Saturday, February 18, 2017

There Be Dragons


Dear Readers, you may know that I do not write for a living.  At least not all my living.  My style writing and other contributions, paid writing, etc. have never filled the coffers completely and so I must have a full-time job at all times.  That job is in the financial sector - a roly-poly mess of a world with changing regulations and ever-squeezing and strident edicts.  This isn't really a pretty post - I'm talking about work reviews - you know, when your boss rates you and determines your very worth as a human being and your right to exist on the planet.

If you have been visiting my blog for a long time then you might remember my sad post from two years ago when I left a job I held for 20 years.  It was an arm wrench and just as painful.  What drove me from that position were, for lack of better words, viperous women.  It is said that the art of the deal is the art of war and I would go so far as to say that work is a battleground.  And if all is fair in love and war then all is fair in the modern workplace too.  I had my annual review yesterday.

Despite my passion for my job, my boss snared me on some very petty things.  And in 12 months, this was the first I had heard about them.  Among some of the infractions, apparently I should have attended the company's Christmas party which I would have had to buy tickets for, accompanied my boss home from a meeting instead of driving home with lovely co-workers so we could have a rare dinner together, and provided a set of birthday cards each Monday for clients.  Initially I was told the required company cards were gauche and calls would be made instead.  Not so, I discovered in my review.  When did reading your boss' mind become a core value to be rated on?

So this weekend, this precious three day weekend, I am allowing myself to grieve a position I believed to be perfect as my final act.  My consolation is that I will wake to a kind friend waiting for me in "his" leather chair in the den I decorated after my daughter left home and married last year. I'm sure he will silently get up and trod downstairs to fetch my daily joy - a mug of creamy and delicious coffee.  Then he will then sit back with a Twinkie (a favorite weekend Breakfast of Champions) where he will stare at me kindly and blink until my tears flow and re-flow with yet another rendering of hurt and sting until I am spent and have no words left to say.

It will be then that we dress and drive to the beach where in only a few short months the sand will be warm and covered with summer umbrellas that will stretch as far as the eye beholds.  They will be as bright and colorful as massive children's beach balls magically suspended in air.

And not one dragon shall be near.

~


THE INNER VOICE
Somewhere in every heart there is a discerning voice. This voice distrusts the status quo. It sounds out the falsity in things and encourages dissent from the images things tend to assume. It underlines the secret crevices where the surface has become strained. It advises distance and opens up a new perspective through which the concealed meaning of a situation might emerge. The inner voice makes any complicity uneasy. Its intention is to keep the heart clean and clear. This voice is an inner whisper not obvious or known to others outside. It receives little attention and is not usually highlighted among a person's qualities. Yet so much depends on that small voice. The truth of its whisper marks the line between honor and egoism, kindness and chaos. In extreme situations, which have been emptied of all shelter and tenderness, that small voice whispers from somewhere beyond and encourages the heart to hold out for dignity, respect, beauty and love.
John O'Donohue

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Three Graces



Recently, I received a text from my first childhood friend which accompanied the picture above.  "I saw this at the Smithsonian today and thought of us", was all she wrote.  The mystical soft green painting of three women strolling at dusk is by Thomas Wilmer Dewing who was known for painting ethereal images of women.  Given the friendship between Paula, my sister, and I, it is no surprise that my friend was drawn to the painting.  I too, have a fondness for threes.

Our enduring friendship is probably why I also love the Three Graces - the classical goddesses that have inspired artists for centuries.  Talk about sisterhood - always linked, always entwined - they represent the female ideals of Grace, Charm, and Beauty.  And they represent something else too  - solidarity...something I didn't see too much of in my years in the corporate world.

For me, the Three Graces' message isn't just of femininity although my little cameo of their likeness reminds me so.  I believe the Graces, who are daughters of Zeus and therefore, sisters, also speak for friendship.  The deep abiding, "I've got your back" kind that comes around just a few times in life.  I still have it with my childhood friend, my sister, and a small handful of others.  These are the pals that keep you company on the phone late at night when you're in the hospital.  They remember not just your birthday but the secret anniversaries of your heart too.  They never forget the slights that hurt and the perpetrators who caused them - they remember all the slings and arrows, sometimes long after you've forgotten them yourself.  Like when you mistakenly got put in the corner at 3rd grade recess.  They pick you up when your car breaks down with curlers in their hair and just a half hour before their Big Date.  They would never leave you stranded.  No. Matter. What.

To say that we three, Paula, my sister, and I spent a lot of time together is a gross understatement - our days were braided like the plaits in our hair.  Today, I can still name their every doll and every boyfriend.  And although decades separate us from those childhood days, whenever I happen to run across a variation of the Three Graces, I think of us too.

~

Do "Graces" grace your life?


And other "Graces":





The three of us (I'm on left).

(My cameo)