Monthly Archives: March 2013

Divisiveness

gayrightsblog

Wow.

Just wow.

Every so often, another huge battle comes along in our society.  Here we are again.

If you’ve been living under a rock, let me explain the above picture.  The first is the symbol of ‘equality’ in reference to marriage.  (I refuse to call it “gay marriage,” because that goes completely against what the “equal” sign advocates.  Marriage is marriage.)  The second is the symbol of believing that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.  Using a “not equal” sign seems pretty self-explanatory – if you want anything other than a man/woman marriage, then you are not equal.

If you’re on facebook, you’ve seen these symbols floating around everywhere.  I’m no exception.  I’m not going to keep this unbiased.  I am proudly supporting my equal sign and do not care who knows it.  But something was recently brought to my attention about all this, and I want to address it.

I was told (as I’m sure many of you other “loudmouths” were – which term I use in the nicest way possible because I’m grouping myself with you) that Facebook is not the “place” for such displays and that some things just need to be kept silent.  That in standing for my beliefs, I am actually creating the divisiveness, not helping to amend it.

Hmm.  Fair point.  It definitely caused me to think.  And even caused me to blog about it.  (Oh, who am I kidding?  I blog about everything.  I want to blog when I see an ant eating a bread crumb.  But aren’t they just so darn cute?  They’re little bitty legs trying to tote this massive piece of bread back to their little bitty wives and little bitty families….  Ahhhem.  I digress.)

So, yeah.  Am I creating divisiveness by stating my point?  I think the answer to that lies in how we choose to state our point.  I’m not trying to argue.  Contrary to what many people might believe, I’m really not.  I know people have serious strongholds when it comes to their mindset on this issue.  I’m not delusional enough to believe that my own little voice (ok, my one HUGE voice) is enough to change anyone’s mind.  And I’m not trying to.  But what I am trying to do is this – (1) I want other people who feel the way I do to realize that there are others out there who feel the same and that they don’t need to be hesitant to voice an opinion that may or may not be the “popular” one.  And, (2) I want those people who are actually being affected by this decision that is to be handed down by the Supreme Court to know that they have allies.  That I don’t have to be gay to support their cause.  That they have support – and not only in people who share their same lifestyle.

And that’s it.

I’m fully aware that there are people who will disagree with me.  That’s cool.  Whatevs.  I’m willing to be an adult about it.  Are you?  Yesterday I was involved in a somewhat heated debate back and forth with someone who feels very different about this issue than I do – and yet we were simultaneously sending messages back and forth in another forum trying to plan a date to get together to catch up over dinner and a movie.  We’re still friends.  Our differing views aren’t going to change that.  And if it did – then I would be going against everything that I’m trying to stand for here.  That everyone – regardless of their belief system, or lack thereof – is equal.

In other words, can’t we just all get along?  Agree to disagree?  Live and let live?

Isn’t that what this is all about after all?

So, am I causing devisiveness?  I don’t mean to.  If I am, I’m sorry.  But as I have taught my children, and as I hope they’ll teach their children in years to come, you absolutely have to stand for what you believe in.  And in doing so, you are showing the world that you are unique, that you have the capacity to feel, and that you have the strength and the courage to be you.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Never shut up.

Never ever ever shut up.

***

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
– Albert Einstein

Still Small Voice

naysayerblog1

Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?  Someone belittles you, tells you that you can’t do something or that you won’t succeed…just kick ’em to the curb.  Be done with them!

Yeah, well.  Sometimes it’s not that easy.

Sometimes the person who does that to you is someone that is fully involved in your life.  Someone that you can’t just leave.  Maybe it’s a member of your family.  Maybe it’s a boss at a job that you desperately need.  Maybe it’s an ex-spouse who is the mother/father of your children and has to remain in your life.  Maybe it’s an abusive relationship that you’re not able to get out of just yet for reasons only you know.

And oftentimes, because those are the people that may be around us the most, we think they are the people who know us best.  And we put a lot of weight into what they have to say.  As Kelly Clarkson puts it in her Mr. Know It All song lyrics:

“When somebody tells you something ’bout you
They think that they know you more than you do
So you take it down, another pill to swallow…”

Well, guess what?

They’re WRONG.

That’s it.  Plain and simple.  They are wrong.  No need to ‘swallow that pill.’  Because they are human just like you and I are.  And being human, that means that they are apt to being mistaken.  (Pretty often actually.)   And those times that they are belittling you and telling you what you can and can’t do?  Those are those times.

They don’t know you better than you do.  No one does.  You know your heart.  You know what’s in there – what you feel and don’t feel.  Who are you and aren’t, what you can and can’t do.  You know the you that no one else sees.  The one that you might keep hidden for fear of not being accepted by the people in your life who are impossible to please.  But you know it.  It’s there.  You may keep it hidden well (I’m sure you’ve had years and years of practice), but it’s still there.  No matter how much you allow their words to pile up and form a barrier to hide it behind, the true ‘you’ is still there.  It won’t be defeated.  The still small part of you that still loves yourself keeps it under lock and key where no one can touch it.  And you know that.  Don’t you?

I have recently crossed paths with an abused woman.  It has weighed very heavily on my mind.  I’m haunted by the way her eyes look.  So dead, so full of regret and sadness.  And I’m so very very sorry for her.  It’s so easy for people to tell her to leave – to tell her to get out of that situation.  But I don’t know her life.  No one does.  Only she does.  I hope that one day she finds her way out.  In fact, I’m somewhat consumed with hoping for that.  It amazes me that humans can be so cruel to one another.  But in the meantime, until she finds her way, I wish I could tell her this.  I wish I could tell her that I know it’s not easy.  That you can read Mark Twain quotes until you’re blue in the face, but they aren’t going to pave the path out the door.  They just aren’t.  Things just aren’t as easy as they appear from the outside looking in.

But there is something that she can do.  Something that you can do if you’re seeing yourself in what I’m saying.  You can alter that Mark Twain quote a little.  I don’t think he’d mind.  Rather than saying to “keep away” from those people, why don’t we say to “keep YOUR HEART away” from them.  Don’t let what they’re saying penetrate your heart.

As I said, you can’t always keep away from those people.  Life just doesn’t always allow for an easy out.  Sometimes it’s next to impossible.  So do your best to keep that guard on your heart and don’t let those negative words through.  You are your own best friend, ya know.  If you’re not there for you, no one else is going to be.  Stick up for yourself.  Even if it’s just that small little voice inside, let yourself hear it.  Don’t shut it up.  Don’t let them win.  Listen to what it’s saying.  Do you hear that?  Do you hear what it’s trying to tell them?

“You’re wrong.”

“You’re wrong.  You’re wrong.  You’re wrong.”

Keep listening.  Practice hearing it over and over and over again.  Eventually that voice will get louder and louder if you let it.  And before you know it, it will sound almost just as loud as the negative voices coming from the outside.  And then finally, when you’ve practiced enough and you’re fully ready, you’ll see that something amazing has happened.

That voice will be so loud that it drowns out the others.

It can happen.  You just have to let it.

***

“It is the still small voice that the soul heeds,
Not the deafening blasts of doom.”
– William Dean Howells

“Failure”

failblog

I saw the above picture when I was scrolling through Facebook earlier.  And immediately, something in particular popped into my mind.  I’m willing to bet that when you saw it, something popped into your mind too.  Am I right?  Doesn’t matter what it is.  Doesn’t matter what mine is.  We’re not going to talk specifics here.  Just take that thing that just popped into your mind and visualize it for a second.  Here’s what I want you to concentrate on:

What’s the worst that could happen?

Really.  Think about that.  Whatever this thing is that you’re thinking of doing that scares you to death – if you try it, and you “fail” (although the definition of fail might need to be examined a little more, but I digress…), what’s going to happen?  Is someone going to die?  Are you going to die?  Is someone going to be hurt beyond repair?  Are you going to be hurt beyond repair?  Will the world stop turning on its axis because you didn’t get the result you were hoping for?

I’m guessing not.

“I don’t believe in failure.  It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.” – Oprah Winfrey

I like that quote.  Think about that.  When you decide to take the chance on whatever it is (and notice I said when, not if), don’t you think you’re going to be pretty proud to know that you tried?  Aren’t you going to enjoy the process?  The process of knowing that you got off your butt, put your big girl panties on (or big boy boxers for my dude readers.  Well, unless you want to wear big girl panties – hey, I’m not judging…), and took a chance.  You took a chance.  Where’s the failure in that?

“They who have conquered doubt and fear have conquered failure.” – James Allen

Yeah.  That.

Go out there and conquer some failure.  Show failure that it doesn’t even exist.  Trying is succeeding.

And that’s just all there is to it.

***

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live life in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

Ounce of Strength

I got the sweetest text from my mom yesterday.  It was in response to the latest batch of blogs I had mailed to her.  If you missed it, in one of my previous entries I mentioned that my mom doesn’t have a computer, so I print out and mail all of my blog entries to her.  She’s my biggest fan. (Maybe my only fan??  “A blog only a mother could love?…” But I digress…)

So, this is what her text said: “You are one strong woman! I wish I only had a portion of your strength.”

I read that, and then went back and re-read it again.  First, because my mom is just awesome.  Who doesn’t need to hear stuff like that?  I’m so lucky to have her support.  But secondly, I re-read it because it sounded so familiar to me.  And I couldn’t quite place why.

Then, it dawned on me.

When my daughter was only 2 years old (she’s 13 now), I could already see the fiery strength of her personality.  I remember watching her one day and just being able to visualize with such clarity what a strong woman she was going to become one day.  I saw in her the person I wish I could be – strong, determined, feisty.  And when I saw those things in her, I wrote this poem:

***

Ounce of Strength
Look at you.
I’m amazed at your abilities,
At your determination,
At your strong will.
Nothing can stop you!
I watch you in awe.
You adapt to change so quickly.
You remain steady
Even when the world around you changes.
You amaze me.
You inspire me.
You are my constant.
What I wouldn’t give to have just a little of your ability –
Just one iota of your determination –
Just one ounce of your strength.
Thank you.

***

Turns out I was right.  She’s still a little superwoman.  Full of an unending energy, wit, and strength that astounds me at times.  Nothing gets to that girl.  She is who she is and that’s just all there is to it.  Stubborn, dedicated, determined little Kelly.

And after getting that text from my mom, it finally hit me.  All of that is also how my mom sees me.

Wow.  I’m not sure if I ever realized that before.  That’s pretty awesome.

And you know what?  I’m willing to bet that her mom sees her exactly the same way.  Which makes me realize something else.  Maybe, just maybe, I just might have had a little something to do with Kelly’s personality.  And you know what else?  My mom had a little something to do with mine.  And her mom had a little something to do with hers.  And so on, and so on.

Hmmm.  Well, how about that!?

We need to remember that more often.  Really let this thought sink in:

Who we are will manifest in our kids. 

And you know what?   If we’re careful – those manifestations may just end up being some really great things.

***

And thou shalt in thy daughter see,
This picture, once, resembled thee.
– 
Ambrose Philips

kellyblog1

Life With Father

“Choosing to be in the theatre was a way to put my roots down somewhere with other people. It was a way to choose a new family.”
– Juliette Binoche

theatrepic

My next show, Life With Father, opens tomorrow night at Ashe Civic Center in West Jefferson, North Carolina.  And, as usual, the end of this two-month-long process is bittersweet.

In theatre, when the show finally arrives, everyone involved is absolutely exhausted.  If you’re not in theatre, you probably have no clue what goes into creating a show.  There are so many people involved – sometimes twice as many people as you see on the stage are involved off the stage.  Or sometimes even more.  Each person has their “role” to play, so to speak.  And each role is vital. My daughter has been involved with this show as a ‘techie’ and last night backstage at rehearsal, she said, “Wow.  I think I’m learning that the people back here work even harder than the people out there.” 

It’s definitely exhausting, that’s for sure.

But you know what else it is?  Absolutely amazing.

I don’t even know how to describe it to you.  There is just such a ‘bond’ that forms between people when they are working together to create a piece of art.  Because that’s what we’re doing.  Creating art.  And in the process of creating this work of art, we become a family.  Now, this particular piece of artwork may not be a sculpture or a painting, but it’s a work of art nonetheless.  And the difference in our work of art from a sculpture or painting?  Ours disappears.  Yep.  Just like that.  All of our months of hard work and dedication just disappear on the last day of the run.

“We build statues out of snow, and weep to see them melt.”  – Sir Walter Scott

So why do it?  Why put all of your time and energy into something that’s just going to disappear on you?

Because there are some things that come from all that hard work that do not disappear.

As Oscar Wilde puts it, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”  What more can I say than that?  Maybe, just maybe, we might reach someone in that audience.  If one person out there is able to see that something they’ve felt, said, dreamed, or imagined isn’t unique to them, then our job here is done.  That’s what this human experience is all about to me.  Just letting each other know that we’re not alone.  That deep down, we’re all pretty close to being the same.  And what better way to do that, than to get up on a stage and allow someone else’s life to play out before their eyes, and hope that something in what they see might mirror their own?

And on that same line of thinking – we also reach each other on the stage.  We are surrounded by other actors, other tech workers, the director, etc., who are all doing exactly what we’re doing.  All putting their heart and soul into creating something that means something to all of us.  We develop trust, camaraderie, patience…and most importantly, love for each other.  It’s a strange paradox – while pretending to be someone else, we manage to deeply get to know each other’s true selves.  Funny how that happens.  And this particular show is even about a family.  The joys, stresses, daily routine, and ins and outs of family life.

While pretending to be a family, we end up becoming one.

So, if you’re local, come out and see what we’ve been working on for the past two months.  (And hey – if you’re not local, come anyway.  It’s worth the drive!)  Without you, there’s not much point in us being up there on that stage.  Come be a part of the show.  Come be a part of our family.

See you there!

***

The following are some links to learn more about the show:
Life With Father article in the Jefferson Post: http://jeffersonpost.com/bookmark/22014480
My MTN interview with Jane Lonon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgkZoP_f7TU&feature=youtu.be

***

“I love acting. It’s so much more real than life.”
– Oscar Wilde

Just Like That

wreckblog

This is how my day started.

I was on my way to work this morning and I rounded a curve and this is what I saw on the side of the road.  Myself and one other person coming the opposite direction were the first (and only) people to arrive and stop.  Both of us pulled over and got out of our vehicles and started jogging to the scene.  I could see the look on his face and assumed it probably mirrored mine.  We both thought that we were the first ones to arrive at a fatality.

But thank God, we were wrong.

I saw movement in the front seat and got down to look in what was left of the passenger side window.  She was shaken, but she was alive.  And not only was she alive – but she was just fine.  Really.

Just fine.

She was just stuck.  So, working together, the man and I were able to get the back door open and crawl in to get her free from the seatbelt and help her crawl out.  Once she was out, we called for help.  After realizing that she was a little unsteady on her feet, we brought her back to my car and put her in the passenger seat.  With her there, myself in the driver’s seat, and the other man kneeling on the ground at the passenger side, three strangers spent the next 45 minutes together.

Soon, that number rose to four.  The next to arrive was an elderly man who was a retired local volunteer EMT.  He didn’t have any equipment with him (he was just called because he was close by) so he proceeded to climb in the back seat and just hold the woman’s head with his hands to keep her stable.  He did that for about 15 minutes before more help arrived.  All in all, we were there close to an hour.

But it’s those first 30 minutes that I’m going to remember for a while.

Without knowing each other at all, we all sat in the car and just talked.  We exchanged stories about who we were, why were driving on this road at this particular time, what kind of jobs we had (a nurse, a preacher, a retired EMT, and a paralegal), our kids, our marriages – or lack thereof, etc.

We just sat there and chatted.  And at one point, I looked down and realized that this woman had been holding my hand the entire time and I wasn’t even aware.  I held a stranger’s hand for 30 minutes.   I can assure you that when I woke up this morning, if someone would have asked me to make a list of things I would be doing today, that sure wouldn’t have been on it.

So there we were.  Just four strangers chatting in my car after having just witnessed a miracle.  Yes, a miracle.  And you can’t tell me otherwise.

She was fine! 

Now, did you see that picture?  Really?  Did you look at it?  And I was there.  I saw that car.  I just knew without a shadow of a doubt that the person inside the vehicle would not have made it.  I was astonished that all she had was a pretty nasty bump on her head.  That’s it.

I don’t even know why I’m blogging about this really.  I’m not sure exactly what I wanted to take from this situation, but sitting here still shook up almost 5 hours later, I know that this interaction today meant something to me.

There’s a video that I remember to watch periodically.  It’s the song Hello World by Lady Antebellum.  The song is about rolling through life with burdens on your mind, and then something happening – some unplanned event – that makes you stop in your tracks and look around.  The video (which I posted at the end of the blog) makes that ‘unplanned event’ a car accident.  This man sees this, sees the humanity that surrounds the event, and realizes things just might not be that bad after all.  In other words, he wakes up.

Maybe that’s what happened there this morning?  Maybe I started to wake up?

This woman was about one minute ahead of me on this road.  That could have been me.  It could have been anyone.  It could have been you.  And it could have ended so so differently.  Everything could change.  Just like that.

You know?  Just like that.

Maybe it’s time to wake up?

***

“Hello world, how you been?
Good to see you, my old friend
Sometimes I feel as cold as steel
Broken like I’m never gonna heal
Then I see a light,
a little grace,
a little faith unfurl
 Hello world”
– Lady Antebellum, “Hello World” lyrics

Video: http://youtu.be/al2DFQEZl4M

Favorite Race (so far)

picturequote

This is a picture I took at the Shamrock 4-miler, a St. Patrick’s Day theme race my son and I ran in Abingdon, Virginia, last night, March 15, 2013.

Now, granted, after every race I do, I seem to think that it was my favorite race.  And this was no exception.  But I have a feeling that this one may remain my favorite for a while.  And I’ve decided to list the top 10 reasons why.

*** 10.  The St. Patrick’s Day theme.
This was the first race I’d ever been a part of that had a theme.  And themes are awesome.  The atmosphere was completely different…everyone was in such happy spirits and seemed to be just a tad friendlier and a little more chatty than in other races.  I’ll definitely be searching for theme races in the future.

*** 9. The cowbell.
Oh yes.  There was a cowbell.  About a half a mile in, there was a random guy standing on the side of the road with a cowbell.  And, of course, the guy who was running beside me yelled, “Hey – we’re gonna need more cowbell!” as we passed.  Teehee.  That made me laugh all the way up the hill we had to climb right after we passed the cowbell man.  I needed that.

*** 8. A pooping dog.
Yes, you read that right.  A pooping dog made the top 10 list.  And here’s why.  One of the runners decided to run in the race with her dog.  Around the 1.5 mile mark, nature called.  She was standing, embarrassed, on the side of the road letting him do his business while other runners passed.  Eventually, runners started high-fiving her as they passed.  That was pretty awesome.  Lots of laughter came from that.  And laughter during a race is always awesome.  So, thank you pooping dog for your contribution to my list.

*** 7. This guy:
racebloggreenguy
Yeah.  Meeting that guy definitely made the list.  Duh.

*** 6. Being passed (yes, passed) by a man running the race while pushing his TWO kids in a stroller.
While going up a hill.  Yes, I know.  How did that make the list of reasons why this was my favorite race?  Well, just because.  People are awesome.  That’s all.

*** 5. Remembering to thank the people at the water stations.
I always forget to do that.  Always.  This time, I remembered.  There were three separate water stations and I remembered at every single station.  I finally forgot my own misery during a race and just remembered that there are awesome volunteers sitting out there for long periods of time just making sure that we have the best race we can.  And how cool are they?  They deserve more than a simple “thank you,” but that was all I had to give at the moment.  I hope hearing me say it made them feel as good as it made me feel to remember to say it.

*** 4. My time.
My MapMyRun tracking device told me that I ran 4.08 miles in just over 40 minutes.  That’s less than a 10-minute pace.  Best I’ve ever done.  Heck yeah, baby!  For this fairly new runner, that was something to be proud of.

*** 3. My kids’ dad.
Whoa.  I know, right?  How the heck did my ex-husband make this list?  I think you’ll soon understand.  Kevin (that’s his name) has Becker muscular dystrophy.  He is lucky to still be walking because the prognosis long ago was that he would have been in a wheelchair before he was 30.  (He’s 38.)  As I was leaving for the race after picking up my son, Kevin said something that stuck with me.  He said, “You guys do good.  I’d run it with you if I could.”  All I could think of after he said that, was this quote I saw once:

“I run because I can.  When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run, what they’d give to have this simple gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them.  I know they would do the same for me.”

That quote went through my mind many times during this race.  And now I have a feeling it will go through my mind in many more races to come.

*** 2. Memories
I had run a 5k race on this course once before.  It was last year.  I was afraid that running it again would actually make me feel sad because the person I ran it with wasn’t with me this time.  But you know what?  It didn’t make me sad at all.

The course was filled with memories at every turn.  At one point, I remembered how we both felt when we saw this dreaded hill looming ahead and realized just as we got to it that the course veered to the left and we didn’t have to actually run up it.  When I saw the hill this time, I just smiled.  Yep, no sadness.  Just a smile.

I remembered how we stayed at each other’s pace and he refused to leave me during the brief time that I had to stop to walk, when I know he could have gone on ahead easily. When I got to the place that I had to stop and walk that time and the memory filled my mind – again, I smiled.  (And went faster.)

There were many more memories throughout the race.  And many more smiles that accompanied them.  And that made me realize something.  I think something has healed.  And that’s a beautiful thing.

*** 1.  And hands down, the #1 reason why this was my favorite race?  This kid:
raceblog3jeff

That’s my son.  Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve ran a race together.  But this is the first time that he finished the race well ahead of me (as usual) and instead of waiting at the finish line, he turned around and came back on the course to find me.  I finished the race with my son by my side cheering me on.

So there.  The list is complete.

So, see?  How could this not have been my favorite race?

Oh, wait.  One more notable mention.

Another reason this was my favorite race?  I wrote this whole blog in my head while I was running it.  Combining two of my passions is a beautiful thing.

So blessed to be a runner.

***

“Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow.”
– Henry David Thoreau