For the better part of the past three months, I have been rocking back and forth on my second-hand leather couch wondering what’s next. Drinking loads of coffee and trying to put one foot in front of the other without feeling like a victim. (Gross…I hate that word, victim.) I’ve been leaning too heavily on people that have helped me in the past to help me again and (besides the trap of having placed them on a pedestal), my motives are shit. I’ve come to loathe the question, “What do you do?” because the answer is that I don’t have the first damn clue. I’ve been sitting in job interview after job interview telling a sanitized version of my story, hoping beyond all hope to land the job that I need (read: want). Will someone recognize the conundrum of the “once upon a time” stay-at-home mom? Do they see my “dark and twisty”? Can they smell fear? How can I be helpful to my fellows and make enough to live on and provide for people that depend on me? Where will I feel valued? Why are they yawning?
To kick a door out of the self-pity box and gain perspective, I retreated to my eldest sister’s house. Time and time again, it is my safe place, respite and home. She allows me to take care of myself and to be taken care of. We talk about books, she lets me sleep, feeds me good food and speaks truth.
The 13-hour drive to the hills of east Tennessee is not an exciting one. When I hit Nashville and my ass has become fully numb, I recognize a little firework going off somewhere way down in the pit of my stomach. Because A., I’m convinced that I will run into Vince Gill at the corner gas station and B., I’m getting ready to drive the best smelling stretch of highway and my nose tells me I’m almost home.
It was on this last trip that I began to mentally scroll through my list of jobs and lack thereof. I’m 42, almost 43, and I wasn’t one of the chosen few who seems to sail effortlessly through college, landing with both feet planted firmly in the vocation they were destined for. An aunt of mine spoke the most beautiful words though, “I think that people with many gifts are therefore presented with many options, making it difficult to choose a path. For when you go in one direction, you’re abandoning others. Or so it feels”. Relief.
Throughout my random list of employers there has been so much life happening. All of these fibers and threads, patches and bits of sticks and yarn that make up…me. So, an outline began to develop in my head. What was that job? What music was I listening to? (Music is my time-warp machine). Was I in a relationship? Who were my mentors? This whole life of mine is an entire body of work. Hard work.
All of that to say, I’m starting this blog for a couple of reasons. Because the most important words anyone ever said to me were, “Me too.” Maybe my light will connect with your light. Because I need to get these words up and out of my throat – they are choking me. And because I want to practice. I practice making mistakes to make more mistakes. That’s life.
I’ll try to keep my eyes on my own paper, and tell my own story without implicating others. I can promise it won’t be perfect, and it will be messy but most stories are. Stories are vitally important. They help us connect. They help us form community. They help us figure shit out. Stories are like a tapestry.