Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I read today
I thought today
I thought of you
and what today means to you.

I saw the sun come up this morning
Saw the old girl.
That's what you called her.
One of many mornings.

told me so many things
a lifetime of things.

I told you things too
No one else could ever know.
But you knew
Because you were you.

I once watched
an interview with Elizabeth Taylor
they asked her about Richard Burton
She said, my memories of Richard are mine
And they're private.
And then she levelled the interviewer with her eyes.

My eyes used to level you.
Your eyes could have levelled me
But your eyes didn't.
You knew
Long before I did
The power in your eyes
In your voice
Always, one note away from a laugh.
I will hear your voice
Your voice threaded with laughter
The rest of my life.

When I write about you now
I change the present tense to the past
I have to check that I do this
Because somewhere
I think you are reading this and
you might be offended
That I refer to you as past tense
But then
You didn't offend easily.

Once, you told me I never had to apologize
to you
No one, ever, had said that to me before.
I didn't know how to react
So I looked away from you
I looked at the floor.
When I looked, back up again
You were still looking at me with your kind eyes.
You would never level me
Not on purpose, anyway.

I didn't need to tell you
How to understand me.
You just knew.

You said to me,
You have more insight now.

I have it, because of you
Because you lived and were part of my life
and now you are gone
But I won't forget

Happy Birthday my friend
I won't do that again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Comfort Zone

Recently I described someone close to me as having a very narrow 'comfort zone'. I guess what I meant is that for this person to feel any sense of security in life, she needs to have things a certain way, all the time, and when things are not that way, she reacts. Not always in a constructive way.
I started thinking about the phrase 'comfort zone'. It can mean many different things from person to person. Aiming for prosperity, a fulfilling job, a certain level of financial security, all of these money matters are very much part of a comfort zone for a lot of people, and our consumer-driven, hyped-up world certainly reflects that. Love, happy relationships, friends, and a family buffer a comfort zone for many too. These are the more basic human desires in seeking comfort--acceptance, a feeling of belonging, being understood.
In an effort to understand myself, I have been examining my own comfort zone. Not just the positive sides of it either.
For me, my comfort zone begins within the walls of my home. The high ceilings, tall windows, light colours, and a collection of possessions I attach value to all provide a sense of serenity to me. This, in turn, fosters a sense of comfort, one that I can't really re-create anywhere else. Despite the sometimes obvious stresses that owning a home (in my case a refurbished loft) can bring, it also, for me, brings a feeling of calm, of being rooted, something I value very much for my own comfort zone. It relates, deep down, to a feeling of needing security, something that as I keep looking at comfort zones, I continue to explore. On the flip side of this, do I value my home too much? Do I personify it to a level where it can replace people? No, but it's a danger I try to be cognizant of. So many good stories feature a protagonist who ends up falling into the very trap they tried so desperately to avoid.
I use the example of my home because I've noticed that many people define comfort zone with a place--be it the actual physical reality of their home, a certain area of a city, a certain city or town itself, and the thought of moving, or breaking a certain 'barrier' for lack of a better word, is terrifying in itself. And people can't be pushed out of these notions they have. They have them for reasons they might not even be aware of themselves.
Another comfort zone involves my parents. They are living their lives as empty nesters, as grandparents, now, although it often seems impossible to me as I can't quite marry up this concept in my head as it forces me to consider their advancing age, and this panics me.
I tried, for so many years, to make them conform to what I felt they should be doing--be it
with their health, their spare time, you name it. Only recently did I recognize that all of my efforts, misguided though they were, invaded their comfort zone, which exists between the two of them, in their own home, and their own thought processes, as alien as they may be to me sometimes. I have no right to question them, really I don't.
I don't have the right to question ANYONE's definition of comfort zone. It is, as I described before, personal, private, and they will usually be very protective of it. Not in ways you can always recognize immediately, but in more subconscious ways, I've realized.
People who are nervous about their comfort zone limits may talk too much, repeat the same story over and over, trying to find their way back in somehow. People who are concerned about how much happiness they are currently not experiencing within a comfort zone that used to work for them may need to lay blame when none can really be shifted.

Perhaps in laying the foundation of my own comfort zone, I have often stepped on the boundaries of others. It helps me to remember to keep this in perspective.

I am breaking an old pattern.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I haven't been writing.
I've been reading, absorbing, taking things in, sometimes observing, partaking, but mostly just being, accepting, and, for lack of a better word, living. Living, as I described in my last post, my average life. I reflect alot. I regret alot too. But I am very much forward-moving. Not in the way that I can never stay still and be comfortable, but more in the way that I can't keep a strangle-hold on the past too long, that my way of making it through life seems to be dependent on me having alot to think about, juggling, but always paying close attention.
My thirties, thus far, have allowed me to continue to develop without the constant strife that seemed to shadow my twenties. Mental acuity. Inner strength. A shrewd but gentle view of the world. A feeling of luck to have a boring life. Boring can be just that, but when nothing catastrophic is happening from day-to-day, boring can bring such relief, such comfort.

I didn't always have, during my young adulthood, a full, layered life, with people who could give so much to me, to whom I could bestow much back onto. In my twenties, as I've laboured on describing in the past few posts, I didn't really know what it would take to make me happy. I didn't know that one day, I would actually be happy. Not dancing-in-the-street-happy, but 'me-happy'. Which means fragments of inner peace. Of acceptance. Accepting myself, with all my leftover neuroses and heartaches, and the bumps along the road that somehow find me, at 36, extremely blessed and grateful for every single blemish in the pavement I have tread upon.

This post is titled memory, so I guess I should give a nod to that.

I've been remembering, and forgiving, my younger self. For her very neuroses that brought me to today. For her very passionately made mistakes. I, for better or for worse, own those mistakes, those decisions, no matter how agonizing they were at the time, no matter how bitterly I can reflect on them now, they are mine, mine only.
I've visited the past in a number of ways in this new year, 2010, both psychologically and physically. I had dinner recently with an old friend, whom I hadn't seen or spoken to in a long time. We had alot to talk about. I had alot to be sorry for. So, in some respects, did she, but this was not a dinner about 're-living' the past--it was about honouring it, and allowing it some breathing room. Sometimes you don't get the opportunity to say you're sorry. I guess now, where I am, I have been given the lesson of saying it whenever I can.
I have another old friend, whom is always on my mind despite our geographical distance, as we seem to have been so much in synch over the past year or so. We have long, intellectual discussions on the phone, and never once do I ever leave a conversation with her that I don't learn something new-not just about her-but about myself. About beliefs, about ways of thinking.

Lots of big thoughts. Life. Death. Denial. Regret.

I continue to read through my old journals as a way of getting to know her (me)---who would ever think you would end up depending on a series of prettily-covered spiral-bound, lined notebooks to get to know yourself, the self of eight, nine, ten, eleven years ago?
I don't live in the past, but there are times, if you are living a good life, it can be a sweet place to visit. Not to dwell on.

To remember.