“The practice of courage is doing small things with love. We begin to dismantle what is overwhelming by beginning the journey of involvement one hand at a time, one kindness at a time, one utterance of truth at a time. From the outside, things that require courage seem impossible, but once we begin, we’re no longer on the outside. This lets us see more. This lets us feel the current of the situation we have to cross. Any small act of love shows us the next step to be taken. So it’s imperative to stop rehearsing the perfect starting point and just begin.” Mark Nepo
“Stop ‘fighting’ for recovery. Your body and mind; your heart and your soul – it’s been a war zone for far too long. Make peace with your demons. They didn’t come only to torture you… They came to show you where your cracks are; to open the hidden wounds; to illuminate your dark sides. Your demons came to teach you to take care of yourself – they’ve dragged you through hell to do it. You’re at war with yourself. But you can’t eradicate the parts you don’t like; you can’t shoot your way to health and happiness. You need to lay down all your weapons of self-destruction and listen to what these little devils have been trying to tell you – really tell you. They’re just the messengers, and in trying to shoot them you just keep shooting yourself. Healing lies in acceptance – the good, the bad, the dark, the light, the beautiful and the ugly. Harmonious connection between all facets of your perfectly flawed being.”
I went Halloweening as a kid. It was impressive, being I was raised by my Grandparents and lived in the middle of nowhere, aka the prairies of the Great Frozen Northland, aka Canada.
The first rule of thumb was that our costumes had to be “tasteful.” I know that those of you who know me completely understand the kind of box that put me in. I am just lucky that I escaped my childhood not having been completely stunted in my magically impressive repertoire of hysterically funny, probably inappropriate, social commentary. How I ended making it out the other end of my childhood alive, considering those kind of restrictions, is beyond me. I clearly had a special angel intervening with some kind of Teflon shield.
So that left us with limited options for costumes. We were told to “be a ghost or an angel,” both of them requiring basically the same costume, defined only by the visual presence of a tinseled head or not. Of course we were only allowed a sheet providing we used an older, pristine white one (something about airing our dirty laundy no-no’s). We were also allowed to be some type of cute little animal from the stunted list of those contained in the cute blurred pictures of the Ideals Magazine – a kitty or a bunny. I think they went wild one year and allowed my brother to be a pirate and me a beautiful woman. Which meant my brother wore an eyepatch and carried a stuffed chicken on his shoulder that he painted green, and I got to wear make-up and put a skirt on my head to pretend it was long hair.
We weren’t allowed to be witches or devils or fairies or saloon girls or cowboys. They were both aiming for a higher rung on the social ladder and one devoid of satanic overtones because back then everyone was big into pretending they were the good guys. Whole communities pretended together. Life was pretending. Part of our upbringing was learning to hold butter in our mouths with nary a melted drop on chin or chest.
We took our costumes to school and everyone brought homemade treats for a party in the afternoon. “Party” was just a euphemism for no schoolwork and a contained number of students locked in a room with their drug of choice … which was sugar. We got to drink pop, eat all the goodies our moms had sent, clearly years before Pinterest. Only a couple of the moms even tried to differentiate the cookies and cupcakes from their normal, ladies church meeting/Christmas/funeral fare. I think some of them even said “RIP Uncle Wilbur” in sprinkles. A few of them had quilt stuffing stuck in the frosting.
At some point the signal was given, we all got dressed and we got to parade around the desks of each classroom. There, we were pointed at and laughed at and judged. It was a cool break from our usual routine around the other kids at school, out on the playground, where we were pointed at and laughed at and judged, without any costumes. Costumes make everything better, always.
Then the party began and the winners of the costumes were announced and believe me, it was never a ghost, an angel, a kitty, or a bunny. Which pretty much eliminated 98.3% of the school whose parents were part of the pretending majority. We were all pretty bitter because when you are a kid you do spend a lot of your time bordering on insanity. You know, doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different outcome? Each year, we actually held hands and waited breathlessly for the announcement of the winner, sure we would win.
Looking back, I have big regrets over air I missed out on holding my breath like that. They are just lucky none of us died.
The buses would eventually pull up to take us home and the teachers always let us go early for some reason. They insisted on it. It allowed us extra time to work up a frenzy. A sugar high, having been contained within the normal sized school room, suddenly sandwiched into a smaller space with other kids who were mostly older and meaner and also on drugs, both sugar and other. You take that combination in that small small space all sealed up, the heater blasting hot air through the bus and shake it up realllllly good by speeding over gravel roads over all those humps and bumps and road kill … presto … lots of throwing up.
You learned to roll with it. Throwing up = more room for more candy. We were Halloween Bulimics sans the ABC Afternoon School Special about our lives.
At home, providing we were not snowed in, we were allowed to go out Trick or Treating as soon as it got to be dusk. It was magical. We would set out with our pillowcases and wander the wheat fields with our compasses, praying for a clear night so the stars could guide us. Sometimes we would actually make it to the nearest neighbour’s house. Most times we would just fall asleep in the fields having never reached our destination, exhausted and cold. We would wake up and cry a bit and step over all the tipped over cows (the trick portion of the city kids Halloween) and make our way home completely disillusioned about life and our empty pillow cases. Our grandparents would try to cheer us up telling us things like, “candy isn’t everything” and “you may not have gotten any candy but you had a real experience with your brother, and that is priceless, something you will remember all of your life, long after any candy could be eaten.” And then make us wash our sheets and pillow cases and put them away for another year and they would give us an extra helping of oatmeal for breakfast. They would even put left over cookies in our lunch buckets from the ones they sent with us to school for the party. We usually used them to huck out the windows of the school bus at gophers, other kids, and tractors. There were a lot of cookies left over. There are a lot of dead gophers, dented tractors and brain damaged farmers out on the prairies because of us taking out our disappointment on the world around us.
We never spoke about our abysmal Halloweens. It was just too painful.
How do you ever heal from something like that?
It is probably one of the reasons why, as an adult, I dressed the kids up to the nines, no expense spared, gave them a dozen pillow cases and drove them to the richest parts of the city where they Trick or Treated until the cows were all tipped in the country and could not go home. Hubby and I would pretend to go through their stash to make sure the candy was safe and we would give them their revised pillow cases full of candy the next morning, and NEVER let them see the ones under our bed with all the best stuff.
Sometimes it is important to go back and reclaim your lost childhood like that when you are an adult. It was therapy without that boring guy behind a desk looking at you while you lay on his couch making stuff up so he won’t look so disappointed. There we were, just high fiving one another in the darkness, after the kids are in bed, mouths stuffed with candy kisses and unable to even talk.
“Inside every one of us is a garden, and each practitioner has to go back to it and take care of it. Maybe in the past, you left it untended for a long time. You should know exactly what is going on in your own garden, and try to put everything in order. Restore the beauty; restore the harmony in your garden. Many people will enjoy your garden if it is well tended.” Thich Nhat Hanh
You know those emails you get where they say if you send it on something wonderful will happen and if you don’t then you will die? Well, I have never sent one on before … and I never died. At least I am pretty sure I am not dead. I have not sought out a medical opinion to provide credible proof. Well I sent one on and within seconds I heard a ding and I received this very urgent letter ….
URGENT ACTION HIGHLY NEEDED
FROM: MR. SAVADOGO MAHAMA.
BANK OF AFRICA (B.O.A)
OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO
I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise. i am the bill and exchange manager boa bank here in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso .
i hoped that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that i am about to repose on you for the mutual benefit of our both families. I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of ($25.3) million immediately to your account. The money has been dormant for years in our bank here without any body coming for it.
I want to release the money to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer (the owner of the account) who died a long with his supposed next of kin in an air crash since July 2000. i nor the next of kin would have want the money to go into our bank treasury as an abandoned fund. So this is the reason why I contacted you, so that we will release the money to you as the nearest person to the deceased customer.
Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret and delete if you are not interested. Upon receipt of your reply, I will send you full details on how the business will be executed and also note that you will have 40% of the above mentioned sum if you agree to transact the business with me. Please contact me through this e-mail address (SAVADOGO_MAHAMA1@SIFY.COMhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org)
thanks and hoping to hear from you
MR. SAVADOGO MAHAMA
Dear Mr.Savadogo Mahama;
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I received your email. I am intrigued to say the least. I have never been involved in transferring before … well jail transfers are just not the same thing are they? Of course not.
Is Ouagahougou Burkino Faso anywhere near Arrears? Cause That is where all my bills end up and I have no idea where that is. Have you ever driven through Arrears on your way home to Ouagahougou Burkino Faso? Have you gone camping there? Could you check your map and let me know?
I have never seen dormant money. Is that even legal?
So many things to cover before we meet … oh … about the repose thing …. I think we should have dinner and a movie first before we do any reposing on each other. I love the movie “The Sting” have you seen it?
I am a little confused though. Do “bodies” normally claim money in your part of the world? They must be much more talented than the ones I have seen. Our “bodes” just seem to lie there. I am flattered you want to give the money to my “body.” How good does the body have to be? I mean I have one and all, but just saying, let me know if there are any body requirements.
Also,I have to ask … are you sure the customer was buried somewhere nearest to me cause wow that is creepy. How close is he buried? He is not in the back yard is he? Seriously if someone else is closer to him, it is only fair they should get some of the money. We had a slight earthquake here yesterday and maybe it shifted things a bit. Check that out to be sure cause I don’t wanna take advantage of anyone and I can tell you are the kind of person that wouldn’t want to do that either. Like once I thought I won horseshoes cause it looked like my shoe was the closest and I was so excited and the loser (my brother) was crying and crying so we measured it to be sure. Turns out they were wrong, I hadn’t won, and my brother was so happy and even though I felt bitter about not winning a cool trophy or a meat tray, in my heart I knew it was the right thing to do and you can’t buy that kind of feeling. It will keep me company in my old age just like it did after the tournament when my brother threw a big barbeque and I wasn’t invited because he didn’t want any losers bringing the whole mood down.
You know I heard about that plane crash. Evidently a lot of really rich people died on there and many of them are, judging from the number of letters I have received, related to me. Go figure. I try to imagine what it must have been like for all of them. Sometimes I think to myself, did they all talk and discover that they were all related to me at the last moment before the plane went down? Did that bring them any comfort? I am going to be very wealthy. I have 33 letters from victims of the plane crash besides yours. I just think it is so sad that people played “supposed kin” on the last day of their life. I cannot believe that. How low will some people go? I guess the fact the “supposed kin” died in the plane crash with all those rich people just proves that Karma is a bitch. I actually knew Karma in junior high and I can vouch for that 100%. I think it is really nice that you would rather give the money to me then let it go to an abandoned fund. It really restores my faith in mankind to see someone be so honest and do the right thing cause I am sure no-one would miss dormant money in an abandoned fund, especially as there are no laws about that kind of thing. You could’ve had it all.
I can understand you wanting to keep it top secret though, wow, can you imagine how many people would want in on this if I told them? They would probably move into the house next door just to be closer to the body and cut me out completely.
Ummm I also think it is really generous of you to only take 60% of my money for your fee for doing your job. What great interest rates and bank fees your country has. They are beyond awesome. I may want to put all my savings and investments in your bank. How ever do you make a living with such fair fees?
Oh and when you write up the transfer for the money, you really don’t need to put it in my account, I trust you completely. You can just send me a certified cheque and I will transfer your part of that as soon as I receive a photocopy of your passport, your VisaCard (including the back signature panel) and your security clearance badge for the bank. I will take a look at everything and give the offer of the repose thing some serious consideration.
How do you feel about chest hair on a woman?
Thanks for making my day.
Your new pal