That first Whiff


terri, scott and i                                I’m on the left, Scott is the one on the right

I think we all have them… that file of memories tucked somewhere inside of each of us that snaps us back like a rubber-band. That place when we smell or taste something familiar or hear a song that sends us back to a different time in our memories. I even have a time of day that hits me in a way that I just feel safe. As if someone has just told me that it is all going to be okay. For me it is around two PM.  That time of day must have been about the time when I’d wake up from my daily nap to my mom’s warm welcome back. A time before bills, a time when someone else took care of all my needs.

Whenever I taste chocolate milk, (BOSCO to be exact) I always think of my friend Scott who lived nextdoor. His mom would set up a little table under the tree in his front yard and make us peanut butter and honey sandwiches and chocolate milk. Such a decadent treat back in those simple days. I can still taste it. I remember walking into his kitchen,  and the scent of plums and peaches filling my head. His dad had a grocery store a few block away and every once and a while, I get a whiff of what that grocery store smelled like, and it snaps me back into those carefree wonderful days. It was a combination of the produce and deli departments and the memory of buying pixi stix for a penny each that still can prick my heart.

Bactine and Dippity Doo, Coppertone,  and the smell of tar and asphalt all have the same effect (The tar smell probably because there was a freeway close to our school that they always seemed to be working on. As a kid, I also loved the smell of a restaurant as you walked through the door. You know that first whiff. A combination of cigarettes and coffee. Every now and then I smell it but now that they don’t allow smoking in restaurants, that exact whiff is few and far between.

One of my favorite memories is falling asleep in the car as a kid. Watching the moon follow me home as I drift off and then feel my dad pick me up and carry me inside. As he unlocked the door and that first whiff of “HOME” would hit me. I can’t explain it, nor have I ever been able to duplicate it,  but I can still smell it in my head. And it was the BEST! I think it was a combination of a million things. But most of all, I think it was just  that it was that  time in my life when someone else was in charge of worrying about everything. Maybe there is a special scent for feeling carefree? If not, there should be!

How about you? What do you remember? What are some of your best  memory smells? You know, those first whiffs moments that you will never forget?

To Stop Fighting The Smile


 

my-buddies-and-the-twinsI’m the 2nd one from the left

Recently, my husband told me that he loves my smile and yet it looks as if I am always fighting against it, smiling that is. After trying to decide if that was a compliment or a creatively disguised dig, I decided to give him a pass and to really contemplate his words.

From as far back as I can remember, I think I have fought happiness. Just looking  back at the old black and white photos I have of myself as a kid,  I do tend to find more with a silly, half grin than a full on smile. And it makes me sad. Because I don’t think I ever allowed myself to fully experience joy from a very early age.

Lately, I have been on a quest to go back and get that kid and bring her home to the place that she belongs. With all of her disappointments and insecurities, I am not sure if I really want to. And yet I don’t think I have a choice nor can I ever really live in “me” until I do. Inviting this younger version of myself back into my life to really dig deep and explore some of the things I never have about myself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child who doesn’t want to be anywhere, least of all anywhere near you, to live with you!

As I look inside of myself, back, back, back, into a time in my life where there was joy and harmony, I find a kid with a grape juice stained mouth and a pile of books. I loved my grape juice and my books! I flash on sitting on the counter baking with my mom and can even still smell the glue as I remember watching my dad retile the tile in our bathroom. I remember rides in the car and the Drive in and picking berries on a summer day out in the woods in Washington. I remember feeding the ducks and moving to California and meeting my bestfriend who I have remained best friends with over the decades. And I smile.

But somewhere along the way, that kid got disappointed and things happened in her life that caused her to have a hard time trusting anyone let alone her self,  she felt hurt and misunderstood over and over and over again and re-visiting the parts of her pain  is not the easiest task at hand. Getting to know the younger version of yourself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child on a wonderful vacation. But we all need to go there. To interrupt our lives and explore the parts of us that never integrated into our adult self. If we don’t that kid will continually pop back into our life when we are least expecting them. They always seem to appear in the form of anger, or  fear or in the deepest part of our sorrow.

I have a feeling my childish self is not going to come or go quietly. She may even go kicking and screaming but I need to trust myself that it is going to be okay. It will be okay for her too. She is safe now, inside of the adult me. I have finally begun to trust myself and to quit relying on everyone else to make it better. To stop living in the past and finally take my own steps into the future. To trust myself and learn to love me and believe in me and KNOW that what I feel about me is enough. I am the boss of me. Well, of course God is the boss of me, but you know what I mean. I have been giving that power to everyone else in my life and I am taking it back from EVERYONE and only giving it to God and me! And I am empowered and the child in me calms and begins to relax in the knowledge that somebody else is in control now.

For so long, I have doubted everything about myself. My intelligence & abilities, my wisdom and even my morals and my own character and just when I fell into the darkest place of my life, that is when I began to see the light, as if lost in a cave, dark and damp, only to find the hope of a ray of light through the cracks. That is where I am now. I have found the light. I may not totally be out of the cave yet but I see the way out and I am going to beat the myth of being stuck in my child. Instead I am going to invite her to come into the light with me and find the joy. I am strong enough and smart enough and brave enough to guide her right to the light where she belongs.

I am going to stop fighting the smile. To believe  in the dream  that it really is okay to genuinely be happy and take new photographs and to smile really big.  And…“Say cheeeeese.” To let everyone know I am happy and that I don’t have to fight it any longer.

my-smile

Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat


 

shower-spraying

I can’t explain it but the older I get… the more I notice things. I need room in my head for mundane chatter. Whether it is my iPod as I walk or my mp3 when I drive, or the background noise of the TV, to put me to sleep. I am not sure what it is but I don’t like silence in my daily life.  It’s not that I need to be around a lot of people. (I am around people all day at work.)  Actually, I like being alone quite a lot, and enjoy my own company. It is more like the need to have my mind occupied so I don’t have a lot of time to be overwhelmed by my own thoughts of what I need to do or worry about things that I really have no control over. And I’m afraid, it is a little crazy making.

jogger-with-ipod

And yet, I have discovered why. I have so many thoughts in my head, I think that my head might burst, if I just settled down to re-live every memory or think every thought. My boss laughs at me sometimes, because we share an office and at times the filter gets jarred and I just ramble on about everything, to a point where I am sure she gets pretty dizzy. She has a smiling raised eyebrow look that is a gracious way of helping me realize I need to shut up! (And I am smiling as I write that.)  Maybe because our office is one of those quiet places that I have to stop and think,  which is a good thing, because in that case I can focus on my tasks at work and get more work done!

computer-screen-frustration

I guess besides my office, there are two places that I must have complete silence, one is my choice and one is because I have not invested in the technology that can get wet yet. The first one is at my computer, while I write. I can’t have background noise and in fact, it is the time that I utilize all that clutter in my brain to write about all those thoughts in my head!

The other place is in my shower. Maybe it is because it is the place where I have closed my eyes leaned back and stood beneath the same water, and had to be alone with all those thoughts. From the time I was nine or ten, I took showers and the ritual of washing my hair and planning my day and closing my eyes and shampooing, rinse and repeating  has always been the same. Day after day, year after day, My shampoos have changed along with my body, growing taller, growing up, pregnant, losing weight, gaining weight, tanned in the summer, white in the winter. Excited for the day, planning what came next, crying and praying, and even writing in my head sometimes. A place where I couldn’t get away from me. A place sometimes where God would find me and or I would find Him, where my mind could stop and really listen and where my heart could catch up.

lemon-go-lightly-shampooherbal-essence

 

My shampoos have changed over the years, my body has changed, my hair has changed. But when I am in that shower I still can find that ten-year old, or remember that 30-year-old. I think of best friends gone now, lovers lost, family passed and it is all overwhelming. I think of vacations planned for and just a memory now and feel the water as I close my eyes and plan my day and pray.

paul-mitchell-shampoo

Shampoo Rinse Repeat…

I stand in the shower remembering

like reading a journal backwards

Seems like I’ve stood beneath this same water

almost  a million days before

Shampoo, rinse repeat, and then condition

as I continued to plan my days

The warm water running over me

as I close my eyes and pray.

d reed

The Importance of This One Question in All of Our Lives


peaceful-forest

Recently, I have been on this journey of self discovery. I kind of wish that I’d done it a lot sooner. It is rather frustrating to have discovered this simple key that helps me understand others more and never took the time to  apply it to myself. I think I was just so busy with being busy that I’ve only just muddled through being aware of things when it comes to me.

But the one huge thing that I’ve discovered and has become crystal clear to me now, is…. how we all start out as kids. And the key for me has always been the word… HOW.

mirror-broken

I know when I am aware of someone’s difficult past, there is a degree of forgiveness and grace that I automatically allow. It is so automatic that I hardly even think of it any longer. But somehow I forgot to allow myself the same grace. And that has been a pretty big revelation as I wander back picking up the pieces where I left off as a kid and who I was and why I am who I am today.

I think that I think too much and it drives me nuts. It is funny how some of us are wound. I know that in my life, letting go of the excessive thoughts could have set me freer. Wondering what others were thinking, making up in my head what they were thinking…etc.  In my journey, I  realized that I set different expectations for people in my life. There are some, where I see their faults but overlook them for the sake of our relationship and can live happily that way. Others where I notice them, but if it doesn’t effect me in my head (and who decides that?!) I can co-exist on some level that is annoying but doesn’t blow my day away because I have learned to distance myself emotionally. And then there are those poor unfortunate souls that  don’t have any grace at all. I am constantly aware of every last sin and call them on each one. WHY?! Maybe because they matter to me. What they think of me, what I think of them. They are the ones that make a difference in my life.

I know that I want to care less about everything, in the way that it effects me negatively. Though I know that I will always over think some things, but  as I understand me more, it won’t matter as much. Like the guy who cuts you off in traffic or the rude clerk in a store, have nothing to do with “me” and more about who they are… If I could only give the people actually in my life the same grace, my brain could relax a little more.

I think the thing that really prompted me to go back on this journey is this question that really caught me off guard…..

And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?

What about you? Hopefully you haven’t lived fifty years and just now realize the importance of the answer to this question.

mirror-old-and-young

 

 

Like A Boom-A-Rang


doorknob

I have been spending a lot of time in the archives of some of my favorite wordpress writers here. I have always found it funny when people have told me that they wish I would write more when I have over two years worth of posts in my first archives that I am sure that they haven’t seen or for that matter, no one has ever seen.

When I began this blog, my daughter had just left for school and though I hadn’t been a stay at home mom for years, and had a full life with a full time job, the hole I felt was deeper than I’d ever expected and so in working around my feelings, I found a blog called Empty Nesters that really helped me not feel so alone, where other people talked about their feelings too and it really helped. As an all my life writer wanna-be, I took the plunge and after starting a few different blogs, found wordpress and settled down here. Writing mainly for me. Never expecting anyone else to read my silly ramblings.

book store

 

Now over 2000 followers later, I feel blessed to have settled down in my little blog neighborhood with people who I actually consider my friends. It is hard to keep up with everyone. But it is fun to go back in their archives and read their earlier posts. It made me wander back into my own before anyone ever read any of them… Mostly before 2012. It is like going back and opening up an old door. And it is funny because I find the words I wrote so long ago a little useful to me. I used to say if I could help just one person by sharing my story than that was enough. Never imagining that the one person that needed my advice would be me.

writing signature

Maybe we need to backtrack and from time to time go back into our own posts and find some good advice. You know what they say, sometimes, all you have to do is look in your own backyard for what you are looking for!

Try it. If you are looking for some answers in your life today, go back and look through some of your old journals or posts and see if you might find something helpful there. You might find that you have grown a little wiser since writing. But you may also find that you actually can learn something from yourself all those years ago.

Too funny…. Like a boom-a-rang I have to swallow my own words.

reading on the floorPerhaps we are smarter than we give ourselves credit for and we need to find the answers in our own lessons learned.     d.reed