in the radar of life. So much happens before and after major events, that they only define you as much as you allow them to.

The winds of change have been blowing. Not just in the air in tornado alley, but in my life. I look around every now and then and marvel at the difference a year can make, a month can make, and sometimes even a few hours can make. We touch the lives of everyone around us in some way. And our character becomes apparent to all around us, eventually.

I am thankful for the foundation my parents gave me. I am not afraid of change. I am not easily shaken by it. I have learned when it’s time to heed the warnings, hunker down, and hold on tight. But I’ve also learned there is a time to leave the bunkers and bask in the beauty of life, and not hold onto the drama of the bunker and carry it with me everywhere. I know some people who hang onto the drama of impending doom, and they let it define them and their actions. They are too afraid to face life. And over time, they attract doom. They attract doomsday followers. They create their own hell.

And so, I am thankful for the magnitude of life, of God. I am thankful for the strength to face life head on, and not cower from it. I am thankful for such grounded parents who made sure I was a pillar and not a sapling that easily bends. I am thankful.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Life is in a constant state of metamorphosis. I look at my niece, and change is imminent. We saw her as a baby, and wondered what she would sound like when she talked, what she would look like as she aged, what her personality would be. Now, we struggle to remember her infancy, as she tells us stories, draws, dances, and entertains us. We couldn’t rush the growth process, so we enjoyed every second as it unfolded. Life should be approached the same way.

In dating, I am used to being childishly teased, manipulated. I am used to men approaching me with arrogance, bragging on their prowess, and challenging my thinking and reasoning. Men have had no problem standing up to me, but they cannot stand up to their own kids (that makes a parent look like a complete puss in my mind).

I am dating again. And this time, it’s very normal. We are comfortable with each other, and he is very straight forward. I have caught myself ready to defend my past actions or inactions, ready to prove my own strengths, only to realize I need not work myself up. He doesn’t care about competing with me or comparing with me. We are not trying to force answers about the other being “the one”. Such things manage to reveal themselves rather quickly, in my experience. I’m enjoying the normalcy, stability, and company of a wonderful man. We are in an adult relationship, and it’s what I’ve been wanting.

Even with all of this respect, honesty, and openness, I can say he’s more of a “man’s man” than any guy I’ve ever dated. Manly men are irresistibly sexy to me.

So, we have this chrysalis, and we are nurturing it to see if it turns into the butterfly we both have longed for. If not, well, we’ll add it to our list of “lessons learned”. Until then, we are enjoying the process.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Controlled Chaos

The responsibilities of life have all been muddled in chaos as of late—controlled chaos. But I love it. I work best and most efficiently under pressure. It has come at a good time—when my mind needed a shift. And so, I find myself relishing this time. I had been in an emotional cage, my mind stuck in a constant loop of frustration, and becoming disjointed. My friends were my saviors, not allowing me to sink too far in the mire, opening those cage doors and reminding me that I am free to do and be whomever I please. Now, I’m too busy to get weighed down by the drama of the past. I haven’t the time I had previously for emotional dissection and re-assemblage.

As I age, I find it much easier to pick up my pieces and move forward. It’s rewarding to look back and see where I was and where I’ve come. It’s empowering to know I can do it again, if the need arises. There is strength in experience. There is always hope. I do grow weary of these “growth spurts” that begin with hurt and end with empowerment. But they are part of life. And I am a much stronger woman for each of them.

And so, I am finding comfort and purpose and walking through new doors once again. It’s very liberating.

It has reminded me what is important in life----living. Not just existing, not walking with a blindfold in order to continue in denial, and not living vicariously through others. It’s being alive, appreciating it, and living your life knowing it’s your only shot to get it right.