Archive for August, 2012

Wild Woman is Calling

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Open Mic with Raundi at The Ugly Mug

Have you ever noticed how certain themes keep popping up in your life, like a flock of strange coincidences flying by, and you just can’t ignore it any longer? 

Well, the subject of “fun” and “lack thereof” has made an appearance quite a few times this past week.  And, when a topic keeps revisiting me like this, I usually figure the Universe is trying to tell me something.

While walking the other day with my new neighbor, Janice, she said, “Deanne, you have a fun life.”  She caught me off guard.  It was the last thing I expected to hear at that moment as I was complaining a bit.  I told her that with seven women in our band and eighteen kids between us, it’s difficult to find time for Daisy Chain to practice.  I then went off and explained how I was up till midnight last night trying to meet a writing deadline; that my entire Saturday will be spent at Casey’s fundraising concert in Long Beach, I am still adjusting to living in a new city and I have to drive 30 extra minutes to get to T-Street, for a day at our favorite beach.    

But Janice, who not only has worked in the neo natal unit at UCI hospital inserting feeding tubes into premature babies for the last 30 years, raised two kids, battled cancer, supported her husband after he lost his job and nursed him back to health after breaking his neck in an accident in Cozumel saw things very differently.

And, she was right.  I felt pretty silly at that point.  

Although, I am crazy busy and have had to deal with some pretty big problems these last few years, I do have a fun life.  In fact, this morning my ears are still ringing after the benefit concert last night.  And today, I am going on a 10 mile hike with a friend followed by a BBQ with our neighbors this evening.  So, my life may not be full of late nights, sweet delights, happy hour Martinis, or trips to Tahiti.  But it is fun.  It’s just a different kind of fun.

The theme of fun came up again on Friday night.  I took Maggie to see her friend, Emme perform in “Suessical.”  My cheeks hurt by the end of the performance from smiling so much.  It was fabulous.  It wasn’t just the remarkable cast, gorgeous set and bright costumes that made the play so spectacular, it was the story line. 

Mayzie LaBird, a flamboyant and beautiful bird asked Horton, the introspective and sweet elephant, to please sit on her egg for an hour.  She needed a break.  She was tired and bored and in desperate need for some time to herself.  Horton, the caring and compassionate elephant, although in the midst of an emergency, frantically searching for the missing speck of dust that the Who’s live on, agreed.  But, an hour turned to two, then three, until Mayzie flew off to Palm Beach with a handsome peacock never to return.  But Horton sat on that egg.  Not only had he made a promise, he intended to live up to his responsibility. The helpless little egg needed him.  It would not hatch without his warmth, security and support. 

 

Emme and The Who's in Seussical

The Fish

 

Emme and Maggie

I love this story.  It truly resonates with me.  I admit there were times I wanted to fly off like Mayzie.  Just live in a tent on the beach, drinking Corona’s all day and making love all night.  Married for twenty years, raising three kids, taking care of a home, paying bills, and homeschooling takes its toll on a Wild Woman’s soul. 

When I say Wild Woman, I don’t mean wild as in “out of control.”  The term actually comes from Clarissa Pinkola Estes brilliant book, “Women Who Run with the Wolves.”  Wild means “to live a natural life” with “innate integrity and healthy boundaries,” like a wolf.  To be in touch with Wild Woman is to be in touch with our authentic self, our psyche, our soul.  She is our creative spirit, our foundation for healthy relationship, work, and play.  And, when we are in touch with Wild Woman, we don’t need to run off to Palm Beach with a peacock. 

BUT, when we are not in touch with Wild Woman, Estes says:

“… women are without ears to hear her soul talk or to register the chiming of their own rhythms.  Without her, women’s inner eyes are closed by some shadowy hand, and large parts of their days are spent in a semi-paralyzing ennui or else wishful thinking.  Without her, women lose the sureness of their soul-footing.  Without her, they forget why they’re here, they hold on when they would best hold out.  Without her they take too much or too little or nothing at all.  Without her they are silent when they are in fact on fire.”

And, without Wild Woman you become like the wolf in winter, starved.  Your soul becomes relentlessly hungry and your voracious appetitive will cause you to kill recklessly and gorge.  Not unlike a wolf after a famine.

I know firsthand. 

I guess that’s what I was trying to tell Janice all along, albeit indirectly.  And, that’s why the story of Horton and Mayzie resonated with me so. 

Finding time for me, my art, and my creative self these days is challenging.  I am learning to keep a better balance in my life, however I still get hungry.  But, I work hard every day to feed myself with “soul food” so I will never starve again.  My Wild Woman has reasserted herself and I can tell you, once you find her, you will never let her go. 

Learning to balance responsibility with fun is tricky.  Sometimes I feel like Gabby on the balance beam in constant check of myself.  If I lean too far towards Palm Beach, it’s time for a check, too far towards domesticity, check.  I am hoping it gets easier with practice. 

So, it wasn’t a coincidence that the theme “fun” kept popping up in my life; probably because I have been leaning a bit too far on the domestic side these days.  Cancer, three kids, ten Koi and our culture can do that to a girl.  In fact, that’s what the Universe was trying to tell me.  I can hear it loud and clear now, “Deanne, it’s time for a check girl!

Wild Woman is calling.

Pink is My New Normal

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

It is not easy living in the wake of Breast Cancer.  Although the battle is won and my life is back to normal, it will never truly be normal.  I am forever stained pink.  But, as I have recently learned, pink is not necessarily a bad color if you wear it right. 

Slipping into my much loved hot pink Nike running shoes, I walked ten miles last Saturday and Sunday in preparation for the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk in San Diego this November.  I live right next door to gorgeous hiking trails that wind in, out, and around Santiago Creek, a perfect place for training.  You will find me there almost every day as I get ready to walk sixty miles in three days.

Why am I doing this? 

It is easy to get lost in the confusion of breast cancer.  And the daily upkeep is both lonely and overwhelming at times.  Juicing, exercise, supplements, dry rubs, meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking consume me.  Worried that cancer may bear its ugly head again consumes me.  Blaming myself for getting cancer in the first place consumes me.  And, concern that I will not be here for my kiddos to see them turn into magnificent glorious adults consumes me.  It is time to take all this “consuming energy” and put it somewhere else for god’s sake, because honestly, worrying about me all the time is exhausting.   

So, as Mahatma Gandhi so brilliantly said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”   

Although, I do not plan to go on a twenty-one day hunger strike, like Gandhi, I do plan to walk sixty miles in three days and raise $2,300.  This is my way to finally give back, reach out to others that share my same fate, and take a stand against breast cancer.

Someone has to take a stand, because, believe it or not, there was a time when breast cancer was considered a socially taboo subject.  Back in 1974, when Betty Ford, a personal hero of mine, was first diagnosed with breast cancer, ‘breasts’ were considered a bad word, and breast cancer was not to be discussed in public.  But, the bold and brave Betty went against the grain, risked a politically incorrect stance, spoke up and shared her story. 

Six years later, in 1980, Susan Komen died of breast cancer.  On her death bead, Susan asked her sister, Nancy Brinker, to promise to find a way to put an end to breast cancer, thus, the birth of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.  When putting together a “press junket for the organization’s first fundraising event in Dallas in 1981, Komen’s public relations people called breast cancer “female cancer” when talking with reporters. ‘Newspapers at the time,’ Brinker said, ‘would not print the word ‘breast’.’’

I was a freshman in high school at the time.  Damn, I truly thought we were more progressive in the 80’s than that. 

Today, fundraisers, pink ribbons, “I Love Boobies” bracelets, and “Save the Ta Ta’s t-shirts abound.  Just the other day, while training, I saw a guy, very good looking I might add, riding his bike with the words, “Bikers for Boobs” written across his back.  Breasts have come a long way!  And, breast cancer is no longer a taboo subject, thanks in part to women like Betty Ford, Nancy Brinker and Susan Komen. 

By the way, three years after Susan died Nancy Brinker was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Betty Ford called Nancy at the hospital, “She told me to cry and then get back up on my feet and make my plans,” Nancy said. “She told me that I’m strong and I can get through it.” 

If Betty were alive today, I am sure she would tell Nancy the same thing again in the midst of the current controversy Brinker is facing.  “Get back on your feet girl,” I imagine her saying.  I hope it will all eventually be worked out and people will remember why this grassroots foundation started in the first place. 

So Betty, in honor of you, Susan, Nancy and all the other women and men who have been faced with this deadly disease, I am back on my feet, and proud to be walking in your footsteps.

It is not going to be easy but I am ready for the challenge. 

And a challenge it will be.  Yesterday on my walk, I had to find a new trail because Santiago Creek was roped off with yellow caution tape, with a sign, “Beware of aggressive bees.”  Today, I am icing my sore feet.  Chemo induced neuropathy leaves my legs feeling like jelly and my feet screaming out in pain.  But, these are hurdles I plan to soar over just like Lolo Jones in the Olympics. 

My husband told me the other day, “Damn, woman, you are a lot of work.”  Although, this is not exactly what he meant, he is right.  I am not easy.  I always have a new adventure in the works, another challenge to face, or a cause that takes us out of our comfort zone. 

So my dear friends, loved ones and loyal readers please bear with me as I take on another adventure and ask you to help me reach my fundraising goal of $2,300.

If you can help in any way, go to my personal page at the Susan G. Komen website and click on “Donate to Deanne in 2012” at the following link:

http://www.the3day.org/goto/Deanne.Brown2012

And, if you see a woman in hot pink Nike running shoes walking in your neighborhood, give me a honk and remember; I walk for you and I walk for me.  I walk for our children and I walk for our children’s children.  I walk for Biker’s for Boobs and pink ribbons.  And, last but not least, I walk for Betty!

Thank you all for your love and support.  XOXO