You’ll have to go way back to my September 13th, 2010 post – “Scars: A love story” – for the photos below to make sense.
And even if you do, they still might not, not really. It’s just that I saw the movie Southpaw yesterday, and the scenes where the boxer got his eye cut open so he could see reminded me of the scars I have.
I didn’t win any medals for getting them, though.
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Scar: Left brown bone.
A result of a head butt that left tiny bone fragments where little pieces broke off my left brow bone and stayed under the skin. A little bit of a black eye, and a broken left glasses lens.
Scar: Upper left “laugh line.”
The scar on the left between the outside of my nose and the corner of my mouth left from a punch in the face is cleverly concealed by my nasolabial fold. The cut was the only injury that time.
Can you read this story, look see these photos, and imagine yourself in my place for just a little bit?
If so, maybe you’ll understand why I have trouble letting go of hurts – even ones that don’t leave marks – and why I need someone to notice, admit, and care if he hurts me or my feelings – even if he (or she) didn’t do it on purpose.
It makes me seem fragile and demanding. Sometimes I am.
And I’m very, very sorry, for more reasons than you’ll ever know.
Yesterday I took the online quiz “What does your name mean in French?” Here’s the answer I got:
I don’t know about the “tower of strength” or “confidence” part, but I do have a very strong force field under certain circumstances.
The Light Side.
I can be an advocate, a protector, a rescuer. Need someone to give you first aid and make sure you get medical care? I’m all over it. Want someone who will stand beside you in a fight? I’m in.
The Dark Side.
However, if I interpret something someone says or does in a way that makes me feel disrespected or bossed around, the Janeson Force can be brutal. Those feelings were evoked in me at such an early age that my first reaction to anything not overtly positive has often been instant – fear, closely followed by anger – and…uh…forceful.
I’ve hurt a lot of people with that force, and I regret that I didn’t learn much earlier how to channel that energy more positively.
Moving Toward the Light.
Few people are mean, condescending, or disrespectful intentionally. And when they are, it says more about them than it does about me.
I’m learning to take the time to identify my feelings and separate them from the event that triggered them. When I do that, I can respond with The Light Side of The Force instead of The Dark Side.
Turning that sequence of behaviors into a habit is a work in progress. Happily, the Janeson Force helps me with that, too.
Chapter 4: Family fun on the 4th…and shrimp burgers.
Kara’s in-laws and Dan were nice enough to invite me to join them for their 4th of July picnic. Dinner was delicious, with Evan’s first attempt at shrimp burgers being a big hit with me. Oz was in fine form, and Dan took pictures of darn near everyone, including me.
Chapter 3: Out on the Cove
Dan decided he wanted to take Maddie out on the cove, so I invited Buffy along and off we went: four kayaks, four people, three vehicles. Okay, not very energy efficient, but lots of fun.
Chapter 2: Dan, Maddie & Janeson’s Big Adventures.
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Maddie meets Stripey.
On Saturday, Dan invited me to join him and Maddie on hike to Roaring Run. When they came by to pick me up. I invited them in and got to introduce Maddie to Stripey and vice versa. Both were their usual charming selves.
The hike and the swarm.
Even though it was cool and rainy, in good spirits we toured the pig iron furnace and walked down the trail admiring the rushing torrent of post-rain Roaring Run.
Then we arrived at a bridge where Dan wanted to pose with Maddie. Dan sat on the bridge step with Maddie standing behind him, and after one click of the camera a swarm of yellow jackets attacked them. I got to practice my first aid “training.” [Helpful hint: The hand sanitizer in the loo disinfects stings.]
The troops regroup.
By unanimous vote, we left the hike for another day and headed down to Wendy’s for lunch.
Much refreshed by our tasty and nutritious lunch – and with a surprise introduction to my favorite youngest niece, Ally, who was also at Wendy’s with some friends – we headed off to do the Most Important Thing.
No outing with a young lady (or with Dan) is complete without some thrift store shopping. Maddie and Dan’s friend Leah had developed a tradition out of picking out dressy clothes at Goodwill and having a fashion show in the dressing room. Maddie wanted to keep up the tradition, so while Dan ravaged and plundered the men’s and housewares departments, Maddie and I ran through the women’s department and picked out some outfits. Then we headed to the dressing room to prepare for our fashion show with Photographr & Pampa Dan at the ready to take photos.
The Fashion Show
Who knew we could wear the same size?
And when it was all over and it was time to go home, a very good time had been had by all.
My friend Dan’s son Evan, daughter-in-law Kara, and their kids Maddie (properly Madeline, age 10) and Oz (property Oscar, age three, going on four) are visiting from Spain.
Dan has been kind enough to invite me along on some of their adventures. As a result, I’ve spent more time playing over the last 10 days than I have in the past 20 years, and I’ve enjoyed every minute.
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Chapter 1: I meet Oz.
The first Friday after Evan, Kara, Maddie, and Oz arrived, Dan invited me to join the family at the City Market for lunch. I got to reintroduce myself to Maddie and to meet Oz for the first time. Maddie was a delight, as always, and Oz and I became buddies.
Beloved friend Buffy and I went out for a walk this evening. The sunset was to our backs on the way out, but on the way back only half the sunset was visible. The other half was covered by one of those “isolated showers” we’ve been having so many of lately.
And two minutes later the pavement was very wet, and it had quit raining.
Welcome to summer weather in the Roanoke Valley!
(And it’s just June. * sigh * )
I can’t lift my arms up.
I set a new record this week: three consecutive days of kayaking.
The first day I went in happy solitude, paddling at my own pace. The second day I went with beloved friend Buffy, and I paddled at his pace. On day three I got an unexpected invitation to kayak from my outdoor excursion buddy Dan, and I paddled at his pace.
At the end of day three, I felt like Randy in the movie A Christmas Story, except that it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t put my arms down as I couldn’t lift them up.
An excursion involving legs.
With arms muscles worn out by upper body activity, I was happy that today’s excursion involved a hike on North Mountain in Rockbridge County.
Intrepid Photographr Dan took me along as assistant camera wrangler, amateur photographer trainee, and disheveled model. Credit for photo composition and editing go to him. I take credit for the dishevelment.
There are pix on his blog post about the hike. I’ll post the other ones he sent me, but there is one I have to duplicate because I’m so impressed with myself (photo right).
After comin’ down the mountain (with stops to pick up litter along the way), a stop at KFC for lunch and a bit of shopping at the Goodwill in Lexington completed a lovely afternoon.
My arms are a bit more rested and my legs feeling less neglected, and all is right with the world – with one exception.
Litter. Just don’t.
To the people who like to decorate the lovely trails with cigarette butts and empty cigarette packs, the trees with empty beer cans, and the road with empty 12-pack boxes, I have a suggestion:
If you think those things look good in the forest, just think how much more attractive they’d look in your living rooms.
This past week my mind has been running a mile a minute, chasing a rabbit down a hole while trying to whack a mole with one hand and keep forty-leven plates in the air with the other.
Well, you get the idea.
So today I decided to go on a solo kayaking expedition. Yes, it’s often fun to have someone to chat with while paddling, but sometimes my brain needs the quiet that only solitude can bring. Today was one of those days.
Because it’s usually quieter there earlier than later, I was packing Zippy up at 9:15 this morning. That’s much earlier than my usual kayaking time, but the temperature was pleasant, and the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds before the rains came in the afternoon.
I don’t take my camera out on the cove often and most especially not when I want to quiet the voices in my head. You know the ones: “You aren’t good enough….”, “You don’t have good enough….”, “You’ll never….” And the worst: “You’re alone; all alone in the world.” Blah, blah, blah.
So I put ‘Yak in the water, me in the seat, and paddled out where I could see the clouds reflected in the water. I smelled the moist soil and the green grass. I felt the soft breeze and the occasional droplets of water blown back off my paddles. I listened to the birds chirping and the water splashing against ‘Yak’s hull. I felt my muscles become energized instead of tense.
I paddled farther than I usually do – left from the dock up the dam side of the cove all the way to the end and back down the other side to the dock. By then my muscles were well and truly tired but no longer tense, and my mind was clear.
As I was driving home, I felt at peace. My solo Sunday morning expedition has reminded that even when I feel very alone in the world, I’m never, ever truly alone.
And McDonald’s did have its $0.99 vanilla cones on sale, so….
Today was a good day. I can’t say I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow, but I’m certainly better prepared for it, with my freshly cleared head and a full heart.
And for those things, I am truly grateful.
Sunsets & Clouds
(An ampersand isn’t a word, right?)
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