Magic To Do

Bill @ drbillwooten.com had posted a quote from Brene Brown that has stared at me for days now..

“Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable…”

And, as is typical with the route of the karma truck, a confluence of moments stop me along the road and force me to pull over and take stock of my surroundings.

–  Elizabeth asks me about the act of becoming the me I am today.  Who was I before I left biglaw?  How am I defining myself today?  Oh Elizabeth – do you want the short answer or the long one?  😉

– An email from a friend with so much sadness, I thought the screen was streaked with her tears.  A chapter closing with an ending she didn’t pen.  Now a character in a story that she would have written much differently.

– Friday night with Andy, Jo and Ben seeing “Pippin” on Broadway.  A long ago story with threads that carry through from the days when I made up songs to sing while my dad played the Prince to my sister’s balletic swan.

I don’t remember when I began singing, but it has been my protection, my home, my sanctuary, my arguably limited coping mechanism when humor fails me.  Standing under Roosevelt Avenue letting one note escape from my lips as the subway rattled overhead.  Missing the green light because I was focused on holding that note until the last car was on its way to the 82nd Street stop.

When I sang at ‘Catch A Rising Star‘ my sophomore year in college, I did it I think, more out of naiveté than anything else (well that, and an incredible crush on the guy who arranged it).  Jo and Bruce were there.  Had we not bumped into each other on the street earlier in the day, the moment would have passed.  I sang “Magic To Do” – stepping up to the mike after a gorgeously built woman in a gold sequined bathing suit and heels almost as high as her hair, ponied her way through an off-key version of “V-a-c-a-t-i-o-n”.   The audience loved her, for they thought she was a comedy act.  To say I took the mike with tremendous hesitation and nausea is an understatement.  But I saw Jo – and her delight.  On the wings of her smile I let it go.  And they asked me to do an encore (I did “Summertime”).

I got an email yesterday from her telling me that she heard me singing during the show on Friday…I thought I was being pretty quiet.  But I had to sing – this was my coming of age story.  Believing that I had to do great things and having no clue what that meant.  I believed I was destined to do the extraordinary, and in my nineteen year old mind, extraordinary meant ‘big’, ‘notable’.  And I’m sure sequins had to play a part.

My extraordinariness is hardly extraordinary, but I have come to understand that it is what it is.  My sons are miracles – and though I take no credit for anything other than being their mom, I would submit that their arrival trumps any other accomplishment of the exceptional.  They were my reason and my privet for so very long.  And they moved forward into the world with the knowledge that they are more than capable of soaring.

I built a great career and felt needed by a lot of people  – which was pretty heady and gratifying and I didn’t sacrifice more of my soul than I could handle in the process.  And when it required more compromising than I could abide, more injury to my body and soul than either could handle, I left.  And where I’m heading…well, later to the supermarket.

What I am though is here.  I am in this moment for those who need me to be.  I am here to remind my heartbroken buddy that we shatter and somehow mend again.  I am here for the moments when one doesn’t know if another day is really going to change a damn thing, and suggesting that if it doesn’t, a series of days may.  I am here with a cup of hope.  And if you sit close enough to me, probably a song.

56 thoughts on “Magic To Do

  1. Reblogged this on Wholeheartedness and commented:
    Ahhh, Mimi! How can I NOT reblog a post that features not only Brene Brown, but also Pippin — one of my favorite musicals of all times! It’s a classic hero’s journey that ends in love and it’s heartwarming message has been long overlooked. Thank you for reminding me of how much I love it. I’ll have to go listen to the album again now…

    • Thank you Todd – your response made me smile (still am)..It’s a great, under-rated show with a delightful production (the new one is absolutely awesome but completely different). I’m so glad I added some happiness to your day!

  2. Your reference to Pippin brought a smile to my face and yes you were (and I’m sure still are) an extraordinary singer.

    • Hi Cliff – I didn’t even know you read these posts! Thank you…I remember all of us singing “Happiness” at your graduation. You were quite the singer yourself..Happy belated birthday. I hope you and your family are all well and happy.

  3. Oh honey, what a beautiful post. I can hear you singing at every turn. For me, YOU are the song—a lovely lyric melody of laughter and love and joy. Those of us who are in your orbit are blessed….

    • How lucky am I that I have a friend who is as biased as you?? Don’t answer that..;-) I’d suggest that we sing in harmony, for I can’t take credit for this friendship without you…xox

  4. Mimi–this is exactly what I needed to read today–sorting out what I have time to write–what I “own” and what’s true…so much to be embarrassed about? Or life up close and personal.

    Reading your posts is like sitting down to a cup of coffee with you; your tone is so engaging and open and BELIEVABLE, and the topics never fail to interest. 🙂

    Have a peaceful Sunday.

    • Can I tell you how happy I am that I am an enthusiastic follower of yours? How much delight you bring me each time I see a message from your blog in my inbox? The thought of sharing a cup of coffee with friends is ideal – and if this provides us that forum virtually, then you should get a peek at the happy dance I’m doing right now. 🙂 Thank you – cream and sugar?

  5. You’ve always been “on the right track”. Without the detours, where would the life lessons be? Without change, how do we grow? And isn’t it the metamorphosis of who we are into who we will be weaving all the bits and pieces into a quilt of our lives. We need to “cut” out the pieces that represent the unpleasant detours, the sidesteps, the falling off the track we’ve all done (grace did not always run in our company 🙂 and we are older now so perhaps we can do that. I agree with Debbie, keep singing; your voice is as melodious now as it was the first time I heard it. There ain’t no Rose Alvarez like your Rose Alvarez. I will continue to sit close enough to hear a song and be grateful that in our 13 year old innocence we found a thread that has kept us connected all these years (through the long separations and the closeness we now have). And, if this is not the right track, we’re smarter now, too, we’ll change trains.

    I’m your average ordinary kind of woman
    Competent and neat
    Making life a treat
    Others as nice
    You meet often I know
    At least once or twice
    Every decade or so

    I’m your everyday, customary kind of woman
    Practical as salt
    Modest to a fault
    Conservative with a budget
    Liberal with a meal
    Just your average ideal

    My telling you this
    May seem sudden and strange
    It may not interest you much at all right now
    But things change
    Things change
    Still I’ll understand if I’m not your kind of woman
    Anyone can make
    One terrible mistake
    But I’ve no special glamour
    No bait I can twirl
    For I’m just a plain, everyday
    Commonplace, come-what-may
    Average, ordinary
    wonderful girl!

    And, yes, my dear friend. All that, and more, you are. To the Moon and back.

    • Laughing…as long as you realize that you are about as average as the most wonderful of people, I’m good with all of it. As for cutting out the yucky pieces of our individual quilts – would that we could. Or perhaps we try to make sure that there are more beautiful squares than not, and that they are larger than any others. To the moon and back my extraordinary friend..

    • What a gorgeous poem..am I awed by what I’ve become though? Oh my dear friend, you know me better than that. 😉 My ‘should haves’ are pretty long.

  6. Mimi, your post reminded me of Thich Nhat Hanh. He reminds us we find the extraordinary in the ordinary. I find that I have to remind myself of the things I take for granted each day that really do make life extraordinary. Thank you for capturing this message in such a wonderful manner.

    Ivon

  7. “I want my life to MEAN something”…..yes….a wonderful & once again thought provoking post, dear Mimi. I too randomly break into song….but not with a mic! 😉 Keep singing! ♫ ♪ ♫

  8. Beautiful post Mimi. I can tell you shine ‘Twinky”. Lucky you~ I can tell you really can ♪sing♪. Me? I cannot sing, although I tell everybody I will never stop trying. ha ha. Have a wonderful week. ♥ Twinkle

  9. I’m running out of positive adjectives to describe how delighted I am when I read your posts, Mimi. So, in this case, I’ll just say a heart-felt thank you for being in my life.

  10. You ARE extraordinary, because you are so here, so present for those who need you. I count myself lucky to be one of those for whom you magically appeared and are truly there/here. Thank you for telling this story, your story of what makes you the beautiful voice in our midst, I am listening! xoxo

    • Sweetie – I think your temperature is talking 🙂 Seriously, you flatter me with such praise for truly I’m the one who feels lucky that you are in my orbit, sharing your song and friendship. xoxox, me

    • I so appreciate your comment – thank you very much! I have been graced with ‘meeting’ some truly wonderful people through this blog and their praise is truly generous. I’m not sure it’s all justified, but my gratitude for them cannot be overstated..:-)

  11. Oh Mimi. I am so glad that you began to answer my question and shared a snapshot of your magnificent past and of your hopes and dreams for the future to us all while reminding us all to give praise for the moments of today. I am so happy that amongst your loves, is that of singing (mine too, by the way, buried way way way in my past).

    I do not know what your singing is like. However, I do know what your writing is like and it is good. I once said that you should take your writing further. Today I have a suggestion.
    You know those little books you can buy on awesome quotes and then you look at who said the quotes – Mandela, King, Ghandi, Emerson etc.

    You could write one of those books and you would not need to search for who owns the copyright to the quotes, or worry that you are not acknowledging the correct author, because all the quotes in the book could be yours. Here are three just to get you started.

    “My extra ordinariness is hardly extraordinary, but I have come to understand that it is what it is.”

    “I am here for the moments when one doesn’t know if another day is really going to change a damn thing, and suggesting that if it doesn’t, a series of days may.”

    “I am here with a cup of hope.” (c) mimijk 2013

    🙂

    • Wow Elizabeth…wow…I don’t know what to say!! I have never thought of my words worthy of quotation, and the ones you chose just touched me so deeply. In fact, your question and your suggestions propel me to heights I never even thought of trying to reach. You have no idea what you have given me. I will look at my posts later this week and see if there are any ‘mimi-isms’ in there worthy of such inclusion. May I impose upon you when I’m done and ask for your thoughts? Thank you for being my cup of hope and possibility..xoxo

    • You are very very VERY kind…Not going to add an audio – I don’t think I’ve got the courage or confidence for that…But I will sing in the shower, the car, and God willing to my grandchildren should they arrive…<3

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