Superstition: Myths or Malarkey?

Growing up my grandmother told me birds carry souls and deliver messages to the living. It’s said a bird is generally a good omen unless one enters your house or runs into your window. Either one is bad. Like death bad.  These are the stories she focused on, never discussing the good luck superstitions just went on repeatedly about bad luck omens. As a result I’m a bit bird obsessed. If a bird does anything out of the ordinary I’m convinced of impending doom. Case in point, three months before my Dad died a bird flew into his house and hid under the only couch he ever sat on. From that moment on I was on guard.

Thanks dear sweet Grandma Gertie.

Last night a bird flew into my kitchen window. Smack. Scared the shit out of me; even left a smudge. My mind went straight to crazy. My first reaction wasn’t, “Oh, I hope its okay,” which is awful I know, but if I`m honest it was, “OH MY GOD, SOMEONE IS GOING TO DIE.”

I ran to the window to make sure it wasn’t dead because a dead bird omen in my mind is way worse than a slightly injured bird with a concussion. I couldn’t find it, but there was a swarm of robins flying around like it was Armageddon. Then I saw the dove on my fence. Which sounds lovely, because doves are the bird of love, peace and loyalty and I truly believe my Dad`s soul comes to me in this way. I love doves, except when a bird just hit the window and there’s one just sitting there staring at me all like, “Heed this warning…”

I know this all sounds spectacularly superstitious and you`re all shaking your heads at me like my husband does, but he wasn’t laughing so hard when the dove that lives at our house sat beside my son on the porch for a good five minutes. A Grandson my Dad never met.

Now my mind is racing, who is it going to be? We’ve already been to the funeral home three times in a matter of four months. Another little tidbit Gertie gave me, death comes in threes. She really was a joyous woman. So I just recovered from the hell of counting them down. That’s one, that’s two…and three and done…whew.

I Googled the bird/window myth and found a site that said the result can happen anytime within the year. Every one of my relatives reading this just shuddered. It could be anyone of us. Although I think I’m the only one who takes it quite this seriously. I`ll tell you how deep this goes. Have you ever been driving and have a bird come so close to hitting your car that it scares you? When this happens, I think it’s someone I know (a dead someone I know) telling me to pay attention, danger ahead. When I slow down and pay more attention, I`ll be damned if eight times out of ten something happens and I was happy I was on my toes.

I would like to say I don’t believe in superstitions but I have to admit when they happen, I stop and acknowledge them. I never walk under a ladder, avoid opening umbrellas inside and find it really hard to walk passed a penny on the ground. I knock on wood and to add my only little twist of weird, I used to tap the dash of my car three times if I had a bad thought while driving…Superstition with a little OCD thrown in. When I was young I would always avoid stepping on a crack because I never wanted the guilt of breaking my Mother’s back. Even if in my childish mind I felt she might deserve it.

So, yeah, I’m a little cray-cray, but I can’t be all alone in this, can I?

Do you have any superstitions?

Step Away From The Book

Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.

Katharine Hepburn

Out of all the advice I can give my kids, I hope it’s this message that sticks. I’ve spent too many years “wondering about myself” and it’s exhausting, not to mention a total waste. All this investigating in self discovery has gotten me absolutely no where. The only thing I’ve succeeded in doing is adding more “labels” to my persona. I could’ve put a down payment on a small cottage with the money I’ve spent on self help books over the years. The topic range is endless; Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Mothering, Marriage, Perfectionism, Mindfulness, endless Diet books, OCD, SAD, Meditation and my personal favourite The Chakra Bible.

The thing is I can find myself in every single one of those books and poor Homer has to listen to my rambling every time I discover a new quirk of mine. You know the one that’s going to change my life? The one that’s going to give me vision, clear the clouds and I’ll finally be on my way! He nods carefully because he knows better than to roll his eyes and say, “Here we go again.”

Truly, I must be an exhausting spouse. Don’t tell him I said that.

But no matter, because whatever book I’m reading at the time there is a moment when I think; this is it. This is the answer. This is why I’m like I am according to this woman/man with a bunch of letters after their name. After I follow their instructions, I’ll be fixed and then I can start my life. When I lose this weight I can go on vacation. When I get a hold of this depression, things will start happening for me. And on and on and on. When this happens (fill in your blank), then this is how I will be rewarded, (fill in your reward). Sound familiar? If not, forget what you read and continue on to the next blog.

All I have to do is follow these steps, do this exercise, listen to this chanting, drink green tea and I’ll be cured. But cured of what? Myself? How does one get so lost that they waste years dismissing what’s right in front of them convinced there’s a better, easier way? If only wishing on a star worked. I blame Disney for making me believe this sham in the first place. None of the princesses went through any identity issues. When Cinderella was running around cleaning up after her step-bitches and living in a tower with only small animals for company, was she depressed? Nope. She just went on her merry way singing and laughing. The message? Happiness is easy. She never worked at her happiness. It just existed.

Then one day we wake up older and have a coffee table made of books we thought would open the skies to our future. And when they don’t you feel like a failure, an imposter in your own life; the life that doesn’t include a pumpkin carriage.

In the end, I always lose interest in the book of the month and don’t do the work. My fault, I know. I lose focus. Like everything else I go whole hog and then get bored and start looking for the next label to paste to my forehead. I get busy with life and then mad at myself for not following through. Cue endless negative self talk.

I’ve never been one to ask for help. I can do it myself. I don’t want anyone to know. If I ask for help I’m weak or worse, if I tell anyone they will think I’m weak. Why are we so afraid to show our shortcomings? If we only put our hands up in surrender and acknowledged our need for guidance once in a while we might have an easier time of it.

With age comes wisdom and I’ve learned the best thing I can do is talk to others. Isolating with a book (or worse the internet) only takes my mind to crazy places. Being validated by someone with the same struggles makes me feel insanely better. I guess this is why there are so many support groups and message boards out there, because people just want to belong. I want to listen and share with people I identify with so I don’t feel so alone. And it helps, but it’s not enough. Like anything else, nothing changes if nothing changes.

No one has it all together. If we did Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t be overflowing with inspirational quotes. Enjoy yourself. Tap into yourself. Let Go and Let God. Just do it. Or whatever slogan works for you but stop wondering how you work and work with what you have. Just stop wondering and start doing.

The tricky part is the doing.