Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Tonight, I was watching an episode of Full House before wandering off to more intellectual pursuits, and caught the guys singing a song from my past that brought up such warm, fuzzy memories that I found it on YouTube and posted it on my Facebook page.  Here’s the song: 

I became so nostalgic that I set up a Loggins and Messina station on my Pandora account.  I had NO idea how many of the songs from my teenage years would flow from my speakers over the course of a couple of hours. 

As I sat here, playing a game and singing along with the computer (much to the dismay of my cats!), I returned to a time of naivete, innocence and, a time when my responsibilities, though monumental in my inexperienced, teenage eyes, were so minimal as to be a dreamworld compared to what I found in adulthood! 

Better still, I began to feel that freedom, that innocence, that time before I got knocked around by the world and built up walls in a feeble attempt to protect myself from what the Universe, in its infinite wisdom, had to offer, if I only gave it a chance! 

As I resumed my acquaintance with the likes of Seals and Crofts, Crosby, Stills and Nash (and later, Young), Loggins and Messina, of course, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Carole King, the Beatles and my very favorites, Simon and Garfunkle, I felt something shifting inside me.  It was as if a huge boulder simply dissolved and behind it, I found my innocent, trusting, giving self, before I became jaded and warped by disappointments, setbacks, and rejections. 

I found that the me I am now no longer sees things in the same light, though.  I see that I had a lot of lessons and sometimes, I learned them, while, too often, I just buried my head further into the sand and, for a long time, stopped experiencing life at all. 

Instead of wishing that I knew then what I know now, I can look back, appreciate the person I was, the woman I’ve become and realize that part of what I lost for a long time was the incredible music of the 60’s and early 70’s on which I grew up.  I realized that it’s time I pulled out my old LP’s and the contraption my daughter bought me a couple of years ago that puts albums into MP3 files so I can pull out those old memories, wrap myself up in them, knowing that I don’t need the walls any more, and, really, never did.  The comfort was, and always will be, in the music and the memories that it brings back. 

Memories of happy times with my cousins, sharing holidays, concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, trips to Griffith Park, kick the can and hide and seek with my friends on summer nights, TP’ing houses, building sets for the high school productions, and, contrary to the memories I was embracing for so long, I was usually at the center of a loving group of friends, doing the things we loved to do, sharing laughs, crazy nicknames (mine was Bashful), grunion runs…I could go on and on.  In hindsight, my life was pretty damned wonderful!  I just didn’t realize it while I was living it and resenting my parents’ over protectiveness.

In short, the life before I ever experienced breakups and divorces and suicides and ugliness I let, for awhile, consume me instead of learning to take the lesson and leave the pain behind.

Would I change any of it?  Probably not.  All of it made me who I am today, and if it took me a little longer to get here than it does other people, well, I’m not “other people”, I’m just me, and that’s a pretty darn good person to be!

At the gym tonight, I found myself actually talking to other people and smiling as I passed them!  (usually, I have my music in my ear, my focus on my workout and no time for my fellow gym patrons).  At one point, I found myself thinking thoughts of being not good enough, not pretty enough, just overweight, sweaty and an overall mess!  Thankfully, those thoughts lasted barely as long as it took for them to enter my head, because I realized that, no matter what I look like while working out (and I was sweating like a pig, I can tell you!), I am beautiful!  Lately, it is much easier to remember that, and getting easier all the time!  I look at myself in the mirror and see clear skin that doesn’t need to be covered up with goop to look decent.  I see bright, intelligent eyes which look at people when they’re speaking, making every effort to let them know that I think what they have to say is important and worth my attention.

The music takes me back to a time when I hadn’t gotten myself all balled up in paying attention to what others thought of me.  And now, I’ve come full circle, but with a great deal more self-confidence in the bargain!  

So no, I don’t wish I knew then what I know now.  I’m glad I can remember then and do so with joy in my heart!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the lessons I learned, eventually, and that, in so doing, I finally pulled my head out of the sand.
2. I am grateful for the old memories that remind me how far I’ve come, and how much I am still that girl of 40 years ago!
3. I am grateful for friends who are there to remind me that the dark, pathetic memories I have of myself are deeply shaded by the experiences I had in the years since.
4. I am grateful for the opportunity to re-remember a pretty good time in my life.
5. I am grateful for the bond I share with my daughter which I wasn’t able to share with my own mom.  And I’m grateful for the opportunity to help her let go of the insecurities and reach for the moon.

Love and light.

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