Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Life Lesson #1: Smurfs are Evil!

One of my earliest childhood memories was at Hanna Barbara Land. I have no idea how old I was at the time. I don't recall any sound. This is one of few memories I have without it, which leads me to believe the memory is before '85.

I remember the rainbow as we entered the gate and children everywhere, smiling. My mother had given us the okay to watch the Smurfs perform live. This was a BIG deal! 

You see... our church proclaimed that the Smurfs were little devils, and they were evil. We were forbidden to watch them at home and had to sneak episodes in the basements of friends. 

Today was special. We were on holiday and today we would watch the Smurfs perform live!

I sat knock-kneed on a cold bleacher in the hot humid air. The Smurfs took stage-much larger than I had expected. 

I don't remember the performance, but I remember the balls of lint on their arms. I had similar balls of lint on my sweaters at home. This baffled me. 

How did their skin have lint balls? Did they wear blue sweaters in the heat? Odd creatures:  Smurfs.

The performance ended and the Smurfs made their way into the croud. They greeted parents and patted the heads of children like politicians. I wasn't interested in meeting any of them. Actually, they creeped me out a little. 

My interest:  ice cream. After the performance my mother made good on her promise to treat us to Smurf ice cream. I could hardly wait!

The concoction that the worker scooped out was blue and sparkled in the sun. I imagined that the ice cream had magical powers, like berry juice on the Gummy Bears! It would empower me to leap across high buildings and halt evil doers with a single bounce! Perhaps it would change my size like in Alice in Wonderland. Would I be small like the Smurfs on TV or huge like the ones that lived in Hanna Barbara Land? Or, maybe... just maybe... it would turn my tongue blue! That would STILL be amazing!

I remember that first scoop of ice cream as it hit my mouth. Blueberries. The best, most amazing blueberries you could ever imagine. 

More! Faster! 
Damn, brainfreeze. 
Perhaps a little too fast? 

I squeezed my head with my right hand trying to stop the pain. Squinting through my eye lid with my left eye, I examined my left hand as my spoon dangled out of my lips. 
Was it larger? No. 
Smaller? No. 
My eye caught the corner of the metal side of the ice cream cart. I could catch my reflection.

I darted over to the cart without a care in the world. My heart felt like it was in the Indy 500 as it raced with excitement and anticipation. Catching my reflection on the corner of the cart I stuck my tongue out and squinted to examine what was in front of me. 

Blue! My tongue was blue. SCORE! Suddenly the brainfreeze no longer mattered.

I paced myself to finish my ice cream. I managed to stick my tongue out at each and every person who walked past. Finally, the last bite. I savored it. 

My eye caught the bottom of the bowl. There were words. I recognized the letters; however, I was still too young to read. I could feel my heart rev up again with excitement. 

Did I win a prize? I must have! I won a prize! What could it possibly be? The checkered flag was waving.

Mom. I needed Mom. Mom can read and she will tell me exactly what I've won. Quickly I put one foot in front of the other, darted towards my mother, and pushed every obstacle out of my way. I cornered like a dream and was first to the finish line.

"Mom. I won! What did I win? What's my prize?" I jumped up and down waving the bowl and spoon in front of my mother's face. Splatters of blue were flying everywhere.

Mom grabbed my arm, and the bowl along with it. She read the manuscript diligently.

Her face. I knew that face. I had seen it before and it wasn't a positive thing:  eyes big with a look of concern, lips puckered trying to form the right words, eyebrows close together creating that bubble you get when deep in thought, and she had her head cocked to the left anticipating my reaction. Right was empathetic. Left was judgement. Hers was left.

Mom put her hand on her hip and pushed the bowl into my face. She was moving it in front of me as if to show me the words. I watched her lips and the world froze in time. What was she going to say to me? I was ready to read their motion. 

"Sarah, you didn't win a prize, see." She waved more. 

This is the first memory I have of feeling patronized. If I could read you wouldn't have the bowl in the first place, now would you? 

"It's not a prize." She scoffed. "It's a warning. For parents." The dramatic pause.
"It says to not be alarmed when it turns your pee and poop blue."

Oh my ___. My chest. I can't breathe. I can't even read yet and I'm having my first panic attack. Who does that? What type of people, things, do that to you? Lure me in with ice cream and promises of magical things and than this? No control. It's too late. I already am deathly afraid of going to the bathroom. I'd not pee for three days if I had anything to say about it. But to turn my pee and poop blue? Sadistic!

I could see my little sister laughing in the corner of my eye. I shot her a look that would kill, and she stopped. Oh, yah. I could do that already. These green eyes can turn into a monster like that. *snap. Stupid baby.

Mom always moved past things quickly. She was ready to hit the next area of the park yesterday, and I was still trying to understand what had just happened. Mom snatched my wrist and pulled me out of the arena. As she dragged me away my head was turned back. My eyes glarred at Papa Smurf with the death gaze. I know he felt me. I never would watch the Smurfs again.

That was the point in my life that I knew for certain that Smurfs were evil. The church was right. 

As I've grown older and lived my life I still encounter a Smurf now and then. The only difference is that they don't always wear the blue sweater, but they are out there...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Who Am I?



Society places these upon us.
Why do we allow them to define who we are expected to be?

I've never been comfortable in a box.
I can't breathe.
The sides feel like they are closing in all around & I can't see.
Too many expectations.
What does this all mean?
What's society's perception of,

Ethnocentric points of view.
The world is guilty of using them to reference each of you.
The fertile ground where bullies are bred.
A dark, isolated place inside an ignorant head.

The world places these categories,
these labels,
these roles,
on the things seen as different than thee.
The sweet little lie is justified with false belief
that it helps us
understand one another?

But how does a
category, label, role...
How does this give you the slightest glimpse into my complicated soul?

Imagine for a moment that you had to spend an entire day
describing one another
without labels,
without roles.

What would you say?

Would it force you to look at people differently?
Would it force you to see individuality?

The absence of

And what about yourself?
Would you then see your value?
Would you recognize your wealth?

No longer permitted to cling to
your category,
your label,
your role.

Or is yours a more frightening fate?
Left wondering: Who the HELL am I?
Standing there lost & confused in an anxious state.

You aren't a category.
You aren't a label.
You aren't a role.

You are unique.
You are special.
You are an individual.
You are all of this in spite of what names for you society may call.

You are not a category.
Republican, Democrat, Christian, Atheist.
You are a person.

You are not a label.
Gay, Straight, Bi.
You are a person.

You are not a role.
Husband. Wife. Daughter. Son.
You are a person.

Can you go for just one day?
No identification tied to
to labels,
to roles?

"Tell me a little bit about yourself..."

What will you say?

Double Edged Sword

We are all talented people.
Our talents are both a blessing and a curse.
Double edged swords
sharpened and refined.
Blessing and

I love being around people,
I take them home with me.
Not literally, don't be silly
(although... at times I have tried, TRUST me)!

Empathy is a funny talent.
It's really not a skill you can learn.
You are either born with it, or you aren't.
You either watch the fire
you can actually FEEL it burn!

I'm deeply impacted by other people's emotions.
I feel the tightness of their shoes.
I feel his flat feet and her high arches.
When you win, I am surged with adrenaline.
When you fall, my knees are also skinned and bruised.

I'm like a bug attracted to light
when others want to share their plight.
A listening ear, a shoulder to catch a tear.
Giving understanding because I too feel so misunderstood and
I know how to make your life so clear.

You see, I love the fact that I can empathize with people
but I hate the fact I can't pull out my #2, flip it over, and erase all the pain.
I couldn't imagine living in isolation away from the world,
but I also can imagine living life without it:

Tug of war.
Push and pull.
Needing to be involved.
Needing to be detached.
Wishing all of my talents could learn
how to interact
with one another.

I have this too.
So strong that at times my intuition is on overdrive in my dreams.
Oblivious to my surroundings by day because I'm so deep in thought.
Processing subconsciously everything my conscious missed at night;
forecasting the future in my sleep while my thoughts are at rest.
Awareness that all is never what it seems.

Intuition is a wonderful thing when you learn to trust your gut.
On the flip side it makes you prone to conspiracy theories and
you can distrust to a point where you get stuck in a negative rut.

I want to help.
I'm skeptical about helping.

I'm an idealist to the core.
I always have a hunger for something more.
I believe utopia is in sight.
Then reality takes a nasty bite.
Looking at the world I see how perfect things could be.
I want to teach everyone how to live in harmony.
*insert Coke commercial here*

It makes me want to drop all of my responsibilities.
Nomad. Running loose.
A redhead on the run searching to make this existence a better place for you, for me.
It's not that easy.
Bills to pay.
I'm raising a family.
Why can't I get paid for being a redhead on the run,
making the world a better place?

Non-stop tug of war.
Heart pulls this way.
Logic from my mind pushes me down.

These are the battles that wage in my mind
when I'm daydreaming all of the time.
How can I find that balance?
How can I use this sword so that it cuts away the clutter of every day
and doesn't cut you or cut me?
What we have as we?
Double edged sword.

On the outside I'm cool, I'm calm,
I'm collected.
Inside, I'm
(deep breath)

Something more.
My life is meant for so much more.
I know it. I feel it.
How do I obtain it?

I guess it starts with me.
I need to figure out how to use this myriad of unique talents
in perfectly synchronized unity.

Until then I play of tug of war.
Push. Pull.
Both blessing and a curse.
Eventually I will win this game we call life
and know what my purpose here is for.


We are all broken people.
You are no more broken than me.
Some can hide it,
wear masks.
They think that no one out there can see.

She puts on her lipstick, red.
Polished heels, sharp suit.
She enters the world holding up her head.
Inside she is tormented.
Mistakes present and from the past.
A lost and lonely soul.

He stands in front of his congregation.
A pulpit, a pedestal, preaching to the crowd.
He strives to lead with perfection.
Inside his expectations make him drown.
Practice what you preach.
The mantra plays like a broken record, round & round.

She sits nervous over coffee.
Wanting him to like everything he sees.
This is the first time they will meet.
Being single at age 40 isn't where she ever thought she'd be.
Inside her gut she carries baggage of a broken heart and being lonely.
Outside she twiddles her bracelet and covers up the charm from her past love.
He left her.

He is always so funny.
He makes all of his friends laugh.
Years ago he was bullied.
Now he covers the wounds.
Bandaged up with smiles and deflection
from topics too painful to sound
into words about a broken youth.

She sits with her toys.
Wishing to get away from life's noise.
Insignificance is a monster.
It torments her from under her bed.
She cuts pictures from magazines mapping out the day she will wed.
Even at her young age
she doesn't see how she alone will ever be enough.
Her parents are too busy yelling at one another to see
she is...

He lost it all
with one unpredicted fall.
He stands with his cup
asking for just a buck.
People pass by, they don't look.
He stands and wonders, "when did I become just another character in life's book?"
Under a bridge his daughter waits.
No guarantee of dinner on their metaphorical plates.
Strangers assume he chose this fate.
He cries out, "I'm no different than you!"

Appearances are never what they seem.
We all have a past and we all dream.
Everyone has a story.
Everyone has been hurt.
Everyone is broken.

While the world is full of broken people,
all hope should not be lost.
Our brokenness makes us special.

Life is about community.
Relationships with one another.
If we weren't broken, why would we need one another?
Take off your mask.
Honestly is a sunlight you will love to sit and bask.
Until your weaknesses you reveal
you can never move forward and heal.
You will remain

We are all broken people.
You are no more broken than me.
Some can hide it,
wear masks.
They think that no one out there can see.

The world is full of people...