Tidbits from the week: The best meals are often eaten with plastic forks. The best goodbyes are often skipped, not said.
That chill in the air? Means we aren’t too far from fall. That gardener friend you made? Needs a thank you card.
Other keepers: Everything new arrives on the heels of something old. Everything exciting happens in good time, and “in good time” might be just ahead.
Take a look around — you’re not the only one in half of a hurry, ricocheting between something old and something new. It has been such a pleasure working with you.
“Keep writing. Keep questioning. Keep wondering. Keep hoping. Keep working. When challenged, ask yourself: ‘Can I learn something from this? Will it matter a year from now?’ If the answer is no, let it go. Love who you are right now. You’re smarter than you think you are. You’re more beautiful than you’ll ever know. You bring a combination of qualities to the world that it will never see again: your wit, your generosity, your warmth, your heartbreaking vulnerability. Your eyes; your hands; your body which hasn’t failed you. You’re so incredibly capable. You’re older. You’re softer. Your heart has never been so big. Keep laughing. Keep crying. Keep trying. Pay attention to yourself and take breaks when you need to. Smile big and bright whenever anyone says ‘cheese.’ And don’t waste any more time worrying about how strong you will need to be. How strong you need to be is exactly how strong you already are.”
About two months ago, I pulled a deep blue V-neck from my closet and hung it on a hook outside the door. It looked pretty fluttering there, all smooth silk. I’d wear it on a date, I decided. It was a date-night shirt.
It hung there for four weeks, not quite mocking me but close, until I thought, okay. Okay, fine. What do I have to lose.
I ignored the voice that said …lots! and settled on: nothing. Absolutely nothing, really.
And so I wrote an email unlike any I’d ever written. And wondered whether I’d actually ever do anything with it, other than delete it. And then proceeded to get swept away (somewhere, likely on Pinterest) reading that quote: “All you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” And like the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed optimist I aspire to be, pressed SEND.
I regretted it immediately, of course. And chalked that one up to temporary insanity, and then promptly forgot all about it, until a few days went by and “Re: Hi” appeared at the top of my inbox.
Before you go getting all carried away, I should warn you: it didn’t work out.
But in a lot of ways, it really did. I was able to spend the better part of an otherwise lonely Sunday morning forgetting all about my latte, in favor of getting to know a blond-haired, blue-eyed, walking, talking reminder that those butterflies I’d thought gone forever? Hi, hey, hello, all here.
So it is possible, that I will feel that way again. It won’t be something that descends only twice — that sudden pulse of something palpable with someone, too hot and too heady to be able to pinpoint altogether.
It was such a good experience, in the end. To go — and to be the one who asked, if you want to get down to details. It was a little uncomfortable (I think I prefer to be pursued — don’t we all?), but it was impossibly nice to remember how good it felt to laugh. Flirt. Blush. Walk six times more slowly than I ordinarily would. And wish, pretty fervently, that things wouldn’t come to an end.
But when they did, it was so refreshing to get a very honest/wonderfully gentle why. Why not. I’m beginning to think that we don’t often give each other those. And do you know what was really great? Even before I got his final note, I didn’t have to work that hard to shut up the voice that insisted it was because of the way I looked.
He made me feel alive. He made me feel smart and interesting and different, but in a good way. He made me feel like the very quality I am by turns the surest/most unsure about is the single most attractive thing about me. He made me feel truly-honestly-genuinely desirable, for the first time in a very long time, and I still feel that way now. Sitting alone, back in the window of my usual coffee shop. In my simple sundress, size-medium-but-who-really-cares.
There is a dark-haired boy just outside, and when he came in a few minutes ago, I didn’t even hesitate to smile a real smile at him. Full wattage — no more half smiles. I have to say: it really isn’t that hard to meet people. Every time I meet someone, it’s easier the next time. And when it does get hard, and when it does feel grim, I’m just careful to remind myself of what I already knew. There are worse things than being too sincere, or too earnest, or too willing to take a swing at the things you want.