Friday, May 25, 2012

Within Ourselves

I recently came across this short little poem (I guess it's a poem) I wrote as a teenager. It was just this little thing that I remember jotting down because I was having a moment. One of those woe begone moments people in general (but especially women in their late teens or early 20's) tend to find themselves experiencing.  It got me thinking. Not that that's hard to do. I tend to go off on tangents.

Anyhow, it got me thinking about the subjects of loneliness and isolation. Tennessee Williams spoke of loneliness as an affliction that followed him his entire life. I think that if we are honest we could all admit to that. It's easy to feel lonely. You can feel lonely in a large city or a rural community. There's loneliness in our single life and sometimes (often times) even in marriage. I think it's just the nature of being human that we have seasons of loneliness. I think it can also become a way of life if we are not careful. It can become the very nature of our existence if we close ourselves up and do not allow others to share our journeys.

And isn't that the real problem? Don't we all have that within us? That tendency to stay within ourselves and to shut others out? We don't have time. We are busy. Perhaps we are with other people all the time but feel our voices are silent. Maybe others just wouldn't understand us if we revealed who we really are. Perhaps no one else cares to be a part of our journey. Can't that become a fear also? Whatever the reason, there comes a day or a dark night when our loneliness closes in on us. Even if we are not alone. Even if we have family and friends and a spouse who loves us. We still might open our eyes and realize that we've not really let others in. And time has passed us and we wonder how many missed opportunities lie on the road of our journey where we could have had something sweet or special, but we didn't recognize that moment. We were too focused on our day. We even shut our spouses out at times. Why?

Life goes by fast. We don't have to be lonely. I think opening up and letting others in takes practice and it takes forethought. I think it is a DELIBERATE process of scaling back the "busy" flurry of activity our days can become and making time to know and appreciate others.

I've been guilty. But I am trying to do better.

There's a song by Kathy Mattea (ms?) that states that we are "standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst." She's talking about how we let relationships lapse or we abort them before they are fully developed. And then we suffer with our own isolation.

Just a thought.

Anyway, here's that small little poem. A glimpse into my teen mind...and even to this day I can see where I am yet in this poem. Hmm...


Feeling the weight of my own loneliness.
Crying tears that no one else can see.
Staring through a window at a party
To which I wasn't invited.
Wondering what in the world is wrong with me.
Why do I feel this isolation?
Why does my heart beat out of sync?
Why am I different from those around me?
Like a book that no one cares to read.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Time Travel?

My grandparents, Thelma and George Seigrist
Have you ever wished you could travel through time? I'm sure everyone has. I know I have. There are many, many things I would do. There are MANY things I would love to go back in time and tell the younger me. Advice I would give...maybe a swift kick in the booty over a few things. But, then I start thinking of how my past has shaped who I am and how the steps I've taken on this path have led me to where I am. There are things in my life I want to change, but I would not want to have missed out on my family. I can't imagine taking another breath in this life without my babies. So, even my mistakes have worked for my good because even ONE different decision could have put me on a different that might not have included them. I can't even stand that thought.

So, maybe I wouldn't want to travel in time. Although, I sure would like to spend another day with my precious grandma. I miss her more than I can verbalize. I still can't believe she is gone. I miss her. I miss my sweet Daddy. I miss other precious members of my family who have gone on. So, the chance to spend time with those I love who are gone would make time travel a know...if it were possible.

But beyond traveling in your own lifetime, aren't there places and times you would like to visit? The old west? The Roman empire? What about traveling back to walk with Jesus while He was still on earth? That would be way cool. At least I think so.

Beyond the subject of time travel, I think about time in other ways. Sometimes I wish I had been born in another era. I think I would have made a great contemporary of my Grahm. She was born in 1926, so she was a young woman in the 40's and 50's. I think I would have loved living then. I would have fit in, I think. If I could  have been alive at that time, I think I would have taken a chance and moved to Hollywood. I would have definitely pursued a career in movies back then. How awesome would that have been? I just love the era of big bands and G.I. Joe's. Yes. I have an affinity for the 40's. I love the movies, the music, the romance of the time.

I am also a huge fan of the 50's. Talk about awesome music. Rock and Roll in its infancy. How wonderful! To see Elvis swinging those hips at a live show. To see his movies in a drive-in theater. Dude! That would rock! Who doesn't LOVE the 50's? I submit that those people might be a bit broken inside. Of course, I'm kidding. To each their own. I personally feel a deep and abiding connection to the 1940's and 1950's.

I think about earlier times also. I would have HATED living in any earlier than the 1920's. I would have hated that time era also truthfully. I like certain conveniences. Like pants. Women have really come a very long way over the last century. Even the skirts and dresses of the 30's, 40's, and 50's would have been more comfortable than those heavy suckers people wore before.
My Great-Grandfather, George Seigrist,
and his wife, Nellie (? I think. She wasn't my
ancestor, but I heard she was a lovely woman.)

Well, it doesn't really matter what time era I wish I lived in. I'm stuck here. And, some may argue (with much truth) that this is the most exciting time in human history to be alive. I am grateful for all of the blessings I sometimes take for granted as a member of my generation.

I was born in 1973, so I've got to experience bell bottoms (twice. They came back in the 90's) and 8 tracks. I got to grow up at skating rinks and ride bikes with banana seats. I never had to worry about Polio or many other diseases because I was fortunate enough to be vaccinated.

I grew up with cable and computers and air conditioning! Fast food! The internet!!!!! We have better options when it comes to medicine and health.

I've never had to work in a field picking cotton while my fingers bled like my Grandma did. I've been blessed with education about health care, so that I am better able to take care of myself. There really is so much to be grateful for. We are a spoiled lot really...those of us who are alive now or those who have yet to be born. The technologies we take for granted would be jaw dropping to our ancestors.

Anyway, I'm just rambling a bit. I do think it would have been cool to be able to visit the 40's and 50's and experience so many cultural and historical changes and shifts in society. But there are things I would have hated also. Things that I would not have wanted to live with. Like segregation. I like to think I would have had the courage to stand up and let my voice scream out at the injustice that the minority races in the country experienced. The limited and sometimes seemingly nonexistent rights and privileges of minority people, including women.  But truthfully, I just don't know if I would have or not. I struggle at times even in this day and age with feeling like a coward sometimes. But I like to think I would have done the right thing. I sure hope so.

As a woman, there are a lot of rights I take for granted, and there are certain things I would never put up with from other people. But there was a time when women were marginalized...that still happens today, but not to the extent it used to. Of course, I am talking about what it's like to be an American woman. I fully...and painfully...realize that there are still parts of the world where women and other minorities are still treated as property or subhuman. It happens. It's horrific.

Well, I am a product of my generation. And I guess that's okay.

What about you? Is there another time that you wish you could visit or even live?