Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Sometimes I look back on the people I have been at earlier points in my life -- and I cringe.

Things I've said that I regret...
... that I did.
... that I thought.
Weaknesses I let have free rein.

It embarrasses me that they embodied the person that I was. As time has gone on and I've continued to grow and mature, as we all do, I have left many of those things behind. Or, at least I hope I have. My thoughts have become softer, my convictions gentler, my words kinder, my actions more controlled...

I wish that I was no longer trailed by the worst of the girls I've been. I wish that I could be forgiven. I yearn for my mistakes to no longer be held against me. I wish to be out of those girls' shadows.

But, in the end... while there are a few people who truly do hold those "me's of the past" against me and can't give me the freedom to change -- I know that the worst offender is myself.

I'm the one who punishes me for my past the worst.
I'm the one who can't forgive myself.
I'm the one who can't let it go.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


If you had said it to me then, I would have argued and denied it. Vehemently, even.

But, looking back from where I sit now -- for when is our vision clearer? -- you could have been right.

I wasn't supposed to be there that night. Not in that courtyard. Not down that alleyway. And yet, I had gone. I had crept down it silently, keeping to its shadows. No one could know for it was forbidden.

Not to everyone, but to me. And so I was the mouse, the vermin.

I couldn't say now why I had felt compelled to go. Why hadn't I just left well enough alone? Done what I was told? I should have gone home. But curiosity had me by the tail and wouldn't let go. I didn't want to be part of it necessarily - I just wanted to see it happen.

The alleyway opened into the light and I skirted its edge. I could have withstood the consequences of recognition, but it was easier without them. So I drew my cloak close and joined the edges of the crowd.

He was already at the gate, holding court-- he on his side of the gate, the crowd on ours. There were sighs. Women swooned.

It was a bit surreal to see him in life -- like a picture that had jumped off the page when you looked away and now suddenly wouldn't return from where it had come. I was too far away to hear the words he said, but the music of his voice reached me on the wind.

There was a spell in the timbre of it.

Soon, another from the Court emerged into the courtyard and the mob followed, like dogs after the scent. The corners of his mouth turned up with a glint of sardonic humor and he made his way back to the Castle doors.  The mob would come again as they did every night and, when they did, he would weave his spell once again.

I didn't follow after the mob. But I didn't leave either. I found myself alone, hands wrapped around the steel of the gate, wishing to speak but afraid to utter words. Someone called his name from afar and he turned to wave them away until the next moonlight. But, his eyes caught mine instead, and he stopped.

It was too late to run. Anonymity was no longer mine. I was still the mouse-- but the mouse that had ventured across the kitchen floor and was now in the sights of the housecat. He smiled as he returned to the gate, his guard following in his shadow.  I didn't know what to make of that smile. When he spoke, I could feel the music of his spell float around me and I shook my head to ward it off.

I understood how he held the mob in such thrall. It wasn't that he was handsome, though this was what was said. It was that he was so utterly charming. My mother had taught that a charming man was a dangerous man.  That a man who oozed charm always knew what to say to turn your head at the right moment from the things that you should be looking at. That a man who knew what to say could never quite be trusted to mean what he said. In everything that passed after, I would always wonder who I was speaking to -- the charmer or the one who lay underneath.

Maybe they were always the same.

He lied to me that night, and not for the last time. You will hold that against him. Maybe you should, though I will rush to excuse him. It wasn't a lie meant to harm, but to shade a truth that might have wounded. A lie is like that sometimes. It feels like kindness, but...

If he had fed me the same lie today, I would have called him on it and we would have laughed. But, I didn't see it or I chose to ignore it... or I just didn't know that I could do anything different.

I must admit with chagrin that his spell worked on me that night, despite my convictions to the contrary. I should have known. As we spoke, I forgot who we both wore. But the guard cleared his throat and looked pointedly at my hands still clutching the railing of the gate, too near to his charge.

I lowered my eyes and stepped back, chastised. I had forgotten that we were from very different castes, very different worlds. His spell, his laughter... they had made me forget and the spell he had woven nearly crashed around me with the remembering. He glanced behind him with annoyance and stepped up to the gate himself, leaning across it as he quickly re-wove the magic.

I felt a flush of gratitude toward him in that moment as I listened to his voice.  And while I would have denied it then, that was the moment I began to love him.

Perhaps the spell still holds sway. Perhaps it is better that way.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Morning was almost here.

The grey of the fog began to lighten just the slightest bit and I quickened my step. Looming in the distance, the manor appeared and I sighed -- both in relief and resignation. It had been a long journey and it would be good to home.

But, it was also hard to be home.

It seemed always odd to me that both were true.

I climbed the steps and reached to push open the doors, but before I could, they swung open.

"You're nearly late, Miss Jane." Reproof and worry creased the man's features for just a moment before he smoothed it away to the aloof expression he usually wore. "My apologies, Miss."

I couldn't help but smile. Even after all these years, Thomas still clung to the old ways.  But, he was from an old family -- and that was saying something. "I'm sorry for worrying you," I consoled gently. "It all just took longer than I had expected. There were... complications." I followed him up the stairs to the upstairs hallway.

At the top, he turned and raised one eyebrow. "Complications, Miss?"

I shrugged. "The old hag agreed. Father won't like her demands. But she agreed. Could you tell him that I'd like to rest a little before reporting? I'm so very tired." The exhaustion had finally caught up with me, it seemed.

Thomas pushed open the heavy door to my bedroom. "Of course, Miss Jane." The ivory glistened in the candlelight. "Your coffin awaits."

Thursday, August 27, 2015


I offered my friendship to someone a few weeks ago. That sounds sort of silly to say... but I let it be known that I'd like to get to know them better -- and left it in their court.

Which they... walked away from.

It's not that they said "No way, why would I want to be friends with you?"  They just simply digitally left me hanging.

Of course that stung a little. The message was "No thank you. You're not someone I want to know." But... over Lent this year, I dove a lot into my need to people please, my need to have everyone like me.  And when Lent was over, what I was left with was a new mantra for myself in those situations where I feel less-than and that I need to change myself to please someone else.

It is simply this: "You have lots of people who love you just as you are. It's okay if there is someone who doesn't."

So, that's what I said to myself... and I was fine. I just let it go. Why chase someone who doesn't want to know you?


This week, that same person sought me out and I thought, "Well, maybe I was wrong? Maybe they do want to get to know me?" So I was friendly, or at least I hope I was... and I tried to continue the conversation they started. And again, they just walked away.

So, I tell myself again, "It's okay if there is someone who doesn't like you."

And I am fine.  Honestly, I am.

At this point, I'm probably more irritated by the whole thing than anything. I'm too busy to play games. Like me. Don't like me. It's fine...  but don't play with me. I'm worth more respect than that.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


(on Saturday)

"Forget you ever knew my name."

He had pulled me into his arms, his scent filling me, and whispered those words into my hair. He had pulled back to cup my cheek in the palm of his hand, seemingly on the brink of saying more...

And then he was gone.

Forget I ever knew his name? I laugh now.

Maybe it would have been easier if it hadn't been for all the other things that were so hard to forget.

If I closed my eyes, I could still feel his hand on the small of my back as we walked, his lips on my neck when he woke me in the early morning. I could still feel the warmth of his hands as they skimmed my skin.

The beat of his chest. The scent of his hair.

I think of him when I touch my coffee cup to my lips each morning. I think of him when an old song comes on and I remember the way we danced. I think of his laughter. The hard spots and the soft spots. The ways he made me crazy and the ways he made me love him.

Forget I ever knew his name?

How can you ever forget something so terribly right that went so terribly wrong?

Saturday, July 11, 2015


I used to believe that it was me. I used to believe that if a relationship went through a dry or untended period, it must be because of me.

It was something I had done. It was something I had said.
It was something I hadn't done or said, but that I should have.
I had gone too far. Not far enough. Crossed a boundary without respecting it.
Mostly, it must be because I was lacking in some important way.

I would make myself crazy -- actually crazy -- trying to figure out what it was. I would blame myself. I would think less of myself. I would earnestly believe that there must be something wrong with me. Something I needed to fix.

But that was something that proved impossible because of one important detail.

It was never about me. And eventually, I learned that.

Maybe it was about how busy they were.
Maybe it was about the stress level in their lives.
Maybe it was even about the priority, or lack thereof, they put on our relationship.

But it truly wasn't about me. It certainly wasn't about my worth as a person. And there really wasn't anything I could do to change what was.

Somehow...  somehow that was freeing. And I stopped chasing them.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I always felt like I wasn't good enough with her.  --
Or that she thought I wasn't good enough.

She always had to be smarter. She always had to be wittier.
She continually took the credit for things I had done.. and I let her because the only person it hurt was me.

If I had a story, she had one that topped it.
If something good happened to me, it was because of something she had done.

If I ever tried to keep something as just mine, she'd guilt me until I gave her that too.

One day, I said "I'm sincerely sorry that I'm not good enough for you..."

And I walked away.

Not because I wasn't good enough... but because I knew that I was.

Friday, April 17, 2015


I've been struggling with a relationship lately. Lots of angst, lots of feelings, lots of frustration. I was dumping my heart out into the lap of one of my dearest friends this week and she said this to me:

This isn't about you. 
This is completely their issue. 
It isn't yours.

And as I thought about it more and more, it became something that was more and more important for me to internalize... because I've kept trying to make it my issue. And I probably try to make a lot of issues into my issues.

Because, you see, if things are my issues, well I can fix those. If something is off because I did something wrong or I said something that offended, if I'm the one being unreasonable... those are all things that I can fix. And if I can fix those things, then I can fix the relationship, right?

But if they're not my issue... well, there's really only so much that I can do about that. There's only so much of that I can fix. In fact, there's relatively little of that I can fix.

At the same time... it's a little bit freeing to start to internalize that. I'm very good at making things my fault. I apologize for everything. I have apologized for a lot of things that I didn't really think were my fault at all. But acknowledging that not everything is me... Well, that's freeing.

And maybe that doesn't fix the relationship. Maybe it won't ever be.

But it starts to fix me... and that's a start.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


I have been operating under a mask for a long time.

I can't even decide the right image to use for this...  Under a mask, a leash, in a fishbowl? Maybe it doesn't matter.  In the end, I simply haven't been myself.

I have felt like I needed to cover up who I was. I needed to make her prettier. I needed to make her different. Why? So that other people would be okay with me. Or because I felt that I had to portray a certain image because of things and people that I was involved with.

It's really only been recently that I've come to take that off a little and have really begun to understand just how suffocating it is to not allow yourself to be you. How constricting it is to always be hiding what you think and feel, to always be playing a role.... and how the more you play it, the more you lose who the real you is.

And you finally are pushed to the brink and you rip off your mask/leash/bowl and step into the light and it feels so good.  But at the same time, it's awfully scary.  Because you're not quite sure who you are in the light anymore... and now you have to find her.

But it's a good kind of finding.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


As I meander down this little path of healing I'm on right now, there is a voice inside my head that speaks. It tells me that I wouldn't have to be walking this path, if I had only listened.

This path isn't a surprise. I have people in my life, who love me, who saw it coming.... before I even knew the path was there, they saw it coming. And I was warned, cautioned, advised, whatever you want to call it -- out of love, out of concern for me.

But I set off on the path anyway, sure that I could handle it.

And so that voice, it says, "You could have avoided all of this if you had only taken the advice given to you in the first place."

The voice is probably right. I could have.

But I think that, in some ways, I needed to walk the path anyway. I needed to walk it out. I needed to learn the lessons for myself. I needed to change how I thought about myself, and I'm not sure that would have happened in the same way if I had never set out on it in the first place.

This time, heading out on this rocky part of the path was a conscious choice. I know why I'm on it because I chose it. And I'm not seeking out closure this time or the reasons.  I don't need them.

I know why I'm here. While it may not be what I would have chosen when I first started out, it's what I'm choosing now. And perhaps that's something I needed to come to on my own.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Many years ago, I was part of an online group of friends, lovely people that I loved and cared for (and still do).  But I ended up leaving the group for an extended period.

A lot of things happened. I changed. I changed a lot.

And then I tried to go back.  But, it just didn't work.

There were a lot of things going on there, but in retrospect, I think that a lot of it was that I had changed.  But the hole that was left for me was in the shape of the person I had been before. I kept trying to shove my changed self into a hole that no longer fit me, and I eventually gave up. Who I had been and who I was just no longer matched... and I couldn't figure out how to reconcile the two.


Maybe I've been going through something similar lately. I've changed over the last couple years -- and in ways that I'm pleased with. Ways that I don't wish to unchange.

And I think that I've been trying to force people to fit into my changes. That I've asked them to change in ways themselves that parallel mine.  And perhaps they have been doing the same... changing and expecting me to line up accordingly.

I think that perhaps I've come to a place where I am beginning to understand that happiness won't come by expecting others to change for you, or expecting others to fit into your changes, or to change in the same ways that you are. It comes in knowing who you are, who you've become -- and living accordingly with who that is.

Sometimes that means accepting that the people who fit with you before... don't. And that doesn't make anyone bad. It just means that the longer you stay trying to shove each other into who you want them to be now, the longer you'll both be unhappy.  That perhaps the answer is to just let each other be changed - and maybe that means parting ways.  That is an okay thing

Not all roads run together forever. But that doesn't mean that both roads don't lead to somewhere worthy of going.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I've been a bit quiet lately, I know.

Some of that is just busyness.  I finally started as a leader with Weight Watchers and have been leading my own meeting, slowly figuring out what I'm doing and improving a little bit each week.  I've been making running a priority again. I've been trying to drastically reorganize and declutter my house, which has taken a big chunk of each day...  plus just a lot of kid-related things that have needed my attention.

But too...  I've had some things on my mind that I just haven't wanted to talk about.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine made a unilateral decision that concerned me. I wasn't asked or consulted... it was just made.  Initially, I was pretty unhappy about it... but I figured that I'd see how it played out. Maybe it wouldn't be as bad as I thought. But... as time has marched on, the decision has proved to be about as awful as I'd anticipated, with huge negative impact on the quality of our friendship. That's hurt.

But what I've come to realize lately is that I'm just not okay with that.

A funny thing happened to me over the course of the changes in my body over the last two years. I'm different. I have stronger belief in my own worth.  And it's easy to simplify that...  to say that I feel more worthy because I look better.  But it isn't just that.

Somewhere in the journey, you have to come face to face with the ways in which you've considered yourself unworthy and treated yourself as unworthy, and they aren't just because you're overweight.  There's a cultural bias, for sure, that is wrapped up in that. But you also realize that you have certain beliefs about yourself...  like that it's selfish to spend more on fresh produce for yourself because you're unworthy of it. Or that the hour you take for exercise each day could easily be spent on something else -- like your family or your job or the upkeep of your house -- and that you're wrong for spending it on yourself.

You have to come face to face with that and spin it on its head to get to the other side -- where you start to believe that it is okay to do those things because you are worthy.  Somewhere in the journey, you begin to see yourself differently. You begin to see your own self-worth. You grow in confidence. You grow in self-respect.

A dear friend of mine, who is a high school teacher, shared a letter with me recently that she received from one of her students. The young girl had been able to hold her own in a debate with a smart older boy because of some of the things they had learned in class, and the girl was thanking my friend for her part in that.  As the girl wrote, she talked about the impact that had made on her... how she always second-guessed herself, always believed that the things she thought were true were probably wrong because how could she be smart enough to be right?

It made me cry.  It made me cry and want to hug that little girl...  Partly because my heart broke for her, but also because I understood.  I understood those feelings. How many times have I doubted my own judgment because I felt too gullible, too uninformed, too willing to believe what people told me? How often have I looked to other people for what to believe because how could I be right?

What I've begun to realize is that I'm a lot smarter than I've given myself credit for. I'm worth more than I've believed.

I can't choose how other people treat me, how much value they give me.  But I can choose whether I allow myself to stay in a situation where there is such discrepancy.

Because I can see now that I'm worth more.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


(A snippet of a song I wrote this morning...)

The little white lies you told me, they hang between us now
Like a cobweb spun across an old doorframe.
They seep inside and taint us, and I can’t seem to find my smile
Just want to find somebody else to blame.

We tried so hard to fix this, together you and I
This broken thing that we had thought was lost
But I don’t know what to do now and I don’t know what I can say
I’m just not sure it’s still worth what it costs.

So please tell me you can say the words I need to hear
I don’t want to turn from you and walk away
But we’re standing at the crossroads and I wish that you could see 
How hard it hurts me every time I stay.