Rants, Ramblings and General Diary of Juliana Wathen

Posts tagged ‘relationships’

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Diving in Naked

It was early morning on Padre Island and I had already decided to get on the road and make the 6 hour drive home to Houston after ringing in the New Year with one of my oldest and dearest friends on South Padre Island. The weather had not been our best friend this trip, high winds, cold temperatures and rainy skies had kept us from venturing out too much. The low hanging clouds had engulfed the island in a blanket of gray with only brief moments of sun light streaking through every now and again. In retrospect, it was a blanket I needed. It comforted me in familiarity with my kindred soul, a sister from another mister as they say. A sister of choice who I shared my mother with. We went to church on Sunday at Chapel by the Sea. Kim sang out all the hymns I didn’t know as I remained quietly standing beside her. I translated the preachers words almost instantaneously in my mind as my perceptions and understandings of the scriptures he read and stories he told didn’t quite mirror my own beliefs but at the core still resonated.

Afterwards we brunched with ladies of the isle 30 and even 40 years our seniors and I was amazed at their combined history and journeys as they sipped mimosas and devoured sugar dusted donut balls. Over the next few days we shopped, napped, read books, solved the worlds woes and fed each others spirit with gentle nudges of truth and observations. I was in a safe harbor to laugh, cry, explore or to do nothing more than be if that was what I needed.

Several years back we had spread my mother’s ashes on the north end of the National Seashore. We hadn’t gone out there this trip and it seemed odd to not go and pay some sort of homage but it just never happened with the rain and cold. I was just resigned to it I think.

And then my friend asked me as we sat perched high over the gulf of Mexico from our “Ivory Tower” , watching the gray waves wash in and spotting a few bundled up beach combers searching the sand for treasures, “Are you sure you don’t want to go see Wanda?”. It was like one of those brief breaks in the clouds where the sun comes shining thru, if only for a moment, like a spotlight on center stage. I knew where I needed to be and what I needed to do. Not for Wanda, but for me. I had spoken about it briefly a few days before. The need for a cleansing, a chance to wash off the previous year and start anew. A clean slate for the new year ahead.

I grabbed a few beach towels and still in my Vera Wang PJ’s we headed to the north shore. The wind was howling and you could feel the gusts push the jeep from side to side every now and again as we traveled down the main highway. We reached the beach entrance, sand dunes piled high on either side. The sand was wet and deep but no real challenge for a jeep. I rolled down my window and breathed in heavy doses of chilled salt air. We passed a few fishermen who where stubborn enough to brave the cold and rough surf in the hope of catching a few silvery pompano. Two heron stood watch as if they had a vested interest in the fisherman’s success and it made me smile.

We drove further up the beach until we saw the spot we loving call “Wanda’s Beach”. The tide was coming in and there we were. There was a frothy foam on the top of the water from the constant battering of waves. I laughed to myself and said a silent thank you to Wanda for the soap! A prayer of protection and a silent meditation and then I stepped from the jeep and began to disrobe. The sand was cold on my feet, the wind bit at every bump and bulge and yet I continued to undress. Here I was, rapidly approaching my 56th birthday, 225 lbs of insecurity and a slight fear of water, marching into the waves. I didn’t run or plunge but with a steadfast purpose walked into the ocean. Letting it take me one step at a time, one wave at a time to a new year. Not a new me but a truer me. Not as scared, not as insecure, not as mournful for the loss of my mother who was my best friend in the world. The waves were rolling in. One minute waste deep the next up to my neck and floating, my feet swept up off the sandy floor but still capable of moving forward.

That’s the choice….to move forward. A wave lapped over my head and I knew, forward can be many things. I embraced the waves and now it was time to embrace the chilling air. I turned and made my way back to shore just as slowly and deliberately as I had walked in. And there, on the shore, was my soul sister to welcome me, wrap me in her blanket and arms and share the moment. My heart was beating through my chest and I gasped for air as I clung to her. I never felt warmer or more alive.

This was why I was here. To acknowledge that feeling of vulnerability and insecurity you are left with when orphaned on earth with the lose of a parent. To finally take all the things they had taught you and instilled in you and use them on a daily basis without their prodding.

I am stronger than I give myself credit for. I am brave. I am kind. I am that I am. And so my sweet, are you.

I love each and every one of you.

Juliana

Copyright Juliana Wathen 2019

Dancing with my pillow……

Remember when you were a kid and you had a record player?…Ha, yeah I know – waaaayyyyy back when. Well, I had a flip top portable that played 45 records and I, like many others, had a few favorite records that skipped. The same phrase would play again and again and again. So to keep that from happening and from interrupting my dancing on the bed,  I would scotch tape a penny to the needle. It weighed it down just enough to slide right through the scratch. Oh, it was high technology for the time but it worked like a charm.

Life lessons aren’t quite so conspicuous but they do repeat again and again until we finally recognize them and find a way to add weight to the matter and get to the end of the song. Sometimes it takes years but if you have a desire to move forward you will begin to see the common note that plays through the harshest moments of our lives. Isolate the emotional reaction that makes you feel so frustrated, unloved or unworthy and determine when you first experienced it.You might be amazed how bad your record has been skipping.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl who just knew she was the apple of her father’s eye. She loved to sing and dance and enjoyed the carefree nature of childhood. She was too young to understand the complexity of marriage and relationships and was dumbfounded when her father moved out one day……and left her behind with her mother. It’s something men have been doing for years. It was nothing new. Anyone in the 70’s would tell you children are better off with their mothers. So, it was typical of the time. But she felt confused, abandoned and she felt left behind like she didn’t matter. She wanted to go with her father. She needed to be with her father. No one asked her what SHE wanted. She WANTED to matter. She spends her youth fighting her way to stay present and connected in her father’s life. Like many fathers he was bigger than life and she needed him to be present in hers.

She will fight the same fight, to hold on to what is hers and to matter, again and again. As an adult, an unfaithful spouse proves himself unworthy of the marriage but she will fight to keep him. She will fight to matter. It becomes imperative to win. To prove, that as an adult, she has more influence and control over the final outcome in her life.  But she can’t win when she can’t trust. No one can win back  love when all they fight for is the mere presence. That presence becomes a toxic reminder of what they have already lost.

The pattern will repeat again and again. Always pushing away love that comes too easily and drawing in and attracting those that won’t or can’t  give 100%. She will be surrounded by lovers and friends that aren’t PRESENT in the relationship. She will fight tooth and nail to prove she is needed. She will fight to be loved. She will do battle to keep the world at bay to keep the people she loves present and close to her. Eventually, The life she leads will not be her own. It has become all about the fight and not the life…fight and not the life…fight and not the life.

But all is not lost. One day she  hears the record skip and realizes she has been singing the same phrase over and over and over again. She knows what to do. She pulls a penny from a jar and tape from a drawer and mounts that penny on the needle top. She plays the record and listens as it plays straight through this time to the end of the song. She breathes a sigh of relief  and let’s go of the song she had been singing for years. She realizes she matters most to the one that is most important and the most present, herself. The beautiful girl in the mirror she sees everyday is the one that matters.

NOW she is ready for a new vinyl record!  There is a song in her heart, a new beat to dance to that will fill her with all the joy and delight of a little girl jumping on her bed, singing into her hairbrush and dancing with her pillow.

Life lessons are meant to come full circle. Where they start and where they end is often the same place. We allow ourselves to be defined by the skips in between.

I love each and every one of you.

Juliana

Copyright 2011 Juliana Wathen

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