Month: October 2021

Oops by Lois Hewitt

I added the ingredients just like the recipe said. I stirred with the utmost care. I patted out the cookie dough to the right size. Placed them in the oven and walked away for just a moment. I came back to the smell of burning cookies.

I have probably made many thousands of cookies in my life, some have failed and others were great. This was a major fail. The cookie dough over ran the banks of the cookie sheet onto the floor of the Breville.

The day was going good. I was ahead on my cleaning schedule for the day. A big pot of veg soup was simmering on the stove. Then the idea hit me to make a new cookie recipe. Then it started to crumble. As the cookie dough acted and felt like molten lava (yes, I burned my hand in the rush),it went everywhere, I was amazed. Usually a situation like this one would have had me throwing something, cursing like crazy and giving up.

None of that happened. I ran my hand under cold water. I scooped the dough into the sink and sat down and had a cup of tea. Very civilized, I was.

If you have read any of my previous posts, you are aware of my many many failures. I fail a lot! But it used to always make me mad as heck. Then getting mad made me even madder.

Have I finally learned to accept those bumps in the road? Am I finally willing to embrace the fact that I am fallible? Maybe…and it’s about time.

Failures aren’t great things, but they are those learning moments that can change life’s path. I have learned so much from my failures, after the embarrassment fades of course.

I have learned in my life that if I never try something I will never fail. But I like to try things. I want to learn things. I am, honestly, not very good at most things I try but I try.

Life would be easier for me if I could just accept the fact that failure will happen. Maybe it has finally sunk in my thick head.

I will unwrap my burned finger and try my second batch of cookies. I hope they turn out. But if they dont, at least I tried.

Plans by Lois Hewitt

I’m going to write a book.

Going to teach myself guitar.

I am going to learn to knit.

I want to learn calligraphy….

Scrapbooking, painting, soap making, desktop publishing, rug making, piano, playwriting…to name a few.

I have always wanted to learn things. I usually have a long list of things to learn “when I have more time.” Books and supplies have been bought in preparation for such a time. Journals lay empty waiting for a pen to scratch that first word of my book. A guitar and amp collect dust as the time to learn has not yet arrived. Many knitting needles lay in wait.

There is so much I want to learn but yet I do not. As a younger person, I was busy trying to be a responsible adult. Constantly running from place to place dreaming of a time when I could finally do what I wanted. Filling days with music, reading and artistic endeavors of all kinds.

Here I am at the brink of 60 and still waiting for that day. Those brief times between things are now filled up with other things with the intent of doing my learning the next time I have down time. As each day comes and goes, I feel like I’ve lost an opportunity to learn something. I am tired now after a full week of work. Weekends are for cooking and catching up on cleaning. When will the days come when I can live in the pleasure of my artistic wishes?

I wait for the perfect time. That’s my thing…i have always done it. Certainly the perfect time will present itself. A time when I’m actually not tired, the apartment needs no attention, dinner is cooked, clothes are clean, garbage is out, bills are paid….Wait! That time will never come! There are ALWAYS responsibilities waiting to be done.

As every day passes, I am happy for checking off the items from my to do list. Thankful at the end of the day for all I was able to accomplish but also a little sad that I missed yet another opportunity to feel guitar strings beneath my fingers. Another day my many journals remain void of words. Opportunities lost.

When you are 20, time seems to be a non-issue because there is still so much of it. At 60, however, time is more finite.

I mourn the fact of all the money I wasted in my life, all the debt I created. I think of how badly I managed such things and I grieve. But as I get older I am starting to think of all the time I misused. Like finances, once time is wasted it is gone. New time, if you are lucky, will appear but the time gone is forever gone.

I have always had a strong need to learn new things. Yet also have a strong fear of failure. In the darkest part of my brain I often hear the words…why bother, you won’t be any good at (fill in the blank). I guess that’s why that perfect time will never appear, because I just don’t trust myself to utilize the time properly and feel my talents are fairly non-existent.

That is also why my wish lists of things to learn has always been so long. If I keep myself overwhelmed, I have an excuse for not trying. Now, I hear my inner voice admit total defeat because I’m just to darn old now.

I think maybe a should start with baby steps. Carve out some time for me to learn something new. I always forget the journey is supposed to be the fun part not the conclusion. I have made myself into a to do list person and I have forgotten about those crazy things that never make it to the list.

So what if I’m terrible at playing the guitar but I enjoy the process. What if my knitted scarf looks nothing like any kind of fashion accessory. So what! Who cares! The journey is where the precious moments live. I’ve been too afraid to go there.

I’m going to tone my list down a bit and start making time for enriching my soul. Whether I’m good or horrible, I will not care. Will my best guitar work land me a record deal? Not in this lifetime. But I can still enjoy the feel of creating something, of learning something and allowing myself to fly no matter how low.

Especially in these trying times, we need to look after our souls. Replenish strength when possible and find the joy which may be found in a chord, a word well written, a meal or whatever. It’s time, the almost perfect time, to start looking at the journey in a new way. I need this today and everyday. I hope you find your joy today!

Sound by Lois Hewitt

One of my most enduring memories is of my mom, my sister and myself dancing and singing to a Stevie Wonder song. It was the early 70s. My parents had not divorced yet. I probably wasn’t even in school at this point. Life, at this time, was still joyful and loving.

My mother had a console record player that was the focal point of the living room. She loved music and it was a love she handed down to us. My sister had CP and was confined to a wheelchair but music let her escape those restraints and allowed her to be free.

I remember vividly dancing around the room on the gold wool carpeting that covered the floor. As the music filled the room so did laughter and joy. For the all too brief moment in time, life was absolutely perfect.

Fast forward to years full of teenage angst and isolation. My truest friend was music. In the desperate times, music was my comfort. It could bring me to my knees in floods of tears. It could also fill my body with hope and resolve pushing me to be better. Music has been and still is as important to me as food and air.

There is one constant indicator in my life that let’s me know the darkness of depression is descending on me…when I stop listening to music. When the veil lifts, I run straight back to my music.

I grew up listening to rock and roll. I hated sappy songs, I loved hard driving drum beats and sludgy guitar riffs. Picture AC/DC, Zep and the like.

Mom listened to all kinds of music; Sinatra, Ella, The Beatles, it mattered not. All music had value. I learned that lesson in my soul. As I got older I branched out musically also.

The phenomenon is amazing to me that a song or even a chord from a song can trigger a memory. At almost 60 years old, when I hear “Sultans of Swing” I am transported back to 1976 driving my first car with my best friend listening to AM radio. That song reminds me of a sunny day in the fall, windows down, and no particular place to go. For that moment in time, we were free with no cares. All the garbage life drops on you ceased to exist. That feeling still fills me today.

Friday night were difficult for me in high school. For most it was football games and bonfires. Having social anxiety did not allow me to enjoy such things. As I sat alone in my house my record player was my best friend. On Friday nights, Tom Petty and The Cars kept my company. I would sing a duet or two with Stevie Nicks. I would write strange stories to Dazed and Confused. My music kept me sane.

As I got older life took over as it does. I still relied on music but it took a back seat to paying bills and attempting to be an adult. My old friend was always with me. Music was the driving force behind my drastic move to leave everything behind, start over and reinvent myself. I could not have imagined a new life without the inspiration that music gave me. Life is a highway after all.

Now that life is a bit slower, music is back in full force in my life. I’m discovering music I missed and listening to some new things. I Love all kinds of music. Now I’m learning about the people who make it, their motivations and experiences. My obsession has taken on deeper contexts and is not as superficial as it used to be.

I cannot imagine a life without words and I know a life without music would be barely a life. Music has showed me the greatest of joys, filled my heart with sadness and lifted me from the deepest of valleys. There were times I did not want to go on. I prayed to not have to wake up in the morning. I hated myself and all that entailed, but music, like medicine, would open my eyes to entirely different possibilities in life.

I thank God, with all sincerity, for blessing us mortals with the gift of music. A gift that touches our souls and opens our minds to new levels of thinking. Music has been a parent, a friend, an inspiration and a pure and simple joy. What a lovely sound music is. I’m so very blessed to have had the ability at a young age to dance and sing (very badly I might add) around the living room. Music became part of my DNA that day. Thank you Mom!

By Another Name by Lois Hewitt

We have all experienced words spoken in hushed tones, as if not saying them too loud is somehow better…

She is such a slut.

So sad that’s he’s a junkie. Or she is such a lush.

She’s just a _______ (fill in the blank)..woman, secretary, mom, housewife…what could she know?

He’s a Christian, you know how they are.

She is such a bitch!

I hear he is gay!

She lives over there, she can’t be any good.

Some of these things have been said about me, some even worse. You have heard a few yourself, I am sure.

Labels. In this enlightened age, we still rely on putting labels on people.

I have done it many times myself. The older I get the more useless labels become. I could be wrong but I think labels make us feel better about ourselves. I may be this but, at least, I’m not THAT!

Self-worth, or lack of, is the keeper of labels. When you look in the mirror and hate what you see, you desperately try to find something to feel better about…usually by way of another person. It’s so easy to pass judgement and place a label on someone. You may feel better for a moment, but it doesn’t last. Then you need another fix. Soon it is hard not to talk about someone else.

Some labels are accurate and can be a good thing. They are brilliant, a great artist, an amazing chef and the like. But even those labels do not embody the entire person. Humans have the ability to have multiple layers and intricacies. Humans are seldom entirely the make up of one label.

When you look at a person and only see one label, you are missing the big picture. Our behaviors stem from our experiences. What happens to us or by our own hands, are the things that shape us.

I’m reading a lot about addiction. I used to think one way about it. I passed judgement about it, especially since I was hiding my own addictions. I saw just an addict and that is all I saw. Now I know that there is more to the story but also there is more to the person.

Sometimes in life things happen and they forever change your course. Your brain rewires itself to help you cope. Those experiences cast a hue over everything that comes after. Many times pain or loss are involved and feeling better is all you can think about. But that does not negate the other aspects of your life.

You may be hurting but you still help a homeless person or you paint a beautiful picture or write an inspirational song or take a dramatic photograph or any number of things. That’s why labels are so damaging. They usually focus on the bad with no regard to the good.

I do not allow myself to use labels anymore. I still do but I am fighting the urge. Seeing a person’s entirety is now more important to me than what someone else thinks of me. Once I stopped caring about what “they” think of me, the less important labels became. I used to label myself and quite honestly those were the worst labels I can think of. And I used labels on others to feel better. No more.

I see it everyday in life now. People are so angry and upset. It becomes more difficult to care about others because your pain and fear are so great. As labels are placed on others so is does the fact that it is now easier to discount that person. They become a non-entity. Cast them aside. When we do, we lose a small bit of our humanity and pretty soon there is not much left.

The words and labels that are written behind the security of a computer screen are devastating. The things we say to each other, to people we have never met. It’s heartbreaking. As in an abuse situation, after a while you start to believe those words.

Labels are angry words said with the intent of causing harm. It’s easy to think they are harmless, especially the ones we speak in hushed tones. But those labels have the ability to manifest themselves into a horrible, never-ending scenarios. Telling someone that they are only one thing opens the door to making that a reality. Tell an alcoholic that’s all they will ever be and many times that is the reality that becomes truth.

I am, personally, going to try to give up placing labels on others as I heal myself from those placed on me. I, truthfully, have lost some of my humanity over the years. The words said to me hurt as did the ones I spoke. Words cannot be taken back that’s why we all need to talk less and listen more. That girl everyone calls loose has a story as does the man who who drinks everyday.

No more labels. No more judgements. No more harsh words said in anger. My self worth is no longer contingent on someone else. I do not know if this will make any impact at all in life as a whole but I’m going to try.

The Mirror by Lois Hewitt

I have started a new, actually good habit, of walking during my lunch break. I just circle the parking lot but at least it is a nice parking lot. Trees, a creek and railroad tracks with an occasional train surround the space. The sun peeks through the trees, the sound of the creek running and cute little woodland animals really make it pleasurable.

In my one ear I am listening to a specific playlist I developed just for my walks. Alice in Chains, AC/DC and the like help keep my energy up. I leave the other earbud out so I can hear the nature and cars that come up behind me.

Yesterday I was walking in the newly cool fall weather. A light rain falling on my face, which felt so good. The music pumping directly into my brain. Everything looked and felt like a Tarantino movie. You know the scenes with just the right music and life has a certain look. I even felt like time slowed and my pace looked like slow motion.

I was feeling pretty groovy and a bit hip. The breeze was blowing ever so lightly and I imagined my hair moving to the breeze. My step was brisk and well timed. It was glorious.

When my break was over I energetically walked up the stairs to my office and took a turn to the restroom to check the state of my rain touched hair. I was unprepared for the horror I saw there.

The automatic light turned on as I entered the room, a reflection appeared in the mirror. Gone was that groovy girl with the wind blowing in her hair. Replaced by an old woman with dark circles beneath tired, dull eyes. The dewy skin I envisioned was actually pale and dry and a little lifeless.

Who is that I thought? The person I was a few minutes ago seemed to have disappeared or, even worse, never existed. When I am away from the mirror for any amount of time, I seem to indulge in some fantasy and exclude reality. I think myself younger than I am. I forget my almost 60 years that are under my ever expanding belt.

I never minded growing older. I figured the older I got, the wiser I would become. That part is true. But life, no matter who you are, is difficult. Full of loss, pain, and difficulties as well as laughter and joy. All of which seem to have ended up on my face.

I love the wise aspect of aging but am not relishing the constant look of exhaustion. I don’t even mind the lines as they are proof I lived a life. But the hard reality of no longer being youthful looking hit me yesterday.

Never a beauty queen, I get that. But youth has a certain glow. Tired and youthful looks different than tired and old. Funny how our brains picture a false reality that does not match up with actual reality.

Oh that dammed mirror. Always reflecting all, even the things I do not want to see. To be fair, a mirror once saved my life. After living a reckless lifestyle for a time, I remember looking in a mirror to hollow and dead eyes. I remember thinking I can no longer look at myself. Things I was doing and the way I was living was not authentic to me. I realized in that moment I had to change. I had to get on the right path.

It took some time, a lot of regrets and some hard choices but I was finally able to look into those eyes once more. I knew then that I had changed for good. Today that is still my litmus test, will I be able to look myself in the eye?

So I guess that bathroom mirror isn’t such a bad thing. The reflection might not be exactly what I was hoping to see but at least the image is honest and authentic. No more could I ask for.

I Am by Lois Hewitt

I am…

Broken and flawed

Socially awkward

Fearful and often unsure

Obsessive and compulsive

Over thinking in every situation

Really bad with money, really bad

Self-centered as a way of self-protection

Full of doubts, confusion and contradictions

Not always great at decision making

I am also

Trying to heal

Trying to be better

Trying to help others

Trying to be the person I know I am…

The paths I have chosen went through the darkest of places and to the highest mountain tops. I have cried until there were no more tears and laughed until I could not breathe. I have hated and I have loved.

My story is not unique. Many have lived it in variations on the major themes but when all is said, this is my journey. My life. This is who I am…scars, bruises and all.

In my youth, I tried to be someone else. I tried to hide and reshape who I was. I hated myself and the things I had done. In my older age, I no longer have the energy to hide, pretend or second guess. Today I realized that this is who I am.

You can always try to be better but the core of you is you. No amount of polish or decoration can change that.

So today I accept who I am with love and gratitude. Today I will look for the finery. Today I will embrace all that is wrong with me and realize my uniqueness.

Today, I am…