Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Be a Shrinking Violet.

12842463_10156559835205591_1853756090_o (1)

Girl Warrior. Don’t be a shrinking violet. Ever. No, not ever. Not for any reason. Not for any person. Not in any situation. Under no circumstances or conditions.

Do not make yourself small. Do not diminish, draw back or decrease in any way your presence on this planet. For it belongs to you as much as it does any other. You have a place here. A position to defend. A stand to take. A clear and resounding voice. Let it be heard. For it is utterly magnificent.

Don’t back away from the good fight. Don’t abandon your convictions. Or betray your beliefs, ideologies or principles. Don’t let fear or any other false fabrication of your imagination prevent you from being the big girl that you are. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too big for your britches. That’s impossible. Stay vigilant and ignore ludicrous comments designed to keep you in your place. Or worse yet, keep you down.

You have big things to do Girl Warrior. Brilliant things. Bright things beyond your wildest dreams. But doing these things will require you to step out boldly and bravely into every arena as the formidable force that you are.

So put on your big gutsy pants Girl Warrior and show the world what it looks like to be too damn big for your britches.

313705_10150309843041266_1304984369_n (1)

554820_10151011489651241_447318920_n (1)

578647_10153987554213653_2969406218092059181_n (1)

941260_10152778446950652_613894752_n (1)

1922509_10151902149111568_885852437_n (1)

10426692_10152073159526846_8520895805480708578_n (1)

10492529_10202328897846343_5195773454190368562_n

10929146_840374022888_3067705033768168938_n (1)

10930996_10153054769874577_148327392510023342_n (1)

11148771_10153156291761223_7765150308215014528_n

11224574_10156194018590507_5163538444642898856_n (1)

11406836_10155687485400254_7834215217411821114_n (1)

11896011_10153232366389563_6039324497057275344_n

sher with snake

12074656_10153694093305996_5149191102599005174_n (1)

12742699_10153858332665120_3113585072760933572_n (1)

12825203_10154037600424656_1559065793_n (1)

12804549_10154581809225260_867189264_n (1)

IMG_0131 (1)

IMG_2387 (1)

12799019_10154792414063561_5249680765315297147_n (1)

cheryl 2 (1)

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Take Offense.

11206022_10155458334425507_79965671381659811_n

Girl Warrior. Don’t take offense. This may be one of your greatest challenges. One you’ll not only need to work on every day but possibly every minute of every day. For being offended, insulted or indignant by another’s words or deeds happens so easily. Sticks and stones may break the bones. But words can hurt. Sting. Smart. Sadden.

Thoughtless, unkind, reckless, or flippant words are often the most harmful to our psyche, to our spirit, to our soul; but only if we allow or give them permission to do so. Therein lies our power. Therein lies our potency. Therein lies our potential. We are at the controls here. This is our command central. How we feel. How we think. How we react. And most importantly, how we act after receiving such a blow is everything. This is the “big tell.” This is the pivotal moment when more is revealed about our character than that of the offender.

Our egos are bruised. Our hearts are broken. Our feelings are hurt. Our spirits deflated.

But they needn’t be. Know this Girl Warrior, you have the power to A) neutralize your emotions and B) control your response. Both are critical and integral here. You don’t have to be upset, insulted, angry or wounded. You are not a victim. In fact you are just the opposite. What others say to you, or about you, is actually none of your business. Not your concern. It has no bearing on who you are. It’s their stuff. Not yours. Others will say or do what they will, often without even realizing the impact or the consequences. And so will you. So will you. That’s the hard pill to swallow. We are all guilty.

But you can fix this Girl Warrior. It is your job, your mission, to get at the truth and own it. Examine the intention of the offense. Malicious or not, forgive everyone including yourself, so healing can begin. For that is how you get over being offended.

45266_424805354562_4554348_n (1)

182084_10150430201855121_4970987_n (1)

1461807_10152310618226266_6336260415873991309_n

1625506_10153954382870507_8031651777707329283_n

1934145_13097815995_5441_n

10168128_10154065884395591_1860357699392441438_n

11024688_10152766759781220_2840218238214566020_n

12119019_10153036540540946_7093187575491130640_n

11701158_10152865866531846_6109324045200110714_n (1)

12509604_10153726716015236_8109449950360910988_n (1)

12625723_10153335007795918_190046614_n

12631415_10153833435870120_6607217080040536232_n (1)

12642963_10156473060020113_847266406621147881_n (1)

12507570_10153191298431205_7200676041302692192_n (1)

 

 

 

 

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Respect Yourself.

1930987_34323286219_4346_n

Girl Warrior. Respect yourself. Yes you. Hold yourself in high regard. The highest, in fact. For you are a prized and precious and perfect person. Exactly as you are now. Exactly as you always have been. And exactly as you always will be.

This does not mean you won’t change and grow. Refine, reshape and rework your life. You’ll edit, emend and evolve as you go. There will be times when you press repeat, rewind or even pause. And that’s okay. You’ll learn new things. Astonishing things that will blow your mind. You are free to try on different roles and responsibilities along the highway or dirt road of your one-of-a-kind odyssey. Abandon what doesn’t feel right in your skin. Keep all that speaks to your truth and honors the brilliant Girl Warrior that you are. For this is the essence of self-respect.

Respecting yourself is part and parcel of loving yourself. It all starts here. You unwrap them together. They are hand in glove and should not be separated. They will act as your guide, your touchstone and spiritual litmus test for everything you think, say and do. But they do ask that you think well of yourself at all times. That you hold yourself in such high regard and esteem that you wouldn’t think of causing harm to yourself. Not physically. Not emotionally. Not intellectually. Not spiritually. Not ever.

There are no exceptions Girl Warrior. Your standard is set high. It is golden. And so are you.

69787_472353396643_2979839_n (1)

10606080_10152584558645236_6269434374798071557_n

59842_10150266179220113_4072560_n

1923546_9597795995_7594_n (1)

12659783_10153827795460120_1344654464_n (1)

18028_10152818257186846_8683310443936913569_n

293548_10150365405340236_501763909_n (1)

10399999_10154472868760591_5980527598876241568_n (1)

1001875_10151618842486220_1740230929_n (1)

11046657_10155216378145507_5445246234310849647_n

1948229_10153889540490113_1630303106_n

598373_10151097766581266_699387970_n

12625975_10153335007830918_2087591136_n (1)

539088_10151027349789563_1955318587_n (1)

11535924_10153465355281522_1646722028376285016_n (1)

11987083_10152976294055946_4760577163903155532_n (1)

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Listen Up.

189291_10150108504826266_2325166_n

Girl Warrior. Listen up. Listen attentively and actively when someone is speaking to you. Listen empathically. Sympathetically. Conscientiously. Listen with your ears. Listen with your eyes. Listen with your heart. Engage all your senses. And your extra senses also.

Give all your attention to the one doing the talking. Whether they have come to pour their heart out and confide in you. Or pour you a cup of tea and all that is required is some comfortable conversation with a cookie.

Focus on the one across from you. Do not allow yourself to become distracted, diverted or drawn away. Don’t let anything trump or eclipse this moment between you. Turn off your cell phone. Close your tablet. Shut down your laptop. Turn off the TV. And tune in.

Then lean in. Look hard into their eyes. Let them know they matter. What they have to say matters. Their thoughts and feelings and fears and hopes and dreams count for something. This is important stuff Girl Warrior. Respect, regard and reverence are composed and crafted here in these everyday exchanges. These ordinary little tête-à-têtes that happen so often we take them for granted. These soulful heart-to-hearts that we assume will always be. But the truth is, they won’t. So don’t squander even one single solitary conversation by not being fully present.

Girl Warrior let the one across from you know that you have not only shown up, but you are fully engaged. And listening.

29052_398712776265_4401962_n

181568_10150394643570113_6576065_n

184623_10151175362886266_1683075344_n

197078_10150108491901266_2204483_n

268018_10150725545380113_6154068_n

285077_10150725593740113_3602708_n

303386_10150828316951266_572587530_n

10262159_10152363239375120_1297365456949369735_n

10363877_10152518277616266_7685472152881204428_n

10885271_10152462912101266_1631611982673336042_n

11692527_10152830588141266_2161410705091114231_n

190478_10150114141256568_3748468_n

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Defend and Stand Up for Something.

481301_10151305397096644_989607536_n (1)

Girl Warrior. Defend and stand up for something. That’s what true Girl Warriors do. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Believe in something. If you haven’t got a cause. Find one. The mission is personal. And it’s critical. Don’t worry if you’re the only one fighting for it. That’s not the point. If it’s meaningful to you, then get behind it.

Breathe life into it in a way only you can.

While you’re standing up for something, avoid putting someone else down. No matter how much you disagree. Cheap shots are easy and beneath you. Defend their right to have their own beliefs. Don’t kick or trample on the weak. Reach out and extend a helping hand.

Girl Warrior, invite them to stand with you.

10906011_10152468012516644_942152174073058063_n (1)

481209_10151305397006644_1091519967_n (1)

1501841_10151782703766644_167759915_n (1)

544587_10151305397106644_295337435_n (1)

971844_10151481639591644_917383748_n (1)

1001499_10151482009161644_1913100088_n (1)

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Look What They’ve Done to my Song, Ma.

Photo on 2015-06-28 at 10.35 AM (1)

I don’t know what it feels like to be a woman. Crazy I know. But the truth is, I really only know what it feels like to be me. And to make matters even more ambiguous, I only know what it feels like to be me at this very moment. Like most people, I’ve been changing since the day I was born. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Intellectually. In every conceivable way, I’ve changed. And so have my feelings and perceptions of myself. Ergo, the only “me” I really know is the one right here, right now, typing these words.

Lately I’ve been thinking about gender fluidity, a term I must admit I’d never heard of, until I read this bit online about Miley Cyrus, where she said that she was gender fluid. Although I’m not entirely clear on what this means, something about it resonated with me. I know, more crazy talk. Me? Miley? Worlds apart, right?

And then I watched one of her Backyard Sessions with Melanie Safka and thought maybe we aren’t all that different. Maybe no one is. Is it possible that human beings, from all different walks of life, have more in common than not? And that we all defy being defined, limited and restricted?

The pair was performing an old tune of Melanie’s, and one of my all-time favorites, called Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma. And in that moment, I was charmed. I had loved Melanie back in the day, and truthfully I thought she was dead. But there she was, as beautiful and quirky and amazing as ever. Watching her and Miley took me back to my bedroom floor at 204. I used to lie on my back, with my head right next to the record player, with my eyes closed, and belt out this song over and over and over. I couldn’t get enough of it.

It’s funny how things go round and round. Like that song. It came to mind a few years ago when I wrote this love song for Eric for our wedding. A very talented bluegrass musician was helping me refine and polish it. He was also attempting to teach me bluegrass guitar, which was undoubtedly frustrating for both of us. And let me stop here to say, I’m not a bluegrass musician, Eric is.

During that time, when the bluegrass musician and I were working on my song, we had very different opinions on how it should sound. To him, it was bluegrass all the way. But to me, it was a sweet little folk tune with a hint of an Irish lilt in its cadence. At one point in the song-making process we were camped in completely different worlds. But in the end, Fragile Moment landed happily in the most harmonious place within my beating heart. Not my vision going in, but exceeding all expectations when it was done.

But in the beginning, I’d come home from one of our sessions and think, ‘look what he’s done to my song, Ma.’

So there’s Melanie’s song and there’s Miley’s backyard. And then there’s me, and this gender fluidity, that makes sense on some level, despite not fully understanding. But I am intrigued. In fact, so much so, that I declared to my youngest daughter the other night, that I think I’m gender fluid.

“When did this happen?” she asked sardonically. Admittedly, a very reasonable question for her to pose, especially to me, a person who has been known to utter lots of utter nonsense but nothing of this ilk. If I could have read her mind, I’m pretty sure she was thinking, ‘what the fuck mother.’

“When I stopped having my period,” I blurted.

I don’t know what made me say that. But I do know, that around the same time, Ma died, and then The Old Man did too, and then I started to feel differently about everything. Including myself. The “me” I thought was me was being whipped and refashioned by this menopausal hurricane. I’d had the first real brush with my mortality and it scared the shit out of me. The worst thing was, much of the time, I felt irrelevant, insignificant and invisible. I loathed feeling irrelevant and insignificant. My feelings were hurt. I felt unloved by the universe. But I have to say there was something incredibly liberating about feeling invisible. I was flying effortlessly under the radar and for the very first time in my life I felt free to say and do whatever I wanted, as long as it wasn’t causing harm to others or myself.

Since my period stopped I’ve started. And like Miley, I’m just me.

Photo on 2015-06-28 at 10.17 AM #2 (1)

Photo on 2015-06-28 at 10.18 AM #3 (1)

Photo on 2015-06-28 at 10.31 AM (1)

Backyard Sessions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX9A5vv-jOM