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CicelyRobinLaing©2014
I had a nightmare just before I woke up this morning.
 
As I lay there half asleep… my mind filled with thoughts. Thought that made me feel bad about myself and the things I do. I was sent down the slippery path of wondering why I don’t get to do certain things that I want to do, or why I don’t feel accepted for who I am, or could be if given a chance. Or why I can’t be a better person for those that I love.
The nightmare made me wonder if every nice thing anyone’s ever said to me, were just empty acts of kindness. That I don’t really see the truth about myself. I don’t see the way others see me and the way I truly am. In my head every voice that ever said “Why did you even bother showing up?” was out in full force. And my little, childlike self confidence just curled up into a ball and rolled under the bed. This kind of mental crap is the real waking nightmare…
 
The mind can be incredibly mean sometimes. Depression can sneak in and spoil things that should be successes. The social pressure to be humble (but great), the selfish needs of the ego and the “aloneness” of being a human, conspire to knock that fragile kite of happiness out of the sky. Even in a strong positive wind a kite can spin out of control and smash into the ground. The wind that holds up my kite is full of the support of kind people. People who have said nice things to me, or shown me love and friendship. And I have been buoyed by the short lasting gusts of life experiences. Experiences that have given me a chance to grow as a human. But that wind can only hold up my kite if the attached string holds tight. And I feel like my string is full of knots and frayed ends.
 
I know I am not alone in my kitemare. There are lots of struggling kites up in this very cloudy sky. And most of us don’t even know what is anchoring us to the earth. But knowing you are not the only one doesn’t really help with the fear. The terrifying fear that comes when you feel the wind drop, and you get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. You don’t even tell yourself to hold on, cause there’s nothing to hold on to. And you try to drum up your own wind. One that’s just strong enough to carry you on until a real wind blows again.
 
But maybe, just maybe, that wind that we make for ourselves is more like a whistle. One that summons a sunny gale or a dark storm. Either way it lifts us up and keeps us going a bit longer. And maybe, our string is stronger because it’s all tangled up in the strings of others. Hopefully those others are entwined friends and not the messy knots of crazy-makers. I hope that I will always have enough breath left to whistle a little.

 
I don’t have a cure for my nightmares or my kitemares. I can’t see a way to make it better because I am already doing the best I can do. And maybe that’s enough. My father told me to do what makes you happy. But I learned soon enough by watching him that life is never just “happy”. “Happy” is often sandwiched in between struggles, grief and pain. You can’t always control things, maybe you can’t control anything. You can try to control yourself, but even that is not always possible. So, there are no answers, only questions and a great deal of effort. I cherish my happy sandwich, even if I wouldn’t mind less bread.
 
So… I guess I finally understand that life is a picnic.
Ants and all…
And if I fall asleep for a nap, I may have a nightmare.
Okay…
Thanks for letting me talk it all out at you.
 
Anyone want to go fly a kite?

In My Dreams by Cicely Robin Laing.


Words & images by Cicely Robin Laing © 2017

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CicelyRobinLaing©2014

I was thinking of my father today. Being Father’s Day only made it more poignant. My dad was a wonderful, intelligent, kind and flawed man. His flaws I have learned to see as I have grown older and maybe more judgmental. But I cherish all those flaws, just as I cherish his perfections. It is the flaws that challenge me to be who I am today. A perfect father would make a poor and unsupportable role model. One can not hope to achieve perfection, but with love, flaws can become endearments and points of improvement.

I love my father. I miss him so terribly much. I don’t really look much like him. The mirror brings no remembrance. I yearned to hear his voice, and so when little touches of similarity come out of the mouths of strangers, I am visited by emotions of love and loss. I wish I could see the twinkle of laughter that used to light his eyes, instead I look to spread a bit of cheer to friends. Imagining how much pleasure that would have given him.

Decades have passed since I last held his hand, walked side by side in comfortable silence, or conversed over silly mundane things. I am a sentimental soul. He was not so much. I still have a coat he wore. I stole it from him as a teen, and wore it to art school when I left home. He was there with me, hugging me, held inside the warm, wool herringbone weight of unfashionable attire. I still have that coat. Three decades have left it tattered and worn, but I would never part with it by choice.

There is one thing, one thing that I do, that is a gift from my father. I wear hats. In the late 70’s, no one wore hats like the one I took from his closet. It was a fedora, narrow brimmed, like a “Mad Men” era cliche’. It made me feel different is a way indescribable. I was a child growing into a young adult. I wanted to be my own person. I was full of contradictions. I was setting myself apart from my peers, but I was also, playing a little bit at being my dad. That part felt safe. I wore his hat, I didn’t ask him if I could, but he didn’t mind. I kept the hat and wore it as I grew. I never noticed how it fit until one day…

My dad said with a laugh, “The hat’s too small.”

Yes, with my full head of hair, it barely stayed on. I didn’t care in the least. To me it was perfection.

Eventually, as most children do, I grew up and apart. I also grew to find and wear my own hat. One that fit me better than his. It was still a fedora, wider brimmed, a little larger of course. But, really, when I wear it, I am still wearing my father’s hat. It is as if he were still with me. He shades me, keeps the rain off me, he gives me character in a crowd. He would laugh at me to hear me say such things. He would shake his head, and point out, “You are your own person. I was only privileged to get to know you and be a part of your life.”

He would be right of course, but like the hat that is too small, that idea doesn’t fit.  I am who I am because I knew him… I only wish I had known him longer. Then we could have worn hats together…

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Happy Father’s Day….. I miss you Dad!

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Day 15 of  “Face Lines… and Story Lines”

Words and Image by Cicely Robin Laing©2014

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CicelyRobinLaing©2014

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I hide… in secret…

Tucked away… just out of sight…

My house… my garden…

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Blossoms… red and gold…

Small friends… in the center hold….

Steals… a sweet reward…

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Summer heat… then burns…

Walls… more fragile than paper…

Reveals… a strange home…

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Lost… thrown to the wind…

I drift… like a dandy mote…

Homeless… awaiting…

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Look closely, and see what is there before it is not.

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Words and image by Cicely Robin Laing © 2014

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CicelyRobinLaing©2014

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It would be nice to know where we’re going…

But if we are always thinking about that…

We may forget about where we are right now…

All paths lead to the center…

And the center is nowhere…

and everywhere all at once…

So, when I am lost…I am found…

When I am centered… I am all around…

I don’t need to know where I am going…

Because I am already there…

Because I am already here…

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Words and Image by Cicely Robin Laing © 2014

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CicelyRobinLaing©2012

 

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PLEASE…. Please let your milkweed grow!

I walked around my block last night to check on the milkweed patches that had popped up. Places where I had found many eggs just days before… and 80% of them had been weed whacked or pulled out of the ground!!!

All the eggs that had been laid, all the little monarch caterpillars newly hatched…! In those places… they are now dead! …. It breaks my heart.

I can understand when it is in a fancy garden or in the middle of a path… but these were in an alley!… and on a tree lawn! No more are these places for mom monarchs to place their babies, no more food for the caterpillars, no more flowers to feed the lovely butterflies… and bees… and hawk moths… and more!  …”sigh”…

These things happen… I know, I have to let it go. But, the monarchs are struggling this year. Their numbers are down. They need all the help they can get! So, please…. Let your milkweed grow!!!

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To soothe my soul… I went for a walk to other milkweed patches in the neighborhood. I did not find as many as there used to be. Which is not good.

But I did find several. In those that looked most in danger of being pulled or whacked… I collected eggs and tiny cats. I also marked a few to keep an eye on, and a few to harvest for caterpillar food.

I can’t figure out why more folks don’t grow milkweed. It is such an interesting and lovely plant.

Collected : 42 eggs and 34 cats.

Total : 179 … wouldn’t it be lovely if all of them made it to adulthood.

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CicelyRobinLaing©2014.

Take the time…

to look at things from a different perspective…

It might shift your original point of view…

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The last official CicelyBites… Now onto a different project for June.

Though… I have a feeling I’m really not though chewing…

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CicelyRobinLaing©2014.

Everybody has their own likes and dislikes…

I try not to judge…

But……………………..

Some things are just not for me…

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But that doesn’t mean I won’t laugh at them…

I fully expect to be laughed at in return…

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A Bite for my daughter… A nightmare bite for her… Ha!

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(Don’t start… I like Miley… but really… )

 

 

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