Wednesday, February 13, 2013

If Wishes Were Horses

Lately my life seems filled with a lot of "I wish". And it's true. I do wish a lot of things. There is an old phrase about wishing, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride."

Richard Luczkow image
I've always loved
However, wishing doesn't make things true, and I've never believed in the power of wishes. At this point, I'm not even sure I believe in the power of dreams. Mine certainly all crashed and burned. They were rather small dreams of an ordinary life - being a mom, having a man who loved me, having a network of friends, etc. Just a small, regular life focused on my family - it's all I've ever really wanted. And it seems to get a little more out of reach every day.

Somehow I've managed to mess everything up. Thanks to my emotional awkwardness, I get classified as unfriendly or distant when I'm often really just not sure what the other person's expectations are. Thanks to my excessively dysfunctional upbringing (great for colorful stories but a lot less fun to live through) I manage to come across as defensive, which is not great for facilitating relationships of any kind.  Thanks to my poor judgement, I married a man who didn't want to be a husband, a man who just wanted to play house for a while. Thanks to a few health hiccups, kids are also off the table. And as easily as that - every dream, every wish I ever had is crumbled into dust.

In my head, I hear people saying - "But you could learn any of the emotional stuff." You can't. I'm here to tell you that. The best you can hope for is people who accept you for who you are and love you despite that. I'm not particularly adept at finding those people. I'm aces at finding people who tell me I'm not xx  enough (xx=good, smart, kind, soft, pretty - anything they think I should be rather than accepting me as I am.)

Emotionally it would be easier if I could close up those areas of my heart that ache and yearn as you would with the unused rooms in a too-big house. Just shut the door and let the dust gather in silence and darkness, until you half-forget the rooms were ever there. I think the pain starts when I  covet what I can't create out of sheer force of will - a house filled with the laughter of kids, a lifetime of shared experiences and love.

Most days I try to be grateful for what I have,  which is more than lots of other folks in this world. Most days I try to be a little "Zen" and accepting of the reality of what is - to focus on the options and choices rather than wishes and dreams. But some days I wonder, if I looked out my backdoor hard enough, if I'd see blacks and bays, dapples and grays - a herd of horses made of wishes.

Take-away: Joy Harjo's "She Had Some Horses". It's a beautiful poem. And reminds me that we all have challenges to face.

(Soundtrack - Suzanne Vega: Machine Ballerina)