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Just a simple threadbare gypsy soul, wandering from blessing to blessing on this earth.

February 18, 2012

Morphology of the Jigsaw Life


Thursday is my birthday. On that day, I will be firmly embedded within my fourth decade, a thought that causes me to age with every firing synapse: old, old, old.  As I approach this birthday, I have begun to reflect upon the different periods of my history, and how they have locked together in the untidy muddle of Me that I have created.  My Etch-A-Sketch lines are messy and indistinct, and as I cogitate on the years I see just how frequently I’ve been turned over, shaken, and wiped mostly clean, the ghost of previous lines remaining, hairline fractures of the fragile eggshell in which I live: a map of the jigsaw lines of my life. 

As little as five years ago, I had different values and goals – some of which I’ve met, and some I haven’t. I had different friends. I lived in a different place, with different expectations, and struggled with different weaknesses. Few of the things I valued then do I still value now. I can’t even remember why they were important to me then, and I care little to think too hard on them, but they cling to me still, vestiges of a past almost forgotten. They are a collection of vague and colorless memories that float around like specks of dust in a ray of sunlight.

I am veiled by these scraps of my past. I am too close to them to see clearly how they’ve affected me, but I know I’ve changed by my measurement of the changes in others. It’s extraordinary to observe people I knew as teenage potheads transform into lawyers and mothers and NGO volunteers. It’s almost incomprehensible to witness valedictorians and full-ride scholars dropping out of school and leaving jobs with drinking problems, drug addictions, and complete expiry of all motivation.  I rejoice with those who have made leaps and bounds into their better futures, shrug my shoulders when those people who have always been superstars accomplish yet another amazing feat, but I cannot wrap my mind around the people who have fallen so far. How can they have changed so much? Do they not feel the loss of their ideals and dreams? And then, I think back over the changes I’ve undergone, and I wonder:  am I the kind of person at whom you shrug your shoulders, because you have always expected me to achieve what I have, or am I the kind at which people gape, rubber-necking at the train-wreck I’ve made of my life?

Life isn’t, as so many believe, abstract, pointless, or purposeless. There is an image in there somewhere, probably obscured by multiple erasures and heavy lines and scribbles of confusion and circles back and away from the same temptations that kept us from adding depth to the true picture, leaving us flat and feeling incomplete.
In the jigsaw life, all the pieces have a place, though different in shape and size and color. You may struggle with a piece, wondering where it belongs and how much attention you should pay to it before realizing it has a flat edge and belongs on the outer periphery. Some pieces you try to force in, but in the end you become aware that they belong to someone else’s puzzle and not to your own at all. And so often we think we are working on the whole picture, but we’ve become narrow and focused on making a single piece perfect, not realizing that while our backs are turned, all the other pieces are loosening and falling out.  We forget that there is no such thing as done, that we have to keep working on all the same pieces we’ve been working on for the entirety of our lives so that the lines match up when the pieces abut. We might not be aware that we’re screwing up while we’re doing it, that our flailing hands and arms are smashing to bits pieces that were perfectly positioned. Worse, sometimes we do know we’re spoiling it, but we don’t pay attention because it seems like such a small piece that’s being sullied, an outside piece, an unimportant piece. Come to discover later, that was a cornerstone piece, which had been keeping the chaos under control. 

And then there are the ugly pieces. Weird shapes and bilious colors and aggressively frightening outlines that darken the picture and distort it until it is almost unrecognizable. Pieces that are so worn thin that they are frail and weak and threatening to collapse, compromising the existence and stability of sound pieces, endangering them with the menace of falling into the dark abyss of absence and loss. We try to get rid of these pieces only to find that we cannot separate ourselves from them. They are inextricably intertwined into the fabric of our self hood, their rooty tendrils latched onto so many other bits so that if we force one out, they will all go down together. And so we try to camouflage them, to cover them with other pieces, to paint over them with better colors. The more we do this, the more slipshod and bungled our puzzle becomes. 

In the blessing of hindsight, we see that nobody’s puzzle is a perfect square. Our puzzles are better than some, and some are three-dimensional morsels of magic and luck that we covet from afar. In hindsight we can see clearly the mess we made on our life’s canvas, as if we were painting in the dark. The colors are wrong, the lines are a mess, and in some places you can’t even see a picture at all. But the beauty of the jigsaw life is its morphology. You can never be finished while you are alive, and so you can never be a failure. Sometimes you can’t choose which pieces come into your life or the effect these new pieces have on the overall image. The morphology may be out of your control but you can always choose how to fit the pieces in. You can keep searching for new things to put into the puzzle to make it richer. You can keep throwing things out to make it simpler.  You can borrow pieces from others until you find your own; you can pick and choose shapes to fit in. Spouse shapes, art shapes, starlight walk shapes, flying-kites-at-the-beach-instead-of-going-to-work shapes. They grow and shift and nothing stays in the same place; pieces that used to be front and center get moved to the side, their absences refilled with baby-shaped pieces, job-shaped pieces, and short-term marathon training-shaped pieces. The outer edges aren’t as clear cut as we think they should be, and though we often kick pieces out and attribute them to other, less important side puzzles, there is always one more, just one more piece missing. Just one thing that will make us better, just one more thing we need to be our best.  And this is as it should be. 

The Spouse-shaped piece.
© Heidi Tauschek 2012

February 12, 2012

Start With a Question


As prevalent as ever, Facebook made multiple appearances in news headlines this week. But this time, the headlines were not about just how much Mark Zuckerberg is worth in stocks, or how many billions of people are now Facebook users.  This time, the articles were about how Facebook has affected human relationships. Or, more appropriately, how Facebook has allowed humans to become even more wretched, uncensored, and uncontrolled than ever before.

The articles to which I am referring are Facebook “defriending” led to double murder, police say and Dad punishes Facebook post with 8 bullets to daughter’s laptop. The titles of these articles pique interest and draw readers in, as they were intended to do. It’s darkly entertaining to read about messed up people doing messed up things to other people who are far, far away from me.  Kind of pathetic – I know. Especially because something even darker is writhing beneath the surface of these seemingly comical pieces.

Nobody can deny the convenience that the Internet has brought to our daily lives. Certainly nobody can deny the ease with which social networking sites have allowed us to keep in touch with people far more easily than ever before (regardless of whether we should be maintaining contact with said people).  Also the truth: commenting on a status update or posting a message on someone’s “Wall” or “Timeline” is not the same as speaking to him. It’s not even the same as dropping a post card in the mail. I will even go so far as to say that social networking is, in actuality, anti-social behavior that does more harm than good.

Our addiction to the time-suck of social media sites has caused us to lose our ability to successfully navigate true social interactions. We awkwardly stumble through introductions and invitations, fail miserably at presentations, fill out sentences with insipid noises such as like, uh, you know, um, and just whatever sound slips out. Our vocabulary has been reduced to profanity and acronyms. We have lost our ability to work for reward or wait patiently because good things take time, and are left feeling lost, lonely, deserted, and unloved.  We turn to our websites, which proudly tell us how many friends we really have, and then sit alone in our rooms, stare at our computer screens, and feel lonelier than ever before. 

The feeling of anonymity that indirect communication provides brings with it feelings of empowerment and entitlement. We feel alone because we are alone; as a result, we write things we wouldn’t dare say if surrounded by a group of people. Our words are unedited, unchecked, and often unimportant, but when one is alone and lonely, one feels that everything must be said. To an electronic machine having no emotion or ability to respond. If I don’t say my piece to your face, I don’t have to deal with your possible range of reactions, and so I am safe in my cowardly bubble, far away from you and your judgment. Furthermore, we read posts without knowledge of the writer’s mood and intonation, and often read them far differently than intended, depending on the state of our internal emotions at the moment, which colors our understanding of the words and can spark discord immediately. But the bubble protects me again - if you don’t hear me say it, I can always argue that you “just misunderstood,” and can twist my meaning into whatever I need it to be in order to wriggle out of trouble. I don’t have to commit to an emotional style of delivery, and so I don’t have to deal with the consequences of my actions anymore.  Moreover, the speed of the Internet has made us impatient, which makes our feelings of entitlement dangerous. Why hasn’t ______ responded to my post yet?   Why hasn’t _____ RSVP’d to my event?  I can see that _____ is online, but he hasn’t tried to chat with me. Are we breaking up?

When I was young, teenagers would get their older friends to drive them by their love interest’s house just to see what was going on (find out who else’s car was in the driveway). Jealousy that could not be contained was dealt with in lunchroom fights and bathroom stall make-up sessions.  Now, however, we skulk about spying on one another, judging one another, reading everything about one another, and never once actively pursuing the building of a real relationship. Only now, instead of punching someone at lunch (not condoned!) and making up shortly thereafter, people are haunting one another anonymously, making vicious stabs with words, and publicly ending relationships in a way that humiliates the person on the slower end of the continuum.  This type of behavior, apparently, gets people killed.  And gets things shot.

On some level, I can understand that Scorned Dad wanted to make a clear stand to Rebellious Daughter to remind her who was the boss. She is, after all, living in his house, under his support, and therefore by his rules. And I can understand how Jenelle Potter, humiliated and defriended publicly for reasons unbeknownst to the rest of us, could feel like she wanted to kill someone. But there is a difference between feeling uncontrollable anger and actually sending your daddy to slit some throats to reclaim your honor, and there is a difference between posting an eight-plus-minute video of yourself condemning your child’s behavior for literally millions of people to view instead of talking to her yourself.

The problem is that we don’t ask questions anymore. What is written on the Internet must be the truth. If you don’t “Like” my post, then you must dislike it. If you “defriend” me for any reason, you must be trying to publicly insult me, and it couldn’t have anything to do with a broken relationship. In order to repair broken relationships, Internet or otherwise, you have to start speaking to one another again. Really speaking. So instead of sending out a hit man to take your heartbreaker off the list of the living, instead of pumping eight rounds into an electronic tool that, when used properly, can really help your child excel in school, why not start with a question? You could go with, “Have I done something to upset you?” Or, you could try something as simple as, “Why did you delete me from your Friends List?” It could make all the difference in your life. Literally.


Cited:
Ghianni, Tim. Facebook “defriending” led to double murder, police say. Reuters, 9 Feb. 2010. Web. 12 Feb 2010. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/09/us-murders-facebook-tennessee-idUSTRE8182JY20120209>.

Sullivan, Bob. Dad punishes Facebook post with 8 bullets to daughter’s laptop.  Digital Life on Today, 10 Feb. 2010. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. <http://digitallife.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/10/10373426-dad-punishes-facebook-post-with-8-bullets-to-daughters-laptop>.

February 10, 2012

Verbosity


They call it verbal diarrhea, a ramshackle collection of excessive, empty words used purely with the intent to impress -- the usual consequence of which is alienating people who don’t appreciate undue bombast. Prolix leads to exhaustion, boredom, disgust, disinterest.  But the alternative is terseness. Terseness is a special kind of clarity and conciseness, but it can feel rude.

Terse replies cause more problems than verbose ones do.  How many of us have been left puzzled by a person’s concise and snappy remark? How many of us have gone home feverishly inspecting our actions to identify whether we’ve offended someone and therefore deserve the shortness received? Furthermore, how many of us have accidentally caused pain to another with an abrupt rejoinder – pain that could have so easily been avoided if we had just taken an extra five seconds to use those “excessive, empty words” to give our answer a gentler landing?

For a generation that communicates more than the sum of all prior generations, we have certainly managed to lose the art of politeness. Our Internet-sucking, news-ticking, 147 character feed attention spans are thirty seconds or less, and we can’t spare any of our precious focus or time to just give a little extra to our fellow man. What’s really sad is this “little extra” didn’t use to be extra. It used to be required, and you gave it, if you wanted people to know you were not a beastly little urchin. But today, it is verbosity, it is pomp, it is loquaciousness, it is tooting your horn, it is boring.

To that, I say with concision: GARBAGE.

Near the Mississippi Riverfront in St. Louis, Missouri. 
© Heidi Tauschek, 2011


Vegeterraneanism: Day 4


No, I spelled it right. I’m not a vegetarian. I am a devout lover of bacon. But lately, I have converted to vegeterraneanism, which I roughly translate to mean “eater of vegetables of the earth but having no beef (ha!) with meat of the air and sea.”

The thing is, I’ve been listening to my 71 year old Garden Goddess tell hideous stories of hormone-filled chickenlings that are nothing but one giant, globulous breast. In my mind, these appear as malformed beaks and watery eye spots bobbling gelatinously atop slug like torsos. Yikes! While we take three hours to play a single round of Phase 10, Garden Goddess tells me tales of diseased cows having basketball-sized dead zones in their bodies - nerveless area of blackened mush, caused by hormone injections.  She tells of “meat dust,” left over after sawing apart frozen carcasses, swept up and added to the grinder to mix in with the rest of your weekend barbecue. She tells me my cellulite is caused by my body’s inability to flush meaty chemical sludge from my system, so it camps out around my thighs instead.

Not so, you’re saying. Blame cellulite on all those commonly accepted causes, like eating too many French fries or wearing underpants with too tight elastic. I am deaf to your logic.  My cellulite, so lovingly referred to by my delightful high school students as “orange peel syndrome” and “hail damage,” is out of control. It cauliflowers up from my overwhelmed viscera and explodes in lumpy clouds around my once-firm quadriceps. It is now visible through fitted slacks, chafes when I jog in hot weather, and causes me to wear bathing suits with built in skirts.

I start to think there is something to what she is saying.

I don’t actually have a problem with earthmeat. Not in a conscientious objector sort of way. I have absolutely no problem with running outside, rifle in hand, and shooting and then devouring my dinner. Obviously, this scenario is fully dependent upon my ability to attain the Hunter’s Trifecta: 1) remain upright after rifle reports; 2) actually hit targeted creature (the odds of which, if it is alive at the time of targeting, are astonishingly high against me); and 3) actually be able to lug its lifeless weight back to my home.   I just don’t want to be packed full of the stuff that makes little girls achieve menarche at age 8 and become so top heavy that they need surgeries just so they can walk upright.

Many people believe their childhoods were rosy. I, like them, certainly see my past in a much rosier light, now that the excruciating awkwardness of adolescence is at such a distance. In my warped version of the world, I flourished in a place of purity where superfood was rare. Growing up in Alaska meant we fished. A lot. My father hunted. We canned everything, made our own jams and jellies from berries in our yard, and grew our own potatoes and hardy vegetables. This leads me to the conclusion that I was perhaps not as pumped full of growth hormones and chemicals as others.  I am, after all, stunningly average in height and frame (though this may be a side effect of vitamin D deficiency, or due to the fact that both of my parents are the runts of their litters). I matured at an insufferably slow pace. Embarrassingly slow, even! But I’ve blocked this all out now, and only remember snapping ends off of fresh snow peas, and raspberries so ripe they fell into my waiting palms.

So now, thanks to distorted memories and the terror of the Garden Goddess’ yarns, I am mired within Day Four of Vegeterraneanism. Current meals consist of cheese and tortillas, cheese and crackers, bagels with cream cheese, and ice cream. Obviously, my distress over foodzilla has not traveled far enough to prevent me from consuming milk products, which come from hormonally buffered cows, and according to some, has high volumes of udder puss within. (Point of issue: I could clearly use a new cookbook.)

This is a social experiment of sorts. How will people who have known me to be a lifelong-bacon-loving-over-eater react to the new me: a bacon-loving-but-non-partaking-over-eater? It is also an exercise in self-discipline. Will I forgo earthmeats altogether? I can’t say for sure that I am quite that dedicated to the cause.  Ask me in a few weeks and I’ll let you know if I’ve strayed from my veggie terrain.

Spouseling holds our dinner. At Eckert's Farm in Belleville, IL. © Heidi Tauschek, 2011.

February 7, 2012

Social Norms Which Should Be Abolished: Installment #1


Obligatory Gift Opening (in front of the Giver)

As an angelic young girl with adorable baby teeth and gorgeously elastic skin, nothing gave me more pleasure than giving my mother precious gifts. These gifts included, but were not limited to: beautiful wild flowers picked from magical fairy glens; delicate gourmet meals; the finest of jeweled baubles; priceless works of art. Nothing was too costly to give to my sweet mother.

I presented these gifts with much vigor and to do, slyly working the room into appropriate frenzy before revealing the latest treasure with which I would awe and inspire my mother.  Perhaps there was first a guessing game to prolong the moment of triumph, or suspiciously difficult rounds of Choose Which Hand.  Perhaps I would hide the item and, giving only the directions of “Warmer, warmer, COLD!,” lead her to it. On some occasions the prize would simply be thrust into her hands while I stepped back, grinning maniacally up at her. Of course, I loved her with a childlike purity and fervency. But these gifts were always given with the secret expectation of being received with high praise for my general supremacy over all others, which she delivered on cue and with professional acumen.

My stunning performances were later identified (via plot diagrams in English class) as rising action, which traditionally comes before the climax and turning point of any true masterpiece.  It was the perfect description for my perceived mastery of presentation, though these days I recognize that what I engaged in was really more akin to a great big hat atop a scrawny, vertically challenged cowboy. You’ve seen the cartoons: a chinking rattle of spurs causes everyone to hush, to listen, while behind the saloon’s batwing doors the shadowy top of a hat becomes visible.  He pauses. The height of this being is astounding, his hat brushing the highest part of the doorjamb. The gulping of outlaws is audible, while mysteriously, the saloon girls and bartender have disappeared. Everyone stares, unmoving, eyes bulging. Even the men raking in their card-winnings have frozen in place. The hinges creak. A sliver of blinding light slices through the smoky darkness. Hearts are thudding, bile is rising, sweat is pouring, and moustaches are quivering. In a fluid motion the doors part and everyone can see the cheerful faced, miniature person beneath an enormously tall hat, who grins and says, “Hey, y’all!” Basking in complete and utter letdown, nobody even bothers to issue a relieved sigh as all return to normal.

After years of babysitting, of teaching pre- and elementary school, and nannying incorrigible little beasts, I have learned that children also present such gifts in the following situations: 1) they have blatantly abused their siblings; 2) they want to watch forbidden television shows; 3) they’d rather not bathe, or sleep, or eat what you’ve prepared; and 4) they have done something hideous that they hope will remain hidden beneath the glare of their adorableness. 

Furthermore, I have recognized that in every instance, I am both shocked and baffled at the trinket proffered, and never fail to receive such gewgaws with a combination of dumbstruck, “Oh!” and “How interesting!” I generally pair this with a careful, “So… tell me about this,” which has a secret “What is it?” rolled up within.  The child is inevitably crest-fallen that I cannot immediately pinpoint the exact nature of the gift. At this, I am certain that I have caused irreversible damage to this tiny person and must prevent him, at all costs, from ever feeling not good enough. I attempt to remedy the injury by proceeding to vomit syrupy, over exaggerated remarks about the positive traits of said child -- probably the exact thing my mother did, and she is a saint for having done it. 

The truth is, rare flowers from fairy glens were in fact dandelions, dripping their sticky, bitter milk everywhere and leaving her hands covered in black dandy-tar that could not be eradicated for days. Gourmet meals were lumpy concoctions of completely incompatible ingredients, scorched and smoking on the outside, but liquefied on the inside. The finest jewels were macaroni noodle necklaces that gouged tender flesh with chipped points and sprinkled flaking paint down necklines. The priceless art pieces were images of fiercely crayon-scribbled figures -- sausage bodies displayed spiny polydactyl hands and were generally surrounded by my trademark miniature portraits of the family Lhasa Apso wearing a red tutu and pirouetting on toe-point. Gaudy, useless, ridiculous items they were, but she always accepted them with grace and a profusion of admiring positivity. I’m sure as soon as my exultant back was turned, she was raking her tongue with her fingernails to eradicate the lingering palate of my feasts.

Hindsight in its purest form is what remained after the distillation process of both having been a child once, and having experienced the confusion of a childless adult dealing with children. I now clearly understand that the responsibility for the giver’s heart and confidence, not to mention future gifting habits, is placed upon my shoulders with every gift. Moreover, this responsibility does not wane with the giver’s increasing age. If anything, it increases, as the giver is now so much surer that she knows you inside and out. You are expected to exclaim over the appearance of the package in its wrapping, then make inane remarks about the possibility of its content while you carefully remove the ribbons and paper to save for later use. Finally, you must feign surprise at whatever is within, and gush about its merits. Meanwhile, the giver beams maddeningly at you, waiting for more praise, waiting for you to put it on or display it proudly. Inability to passably enthuse over the gift has the power to annihilate so many gossamer threads of confidence! But the odds of being able to do so are strongly against me. What if I don’t know what it’s for? What if I already have one, or if I hate the color? What if it doesn’t fit? What if it is obviously second-hand and the giver has not adequately prepared me for its used nature? What if I have no room to store it or display it? And what, oh what, if it is something I have given that person in years past that she has subsequently forgotten about and is now giving back to me?

It is more than an awkward moment of social conundrum. It is a moral dilemma. I was taught to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God, and also taught that nothing hurts like the truth. How can I possibly give an honest response to this gift? I could try to be honest while omitting certain painful facts. But isn’t that deception, and won’t the Lord destroy all deceitful lips? The agony of this burden is unchecked and billows up from the depths of my inmost being like a noxious cloud whenever a beribboned parcel is placed within my palms.

As a result, I have developed an irrational fear of public gift opening. When gifts are given, I ooh and ahh and smother the giver in thanks. Then, I deftly tuck the gift out of sight, to be opened in a moment of pressure-less solitude. If someone very close to me begins hinting at the possibility of gifting, I obviously point out things I do and do not like. Sometimes I send hyperlinks, or solicit donations for wish list items. I have even been known to purchase my own gift, hand it to my spouse, and tell him to hide it from me until the day of gifting arrives. I often forget about the gift, which is unrecognizable when it comes to me in gift wrap. Then, I am never displeased when I open it, and therefore can give true homage to the awesomeness of the giver. After all, the giver is me, kind of. And what person can give better gifts to me than myself?


It is entirely possible that I am projecting my personal deep seeded fear of disappointing others in this area of social behavior, and wildly mutating it. I myself am fairly easy to please, as I love most things, particularly if they can be used or consumed, and always feel blessed beyond measure when someone thinks to surprise or bless me with a present. Choosing my own gifts takes much of the joy and surprise away from receiving gifts. It also removes the stress of receiving those gifts.  But I will do what I need to do in order to assuage my own projected fears. Taking a cutback in this kind of surprise is, I feel, a great bargain for removing the stress of receiving and opening gifts.


February 4, 2012

Worn Like Jeans


A new pair of jeans has an effect on one's confidence the way a sunny day has on one's disposition after weeks of rain. Confidence balloons in chests, vanity bounces footfalls, and embarrassment no longer haunts every incident of bending forward. But new jeans must be treated with extreme care.  They must be completely turned inside out and washed in cold water, lest their indigo nature leak out, infecting everything nearby with a sickly pallor.  Hot tumble-drying causes shrinkage after which floodwater inseams and squeezed upward muffin-top ensue, while hang drying leaves one with crispy plaster pants that gather in the wrong places, refuse to fall correctly, and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Sitting becomes an ordeal because of slipping waists, belt shifts, and rear cleavage exposure, but worst of all is the savage pinch and resistance provided when one attempts to bend more than thirty degrees in any direction. Though new jeans give one, or perhaps two, glorious days of buoyant self-assuredness, their first mash-up with real life dousing and agitation leaves little remaining besides a bundle of stress shaped like trousers.

Much like life.

Stepping into new things feels great. Initially.  A seemingly perfect fit in work or relationships or new ventures gives you a secret arrogance, which causes you to believe nothing could ever go wrong. Then, what begins beautifully suddenly rejects every control you’ve attempted to enforce. Your irresistible cuteness has become sullied somehow; what made you loveable and desired reverses without notice and becomes hideous and irritating. Unexpected changes force you to hop around awkwardly, jerking this and tugging that and rushing to cover up humiliating exposure just to keep things running, though not smoothly anymore. You’re drenched with an onslaught of garbage that makes you choke and sputter, chafes you raw and tangles you into knots before spinning you into complete oblivion so that you longer have any idea which way is up.  The result of this, of life, is the certainty of your infinite smallness, inflexibility, and fear of fitting the curves of another’s, possibly and probably better, ideas.

As all things do, this will pass, with excruciating time. Stay strong, despite being forced to face your weaknesses. Soon, you will earn the faded stripes of holding strong against tightly pulled wrinkles in not-quite-so-carefully engineered plans. You will display the bowed knees of hunching down and back to square one.  You will exhibit the patched bottom of stretching thin, wearing out, and repairing constantly, sometimes with the wrong colored thread that shows so obviously in the bright sunlight of another’s observation.  Patched and threadbare do not equal worthlessness. The uniqueness of being worn means challenged but not defeated, and tried but not overcome. Wear your life like jeans, for it will, though no longer new, fit better and more comfortably than anything you’ve ever imagined.

The path of water in the sand. Taken at Gooch's Beach in Kennebunkport, ME. © Heidi Tauschek, 2011