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?


Maven said...

More than enough.

And I am, from the bottom of my heart, happy you won.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

That's totally enough. Sometimes we need to think about our past (or our present) and see what it all means. But lots of times we just need to live, and to do it the best way we can!

(A colorful past does make interesting blog fodder, though!)

Mobius said...

parfette! who can resist a nice parfette?

Can you make me some cheese........ pretty please?

PS... I liked this blog. Muchly.

Chantel said...

Maven--no one wins all the time...but when it really counts--it's awesome!

Bliss--I do love color, (chuckle) and we are indeed created by our experiences....I just hope not defined.

Mobius--cheese with friends is heaven! And gracias.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Hey, happy birthday! (I saw your note on Pearl's blog.) I'd send you a gift-wrapped chore monkey if I knew where to find them.

Debbie(singlemom;complicatedworld) said...

I too, want to be loved for who I am! and yet after a rough road I have finally come to love the layers..even the rotten ones! knowing the surface layer is only what it is thanks to the layers underneath!! Glad you won and really enjoy your blog!!

Tgoette said...

Thanks for stopping by!

I too share your love on onions and the layers of wonder they possess. As a metaphor for life I would say that none of us are what our individual layers project that we are. We are more complex than that. Rather I think the sum of our parts (layers) reveals the entire exquisite ball of deliciousness that we truly are.

I love your musical selections! Great blog!

Chantel said...

Debbie--you are so right-the surface is completely supported by the layers beneath! Unfortunately do you ever feel that you only get to see someone's surface? *sigh* The eternal quest for honesty, eh?

Tgoette--"exquisite ball of delliciousness" is EXACTLY how I'd describe an onion!! Thank God my layers aren't judged individually.

Kirsty said...

This is a gorgeous post. I will definitely be stopping back here again!
I've often thought about that quote (though I must admit I first heard it through Shrek!) and I think it's a wonderful analogy.

Ann said...

What a treasure you are.

I was just thinking about, if confronted with a past behavior of mine, would I admit to it? Or would I lie and say "Nope. Not me." The thing is that was me then, not who I am now.

Thank goodness change is constant!

Chantel said...

Kirsty--If they could have just interpreted Socrates and Plato through Shrek I might have passed philosophy!

Ann--Someone once said, "today is just tomorrow's yesterday." (smile) I love that. While I do stive to cherish every moment...when I screw up, it's just "yesterday I...."

Chantel said...

Hey, I love your name too!'m glad my uncle's potty training advice is a hit. Thanks for stopping by!

Kelly said...

These are thoughts that have been on my mind lately. Thanks for putting them into words.

Kelly said...

Oh, and I like this version of "Sideways"! I will have to look for it.

Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

I like you. You make me think.

I mean... I normally think... just not too deeply while blogging...

I'm going to follow you. I want to see what you make me think about next.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking up at Friday Follow! It’s such a grand day to meet you, so here I am...your newest blog follower. Happy weekend!

~ Lynn

Anonymous said...

Hi I am a late follow from Friday Follow please follow me back thanks!

Rita A. said...

Brilliant post! I was hanging on every word. Our experiences make us what we are. Thanks for participating in Friday Follow. I am catching up to the links. Rita @

Irish Gumbo said...

Yes, it is enough. And those who don't see that...can 'eff off.

Onions are good, for all their qualities. :)

Tony said...

I came to your blog from a comment you left on mine and all I can say is "WOW!" that was a great post. It really got me thinking about a lot of different things.

I'm on my way to check out more of your blog. Take care.

Juliana said...

Debbie-Happy Birthday. I AM madly in love with your blog. I am sorry that you are dealing with your ex. Life is hard at times...but it is all about how we play the cards and how we react to the hand we are dealt. You have a wonderful positive outlook on life and onions make some of the best foods out there!

Hello there. I am a new follow from the FF list. Sorry I am late, but better late than never right? I look forward to following your blog and getting to know you better. Hope you enjoy my blog and the fun giveaways I am doing. Have a good week. Juliana with A Blonde Walks Into A Blog

Anna Lefler said...

What a lovely post. I think we've all had this conversation with ourselves in one form or another along the way. (Perhaps more than once...)

You put it very beautifully and I'm so glad I stopped by.

Take care and see you again soon...

:-D Anna

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

I popped over from Maven's blog because you are being featured, and I am so glad I did!! You are a wonderful writer, and I can't wait to stalk you daily.

Chantel said...

Kelly--Citizen Cope is one of my faves!

JAM--thinking rocks...but not too much or my head gets warm.

Midday Escapades & Alyssa--a pleasure to meet you both!

Rita--I wonder what shapes us more, our experiences or our choices?

Irish--I adore you already.

Tony--thanks so much for stopping by, I loved your post too!

Juliana--I think our mistakes refine us, unfortunately some mistakes are bigger than others. Wonderful to meet you!

Anna--your pic makes me smile every time I see it; I look forward to your sense of humor!

Hot Flash--I was thrilled to see you as well and can't wait for next week!

Dina said...

Chantel, This post struck home to me tonight. I have been swamped in my own layers, peeling them, to reveal the new fresh skin, as a new mother all over again, and I find that my past layers seem to drag behind me to those that have walked my life path with me, and yet, the people that don't know me, don't see my old layers, only what I expose. What if? I have been saying that a lot lately.
Thank you. More food for thought for me.