Detailed Reflections

This Past Winter Break

“It’s not just God in the details, but the times in which we live. Details aren’t only the building blocks with which a story is put together, they’re also clues to something deeper, keys not merely to our subconscious but to our historical moment” (Francine Prose 207)

“Did you ever look in the mirror so long that your face didn’t make sense anymore? It just becomes all these shapes. Just shapes. Not good or bad.” (Noelle, The Truth About Cats and Dogs)

Me and Dad Years Ago







Is that really me?







Time plays tricks in the mirror.
The boundary between then and now
reflected in minute detail.


White hair–
my father’s beard
peeking out of dark roots,
my future slowly sprouting
for only my eyes to see.
Not one strand but many
yet still invisible to most.


Lines etching lightly
not yet deep valleys
but delicate sketch marks
forming geometric shapes
of stories still being spun
and stories yet untold.


My face reforms daily–
new angles growing
as weight drops away
coming off
with the trepidation of an average woman
undressing for a  portrait
in front of strangers.


Fearful feelings of what might be revealed
of what others might see


My face
is becoming a face from long ago
yet never seen before.


I see my father
I see my sister
I see my brother
I see my mother
I am not sure I see myself.


I focus on the details.
The crinkles by my eyes
visual laughter
becoming real.


Shadowed circles underneath
a mark of the family
but also of the unknown
stress and sleepless nights.


The wrinkles by my lips
unexpected indicators of
kisses given
and secrets kept.


The angled shadow of cheek bones
usually hidden gems
sharply revealed.


Freckles run rampant
across my nose in winter hiding from the cold.
Blossoming star-bursts in summer
fireworks of the face.


Symbols of Childhood
on a face
that is no longer a child.
These speckles of self
represent the whole.


They are always me.


Free flowing hair
living its own life
sometimes curly
sometimes straight
sometimes red, brown, auburn
(sometimes coming from a box)
sometimes changing with the sun.


And now, sometimes white.


The tricks of time,
the mirror image of reality
But what is really real?


Details of memory
revealing the sum
of living life
and life lived.

Addition, one of the comments below suggested I read Lucille Clifton’s “What the Mirror Said,” While searching for it, I found some of her other powerful poems that truly embrace what it means to be alive and be a woman. Check her out.

Flashbacks Feel Good


stage lights, ultima ratio 2008

Image by mararie via Flickr


Okay, I’m not talking about the kind of flashbacks that happen to Vets or others suffering from PSD. I’m talking about the kind that remind you of who you were at a different time in your life. Wen I was at Smith, my Work Study job was doing lighting/electrics for the Theatre Department. Then I did an internship at Stagewest in electrics. I love light, and I direct with light in mind. Today I helped clean lights at OST, and I fixed a few. It felt good to be doing that again. I don’t want to be an electrician or anything, but I was proud of myself when I did that job back in the day. It was outside of my comfort zone, and I did it and did it well. Then I fell back into old habits of hiding behind my intellect rather than taking risks for work. I’m going to take some new risks from now on. I have to. I don’t want to go backwards, but I needed that little reminder . . . that I am capable of a lot of different things. Flashbacks really do feel good sometimes.

Mind and Body Clash

My mind is still a teenager. Seriously. I’m questioning what I want to do with my life, dreaming about infinite potential, yearning to find a place in this world, craving friendship and popularity, falling into morose darkness when the world seems set against me, embracing every tiny moment of narcissistic pleasure, and wishing every moment that the world revolved around me and that I had no responsibilities. How much more like a teenager could I possibly be?

My body, however, is definitely not a teenager anymore. While my mind plays tricks saying I can do anything I did then (and possibly more) my body takes revenge. Every muscle aches. My back seizes up. My face breaks out (okay maybe my body is trying to be a teenager again too). I just want to sleep. Now that sounds ancient, and I know I’m not ancient. I just need to find a happy medium between my youthful desires and my less than youthful (although still young) body.

Or maybe I simply need to go back to sleep.

The Journey Continued and Ended

I am writing from the Green Room at Okoboji Summer Theatre. We made it here yesterday afternoon. the trip was basically uneventful, thank goodness. Nathan did most of the driving because I had the hardest time sleeping every night. The second night was bizarre. I had just gotten the news I wrote about in another post, which threw me into a complicated contemplation of my life. So I decided to take a full sleeping pill (instead of my usual 1/2). That would be fine if I had been in a normal sleeping situation.  I wasn’t. The wind was blowing insanely, and I kept picturing the tent being picked up and taken to Oz. (We were, after all, in Kansas). Sarah had trouble sleeping, and I was trying to help her, but I think I was in and out of consciousness so it became a bizarre and surreal dance. When I finally fell asleep, my dreams continued in this land of unreality.  Around 1am a train came through, whistles screaming, which of course caused Jasper to freak out. It took him a while to settle in, and the wind blew.

The next night the camp was the best. A pretty spot, not quite as close to the road (we were staying at KOAs), nice and grassy.  My sleep that night was disturbed by cold, and by Jasper again wanting to go out in the middle of the night.  Something else happened, but I don’t remember what, so maybe I actually slept.

So we drove into the Okoboji just before lunch yesterday. And I already feel like an outsider. This is a great place to do theatre, and a great place for a lot of things, but I don’t have a role or a purpose here. My confusion of identity is being emphasized here. But, at the same time, I just got some feedback on my novel, which gives me something to think about. I have another edit to work on I believe. So, hopefully that will give me focus.  I know that for a few days my main role will be Mom. But, to quote Sex and the City 2, “Being a Mom isn’t enough.”

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