Strength and weakness are a solid couple; their hookup is beautifully exponential.

Strength cannot exist without weakness. Its essence emerges from the press of imperfection and flaws, shortcomings serving as the catalyst for growth and expansion.

Weakness cannot survive without strength. Its character shines within the extension of gratitude, understanding serving as the olive branch for the kindness it deserves.

When strength is selfless and relaxes out of the spotlight, weakness gains confidence. When weakness is noble and softens to a smile, strength discovers purpose. Ah, true love.

A hyper-focus on strengths, with an ill-awareness to the beauty of our weaknesses, leaves us half-whole. When we recognize that both sides of our life-joints can constrict and loosen in support of one another, we find a bravery to know ourselves completely.

My son writes thank you letters.  His recipients include, but are not limited to, dogs & dead fish.

I never really knew what it would take to be a mom, nor the challenges it would throw my way.  I was certainly prepared to get up early, stay up late, make meals, take him places and show him new things.  However, I quickly realized I would need a very unique superpower; I would need to establish a strength to confront the expectation of an arbitrary and societal mom-norm.  I would have to defeat my pre-destined perpetual spin of demanding my son know “how to be a good person” each and every day.

I don’t require my son to write a thank you note for every gift he receives, nor do I ask him to smile politely when he doesn’t discern the need.   I let him guide me far more than I guide him.  He will hate me in his teens just as much as any other teen despises his mom, but he will know I never asked him to do anything beyond his own decision-making.  He will recognize that I never insisted on his discomfort for my personalized comfort gain or absorbed relief-high; he will know that he is full, flawed and human.

This all might be unpopular opinion, I suppose.  So let’s add to that unattractive list:

  1.  Hiking boots and dresses go together.  the perfect fashion mash-up
  2.  Solo-trips are essential.  a once-per-year requirement
  3.  Every song is a love song.  a gift of interpretation
  4.  Time doesn’t exist.  an entirely different blog post
  5.  Sundays are the antidote for exhaustion.  4-hour workouts are my norm

My son has never belonged to me.  He is part of something far greater than I can define for either of us.  My hope is that I invite him to learn a little more about himself each day and that I force myself out of his way so he can take action with his own thoughts and ideas.

I will listen when he is ready; I will help when he is willing.

It is quite-a-love-thing and likely, unpopular opinion.

A lyrical madress is more peculiar than a music lover; they can love in parts, free from a demand to cherish a song, a paragraph, or genre in its entirety in order to simply love a line, a word or a syllable hint.

They lift edges and grooves within every narrative that crosses their senses and allow each note to linger alongside both their joy and misery. Every curve is an expansion of their self-meaning and worldview. Examples A-D can be found below.

“She’s a jar with a heavy lid.” -Wilco, She’s a Jar

This is the phrase I draw on to describe moments in which I sense resistance from someone or from myself. It helps me note when someone is holding back emotion or the times when I hold back my truth. As in, “whew, he is a heavy lid today” or “nobody is getting me open today – there is too much, or perhaps too little, inside right now”. Holding back & resisting vulnerability is a common human response and, when I name it with this seven word phrase, I better understand why it is so difficult to overcome. We don’t resist vulnerability because we are awful, closed off people. We simply aren’t always ready to experience the emotions that come with the twist and opening of our souls.

“Riding my bike like I am too young to drive.” – Bazzi, Young & Alive

This is the mindset I use to reawaken myself. I, like anyone else, can get stuck in wanting to get somewhere faster, achieve something quicker or have something immediately. These are the moments when I want things to be easy and efficient. I roll this 10-word imagery through my fingertips to find pause. I put myself back on my first 10-speed and remind myself of how much fun it is to weave in and out of a path and go no-handed. I immediately become more playful, more exploratory, less afraid and less tense. I grow younger. Someone once told me to turn down the urge to always go fast, for nothing good will ever be able to catch up to me. Brilliant.

“I’m a sucker for some harmony.” -Wilderado, Surefire

This is one of my favorite life themes. This is the line that makes me giggle every time I give in, give up, reconsider or let go for the purpose of peace and goodwill. As in, “Here I go again. I am such a sucker for harmony”. A utopian rapport with all my surroundings is both my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. These six words give me a moment to reflect on whether I am happy that I gave in, gave up, reconsidered or let go or if I just might push a little harder next time.

“I’m searching for planes in the sea…” -The 1975, Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America

This is one of the saddest lines I carry with me, but it is oh-so-necessary. This is my self-awareness articulation. We tend to deafen our senses as it relates to our lives, I think —- yet another common human response. Sometimes it is just too dang tricky to recognize the irony of our lives; it takes some effort to recognize the interconnectedness of the world. This seven word phrase, with a novel ellipsis add-on, helps me observe the dichotomy of my decisions and directions; on the flip side, it helps me discover the unity of my heart and mind. Establishing an ironic sense of being unleashes a spirit of humor and empathy. While this may be the saddest line I carry with me, it is the one that has released my ability to find laughter and joy in any given situation. Life is a trip and I am glad I am on it.

When we pay attention to “the parts” of our lives just as much as we would “the whole”, we become less distracted by our own joy or misery and grow appreciative of the journey itself. Most songs, sounds and images are designed to click our heads towards favoritism. We have to want more out of the things we listen to, look at, feel or taste. We can’t take everything in full definition; we must excavate the pieces that grow and evolve our spirit.

I am not suggesting you need to love the lines I have discovered, but I am absolutely suggesting that you find your own.

I never want my lyrical madress style to become accustomed to the norm. After all, I am 43 years old and nothing is going to fit me perfectly anymore. I get to try it all on. This is freedom.

And as such, is life, mirabile dictu.