I hear my family upstairs. There are squeals, laughter, delight. The radio is blaring through the built-in speakers of our bedroom window, opened even though this last August air is chilly. There is chasing above. I sit on the patio as Ben Folds plays via iPhone. I work a bit. I delight in my job. I ponder the day. I drink a good beer.
I once read, “To be in harmony with the universe is to be like floating: Doors open, opportunities arise and you take them without thought.” That is happening to me as of late. Doors seem to bust open. Life seems to beacon me. COME! COME LIVE!
“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” -Anne Lamott
I am exceedingly happy at my upcoming opportunities. I am living a day job of merriment. I am watching my children ride their bikes without training wheels and smiling at their accomplishments. I am aging in my own body and appreciating it more daily. I am realizing the future may not be as I always expected but that the universe offers more than I can ever hope or dream. Without being cosmically ridiculous, I can say without a doubt that those who dream big live big.
I want to dream big.
There is a song that plays on a loop. “He grown up just like me.. he grown up just like me…” I like to push it down as Catholic guilt. I like to play the cosmic Pause button on my children’s life. I try to justify my happiness but it’s a fleeting thought. I know the twilight will come and the dark will bring the guilt, the questions, the second guesses. The summer hours are easier, the light is longer, the days last forever, the children ask why they need to brush their teeth so early? But I know change is inevitable. The dark is around the corner. The fall brings the promise of another dark winter. The belief that floating on the joy of the universe is short lived and nine months of rain is inevitable.
As a child I loved sitting on the curb of my small Houston home. I would watch each street light turn on without a single person manning the switch and I would question things like timing, daylight, darkness. As an adult I understand timers, automation, disengagement. I hope I always sit on the curb as the sun sets wondering what is next, what is past, and look forward to the next day of laughter, giggling, squealing. If I leave my children with but one thing it would be that: To float on the universe’s evening and trust the morning that follows. It always follows.
Right now there’s a lot of people posting about “Tips for being prepared for the school year.” Let me be the first one to share with you my strategic plan: “How to lose your shit prior to school starting.”
Y’all, it’s how I roll.
Here, in no particular order, is my recipe for a complete meltdown:
1. Plan a trip prior to school starting including long international flights.
2. With 14 hour layovers in Holland.
3. Take on three freelance gigs the week prior to said trips.
4. With short deadlines.
5. Start PMSing.
6. Look at pictures from September last year and your children’s first day of school.
7. Realize they’ve changed too much.
8. And that you will miss said first day of school this year.
9. Catch a cold the week before said travel.
10. Have sick children the week before said travel, knowing every.time you leave the country someone is sick and needing you.
BONUS! #11: Allow mommy guilt to penetrate your everything until your children are sleeping in your room every night because you can’t stand another second away from them. Aside from said deadlines, travel, and (lack of) sleep.
This is pretty much how I start every conversation to any person anywhere right now. If you’re my grocer, you know I’m going to England in a few days. If you’re my pharmacist, my hair dresser, the lady who answers the phone for my hair dresser, my doctor, my kids’ doctor, my neighbor, my other neighbor, my neighbor’s dog: They all know I’m going to England in a few days.
I’ve nearly run up and down the streets naked screaming it.
“Nearly” being “thought about it once.”
I’m wild like that.
As I’ve travelled more in recent years, I am much more relaxed about plane travel. Mostly. I still grab a random stranger’s arm if the plane hits turbulence and still pray to physics that we don’t come crashing down because Daniel Bernoulli was really smoking weed when he came up with this principal and we’re all suckers for a good theory. At one point, during a horrifically bouncy ride from NY to Seattle, the young airplane mechanic in the seat next to me went in to great detail how safe flying is. He rattled off statistics and spouted off sayings such as “turbulence is just a bumpy road to an airplane,” and “the air is actually pushing the plane up, not down” and “hey, you don’t have to be in the crash position, lady.” I still think of him when the plane starts to race down the runway and I’m looking out the window thinking, “FASTER. WE ARE NOT GOING FAST ENOUGH. THERE IS NO WAY THIS THING WIL….” and I squeeze my eyes shut as the engine screams and we tilt up up until that pocket of time where your stomach dips in to your legs. (Seriously, every.time.) I’m usually the only person that looks up with glee like an unexpected surprise, “WE DIDN’T DIE!” while other people pretend to be really interested in the Sky Mall catalog.
So it is that I’m leaving for Manchester in six days. Six days until I head to EEUK. Six days until I remember I have a speech to finish. Six days until I try to have an international flight which does not end with me losing my voice or getting lost on trains. Six days until I get to see this group of nerds. Six days until my trip re-routes me to Holland again on my return flight where a lot of people speak dutch and I don’t.
Six days until I am back in the space of my existence that is beginning to feel as normal as breathing: going, doing, sharing, seeking, flying. Even if I still hardly believe it’s real.
**If you happen to be in the area, be sure to register for EEUK. You’ll want to be there. Seriously. Be sure to find me, I’ll be the one in the corner rocking back and forth prior to my speech muttering things about picturing the audience naked.
The Perfection of Imperfect.
It can be overwhelming here. BlogHer can cripple those with a great self esteem. There are so many women, so many pitches, so many places to feel left out and alone in a sea of thousands. There are women with the right outfit, the tight ass, the amazing cleavage. There are people who print the highest quality business cards, carry their elevator pitch ready at a moment, who say all the right things.
Then there’s us.
To me Lotus is my BlogHer 11. We wear comfortable clothing and flip flops. We walk around with armpit sweat and unwashed hair. We don’t wear a pedicure. We don’t have the fancy business cards or elevator pitches and it we don’t even possibly pretend. We come as we are: raw, creative, expressive.
I’m blessed in the way I believe a rare few people can experience, but those who understand are gathered together a handful of times a year. I am blessed in the way of extended family, spanning continents and timezones; cultures and languages; politics and religion. I am blessed in glitter and laughs, in comfortable silence, in shared creative expression.
The whirlwind of hugs and greetings and recognition awakens a hibernating joy. There’s a piece of happiness that bubbles from something hidden, something quietly waiting those who know the secret to unlock.
I see myself suddenly as they see me; as I see them. We encourage one another to achieve that absolute most that is possible within ourselves. They know the words, eloquent at time, sarcastically hilarious at others, that push me to heights. They understand a part of me that is vulnerable but confident. They connect with me more deeply because they understand. They get the striving, the seeking, the drive because they strive, seek, and jump. We share this together and I know together we are even more amazing than we are alone. Together we achieve the impossible, we jump even further, we fly even higher. I see myself being all they see, all they are, all they help me become.
The night ends late and the morning comes too early. The plane arrives to carry me home, a false mechanical high. I am flying on my own possibility, of all the potential these people inspire in me, and I know a love different than hollywood romance but equal in passion: I love this community, of what they bring out in me, of who they make me be, and where we can go together. For that I am forever grateful. This month marks 8 years of blogging. It’s no longer a hobby, it’s my family. And I am in love with them.
He shuffles in from the rain. He is going as quickly as he knows how, realizing there is no reason to go any faster. He carries a vase of fresh flowers. He is walking in to Starbucks.
I watch people while I work. I am working as quickly as I can knowing there is no reason to hurry. I’m as vibrant as a vase of fresh flowers.
The man joins a table of elderly people. He has a community and they welcome him. He places the vase in the middle of the small, round, wood table and leans back to smile.
I can’t help but compare my own table to theirs. To them I am sitting on a computer, alone, in the corner. But you and I both know I am among friends; my own community of peers and friends and well-wishers. While you do not hand me flowers in a vase, you provide me with the same joy and comfort. As I start a new beginning, a jump off a precipice if you will, I am greeting with my own well wishers. And I sit back at my small, round wood table and smile.
15 guests here now.