Herself is having a Mediocre Moment today. She feels, as she says, thorougly inadequate. Not a particularly stellar mother. Not a particularly good wife. An average employee. A rather pathetic taekwondo student. A lousy housekeeper. Not particularly thin nor especially beautiful - not, in fact, particularly attractive in any way. Uninspiring and uninspired. Boring. Certainly not noteworthy.
Man up, she tells herself. Don't be such a whiner. Do what needs to be done.
Spring is in the air - the birds bring an early morning cacophany; the plants that survived the big freeze of the winter are sprouting tender leaves; the scent of love and promise and newness lingers in the air at twilight.
Magazines and stores are replete with formalwear, sparkly and revealing and glorious. The advertisements promise just the right products to achieve that dewy, youthful beauty which is proclaimed to be our greatest goal.
With the blossoming of the season, Herself is once more acutely aware that she is a plain, practically invisible, middle-aged woman. With her jeans and her sneakers and ponytail, she is acutely unbeautiful. Yet if she makes a greater effort with her appearance than she usually does, is it obvious that she is aiming for a standard that she clearly cannot reach? Mutton dressed as lamb, to turn a phrase? It pains her more than she can say.
How vain, she accuses herself, to want reassurance that she has some kind of physical attractiveness. She is once more angry at herself for being so insecure. It should not matter. Yet, it does. How can she escape this unhappy mental space?
The puppy traveled with the family on the recent trip out of town. While she is much too small to do any hiking, she nevertheless appeared to thoroughly enjoy relaxing in the camper-trailer. We occasionally had to lift blankets and peer underneath to find where she was sleeping. Such a sweet and tiny animal.
Such a terrifying earthquake, compounded by the horrific tsunami. Video footage on all the news is almost incomprehensible - walls of mud and flaming debris sweeping across roads and farmlands. Swirling whirlpools. Trains, cars, boats, all tossed about mercilessly. People huddled together. Buildings cracked, fallen. Roads split. Unimaginable.
And a lone white flag being waved out of a window of a half-destroyed, half-submerged, house, as the news helicopter flew by.
I cannot even imagine the sorrow and fear of the Japanese people. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
In the house in which Herself grew up, there was a wonderfully mysterious Front Hall Closet to the left of the main staircase. It held not one, but two, rows of dark, woolly, long adult coats, the second behind the first. The dark wood of the door and the paneling within made the closet a wonderfully soothing place, like the inside of a giant tree. Alas, the children were not allowed to play in the closet, which was a pity, because it was exactly the sort of place where one could have found a doorway to Narnia and had quiet imaginative adventures. Herself would gaze into it longingly on occasion.
One winter, one of the holiday activities of Herself's Brownie Troop was to make a hanging air freshener. An orange was provided, and its skin was pierced with tidy rows of whole cloves. A ribbon was fastened around the middle, so that the clove-decorated fruit could be suspended.
Herself's mother hung the clove orange in the front hall closet. It slowly dessicated, retaining a darkened orange hue in its leathery peel and continuing to exude a faint aroma of cloves. Every time the closet door was opened, Herself would look for it. It was such a pleasure to see her humble handiwork decorating that magical closet.
Even today, the smell of cloves reminds her of the orange and that closet. Some days, especially these difficult days, she would love to be able to crawl behind the coats and enjoy a moment of peace and silence.
How fortunate am I, that when I feel as if I am being pecked to death by ducks, there are people to whom I can vent my frustrations. Just the speaking aloud, or the writing out, of my grievances enables me to compose myself and move forward to do what needs to be done.
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is a half a sorrow. - Swedish proverb
NinjaHead resides with a muffin-baking woman known herein as Herself. Herself has a Beloved Husband, with whom she shares three nearly-grown Offspring. When she is not writing Things, Herself nurtures a visceral fondness for small furry creatures. The household menagerie, which has varied in size and composition over the years, presently contains solely a minuscule middle aged chihuahua and a lovely red fish named Ruth Betta Finsburg. Someday, there will be more critters, for she loves them tremendously.