Typically I like to be nose level drowning in a problem before I ever address it. Often it is at the moment when I am cussing, “FAT FROG ON A LILLY PAD!” that I realize I have to get to work. It is a rather sad state of affairs, this need to be knocked off my feet before I take action. It is as if the last second gasp gives oxygen to the life of the work. Now, some of you might just straight out call that procrastination or denial and I would tell you that is rather dull. I prefer to think more creatively of myself and deem myself a “gasper.”
I gasped recently.
The rear view mirror in my truck: clearly it was put there for checking my mascara. That is its job and lately I have been keeping it regularly employed. Recently, I went to consult it and it screamed at me. I looked into its deep dark soul and it harassed me by pointing out a wrinkle (make that 2) right between the eyes. “How dare you truck mirror, you giant jerk! Quit poking me, you want to fight? You have stepped over the line here mirror, and for that I will literally turn my shoulder to you.” That is when mirror said, “Go ahead Hons, but I’m only going to show you shoulder freckles from too many afternoons wiled away at some picnic, beach outing or pool gab session without sunscreen.” That was it. I was done talking to vehicle parts. Obviously everybody knows that a truck mirror cannot open its mouth without a lie falling out. I immediately wheeled into the drive at 601, sprang out of my Jeep, slammed the door (extra hard as to rattle that lying, creep, jerk mirror), smashed my way through the door, sprinted through the kitchen, the guest bathroom and into the master bathroom (yes I have a bathroom that leads to a bathroom, the remodel has yet to be completed, you don’t know my struggle, don’t judge me).
I immediately slithered into a chair sitting in front of the truthful Minick make-up mirror where I put my “Outside Tracy” on every morning. D. Mark, in his great wisdom, designed a seating area for me to apply my make-up and hot roll. I’ve since learned you call this thing a “dressing table,” I refer to it as the “operating table,” because things have to be removed, transplanted, healed and prayed up while spending time at that table. It was one of those items I thought was totally ridiculous when D. Mark told me he wanted to measure me for it (yes it’s at custom height for me because my designer friend is just that brilliant). All I remember thinking was: Who is so lazy they need to sit down to work out their face and hair? Ummmm, Tracy K. Hall, that’s who.
I took a moment and closed my eyes. I had Disney Witch mirror flash backs. I practiced a few seconds of deep breathing from my belly button. I saw 16 year old Tracy’s smooth forehead and I implored her, oh you sweet, sweet girl, be there when I open my eyes. And I opened my eyes. Nope. It was like all those times I said “Bloody Mary” over and over again had finally caught up to me. There she was—scary old lady that I summoned up those years ago finally decided to appear. Bam, there I am, complete with blasted laugh lines, perhaps laugh ditches. The Minick make-up mirror would not lie. FAT FROG ON A LILLY PAD! And enter gasp.
I immediately gathered all the pennies I had to throw into the fountain of youth. Except here is the problem–my pennies are very limited. So I found myself at the Dollar Store with one fistful of dollar bills (“dolla bills yall!”, for my thug friends) and a green basket full of face masks, face scrubs, face washes (some for acne prone skin because, well, that is still going on) and finally cold cream. Cold Cream. Let that wash over you for a bit. Cold Cream. That is something I can get behind. Yes it was something my grandmamas used, and were they ever glamorous. One had a tiny little waist, beautiful pearls, great legs, perfectly coiffed hair, bright red lipstick, and quietly offered her conversation and simple loving presence. The other had a pudgy belly, the best Avon jewels around, great legs, wild thick hair, rarely wore lipstick, could be heard hollering for the Braves any given summer night and often slammed into you to get your “sugar.” Both of them, in their very own unique way were perfect! With a weapon like cold cream I could rule the world, or at least a little corner in Americus. I could even gather up more dollar bills and head on down to the second hand shop and get a great long bath robe with fur trimmed sleeves and start wearing heels as I dress. Yes! I can make this work for me. Yes!
So I have used my Dollar Store cold cream 3 times now. Tonight I went to our local eatery, The Station, with a delightful friend; where we ran into and chatted it up with at least a half dozen other Americus citizens. I laughed and laughed. I have an obnoxious laugh, it’s so big and so loud and frankly I have missed it. There was a reason I was doing mascara checks so often. Tonight I did a double take when my laughter came spilling out and I thought my word, there you are old friend, you snuck up on me, oh pull up a chair and stay a spiel.
About the time I was thinking I really like the sound of my laugh another diner turned around and looked at me. That was all, I do not know who she was or what she was thinking, I do not even know for certain she was looking at me. But when she turned around I immediately told my laugh to go away, it was disrupting another’s meal experience. And that is when the Very Holy in my soul took my wrinkled face in his palms, looked me dead in the eyes and said, “No. Fat frog on a lily pad, NO!” My Laughter, in his wisdom whispered, “My precious, precious girl. You have trudged a long road to return to Me. Your very face, that wrinkle (actually those 2 deep brow wrinkles…..let’s be honest here, TKH) they are mine. Oh, you thought it was an ugly thing but when I entered, you realized it is so little a price to pay to get to experience me. So wear it, make it deeper, because it is no longer something to fix, it is something to point at and say, ‘Yeah, they are mine and they are real glamour!’ Do not; please do not dishonor me by shooing me away. Let me linger, let me ring true, I will be coming again and again for you, that is a promise, please allow yourself the kindness and joy of embracing me.” Proceed with me rolling in hills of laughter!
And it is the truest true I know tonight. Oh how the ugly becomes beautiful when Truth is allowed to sing.
We have all heard it, “the truth will set you free.” My friend Chuck speaks the human experience so well when he said a little something like this: “It is absolutely true that the truth will set you free, but I have found that before it sets you free, it’s going to make you flinch first.”
What I am learning, bit by bit, is not to be so afraid or stalled out on the flinch I never get to glimpse the Truth. Laughter, a true laughter is more beautiful and glamorous than choirs full of angels. Laughter, a true laughter will often come after the gasp, after the flinch. Face your truth, take your gasp and let it be the very oxygen that brings you back to Life, back to Truth.