The Dream

I had a dream the other night where I was surrounded by people from my community, “the elders” you might say. A contingency approached quite abruptly to inform me that I was late on a payment that I was responsible for as executor of my grandmother’s estate. The payment had been $50, but now that it was late I had to pay $10,000!

“What?!”

Their faces were quite serious.

“Are you crazy?”

“No, you owe us $10,000 and you must pay it immediately!” was their stern reply and I felt them pressing closer as if they might arrest me if I didn’t produce the money right away.

“No!” I screamed back at them. “What, do you think I’m crazy or something? I’m not giving you anything! You can’t control me! You can’t make me do anything! That doesn’t even make sense! What makes you think you can just tell me to do something and I’ll do it? Who are you to tell me what I’m going to do anyway?” And on I went, raving at them, pushing back with all of my might as they tried to press me down.

They seemed confused by my resistance, and the faces of all those surrounding me registered shock–not at the men, but at me! The entire community that stood around watching looked at one another in surprise and I could hear them murmuring, “is this Alice’s grandaughter? Oh my! Alice? Yes! Oh, I just can’t believe it, not Alice’s grandaughter it couldn’t be…”. They were “amazed” that Alice’s grandaughter would “behave” this way!

When I awoke I was tired and could still feel a pressure on my chest, as if I am still being pressed down.  There’s a knot in my throat. It’s a familiar feeling–this pressure… to meet ridiculous expectations, to attain to ridiculous standards and to be someone I’m not.  Maybe it was just a dream.

maybe it wasn’t.

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#Daily Post #disobey

Be Brave!

I was clicking through the audio files on my computer when a soft, sweet voice caught me by surprise! The timid and airy voice of my daughter drifted towards me.

“What in the world?” I wondered.

She was singing. Softly. She did not want to be heard. Yet, she had recorded her voice–on my phone, no less–so, on some level, I suppose, she did want to be heard. She merely did not want to be seen and heard in that moment. She was too embarrassed to sing in front of an audience, yet her heart held a song. So, in some quiet moment she had snuck away with my phone to record every raspy, airy sound that emitted from her heart. I wonder if she played it back and listened to it or if she pushed the phone aside afraid to hear the sound of her own voice.

What now?

You slip the recording device back in its proper place and you go on as if nothing ever happened. Until one day someone stumbles upon that sweet little creation and says, “that is beautiful.”

Heart work takes courage that most of us do not have. Mind work merely requires that you get it done. Heart work requires that you give yourself, that you be completely vulnerable to the process and the product. Heart work can’t be shrink-wrapped and set on the shelf. It’s custom-designed, one-of-a kind. There’s so much more at stake.

Maybe that’s why some of the most brilliantly creative people were (and are) also the most troubled. They give everything to their craft and risk getting nothing in return. The little girl who steals away to sing into her mother’s phone is afraid to take that risk. I wonder how many more little girls like her are out there…

One day we’ll either become better at our craft or brave enough that it doesn’t matter.  Let’s keep working at it!

Daily Prompt: Overcome

Happy Monday!

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Mr. Nice Guy

Mr. Nice Guy

She’s says he’s a “nice guy”

but his smile is too sweet.

Like saccharin. It leaves a bad taste.

He wears a nice suit

Says all the right things

How do you do?

Yes ma’am

Right away!

But when he thinks I’m not looking

I see something evil lurking

His gaze glosses over as we discuss the weather.

His eyes drift down my thigh…

He checks himself when I say his name

and the saccharin smile returns

plastered like a Las Vegas billboard

false advertising

My daughter bounces back

like a brightly-colored beach ball.

“I’m ready!” She announces.

And I know she isn’t.