Archives for January 2011


Closet Smokers

As difficult as smoking in public is these days, when I was a smoker, I did it.  There is a reason for this.  I am who I am, and what I am, without apology or even embarrassment.  Like Popeye “I am wut I amm.”

Ever since I quit smoking, I notice smokers more and this is what I have noticed: they are sneaking.  They don’t want to smoke, or if they do, they don’t want anyone to know they smoke.  Indeed, smokers have their own secret smoking hidey holes and non-smokers are not welcome in these places.  Yes, yes, I sometimes miss the smoking club – we were all underdogs, persecuted by a misunderstanding society…

Smoker or non-smoker, my character remains.  While I understand that in certain situations you don’t advertise your smoking, I do say this as well: “If in your life, if you should not or cannot smoke – then don’t.”  Don’t exist in the twilight area of being a sneaky smoker.  Everyone knows you smoke anyway, and it’s a lot of effort for very little pay off.  So either be a smoker or don’t.

Characteristically, be Popeye, “I am wut I am.”  Declare yourself and be it, it’s the only way to get out of the closet.


Christmas and the New Year

There are times when life slows down enough for me to look around and acknowledge the fullness of it in the moment.  These moments are so awe-inspiring, because for me it involves a panoramic view of my life.  So in looking to the south, I see my past with all of the concomitant memories; they bring forth the magic of ritual, and if dismissed will bring change.  To the east and the west are my kids spread wide across a continent of growth and purpose.  To the north I traverse a truly different future, one that promises that nothing will be the same.

Changing to new does not have to mean that anything was wrong, however, it may be our culture’s way of defining anything new: a dismissal of the old.  What I have done and been is what was and is not present now, except in how I choose to bring it forward.  But while my journey brings me here, it does not promise to fill the here and now with anything.  I may come to the here and now like a boat that is washed up on a shore, without a clue as to what to do next, and without knowledge of how to traverse the sand.  My experience only tells me how to be in the water.  Even if I have to dismantle the boat and rebuild it into a house, I will.  That is what I must do to travel northward, it will be done.


Committed Again, But to Who?

Couples make commitments to each other and thus gain access to each other’s universe.  While it is true that we will normally pick those who mirror our own values and beliefs there is a much deeper realm to be gained through commitment.  Our universe is made up of much more than our values and beliefs and includes all of who we are, including our past as well as  our most primal instincts.  In making the couple commitment, nothing will escape our new partner, our history and all of what we use to construct our own personal current universe.

For many people, children, our offspring, are major components of our reality.  When we make a new partner commitment all of our children and all of who-we-are-with our child comes with us to the partnership.  Here is where I believe, we need to pay better attention to our commitments: if my partnership commitment involves all of who I am right now and all of who I am historically (ergo, the same for my partner) I make a commitment to all of that, when I make this commitment to my new partner.

Pragmatically, this often means step-parenting as well as integration of familial values and mores.  Who I am individually, may be different than who I am as a parent.  My family values may be a “throwback” to the dark ages when children were actually required to eat their vegetables… I may be inept at managing baby tantrums, or conversely, I may be the “baby whisperer” able to sooth any cry baby.   All of that comes with me to our relationship.

Within our commitment to each other we must find the ability to commit to all of our partner’s universe.  Denying a portion of my universe is tantamount to denying me.  I did not pick my children/sisters/brother/cousins, and yet they are undeniably part of my universe.  Our coupleness should not be an instrument that redefines that universe.  Jointly, our coupleness may make decisions about  my children/sisters/brother/cousins, however they will be decisions that we make as a result of both of us “owning” my children/sisters/brother/cousins.

In other words: commit to me, commit to my family, indeed to all of my universe, the entire package.  It’s only through that clear commitment that includes all that is in your partner’s universe will you ever be able to be fully in your partner’s universe, otherwise, you belong in the solar system, rotating around your partner, usually judging, always wishing, but never quite all of the way in.