17,167.4 days

That’s a lot of days to walk around the sun. 47 years for the math challenged (Dude, really, I used Google instead of using a damn calculator!) As I read through the Facebook reminders about my trip, I see many kind words and good wishes. I really love that. It reminds me that I made it around again trying to outshine the stars.

What I’ve come to love the most is when I get feedback from the people I frequently deal with that shows me how I am perceived by others. I know it sounds flippant to say it doesn’t matter, it does but it doesn’t. However, it does give me a valid self check about what I’m doing that not only feeds my spirit but helps others along the way. I truly feel blessed.

Inspiring

When I think of my personal definition of inspiring, I think of the people who teach me more things about the kind of person I want to keep working towards becoming. I wrote several times yesterday that I was inspired by the greatness of my Grandfather, aka Bapa, either directly or indirectly through his children, my aunts and uncles. When I apply the word to myself, I’m not really sure how that works. I do things to make the world a better place because I was taught that. I stand up and defend those who can’t because I was taught that. I love with all I have because I was taught that. Nearly all of that came from the Coleman side of the family. The rest I had to learn on my own.

To think of inspiring others from my life, I think of all the horrors I’ve seen. I think of all the struggles I’ve met and overcome. I ponder the battles I’ve had to fight in order to make it as far as I’ve come and I can see where that would shine the light for others too. I’m blessed to still be here. I’m blessed to know you too.

Laughter

If there is one thing without a doubt that could be said about me is that I love to laugh. I love to laugh so much that I commonly laugh at my own jokes or the absurdities that I come into with each new adventure. I love puns. I think farts are amusing. I love spoonerisms, knock knock jokes, high and low brow humor. George Carlin was one of my very favorites because he was a thinking man (Nothing sexier in my book). I love Ellen DeGeneres because she’s brave and incredibly witty. Robin Williams was a man I identified with so deeply, I seriously, all jokes aside, mourned for weeks. I knew when his light went out.

I’d rather be the butt of a joke than to let an opportunity slip by that held the potential to make my sides ache, my eyes leak, and snorts to come flying out of my nose. I love to tell funny stories because when I can make people laugh, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing I touched them in such a primitive way because I know for a fact we all laugh in the same language.

Being You

This one rather tugs at me a bit. I asked several people what exactly this means. I hear, “Mare, just keep being you.” “I love that you’re so you.” “You keep doing what you’re doing.” And there I am screaming at them with a blank look on my face, “Who the fuck else would I be other than maybe a wealthier version of me. I could handle that.” I tried for years to be someone else. I WANTED to be anyone else but me. One day, I woke up and said, “I’m going to chuck it in the fuck it bucket.”

I say what I want as politely as is necessary, sometimes to the point of being brutally honest, but I won’t lie to you. I try love and compassion first because those work best in nearly every situation. But, I also will not allow anyone to walk on me. Four of my favorite quotes are, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Eleanor Roosevelt; “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi; “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde; and “Be pilgrims for justice and fools for love.” Rev. Jake Morrill’s Sunday service closing.

Hugs

Hugs. Hugs! Hugs? Human contact is so crucial to our survival that babies who are not touched, hugged, or cuddled enough are commonly considered infants with a failure to thrive. It’s the cruelest form of neglect I can think of when it’s one of the easiest things to give. A simple hug to reassure another human or creature that they are not alone in this world. I warm, compassionate, loving moment that gives them a place of safe haven if only for the time of the hug. It’s a transcendent feeling for me when I am allowed access into someone’s personal bubble to give them love. It makes my eyes well up with tears to think of the beauty I find when I’m granted that permission. I love hugs. We should hug more often.

Light

I’m told that I bring light. When I was born my mother knew something I didn’t. My birth name is sealed away but I will confess to you that name out of reasonable disclosure. My name was Helen Elaine. I was named for two very important people in my mother’s life that brought her light. Both names have the same meaning of Light. I kid you not.

I changed my name legally in 1996, after my Gram passed away, to Marilyn. Nobody ever calls me that. I’ve always been called Mare since I disclosed my desire. My birth name always felt like someone else’s shoes. It didn’t fit me. It was an unruly unfashionable clunker of a name that hid far more darkness than a name should. I didn’t change it out of spite. I changed it out of self-preservation.

With the advent of Mare Martell (Martell is my birth name and although I abhor the man who handed it down, he will not win. I will honor COLEMAN under the banner), I was given rare opportunity to reinvent myself. Only, it’s not rare. Anyone can choose to bring the light. Anyone can shine but most choose not to. They let people like me do it and I’m okay with that. I’ll bring my light from my darkness. Mare, yes I’m speaking third person, can be anyone I need her to be. THAT is my light. She’s a brilliant chameleon and I love her dearly.

And that is my summation of my 17, 167.4 days around the sun. Thank you for making it through. Love, Light, Blessings of Peace,

Mare Martell

The pocket full of happiness

I keep a pocket full of happiness with me almost always. It contains: two rubber ducks (one yellow with the word Believe on its chest, the other silver), a squishy rubber pig, an alpaca, a scarab beetle, a small handmade book, and a full sized harmonica.

Top Hat Ravioli

Top Hat Ravioli

I use it to bring smiles to children and adults alike. I change it up sometimes so there are different things, but those are typically the staple items. If you want to see someone smile really big, pull something they’d never expect from your own pocket. Fussy kids? No problem, pull out a rubber pig. Cranky adults? No sweat, a rubber duck usually does the trick. Giving them an unexpected surprise from a stranger’s pocket (that isn’t disgusting or ethically challenging) brings joy which is kind of a trademark of mine.

It’s the Monday after payday and our finances have hit as close to nada as they’ve ever been. The ban on overtime (even the measly four hours my husband would get a week) really hurt. Our groceries came out of that overtime and boy are we feeling it.

I felt a tremendous amount of stress when I went to Pet Supplies to get food for the cats and dogs. The bags of food glared hatefully at me, “You don’t have enough money to feed them and you too.” The prices exclaimed disdainfully. I started to cry. I broke down in the middle of the aisle while my frequent companion, six year old (nearly seven) neighbor Nicholas, was off looking at fish, and a guinea pig he insists is a hamster, and scorpions. I just flat out couldn’t keep my cool.

“How can I afford to feed my cats and dogs and my family.” I bemoaned. Despair washed over me as I tried to do math in my overloaded brain. My little dog Piggy needs to have grain free food. She doesn’t do well if there is grains so tack on another 5 bucks just for not having filler. yay.

One of the young women that worked there disappeared as soon as the tears started. I felt really alone. I picked up a 5 pound bag of food for 12 bucks. I went to the cat food and picked up a 20 pound bag for the same price. Here came the young woman who gave me a five pound bag at just over 10 with no grains in the ingredients. She said she was sorry she couldn’t do more.

When I got into the car, Nicholas said, “Are you in a bad mood today, Mare?”

“No, Nicholas. My heart is just sad because I don’t have many dollars.”

“You know what you need, Mare?” He asked while waving out the window absently.

“No, what do I need.” I asked, impatiently waiting for the light to change. I wanted to be home sulking.

“A pocket full of happiness that has $100 dollars in it.” He said just as matter of factly as if he were telling me the weather.

“Indeed, that would be a happy pocket.” I chuckled. Oh, the wisdom of children. Then I remembered, I get to work for some dollars this weekend as a dishwasher. I’ll have enough. I forgot all about it until he reminded me with happiness.

I promised him a Dunkin Donuts (our favorite) when I have dollars again. He was pleased he made me laugh. I was pleased he prodded me to remember to look forward in hope.

PART II

A Pocket Full of Happiness!

A Pocket Full of Happiness!

Thank you to whomever left the pocket full of happiness tacked to my door with a nose magnet. The gratitude I feel for this is just magnified. I will obey the command that Nicholas get his doughnuts. Thank you.

I asked Nicholas as he walked up the hill to his home after getting off the school bus, “Guess what I got on my door today?!’

Nicholas was so overjoyed to declare it before I even said anything, he said, “A pocket full of happiness with dollars in it so I get Dunkin Donuts!”

I laughed. “How did you know?”

“I just knew it!” He grinned while swinging his Spiderman (his favorite super hero) backpack from shoulder to shoulder. Man, I sure do love that little kid.

We went to Dunkin Donuts as the instructions commanded. Nicholas had a raspberry cheesecake doughnut, an Oreo cookie cheesecake doughnut, a milk, AND a cinnamon munchkin. I got a small coffee and a chocolate coconut doughnut. I mooed every time Nicholas lifted his milk up over the bag we place in the middle of the table. He laughs hysterically every time. Then he started doing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” on my arms and hair so I screamed playfully.

“YOU SCARED ME!” He said as he dropped his raspberry doughnut splatted on the floor while he farted. While we both bellowed peppery laughter, he declared, “Excuse me!” We laughed even harder than the cows. It really was a pocket full of happiness. Truly, thank you with all sincerity.

The Banquet

Old friends are the ones who holds your secrets tightly. Old friends are the ones who holds your secrets tightly.

You have come knocking at my door with your basket empty of fruit.

You ask to break bread with me once again, I welcome you with a banquet.

Forgiveness is not necessary when there is a parting of ways with no faults

Things just happened to work out where time apart was required to isolate

Not for feeling alone, but for the seeds to take root, grow, and bloom fully

I offer the platters laden with history, telling each yarn with great verbosity

laughing together, we drink deeply, offer consolation, counsel, connection

We cut cheese (grow up!), melt it onto the bread of reminiscing

our peppered words burning our faces with our shocking youthful antics

I sit lounged in my chair, grateful that the air we share is no longer pungent

It no longer stinks of half-truths, unspoken words, and lost opportunity.

We rip shreds of the layer cake we build with our conversation,

skipping layers of icing, jumping slyly from one inside joke to the next.

We burp satisfaction, of time well spent, appreciated, and honored.

As we rise into the light of a new morning, I escort you out with welcome

for warm and happy returns at your leisure when the need is happenstance.

As I bid you adieu at my doorstep, you turn towards me, arms full of bounty.

We smile the smile of 1,000 lifetimes ago, promising 1,000 more.

The wordless song

A Love Note

A Love Note

If I scatter my glittery mess on your shoes,

spewing peace and love like a good little muse,

you have two choices as far as I can tell,

you can sweep it aside or allow it to gel.

It’s hard to find darkness when you look to the light.

It’s hard to see peace when you’re ready to fight.

It’s hard to have compassion when you’ve become jaded.

It’s hard to see the colors when they’ve all become faded.

But.

If you listen to the sound of the grateful song,

you’ll remember the words and start singing along.

The joy you will feel as your heart catches fire

with the passion for living, loving and desire.

It will fill your bucket from bottom to top

with the world’s best laughter and the strangest of props.

Disappointment will become a thing of the past,

if you trust that the bad times, like the good times won’t last.

Grin at the absurdity presented each day,

wave at the jerks as they pass by your way.

Wish them the best as you let them slip by,

with a whistle on your lips and wink of your eye.

You’re the blessing they need if you don’t understand,

just be who you are wherever you may land.

 

THE VOCALIZED VERSION OF THE WORDLESS SONG