by MD Maurice
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Welcome to the place were I chronicle my own falls down dark holes and adventures chasing white rabbits! Come on In, Take a Bite, You Never Know What You May Find...
"Curiouser and curiouser." Alice in Wonderland
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 10th
Think back to a time when you felt completely calm. What made you feel that way?
Completely calm? That is a the rarest of conditions for me lately. It seems I am always thinking about work or my daughter or some element of my life I'm trying to manage. Even during yoga, when we are all supposed to be picturing ourselves walking on the beach and clearing our minds for mediation...I find myself making mental lists, thinking about to what I need to do when the class ends. I'm not good at going completely calm.
There is one exception, one place where I find it easier to let go and be in the moment. I find that kind of peace at the barn. My sister has a horse farm and several days as week my daughter and I go to feed and before her lesson. On the bright Spring days before the fly season kicks in, the place is a peaceful slice of paradise. There are blue skies and green grass. The horses are happily munching and we tool around in the farm vehicle listing to our barn playlist and taking time to visit with our gelding Roo. There is a real serenity I find there. It is such a departure from my 9-5 world. Whatever is troubling me, I tend to forget it the minute I step on property and hear Roo's nickering. He seems to know whenever my daughter is near. Watching them walking side by side, backlit by the glow of the late afternoon sun, brings me a calmness and joy that seems boundless at times.
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 7th
In your entry today, write about dreams. Do you dream often, or do you rarely remember your dreams? What is the strangest or most memorable dream you have ever had?
In the last year or so Ive begun taking melatonin gummies before bed. I find that they can sometimes give me very lucid but very disjointed dreams. I recall some parts of my dreams very vividly but the parts never seem to make sense when I try to join them together. I don't think I was a big dreamer overall, at least not memorable dreams. I went through a bizarre stint when I would have dreams about Mark Walberg after watching any movie at all in which he had even the briefest of cameos. They were racy dreams which was really odd because he wasn't at all someone I found particularly interesting. It lasted about a year then just as mysteriously, they went away. I can watch him in any movie today and no longer wake at 2am from a dreamy tryst.
The most lucid dreams I can remember having though where ones in which my ex would appear. I used to have a reoccurring dream when I would stretch out my legs in bed and my bare feet would come into contact with someone's back. It would be him, lying perpendicular across the end of my bed. In another I would wake to find him trying to place his clothes in my dresser draws. The conversations would always be sad. I would wake in tears most every time. My ex was a bad alcoholic. I had left him several months before his death and I think the dreams were always a manifestation of my inner guilt perhaps.
The most disturbing dreams I had were ones that involved me losing my teeth. It wasn't just one tooth, I would lose several a time. I think this is a fairly common theme in dreams and it does have several interpretations but I forget just now what those were.
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 6th
Write about a community service or volunteer experience you’ve had in your life that made an impact on you.
This prompt has me drawing a blank, and I am embarrassed to admit that. I don't know as I have had much opportunity to volunteer in my community for some time. I was however a Sea Urchin volunteer during my middle school years at our local aquarium. It was definitely an impactful experience. At the time I believed I was destined to be a marine biologist and I was convinced that gig volunteering at the aquarium would be the first milestone on my journey to scientific greatness.
My stint lasted over two consecutive summers. It was filled with surprising revelations, the first one being that I did not enjoy dealing with the larger marine vertebrates...at all. I would have thought that spending the afternoons with dolphins and sea lions would be the ultimate dream for a girl who modeled herself after Dr. Eugene Clark and Jacques Cousteau. In reality, those duties numbers among my least favorite. The dolphins were ill- tempered. They like to spit at my while I was mopping the marine stage. The sea lions had a lovely habit in sliding in their own poop piles and cleaning up after them was horrendous. They were also know to be a bit mouthy and I saw more than one Aquarist with nasty bites from dealing with them in close proximity.
The tasks I ended up enjoying the most were more menial in nature, which was equally as surprising to me. I loved working behind the exhibit tanks with the Aquarists, preparing the food gel and stuffing the fish with vitamins. It was smelly, messy work but I enjoyed it. I loved feeding the variety of fish and other marine species on display. There was a lumpfish who was so comfortable he would readily take bits of food from my hand and let me rub his head. I loved being on the inside of that world. I felt so proud walking through the door marked, "Designated Personnel" to the wide salon where the display tanks were all accessed from a door on the roof of each tank. One of my favorite spaces was the "closet" where they grew and cultured the brine shrimp that they would use to sustain many of the exhibits. It was a narrow space lined with large glass jars where microscopic shrimp grew in increasing sizes as you moved down the row. It buzzed and hummed with filters and machinery and seemed to me at the time to be a wonder of invention.
When I visit the aquarium now, much has changed. There are still some exhibits that are original to my time there, like the trout river and circular shark tank. The smell is there too, a strange mix of brine and chlorine and it always takes me back. It was a wonderful experience and I have a lot of stories from my time spent there.
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 5th
If your job gave you a surprise seven day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those seven days?
My current vacation day balance is 349 hours...just over 43 days. In a standard year, one not plagued by covid, I barely manage to take a week straight off. My vacation time does not rollover so if I fail to use it, which I always do, its lost to the great never-was...along with some of my soul.
My office is understaffed but what's more, I'm the only individual who knows how to do my job. Prior to the pandemic, I spent almost two years training an assistant, someone who could back me up in case of emergencies...(or vacations!) and then sadly, COVID hit and the company had to lay her off due to lack of work. No one was thinking about buying aircraft when the world was virtually closed for months and months.
My job, my career...is a bit of sore spot for me these days. I've grown up in this industry and I think I live and work a lot of the edge of perpetual burnout. I'm not in a good headspace and I feel like this prompt could easily verve off into a briar patch of bitching and complaining - who needs that?!
To focus on the strictly positive then...I have booked our family vacation. We are going to Cape for a week in August. It is our happy place and after missing out last summer, my family is really looking forward to exploring the dunes and beaches of the National Seashore, shark watching and taking in the sites and sounds and shops of Commercial Street in P-Town. We are counting the days. I know that the minute we pass through Wellfleet, I will begin to smell the salt flats of Truro and my soul will start to heal in all the rough places. I know that when I climb the observation tower and look over that beach forest landscape where the white dunes give way to the wide expanse of the deep blue Atlantic ocean, my heart will be overcome with gratitude once again. We will spend our days with our toes in the sand and our nights eating ice cream and watching street musicians and drag queens dance. I love that each year we ask our daughter where she wants to go and year after year she says the Cape without a moments hesitation. She obviously feels the same pull as I do.
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 4th
May the Fourth Be With You!
Write about a movie franchise or book series that you love.
I don't read too many series actually. Harry Potter might have been the only one in recent memory. Who doesn't love Harry Potter, right? It is so imaginative and creative. Despite her politics, I have a lot of respect for JK Rowling and the impressive world she built over an equally impressive number of volumes. She is a very prolific writer I think. I enjoy the immersive quality of her writing as well. For the most part, her books have lent themselves well to the films, I'm left satisfied that cast most aptly fits their literary counterparts. I think it makes the movies more enjoyable. There is something really special about seeing some of the elements of the books played out in a visually stunning ways.
I'd be remiss not to give a nod to Suzanne Collins for her Hunger Games series. While dystopian worlds don't typically attract me, I thought it was highly original and engaging. I loved the characters and once again, felt the films really brought the books to life in a very credible way.
I know as soon as I finish this entry I'll have a bunch more come to mind but its a cold, dreary day here in the New England and I'm much too preoccupied with making a visit to the coffee machine. The distractions are winning out over the muses today.
|30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 3rd
What was the best thing that happened in your life over the weekend? Looking at the week ahead, what are your goals and how will you motivate yourself to achieve them?
This weekend my husband and I got our 2nd doses of the vaccine. Even though it knocked us both on our asses, it really felt like the best part of the weekend because it means we are 14 days closer to hugging my grandmother, to hosting our friends and family and planning vacations again. It has been a long, long time and there is much we have missed. Unfortunately, the slight fevers, headaches and body aches made finishing our weekend chores impossible. The week ahead will consist of catching up on those tasks and projects we could not get to. There is a levity in those chores though; the yard work, cleaning the deck, taking the summer clothes down from the attic...they all make life ready to absorb the summer months and all the promise and fun that season brings. I will be motivated by looking forward to enjoying the yard, of hearing the sounds of my neighborhood - alive and full of life. I look forward to bonfires with friends and grilling most of our meals, enjoying dinners on the deck. This summer seems so much sweeter, so much more full of promise after all the long months of isolation under the pandemic. There is tremendous motivation in reclaiming some normalcy.
|30 Day blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 2nd
What smells or sounds bring back great memories of your childhood?
For me, it seems my childhood was spent in the basement of the tiny Raymond Hill Library. It was my happy place. They kept the Dorrie the Little Witch book in the children's stacks and it always smelled like moth balls and dust down there. I would curl up and read while my mother would attempt to corral my younger siblings into listening to story time or using the Lego tables. I moved quickly on from Dorrie to other more astute works but that musty combination of old books and dusty shelves always takes me back to the time when I first fell in love with books.
MEK is another smell that connects me to my childhood. MEK is a noxious smelly lubricate that the aviation technicians use. I spent many hours at work with my Dad at the airport and the smell pervaded the hanger and has become part of my permanent olfactory landscape. Even to this day, walking through the hanger on the way to my office, it transports me back. It has been a smell that has been part of my earliest memories and it grounds me like no other.
|30-Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT May 1st
Write about one (or more) of your creative idols. Who do you look up to? Whose work are you most inspired by? Why?
Playing catch-up this morning after I was waylaid by my 2nd dose of the covid vaccine this weekend. Today I am kicking off the week, fever and chill free and hopeful. I am looking forward to reaching full immunity by mid-May, and of reconnecting with friends and family after a long isolation. So...my creative idols...I feel like I've done this one before but for the most part my creative idols are authors.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez tops my list and has since I first read, Love in a Time of Cholera. I was impressed by the absolute beauty conveyed in prose, beauty that survived being translated into English from his native Spanish. To this day, I've not found passages in any other works that expressed the same loveliness of his phrasing. His writing has an amazing candor to it that crosses cultural divides and generations.
“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
I could not be a writer of erotica and not pay homage to DH Lawrence or Anis Nin. I see them as a founders of the erotic genre, incredible talents who paved the way for an underrated genre, unfortunately represented today by lesser talents. Every reader that claims to have discovered erotic by reading "Fifty shades", came to the genre without the benefit of the tremendous literary power of these early pioneers. These were authors who challenged the brave new world, sometimes as great expense and disdain, to unapologetically write about the human condition, about female sexuality and the balance of instinct and social acceptance.
“Instead of answering her as soon as he saw her hair grow electric, her face more vivid, her eyes like lightning, her body restless and jerky like a racehorse’s, he retired behind this wall of objective understanding, this gentle testing and acceptance of her, just as one watches an animal in the zoo and smiles at his antics, but is not drawn into this mood. It was this which left Lilith in a state of isolation - indeed, like a wild animal in an absolute desert.”
― Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus
Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power,
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like
― D.H. Lawrence
My list is a good deal longer and would read like a master class in the craft..
James Lee Burke for example, an absolute master in character creation. His characters breathe and live and die among the pages of his novels and then they haunt you like mad demons...like people you have actually physically known.
Lewis Carroll gave lie to Alice in Wonderland and she is my ultimate favorite literary character and kindred spirit.
Mo Hader, the British author who's work The Devil of Nanking taught me there is a kind of terrible beauty in the telling of the visceral darkness of human beings.
Authors are some of my most favorite creators on the planet. I have learned something from each any every one on this list and countless more.
I know I'm Superwoman, I know I'm strong
I know I've got this 'cause I've had it all along
I'm phenomenal and I'm enough
I don't need you to tell me who to be
The lyrics are from Kelly Clarkson’s song, Broken and Beautiful. On a at day like today, I can proudly relate to these lyrics. I am juggling one closing, prepping for a problematic one in two days, closing out commissions for the month and submitting all the marketing for the summer deadlines in addition to drafting the campaign layouts for the remaining two quarters of the year.
If that sounds like a lot, my morning actually started five hours ago when I was up loading laundry and the dishwasher, packing the car with riding cloths and boots and rehearsing the heart to heart chat I was going to take on with my daughter that morning. In between exchanging texts with my husband, I was sending emails, getting the dogs fed and medicated and getting my uncooperative daughter up and out the door. Motherhood is a lot. Working full time in a demanding industry in an understaffed office is a lot. Doing both is damn near exhausting some days. Some days I just rock it. It is easy to check things off my list and tell myself I’m a Superwoman. We women are amazing, right? How else could we run our households, hold down jobs and get shit done? Superwomen, each any every one of us.
But there is the truth…I average three to four mediocre days a week for every one of those kick-ass Superwoman ones. I wake up with so many aches and pains each morning I feel like a broken and brittle doll. I don’t get after my daughter as much as I need to. My house isn’t spotless. I cut corners and simply just run out of “umph” more times than I would ever admit. I’m running to catch up…on everything it seems. And work? Well, work is always there, always demanding more. There has always been someone’s slack that I need to pick up, gears that need to be greased and fires that need putting out. As a working mom, I am acutely aware of every time I need to leave early, and split vacations days to cover her breaks and days off. I am the only one with school age children in my office and it weights on me more than it should.
I wear so many hats that I feel like I am constantly triaging my parental and work responsibilities so I can prove to them that I can do it all. Yet, I’m loathe to admit that each and every “Superwoman day” is brilliantly and cruelly balanced by the days when I am painfully reminded that no one really cares. Its work right, we all do it. No one cares as long as it gets done. There are days when I give into the frustration, the invisibility, the twenty-five years of working in that same box. Some days its deceivingly easy to trip on my own cape and end up crying in the bathroom.
So Superwoman? Maybe not so much…Which brings me to the chorus of Kelly’s anthem, and in essence, the truth behind the Superwoman myth for me.
Can someone just hold me?
Don't fix me, don't try to change a thing
Can someone just know me?
'Cause underneath, I'm broken and it's beautiful
More days then not, I feel like I’m failing it all…my marriage, my daughter, my career. I do not feel like the Superwoman. I do not feel like I am even “seen”. I don’t feel like a person who has her own aspirations and dreams, or at least once did. I feel burned out and tired. Broken.
The truth is I will always need to be held and comforted more often than I will ever admit. Even if I appear to be getting it all done, I am not. Rest assured that regardless of what it looks like, I am knowingly robbing some Peter to pay some Paul somewhere, and I know it will catch up to me. I am not artfully and skillfully shouldering all that I need to have done in a day and I sometimes just need to hear that it is okay.
I don’t need someone to fix things for me, I just need them to know me and understand that no one has higher expectations of myself than me. Sometimes this Superwoman just needs comfort. Sometimes I need someone to gather up all my broken dolls limps and just hold me for a moment.
|Spring came to my corner of the world this weekend, complete with a flawless Cerulean sky and temps mild enough to roam about in short sleeves. It felt a lot like a rebirth, and I walked in sheets of warm sunshine, pain-free for the first time in over a week. Looking at that perfect sky through the tops of the mature oaks that line my street, I was both humbled and awed by the beauty of a world awash in the promise of this season of new hope.
A week prior I had been waylaid by the sudden onset of bad back pain. I had been surprised by how quickly and completely I found myself debilitated by an aggressive pain that seem to come out of nowhere. It had pulled me even deeper into my funk. This past year, covid-fatigue, work-stress, and general malaise had contributed to a pervasive low-grade depression – persistent and hard to shake even by all my usual remedies. Combined with this new pain, that malaise coalesced into the perfect, fuck-my-life storm that set off those little alarms in my head. I deliberately set aside the pain killers and focused on keeping that dark sister in my soul firmly in check.
The week progressed and as the pain began to ease and my range of motion improved, I began to breathe easier. I began to feel the black mood seeping away. Then, the weekend arrived and delivered a first day of Spring that was brimming with healing hope. I noticed the return of finches, their winter green coats hinting of the brilliant yellow feathers to come. There were new pockets of crocuses in the yard and the berg was alive with the sound of neighbors venturing out to work on yards or walk the wide streets in the sun.
My daughter and set off an hour before dinner, her on her bike and me, grateful for the occasion to walk after so many days laid up on the couch. I watched her, pumping the pedals to race ahead then turning in a slow arch back to check on me, feeling grateful for the simple moment, for the smile on her lovely face and for the reprieve from the anxiety, frustration and the anger.
This is the power of a new Spring. I don’t know one weekend is enough to reset completely, even if it was an almost perfect one. It is likely that I will have to read a least one discouraging report. I will have to face another hope deflating soundbite from Fauci. I am just as certain there will be more bad days, more moments when that dark mood rolls back up on me. And yet, Spring has come at last. There will be blue skies and sunshine. There will be buds on the branches and new life bursting up through the soil. There will be my little girl and her bike and lots and lots of those bright yellow finches.