Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Irreconcilable differences

My fate and I have irreconcilable differences...I believe that it’s not just people who are allowed to declare that they no longer choose their mate due to “irreconcilable differences”. I would like to respectfully disagree with a certain discourse of events, for instance, with the fact that my mom should have an advance form of an incurable illness, and thereby demand a complete redo!

The thing is that I am not crazy. I know it’s futile. But something in me so desperately wants to believe…in miracles.

So, with tears on my face and with an almost childish determination and stubbornness, I sheepishly, yet defiantly look up and say: “Dear Fate, have some heart, would you…please? Isn’t there some way, maybe, possible for you to just turn the wheel around and move along a less rocky path? Could you please show your gentler side? I know you’ve got it in you. I’ve seen it, damn it! Have you ever heard of compassion? How about empathy?”


But then the practical side of me takes over and I feel my inner, wiser, more grown-up self rise to the occasion. And that’s when I hear a stern and poignant: “Shove your irreconcilable differences up your @#$#%! You’ve got to deal with what’s handed to you. Now stop whining, take a deep breath, let go of your ego, find beauty in the ugly and keep moving”.

What’s left for the weary-hearted to do but to follow along? And so, I take the prescription, mix it with a doze of resolute “it is what it is”, and take it all in one big gulp, like a shot of tequila.


“Yes, hello. This is Dr X’s answering service. May I help you?”
“Yes, I need help”
“What can I assist you with?
“Could you please have the doctor call me back right away?”
“Is it an emergency?”
“Yes, I urgently require divine intervention. I need a miracle”.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Smile by popular demand

I was waiting to pick up my son at the day care. It was pouring rain (it’s still raining outside). I was checking my blackberry and my phone from time to time, not paying much attention to my surroundings. “Why don’t you smile?”, someone next to me said. I looked up. It was an elderly man, probably a grandfather, also waiting for one of the kids. I said, “Excuse me?” He repeated, “Why don’t you smile?” and added, “you look waaaaaay too serious”.

“I don’t know what you are talking about and there isn’t much to smile about anyway”, I blurted out, kicking myself for even acknowledging his remark with a response. He continued, “Well, that’s too bad. Such young lady with not much to smile about. You’ve got to wake up each morning and just put a smile on”. I was speechless. I just stared and to my horror realized that it is quite possible that I might cry! Why such reaction to a potentially well-meaning comment?

But then I began thinking. This isn’t the first time someone said it to me… If I had a penny every time I heard “Why don’t you just smile”… When I used to work as a waitress, I heard over and over again, “Smile, you’ll make more tips”. Whenever, someone takes my picture, ever since I remember myself, there is the inevitable re-take “Oh common, say cheese!”. When I deliver presentations, I often get “you are a good presenter, but you should really smile more”. So, I want to set the record straight.

I smile, but at appropriate times and under the right circumstances. For instance, on the subway, I smiled at a total stranger today, because this young man, totally voluntarily, gave up his seat for a pregnant woman. Our eyes met. I nodded, smiled, as if to say “Nice! Very proud of you” and he smiled back, as if to say, “Thank you. I am feeling kind of good about myself”. I also smiled today when I heard my mom’s voice. She said she felt okay today. And it was great to hear. The comforting warmth of knowing that she is okay ran through me like chamomile tea. I smiled through the phone, savoring, hanging on her every word.

At the risk of sounding cranky, I’d like to say here and now that I won’t smile just due to the popular demand. I wear my heart to my face (why bother with the sleeves, right?). The fake kind of smiling, through tears and pain, along with baseball and small talk, hasn’t rubbed off on me in all the years I’ve lived in America. Instead, what I offer the world is a reflection of my soul, in all its volatile, moody, complicated glory. And while, I assure you, there is deep appreciation and pure joy at the core of my being, there is also great thoughtfulness and even sadness. And it apparently shows.

And you know what, that’s okay. I’ve spent so much of my life being unpopular, why start now? That’s not what it’s all about. In this blog I attempt to explore MY life as know it (did you notice, that’s what this blog is called “Rina’s Blog – My life as I know it”?) I am a work in progress. I am, still, to a large extent, an undiscovered or at least unexplored continent even to myself. And perhaps, as I learn how to live my best life, I’ll stumble upon a large supply of smiles that I will never run out of. And until then, I’d be honored and blessed, at least from time to time, to be a source of smiles around me.