The Little Engine That Could

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Big update letter

I wrote this to my friend and advisor, Dawn, as a way to update her on the goings on of my life. I ommitted some parts, dear readers, as you have already seen them.

Be well. Have a happy rainy Saturday.

Dear dawn,

It’s beautiful that I write the words, Dear dawn, because I woke this morning at Dawn. Such a perfect name for you, all things new, the first light, spiritual, and the quiet of the morning. Making peace with the transgressions from the night before, a perfectly suited name for you.

Here I am catching you up on my life since last we spoke. There is so much going on, and yet, I am in a good place. My job has become my everything to me, I realize this is the pattern, putting everything I have into one thing, and finding little balance. The work never stops, or so it seems. I have traveled to Chicago and Miami and Mexico City for work in the last two months, each one exciting and lonely.

In July, I went to North Carolina and visited my family. First, my aunt and I drove to Ashville, NC, and spent two days walking around, eating great meals, sleeping, and shopping. It is a beautiful town, and it took me a full day to just be with myself. I spent lots of time in the pool, first making friends with a girl of about 10 who looked a lot like me at her age—large, looking much older than she is, and very very smart. I thought what kind of wisdom could I impart on her so that her life could be easier, what would I have wanted someone to tell me or show me? But I came up with nothing. To be that innocent again, to be comfortable in my own skin, to swim and laugh and do handstands in the pool with a strange woman was enough. I don’t have to fix everyone and everything, I can just let people be, in the way I can let me be.

I then spent two days at my brother’s house. He and his wife have three kids—I got to have individual time with each of them, my oldest niece (13) is smart, street wise, and truly a pre-teen. She is interested in boys and friends, has no fear, and although not sassy, sticks up for herself. The other two are handed everything. My nephew is tall and large like me, something my brother never understood. My brother had Zach on a diet so that he would make football, as he outweighs all the kids three years older than him. I pleaded with Keith not to make it a punishment to loose weight, not to make him feel like he has done something wrong to be the size that he is, and that to make exercise fun, a game, play time, and incorporate a bit more and more every day. At lunch one day Zach looked at my brother (mind you, Zach is 6) and said ‘Dad, why do you have to look at EVERYTHING I eat. Leave me alone!” I almost burst out crying at the table, as he said the thing that I wanted to say to my mother all these years. Instead, my heart broke, and I resolved to do whatever I could for him to know that he is loved, regardless of what he looks like.

I call my brother’s family, The Angry Family—there is yelling and screaming and crying and orders flying around all the time. I felt like I can’t say anything to stop it, because my sister in law and brother have already cut off my aunt who lives less than a half an hour away from the family. The way my oldest niece is treated is so much different from the other two, it’s amazing. Adrienne has always had to be scolded, had chores, clean up, etc, and the two little ones think she’s their maid. Adrienne takes it in stride, and I confessed to her that I don’t like the way they talk to her, but I can’t wait until she’s old enough to come visit me for the summer, or move out. It’s like playing politics at work, just try to stay out of trouble, do what you are supposed to do, and get out. Her and I have a special bond, I liken it to an Auntie Mame kind of thing. With me, she knows she can always reach out. I like that.

Then on to Miami. Planning for the event that is in two weeks. Being on the road is exciting, however, I am tired of being in gorgeous hotel rooms with no one to share with. My boss and I had this conversation in Mexico, the travel is great, the experience is awesome, but at the end of the day, someone to share it with would make it worthwhile. I did get to spend a glorious dinner with an old friend from college, catching each other up on our lives, drinking great wine, and even better mojitos, enjoying Miami through a thunderstorm. It is not a place I think I could live, but enjoy it for a few days, yes.

Getting back to someone to share trips with. I notice that while on the road I have so much time with myself that I get introspective, and become an observer of life, when I want to be out living it. Sharing it with someone. For a while I thought that someone I had found, but in MT I experienced the joys of being loved, and letting him love me, and the realization that love does not equal partnership. It is me that has to love me, and it is in the quiet moments that I get to love me—for what I am up to, for the life I am creating, and for the things I get to do and see. I don’t like being so self reliant that friends or family don’t stop to ask about what’s going on, I feel like the perpetual independent, the one who everyone thinks is fine. Recently, I have been reaching out to connect with friends that have gone to the wayside—inviting them out, talking to them, making plans.

Mexico City—I loved it. I spent almost every waking hour with A, who I now refer to as my husband. We shared everything—lives, dreams, disappointments, meals, cocktails, everything. He was my right arm, and I was his left hand. If you ever get the chance, go to Mexico City (although now is not a great time with the election problems). It is beautiful, and I will go back in the winter. I really loved it, and have started learning Spanish so that I can communicate better with people. Just an amazing country, I can see myself living there for an extended period of time. It is normal for people to take 2-3 hour lunches, and actually enjoy their food. Maybe even with a cocktail. When I came back, I have tried to do that, go out for an actual meal at lunch, and enjoy it, not at the two hour range, but for at least 45 mins. And so far, it’s been great, I feel rested and satisfied, not looking for cookies or a soda to perk me up, just happy and like I can go back to work and accomplish more.

One week, after Mexico, I stayed with my parents (my power was on and off that week) and it was just glorious being taken care of. Having someone to talk to when I came home. On the Friday, I was sad, my plans had fallen through for dinner with a friend, and I was upset. I told my dad, I am just tired of being alone, I want a boyfriend, someone to share this with, and he let me talk. I got weepy, and he just let me be. I was good to be that open with my pop. My mom, and the other hand, was doing everything not to have me be sad, and I asked her to just let me be sad and it would take care of itself. That I had to feel the emotion I was having rather than push it away. She let me, reluctantly, and I thanked her for it. The next morning I felt great, and pop and I went to an art show, and I bought the greatest magnet in the whole world “It took her years to weave the fabric of her life, and it said ‘I have come to live my life out loud’” my dad even liked it—he said “that’s you”. And it is.

Work is overwhelming at times, so much to get done and being the only person to take care of it. I am learning to delegate, and not feel bad about it. I don’t have to do everything myself, there is support to help me. I am taking a couple days after Miami to slow down, and then a week off in October to go visit my friend Anne K. in Ireland. It’s so important for me to do right by me.

I think that’s everything. There is always more, but as you can see, three pages later, I had a lot to say. The main issues for me are not being overwhelmed at work, reaching out for support, speaking my truth, and loving me so that I am open to be in a relationship that I can share this amazing life with. There is nothing to fix, I am not broken.

Peace, my friend Dawn. The journey is nothing less than incredible.
I love you—thank you for everything.