“I bet it does feel really scary, for friendships, especially in school seem to be a main focus and push you into specific groups of people. It can feel like you’re jumping into the unknown when you move away from people. Worrying that maybe no one will like you, that you won’t have any new friends,” flowed Rita’s supportive words. She spoke them not just to her daughter, but, to her own heart and soul as well.
“Let’s play a game,” Invited Rita.
“What do you mean, play a game,” Francine curiously asked, while wiping her face with her sleeve.
“Well, its something I’ve started to do lately to help me explore what I really want. More importantly to investigate what I wish to feel as I live my moments and days,” shared Rita.
“Okay, I’m game,” smiled Francine. She found herself feeling better, between the writing earlier in the day and crying with her mom, she felt clearer and less afraid.
“It sounds like you already did something like this game when the magazine told you to feel and write about each friend you thought of. Let’s expand it a little bit into things we think we might like to experience, create or do,” explained Rita.
“Do you want to go first or have me go first,” Rita asked.
“You go, so I can learn how to play,” replied Francine.
“Okay, tonight on my drive home I began exploring different ways I could be involved in the art world, having it become my livelihood versus just hobby. I visualized myself as a solo artist creating and selling my pieces. As I breathed into truly living this lifestyle, I found that I did not actually enjoy what I felt. It had a lot of pressure attached to it, I was often by myself, and there was no creative avenue to connect with others. It seemed lonely and very limited within my body, heart and mind. This actually surprised me, for when I was young this was my dream,” explained Rita
“Now you try, think about something you think you want to experience or do,” Rita smiled at her daughter.
“Well, I’ve always wanted to be a singer,” Francine stated, closing her eyes, so she could fully imagine herself on the stage, traveling to concerts, recording in studios, keeping up with the schedules and demands, signing autographs, engaging in social functions. Her eyes bolted open with surprise in her unexpected clarity.
“Mom, that life would be way too busy, demanding, and it actually feels kind of lonely. I would wonder if people were truly my friends or just wanted to be around me because I was famous. My freedom would be limited in some ways, with intense pressure to perform and always be coming up with something new and better. Wow! I’m actually shocked at how it felt to play that dream out. I do love to sing, however, I like to do it when I want to and really enjoy it with others, like the choir, or for a musical, or I suppose if I dreamed big being the voice for a fictional movie character,” trailed off Francine’s sharing as she looked at her mother with new powerful awareness lighting up inside her.
“Hey, what are you two doing? I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the clock and realized we were all still up,” exclaimed Frank as he entered the bedroom.
Jolted by his surprise arrival, Rita and Francine laughed out loud. They had completely gotten swept into their sharing and fun exploring.
“We were just catching up and trying out a new game,” Rita shared as she stood up from the bed to hug her son. Looking at her phone, she gasped at the time. “Wow, is right, time for bed for all of us. We have one more day of school and work, then we can sleep in,” she smiled at them both.
“Wait, what game were you playing,” Frank asked with intrigue.
“I have an idea,” Rita stated, “make a list of things you enjoy and bring them to the dinner table tomorrow night. We will share with you how we play this game. It’s a really great one for you to explore as you prepare to graduate high school and embark on what comes next,” Rita presented, while taking her daughter’s hand to help her up from the bed. Hugging Francine and Frank, she bid them good night.
“Okay,” said Frank, “I’m game. I’ll make my list, not sure what good it will do, but, I will give it a try.”
“Sounds perfect mom,” Francine responded, as she placed the magazine on Rita’s night stand. “Thank you for sharing time with me mom,” she hugged her mom one more time and followed Frank down the hall.
Rita looked at the magazine, it was late, already 11:00pm, way past her bed time. Her head was spinning and her heart seemed to dance. Inside she felt like every particle in her body was sparking with excited curiosity. Tonight had been full of discoveries, awakened passions, forgotten dreams and new explorations into possibilities. It felt like someone had taken a key to unlock the prison she had placed herself in almost twenty years ago. She felt giddy like a teenager before the world crammed goal setting and a linear success path down her throat, choking off all creativity.
Picking up her journal, she began to spew. Releasing onto the page whatever gurgled up. She did not care if it made any sense, it just had to be purged, thus enabling her to release and sleep. The pen slid with great speed across the blank space, filling the page with all that was ping ponging around inside of her. As the words flowed, her body relaxed, tiredness seeped in with a quiet invitation.
Standing up she walked to the toilet for her pre-sleep pee. As she walked past her mirror, she stopped. Staring at her reflection she observed herself from outside, as though she was someone else looking at the woman in the glass. “Who are you, how do you wish to experience and share in this world at this time,” she heard the voice ask. Reaching up, she caressed the face in the mirror, then brought her hand over to touch the skin around her mouth, feeling the small wrinkles that formed smile lines. Running her fingers through her hair, she noted the scattered gray strands that sparkled of wisdom in her auburn mane.
Stepping back she took in her full image. That morning she had been very self critical of the woman who stood there. Berating her for still having an extra ten pounds on her body, criticizing the subtle age spots that had begun to show up and chided the lack luster image that stared unenthusiastically at her.
In this moment, she marveled at how different she felt. Awareness was growing inside of her like a freshly fertilized egg that was to birth into a new beginning. Touching her body through her clothes she admired, appreciating all that had brought her to this place and time. Smiling, she inhaled, “Good night Rita, I am so grateful for all that you are,” she whispered to the reflection.
Caressing the magazine, while lifting her bed covers, Rita whispered, “thank you, for waking me up,” as she slid into bed and turned off her light. As sleep over took her, images of Larry floated across her mind, “what is his story,” inquired her heart.
To be continued… 39