Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cover Ups

I have cousins in Tallahassee whom I rarely see anymore. Funny how that happens. Close as children, we've grown apart as life happens and divides us. These three--siblings--were probably the first latch-key children I had ever known personally. The oldest, Kim, although a very mature 12 year old, was asked to watch over her 7 and 8 year old brothers most afternoons. Left to their own devices and creative play, the three of them decided, one afternoon, to build a small fire in their front yard. (Are you already thinking, "Bad idea"?) Yes, you're right. Their fun little experiment set the whole lawn on fire. It burned up the entire front yard. I've lost the bit about the fire department, if there even was one. Nobody was hurt, but my three cousins knew they would be in big huge horrible trouble with their parents when they got home. So what did they do? Kim said, "We just took every single blanket and sheet off of every bed in the house and we completely covered up the front yard. We hid the burnt yard by making a patch-work quilt of sorts, that covered up the evidence." And, then she said they just casually sat there whistling and reading magazines with the earnest hope that neither parent would notice the scorched front yard. Completely covered up with blankets. All over the front yard. No red flags there. No dead-give aways. Everything copacetic. All things normal. Who would ever even know?
Gosh, I am thinking how often we try to cover up stuff in our own lives. We cover up our bodies, our feelings, or dreams, our fears, our doubts. Instead of standing there in full view right on top of our own scorched earth, we, too, bring in blankets to camouflage what it is that is really going on in our lives. Maybe we rationalize it by telling ourselves that nobody really and truly wants to know. Maybe we're embarrassed that we are not living up to some standard that we've condemned ourselves to meet. What is it that we don't want others to know about us?
My friend, Carol, tells her story about shopping at Lane Bryant. (For you skinny people, that's a store that sells clothes for fuller figured women. Yes, sizes do go above size 8--and they're not called "Omar the Tentmaker" stuff, BTW.) Carol told me that, while shopping there, if she sees co-worker or neighbor, she says she hides behind the clothes rack. When asked why she hides, Carol set me straight, "Why, obviously I don't want anybody to know I'm fat." I laughed. You are laughing. Pretty obvious, right? But hang on.
I bet we've all got junk like that---stuff we think we're hiding, covering up, pretending is not part of us---but everybody seems to know. No sh**, Sherlock!
Some of us are straddling blankets on burnt grass hoping that nobody calls us out. We attempt to hide things about ourselves that secretly shame us. It's requires relentless effort. But,here's what I know: Every aspect of ourselves that we've denied, every thought and feeling that we've told ourselves is unacceptable and wrong, eventually shows up in our lives--so we can look at them. So we can become whole. So we can love ourselves---and in turn love others. (Notice I have not even told you yet that this is what I've learned from Taylor. But, this is what I've learned from Taylor. Accepting our weaknesses and our strengths makes us whole.)
I'm heading upstairs right now to put my blankets back on the beds where they belong. And, I'm going to stop by that closet that has my bathing suit cover up in it. I'm going to take that cover up out in the front yard and set it on fire.
Join me. Uncover yourself.
Come out from behind that rack.
Will you stand in the light with me?


  1. This is so funny... Hey Carol, I bet I was on the other side of the rack at Lane Bryant!

    Actually, I think I prefer to stay covered up right now - not so much to hide me, but to save the rest of you from seeing reality.
    It ain't a pretty sight!

  2. And you know what, Do-Nah(and all): My guess is that there are about 300 million of us at least who feel exactly the same way as you do. We're just not that honest.

  3. How do you have the perfect story to go with each one of your wonderful insights? I'm sure you're not making it up, but truly it is a most amazing collection! I love you and your family!

  4. But Doh-nah...you ARE beautiful...there could be no more BEAUTIFUL picture than that of you holding Taylor's hand to teach him to walk. That's REAL beauty, and we ALL know it! Taylor loves you, WE love you ... forget about Lane Bryant...!! Ha! On another subject, remember that time we were coming back from Carrabelle in L'Autobus and Molly's suitcase fell off the top...and you and I ran back to get it...Molly sat in the car?!?!? (Same trip: we saw that poor woman in her front yard as we were drivng past and she was signaling for someone to turn on the garden hose and when they did, it sprayed her completely! We laughed for hours!!

  5. Oh, Marianne, I love that story of the blankets on the lawn. What a scene of peace and intellect resting on burned “ruins of our pleasures” as Jackson Browne sings. Hilarious! It made remember once when I broke a pumpkin at my friend’s house. I pretended like I was throwing it and low and behold, it slipped out of my hands and splat!!! Big splat!!!! Just as the last seed hit the ground and the horror hit me and before I could make an excuse like, “Hey, who broke that pumpkin?” her parents drove up. Wish I had thought of that blanket trick.
    I want all the things in Taylor’s cart BUT instead of Cheetos, I want candy corn. But then, the more the candy corn, the more cover up required. Actually just last night I had the deep desire to run outside naked in the middle of that storm. God help the neighbors. A real UFO (Unidentified Fat Object). Hee hee.
    Big Love. You are the greatest!

  6. Marianne, Sasha B passed this website on to me and I am sooo greatful. Your insights are phenominal and entertaining. I am sure that I will be checking into this site on a regular basis. Love to you and yours


Thank you so much for your comments. I know it's scary to put yourself out there. I really appreciate your being on this journey with me. You really are brave..