Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Last Five Months....OR What I Have Been Doing When I Haven't Been Blogging

The last five months...nearly the last six months...many times my thoughts have wandered to this online blank page and I have thought, "I should write. I should reflect. I should share."

Instead I have been sinking into this thing called life, in ways nourishing and needed, in ways challenging and needed.

Writing is this whisper in my heart that is always there, and yet for these five (nearly six) months I have ignored the call for other things.

I have ignored it for a dog that wakes me up before the sun is up, chin on the edge of my bed, begging for the morning meal that I can only assume has been cycling through her doggy brain all through the night and wee morning hours.

This dog has slowly sniffed her way through our shared neighborhood, started to come out of her shell in the most subtle of ways - a tiny tail wag on our afternoon stroll, a lick on the tip of my nose when I return from my 9-to-5 - and both expanded and broken my heart in countless ways.

I have ignored writing for a job that demands more than 40 hours a week, that is unrelenting and punishing, that makes me cry in the office bathroom and question my strength, my boundaries.

This job that I put so much hope into has taught me about the risk of expectations and the risk of always saying "Yes." I seek new opportunities with the promise to myself that I will never again give my A++++ game, that my B game is more than enough, that boundaries in the workplace cannot be overvalued.

I have ignored this space to fall in love with a boy. (Saw that coming right?)

This boy who has taught me through his introvert-self about the truth of my extrovert-facade. This boy who has helped me slow, who has given me permission to relax and let the to do list wait a day, who has waxed poetics about social justice and topics of EXTREME nerdery.

In his way, which is so different from my way, I have discovered the things I value, the things I stubbornly fight for, and the places I need to bend and give way a bit. I believe he has made similiar discoveries about himself, and in this - in this learning together - these last six months have been something altogether new.

When I was 18 I took a semester off school and moved to California. Even though I'd been living in a college dorm the year prior, my move to California felt like the first time I was truly "on my own."

I was on my own and I had no friends.

Until I met a coworker, Shannon, ten years older, who - in a profound and real way - took me under her wing. I'll never forget the weekend we first hung out - I had been so excited when she'd asked me the day before if I wanted to go to a park with her. I had been so bored and lonely all the weekends leading up to that one. When the planned excursion ended up lasting hours less than I expected, I started to feel a bit panicky thinking about how I would fill the rest of the day.

Shannon asked me in the car a mile from my house, "So, what do you do on the weekends usually? What will you do when I drop you off?"

And because I had no defenses up I just straight up said, "A lot of reading and staring at my wall."

I'll never forget the look Shannon gave me, or the very swift u-turn she made as the silence after my comment filled the car. As she turned her car around she said, "You are coming to my place. There will be no wall staring today."

Every weekend there after I would wait for Shannon to pick me up and when I heard the beep of her car horn, I would run downstairs, and jump into her passenger seat. Shannon's passenger seat became the most important "place" of my six months living in CA. And the symbolism of having an occupied passenger seat has followed me.

Throughout my twenties my passenger seat held many friends, and bags, and books, and flowers for my garden, and tools for my house, but mostly it was a quiet, blank space waiting to be filled.

So imagine my surprise when, in my 30th year, my normally empty passenger seat suddenly became occupied by a tolerant and quiet furball named Ramona. We took many drives in our first three months together and she was a nice - thought silent - co-pilot.

Or when, in the spring of my 30th year, I suddenly found myself driving home after dropping off this amazing boy I was getting to know and I looked to my right - to the passenger seat I had spent my last decade trying to accept in its emptiness and trying to not beg or long to be occupied - and I felt so swiftly and strongly that the seat had found its inhabitant.

I thought, "It's not just empty now; it's empty without him. It's empty when he's not in it. My passenger seat is full."

Which is why I haven't been blogging, and what I have been sinking into - and letting sink into me - over the last five (nearly six) months.