Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reinvention in the Mirror

"Inspiring you to reinvent yourself"

Dear Friends,
I’ve written five new posts in my imagination since the last one that actually made it to you. (Each brilliant in its own way.) Today, I want to open up a bit of my character for our collective inspection, reflect on the reinvention I’ve been sharing since February, and let you know why I paused.

“It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” Just like the giddily playing kids whose parent must yell this cliché, I began my journey of reinvention with little idea of the risks. For one thing, it did not dawn on me, though it should have, that this blog and my FB pages would be stalked by someone without my best interest in mind. As I hope you’ve figured out, there are aspects of my life that I do keep private, writing nothing about here or on Facebook. Besides simple discretion and courtesy to others involved in my “reinvention,” I am sensitive to the idea, developed in social science, that to observe something is to change it in some way. So, I share with you what I am open to your influence over – you, meaning the innumerable people, currently known to me or not, who may ultimately read these musings. By opening myself to your observation, I know that my experiences themselves are somehow altered. All the more so, as I am describing my life to you with intent and choices; of course I’m aware of and influenced by your presence.

This blog is about growth, learning, joy, gratitude and excitement. In these areas, the more the merrier! Come on in for a swim in these pools of my mind; splash around; make some noise; run, even, if you wish. It’s safe and I welcome it. 

Why did I start the blog this year? Because I have illnesses that have forced me to change direction; because I was too ill to work and what on earth was I going to do with myself? Because I have financial and familial circumstances that one could consider dire. (Okay, that are dire.) Because I am much lesser abled than I ever was, in life-critical ways. Because everything must change because everything has changed.  

My response to those truths is to dwell as much as possible on these equally available truths: that there are also good circumstances in my life, that I have plenty of blessings to count, and that to a great extent, I get to choose my private and public responses to the losses. (Jewish tradition includes very sensible distinctions between public and private mourning.) It is not the circumstance that defines one, but the response.

My cyber-stalker – yes, someone I know – believes that if one is true the other must be a lie. Either I am in dire straits or I am joyful.  If I write about joy and good fortune here, that belies my “claim” of difficult circumstances. If my physical and financial difficulties are true, then – obviously – I am lying to you in this blog and on Facebook. This person has decided that I lie habitually and that I have little integrity.

So I paused. To ponder. To give the stalker less fodder for misinterpretation. To wonder, am I being truthful with you? After much deliberation, I came to this thought: 


It may be harder to burst with joy when counting too few pennies or when feeling knocked off one’s feet, but it is by no means impossible. A stimulating conversation may do it, as may evoking an infant’s smile. 

Watching a cat choose the posies’ planter as a cat bed has done it. Seeing FB photos of former students loving life does it. Chocolate ice cream does it (duh!), as does linguistic and philosophical discourse with a new FB friend.

I don’t yet have the answers to my fiscal well-being, and I don’t know how I will live a productive life with the ailments that limit me. I don’t. I grieve plenty, in private and to my closest confidantes. It scares me not to control the outcome, not even to know it. 

What I do know is that for me, joy is the antidote to fear. Laughter pushes stress away. Creative expression lightens the burden. Loving family and friends soothe my achy soul. And that, my dears, is no lie.

So, after this, back we go: to aspirations, inspiration, and the occasional stinky perspiration. Back to joy, growth, and beauty. Back to learning, reinvention, naysayers be damned.

Thanks for reading!

Love, Rhonda

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