This is kind of a goofy picture of my face but I couldn't really see the screen very well on my phone as it was leaning on a tire outside my improv studio. I get excited about Halloween and cold weather and autumn (and going to NYC next week!) that I decided to get dressed and do my annual birthday photo. I'm fatter this year, but don't really care, as why the hell should I? I went to my 40 year high school reunion and saw my demographic: I look pretty good for the mileage.
I got gut punched pretty hard seeing people deploying to McMurdo but sucked it up. My cabin has sold, I have exciting travel on the horizon (though I've been everywhere I want to go so am revisiting some favorites), have loads of work and some super fun creative outlets. I want a dog so bad it hurts - but the intoxicating freedom I am experiencing not having one overrides that desire.
I feel kind of self conscious writing this as I know someone is actually reading it now...when I go back and read some of these postings I cannot believe I wrote them as I don't remember writing them and they seem better written than I remember. I have been going to this writing class at a Zen Center that is in a part of Austin that I lived in while in college and I can feel the ghosts of that time when I walk around this area. I am having such a nostalgic trip here in Austin and it has been 3 years now that I've been back. The writing we do is prompt style, where we go in cold, get a prompt, and write for 30 minutes, then sit in a circle and read it to each other. I write so fast and furiously that I can barely get everything out that I want to say...then there is a lull around the 20 minute time...then a burst of blissful coming together of the piece. The best part is when we get to read aloud. It's exactly the same stuff I write on here but I am reading it to strangers. Something happens when I read this stuff to people who don't know me (and one person there knows me fairly well)...I notice that what I've written takes on a life of it's own and changes as my voice rounds out the words...sometimes I edit as I'm reading, and my voice gets much more powerful (and doesn't quite sound like "mine" anymore) as I get to the end. When I'm done reading I feel like I've climbed a mountain...and I see the faces of my peers and everything is different. What I have written has changed in the reading of it, and more importantly, in the landing of it upon the ears of the others. I can see, or rather sense in a rather strong way that what I have written has had an effect; it has had impact. And the impact seems more ephemeral or dare I say, "spiritual" than some sort of concrete impact. I'm not explaining it well, but when I start to read what I've written aloud I feel some sort of cosmic shift in some sort of internal/collective universe. The meaning, the loadedness, the shock value, the trauma and tragedy of what I've written recedes into the background and there is a stillness that I guess can only be said to be the present moment. What I've written is no longer me or mine, or necessarily a true document of a past event, but more like a smoke signal sent up into the air to intermingle with the millions of other words people are writing down everyday...I feel a peacefulness and relief that I am not unique and my stories are not hard facts...they are just a part of the big cosmic swirl.
I just finished driving a giant cargo van for 3 weeks during early voting and Election day, and am now pulling out the sites. I went through a major meltdown about having to drive the van in Austin traffic but I did it and felt a huge surge of pride each day that I parked at the county and successfully rocked my shift and unloaded my van. I spend a lot of time doing very unusual and unique things in this job - like going into tons of elementary and middle schools and churches all over the county and smelling the smells of an old school and feeling a warmth for the young children. Today I barged into a church and people were huddled together fretfully praying and in another room people were making lunches for meals on wheels and me and my co-worker were strapping down tables onto a giant metal box and making a lot of noise. Knowing that this job will have lots of work for 2020 would be the main reason that I would stay in Austin another year...this job is almost over for a couple of months, the weather is gorgeous (40's and rainy), my improv class is really fun, and recently a man told me with the utmost sincerity that I was an "incredibly beautiful woman." I immediately made a face like "gross no I'm not" and then caught myself and really let myself take it in that it might be true. I was feeling close to him and then I pushed him away. I feel the lyrics of the song "Desperado" imprinting on my soul and my heart seems to be incased in a block of ice : you better let somebody love you before it's too late. I used to so easily be able to melt into the arms of another person, and now it feels like something I need to go to college to learn how to do again (and is it even possible for me to do again, and more important: is it something I actually even want to do again.) I've been single so long that I've gotten really good at it...like I could teach a masterclass in it. What would it be called...How to Date Yourself...How to Do Everything Yourself...How to Travel the World by Yourself and not feel utterly awkward at tables full of couples...blah blah blah.. the list goes on...onward!