Posts filed under risk

vulnerability and blogging.

I miss you writing from what's going on in your heart, the email said. I know how it is to need to sell a product so you can eat but don't neglect that part of your heart. It's endearing. 

I stared at the screen for a few minutes and then shut my laptop, the anxiety rising in my gut. 

It's a romantic notion. Noble, even. Writing your heart for others to read is probably the highest of virtues in the literary world. But how do you capture the violent ways our souls bend and crack? How do you carry well the anticipation of others without folding from the weight of their expectations? 

It used to be easy. 

Before the rent check, before the heartbreak, before the betrayals, before the lynch mobs at the ready. I didn't need to worry about upsetting anyone because my story intersected with a very small radius of people and they rarely visited this space. I could share my heart without telling you specifics and no one would ever know. 

But not now. Now there are ramifications. Now there are risks. I've seen what happens to those who are vilified. 

And so I swallow my words.

I swallow the story of hearing my voice echo across a Texas canyon, coyotes yipping back at me. I swallow the story of friendships that weren't what I thought. I swallow the weight of words thrown carelessly toward another, and the way Failure draped himself over me. I swallow the fire, the anger, the jealousy and the fear. I swallow the emails filled with hatred. I swallow the good things, too. I swallow the flash-mob dance parties and laughing until I cry. I swallow nights filled with wine and art journaling and feeling the way my soul can be known by another. I swallow clarity and purpose and the return of confidence. I swallow the loss of faith and the rush of new birth, sweaty and bloody and wobbly limbed like a day-old colt.

I swallow it all until the belly of my voice is so swollen from lethargy that I can't even whisper the most archaic thought.

Yet while I feast on the words I cannot say, I'm telling you to speak your own.

I recognize the hypocrisy here. I'm working on it. These past few years have been tumultuous at best and there were moments I wondered if I would ever return to this space. But I'm here now, with hundreds of stories waiting their moment. 

And with shaking fingers, I begin.

because i'm into you, December

 One of my favorite views in winter is tree branches brushing up against a hazy sky.

One of my favorite views in winter is tree branches brushing up against a hazy sky.

December always sneaks up on me. This year was no different. November kind of disappeared under my feet and I woke up one morning and realized it was a whole new month. I don't have a great history with December, and so I started the month with a new outlook and goal: woo her as much as possible. I honed in on advent, enrolled in a friend's eCourse and took some time off from always going-going-going. 

It worked well, because here we are at the end of the month and while I still am a little snarly because another advent came and went without our adoption moving anywhere, the month wasn't as bitter. 

For the first time in years, I'm not necessarily ready to kick down the door for 2014. 

I'm ready for a new year—and I have a lot of goals and hopes and dreams in store. But 2013, despite its heartache, was a good year. And as my friend Abby says, I'm still holding it up and shaking it because I know there's more waiting these next few days. 

books still reading ::  

>> Later this week, I'll be doing a separate post about my favorite books of 2013 << 

remembered rapture, bell hooks

Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey

Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. 

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, {edited by} Jocelyn K. Glei

for the love of poetry ::  

Holy Spirit, 
giving life to all life, 
moving all creatures, 
root of all things, 
washing them clean, 
wiping out their mistakes, 
healing their wounds, 
you are our true life, 
luminous, wonderful, 
awakening the heart
from its ancient sleep.

- Hildegard of Bingen

television ::  

In October, I watched the entirety of the first two seasons of Scandal. So December has me catching up with Olivia Pope via Hulu. Also? Brooklyn 99. 

Oh. And season 2 of American Horror Story is now on Netflix so....yeah. Despite its inherent creepiness, I think I am enjoying this season more than the first. 

music :: 

Beyonce. Because duh.

But when I wasn't listening to Beyonce? I was listening to this amazing advent playlist on spotify.

on beauty ::

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I found Julep through a friend a few months ago and I'm so obsessed. It's a subscription for nail polish. Um, hello. And the colors are amazing + creative + stay on your fingers more than a few days. Especially with this color. It's called Jane, after the founder. I would like it on my fingers only all the time. 

everything else :: 

 Mussels and St. Germain with my love on Christmas Eve.&nbsp;

Mussels and St. Germain with my love on Christmas Eve. 

  • House concerts with the best of friends 
  • Watching my man do what he loves to do for other people
  • Reading five books in less than a week
  • Beginning the practice of spiritual direction
  • Working and wrestling through advent with our community
  • Walter Mitty
  • Surprises in the mailbox
  • A two-week vacation and sabbath
  • Finding the art store in the middle of a massive clearance 
  • Embracing the difficulty and grief in saying "no" 
  • Wild Mystics
  • Acting out my last risk >> asking 
  • Girls' night lasting until the wee hours of the morning

What about you? What's made your December magnificent?  

:: Linking up with the amazing Leigh Kramer for her What I'm Into posts ::  

Posted on December 28, 2013 and filed under risk.

2013 >> on magic, disappointment and declarations.

When 2012 began to shut the curtains and lock her doors, I was already out in the cold waiting for the new year. 

Literally. I walked out of the front door at a friend's NYE party and waited for the clock to strike midnight in their front yard. 

2013 couldn't come fast enough.

I'm beginning to see the curtains of the year rustle around me. I hear clicks of locks and there's a dissonance inside. 

2014 brings lots of new. I'm ready for it.

But not before I grab 2013 by the collar and let her know how I'm not ready for her to go.

This was the year I found myself in a word so unlike me—risk. Always the good girl, always the one who avoided confrontation (ahem, INFP). This year brought plenty of bubble popping and skirt-raising. I started a business (what? me?), re-titled and revised and self-published Every Shattered Thing, landed an amazing agent, and found a community of women who take my breath away with their words. I spent time in the hills and by the ocean and each rejuvenated me in ways I never anticipated. 

I got a tattoo named Icarus in the shape of a feathered quill. 

But before all of this, the year looked promising. I found hope again in March after an incredible desolate winter. 

In June, you know the story. It shattered around me. Again.

But I learned how to pick up the shattered pieces for the second time and take that first step back into waiting. 

So much happened—so much good—that it seems selfish to stomp my feet and holler a I'm not ready to go until you bless me type of statement. 

But it's true.

I thought 2013 would be the year of twins.

Book deal. 
Adoption.

And it's funny, because 2012 pointed in that direction for a solid minute before both fell into ash around me. You think I would understand the dangerous lure of expectation.

Maybe it's the golden tint I tend to paint on everything, but I still have an unwavering hope, in these last 20 days, that something beautiful and magical could happen. Because if 2013 taught me anything, it's to start believing in magic.

 

This was a prompt from Story Sessions. If you're wanting a community of women who write and who will believe in your words, join us. There's always room, and 2014 is looking to be a promising year for us.

Posted on December 11, 2013 and filed under risk.

unfolding.

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She told us we would leave changed. 

Looking each of us in the eye while bundled under blankets and waiting as long as possible to shut the back doors allowing us to hear the tide roll in, she told us there was something happening. 

And I felt it. 

I felt it in my decision to go.
I felt it in the gypsy wagon that picked us up from the airport.

We arrived at our haven on Bliss Street right at dusk. We'd spent ample time at Target, assuring our preparedness for things like late night munchies and meals around the table and clinking of glasses. 

As soon as we pulled in the driveway, I was emotional. I hugged the neck of a friend who calls this place her backyard, walked into the house and out the back door. Teresa was already ahead of me, running up the dunes as fast as she could with the sand falling behind her.  I followed her lead, smiling and wiping at my cheeks because I just couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe I was there. It felt like I'd walked through some portal and landed in a place of magic and wonder and sisterhood. 

"Elora! Look! A deer!"  

I stopped. I blinked. I gasped.

There she was—right in front of me—staring at me as if to say I see you. You're safe here.

 

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I breathed deep. My roots sunk low. I think I knew then the weekend would be one of restoration.

The next day I stood on the shore as the sun rose and let the wind whip my hair around and freeze my toes. I napped on the couch while listening to the waves crash against the rocks. 

I walked the beach while the tide lapped at my ankles and learned that the trees there are called storm wood because they work with the wind, bending within the currents in order not to break. 

I turned my back to the ocean then in order to snap a picture of the gnarled and twisted branches. Looking at my friend she smiled. 

"I know." She said. "It's heavy."  

We spoke of our year—each ripe with change and difficulty—and then she said something potent and mentioned how I write the weighty things and before I could even form a thought I blurted I don't ever want my words to be wasted—I want them to be temples.   

It took me a few hours (and an italian soda spiked with vodka) to realize the reality of what I said. 

Every minute I was in that house on Bliss felt like a returning. Every wave that receded back into the embrace of the ocean took another dead piece chipped away from this flesh and bone exterior.

So when I stood on a secret beach tucked away somewhere on that blessed island and threw a seashell with sharpied dreams back into the ocean, something clicked.

There's something to be said about all things becoming new. 

Even you.  

 

Posted on November 11, 2013 and filed under risk, the {true} and the questions.

willing.

This time last year, I was picking up the pieces. 

I had no idea the ways in which the next few months would shatter me completely. There's never a way to know.

So I went day-by-day, tripping along and acting like everything was fine when really I was a blubbering mess on the inside. Fall has this way of waning into winter—a slow death of warmth, life, light. Last year I felt lumped in with the batch. I was falling head first into my own winter and I couldn't help thinking of the poem —

...and they, since they 
were not the dead, turned to their affairs.
 

I kept living because every thing was moving on without me. 

And we've all heard the metaphor before—how out of death springs life—but we never really talk about the pain involved.  

Because here's the truth: I found my yes through months of hell no.  

By the time the end of the year was near, I was ready to jump. Ready to fling off all those dead scaly pieces and risk.

I haven't stopped since. 

It's been almost a year of living within intuition and feeling. It's been months of wading through hurt and laughing at the timing of it all. 

Life really does move on, you know.  

.::. 

I have this habit of sitting on a thought for a long while. I think part of it is my disdain for decision making, but another huge part is fear.  And back in March, I knew the next step for Story Sessions. I knew it in my bones when every session grew larger and larger and our Facebook page grew heavier and heavier with words.

But I waited. 

A few weeks ago, I sat with my mentor, my fairy-art-mother who is able to look at me with a smile on her face and tell me the truth. 

You gotta start declaring yourself, she said. And I laughed, because all my life I've been trying to state my case in whispers. 

.::. 

Following your gut takes courage. Much like this post, it wanders and meanders its way to a fixed point.  

And when I pulled out a word for the day this morning, willing stared back at me from the sheet of paper.

Am I willing?
Am I willing to feel all of it in order to feel the good?
Am I willing to celebrate?
Am I wiling to take that step I know I need? 
Am I willing to let those sharp pieces grow soft? 

.::. 

It's day 6 of my 100 days of brave. 

I stare at the calendar in front of me, the hopes and dreams I've penciled in for these next 31 spaces, and I'm amazed at how much has changed within the past year—the past few months, even.

I wonder if maybe you struggle with finding your place—if maybe willing would be a word that makes you shake a bit because of how others have controlled you.

Maybe it's time to shake off the dead pieces and jump?

There will be a net to catch you. I promise.

Posted on September 30, 2013 and filed under risk.