Pink Slipped Journey to Self

Jane Ranzman Writer

A journey can start with a slip. A pink slip. A slip from the person we were supposed to be.

So who said “Keep it together?”

Perhaps we need to blow it apart. Into small bits. Pink confetti.

Or schrapnell.

There is nothing so lethal as the known terror.

The predictable misery. Is there freedom in that?

Sometimes, we will find only by losing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Stiletto Heels In The Sand (Based on Footprints in the Sand, Mary Stevenson)

One starry night a fallen New York yuppie dreamed…

I was hobbling along barefoot in a desert with the Lord, “Enough of this walking. Couldn’t you at least point me toward a Hyatt? What I wouldn’t give for a pair of those ugly biblical sandals at a time like this.” I couldn’t see anything, but I knew something divine was hovering around.

FootprintsandRquotescover-JPG-81

The dark sky flashed pink as rosy haze suddenly rolled across the sky, and the happiest moments of my life were projected onto the billowing clouds.

“Look there’s mom. She held a tray of pink birthday cupcakes entering my bedroom in Seaside. That was our tradition. Cupcakes for breakfast.” Six candles were a blaze as she sang “Happy Birthday.” She was so young and beautiful and her eyes were full of love. I watched them turned to hate as her dementia progressed.

“There I am! A pudgy cherub with big brown eyes and pigtails.” Mr. Pierre, our family poodle, gobbled a glob of pink icing from my tiny hand.

I marched forward on this strange pilgrimage on the burning sand, carefully, placing one foot in front of the other. I noticed two pairs of footsteps were fixed in the sand, despite the wind. “ How strange. There’s no one here but me. Maybe it’s a hallucination. Emergency need for bottled sparkling water.”

A basket of daisies flashed across the clouds. I had just gotten into Harvard College. That’s the code my mother and I had. Now the bells of Memorial Hall were chiming. I was throwing my cap high in the air as a new graduate. Now, that was a day. I recalled how the four years flew by. The images flashed at an accelerated rate.

“Hey, slow down. I can’t make out the pictures. I’m trudging along with no shoes–not even a kitten heel. Without a yak or a camel and I have no desert apparel.” I saw bits and pieces of cherished objects, but they quickly faded— the precious painting of the Impressionist beach scene in my apartment, my dog’s worn polka dot harness, foggy pink eyeglasses thrown haphazardly next to the kitchen sink, great-grandmother’s Fiegle’s tarnished Sabbath candles that I never lit, an antique cobalt blue glass box, a rhinestone evening bag in the shape of a Yorkie, mother’s old tortoise shell powder compact. I looked down at the sand and saw two sets of footsteps. Maybe I’ll run into two pairs of Prada pumps to fill them. Size 6. Only one pair would do….

Now there were flashes of people I loved. Only the outlines of faces, but I knew who they were. Fleeting glimpses of family and friends. I wanted to stay with them a moment, and hold on to the feelings they evoked. But the phantasms zoomed across the haze as I continued my arid journey. A searing pain pierced my chest. Loss. Life goes so quickly. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention.

I gasped, seeing my most horrible memory flicker through the heavens. It was lowest point in my life. I stood on the icy earch before my mother’s grave on a freezing January day holding a small prayer book. The Lord is my Shepard. I shall not want. I had the realization that my life was forever changed. How would I live through losing a part of myself? I drifted through years of acute grief, darkness, and fear. “Lord, why didn’t you at least make a cameo appearance? Now, I am left wandering.” I looked down for relief and saw a solitary pair of footsteps.

“Whatever it was, disappeared when I needed company the most. ” I felt a familiar tinge of abandonment.

I suddenly looked up and saw a Western Wall in Jerusalem against the backdrop of a pink sky. I was sobbing and praying. My hands were placed across the cool stones hoping for healing. I was at a crossroads in my life. I had gotten a pink slip from my job during the recession and had no prospects. My mother was ailing. Prince Charming’s glass slipper was cracked. I wondered how on earth did I get here? I had fallen and felt alone in the universe. I needed a sign. Was there anything or anyone or out there that heard our prayers? My heart was broken open. And there it was with perfect clarity. A pink slip was curled into a crevice above me in the Western Wall. There it was like mistletoe above me. My prayers were heard. What had been an icon of loss had become a symbol of grace.

“I must get out of this dream.” I looked down at the solitary trail of footsteps. “So Lord, when things are really tough, you take off to your vacation home.”

I heard a voice within me whisper, “Listen sweetie, YOU can only walk in in stiletto heels. Who do you think has been schlepping you?”

 

A Prayer

Girlcrossphoto-1452975536989-ec6b2d97d57c

 

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.” Saint Francis Prayer

Faith is invisible. It floats from the sky like feathers.

Eight Lessons My Mother Taught Me About Decency

rainbowinNYC
Contemplating the recent election, I recalled my childhood, sitting on the floor with my mother, my favorite stuffed bear on my lap. Still a young woman, she read to me from a picture book and pointed to a black and white photograph of Rosa Parks.

I was puzzled. The historic figure looked like the nice, ordinary ladies that mother and I would routinely see on the bus or the park. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Mother was teaching me about the history of racism and civil rights in this country so that certain words and behaviors would be intolerable. She wanted abhorrence to injustice to stick within her daughter.

I remember the lessons mother taught me,

  • Give up your seat to nice others—Even if the person’s green like Kermit. We are all equal under the sun.
  • Do something for someone else. Call grandma.
  • Each individual is responsible for creating a just world.  I was to share my tuna sandwich if another kid was hungry. And not throw my trash on the floor.
  • Bullies are just small, insecure people. They travel in herds. Like sheep.
  • Righteous ignorance and stupidity are dangerous. It was important to read books.
  • Do the right thing. You can’t fool yourself.
  • The purpose of my education was to build character. That was the true measure of a person.
  • Faith is invisible. There really was a Santa, even though I always seemed to miss his visit

Now, I am grappling with the darkness in the world. There is so much that can’t be explained to a child. Like a rainbow in New York City.

 

 

 

Jane’s Halloween Ghosts

We love ghost stories. The thing is this. Monsters and vampires remain within us.I remember sitting around a campfire as a child, shuddering “Are there bears in the woods?

Jane Ranzman Writer

Will the marshmallows come out before we incinerate from these flames? This is truly hell…”

Listening to tales about the living dead, my mind wandered.  Is that what I have to look forward to?  Being a an adult zombie?  

YES!

Now, to my horror,on Halloween Eve, I sit around the TV, watching CNN  with my Yorkshire terrier. We are both stretched out, dry drunks listening to the tropes about Trump and Clinton. I bought low fat ice cream and it sucks. I can’t go out to score something more lethal because the elevator is crammed with kids and their parents who are yelling and screaming, running up and down the service entry stairs.

As a child, I silently walked down Irma Drive in my leopard pajamas, climbed up the steps to ring neighborly doorbells, and shoved my plastic pumpkin under the noses of gracious moms who faked a smile and threw a penny in for Unicef, or worse an apple slice. A tiny bag of M & Ms or a cookie was pay dirt. I ate as much of my most coveted candy before I got home and turned it over to my mother. She was a binger.

The specters are still here. So are the dead.They say boo and I quake.

Ghosts can be bad.

Deep inside.

The Language of Pink

Jane Ranzman Author
My Slip Was Pink-From Loss To Spiritual Growth

I always had a thing for pink. The color is soft and fluffy like cotton candy. Girly-girl and romantic. We’re trained to love it from our first little pink shoes to pink nightly. Pink tastes like the fairy icing on my birthday cakes, feels like warm baths with Mr. Bubbles, and smells like a fresh tube of baby doll lipstick.  I fondly remember many of the pink things that have made my life beautiful,

  • My pink tutu and ballet slippers that I wore every day for a full year when I was nine (even though I was a hopeless dancer)
  • Mother’s pink feather boa (that wasn’t just pulled out on Halloween)
  • My Barbie car
  • Magenta silk pumps that made me feel like a vixen
  • Pink drinks that end with a -tini
  • Monogramed stationary adorned with pink cupcakes
  • Matching pink sweetheart nails and toenails
  • Our pink poodle, Mr. Pierre. Mother spray-painted his tail for her Pink Fink Party. Everything was, what else, Pink!

The color has always made me feel happy. And bold. A “Jane” that was authentic and light. So it made sense that God started to talk to me in the “language of pink.” First, I was handed my pink slip. Then, I saw slips of pink paper everywhere.

For example, one  blue day, I found a tiny plastic pink heart in the cracked pavement of a New York City street.  Another morning, it was pouring rain. I was late for work and missed the elevator. Standing outside the building getting drenched, I was annoyed having to wait.By the time the next elevator came, it was packed. The dripping crowd pushed their way into the small space with soggy umbrellas, coats, bags, and all.

Staring at the ground. I noticed a pair of  smooth pink toe shoes pointed in “first position.” I looked up to see a young ballerina, around five years old. She was dressed from head to toe in a burst of pink— tutu, ballet shoes, tiara, and umbrella. Her mother cooed in the background, “Gemma dear, hold my hand.”  I blinked. Gemma is the name of the protagonist in “My Slip Was Pink.”  How could that be a coincidence?

I believe that a spiritual force communicated with me in an encouraging way. It seemed to urge me to continue this book, even when I was disheartened, as well as through many hardships. The worst of all was the loss of my mother. Even so, there was “pink” in the challenges and changes. I learned we can find  beauty and grace in the language of pink.

Looking back on my life, I understand, my Slip Was ‘Pink.’

Easter Egg Hunt

Jane Ranzman Writer

How this Jewish girl has always loved Easter. Jelly beans. Chocolate eggs wrapped in multi-colored tinsel. Marshmallow bunnies. Bonnets with birds and flowers. Pink suits and matching pumps. And last, Sunday brunch. Yes, Sunday was the perfect day to rise from the dead. Tuesday or Wednesday, just wouldn’t have been appropriate.