Monday, October 15, 2012

Delusional or Delightfully Deceptive?

In 1970, I served on the team that produced our high school yearbook. And, when I say "served,"  I mean that I went to meetings because my friends were there and we had a lot of fun. We also produced a product, mostly by sheer luck and the hard work of perhaps 2 people, neither of whom was me.

But we did create a theme which I loved, based on the Simon and Garfunkel song "Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall."  Today, I'd like to revisit those lyrics because, amazingly, lo these 40+ years later, they still resonate, but maybe in different ways...
Through the corridors of sleep
Past the shadows dark and deep
My mind dances and leaps in confusion.
I don't know what is real,
I can't touch what I feel
And I hide behind the shield of my illusion.

Okay, then those lyrics were about the dreams I had while I slept, which when I was 17, I actually did every night. I had dreams then, actual dreams during the night. Since I no longer sleep, that sort of thing has evaporated. Today, the dreams happen during the day. They're easier to understand and I can tell what's real and what's not. It's not as much fun but now I control the things I dream about so they're easier to manage.

So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.

When I was 17, I didn't have to pretend my life would never end. I believed that. Never considered mortality, it was no more real than the nightly dreams or nightmares. Today, I am actually pretending my life will never end, so these lyrics are more accurate today than ever.
The mirror on my wall
Casts an image dark and small
But I'm not sure at all it's my reflection.

Back then I looked into mirrors and some days I looked like the girl I wanted desperately to be -- the one with good hair and clear skin -- and other days I looked like someone I didn't want to be so I deluded myself into believing that maybe it wasn't me. What was inside didn't matter as much then because the outside mattered so much to the exclusion of everything else.

Nowadays, well, some days I do look like the woman I want to be  -- the one with good hair and clear skin --and other days... not so much. Some days I have no earthly idea who the old lady in the mirror could possibly be.  Some days, I can't see the mirror because I don't have my glasses on and on those days, I look fine. However, now I know, or at least I think I do, that my appearance doesn't make me who I am. Maybe it reflects who I am, or maybe who I am governs the way I look on any given day. But, I'm still reasonably shallow. A good hair day still goes a long way toward making me feel better. (Good skin days, I've pretty much given up on, as wrinkles, unlike acne, never clear up.) My image, overall, is still dark and small but most days I am sure it's my reflection, I just may not be that happy about it.
I am blinded by the light
Of God and truth and right
And I wander in the night without direction.

The meaning of this verse has changed the most over time. Now, I wander in the night with direction -- directly to the bathroom. Still seeking truth, God, and light, just seeking it on my way to pee.
It's no matter if you're born
To play the King or pawn
For the line is thinly drawn 'tween joy and sorrow,
So my fantasy
Becomes reality,
And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.

This verse encapsulated our thoughts back then. We didn't know, we couldn't know, what we were born to be. We had soaring hopes and dreams. We also had a mischievous sense of humor. The cover of the yearbook showed the king and the pawn chess pieces casting long shadows. The image was cool, mostly because the pieces looked like hash pipes. We loved that the adults would see the king and pawn and we'd see the hash pipes as our inside joke. Or, maybe we weren't so clever and it was an accident ending in more coolness than we intended. I can't remember. But, I know this -- since those years I've learned and embraced what I was born to be. It's neither king nor pawn, but teacher, wife, mother, friend, daughter, grandmother, lover of music, runner, beach bum (okay, that one I knew even then), liberal, pseudo health nut, and more to come. And, I haven't seen a hash pipe in a whole lot of years so that's changed too. Plus, now I face today, not tomorrow. While I agree with Scarlett O'Hara about the value of tomorrow, today is enough for me now.
So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.

The chorus speaks to me now more than ever. I continue to pretend my life will never end. I see no reason to stop and face the mortality reality any more now than I did in 1970. I know I'm delusional. I know I am deceiving myself, and still "hiding behind the shield of my illusion," but it's delightful to do so and it gets me through more days smiling than crying. Who's to say that's not good? Join me in this delusion. You'll be glad you did. Oh, and those flowers? The thing is they do bend with the rainfall, as do I sometimes, but as do they, we all rise again with the sun. Every day. As we were born to...

So, one day closer to 60. It's okay as long as I can pretend.


  1. As your old next door neighbor and classmate, we shared an unique time in history. Luv , luv luv this piece. Your words brought smiles and tears. Seems like only yesterday we were 10 years old, playing with our Barbie dolls. BLINK...and here we our today.
    Mimi Litz XO

    1. You are so right about the power of that blink. From Barbies to grandbabies, the journey so far and yet so fast. So glad you liked the piece. We did live much of it side by side, after all.


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