Thursday, June 27, 2013

Flawed but Fabulous


I attended a class at church recently that was taught by one of the young women in my husband's flock of 18-to-30-year-olds. Her focus was self-improvement.

She opened her lesson by passing out index cards and asking us to jot down a few thoughts on how to make ourselves better people. As the writing began, I was struck by the powerful emotions playing across the faces of my classmates. Sober, strained, pained, restrained...not one smile or even a neutral expression among them. This exercise was not a pleasant one for these young women, and I feared they were being too hard on themselves. I wanted to stand up and speak my mind, but I wasn't the teacher and it wasn't my place. This IS my place, though, so I've saved the unrequested pep talk all for you... ;)
:::apologizing in advance:::

Okay here is the gist of what I wanted to say. I'm a sucker for challenging projects, and improving my distinctly imperfect self qualifies. Don't get me wrong if I sound like my own worst critic; I'm more fan than flogger, and I rarely beat myself up. But I don't view myself through rose-colored glasses either. Knowing and accepting who I am allows me to look inward more comfortably––and more candidly––unafraid of finding faults among the flowers because I fully expect that outcome. I'm even okay with it! (Time is a great teacher.)

The thing is, we are far more than the sum of our faults. Every human being is flawed but fabulous, and owning that notion supports frank assessment while limiting discouragement. This even-handed paradigm is neither conceited nor contemptuous. It allows us to check in on ourselves honestly, without fear or self-protection.

Meeting and addressing our weaknesses can be seen as a great adventure, but we must turn inward with a friendly eye. Doing otherwise places us in defensive mode. We instinctively throw up barriers, muddying the waters to save ourselves from the evil (critical, castigating) eye we are using. Far better to look kindly upon our psyches, putting a sort of arm around ourselves as we dive bravely into that deep new sea of self-discovery.

Closing points I would have made to the girls:
  1. Murky waters are indiscriminate, hiding treasures as well as troubles. 
  2. Viewing our depths clearly––in all our glory and lack thereof––is a gift, even if it does rock the boat a little. 
  3. We are not and never will be black-and-white; everyone is teeming with colors. 
  4. Not one person is perfect, least of all you, me, or whomever we admire most. 
Accepting these realities opens the door to the most helpful self-improvement tool of all: becoming your own best friend, including every sharp angle and broken line. Don't be afraid to let down your defenses and look closely. Blow your own cover. Be gentle enough to trust you with yourself.  Hey, if you can't see it, you can't be it...or un-be it either. We have to face it to erase it. And we can't grow what we don't know.

(rose-colored glasses)
It's okay. You don't need 'em.

(safety glasses, etc.)

Better to use these instead.


;)
"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself
just as I am, then I can change." - Carl Rogers

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blow Smoke

Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine, 1949

Blow Smoke
©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson

The tension burns between us;
I contain it with a click,
give it a focal point
just inches from your lips.

And I break free––
foolproof and fireproof.
Flames lick my feet and die.
I'm incombustible.

Blow smoke.

{enshroud the lie}



∞§∞

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Light Me Up



I haven't participated in Jenny's Saturday Centus for a while, so I thought I'd get back on track by responding to her picture prompt this week. I'm a little late because of a baby shower at my house that ended up lasting well into the afternoon (so much fun!), but now I'm ready and rarin' to go. Here's my take on lightning today...

∞§∞



Light Me Up
©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson

When lightning strikes, it calls to mind
the scintillation that I find
in all those buzz sparks you ignite
the moment you burst into sight.

Your voltage hits me like a brick,
lights me up like a candlestick,
leaves me glowing like the moon,
fries me like the sun in June.

What is this sizzle that you bring?
My head goes POP; my heart goes ZING.
My lips burn red; my blue eyes blaze,
and all the world's a fiery haze.

You're smokin' hot, and that's no lie,
a rocket booster to the sky.
A first-class hazard; that's for sure.
But I ain't lookin' for a cure.

;)


∞§∞

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Escape Clause

The Promenade, 1918, Marc Chagall

©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson

Hold me down when I feel flighty.
Lift me up when I'm earthbound.
When in doubt, just take a chance and
swing this partner round and round.

Try your best to make me happy.
Do your worst to make me sad.
Either way, don't bore me silly.
Make me feel things, good and bad.

Stir the pot or smooth things over.
Be the charmer and the chump.
Careful, though, don't lose your balance,
or you'll find out I can jump.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dedicated to Dads



Father Fan Club
©2013  Susan Noyes Anderson

A dad is an anchor when things go quite wrong
and a fan club when things go quite right.
He's there to protect you when you're super scared
of those things that go "bump" in the night.

He'll teach you to throw, and he'll teach you to catch,
and he'll race you from here to the door.
He may even show you the cool way to spit––
but ya better steer clear of Mom's floor!

He'll wrestle you, tickle you, lift you sky high,
and then toss you around in the pool.
He'll crack up your friends, poking fun at them all
till they think that he's totally cool.

He'll take you on treasure hunts, hike through the woods,
and rent fishing boats out on the bay.
He's gonna make sure that you bait your own hook,
but he'll probably help you filet.

Dad likes to share stories from when he was young,
and he makes up his own stories. Boo!
Sometimes they are scary; sometimes they are funny,
but always they're worth listening to.

He gives you a high-five when you hit the ball
and a backslap when you've grounded out.
He watches recitals and plays and ballet
with no more than a hint of a pout.

He teaches the things every kid needs to know
and forgives you when you make him grumpy.
He breaks out lame jokes when the world brings you down
and reminds you life's meant to be bumpy.

So cook Dad some breakfast and make a big fuss.
He ain't perfect, but so what? He's yours!
Wish him Happy Father's Day. Show him some love.
You're the kid he completely adores.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAVE!
Your kids completely adore you.

{and so does your wife}

=)

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Door Swings Open

Charleston door

©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson

It was Charleston in the fall,
no other bodies there to bend
the energy, just you and me (us...we),
begetting child-free memories to own. 

The hotel reeked of history
and old rugs, water weeping from
the walls, halls filigreed in shades
of ochre, overlaid with stains of brown.

Our bed, four-postered, coverlet of lace,
commode beside, was dignified
by carved vitrine; replete with nicks, knickknacks,
dust tracks and violets––the velvet ones, with tales to tell.

It drew us into sweetness, thick
as warm molasses corked in clay  
jugs, fading red to pink, the stink of slave
market graced now by art and flowers.
                                                                                                             
We walked for hours.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Connecting by Feedly

RIP

I'm sure most of you are aware that Google Reader will be a thing of the past on July 1st. For months I have been trying to figure out how to stay in touch with the blogs that matter most to me, and I have finally made a decision. Yesterday, I joined Feedly and was happy to find that all of my "followed" blogs from Google Reader transferred over at the click of a button. What's more, by choosing the "magazine" format, I have been able to approximate the look I am used to, and I think this will be a smooth transition for me.

Having said that, I am not pleased with this latest action taken by Google. I'm not sure why they keep pulling the plug on services loyal customers have enjoyed over the years, and their doing so continues to erode my trust in them. Still, I am going to push forward as best I can. Who knows? Eventually, Google may let Blogger go as well, at which time I will probably move to Wordpress and get used to that, too.

For now, the main thing is staying in touch with all of you, and Feedly will allow me to do that. Just wanted to spread the word in case others are worried about the same thing I was...the prospect of losing touch with blogs and bloggers I have grown to care about.

Our connections are worth preserving!

=)

PS. You will need to make the change prior to July 1st or the data from Google Reader will be lost, leaving you to recreate the list of blogs you follow as best you can.

PPS. I just joined Bloglovin, too. It was easy to transfer my Google Reader stuff with just one click, though the site does a lot less than Feedly. However, it has a social component Feedly doesn't have. Over time, I will decide which one I prefer!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

When I'm Sixty-One

I'm three days late with this birthday poem to me, but who's counting?


When I'm Sixty-One
©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson


A happy birthday to myself!
I just turned sixty-one.
I'd like to say that things are great
and getting old is fun.

Instead, I'm going to vent a bit
and set the record straight.
Let's hope my aging brain kicks in
enough to concentrate!

I'm sad to say my memory
(which used to be top notch)
meanders now, like someone who
just drained a fifth of scotch.

It's up and down; it's in and out;
it's neither here nor there.
My brain is leaking grey matter
directly to my hair!

(That would account, I do believe,
for certain color changes.)
No doubt whatever youth dispenses,
old age rearranges.

Or maybe I should say exchanges:
satin-smooth for rough,
firm for saggy, round for wrinkled,
dewy/dry, soft/rough.

Enough! The years take liberties
with me, without consent.
No potion, pill, or lotion seems
to lessen the extent.

So here's my new position, just
because I like to win:
Bring it on, Age! Make me crusty.
Who needs silky skin?

And with thesaurus close at hand,
what use is word recall?
Hey, old is the new young, you know.
Why stand, when you can crawl?

;)



"Age is an issue of mind over matter.
If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
Mark Twain

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