"A bosom friend — an intimate friend, you know — a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul." ~L.M. Montgomery
I. There are people for whom change comes easily. They embrace it with wide open arms. Accepting and willing to go with whatever comes next. At least this is how I perceive it. Who knows; all of these people who seem down with going with the flow might be dying inside. I do not do well with change. It’s gotten significantly better over the years and this past year, in particular with my nine month sabbatical, I willed myself and meditated and yoga’d my way to getting through the crisis du jour. So, when I got a job, moved, travelled, and went through personal (boring, I assure you) crap in a span of three weeks, I thought I would be able to go with it just as others have before. “No big deal!”, I told myself. It’ll be great. I wish someone had informed my brain of all the wonderful things to come because while my body was physically present my brain was not. Depression is quite the bitch. It can be, at least for me, a manifestation of the myriad changes. Apparently, I am not designed to cope with several things happening at once. Something inevitably fall through the cracks and my brain says, “I TOLD YOU SO. I TOLD YOU THAT YOU’RE NOT WORTHY!” From there it is a spiral of self-degradation, overwhelming sadness and sleeping through glorious, sunny spring days.
II. I feel bad complaining to Heather. She has enough shit on her plate with being a full-time working parent of two small children. She doesn’t need my going to her with my BS. I feel guilty, at times. There was one day in early April, during a time in which she constantly replays the worst day of her life and I went and sent her some pity, woe-is-me message. But she responded. She always responds. The week before departing for Scottsdale for the Mom 2.0 Summit I messaged her that I needed to be gentle with myself.
“What can I do?”, she asked. She always wants to know what she can do even from 3,000 miles away. And honestly? I just appreciate that she cares and worries and loves.
“Nothing…”, I started. “But if I decide to leave early, just let me go.”, I had decided. That was it. If I was having a bad time at the conference, I would leave and go home. I had to allow myself that space and I needed to have at least one person there to whom I could throw a knowing glance.
“Ok. I understand.”
III. I draft bits of writing in my head. If I’m driving, I’ll throw on my earbuds and speak into the mic. Sometimes the words I’ve managed to string together wind up in public but for the most part they live in an iTunes folder. It’s not a fear of putting myself out there or anything it’s just finding - well, making - the time to sit down and write. Anyway, I started, stopped, and started again to write about Scottsdale. Perhaps it was the healing properties of the desert or purposely surrounding myself with a group of women who I love and respect, something happened during that trip and it lit a switch in me. A positive. I wanted to write about my trip but everything came out covered in saccharin. I rolled my eyes at my trite words of adoration and women and fuck yeah, feminism. Heather wrote about last weekend. She wrote it in the exact way I would have written it and using the exact photos. In my quest to be gentle, I found myself producing full belly laughs from the across the dinner table, talking into the wee hours under the brightest moon, whooping, drinking, even a few tears were shed. I needed all of it.
At the end of the weekend, I was asking Heather (Spohr) for advice while standing in the bathroom doorway. She threw her USC cap on backwards and told me to go for it. Recalling a weekend fully of small gestures that led to the most necessary of personal break-throughs makes me grin. I am OK.
IV. On April Fool’s Day, my friend Jeannine, who works at the ONE Campaign called. I remember the exact date because her message before the call was, “I have something to tell you and it’s not a joke”. And then I was like, obviously someone is dead because I am terrible like that. She was calling to see if I wanted to go to Malawi. I held my yes for three days as it took two whole days to quell the anxiety of asking my employer if I could leave the country for a week, just three months into my employment with the company. My bosses were like, go for it. I am going for it. Tomorrow - Saturday - I leave for Malawi for a week and I’m still kind of pinching myself because I’m going to eastern Africa for a week because I can. Yesterday, my boss called to tell me to have a great trip, “I saw that email and I knew that you had to go”. Just like that.
I’m going with/am giving my humblest thanks to the ONE Campaign and Heifer International. You can follow along on Twitter and Instagram and perhaps I might try Periscope one evening.
All last weekend people kept asking if I was excited and while I was excited, I couldn’t help but think of all of the other things that had to happen before my departure. Tuesday rolled around and I was knee deep in bug repellent and light colored t-shirts. I stood out on my back porch in a sports bra and yoga pants, singing along to Lianne La Havas.
I’m ready. I’m excited. I am here. I am OK. Let’s do this. For the first time in a long time I can say with absolute certainty, I CAN’T WAIT. I'll see you on the other side.