A Dance With My Shadow



Inspired by the brilliance of J.M. Barrie, author of the original (and best version ever) of Peter Pan, the young boy comes to the window of the Darling family, because he lost his shadow.  After having found it hiding in a drawer, Peter begins to get very upset as he shouts, “I can’t get my shadow to stick.”  It is silly, but sometimes, my own life seems so ridiculous and chasing, that I feel my poor shadow must be exhausted for trying to keep up with me.

It is rare that I notice I have a shadow at all, as I run from place to place, I realize it must seem like I am trying to escape her.  So today, as I looked back at this photo I snapped of my shadow in the summer (back when I remembered how to breathe) I realized she deserved an apology.  I am sorry dear shadow that I haven’t been playing fair in terms of racing about.  So, I wrote you a poem in apology.  I hope you all can relate, and invite your own shadows to dance, instead of run.


A Dance With My Shadow

There are days when the avariciousness of the world threatens to take me

where every mercenary thought I might’ve had is lost to the rapacious-pace of life

It is easy to play victim,

and plagiarize the complaints we are taught to repeat like a mantra:

of the too busy,

too fast,

too materialistic society we are left to

Like any legacy, we live in the shadows cast by the great and greater who came before

And by comparison, our own shadows shrink, and fade,

intimidated by the dense reality of what we are meant to live up to,

turn into,

or evolve from

But my veracity is much too bright to live in the bleak confines

of what others have done before

And so I refuse to blend into the disenchantment of preconceived expectations

My shadow is my own to cultivate, to grow and to stretch into

as I invite her into the light to dance

She’ll twirl with me,

and the daylight will allow us both time to conspicuously take our place in the world

not the one we were invited into …

but the life we created by being unafraid to stand in the luster of the unexpected

I no longer allow myself the excuse of living like everyone else

When were we ever allowed the exoneration of becoming a mimic

instead of an original?

No more absolutions for the inauthentic

My shadow is mine, and our time here on earth shall be spent


in the brilliant, glowing promise

of things to come

10.18.15 No Offense



People often tell my husband and I that we are too busy.  They’re right.  I could give them six very real examples of just how right they are lately:

  1. I have been so tired recently that I can’t fall asleep, because sleep has become unnatural in the past few weeks and my body forgot how.
  2. My husband picked up my dad from the airport and wandered around for an hour because he’d forgotten where he parked, (can you say Seinfeld Episode?).
  3. I went to the grocery and spent eighty dollars on things I didn’t need, but forgot the one thing I did (we still don’t have it by the way).
  4. My husband couldn’t figure out what was wrong with his contacts, when, after ten minutes, he realized he had put one on top of the other.
  5. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my contacts, and spent five minutes trying to take out the “blurry” one, poking myself in the eye repeatedly when I noticed that it had fallen to the floor and never, in fact, made it into my eye at all.
  6. Finally, I walked into the kitchen two seconds before my husband put a metal coffee mug into the microwave, saving us (and the electrical wiring) from a potential hazard.

The thing is … don’t you think we know how busy we are?  We laugh (and sometimes cry) at our own tired stupidity, but still, people like to point out obvious things, with obvious phrases like: “I’m just saying,” “No offense,” and, my personal favorite, “Let’s drop it.”  These phrases are sadly, not limited to us and our situation alone, however.  In fact, any time people use any of these phrases directed at me, I think of the well known Tumbler quote that says, “Unless your name is Google, don’t act like you know everything.”

Let’s start with “I’m just saying.”  No one is ever “just saying.”  If they’re saying anything, it is without a doubt because they’ve got something to say, or they wouldn’t have stored it up to blurt out at you.  Now, this is not to say that some kind friends and family in your life don’t have real things to talk to you about, it’s their job to keep you on track after all, but kindness doesn’t begin with, “I’m just saying.”  Think about it.  If you’re, “just saying,” then you inherently don’t want to hear anything back.  You aren’t looking for a conversation or revelation … you just want to say your piece, have it heard, and back out of the discussion before a real one can begin.

Next, what’s up with “No offense?”  Seriously?  “No offense,” is always followed by a “but,” and where there’s a “but,” there is most assuredly an offense.  In fact, if you have to preface your advice to me with a, “No offense,” I will inadvertently be offended, either because what you said truly was offensive, or because you already knew I’d be offended but said it anyway!  No matter which way you go here, “No offense,” is not a great pre-dialogue move.

Finally, the inevitable, “Let’s drop it.”  People only want to “drop it,” when they’ve already dropped a loaded comment that probably would have been safer tucked away.  I’m not saying honesty shouldn’t be shared, but again, sharing is a two-way street.  Using a line like, “Let’s drop it,” means that the person is trying to end the little powwow deliberately after they’ve said what they wanted to say, but before it turns into a debate.  That is one cowardly conversation my friends, and I think we know it.

Ultimately, talking is good.  Heart-to hearts, exchanging of views, consultations, negotiations, huddles … all great.  But tossing out hurtful, obvious phrases just to be, “heard” only makes the rest of us annoyed at best, and offended at worst.  I agree with David Pratt, “I do not know it all, and do not claim to.”  I am sure I have been one to offend, and I ask for forgiveness in my sometimes flawed conversation.  But Leo Buscaglia spoke of the non-apologetic kind, saying, “Those who think they know it all, have no way of finding out they don’t.”  Well … I’m just saying, I think that in this post I found a way to tell them.  No offense.  And since I think I’ve made my point, let’s drop it.


10.11.15 The Hypocrisy of Pessimists


Photo on 3-2-15 at 2.10 PM #2

Janis Joplin once said, “I must be an optimist, because a pessimist is never disappointed.”  Isn’t that the truth?  I am surrounded by pessimists … we all are.  People who complain about the weather, and whether or not their day has some kind of vendetta against them.  People who can’t stand their job, but get fired up about “others” who are trying to steal it.  There is never such a thing as a good day for a pessimist, because the minute their feet hit the ground, they’ve convinced themselves that there is enough deficient in the prospect of their day, to categorize it as “bad” before it begins.  Negativity is a self-fulfilling attitude … but I wonder … do pessimists know how hypocritical they are?  If not, I wrote a little poem to tell them. Enjoy (unless you’re a pessimist that is).

The Hypocrisy of Pessimists

I have realized for some time now,

as the truth has weighed to me,

the nature of the negative

and of their hypocrisy.

So regardless of the weather,

of their luck or of their day,

those who are most pessimistic

always find the worst to say.

If it’s hot they wish it cooler,

when it’s chilly they want warm.

If it’s rainy their complaining

but last week they begged for storms.

There is never one day happy

without first some discontent,

and instead of counting riches

all they see is what’s been spent.

And the funny thing is, people,

whom have such opinions thus …

never find the fault within them

but in others? Plenty fuss.

No one ever meets their standards,

but in truth, we know none could,

because pessimists find fault

in even those they never should.

I have wondered at the darkness

blooming in them like stained ink,

and I fear the stain runs deeper

than what you or I may think.

Opposition is contagious

and complaint is just the start

of a life consumed and starless,

shadows spreading from the heart.

You may fault my optimism,

you may think me too naïve,

but each day I breathe I choose joy,

though the world wants me to grieve.

There is much that’s wrong with life here,

let me be first to agree,

but not one heartbreak can be solved

by overt hypocrisy.

If the universe is failing,

by all means suggest a cure …

just stop randomly complaining

with a judgment so obscure.

Erasing all iniquity

will take quite some time – it’s true.

But we have to begin somewhere,

so let’s start this change with you.

10.4.15 If Nothing Were an Issue



Sometimes I think about all the things I would do, and be, and say and try if nothing were an issue.  If I didn’t have to worry about money, or time, about acceptance, or the expectations of others.  An unfiltered “bucket list” of sorts, it would be extensive.  I feel like I have the potential to be so eclectic, whimsical and cultured.  I would be the kind of person I am only able to be in the smallest of portions. 

So here’s to imaginary me … and who I’d be, if nothing were an issue. 

If nothing were an issue, I would relish in antiques.  I would frequent vintage shops and try on hats from eras that most of the world has forgotten.  I would find a way to wear dresses that have never lost their style, and I’d buy elegant, age-worn pieces of furniture that I’d refinish expertly.  My collection would tell a wordless story that transcends time itself.  My home would be filled with items that are unequivocally unique and distinct in their purpose.  I’d have large hutches with hundreds of cubbies and drawers, filled with unlabeled treasures for curious minds to find.  And with a slight old-world European flair, everyone would feel comfortable, and connected, though they’d not be able to explain why. 

If nothing were an issue, I would make my travels brave.  I would focus on uncharted, off-map places.  From hiking highest peaks to sand-stepping coastal villages, I would find a way to make the digital, fast-paced, apathetic world feel wild again, and vast.  I would stand too close to the crashing surf just to taste freedom, and spend hours wandering … not lost.  I would take the time to learn the names of flowers I’d forgotten from the garden lessons given to me as a girl. I would track the trails of the greatest explorers to feel the trace of history, and touch the places others seeked to find.  To the many settings of the natural world that inspired the greatest of authors to pen them onto page … I would go, just to see how close my imagination really was.

If nothing were an issue, I would take time to make every individual in my path feel special.  Not learning, but remembering a name, not guessing, presuming, or assuming, but asking them to tell me their story – this would be the type of relation I’d crave.  I would only weave proper introductions, taking my new acquaintance to coffee at a place that had no drive through, and only served on non-disposable dishes. When our time of sweet, grand conversation had ended, I would say “Let’s do this again,” and have a foreseeable date in the near future to make good on my promise.  I wouldn’t text, I wouldn’t email, I would call, just to hear the smile in their voice. 

If nothing were an issue, I would let myself be young, not only when I thought it was appropriate.  I’d not hesitate to climb that tree with limbs like a ladder that tempt me, or feel abashed to make myself grilled cheese.  I would drink chocolate-milk on Saturday mornings and take baths with bubbles that threaten to overwhelm me with their lighter-than-air, suffocating multiplication. I would swing with my head parallel with the sky, and make wishes on every star … not just the first one I saw.  I would sleep on the floor with my dog and curl into a ball with my cat, right where the sun spread enough room for us both to fit.  If I felt afraid of the dark, or the day, I’d find relief in hugging my teddy bear and telling him all my troubles.  Every morning really would be new, and bright, and full of do-overs, with no shadows or memories to wrestle. 

If nothing were an issue, I would allow myself to dream without conditions.  Nothing would be impossible, improbable or impractical, because ambition and my will would consume them.  Every great thought, offered prayer, or imagined whim could be satisfied.  What was once pretend, a far-fetched aspiration might transform with my assurance.  I would believe and believing would surely be enough.

There is no good reason that should keep us from evolving into who we’re meant to be.  I’m not there … because things are an issue, but only because I give them permission to be.  Coco Chanel once said, “A woman should be two things: who and what she wants.”  Little by little – even if there’s an issue – I’ll try, and I hope you will too. 

Literarily yours,