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Most of the Talents Are Ones I Don’t Have

9 Oct

I have always wanted to play the piano. That’s not true — not always — but since being a teenager I have. I wanted to be at the bench, pounding away while singing into a microphone and making people want to dance (more Jerry Lee Lewis and less Tori Amos). Every time I hear Elton John, I see myself gingerly bringing “Honky Cat” to life. Exploiting all the jangly glory of those keys. On the softer side I hear Chopin and envision myself swaying passionately from side to side in a sweeping movement while being intertwined in the melody of “Fantasie Impromptu: Opus #66”. It’s closely related and only marginally tailed by my other dream of dancing. Without really thinking about it, my imagination’s eye starts rolling film of me — all bendy and powerful — dancing in the fashion of the 80’s “Fame” movie. It’s intense in my heart. Like the feeling you get when you start to really think about your favorite desert: it’s so good and so real you can almost taste it, but outside your power to create, or recreate.

My dancing career began and ended when I was six, though, on account of the high cost of lessons, and the work of taking me to a class (I also think my propensity for booty-shaking versus more ballet-type moves made my mother less motivated for me).

But the piano was always in the house. We always had our lovely, antique upright with a bench full of music. I spent a good deal of time playing around on it, and even had a lesson or two, but I backed slowly away. My sister was a masterful, self-trained pianist (still plays keys professionally), who could recreate Beethoven melodies on her own. In my elementary years I came under the impression that my instructor preferred teaching my sister (at this age I can’t recall if I “heard” her say that, or if I misinterpreted something else that was said), and I requested to no longer take lessons. I had such difficulty with my practice, that it seemed very plausible to me that I was equally difficult to teach. It seemed to disambiguate and simplify everyone’s life for me to definitively claim that I was not musically inclined, so I did, and so I’ve been.

It’s my nature to back away from other people’s passionate interests, or their lime-light. That’s not to say that I don’t eagerly leap into any unoccupied lime-light, but I find no pleasure in stealing another person’s thunder, as they say. I enjoy attention and recognition, but I don’t enjoy competition. The best way to avoid competition is to find my own — my very own — interests. Also, competing with my sister was paramount to competing with Beethoven himself, in my child’s mind: certain defeat.

As an adult, though, I just can’t deny that I love the piano. Maybe I’ll never get around to mastering that Chopin piece, but I believe I could learn enough to bring me satisfaction. I believe I could be good enough to sing along to. I’m not sure where to start…

With so many things I have this burning desire to “become…” but I just can’t see the first step. I’m tired of riding on the waves of life (like a flag tossed about by every wind), and only impulsively finding new adventures. I want to get There from Here, intentionally.

As for the dancing dream, I just need an empty warehouse and some awesome song blasting from the tape deck of my nearby VW.

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Skip This Post; I’m Just Exercising

7 Oct

The temperature became warmer as we traveled into the evening.  From the Cumberland Valley into the Shenandoah the temperature increased ten degrees, even though it was four hours later in the day, and into the evening.  The warmth seemed to beckon me and say, “welcome home; have a little extra summer”.  I drove in my VW with the baby, and the HD drove behind me with Young G.  The trip took two days (potty breaks and a nursing baby) until we ended up in Charleston.


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Freedom Isn’t Free

10 Sep

By the time the HD finally returned home from Afghanistan, I felt defeated.  I was entirely overwrought.  For two weeks his flight schedule home fluctuated and changed.  Every day we heard something different from the day before about which flight he’d be on, what day he’d return, and at what time.  At last, twenty-four hours before his expected arrival, he called me to tell me he’d checked his bags for the final, 20 hour flight.  I received the phone call on the play ground, watching my Young G play with a friend, and did not expect my husband’s words, “I got kicked off my flight.”  At first I thought I was misunderstanding some guy-lingo, but when he repeated himself, it struck me how defeated he sounded.

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Family Statement of Purpose

13 Jan

It’s twenty till ten and I’ve been nursing this one beer for the last forty minutes.  It would be easy to just down it, open another, and then one more before passing peacefully out.  The continual raining over the last few days guarantees I won’t be working out in the morning, so why not?

Instead I sit awake, sipping Stella, thinking about how I wish I could sleep but can’t.

(I’ve almost talked myself into pounding a few). Continue reading


4 Oct

Sometimes I feel like a horrible wife.  I’m holding on to this image of myself that I developed when I was… twelve years old, maybe… and she doesn’t seem to adapt well to married life.  She’s a raging independent, for one thing.  Nothing was really given to that twelve-year-old. Whatever she aspired to was hard-earned.  Now everything is given to me, and I work at nothing.  The scary part is, when I think about what it is I might work at, I come up empty.  That twelve-year-old only knew how to work for what she needed BECAUSE nothing was given to her; she work out of necessity.  I’m a survivor and I no longer have to fight for survival.  There’s nothing for me to pursue because all my needs are met.  Which makes me wonder what I ever pursued to begin with.  I know beyond a doubt that if it were necessary for me and G to get by I could work for it.  I can make a way.  Now I’m realizing  how much of an identity I received from working to survive.  Being a survivor is who I was.  Now that I’m taken care of, who am I?  I derived a sense of importance and meaning from being a hard worker, and now I feel meaningless because I’m working at nothing. Continue reading


27 May

Asleep in my arms on the beach after an afternoon meal.


27 May

Insecurities are such a wicked monster.  I felt like Satan himself was smothering me with a pillow and whispering lies in my ear.  Those last two posts were written in tears and genuine fear as I felt all the air leave the room, somehow convinced I was going to disappear.

You wouldn’t know it to read all that, but my husband hasn’t said a single word about staying in the Army for twenty years.  He simply said that a conference was, “enlightening”, but he sounded like his father when he said it.  Since he’s so far away, even he became skewed in my wild imagination.  I began to feel like our marriage was born out of civilian love, and that his military self saw me differently than did the boy who asked me to marry him.  My fears turned everyone against me, even myself. Continue reading