Category Archives: victories

Message from the Universe/Broadway: Believe Stronger

We are living in uncertain, and unnerving, times.

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I combat the pervasive feelings of anxiety and fear by striking back against the dark, including seeing, supporting, and singing Broadway musicals.

Here in Portland, I was lucky enough to see Newsies last year, a favorite from childhood. This year, I saw Finding Neverland, which I’d never heard of, and which I didn’t feel particularly excited about. I sat through the first act, breaking into a few smiles but not essentially moved, as I usually am, by the music and song and emotion.

Then there was the finale of the first half, Stronger. Amazing. The playwright, J. M. Barrie, has to find a scary alter-ego within himself to cultivate enough backbone to go ahead with his new material, in the face of threats and criticism. What a zinger!

I went online afterwards, the background pirate vocals and foot-stomps singing in my ears, and found Kelsey Grammer performing the role of Captain Hook! I also saw a video of the Broadway cast performing Believe, an earlier number which I’d enjoyed but passed over. The play didn’t have me yet.

But when I watched the cast perform the song for a network show, it came to life. The resistant cynic being plied with positivity until he caves in and joins the others to imagine a better and more interesting world. (Not that the world isn’t interesting, but when one’s father has died and one has to conform to Edwardian behavioral mores…I could see how it would seem depressing for a kid.)

So, there I had it: my two favorite numbers from Neverland, which I haven’t been able to stop singing, are:

Believe

Stronger

As Tosha Silver might say, Not. Even. Subtle.

 

Images via Council of Elrond

Letting Go for the NEW New Year

Did you know that the Romans celebrated their New Year on March 1?

Mars, the God of War, oversaw the start of their calendar. Makes sense, because ROMANS.

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As part of their ritual, they celebrated Terminalis, the God of Borders, Transitions, and Neighbors

I came across these facts randomly several years ago, and had the bright idea to use a random holiday as an excuse for a party.

It was great in DC, so I repeated it in Portland, as a way to meet my neighbors in the rather cold, anonymous apartment complex where I live. It worked out okay a couple years ago, but was less pagan-ritual and more corporate-ice-breaker vibe…

cheesy corporate icebreaker trust fall

So this year, in line with my intention to be more open to the mysteries, I deliberately invoked the pagan side of the holiday in my invitation.

I invited people I thought would be into rational discussion of neighbors. Borders. What being a good neighbor meant. What having a border meant.

My definition of neighbor expanded to include those within a few miles, since the people I’d met two years ago had moved on. We talked about the definition of neighbor.

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I got 4 No’s and 2 Yes’s and 5 Lack of Responses. Portland.

My two Yes’s showed up and we had baked goods, wine, tea, and enlivening, enheartening conversation. It was brilliant. More evidence that quality over quantity is what counts.

It also affirmed my intention to Let Go of the effects of my generosity this year. For 2017, one of my intentions is to offer what I can, without the expectation of returns. This means not holding onto disappointment when no one comes on an outing, not seething with resentment when someone says they’ll come then blithely doesn’t show, not refusing to offer my generosity because I don’t get the feeling I desire.

It’s hard, but I’m learning. And my two Yes’s helped that little monster in my brain relearn the importance of a few deep connections, rather than the buzz of a crowd or the validation of popularity.

What borders around you need tending? What neighbors could you invite to your (metaphorical) hearth?

 

Images via Wikipedia, Expert Beacon, and property of Margaret Pinard

Twenties, Thirties, & Beyond: How It Gets Better

It’s my third and final night in Paris tonight.

It’s also my 35th birthday in 10 days.

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Between this adventure I’m currently on and the life I’m living, I’ve had lots of time to reflect, and lots of great conversations with old friends. These have led me to an interesting conclusion.

Life just seems to get better and better.

In speaking with friends scattered across the globe, a common theme emerges: we’re aging. But we’re seeing some really great things come out of the process, not just the wrinkles and the graduated torture of additional medical exams.

As I look out from the middle of my fourth decade, I’m feeling like I have ‘a new lease on life,’ as the old saying goes. And why? What could give someone who is no longer ‘young’ the feeling that the world is her oyster? Well, I’ll tell you.

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You don’t put up with SHIT.

Back in your 20s, maybe you had a boyfriend for 3 years that you should have split up with after Year 1. But you thought maybe it was you, and you could change, and then you’d be perfect together.

Now you wouldn’t think twice about standing up for your standards because time with someone who doesn’t make you happy in some way is time wasted. Life wasted. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

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You don’t CARE about shit.

Back in my former life, I toed the line, following others’ expectations for my life, because I was too insecure about going after the things I really wanted: to be a musical comedy actress, for example. I couldn’t move somewhere on my own and try something so drastically dreamy without someone cheering me on, now, could I?

Instead, I worried about how my pencil skirt fit, and made a concerted effort to purchase the perfect plates for hors d’oeuvres at dinner parties.

And after all this agonizing, I realized that it’s not about the style of teacup used as an air plant receptacle; it’s the fact that someone wanted a planter more than a teacup at one point, so they adapted what they had to suit.

Things don’t matter. Don’t bother ironing. Suit yourself.

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You know yourself.

(hopefully)

Now that you’ve been an ‘adult’ in name for a while, you’ve probably tried out a few things. Partners. Shoes. Cities.

Maybe you’ve been from one extreme to the other: from Cairo to Buffalo, from Vans to Jimmy Choo, from frat guy to polyamory. And when you tried on these different situations, maybe like Goldilocks you found a happy medium.

Or maybe you’re still searching. But you know yourself better after those experiences, don’t you?

You’re not the type to stay with an unhappy partner. Because you don’t put up with that shit.

You are the type to wear suede triple-tone Oxfords to work. Because you like them, and who cares if purple, blue, and brown are impossible to match?

You can take this self-knowledge and design your life now, instead of feeling like your choices are circumscribed by some cosmic forces, or society, or the popular crowd at school.

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And even better news? I’ve got it from several sources that your 40s are even better.

Life gets better and better. Well, maybe there’s a place where it starts to bend back downward But I don’t think we’re there yet.

 

Do you see the same shape in your life? How? Do you see other benefits in aging? Tell us in the comments!

 

Images property of author