Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Illusionist

I just watched an old episode of Criss Angel’s Mindfreak where he levitated over the Luxor in Las Vegas. The camera panned to the people on the ground and I laughed at their upturned faces etched with stupefied wonder. I refused to believe that these people actually thought he was levitating so high above Sin City without any props except for his “mind power”, his “magic”. He’s an illusionist, I thought, and supposed to deceive you. Not unlike some people in my life.

I took a fast trip down memory lane and encountered the Criss Angels and Decepticons that traipsed through my life. Halfway there I screeched to a halt and faced the Mama’s Boy. OH yes. He was Ruler of all Decepticons. Mama’s Boy professed his undying love and claimed I was “THE ONE”. Unbeknownst to me, I was THE one of many! He fed me his lies and I feasted on them because my longing for intense connection overrode my common sense. I had this deep need to be understood and valued so Mama’s Boy became my knight in shining armor. I thought he would whisk me away on his white horse and save me from my dreary existence. He weaved his empty promises until I was whirling in rapture. Then the ground gave way and I found myself mired in quicksand. He was nothing but a liar, a cheat, and a poor excuse for a human being.

Farther down memory lane I slowly walked up to Meryl. She was my BFF, the Paris Hilton of the nineties. We were inseparable and had great times until I realized she was only using me to fortify her kiting addiction. Next!

There was Mr. Suavecito, who wielded his flattery like a lightsaber cutting through me with no resistance. He told me I was beautiful, the best thing that’s happened to him, AND his soul mate. My world revolved around him and I almost self-destructed had it not been for me catching Mr. Suavecito in his own garbage. C’est la vie.

The next encounter brought me to Tickle Me Elmo. The first AND last Internet connection that resulted in anticlimactic disaster in ta-da, Vegas! He told me he was 5’7 and I didn’t realize he meant in miniature dimensions. Tickle Me Elmo claimed to be blond but he was red all over, hence, his moniker. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against redheads but at least be honest about it. I left him standing at McCarran Airport and changed my phone number as soon as I got home. Oh well.

Last but not least, was Ali. I firmly believed that she was a kindred spirit. I thought she understood me and I respected her greatly. We cultivated our friendship for a few years and I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Until one day, it became apparent that her incessant analyzing of men was an obsession and I was merely her sounding board. My advice about men being simple creatures did not reach her deaf ears.

“He said hi. What does that mean?”
Uhhh, he meant hi.”
“He said in his email that he’d call me later. What does that mean?”
He may or may not call you.”
“He said ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you’. Should I call him?”
Do. Not. Call. Him. Wait until he calls you.”

Ali called him and I resigned from my job as confidante. Life is too short to spend countless hours analyzing the minds of men.

I can’t say that my trip down memory lane was pleasant but as I swiveled back toward the present I was smacked in the nose with a huge mirror. Whoa, why was Criss Angel looking back at me? My acidic stomach did some convulsing as the truth unveiled my eyes.

I have been the Illusionist all along! I was THE master illusionist in my own sorry life because I suffered from this intense need to connect with someone, anyone. New relationships held promise and expectations ran high until disappointment set in. I revered the people in my life and chose to view them through rose-colored glasses, refusing to admit their limitations. Reality arrived when the weaknesses, imperfections, and flaws manifested themselves in the people around me. Because I couldn’t handle their fall from the pedestals I erected, I ran far, far away. Add my fear of rejection and abandonment to the mix and you’ve got the illusionist undermining her own relationships pushing people farther away. I would rather terminate a connection than deal with the agitated mess.

Will I become friends again with the people I’ve severed ties with? Absolutely not, but I can stop idealizing new relationships and devaluing the people I love. I will take the good and the bad from people without allowing my fear of rejection to rule my actions, taking full responsibility for them. I no longer need to live life as an illusionist because my eyes are fixed on stark reality, not fantasy.

I can stop shielding my eyes from the ray of light that’s pierced through the darkness and embrace it with open arms.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Invitation by Oriah

Thank you, Janice, for your thoughtfulness and sending me this poem. It resonated within me so I decided to share it. Your friendship is gold and I love you. Hang tough!
The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.