By Melanie Bates
Thereís a change a brewiní in me, folks.
AndÖ itís felt about as fluid and graceful as when Jim Carrey, of†Ace Ventura fame, was birthed from a large, plastic rhinoceros arse in the sequel. My facial expressions and utterances are the same.
Iím on the lookout for something different; something big. Iím waiting to embrace change as enthusiastically as Iíd embrace the return of the buoyancy of my breasts at 20.
You see, I havenít felt very connected as of late. Hell, I havenít felt connected for a good seven plus years. Itís more like Iíve been sort of floating around, willy-nilly, on a trade wind from the Caribbean. But, you know that feeling Iím talking about, right? When you feel that indescribable joy, feeling of connection, and clarity of purpose and path in every bone in your body; when you just know youíre onto something big and it swells you, you feel lighter, and you physically see more clearly?
I was talking with a friend about this feeling of connectedness recently. I told him that I havenít felt that feeling since I moved to Cleveland. I was trying to noodle out with him what that was about. I think it started with an emergency surgery I had for†my Stage IV Endometriosis. I was married to a wonderful man but we had nothing to work toward together. We didnít have much in common, we were just sort of going through the motions of existence, neither happy, nor sad, but simply content and comfortable. I hadnít been happy for the last six years of my marriage. I think that surgery, and subsequent recovery, awoke something within me Ė a will to live; a will for more than just existence and comfort. I left my 10-year marriage, I left my family and friends, I left my home and traipsed across the country with 30 boxes of books, a twin mattress, and a couple of bookshelves. I had never felt more alive. Itís as if my vision, normally 20/40 had returned to 20/20. Iíd never felt more clearly set upon my path nor more full of joy.
It lasted for a good three years too. During that time I traveled to Europe, New York City, South Beach, Folly Beach, Ottawa, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Pennsylvania and a few places I canít even remember. I dove out of a plane. I learned to snowboard. I got up on a surf board. I went to hundreds of concerts and met thousands of people. Literally.
What my friend and I decided was that when youíre taking risks, when youíre stepping out of your comfort zone, youíre naturally more connected. When youíre shaking things up in your life youíre truly living in the NOW. Youíre not focusing on the past or the future. I challenge you to take your first dive out of an airplane while retaining thoughts of Aunt Hester smacking you as a child with her bejeweled ruby handbag. Itís not possible.
Itís the same for travel. When youíre in a wholly new environment youíre bombarded with new senses and sensations; things youíve never seen, heard, or felt. Itís difficult to focus on the mundane or worry the past or future when youíre in a new setting. I think this may be why folks are addicted to extreme sports. Who has time to worry about the state of their stocks and the market when theyíre barreling down a mountain on a piece of wood?
There are other ways to stay in the NOW but my meditation pillow is musty and Iím no Deepak Chopra. Yet.
Turning the Fan on Low
For now, Iím making baby steps. Iím not just sitting around waiting to be blown about by that noríeaster. I may not be moving 2,000 miles away, jumping out of a tiny plane at 11,000 feet, or traveling to Bali, but Iím doing what I can.
For example, since I was 15 years old Iíve had long hair. Why 15? Because thatís how long it took to grow back after my mom decided I would look adorable with a Dorothy Hamill haircut for my entire childhood. I loathed it. It was like a bowl cut, only with a gargantuan bowl. Detest is probably a better word, in fact. Every time I sat in that stylistís chair I cried big, fat tears and my tiny heart would break thinking about Julie Wood and her long yellow tresses. I swore that I would never have short hair again. And now, at 41, Iím seriously thinking about chopping off my hair. No, not a Dorothy Hamill. Something funky and chic and different. Iíve oft wondered if hair holds memory and toxins. If it does mine is full oí guilt, shame, Jaeger and Beam. I want to lighten my load. I want to shock myself. I just hope I donít cry while Iím in the chair with visions of Dorothy skating through my head.
Next up are three tattoos. Big ones. Not like the little heart with a ball and chain that I got on my ankle when I was 19 and couldnít commit. My second, back in 2002, was a piece of art I fell in love by a Japanese artist. Since that time Iíve fallen in love with various pieces of art, some of which Iíve gotten tattoos of, but until 3 years ago they were in more inconspicuous places. Now I have a large upper arm piece but I want more. So Iíve searched high and low to find the right artist here in Utah and these three super meaningful pieces of artwork will soon be on my chest and arms. It struck me the other day that Iím going to miss this body when I pass on because of all this gorgeous artwork by some of the most amazing tattoo artists around.
Iím also searching for a yoga retreat that I can steal away to calm my monkey brain, get a tad of Zen, try to stretch my unused muscles and pat the must out of my meditation pillow.
Is this stuff superficial? Outer reflection? Surface? †YupÖ but itís the only place I can think of to begin to express whatís brewiní within. I canít seem to crack the inner. The deep. The buried. Yet. But I can feel it in there. Waiting. Biding its time to become. To birth, head first, from that proverbial plastic rhinoceros ass.
How ’bout you? What do you do when you just need to shake things up?
Femme Tales – Truth with Humor