Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rose that Grew From Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

There is something spectacular about something showing up where you least expect it to be living, breathing, and surviving. The rose that grew in the middle of the concrete. The duck taking a leisurely swim in the middle of Lake Michigan only a handful of blocks from the hustle and bustle of the city. Spectacular.  
It has been a very draining week. I keep getting messages from the universe that I need to make a decision about my future. I've been running around, minding my business and folks keep telling me things that imply it's time for something new - something different. It's a feeling I've had for a little while. That feeling you get when your pants seem at least one size too small but I've been ignoring the people and the squeezing. I'm comfortable in my discomfort. I'd like to say I'm the duck cruising happily through the lake or the rose growing despite all odds against it's survival. I'm not. Truth is, I'm just comfortable in my discomfort but it's time to figure something out. It's time to be still and think. Time to sit quietly and listen for that still small voice. The one that knows our purpose and place. 

The poem is Tupac Shakur. His birthday was today.  His poetry and some of the lyrics to his rap songs are also that little bit of spectacular. The man was a walking contradiction but it was obvious he was a great thinker. I always wonder what people would be like if they had similar opportunities.  It always seemed to me that the kid living in poverty, filled with anger has the same potential for greatness as the kid living in peace on the upper east side. Tupac seemed to think that as well. In this world he was more like a rose that grew from concrete against all odds.

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Two Piece Suit

I usually have no idea what I'm going to write about on this thing until right before I sit down and write. This one entry has been walking around in my head for weeks. Weeks! It made me anxious just thinking about it. You'll see how crazy that is in a second.

I was raised by two rather conservative parents. I only have sisters, no brothers. My running joke as of late is that I don't know if my father was crazy before he had all girls or if is crazy because he had all girls. He's over protective and a bit controlling to say the least. Add to that his conservativeness when it comes to his daughters. I look around at the things girls and young women do, say, and wear and think I could have never did that - I have a Daddy. Just the other day I was explaining how we didn't stay out later than we were told, we didn't sneak out windows and I didn't bring a boy home until I was grown. He wasn't having it in his house. Even as a grown woman for years he acted as if he was even supposed to have some say over what went on in my house! That's my Daddy. He has his wild side but apparently we weren't supposed to inherit that that side of him. *Side note: he is a loving man with a wonderful sense of humor. He's just old school and had some specific ideas on how to protect his children*

My Mother wasn't much different in some ways. She is the daughter of a preacher and was raised in a church. She married my father when she was pretty young and was a stay at home Mother for years. She was pretty strict about some things although a little more lenient than my Dad. Oh and when she didn't want to deal with it or just didn't want to be the bad guy she would send us to ask our Dad. I'm pretty sure she knew he would say no. I was grown before I picked up on that little trick. As kids we were pretty sheltered. Similar to her parents she also raised us in a church. House rules were if you went to sleep in her house on Saturday you went to church on Sunday.

My parents are the first factor in this tale. The second factor is the Ankylosing spondylitis. The AS showed up right after high school. Over twenty years with AS and there has been some disfigurement and two major surgeries. The disfigurement is enough that strangers know that something is different and the surgery scars are pretty long. I would say that conservative, religious parents and a disfiguring disability that showed up during identify development has restricted me.

Oh there is a third factor in this issue, I was pretty skinny as a teenager. It isn't a problem, I know! But it made me self conscious of showing too much skin. So take my three factors and I have never, never ever, I mean never wore a two piece swimsuit. The closest I have ever come is a tankini. Being 5'2" a tankini looks like a one piece but it felt daring so I own two of them. Not an inch of skin shows that doesn't show in a one piece. I guess I was thinking that it technically is two pieces.

Last summer I bought my first two piece suit. I can't call it a bikini because the bottom is a skirted but it has a halter top and there is exposed skin. A whole belly of exposed skin.

Note that I said I bought this suit last year. Then while we are reviewing, also note that I said that writing about  it makes me anxious. No, what I really said was that the thought of writing about it makes me anxious. So I've been looking at it and talking about for almost a year. This summer I'm wearing that suit! I've been on my exercise bike almost every day since December looking for my abdominal muscles. Last year a friend suggested I wear it around my hotel room (since I took it on a trip yet never took it out of the suitcase). This year a different friend suggested I wear it around the house (since I moved it from the suitcase to the drawer where it lived the rest of the summer). I haven't done either of these suggestions, although I did move it to another suitcase last week.

I pride myself in being daring and adventurous. I like to think that I live outside of the box. I color outside of the lines. I believe rules were made to be broken and things like speed limits are just mere suggestions. Yet, I'm scared of a two piece swimsuit. I have no idea what I think will happen. The whole world will point and laugh? My Dad will drive three hours to tell me to cover up? Like anyone really cares. At my age I don't think my father even cares. So why do  I? This summer I'm wearing that suit! This summer I'm wearing that suit. This summer I'm wearing that suit.