Oh November

Transcendence by Susan Seddon Boulet

A baby fell six stories from out of a window, bounced off a restaurant awning and was caught by a doctor who just happened to be walking by.  This is a true story. Check it out here.

That’s some kind of crazy luck. That’s the kind of luck that I’m calling Paris Luck. I believe that Paris holds some kind of magic, because of my own experience in that fair city – an experience that launched this here blog.

Paris Hope is another great thing I discovered in the City of Lights. I’m clinging hard to that now. When I arrived in Paris my life was in total chaos, and over brimming with uncertainty, yet I had the strangest sense that everything would work out somehow.

That’s just what life does. It works out. You get disappointed, your heart breaks and then you get that new job or new opportunity and you meet someone new to love. That’s my life experience, anyway. Doors open and doors close.

This doesn’t diminish the pain in those transitional moments. I can clearly remember sleeping on air mattresses and sofas, wondering what would happen to me, and wondering where I would find myself once all of the debris had been shoveled away. I’d lie awake at night wondering what was going to happen to me.

At the tender age of 34 I am starting to understand that I have no control over the bigger picture, but I will always have a pretty great sense of what the next day is going to look like, and if I can look at each day one at a time, nothing feels as scary as it once did.

I’ve also learned exactly what I need to build trust, both in myself and in the love I have. I started to worry that I would never find this thing, but in an entirely revealing moment I realized that trust begins with me. When I began to learn to trust my own ability to handle difficult moments, I learned that nobody could shatter me.

This week I learned some very important things:

There is a big difference between being utterly helpless and simply not yet having the tools to deal with conflict, crisis, and distress.

The opinions of people who love me when expressed in a carefully composed, very loving email are received like precious gifts instead of harsh judgments. Thank you for being brave enough to reach out like that. When you emphasize the love you are speaking from it makes all the difference to my ears.

I have made good choices about where to put my heart, even if the big picture has changed.

I am afraid of what will happen next in my life. Though honesty remains the very best policy, it can often come with immense pain. I was and continue to be committed to the love with which I have expressed myself. When you have to deliver difficult news, always do it with all of the love you can muster.

My emotional welfare professionals are incredible, compassionate teachers who I feel have blessed my life. Any one of us deserves to search for a great therapist and open our hearts to the experience of having their support and guidance. You are never too old or too broke to enjoy this.

My body isn’t working the way I want it to. I wait to see if science has a solution, but realize that I have so much that even if science doesn’t have the answers, I am full.

Love is a powerful, magical force that we can only really feel the benefits of if our hearts are as open as they can be. I feel the most strength and safety from love when I allow it to burst forth and wash away my fears.

My work is the baby of my soul. It feeds me as I feed it and fills me with inspiration and purpose. It is my rock in times of pain and confusion. I work every day towards the freedom to always only do the work that is meaningful to me. I will never do a job I hate again.

I am a mother. Wholly and completely with all of my soul. Anything ever said to tarnish the relationship between step-parents and their step-children is a lie. Those girls are as much in my heart as they would be if I had birthed them.

I never knew love could be so deep, so safe, and so inspiring.

You know, perhaps November isn’t really so bad? Perhaps it’s all of the change and transformation that can feel dismal if you forget that spring is around the corner, and will always be right there, no matter how many leaves fall.

 

 

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White Nights, Grey Days

A broken heart’s manifesto…

I could not bring myself to participate in the revelry of Nuit Blanche because I am exhausted on a level I have never before touched on. My bones are tired. My hair is tired. I’m getting a cold, and I just want to stay in lycra and sweaters and fuzzy socks and not move.

Since this is just not possible, I will instead pull together my most fashionable lycra outfit, cover the black circles under my eyes with concealer, take a thermos of tea about with me, and try to get through my day.

I feel as though somebody turned my skin inside out and forgot to switch me back to normal.

Actually, as I consider this, I realize that my normal for the last several years has been afraid and anxious. The time spent in the Fortress had just reached a place of peace, but I didn’t linger there long enough. Now I have to find that again. If I sit alone with my own thoughts, I can hear that constant voice that has always told me “you will be okay”. I’m always grateful for this, but I wish that I wasn’t straining to hear it again on the tails of heartbreak and upheaval.

I will be okay.

I know this must be true because this is the first time in my life that I have listened to my gut and moved forward, exclusively taking cues from my heart and my intuition which seem to be working in some kind of harmony that I have never before realized.

I am sorry that this new pairing of heart and intuition prevents me from being who and what I am desired to be,what I once desired myself to be, but I believe that if everyone pairs their heart and intuition and allows them to speak louder than fear, they will understand, and perhaps even realize for themselves that this course of action is the only true, honest path. That any love that springs from denial, from a lack of self-awareness, from trying to will away the skeletons in the closet cannot blossom. That we cannot be the best lovers we can be unless we are truly honoring ourselves, and are honest with ourselves, and honest about our limitations.

I hope that the love I am able to give will be accepted. Anything beyond this acceptance is a rejection of my heart’s truest offering. I have spent all of my life desperately wanting to be accepted and loved as I am, and now more than ever do I understand who I am, and what I need from love. Maybe the Universe didn’t bring me to this most recent love for the reasons we originally thought.

I am a whole, good, vibrant, passionate, vulnerable, creative, loving person. Everything I have done in my life has been borne of a desire to feel love, and give love, and though I have “failed” at this countless times, with each failure came a greater understanding of what I want love to be. Each of these “failures” has taught me to be more of my actual self.

I want a love that is safe, and borne of truth, emotional honesty, and deep communication.

I want to be wanted 100%, and have that love demonstrated in ways that I clearly understand.

I want to be inspired by my love, and clear and proud of my role within the context of that love.

I want to feel proud of what I am giving, knowing that I am giving my beloved 100% of the love they seek from me.

I want my love to be something that fuels my forward motion in this life. To encourage my work, my passions, my drive. I do not want to be stunted in my ambition or aspirations by fear, instability, or emotional turmoil.

I want my lover to be self-aware, honest, inspired, driven, open, sensual, noble, faithful, and present in the world.

With a kiss, I’ll send that to the Universe and continue to hope for the best.

A very special thank you to Natalie who pointed me in the direction of a costume rental place that was selling off bag fulls of old inventory for $35 per garbage bag. That was some of the sweetest retail therapy I’ve ever experienced.

Country Schnoo, City Schnoo

This is day three in the country, and the first full day of work I’ve had since we’ve arrived. Of course, it is also the day when the sun is gloriously shining, so I’m sure at some point my work flow will be interrupted by a brisk walk in my rubber boots.

It’s beautiful here. If I could drive a car, I could spend a lot of time in a place like this. I feel so much more relaxed, and I’m incredibly inspired and focused. In a dream life, I’d have a place like this on a lake, and a modest place in the city. I’d spend more time at the lake, knowing me, and there would have to be a dog.

Things are humming along with my writing project. I’m enjoying it so much, and it’s really changing the way I look at myself and my own potential. I can DO this. This is something I could be really great at, and something that feels entirely natural to me. I’m also piecing together this romantic picture about who Schnoo the writer is. I have writing outfits, and I’ve imagined my ideal writing space down to the most minute detail. I can really picture this kind of life.

How lucky I am to have the love and support that I have. Every morning I wake up grateful for this, and don’t take it for granted for even one instant. Its amazing how I feel like I am finding my voice all over again, and that every moment of my life has pointed to this time and place, and this new experience of self.

The nature of my new work requires that I create an alter-ego, a nom de plume. Breathing life into her has been so much fun. I hope to discreetly introduce her through these pages when the time is right, so that any of you who are interested can help support this project, because a great deal of our marketing efforts will be viral.

Life is sweet like the country air, filled with hope and promise and the lilting sigh of the burgeoning spring breeze.

Too Much. Of What, I’m Not Sure

Each morning this week, I’ve woken up with a sore throat. By the time I have to hit the gym, it’s usually gone. Today it was not.

As I type this, my eyes are streaming with tears, and my tonsils are bright red and I feel like I’m swallowing razor blades. I still went to the gym though. I put in decent effort, but every single exercise made me want to burst into tears because I was feeling so lousy, and then feeling sorry for myself.

I’ll go tomorrow too. Just because I have to see the week through. Because I am committed to this bikini idea, and to being the best I can be. But I feel like caca.

Writing time today was replaced with nap time, and I can only hope that I can make use of having to miss choir practice tonight. I have zero energy though, and I feel like an absolute baby.

Perhaps you really aren’t interested in reading my whining?

I’ve become addicted to Violet Blue. I so enjoy her blog Tiny Nibbles, and I’m about to start reading one of her many books. She’s a personal hero of sorts. Between her blog, and Dooce, I have enough fuel for my own fire, and when you also consider that I’m not being drained by the demands of a day job, I’m in great form. If only I could get better at feeling well, and at writing.

Writer friends, how do you stay nimble? What are your tips and tricks for keeping up the flow? I have a head filled with ideas, but the execution seems a little daunting sometimes.

Perhaps another round of ginger lemon tea and my girlfriend’s homemade chicken soup will fix me.

The Trouble with Hump Day

Photo by Kyle Andrew (I like to call it "Mid-Wife Crisis")

Another show is put to bed. I worry that I can’t keep everyone happy, and that the reasons I continue to do these shows with little financial return is not enough for the others. There is so much that needs to happen, so little time to focus, and so few free hands.

What happened to the days of wealthy patrons who would sponsor artists so they were free to create? How I would love a simple, casual job that was fun to do so that the rest of my working energy and efforts could be directed at this enterprise we’ve created that means the world to me.

If I can direct this company towards greater growth and opportunity, who will come along for the ride? I sense so much frustration and exhaustion sometimes, and I wonder how much of it is a result of things moving slowly here, or if it’s a product of the general frustration all artists feel in such a difficult time for performers.

Today, I will devote my time to a clear work plan. List-making has always been such an effective tool for laying out the state of things in a clear manner, and for dividing tasks in a way that makes them feel so much less overwhelming.

It’s been a long time since I’ve set personal goals too. I’ve been waiting so long to land, and for the dust to settle, and now that I feel it has (in most ways) I think it’s time to hatch a plan.

My brother completely inspired me today, and his photography is amazing. I’d link to his website, but it isn’t up to date. Here’s a link to a Facebook gallery of his photos.

I’m tempted to really just say “no” to working full-time, and just see what happens.

Universe, I’m blowing on your fuzzy dice!

The Massacre of the Innocence

may-pole-daisies-600kb

Is it ok to enjoy someones company if you have a nagging feeling that there is no potential for anything lasting, or substantial? If in your gut you feel like they are just not on the same page, or that their own personal “stuff” will prevent them from meeting you halfway? Is it ok to ignore these things for the sake of appreciating the now, and “seeing what happens”? No, it is not. I already know what’s going to happen.

What is ok, absolutely ok, is to feel exactly as I did yesterday afternoon, as of about two pm. Perfectly at ease, fascinated, open, engaged, safe, and ready. Amazing. I’m tapping at the pedal brakes to avoid my Leonine overwhelming enthusiasm, but whatever happens next might be less important than the realization that those feelings are what I need to feel. Nothing less.

I liken it to the first time my untrained voice realized how to use my breath to properly support the sounds I make. I was filled with more air than ever before, and could sustain the note, and the intensity of the note for as long as I needed to. I hung there, played there with my own sounds, and felt the power and control that I was capable of. Magic.

So, thank you for Saturday afternoon magic. For children pulled from ancient photographs covered in spaghetti sauce before my very eyes. For tiny birds coming in for a landing on my shoulder. For wooden rooms filled with wood. For slow grazing on greens. For bordello teepees. For that nape of the neck image that made my heart sing with how fragile and pure it was.

For remembering something I thought I’d lost a long, long time ago.

Lady Lazarus, at your service.

This Never Went to Press

Emily & Cody - Olivia Bee

Emily & Cody - Olivia Bee

I am forcing myself to write this, which makes me angry, because I feel like this shouldn’t require an effort.

I’m stretching myself too thin again, and its making me feel overwhelmed and uninspired, and I don’t even want to leave pieces of myself here, because it feels like too much to give away right now. But I feel guilty for not writing, and angry at myself because it isn’t coming to me naturally.

I’ve always enjoyed coming into a person’s home for the first time. I think it’s fascinating, the way people reveal their private world to you, and I think our homes say so much about us. The tiny artifacts we choose to display, the messes we hide, or clean, and the messes we feel are acceptable left in plain view, the state of our refrigerators, the art we select, the things on our fridge door, how many plants we can maintain, or not, the colours we choose – these all speak to our character, I think.

When someone comes into my home for the first time, I’m very at ease. I’ve become much more comfortable on my own turf than I am anywhere else. I like to make sure they have snacks, and then it’s usually carefully selected music, and good conversation, with a sleeping animal somewhere near by. I try to be very aware of how my apartment smells. I’m paranoid that it smells like cat. I hate the carpet leading up my stairs, I need to paint my landing and a couple of doors, and I need the help of a burly friend to clear some old planters and furniture off my patio. I need to hang a couple of pictures, and a mirror, and some curtains in my bedroom. A once over with the broom to clear the cobwebs from the overhead rafters would also be a good idea. I love my home though. It really, really feels like home to me.

I think it’s beautiful when you come into someone’s home who isn’t used to having company. Typically, these places are really fascinating. They are usually neatly organized, and filled with interesting bits of personality and history. Friends who are used to solitude, who invite me into their space typically want to reveal something of themselves to me, and I love this. Old photos, family keepsakes, favourite albums, travel stories, snippets from favourite movies. There are so many things we can give each other that are free, and so valuable.

This weekend, I was at the home of a new friend, a remarkable friend who I find endlessly fascinating. He pulled out the guitar he hadn’t touched in a while, and I noticed he’d grown his fingernails. I was really surprised that he wanted to play without me having to convince him. He strikes me as incredibly shy, so it suddenly was clear to me how deep and comfortable his relationship to music must be. He played beautifully, and I hope he’ll continue to play more frequently now. I wonder if he had any idea what such a gesture meant to me? I could listen for hours to someone with such effortless skill.

I haven’t had anyone here who I have played music for. I haven’t dragged out my box of old photos, or my scrapbook of my artistic history. I haven’t shared stories of old hankerchiefs, or let anyone feel the fabric of the costumes I’ve made. I haven’t let anyone really come into my space.

My home has been filled with friends, and food, and music, and this has all been lovely of course, but theres’ a box filled with newspaper clippings, faded letters, and sepia photos that continues to gather dust, and I can scarcely bring myself to look at it some days.

Some people believe that there is no such thing as fate. That the people who enter our lives do so merely by coincidence, and that these meetings are completely random. I believe that each person who touches us, who has impact on us, is there because they have something to teach us. I believe that we in turn have something to teach them too.

Am I open to the lessons that I ought to learn?

Should I consider home schooling?