TGIF: That Girl Isn’t Francis!


On my fiery Italian fury, a new year, a new word and the art of losing.

By Ashley Mandanici | Twitter: @ashleymandanici

I know what you’re thinking: Where is our Dubaiian goddess, Tina Francis? Doesn’t she know it’s Friday? Doesn’t she know I rely on her witty quips and anecdotes to get me through my final day of work? Why has she abandoned me in my time of need?

Don’t fret, friends. Tina is off on a business trip to India and is getting some much-deserved time off. So, today, I, Ashley (S’up!) will attempt to fill her rather large (figuratively speaking only, of course) shoes.

I figured with big shoes, comes the need for a big story.

It started with a single sentence:

“You should be over it by now.”

Obviously, this is not how the story itself begins, but merely the trigger that set off my fiery Italian fury. The conversation itself began with a few lines from a poem by Elizabeth Bishop.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master

So many things seem filled with the intent

To be lost that their loss is no disaster.

[Insert that Skype sound when your friend sends a message.]

“What does your quote mean?” asked the individual who will remain nameless.

“It’s from a poem called “One Art,’” I responded.

“Sounds depressing.”

“Well, maybe you should read the whole poem in context before you begin judging it,” I quipped.

“Fine. Send it to me.”

So I did.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master

So many things seem filled with the intent

To be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something everyday.

Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing further, losing faster

Places and names and where it was you meant to travel

None of these will bring disaster.

I lost two cities, lovely ones,

And vaster some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them but it wasn’t a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love)

I shan’t have lied. It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard to master

Though it may look like (write it!) a disaster.

–Elizabeth Bishop

This poem sparked a very long, rather futile, conversation about loss, how long it should take to “get over” something and how “depressing” the poem is. It was about that time I heard the words, “You should be over it by now.”

My hands were shaking, my face was flushed and I could feel all my emotions rising to the center of my throat until I could not contain it anymore.

Confession: I lost myself a little right then.

The whole point is that losing is indeed an art. You don’t just wake up one day ‘over’ all the hurt that has ever come your way. It’s something that needs to be practiced—mastered—and even then, it takes some convincing. Yeah, it may be sad, but it’s how the poet feels and as far as I’m concerned, she should be allowed to feel it.”

The art of losing is hard to master.

One Word

My one word to frame 2012 is “NEW.” Last year was about repair–healing from some major losses–but this year I want something new. I guess, in some way, everyone enters the New Year wanting something new.

Shouting “Happy Regular Year!” just wouldn’t possess the same excitement at midnight.

Upon reflecting on my big poetry fight and the poem I love (and still don’t think is depressing), I realized that if I want to have a “new” kind of year, I’ll need to become a master at losing the old.

I will need to take a few steps in the direction of “New” … My 5 things: 

–       I will need to get better at letting my emotions out … and not just when there’s a sad song on the radio or when I’ve been pushed to my boiling point. No more “stony heart.” I’m going to need to soften up.

–       I will need to jump at new experiences. This may even mean traveling alone, spending money, going somewhere I’ve never been, or saying “No” to something I know I love in order to try something new. For example: At the end of February this year, I will head down to Oregon with a few friends for The Justice Conference. I expect this to be a great “new” experience for me.

Love Is A Thread from The Justice Conference on Vimeo.

–       I will need to leave some things behind. I tend to associate “leaving” with letting people down, which I suppose could end up happening, but that is not what it means to me right now. I’d like to step out of those old things that just don’t fit anymore to find some new things that do.

–       I will need to do things I don’t think I can do.

–       I will need to do uncharted, unplanned things. I will need to lose my schedules some times.


So friendy-pies,

–       If you haven’t shared yet, what’s your “One Word” for 2012?

–       What are some things you need to lose to make room for your new word?

–       What new things are you doing this year?


About Ashley:

My name is Ashley and I am the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Relate Church in Surrey, B.C. My mission is to develop the God-given potential in every child who crosses my path *Insert Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” here*. I love all things jazzy, particularly music, and I tend to break into song throughout the day for no apparent reason. I blog here and tweet @AshleyMandanici