finding my FIERCENESS

Last weekend really took it out of me. You know...it…the stuffing, the feathers, the air. It wasn’t seeing mom; feeling her vulnerability and loneliness. It wasn’t feeling my own helplessness and sadness. No, what left my nervous system in a state of code orange was the encounter with my brother.

A lifetime of fear of his physical and verbal aggression lives in my cell tissue. I am undone every time I encounter his hostility toward me. I end up mad at myself for giving him such power. I fantasize my ability to square off with him, face to face, and with no quiver in my voice tell him, “Shut the fuck up.”

Instead, I have jello legs, my heart beats out of my chest, and I can’t breathe. I hate him and then myself for responding like a wimp…again. My body responds to the danger by shutting down when my head wants me to either take him out or run away…quickly. My head and my body are at odds with one another.

After my encounter, Tom and I headed back to our hotel, stopping on Hope Street (how appropriate) to browse in some of the cute shoppes we had driven by for the last two days. Tom went into the men’s shoppe, I found PB&J’s, a woman’s boutique. It seemed a bit high end for me, but touching the soft fabric soothed me, doing something mundane, like shopping, helped me feel normal.

Then I saw it. A coat. Not just any coat. A great coat. Hanging there, against a wall, so beautifully displayed in it’s isolated simplicity. I knew, as I walked toward it, hands outstretched like I was headed toward the Light, I did not need a new coat. Again my body and mind begged to differ. My feet walked toward the coat regardless of my recent decision to reline and revamp my favorite 10 year old alpaca overcoat.

“Oh, what the heIl,” I cajoled myself as I tried it on. In the mirror looking back at me I IMG_0917good enough to eat saffron satin lining sealed the deal. I felt carnivorous. “Don’t mess with me, I will eat you!”

I pulled out my Visa and bought the coat. Thanks to an after Christmas sale it was 25% off. See…it was meant to be. Tom, who had wandered into the store to find me, foolishly asked if I thought the coat would be warm?

“Warm? Really? Who cares?” I responded. I left the store, my totem coat casually draped over my arm, embodying Audrey Hepburn’s understated glamour.

Yesterday, I shared my weekend with my dear women’s group. I cried with them as I told them about my terror. I admitted adrenaline was still running through my veins making me forgetful, easily startled and exhausted. They listened and loved me as only wonderful woman friends can. They soothed my self loathing by assuring me it was smart to trust my bodies reaction of terror when facing my brother’s disowned malevolence. They said when someone is being terrorized they are supposed to feel terrified. Feeling understood opened my airways.

As I prepared to leave, throwing my coat over my shoulders, they shared my excitement in buying such a powerful, sharp clawed cat coat to made me feel safer. Stronger. Fiercer. With cheetah speed to run faster.

RRRRROOOOAAAARRRRR

waxseal2

Another New Year’s Resolution

I have been wondering about my New Year’s resolution for 2013. I usually have several in mind by now, something to do with time management, a regular spiritual practice-which will bring me into the present moment and of course the ever constant, increase my gym attendance. Some years my New Year’s pact has included writing a book, learning to debone a duck, a la Julia Child, find the best hamburger in the world, and learn to type. Sadly these were not consummated.

In 2011 I changed it up. I resolved to sign my name neatly, every time, after I swiped my credit card through the payment pad in the drug stores, grocery stores, clothing stores, I frequent. My thinking…it would slow me down in the check out line so I would remember to breathe at least once that day, as well as, act as an experiment, of sorts, determining if I could, by the end of 2011, master the art of legible touch screen signature signing. I did rather well with this, 2011 was one of my more accomplished years, resolution-ally speaking.

In 2012, I know I made some, unfortunately I don’t remember what they were.

I have been wondering what promise to shepherd into 2013. I composed some birthday declarations earlier in December, so I feel a bit resolution redundant.

However, I just read an article http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/good-news/chain-reaction-tim-hortons-goodwill-183517438.html that gave me a possible idea for a new, never before done by me, New Year’s intention.

Once a week I will pay a kindness forward. 

(If this were a movie and you were listening to the soundtrack, a needle was just pulled across the vinyl record. EEECCCCCHHHHHH)

All my failed New Year’s resolutions pass before my eyes. Unfulfilled promises to myself. Disappointments felt as I reread the lofty list, written by me, a well meaning, albeit naive, woman on the last night of the year. High hopes not reached. To further my shame, if I tell all of you I am going to commit to this weekly practice and I wimp out or forget or just don’t want to do it anymore, my ignominious rout will be public.

Perhaps I should simply pledge to put gas in my car each week and have another successful year.

The good news, or the bad-not quite sure sometimes-is I am not one to turn away from a challenge. I have thrown the resolution quantlet at my feet. I accept my challenge.

In 2013, I will pay a kindness forward, I will offer random acts of kindness, I will attempt to make someone’s day more pleasant…at least once a week. And I will keep you all posted on my progress…or lack thereof.

Would any of you like to join me by sharing your resolution for 2013? Putting it in print  certainly ups the ante. (Again the good news and the bad.) And if you do, I won’t feel so “out there” by myself…nothing like a little New Year’s guilt.

Wishing you the year you dream of,
waxseal2

 

 

 

Bubble Poppers

I met a woman at a party last night. We were introduced because we were both therapists. Well, actually, she is a clinical psychologist. A differentiation that seemed quite important to her as she corrected several people that lumped up together as therapists. We all stood corrected.

We were also introduced because we both have entrepreneurial minds that invent interesting projects and business’s.

So I told her about my blog. I confided my hope to be named one of the top 100 women bloggers. I divulged my book ideas. She listened with seeming interest. She is, after all, a therap….psychologist.

When I was finished spilling my guts she began to point out how ridiculous my ideas were. She did, she really did! I was expecting…sounds like you have really big plans. How does that make you feel? I’m curious about…You know, the useful things therapists say. Instead, in her best patronizing voice she asked if I knew how many bloggers there are in the world trying to do the same thing? How the chances of my making any money through my writing was absurd.

If they hadn’t run out of beer I would excused myself to get a bottle.

My spiritual teacher, Christine Page, talks about Bubble Poppers. People that deflate the dreams of another. There are many explanations of why someone does this.

*A motherly attempt to keep someone safe from a harm they may not foresee-I confess I am guilty of this with my kids.

*A perceived threat to the bubble poppers ego-ugh, I have done this too.

*Meanness-I hope I haven’t done this.

*A belief they (the bubble popper) know what is RIGHT and TRUE. I think my psychologist not-friend falls into this category.

As we left the party I told Tom what had been said. He offered go beat her up.

Instead I said something that surprised me. Has this ever happen to you? You hear yourself say something so profound that you wonder where or who it came from. I said to Tom with a certainty I didn’t feel moments earlier, “I think the universe is testing me. It/She is trying to see how committed I am to my dreams. I have to know if I can hold my self in the face of a wind storm(bag)?”

Who said that?

IT’S A GIRL!!!

I am not sure if that was the affirmation spoken at the moment of my birth…what with  mom being sedated and dad in the waiting room…I am not even sure that was the sentiment expressed when I was carried across our army issued threshold…except that I was the first girl born in seven generations of my fathers family. (Now if that doesn’t warrant It’s a Girl what does?)

The family story of my arrival goes like this…my brother did not want a sibling. He was 4 years old and quite satisfied with his place as an only child. But despite his protests and best attempts to head butt my mom’s pregnant belly, I was born. When my mom called him from her hospital room, Rob tearfully asked her if she had had a baby? My brand new mom told my brand new brother, “No.”

No surprise hearing “IT’S A GIRL”  (and that is good news)  is a dream of mine. SO, today is the day. My 55th birthday and the launch of being Boswell.

Conceptualizing, designing and manifesting this blog has been redolent of my pregnancies with my kids. Full of stretch marks, sleepless nights and can’t wait anticipation culminating in screaming…get it out of me…now!!!

Boswell is my birth name. I gave it up when I married at age 23. I raised the question of keeping my name but my husband to be felt strongly about my taking his surname. I conceded. That was just the beginning of many concessions I would make. Little did I know.

When we divorced 27 years later, I went to the prothonotaries office, filled out a one page form, handed them a $5.00 bill-they only took cash, and changed my name back to Boswell. That is all it took. So easy. I felt like an immigrant returning to her mother land. I would have knelt down and kissed the sidewalk as I reached the bottom of the courthouse steps, but it was filthy.

Returning to Boswell, however, meant my kids and I wouldn’t share a last name. (A phenomenon that will forever piss me off. I carried them. Birthed them. Nursed them. Raised them. They should be Boswell or at least hyphenated.) I was concerned Boswell was lost to them.

Recently my daughter told me of a late night conversation she and her brother had after an evening of celebrating his finance’s birthday. They were discussing the matters of their lives, describing their recent antics to one another when Landon said, “Well, we are just being Boswell.” 

Boswell is not lost to them, it is in them. It is in me.

Today I am being Boswell…Confident except when I am insecure. Assertive  when I am not a weenie. Honest save for a few white lies. Forthright when it is worth the investment, quiet when it is not. Smart, but I would like to know so much more. Thoughtful, mostly, unless I am hurt, mad, or exhausted. Articulate unless I am unable to find the word I am thinking of…it starts with a b….god it’s on the tip of my tongue. Funny. Serious. Excitable. A hard worker. Perseverant.

I am an agreeable contradiction. Aren’t we all?

I hope you see yourself in my stories. I invite you to subscribe so you will receive my Tuesday posts in your email box.

Welcome to being Boswell, a work in progress…

WITH MUCH LOVE,

 

SHUT UP…REALLY

I started a 21 day meditation challenge offered free by the Chopra Center.

Today’s meditation was on stress. It is day 4.

The meditation teacher, a soft spoken woman, asks, “Are you feeling a sense of worry, agitation, or frustration? (Now that you mention it, I am.) Release those feelings, thoughts, and sensations. (Okay, how?) Let them float away, easily and effortlessly.(Come again?).” She then invited me to sit in my silence created by my ability to let my stress go easily and effortlessly.

“Really?”

“If I could do that, easily and effortlessly, I wouldn’t be listening to this meditation.” I sat in silent judgment, irritation and frustration with this woman and the meditation. I tightened my butt and thighs, squared my jaw, and trapped my breath in my chest.

“Was she serious? This is not helpful at all. At least give me some ideas how to let my stress fucking float away!”

“Really?”

As I noticed my outrage, I felt it in every part of me and I immediately felt tired. I felt tired of me. Tired of my rant, of my indignation, I ran out of steam and just shut up.

When I shut up, I found my silence. I began to relax my butt, my jaw, and take a deeper breath.

A lesson well learned.

 

Mr. Volvo

The other morning Tom and I were headed to work.  We have been riding together since Tom’s car was totaled, Halloween morning, by a young kid who ran a red light. Since then we have been a one car family. At first this was very difficult for me. Truth be told, I hated it. I liked my time in the car alone. I could drive in silence, listen to music, a book or a conference on CD. My choice. I usually used the time to think, take stock. With Tom in the car it wasn’t my space anymore. However, during some of our morning commutes we had great conversation, caught up on things with each other, or made plans for the evening or week. Sometimes it was really nice. I enjoyed our company. So both experiences were true for me.

 

 

Anyway, this particular morning, as we headed up Bigelow Blvd traffic began to slow. It was still moving but slower than usual. Ahead of us I noticed an older Volvo, changing lanes, speeding up only to have to brake because both lanes were moving slowly, and honking his horn. At one point he was waving his arms in the air above his head. I wondered who was steering his car. He was clearly upset. Being the well trained defensive driver(thank you Mr Anderson) that I am, I tried to determine what had Mr Volvo so upset. Was he seeing something dangerous I wasn’t aware of? My assessment of the situation was that everyone was going slower, but at a constant rate of speed. Odd for this stretch of the road, but not dangerous to me.

 

I commented to Tom, “This guy is really upset.” Continue reading

The Law of Attraction

I recently re watched The Secret, a documentary made several years ago explaining the Law of Attraction. Watching it I was reminded that what we think about and, even more so, what we feel is what we attract to ourselves. In the film a philosopher, an

entrepreneur, a physicist, and an author discuss the theory, as well as, share ways they practice the Law of Attraction in their daily lives. They tell their success stories, from manifesting a dream house to attracting checks coming in the mail.

 

Okay, I get it and I believe it. I have experienced it my life. I attracted the life I am living today. I did dream boards and collages of the places I wanted to travel, the man I wanted to meet, the “feel” of the life I wanted to live. I held clear intentions that the sale of the family home would go smoothly and afford me some retirement money. I envisioned writing (and being read) on a regular basis. Voila!

 

This shit works!

 

So when I heard about the man at the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas who had a heart attack while eating a Triple By Pass Burger I recognized the Law of Attraction at work. The restaurant is hospital-themed, where wait staff wear white coats with stethoscopes casually around their necks and diners don hospital gowns. Some witness’s to the event mistook it for a publicity stunt and were taking pictures. 

 

I don’t know how to feel about this. Should I laugh or cry?

 

I did both.

 

We, and I include myself in that we, are so powerful and so careless.

The Queen of England

Today I got a massage and facial. As I relaxed; steam opening my pores, Audra’s fairy fingers making gentle circles around my eyes; I began to count my blessings. When I left the house this morning our housekeeper was pulling into the driveway. Last night I ordered a great pair of shoes from the Travel Smith catalogue. Tomorrow I have an acupuncture appointment. Next week I have a manicure and pedicure scheduled. I am the luckiest woman alive!

 

Then it hit. My gratitude turned to shame, “Who do I think I am? Really? Who? The Queen of England? I don’t dare tell anyone about all this.” I felt terrible, indulgent, spoiled, after all, there are children starving in Africa. Continue reading

It’s Just Not Right…

I grew up with my mom telling me to, “Watch your mouth!”  She hated when I said I hated something, when I sang at the dinner table, or told her I couldn’t see my mouth so I couldn’t possibly watch it. She even washed my mouth out with soap once. I don’t remember what I said, but the next day I got tonsillitis and my grandmother blamed my mother for giving it to me. I was vindicated.

 

I did, for the most part, try to please my mom. I watched what I said and did. I became so good at it that I developed TMJ before it was called TMJ. My parents thought it was normal that I had to hit the side of my face to get my jaw to open in the morning to eat my Special K cereal.

 

I don’t imagine this was so unusual for those of us raised in the late 50’s-60’s. We were managed to be polite extensions of our parents. It was our job to make them look better than they felt about themselves. Especially us girls.

 

It’s a hard habit to break, this watching your mouth. “What if I offend somebody?” I would worry. My mom told me the reason a boy I liked didn’t call me again is because I told him a story using the word “poop.” She said, “No boy would want to date a girl with a mouth like that.” Fuck.

 

It seems the older I get the less I watch my mouth and the more I speak my mind. I am a lot less tolerant of what I see and experience. I am “mouthier” these days because some things need to be said. I started a list… Continue reading

I AM NICE!

Many years ago-sounds a bit like the beginning of a fairy tale-the foundation of who I was, or thought I was, crumbled. I grabbled with the question, “Who am I?” I felt the enormity of the question, as well as, my terror of not knowing the answer or, worse yet, how to find the answer. My illusions had died and I didn’t have a replacement reality. I felt like a blank slate.

 

Because I am a visual person (that much I did know about myself) I envisioned my blank slate status as a big, yellow legal pad. With that image in mind, I drove to Staples, found a tablet and bought it. My plan was to notice myself and document who I met. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the project and a lot scared at the blankness of the tablet before me. I also remember some excitement at the prospect of defining myself rather than being defined by others.

 

So, I took my pad with me where ever I went.

Continue reading