I was a fairy this weekend. My dream come true. Truly. I know that many people wish that they were mermaids or mermen or merpeeps. But not me. I am fairy material. And this past weekend I got to put on my wings and fairy out! And not just any kind of wings. I had firebird, feather, fairy wings. Yup. My fairy mojo was complete.
I got to be a fairy - or should I say my true fairy colors were finally able to come forth, because my fairy daughter was gifted two tickets to this amazing event called the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball. And being the amazing fairy daughter that she is, she invited me to be her plus one. And so we picked our pretty dresses and picked out our wings and on Friday night we fairy'd over to the Biltmore Hotel where our minds proceeded to be blown.
This was not just a dust off your wings and come party kind of ball. Oh no, this was an all out masked and costumed extravaganza! With ball gowns and plated armor, head pieces adorned with flowers and jewels and fully painted faces in deep reds and stark white. There was lavish performances and sweet singers, too. All masked and dressed and fully embracing this wondrous experience created to mirror the ball in the David Bowie movie Labyrinth.
I never saw that movie but plan to watch it now.
Despite our toned down compared to most everyone around us attire, fairy daughter and fairy mom had an amazing time. We sang to Queen in the main ballroom, we tried on the beautiful head pieces, we sat outside in the warm, night air and where we were gifted two, absolutely and much needed, oatmeal cookies by another not quite fairy creature. We listened to a lovely band called Windows to Sky. And we took lots and lots of photographs to try and capture these moments of wonder. Here are just a few that I love of my fairy daughter. And a formal, on the fairy throne one of she and me.
I’m in so much pain I don’t know what to do with myself. A physical pain that, though isolated to just the muscles to the inside of my left shoulder blade, has taken over my whole body. I am crooked and off kilter and have that sick feeling in my stomach that comes when pain is great and relief is in the distance.
Though I did get a bit of it for a bit. A chiropractic adjustment that caused discomfort and release, both, and lasted for my car ride home but now I am back to pain. An I-am-crooked-and-it-hurts-to-sit-and-so-I-am-hunched-over-this-keyboard-to-write kind of pain. It sucks.
I woke up fine. Really good, actually. Later than normal because my perfect and beautiful and I really can’t live without her Doberman puppy, who is now a dog, had a sleepover at her favorite friend’s house. And so I slept in and awoke rested and feeling just fine and then, in that weird-and-in-an-instant-where-you-just-move-a-bit-funny-and-then-it-is-not-funny-at-all kind of way, I was where I am now. With a misaligned rib and a pain that runs from the cramped up and spasm’d muscle down the back of my left arm. And into my soul.
I think I’ll cry a little bit. That always helps.
Speaking of soul pain, this is what I was originally going to write about today. Because of a quote I saw yesterday. When I was at the movies with my youngest daughter and my lovely husband. We say Atomic Blond. Really good movie. Great soundtrack. Go see it.
So we saw Atomic Blond but before this we saw the four hundred previews that theaters are showing these days so that the start of the 4:00 movie was actually like 5:15. Ok a bit of an exaggeration but you do know what I am talking about.
So we saw the many previews that, because Atomic Blond is an action movie, were action movie themed as in violent and scary with some evil thrown in because, you know, we don’t have enough evil in the world so it’s important to have it presented in fiction.
Anyway, one of these previews, it was not evil, or scary or action packed. In fact, I am not sure what this movie is about at all. Or what the name if it is. I didn’t pay attention for too long. That short attention span thing. But while I was paying attention, on the screen I saw “What if shame was a bridge not a barrier?” And as I was taking this in, I looked over at my beautiful daughter as she said I love this quote and typed it into her phone to remember. I whispered this is my writing for tomorrow, my brain already visiting the many times that this bridge had appeared for me and the many times I was brave enough to cross it.
There is this great book called Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lessor. She writes about those moments in your life that can break you down. But that these are actually the moments that can break you open. They are the opportunities to learn and grow. To rise above the traps and the trauma and to evolve into that next best place where you are destined to travel. This shame quote is this same thing. Shame is our opportunity. When we feel this, it brings us immediately to those deepest of hurts that have planted roots inside our bodies and our hearts and our minds. And our soul. These hurts are our history.
They are also our compass.
For within those moments of deep shame we are most aware of those things that we must heal. Shame shows us where our work lies. Warm and dark and painful to the touch, shame beckons and if we are willing to sit in her silence we will hear her truth.
Shame is our bridge. Cross it.
I was at a festival this weekend. This is why my writing is a morning late. I was away. Deep in a Fern Gully forest without access to anything other than what was going on around me right in that moment. The moistness of the air from mile high trees and moss and ferns. The dusty paths and open, hay-covered fields. The sweet and small lights that hung from trees around stages and tents and places to play throughout what is known as Beloved, a festival in Tidewater, Oregon that pulls to it this most loveliest of people dressed in festival wear and multi-colored gear and cloaked in the deep and warm colors of openheartedness.
I was away in this place and so did not know what had transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia until I pulled away from the festival grounds and began the long drive back to my world. And still I did not know, hoping to hold on to the simple space of being connected only to other dear souls and not to technology and media and the bright and harsh light of my iPhone screen.
And so for much of the drive home I did not know anything. And then I did.
Where once the rhetoric was blatantly covered in insidious skin and callous calling, now even this superficial camouflage has fallen away. The rally in Charlottesville is blatant and hateful. It is racism and intolerance and hate and bigotry. It is dangerous and dividing. And it is unacceptable.
And it is not new.
What we see, what is unfolding in leaves of darkness and despair is not newly planted and only just growing tall but the face of this country for a long time. We were founded on this. We ripped away lands and forged through a culture to inhabit this country. We pushed methodology and ideology onto those who did not think the way we did just as we preached the love of God and goodness. We covered our evils in religion and embraced the concept of freedom as we decimated others whose ways did not match our own.
And then we did it again. Bringing forth from other lands men and women and child to forge our lands work and tables and bear our children in the most inhumane of ways. And we did this as it was done in other places, too. All over this dirt and water, ice and coal land we call earth, we ripped away the cover that lay upon those who do not think like us, dress like us, walk and talk and love like us.
This is the human experience.
We are hateful and intolerant beings. We are fearful of those we do not know or know to be different than ourselves. We use words and swords to judge and justify. And we call it freedom of speech and freedom to assemble.
We are darkness.
But we are light. This I believe it true.
And just as we are evil and intolerant and racist and afraid we are goodness and light and fearlessness and love.
There is movement happening in the world. An embracing of self and a search of higher meaning, a deeper connection and an opening to Source. And so there is a flare up of hatred, too. Of darkness and isolation. Of fear of change and a gathering of judgement and anger. Of course there is. The balance needs balance. And it needs this fuel of fire.
We need to see these moments in Charlottesville, Virginia so that we can respond to them, like for like. Goodness and hope, love and inclusion, do not live in darkened alleys and deep, dank caves. they live out in the open.
Darkness needs to come out of hiding, too.
Charlottesville, Virgina is our next and new playing field in this game that we call life. It is our opportunity to stand up in the clearness of the day. Nothing is concealed anymore. There is no question of where the hatred lurks. It's standing now in full light for all of us to see.
When my niece was in first grade, and her brother was in fifth, I picked them up from school twice a week and played with them all afternoon until my sister finished with her day and got home. It was great. My kids were older, and self-sufficient by this point and to get to hang out with my sister's delicious kids a few times a week was, well...pretty delicious.
We came up with this idea that they would have code names. For no other reason really except for the fact that it was a fun thing to do. Though a teacher they had at the elementary school I picked them up at thought that this was a safety thing - that they would know that only someone who knew their code names were safe to go home with. Considering the fact that I was the only one picking them up I am not sure what made her think this. It is kinda interesting. Regardless, this was not the reason though I did ask them to come up with really unique names.
My nephew came up with Drake. Mainly because he was obsessed with the show Josh and Drake which played on TV at the time. And the name they gave me was Sherbet. Or maybe I thought of that? No, it was them. Don't ask me why. And my niece, her unique and rarely used name, chosen with care and deliberation, was Sara. Yup...
So, we had our names.
And we had an extremely interesting car ride home each day as my niece, temporarily named Sara, spent the entire ride swearing. This was because she was not allowed to at home. Whereas at my home, we all swore. Especially me. And so Sara swore. As in a stream of foulmouthed words and phrases that even I was surprised to hear come forth from her. I laughed the whole way home.
And then we played. And ate ice cream from the container. And made cookies - once using peppermint instead of vanilla by mistake and I could not understand they they tasted so strange.
And once we addressed a letter to a pretend address that sounded a bit like their real address - Kielbasa Sausage. I still can't remember if it made it to them or not.
So why this writing about "Sara?" Because she started a blog. Yup, my fifteen year old and truly remarkable niece is now a weekly blogger. And I want you to check it out. Because it is good and because she is my niece and I think she is amazing and also because I feel that anyone who puts themselves out there and shares their voice and opens their heart and lets other's into their thoughts and their ideas, well... that person is worthy of our support.
So here is a link to the writing about her code name. But check out her other writings, too. She is a cool girl. I am a proud aunt.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.