Who I am and Why I persist

I am an eater of mandarin oranges.

I stand at the entry way to every Rotary meeting and flash a smile at the members as they come through the door.

My feet pinch in regular ladies’ shoes.  I clomp around in the heaviness of vintage Doc Martens and Mary Jane’s with thick straps and black buckles.

Standing in front of the mirror clipped to an old door leaning against the bedroom wall, I hold the gaze of the woman staring back.  One of her eyes droops, and her teeth do not gleam.

I sit in the driveway listening to the end of the episode of Moth which started playing on the way home.  I strain to hear the passion in the voice of a man describing how he argued with the Italian ladies at the Deli Counter who wanted to be served before him.  He only needed a quarter pound of Boar’s Head roast beef so he could go home and sit in a miserable heap at the kitchen table.

I could relate.

On my fridge  shelf, I have six cans of Le Croix (plain); a half-empty container of hummus; two dozen eggs; a loaf of Gluten Free bread; and an assortment of bottles which I can’t remember having opened or used.

I have four types of coffee makers, none of which uses electricity.  I boil water in a tea kettle to pour over the grounds for three of them.  One sits on a burner and makes a perfect cup of espresso in four minutes.

In the morning, I drink dark-roast coffee from heavy crystal mug that my friend Paula’s daughter left at the house one time when she baby-sat the dog.  In the evening, I brew tea in one of three infuser mugs that I got as gifts from different women who love me and know that I don’t like tea from bags.

I prefer metal hair pins to any other form of ornament.  Everybody compliments my French braids and my chignons but I like my hair down and wavy.

I cry at Hallmark commercials.

Whenever possible, I keep people in my life — sometimes against their better judgment.

I have blue eyes; I’m right-handed; I have to wear European shoes because American sizes don’t fit my arthritic feet.  I have an uncanny knack for self-deception.  I have not mastered the art of budgeting,.  I lack the talent for predicting success.  I’ve never acquired the confidence to stride in any room with my head held high.

Nothing in life has quite gone the way I expected.

But I’m not complaining.  I still believe that hope floats.

It’s the twelfth day of the fortieth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

5 thoughts on “Who I am and Why I persist

  1. Mitra

    I am an eater of olives.

    When I see a client, my smile tells them that I am genuinely happy to see them, and I mean it.

    I almost always feel more comfortable in a dress than in pants. I like when I feel a bit hidden in my clothes.

    Standing in front of the mirror that cleverly holds and hides most of my jewelry inside, I first avoid eye contact. I see a woman who is overweight and has stretch marks. I feel bad. Then I make eye contact and recognize the beauty of the intent and feeling behind my eyes.

    I sit in the driveway and enjoy a few moments of silence. I take two audible deep breaths and then two silent ones before I go inside and make myself available to my family. That is usually the only silence I get. When I lie in bed at night after everyone is asleep, I can’t turn off my thoughts. It is only in those few transitionary moments that I can find silence.

    It’s the closest I can get to meditation.

    On my fridge shelf I almost always have leftovers, apples that my daughter can easily reach, and cheese. Some lucky nights there is also white wine.

    I didn’t drink coffee until I was thirty years old. My mother needed two cups of coffee before I could speak to her in the morning, and so I tried to avoid that dependency. Child number two necessitated coffee. I still drink one or two cups every morning.

    I drink for effect and routine. I’d like to stop coffee and go back to Persian tea.

    I usually wear my hair down and I very rarely brush it or blow dry it. It takes me more than half an hour to blow dry it. I envy women with styled hair, but I also like my unruly and natural, half straight and half wavy hair.

    I cry as soon as I hear the sad music in a movie that signals something sad is going to happen. I cry when I read the news. I cry on my way home from work because of the pain and trauma that my clients disclose to me. I cry when I get overly tired.

    I am a lover of people. And I love hard. It is almost impossible for me to spend a significant amount of time alone with a person and not love who they are. I don’t love dogs, so clearly, I’m no saint.

    I have brown eyes; I’m right-handed; I’d rather be barefoot than wear shoes. I live in denial about several things in order to avoid making difficult changes. I have not mastered the art of budgeting. I lack the ability to control my facial expressions. I’ve never acquired the confidence to stride into any room with my head held high, but I know I can command the room and project confidence once I start talking.

    Nothing in life has quite gone the way I expected.

    But I’m not complaining. I believe that I am incredibly lucky.

    1. ccorleyjd365 Post author

      I saw this comment on my phone this morning by way of a notice prompting me to improve it. As I read the comment, I felt — myself — incredibly lucky both to know you; and to have written something that inspired you to write your own powerful statement of who you are and why you persist. Thank you, my friend. You honor me.

  2. Roxanne Pendleton

    Who I am and why I persist.
    I am a “hold my beer” afficiando of Food Network.
    I imagine having deep philosophical discussions with the grandkids but find instead I prefer questions of why are squirrels brown and why can I spit further than my brother.
    My refrigerator is a labyrinth stuffed in precarious towers of loving intentions. Some will come to fruition and some to die an ignominious death.
    I crave private quiet time. My spirit renews with solitude. I steel myself for conversation that I rarely crave.
    My wardrobe is camoflage. Dark, unrestricted and unworthy of notice with shoes chosen for comfort and purpose. My clothes were middle aged long before me.
    I persist to learn. There is a selfish addictive thrill to answering questions that give rise to more questions. Following ideas down rabbit holes is my idea of a good time.

  3. ccorleyjd365 Post author

    Roxanne, I have known you for — gosh — too many years to count; and this is the most, and most personal, that I have heard you say at one time. Again, you honor me by your sharing. *smiling wide*

  4. Genevieve

    I am commenting here as a reminder to come back and actually respond to this when my nose stops running from the dread Summer cold. I love the little snapshots this excercise gave of you and the ladies who ressponded


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