Law of Illusion

I wrote earlier this month about Lilith Fair.  Since then I have been spending a lot of time, mostly in the car, listening to Sarah McLachlan’s latest CD – Law of Illusion

This is a pretty intense CD.  For those of you unfamiliar over the last few years she has broken up with her husband.  From what I gather, he cheated on her.  Ouch.  One of her gifts as a lyricist and musician is to really put it all out there, some of the most honest, raw emotion I have encountered.  This disc is no exception.  I can feel the pain and recovery of her experience.  There are 3 songs in particular that really resonate with me.  NOT my current situation – but the kind you can relate to some part of your life.  If you have had any relationship – romantic, friend, family, etc.  All three get me choked up when I listen to them.

Awakenings is the first song on the album.  The story of meeting, falling in love, working hard, being hurt and finally walking away.  Holy shit who hasn’t been here?!  Although – I can honestly say I don’t have many experiences of this in my past.  I tended to be the one in the relationship that walked away when things moved out of the Infatuation stage and got real.  I’ve really only had 3 serious relationships with men.  Just 2 of them I would consider my equal (i.e. – educated, focused, goal-oriented, and – oh yeah – EMPLOYED!!)  Now married to one of them.  The first really bad break-up I had was the first of 3 – I thought I was in love.  It was the first time I really felt that feeling with someone.  I found out he was cheating, he said he couldn’t be tied down, like a butterfly.  WTF?!  A butterfly???  HOW did I ever see anything in this guy?  Ever?!  The bad part was I felt so strongly for him – that when I found out what was going on, and dumped all his stuff by the entrance to my apartment building – I spent 2 days in bed crying.  Calling every single girlfriend I knew sobbing.  I got over it.  I would still beat myself up with the how did I ever allow that to happen?  The lyrics in this song that crack me over the head every time –

I’m not the girl I was but what have I become?
I’m not so willing any more to bend
Still pleasing and conceding
but I’m not gonna lose myself again

Not going to lose myself again – that’s for fucking sure!

My second favorite is Forgiveness – which isn’t really about forgiving – but the Hell No you are not off the hook!  The deception of love and attention and caring that isn’t really there.  This is kinda the slow, ballad-like version of I Will Survive or Single Ladies.  My favorite verse –

You ask for forgiveness
you’re asking too much
I have sheltered my heart in a place you can’t touch
I don’t believe when you tell me your love is real
‘Cause you don’t know much about heaven boy
if you have to hurt to feel

I’m really good about sheltering my heart.  With everyone.  I’m either way too trusting too early or hold back too long.  It’s still hard for me to be completely honest and “naked” with close people in my life.  My husband and a handful of girlfriends come to mind.  It chokes me up just writing this.  Damn those abandonment issues!

I’ve been listening to those 2 songs on repeat multiple times nearly every day.  Although neither of those scenarios is a part of my life right now – it feels healing to my past to experience the emotion pain.

The last song, I’ve really only picked up in the last 2 weeks.  So you wake up, you walk away, leave the baggage behind (or try to)…what’s next?  Self forgiveness, compassion, healing and moving on.  To the place you are ready to let someone back into your heart.  Rivers of Love – and it is a choice.  To either wallow in self-pity and be stuck in life and love.   Or to let go.  I have images of chains breaking away, pressure removed from my heart, and the kinds of tears that release those last bits of sadness, fear and loathing.  This is the whole song –

There’s a tunnel that leads to the rivers of love
The sides make you bleed ‘til your white as a dove
Don’t bother to bring all the baggage you cling to
The porter will free you before you come through
The doorway that cleanses the darkness that mends
It’s easy to smile in the end…

And it all comes down to leaving it all behind and moving on
To the rivers of love
And never be lonely again
How long have you waited? How long ‘til you drown?

The rules and directions the twists and corrections
Take tolls on the highs we still strive ‘til we die
To seek out the one love-the one that we dream of
The one may be there with you everyday
Alone and untethered and free of all ties
Free since the day you first cried

And it all comes down to leaving it all behind and moving on
To the rivers of love
And never be lonely again
How long have you waited? How long ‘til you drown?
How long have you waited? How long ‘til you drown?

The song feels so freeing.  At the same time there is that sting, the reminder, that if you don’t choose to move on – your fate is inevitable.  The power of choice is in your own hands.

These 3 songs will be added to my list of poignant Sarah McLachlan songs of all times.  Maybe one day I’ll tell you all about Angel.

Size DOES matter, but it really shouldn’t


That is a picture of me and my niece, V.  We were at the HSDC Fun Run two weeks ago.  Do you know what my first thought was when I saw this picture?  OMG I look so thin!  Seriously, first thought in my head.  I stared at that picture for a few minutes longer and it dawns on me. OMG I actually look like that – for reals!! 

As a refresher – I used to have an eating disorder.  I have many tools in my arsenal to combat the thoughts and desires to ever go back there again.  It happens.  I don’t know if it will ever be erased from my mind.  Regardless – I’m so far beyond that at this point in my life.  The body image stuff?  Yeah…not so much.

It’s been a journey.  There is so much I could share with you about my battle with my body.  The last few years have been interesting.  I’ve been working out with the same trainer for almost 3 years now.  LOVE her.  She has a gentle (militant) way of pushing me beyond my comfort zone to advance to the next step.  Shortly after I started working out with her, I told her I wanted Linda Hamilton Terminator arms. (side note – crickets, girlfriend is too young to get the reference)  How about Holly Hunter/Saving Grace? (almost there)  Once she visited the internets and knew what I was talking about she made it an obtainable goal.  I’ve always wanted nice, toned arms.  I’ve got ‘em now.  And I still want more.  How’s that for obsessive?

But the Jeans.  Ah the jeans…

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with denim in my life.  It has never fit quite right, too big in the waist, not big enough in the thighs – oh how I’ve hated shopping for jeans!  Two years ago Norman convinced me to walk into Nordstrom and have the friendly sales professional help me into a pair of premium denim.  That was a different journey all together.  That first pair sat in my closet for months waiting for me to wash and get them hemmed.  Months.  Finally done and really enjoying them, I decided to go get another pair.  The second were quite tighter than the first, I referred to them as my Skinny Sausage Jeans.  Cause if I was bloated there was no way they were getting on my body.  Sure, they always tell you the denim will stretch and form better to your body.  The Skinny Sausage Jeans took quite a while for that to happen.  Or perhaps – maybe – I had just lost some weight?


Last fall I decided to get more jeans at Nordstrom because those first 2 pair were kinda loose.  Seems I had gone down a whole size from the first foray.  A size!  Seems that torturous hell-on-earth my trainer puts me through on a weekly basis has helped the tone of my muscles.  Then right after the holidays I was perusing the clearance sales to Martin & Osa (one of my favorite stores for T’s)  The clearance rack had jeans that after additional deductions would have been $19.  Wow!  $19 jeans?  I’ve never paid $19 for jeans.  Sure, yeah, I’ll try them on.  I took a deep breath and grabbed the size I know Nordstrom had fitted me with a few months before.  I pulled those on in the dressing room and you know what?  They fit like a dream.  I nearly started crying. 

All this body image stuff came flooding over me.  For years I have had a perception that I am not one of those girls that can shop off the racks for nice clothes.  My body was too fat, strange shape, too short, too tall, too expensive, looks cheap – I’ve done it all.  Then they are never the right fit, too loose, too tight, lays weird on my waist – I had every reason in the book.  There was a period in my life of long, flow-y dresses and skirts to hide my personal shame.  Or the men’s jeans.   Or dress slacks that were probably way too big for my body even though I felt good in them.  At those times in my life, I would not have been ready for a Stacy and Clinton intervention.

Anyway – I bought those jeans.  That day, I walked out of the store thinking, OMG all the time I have wasted obsessing about my body.  That a number on a pair of jeans and the fit on my body triggered some secret lock and key I wasn’t really aware of.  I wanted to write about it back then.  But I didn’t.  After all, it’s just so much easier to stuff it down and ignore. IGNORE! IGNORE! 

Isn’t perception the craziest thing? 

I’m not quite sure where I am going with this next.  Honestly started writing about my commit to Turn The Page and March Forward with positive intent.  OK – let’s be realistic here, I will commit to starting the process.  To begin with acknowledging my true image and what I love about my body.  Don’t try to boil the ocean Jen, at least not today.

One. Step. At. A. Time.

Groundhogs Day (again)

I had a revelation this afternoon that I thought, Hey, That Would Be A Good Blog Post.  You know that movie Groundhogs Day?  Yep – I’m gonna write about that.  Huh, seems I already DID!!!  So it just proves my point.  After rereading that blog post, it took all the wind from my sails.  Deflated the balloon.  Tarnished the finish.  Plus any other analogy I can come up with in the next few hours.

Perhaps the different question is WHY am I still living Groundhogs Day?  What lesson have I not learned in my professional life?  Or is this just my professional life?  The thought I had today is my Groundhogs continue to repeat until either (1) the project just ends, (2) a milestone is reached or (3) we are all so exasperated people give up or make the call and move forward.  Is this what project managers do?  Will it be agenda item #3 after the intro and agenda review when I take my PMP class?  Is there going to be a test question?  It should NOT be this hard, so who put all those other people in charge to keep unearthing buried treasure?

I’m talking in circles.

At least that is how it feels right now.

Perhaps I had such a fabulous weekend (which I did thank you very much) the effort to work today has just been too much to handle.  And I’m not alone.  Nearly everyone I have encountered today is either late, lost or discombobulated.  I’ve been all but late today.  (note – I spelled discombobulated right so I can’t be that far off)

Now it’s 4:12 pm and I’m ready to go home.  Phew – let’s put this one to bed!

Lilith 2010

Saturday I went to the Gorge Amphitheater for Lilith 2010.  It’s been 11 years since I was there, back in 99 for the last Lilith Fair tour.  It is truly beautiful there, and the music, a near religious experience.  I went with 3 girlfriends, all perfect.  Norman has taken to calling us the Momfia.  Watch out – it’s the English Hill Momfia, do not cross us!  I always get sappy reflective after a really good concert. 

It was the first time I had really listened to Sugarland – I was quite impressed with them.  They were full of energy and really good entertainers.  Jennifer Nettles was cracking me up – such a sense of humor and positive energy.  I was also looking forward to seeing Erykah Badu again and she did not disappoint.  Neither did Sheryl Crow.  Colbie Caillat was also good, her comment about being 11 at Lilith in the 90s and being inspired to become a singer/songwriter was touching – but OMG that made me feel old!  And then there is Sarah  McLachlan.  Holy cow that woman’s songs hit me in places.  Many have helped me over the years work through some tough stuff.  Particularly Angel as my “theme” song at a personal development course.  Chokes me up to this day when I hear it.

Norman had sent me a link on about some concerns, slip-ups and bad press around Lilith.  Some of it around trying to have the acts to draw crowds.  If the focus is women in music, does it really matter that Kelly Clarkson, Erykah Badu, Rihanna and Sarah  McLachlan could all share the same stage?!  My gawd people walk around if you don’t like the artist.  You cannot please all the people all the time, particularly at a venue and event like this.  All those times I went to Lollapalooza (before it was a destination event) I didn’t like everyone.  When I went to Lilith in the 90s I didn’t like everyone.  What I have found every time, is a new artist I would not have known before.  Tara McLean, Dayna Manning, Heather Nova, Bic Runga, Holly McNarland and Rebekah – never would have known them or discovered them as soon as I did without the exposure.  Now – Sugarland. 

Please leave your attitude and pessimism at the door.

Let’s try to take the message to heart – that Sarah reiterated again during the show – Lilith is about community and celebration.  So put on some music and get your brain and body moving!

July Quote

OK – I know what you are thinking, April to July?  What happened to May and June?  Well, May was this really long Whitman prose that I didn’t feel like retyping.  I had intended to take a picture instead – huh, then its June.  And June?  I just didn’t do it, no excuses, no apologies, I just didn’t do it.

Welcome July!

You are made of stars!
(Serbian Proverb)

Hm.  Stars.  Really?  I don’t feel like a Star.  At least in how I would define a Star.  I don’t mean celebrity either.  Heroes?  Sure.  Outstanding Citizens and Acts of Kindness?  You betcha.  Me?  OK – if i think about it, I can get on board.  I like to think I shine, no, believe I shine.  I have a tendency to shine in one area of my life at a time.  I’m not good at equal-opportunity stardom.  I’m also realistic, I have no desire to be a Star as a mom, wife, friend, employee, etc etc all at the same time.  My gawd I would be dead!  It would be good to practice being a Star at more than one at any given time.

So let’s think about this.  Where am I a Star today?

Today, July 1st, I would have to say I’m being a Star at friendship and self-nurturing.  I’d like to think I’m borderline Star Wife.  I don’t feel like a Star Mom recently.  Hm.  Interesting.

So where do I want to go with that?  I’d like to dial up the Mom and Wife – perhaps tone down the Friend just a tad, and maintain self-nurturing.  And what did I do right there?  Convinced myself to even out and be a Star across the board.  Huh – funny.

This weekend is pretty Jen-focused.  Having drinks with a Friend on Friday, going to Lilith Fair with more Friends on Saturday, hanging out with Friends on the 4th.  That Mom & Wife thing – well, tomorrow I’m taking the day off to be with A.  Hm – lacking in the Wife there.  How about I send the kid to a friend’s house on Monday so Norman and I can be together.  Sounds like a plan!  Let’s see, how do I make that happen?

Yep – I’m made of Stars – and this weekend I’d like to shine brightly!