It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my website, and every few days, I’ve been wracked with guilt over it. I value this space. I value the community and its support. I’ve made a commitment to being more vocal throughout all areas of my life, and in attending to that commitment, I somehow let the sharing of words on my website slide. And I’ve missed you guys.
If I’m going to be vocal in all areas of my life, then I have to tend to this space, too. Lesson learned.
What have I been up to? Well, let’s see…
I signed a contract to edit an anthology of nonfiction about my city. I’m excited. I have always been interested (obsessed?) with place, with what makes us attach to certain places, build unique places, conserve and preserve or destroy and demolish places. My city is in an interesting growth phase right now, and I’m excited to capture the current spirit, if I can, through the words of local writers and poets. If you’ve got something to say about Columbus, Ohio, then check out the Call for Submissions.
I’m telling a story (today) on stage at the local arts festival. I think the other storytellers are the folk tale kind, but I’m opening the show with a The Moth-like story I’ve been sorta kinda practicing for a while now. It’s about speaking up, of all things. I’m terrified, but I wanted to get better at this. The only way to get better is to do it, no matter how possibly humiliating.
I ventured into dating again, and have since stopped that in its tracks. Each time I walk into those particular woods, I get better at seeing in the dark. I get better at ending one path if it looks like it will lead me astray, as in over a cliff. I’m willing to take leaps, but I’m not going to fall forward just to break my own neck.
I’m teaching. I’m teaching two very different courses, and I’m teaching two sections of one of those classes. I’m also building a lot of content for work at the moment. I feel overwhelmed, especially with the other hard tasks I’ve taken on for myself.
I bought a new bed. I bought a new bed right before I leave for a three-week trip-of-a-lifetime. I’m stressing out about money. I wanted my summer teaching money to go toward my IRA, but I may not have much left over once I pay for my trip and some surprise outstanding medical debt.
I started working with an intern on a big project for the arts organization that I volunteer for.
I said yes to a new side gig that starts the day after I return from my big trip.
I went through a bout of anxiety over the weekend and leaned heavy on beloved friends who somehow found time to take my calls, even if they were at work. They wrote long, thoughtful emails and/or just sat with me in the lovely June weather for hours.
I heard my oldest friend say to me, “I know you can do it because I know what you can do when you put your mind to it, but you have a tendency to take on a lot at one time. I think it would be kinder to yourself if you didn’t try to do so much at once.” When I say, “I heard him,” I mean, I heard him. I got it. Lesson learned.
Oh! I helped out with some planning and logistics on a new festival in town, and in the course of the day, realized that if my youthful ambition was fueled by trying to prove my worth in the world, my more mature ambition is fueled by my desire to belong in the world. There was a point in the day when it truly felt like a community event, and I realized that above all else, that is what I have been craving, that is what I have been searching for in all my years of pursuing my interest in place. I’ve been searching for what makes us feel as if we belong in a place. I’ve been searching for my own sense of belonging.
And I’m sure there’s more that’s happened in the month I’ve been away from this blog, but you get the idea. I’ve been out here being as brave as I can, and being brave in any situation can be exhausting. I’ve got one more area in which to be brave, and that is in the area of ruthless self-care. I’ve got to scale back some if I’m going to do well at anything. I’ve got my eye on the prizes I want for myself. I’m in the game. It’s a tough one, but not impossible.