Tag Archives: love

Vitality.

Dad2009
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Lately, the whole topic of what constitutes attraction has been pounding away at my not- so subconscious.
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Always having been among those who appreciated beauty in nature I have, however, been known to become madly infatuated with certain humans who do not possess what has historically been termed “conventional” good looks; namely, that excruciatingly high standard of physical symmetry has never been the prerequisite in order for me to become irresistibly attracted.
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Science has since pretty much, to coin a phrase, proved out the reason why. They’re called pheromones, first discovered in the mink, I believe, and now found to be present near the human nostril. Much like a hormone, as if we didn’t already have enough of these, this one governs the law of attraction; if male pheromones sniff out female, the chemistry is a lock and so are the two hapless victims.
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In my personal post-fertile years, though the poundage has remained relatively stable and the skin tone in a holding pattern I have noted a marked drop in the number of looks and/or advances from the opposite sex. Perhaps the absence of pheromones provokes a flat facial expression in place of the former, manic radiance of “come hither”-ness, the ready laughter at the slightest quip, the tendency to reach out and touch. Whichever the case, these pesky little chemicals are sleeping it off, and most of the time I feel secretly grateful to be free to go about my business with a new clarity of lucid purpose.
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But, enter the potential for a lasting partnership, perhaps those first couple dates. Is there something else, beyond the chemical, which gives the older girl a reason?
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I have to call it vitality.
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My father possessed this feature. The bound in his step, the lilt in his voice, the unmedicated, natural light in his eyes. The nimble quickness. And, his skin.
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He spent most of his time outdoors, from age 50 to the end, training for these crazy marathons at high noon. But, he downed gallons of water, never a drop of drink or a single puff, and ate wholly, rejecting all processed refined sugars and sodium, even eliminating white flour years before everyone knew why this was a good thing, and his skin glowed. The color was warm, moist, sunned without burning, lined without sagging. Everything about him had rebound all over it. He was vitally alive.
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Perhaps we have an instinct for that which we seek. We are in search of our kind, our complement, in my case the one who honors health and wellbeing. We want more life, and we yearn for someone who teems with it.
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Dad remained vibrant, engaging, winsome, and endearing until the final months of his 95 years. If my body keeps waking up every morning, I hope to sustain even half of his brand of vitality. And, maybe there’s one more man out there like him. I’ll take another deep breath, and hope.
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© 11/14/19 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for respecting original material.
littlebarefeetblog.com

Letter to The Love Of My Life.

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Dearest Love,
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Remember when we met?
I was alone, inside my head.
You appeared. And, you were beautiful.
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Both smoothe and firm, your face was perfect. Your eyes, twinkling, deep and introspective. Your mouth soft, and fleshy. Your hands, quiet, self possessed, silently speaking only to me. Your body strong. Your voice clear, and resonant. Your smile, slow, and real.
I loved you, instantly.
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You, in all your manifestations. Sometimes you embodied those I came to know. They channeled you well, a few better than others. You came to me, so many times, across so many paths, in so many ways, sometimes suddenly, at others gradually, taking me by surprise thereafter.
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I loved you, as God loves his own creation. My object d’arte, you were ever mine to adore. Endless latitude I gave you, always believing in you, ever hopeful of your capacity to accept my love.
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If ever you are lost, there is a home for you in me. To me, you can come always — your staunchest defender, your honor, your solace, your devotion.
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You are not alone. I know you.
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You live in my heart.
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What is your name?
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© 5/2/19  Ruth Ann Scanzillo.  This is original, personal material. Be a good person. Leave it alone. Thank you.
littlebarefeetblog.com

Ebb and Flow.

[formerly titled “Mentality.”]

PhotoOfSouls

For many years, the shroud of mental illness draped our family.

Our father’s mother had been committed, by her brutal husband, to a Massachusetts sanitarium circa 1914. A Sicilian immigrant, she spoke no English and could not defend herself. And, she was pregnant.

Yes.

Dad was born there.

Because sanitariums in those days were not equipped to house young mothers, let alone those deemed unfit, she was not permitted to raise her third child. Along with his sister Dad was first sent to a foster home, where he was regularly beaten over the back of the head with the buckle end of a strap belt, and then to a state institution.

Marvelously, being of sound constitution, he survived – drifting, riding the freight cars, playing his harmonica and bones for loose change and, then, joining the Army – to meet his future wife, on a steam train bound for New York. Years later, as grateful husband and father, he would give God all the credit.

But, our unknown grandmother wasn’t the only figure in the shadowbox.

Mum’s father was a scholar of the Old Testament, a crane builder, and a brooder. We’d never know what mood we’d find, entrenched on the recliner in the corner by the radio. Sometimes a wide, toothless grin, a wisecrack or a belly laugh. Other times, a deep, distant scowl, and scrap envelopes, scattered near the Bible or the stack of National Geographics, emblazoned repeatedly with the bold signature of his name in broad, flat, penknife-sharpened pencil.

Mum inherited a bit of that mercury. She had two faces, so distinct that, had anyone met the one, the other would be unrecognizable.

I learned early on that observing human behavior was not only fascinating, but prudent. I became all too aware that, by watching others, information would come to me continuously, most of it in very great need of being sorted out.

What we called our family was a cinematic display, its camera’s filter missing, of the most transparent aspects of humanity. Beyond dysfunctionality, each member was its cautious and dreaded subject. We never knew when the ball would drop; we only knew that it would.

And, as if to deny the reality, explosive events were often followed by years of avoidance. Being English, Mum’s side of the family called this “holding a grudge.” I remember a Christmas so volatile, so reverberant with screaming and weeping, that the cozy kitchen and grand oak table in the diningroom could hardly contain the scene. That would be the last year, truly, that the whole family would ever convene again. And, I was only eleven years old.

With the stigma of mental illness weighing heavily on the conscience of our society, I now guardedly approach what moves me to disclose. There is a very great need amongst us to identify, primarily because, most of the time, victims cannot do so themselves. Even as physicians are ultimately required to confirm diseases of the body, those who bear up under afflictions of the mind are in even greater need of being found. There are none more lost among us.

The following is a list of traits, hallmarks if you will, that suggest the presence of mental disease. Some are easily recognized, but others may not be. Included are short references to loved ones, by example.

1.) Reaction to Stress.

Those with mental conditions have weaker coping mechanisms than their healthier counterparts. What merely annoys most will sometimes derail the other.  The mentally ill person has a far longer list of stress inducers than the rest of us and, most importantly, is often ready to react to each of them with apparently little power of restraint. My mother spent much of my adolescence alternately sobbing or shrieking; only in the late evening, well after midnight when the house was quiet, would she find solace  – seated alone, at her sewing machine.

2.) Sensory Load.

While some extreme mental states produce catatonia, or an apparent absence of reaction, those with mental disease can often be more easily stimulated, and more ready to respond to stimuli. To them, the world is a maelstrom of desirable and undesirable feelings, and these can often collide over a single incident; sorting through the pleasure and the pain which simultaneously ensues is a task, and may often confound normal counterparts experiencing the same event. Our grandfather would open a family gathering with joyful and exuberant laughter, but a disagreement at the dinner table could send him into a rage that dispersed the family in all directions – to say nothing of the effect on our collective digestion.

3.) Lucidity.

So much is said about the character of a good citizen in various social environments that the trait of honesty, or veracity, seems almost mundane. But, to one who is afflicted, even the best intentions can go awry. Mental disease can cause one to both speak and write things that cannot later be defended; sometimes the language itself is ambiguous, or the content vague, the tone unmistakably that of either anger, bitterness, or undying devotion. One can set out to be the most upstanding and compassionate towards others, but be left with chaff in the wake of a verbal outburst which, long since forgotten, cannot even be recognized or acknowledged. I can recall lengthy, if earnest, handwritten letters from my mother, so convoluted that I hardly had the emotional energy to read them – and, repeated denials:  “I didn’t say that!”

4.) Immediate Gratification.

Everybody likes to get answers to important questions, or receive something nourishing. But, those with mental disease depend on a degree of satisfaction in closure which others find demanding. Furthermore, they become inordinately convinced of the reality of their needs, and wear these convictions as blinders. The unknowns which populate normal, daily landscape can be sources of fixation to one who is burdened, and obtaining what, to others, can easily wait becomes a mission. Dad, especially in his later years, was the most popular member of his neighborhood when it came to solving household problems which, to the rest of the world, were incidental; repeatedly dialing the man up the street, because he couldn’t get the wrapper off of the slice of American cheese, was the story nobody could forget.

Like all syndromes of the human frame, such burdens can have a range of expression. At moments of intense duress or demand, an otherwise healthy person might exhibit traits which could be attributed to one who has a form of disease. This likelihood is intensified if one has been closely exposed to the illness and its manifestations. But, those who are marked by such affliction will fight, on a daily basis, a chronic, inner battle.

There are likely other points which can be made about illnesses of the mind. But, for now, maybe making a mental note to save these in a secure corner of awareness for future reference would be wise. And, most of all, having a quiet conversation with self might help remind us all that we each occupy bodies which are random in their assignment. Only our souls matter, in the end.

Best that we all move through life with a mentality of acceptance, linking our virtual arms with determined commitment to bearing with each other. We are all both strong, and weak, in every way, and it is the convergence of these that both encourages and sustains the ebb and flow of life.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

9/25/15  All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Sharing by permission to ReBlog, exclusively. Thank you.

littlebarefeetblog.com