Dita Parker

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Breaking the habit

I decided to spring clean my den. Out with the old, in with the new. The colors were starting to look a lot like that season coming up, that F word, that four-letter word, f..., f.... I can't even bring myself to say it. Since spring is about to burst in my Southern home, a spring cleaning it is at Casa Dita.

But these colors, these other templates, really... I'm the lady in red, I'm the one who wears black. Black or colors. Pastel colors I leave to blondes. What does one even have to do with the other, what I paint my den or what I decide or decline to wear? Some colors, things, or whatever are me and some categorically aren't. Because I say so? Because I think so? Because I'm absolutely convinced it is so and some fashionista would agree?

(My mom surprised me with a day at a day spa once, complete with a color analysis. Guess what season I was? F... You know, the one coming up. Autumn. Let's use another dialect and call it something more poetic and say autumn.)

How often do we consciously stop to think about all the ways in which we are programmed to function? The ways in which we ourselves have determined what and who we are? All the things we've picked up on the way, willingly or unwittingly, and decided this is me? The one who does/speaks/reads/avoids/studies/lives out or rages against this and that and the other because it says something essential about what we're about. Maybe it does. And maybe it's only a comfort zone, and not a very safe haven at that, only what we are used to, what we know best and draw comfort from when the alternatives look strange and forbidding.

I still don't think I look pretty in pink. But it's not poor pink's fault or problem, only mine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

True colors

What do you do? It's one of the first questions asked when meeting someone new. In effect people are asking who are you, but what if what people do has nothing to do with who they are? In some cases it doesn't.

Have you found your calling? Do you know what it is? If you're not at it, could you quit what you're doing and go for it, make it sustainable? So what do you do? If you can't remember what possessed you, if you're thinking what the hell was I thinking, wasn't life supposed to be more than this, well... It pays the bills and feeds the family and/or one ravenous cat.

I heard a psychologist suggest that wanting to have fun at work and with what you do is a childish notion. I hope I misheard or misunderstood (the radio was on but so were the kids in one cacophonic choir.) I'm sorry I missed the explanation as to why loving your occupation so well might be for the worse. Because most of mankind can't? Because we can't all start chasing stars, someone has to get down and dirty, literally?

A child stares longingly at the ice rink before the ice show. The child's parents imagine the child gliding across the rink, competing, performing, excelling. The child follows the chiller truck and dreams of driving it one day. That may be the ultimate fun job when you're four. It might still be the ultimate fun job at forty. What we don't suspect and what the driver does not care to share is that he drives as a meditation. That the absolute perk is not having to take any of the work home. That those free hours are his to use as he pleases. No one looking over his shoulder, no one calling after hours, no one threatening to take over if he goes on vacation or turns his back for one second.

Nah, you say. The driver only took it as a second job to pay for alimony after a messy divorce that cost him more than just money. You know, maybe he did. We can't really know without knowing him which one is the case. Is it something he does or is it who he is. As long as it sits well with him, I guess it's none of our business.

Don't ask me what I do. I'm working on it. Ask me who I am and I'll tell you the same. Just don't ask me to stop chasing that star quite yet. They fall out of the sky all the time. And if, for whatever reason, probable or inconceivable, this turns out to be a less than stellar crash and burn ride, I still won't have the skies gloating. You can't blame a girl for trying. Wouldn't you rather go down fighting under your own flag than sail for the rest of your life under a false one?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The long goodbye

I lost a friend to the world again. We used to live fifty kilometers, some thirty miles apart. Then we stretched the distance to close to a thousand miles, seeing less and less of each other. Now there are more than five thousand miles to cross and we'll be lucky to see each other once a year. Hubby, always seeing the upside of everything, tried to console me. "Yea, we have a place in the Caribbean!" I guess that's one way of looking at it.

I've lost so many wonderful, crazy, beautiful people along the way because such things as email, cell phones or Skype didn't exist in my early youth. Calls were expensive and often hard or impossible to get through, letters took forever to get where they were going and some never made it and you never learned about it, maybe only never heard from someone again or left someone waiting for news which never arrived.

On a day like this I remember them, so many of them, especially those I never saw or heard from or managed to find again. I remember them because they made me laugh. I remember them because they made me cry. Gave me the most wonderful compliment I've ever received, my first kiss, words sharper than any knife, and the strength to hold on no matter what.

On a day like this life feels like one long goodbye. Almost too many goodbyes to count except I could. All I have to do is remember why I liked them, why I feared them, why they held me enthralled or appalled, why I respected them, how I earned their trust.

On a day like this I'm grateful for all the people I've managed to keep in touch with, ever grateful for all the ways out there to keep in touch. I let them know how much they mean to me. I'm safe in the knowledge that even if I once felt there's no such place as home, I still found one in someone. On a day like this I'm not likely to forget. All the ones I lost to the world will always be here to remind me.