Friday, February 14, 2014


You know when it is time to say "no".  For me it was I was burning with a need to reclaim my time, my space, my...self.

I tend to do a lot for other people.  People I love and people I don't even care for very much.  I just have a bleeding heart and a "well, it needs to get done so I guess I'll do it" mentality.  This year I decided it was time for Carrie to start saying "no".

Nothing comes for free. Everything costs. Saying a two letter word has indeed been costly.  And the things and people I have said it to were tough to face afterward.  But, for the first time in my life I know that if I don't so no, I will continue to beat myself up for not giving Carrie enough of herself.

I'm in a very busy period of time.  And often I am stuck in my own head.  I am trying very hard to not make my issues or busy schedule a problem for other people.  It's not that I don't want to be there for other people, it is simply that I have to take care of myself right now.  Otherwise I will end up burning the candle at both ends and lashing out at someone I love.

That being said, I have found myself more ready to say "Look, that was rude!  Don't do that to me!  It is a different  way of saying no, but an important step in the process in reclaiming myself and reserve some head space for the body's owner.  No.  Not cool.  Stop stringing me a long and only calling on me when your world has collapsed and you need someone to talk you down.  No.

I don't want to hurt anyone and I am terrified of doing just that.  However, this isn't about anyone but me.  I need to be true to myself and outline boundaries.  I'm constantly moving and doing and right now I just need some time to myself and also time to stand up for myself.  This week I have finally become comfortable with the choices I have made and decided to not apologize for standing my ground.

I cannot help you feel better about the bad choices you have made for yourself.
I cannot go out and piss the night away.
I cannot do the assignment you were tasked with.
I cannot just be here to answer the phone when you need me when I am not afforded the same luxury.
I cannot cry with you over this mistake.
I cannot tell you what I'm thinking about because those thoughts are reserved for my contemplation.
I cannot make you feel better for the shitty thing you did to me and pretend it is all ok.
I cannot be....everywhere.

It all seems negative when you see it in black and white, but I assure you, in the long run this will save everyone a lot of heartache.  Sometimes you just can't.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

When You're South of the Mason-Dixon Line

"As soon as you passed the Mason-Dixon line, things got dirty..."

I just got back from a road trip with two co-workers.  We work at a music museum and decided to tour other museums like ours to see what kind of programs, memberships. community outreach services, and special events they do at their venues.  For me, this trip was nothing but exciting.  When I was a kid my parents took me and my sister to the deep south on family vacations.  I'm not sure why we went to Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana,  and the Carolinas.  Perhaps it was because we didn't have a lot of money and couldn't afford to go to places like Disney Land or...New York City.  Whatever the reason, these childhood experiences of riding through a part of the country that was still segregated in areas and poverty is a way of life, led me to feeling very comfortable in the region as an adult.  Now, that may sound strange.  Let me explain.  When my parents took us on these trips we stopped and toured several plantations.  The history of these places struck my heart and caused me to be interested in what happened in early American history.  I became fascinated with the culture, black and white, of the South. And I developed a taste for American roots music.  Everything from slave chants and the dirty blues, to tend revival shout songs and and early folk.  The music told the story of the South.  And most of the music I gravitated toward was from the poor.  Slaves and descendants of slaves, poor share croppers, and hillbillies in the Appalachian Mountains.  In that music you heard the struggle and the pain, but you also caught a glimpse of times when cultures came together and learned from one another.  And to this day, I still listen to the music of the South and find myself with the same awe and wander of my 10 year old self.

This tour we did took us to Memphis, TN first.  Home of Stax Records, Sun Records, Beale Street, and Elvis Presley's Graceland.  Memphis is holy ground to me.  On the many trips I have made to the city, there has never been a time when I didn't find myself completely humbled by the magic that took place when artists, black and white, could record together and merge to make a new sound.  One that the world hadn't heard yet.  Each time I visit, I always get emotional.  It is like going to church for me.  So, here I am in Memphis taking in the city and imaging what it was like in the 30's, 50's, and 1960's.  When music got real and artists were feeling and new energy.  And, like always, I left with the sens of my own culture and personal history.  I am Memphis, TN.  It is in my blood and part of my soul.  And I am so, so very grateful for that.

We made our way out of Memphis and headed for Clarksdale, MA.  Birthplace of Sam Cooke and the location of the Crossroads.  Where highways 61 and 49 intersect and where bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil so that he may sing and play the blues.  The folklore in these parts is heavy.  It hangs in the air like a fog and any person you ask will give his or her account of what happened there.  The ghosts of singers like Pinetop Perkins and Jessie Mae Hemphill are as real as the folks walking down the street.  The cotton still grows on the old Hopson Plantation and late at night, if you're really still, you can almost hear the chants of slaves working the fields.  This town is as magical as it is frightening.  Everyone has a story and everyone wants to share it with you.  Well, all the locals anyway.  Transplants are a different story in these parts.  They don't know the land or the history.  It wasn't passed down through generations of freed slaves, Plantation owners, or poor farmers.  But if you meet a local, ask them some questions.  Their tales won't disappoint you.

Our final stop was in Indianola, MS to visit the B.B. King Museum.  What a beautiful tribute to a living legend.  I learned a lot about B.B. and his earliest years working in a cotton gin that is now part of the museum, to his success as an international ambassador of American roots music.  I was moved, inspired, and motivated.  After the tour we met with the Director of the center.  I learned from him two striking bits of information.  1. The town of Indianola, B.B. King's home town, was segregated until 2001.  Wow.  What?  And the state of Mississippi has the most Grammy awards, per capita, than any other state of the union.  And it has the most Lifetime Achievement awards than any other state.  So, arguably one of most racially divided parts of the region of the U.S. has the most music awards despite the left over thinking of an early America.  Well, ain't that something...

Before leaving town we ate at a local hot spot called The Crown Cafe.  We were greeted by the owner with a thick deep Southern accent a plate of fresh bread.  We had down home favorites that included "Right There" hot sauce and followed with Plantation Pie.  Oh.  My.  God.

I got home late last night and my brain was spinning.  It seems the South, despite the shock and horror I feel when I think of its history, has a grip on me.  I feel connected down there.  And sometimes, being a white woman I feel weird saying that.  When I say it, I feel that people get the wrong connotation.  What I mean is, the history and the racial, and the music created a culture like none other in the U.S.  And when you get an opportunity to hear someone's story, it takes your breath away.

Personally I can trace my appreciation for this part of the country to those family vacations.  When my parents took an opportunity to show us history and to teach us what happened here.  So, when I opened a history book, I had seen this place.  I walked those floors and witnessed the residual of a definitive period.  I'm grateful for those trips and for the education.  It helped me develop my taste and appreciation and tolerance.

"You gonna leave here smellin' like the Delta"


Saturday, January 18, 2014


I have blogged in a very long time.  I guess I have been too busy living.  I've had a great time and happy to report that things just keep getting better.  See, I am at a place in my life where I'm just letting it happen. I'm in no hurry.  So, things are good.  Of course there are the normal ups and downs, but right now I feel good.  I feel confident.  I feel safe and happy.

I've taken on a few more personal hobbies and interests and they are keeping my mind occupied and fulfilled.  That, coupled with my work, is keeping my head afloat.  Work has been good to me.  I am afforded a lot of amazing opportunities and upcoming events that will introduce me to a lot of people I admire.  I am very excited about this and feel it is somehow a part of the bigger picture.  I don't believe anything just happens.  Call it fate, faith, kismet, or whatever, I do believe everything happens for a reason.  2013 proved that to me and I will live by my gut.

Today is a beautiful Saturday.  I'm relaxed and not at all stressed.  I hope it stays this way for a few days.  I feel a little dreamy.  Thinking on possibilities.  This year is full of potential and I really want to be open to a beautiful moment when it happens.  I feel that I am open, but I want to be okay with moments that are out of my comfort zone.  That is a frightening thought, but I'm willing to give it a shot and open my heart up more. 

I suppose I'm rather superstitious because I don't want to say too much and create expectations for myself.  However, I am just putting it out there.  I'm here and I'm curious.  And I welcome kindness and hope to recognize it when it comes my way.

Bless and release.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Emotional Lives of Non Human Animals

After a long, hard, emotionally taxing day, I turned on my television to a program about uncommon animal friendships.  Two of my favorite topics: animals and friends.  To my joy, I see a story taking place here in Oklahoma and just down the road in a neighboring city.  At a rescue called Wild Heart, a unique bond between and old blind horse and an old goat made this girl

Charlie the horse and Jack the goat

Charlie lost his vision one eye at a time.  At his first lost, Jack decided to help Charlie around the reserve and would lead him by walking on the side of his good eye.   Once he lost all site, Jack led by walking in front of Charlie, leading the way to their favorite spot in the sun where Charlie would graze and Jack stood by waiting for his friend.  After a day in the sun, Jack led the way back to their nesting spot to bed down for the night.  This tradition took place every single day.  The director of the animal rescue commented that Jack got nothing out of this relationship.  Charlie couldn't feed or protect him, yet he stayed by the old horse's side until the day Charlie took his last sun bath.  When Charlie was laid to rest, Jack began to deteriorate.  He isn't as agile or energetic as he once was.  The staff was and still is so moved by the bond of these two animals and claims when it is Jack's time to go, he will be buried in the sun next to his old pal in their favorite spot to spend time together.

Now you can wrap up in the fetal position and try not to cry.

I am glad to have stumbled upon this story.  While the animals can't communicate through words,  their dedication to one another and Jack's loyalty to his friend until the end, well, it just made my day.

When Charlie lost site in both eyes, the staff at Wild Heart were going to put him down.  However, they decided to give him, and his friend Jack, the opportunity to spend more time with one another.  And thank goodness.  It was a beautiful lesson.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Embraceable You

I live and unconventional life.  Unconventional in the sense that I reside in the Midwest and I'm not married, I don't have children, and I don't own my home.  Instead I live with another unmarried childless woman.  We function as most couples would when we text to ask what's for dinner, we trade house chores, watch television together, and we even socialize together.  Every morning we say "I love you" to one another and at night, we usually kiss each other on the face and say it again.  I am not a lesbian.  I'm a friend.  Julie is not my roommate, she is my home partner and my friend.  Julie and I share a family of sorts.  It is comprised of friends, near and far, that come together to support and love one another.  When schedules permit we have family dinners and, from the outside, it looks like any other traditional family gathering around a large table.  We hug, kiss, and say "I love you" as much as possible.  Without this network of people I would have emotionally disappeared years ago.  My "family" fills the space in which a traditional life would otherwise occupy.

My birth family - Mom, Dad, and sister Dawn, live 8 hours away from me. We talk often and most holidays are reserved for going home to see them.  And most of the time we sit around the table laughing and acting stupid as we've done since I can remember.  My parents and sister are too far away from me right now.  I have a longing in my heart to see them and be in their presence.  More specifically I long to embrace them.  To feel their arms around me; hugging me tightly.

I'm an affectionate person.  As I previously stated, my created family has the embrace down.  Sometimes we hug one another just to feel that physical closeness.  And we all linger and at times it seems that we don't want to pull away.  At a Christmas party a few years ago, a dear friend returned to visit.  At the end of the night, everyone was standing around and we all hugged, made the rounds to each neck, and then did it all over.  It seemed that we couldn't hug each other enough.  One friend jokingly said "We're hugging like we'll never see each other again! We'll see each other in the morning!"  We all laughed and....well, hugged again.  I mention all this because, for some reason, I feel that with all the affection I give away I've neglected my Mom and Dad some of hat affection.  And I want to know why.  I've thought about it a lot and I've started to trace it back to the beginning of several deaths that seemed to pile up like a stack of unpaid bills.  First, my maternal grandma passed away.  It was a strange feeling.  Death is, of course, a natural part of life.  But she was just gone.  It felt so strange and the air was heavy.  Then, within a month of each other, both of my grandfathers passed away.  This past April my father's mother passed away unexpectedly and quite horribly.  Dad's heartbroken blue eyes never looked as lost and young as they did when I finally made it to Missouri where the service took place.

What on earth to I say to my motherless father?

Now, most of these events would seem to bond families and help incite a hugging marathon.  Typically people hug to comfort another.  And this is where I failed.  In my own confusion on how to deal with the loss of my parents' parents, I shrunk back into my own hole instead of reaching out to my parents and taking them into my arms for consolation.  You know, when the nurtured becomes the nurturer.  I failed - each time, with each loss.  And it just kind of led to less and less long embraces.  Less and less hand holding and forehead kisses.  Fewer back rubbing, hair stroking, cheek kissing for no reason, and more distance that was further than 8 hours of driving.

This is all so personal and I feel like I'm being choked with fear for sharing it.  But, I believe it's important.  It is important that my parents know how deeply I regret pulling back and retreating because I didn't know how to deal with the loss of a grandparents.  That hole I crawled inside of led to a weight that sat in the room when we were all together. It's also important for anyone who may stumble upon this post, to serve as a warning, Don't Do This.  I wanted to reach out and touch my mother's face or put my head on my daddy's chest, but I was afraid.  I felt they'd wonder why I was acting so strange or if  something was wrong and I wasn't telling them.  Well, I guess there was something.  I wanted to tell them...I'm sorry.

I love my Mommy and Daddy.  Even at 35 years old, there are times that I want to feel Mom's hands on my face and Dad's sweet kiss on my head.  I want Mommy and Daddy.  And to do that, I need to dive in and just wrap around them and embrace them past the awkwardness, past the comfort zone, and all way to the place where they feel my heart and intention.  Because they are my parents and they deserve my touch.  They deserve everything my created family gets from me.  And more.

I have a ritual that I try to do each time I settle in for the night. I hug my pillow and lift up positive thoughts for those I can't be with physically.  I say their names and tell them I'm sending my love.  To my sweet sister, to my oldest childhood friend and her husband and new baby girl, to my dear one across the ocean in another country, and finally to my Mom and Dad.  I have told my friends and sister about my ritual, but never my parents.  I guess I felt strange, but why?  Why would it ever be strange to tell them I'm sending my heart to them?  Why, Carrie?

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with the fact that some of the most important people of my life live far away from me.  While I'm lucky to have my people here, I get sad that I can't be with everyone all the time.  But, that's just life. It happens. And now, more than ever, I know that the next time I see my parents I must bring them in close to my heart and hug them as if it will never happen again.  And maybe it's not for them at all.  Maybe it's for me...?  And so what? It will benefit us all.

I love you Mom and Dad.  I need you.  I yearn for your physical presence and I never want to regret a minute spent with you because I was afraid to just reach out and hug you.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Words. Nothing but Words...?

Words are powerful.  In some cultures it is believed that by merely speaking words about someone, positive or negative, can act as a spell.  That whomever you are speaking about will start to manifest signs of your words.  It also works with the self.  The things you say about yourself become a reality, good or bad.  In the Western world we refer to this as the Self Fulfilling Prophecy.  It is the same principle as positive/negative self speak and gossiping.  Words are powerful.

My sister and I recently had a conversation about words.  Sentences formed in well crafted, or sometimes emotional spattering, that speak truths from the heart.  And how very sad it is that our culture has lost the art of the written word.  Of course books are still being published and the magazine industry isn't in trouble.  However, what happened to the hand written letter?  Remember when we wrote them and mailed them and had to wait in anticipation for person to receive it or to get one in the mailbox.  Now we just sit before a computer and type an email, hit send and there it is ready to be glanced at and sifted through during a boring meeting or right before the movie begins.  And with social media such as Facebook and Twitter, one can just "post" their thoughts and make them ambiguous.  There's little personalization.

When I moved away from the place I grew up, I relied on letters.  Any time I received a letter in the mail  I tore it open as soon as possible to read the note and see the drawings all scribbled because my friends and sister were always the kind to add a few extra pieces from the heart.  They were full of sentimentality and inside jokes and I kept them in a shoebox to look over again and again when I felt like I missed them and wanted their presence and energy in my day.  I would also send letters.  Taking an afternoon to design my thoughts and perfect my handwriting so that it was legible.  Mailing letters felt electric.  As if I were sending them a piece of my heart.  And for me, it was a piece of my heart.  It was cheaper than a long distance phone call, and lingered past the last "I love you" when we hung up the telephone.

In 1997 I had a young summer love just as the internet and emailed started to make its appearance in out every day lives.  This was pretty typical - I met a boy who loved far away and we were too young to really do anything with a relationship.  Neither of us were internet/email experts and we would send letters to one another filled with long term dreams and fantasies about a life far down the road where we lived in the same town and lived happily...well, you know.  I still keep in contact with this a man.  I hear from him via email probably once a month and he updates me on his life and plans.  Sometimes he sends me links to projects he is working on and we just trade ideas, dreams, fears.  It is all really similar to our summer romance except for the 161 years of life that have happened in between.  Once, in a long sentimental email, he admitted to me that he had kept a box of letters I had sent to him and sometimes he's read through them and remember that time. A time of innocence and beginnings.  We knew very little about the years that were ahead of us and there is, somehow, a great comfort in that ignorance.  It meant a lot to me that he had kept those letters, and even more that he told me.

I tend to wander over to the sentimental side quite often.  I keep useless little pieces of paper and things that remind me of someone. Especially things that have their handwriting on it. I used to feel strange about it but now that all of my grandparents are gone, when I come across something they've written I just stare at it for a while.  It's lovely to see their penmanship whether it's perfect or raw.  It's from their own hands.

I enjoy reading letters.  In fact I got my first tattoo this year and a piece of is is from a love letter written by Beethoven to his true love. Those words in their honest, desperate, most heart wrenching moments found their way on to a page hundreds of years ago.  And they found their way in to my heart and finally, on to my body as a permanent piece of something I believe in with my entire being. And in this one piece, it pretty much sums up everything I have pondered.  The emotion, the anticipation, the patience.  It's all there - written by someone who also created some of the world's most beautiful music.

   " Good morning, on July 7
Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us - I can live only wholly with you or not at all - Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits - Yes, unhappily it must be so - You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life - Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men - At my age I need a steady, quiet life - can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day - therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once - Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together - Be calm - love me - today - yesterday - what tearful longings for you - you - you - my life - my all - farewell. Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
ever thine
ever mine
ever ours


Monday, June 24, 2013

What a Little Moonlight Can Do

I've been on another self discovery journey lately.  I'm trying so very hard to be brave and to push myself past what others will think and just be honest.  I feel that I am a pretty honest person already, but I have things I'd like to share.  And I'm leaning on the honesty of those who inspire me.  Mostly my friends and family that have put themselves out there to be seen, read, heard.  Now, most people who know me would say "when were you ever afraid of being seen and heard?"  Well, I may put it all out there, but as the true Scorpio, I still have my secrets.

This weekend just seemed a bit magical.  The super moon was looming and everything leading up to it seemed cosmic.  Saturday I met two musicians who were traveling through Tulsa and decided to stop by the WGC (museum I now work for) and look at the space dedicated to a rebel folk singer.  These two men were brothers and folk singers.  Their sense of self was intoxicating.  They were not, in the least bit, egotistical band guys.  No, these two were gentle and docile with smiles that begged the question "what is the answer to your secret?"  The secret seemingly to be that they had a peace and clam in their hearts. After talking to these gentlemen I felt at peace myself.  And before they left one ran back in holding four cd's and gave them to me and said "We are really proud of this music" and it didn't have that sense of arrogance that one would expect when someone says they are proud of their own work.

Naturally I immediately headed back to my desk to take a listen.   I found it to be infenced by a lot of different styles and the lyrics were thoughtful and reflective. It was peaceful and I felt so very grateful for the gift of music and for the job I have that I am able to meet people like this nearly every single day.  I was further inspired to continue my own journey in writing and self exposure.

Saturday night came and I was ready for more inspiration. After a long day and dinner with friends, I came home and started to get comfortable for the evening.  My friend Julie text me a message that said "Come outside and bring a pillow".  I met her on the front lawn laying on a blanket gazing up at the great mystery in the sky. That big, beautiful, promising super moon on a Summer Solstice weekend.  I decided to take full advantage of the moment and listened to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and his Piano Trio Op. 70 - "Ghosts".  I felt inspired.  I felt okay to dream again and I felt like I was getting recharged.

See, I've always been obsessed with the moon.  When I was a kid it would shine directly into my bedroom.  I would spend a great deal of time staring at it and dreaming.  So any time there's a full moon I plan my time accordingly.  In April I finally saw my first foreign full moon...Florence, Italy.  Ya.  That was pretty spectacular.

Sunday was the same thing.  I planned to spend time in the glow of a completely full super moon and all day I tried to let inspiration come so I'd be ready. That night I sat in a park and just listened to beautiful music.  To my surprise there were several other people in the same park enjoying the beautiful night.  I was so happy to see them, young and old, sitting and just gazing up at the beautiful moon.

I tried very hard to let myself be led to meditate on whatever came to mind and then let it go - the good and the bad.  Because the one thing that always comes to mind during a full moon period is the idea of balance.  When I lose it and start feeling all over the place that moon reminds me that it's all part of the big picture - the balance of good and bad, dark and light.

I love that moon.  I know it may just be a part of the solar system, a satellite to the earth, and nothing but a reflective rock.  But to me it's magic. It's a sign from beyond, call it god or the great mystery, it's a reminder that we are all so very tiny, yet significant.  And all of these thoughts that plow through our minds and drive us away from our true selves, they can just be what they are and left for another time because that magnificence in the sky takes precedence. For the moment we can just be still.

I'm sharing my dear friend's photo of the full super moon.  It's simply breath taking.