Thursday, January 21, 2010


I'd had a rough day. I'd been sued. For someone who takes life and responsibility and respect as fervently as I do--to find yourself in this situation is...unthinkable.

That's what ex's are for.

Needless to say, I won. I had proof in black and white and as the judge uttered the words, "waste of the court's time" I had the supremely euphoric sensation of warmth and absolution flood my taut limbs. Consummate relief...exoneration.

That night, as I lay in the arms of my husband, we talked of life. We've both been through so much...enough it seems, to fill more than one lifetime. Do you ever feel that way? All my yesterdays and once-upon-a-times don't really add up....they equal more than their sum of parts. And it's not necessarily comfortable.

Carl Sandburg was the original Shrek poet. "Life is like an onion, you peel it off one layer at a time and sometimes you weep." (chuckle) I rather prefer the movie's interpretation--although I must admit that I am in love with onions. Sauteed until soft and juicy, caramelized dreamily and delicious....crisp with cheese and crusty bread--onions rock. Daily I slice and chop and segment...stews, roasts, chili, risotto. Omelets, fajitas, egg rolls...seriously, onions are in everything! Their succulent layers sweet and spicy and sometimes hot and sometimes...rotten.

I purchased a bag of onions in a dead run through the market on a hurried Wednesday--only to discover that half had gone bad. Really bad. Rotten potatoes got nuthin' on them onions. (shudder)

"People are like onions...." Our layers...are there. To be seen or shared or hidden; sometimes sliced away and put to compost as we re-invent ourselves after a culinary disaster. Uncommonly, the translucent reality of a life lived true reveals all...but so rare. Moreoften, when there is so much--mountains done right, and epochs done wrong......what is

Are we merely a sum of our layers? I asked my husband, "What if no one knew what I have done? Where I've been? Would it change how they feel about me?" Like if you went to a party and no one was allowed to say what their job was or what they had accomplished. Perhaps, you could just say, "I'm Chantel...and I like...."

No "My father was a treasury agent and I was raised on a ranch...with no tv."

"My parents had a pet bobcat who bit me in the neck when I jumped into the bottom bunk."

"I can make cheese."

"I was a missionary in Guatemala. I worked in health clinics and orphanages and bathed in a river with snakes."

"I was the executive director of....but I also once worked in Hardees."

"My first marriage failed."

"I was raised on goat milk."

What if no one knew....if I was

Am I merely an onion? Are you?

I want to be loved and appreciated not just for where I've been or what I've done--because there have been SO many mistakes along the way. Dear Lord--the things we hide, even from ourselves. My triumphs have been marvelous--and my failures staggering. In between, I have grown.

You hear often, "listen more, speak less" and this is my intention. For where I have been, the stories I could tell...perhaps I need to just....stop. I am me. Not the past...not even what I might become. Just me.

Is that enough?