If I can make it here.
Six days ago I wrestled over posting the above image on Instagram. It felt like I was emotionally naked in the snapshot. Somehow it felt much too vulnerable. I hate being vulnerable. Those that know me best, know that I often navigate conversations by asking others about themselves. Questions and extracting trifles that will allow me to further understand who my subjects are. It’s my secret weapon of deflecting inquisitions and the focus from being on myself. I’m not super quick on my feet. And I have a slow and lazy tongue. I lack the talent for connecting my words and thoughts in the moment. Hence my Wonder Woman deflection. But oddly enough, I sure am drawn to those that allow themselves to be vulnerable and emotional nudists.
I’m going through a tough time right now. As many of you know, my daughter and I are temporarily living in New York City. It has been the best and worst of times. In many ways I feel like I’ve walked away from my life in Los Angeles. It’s as if that life has vanished. It was scary as hell to come here. But, it was the correct course of action to take at this moment in time. What frightened me most about moving to another city, was how effortless and easy it was to start over. I moved in with my best friend and her husband, I found a congregation to worship with on Sundays, I discovered my favorite circuit of bakeries, I learned how to navigate the subways with a two year old, I secured a job, I learned how to grocery shop with a one bag limit. All of that frightened me. It showed me how resilient and strong I am. What I am capable of. But it made me feel like my life back home was fading away. Much like that family photo that Marty McFly references in Back to the Future.
I’ve been building a relationship with the city. She’s sophisticated, cold, savvy, wise, and telling. I’ve paced the streets at night. I’ve become closely acquainted with museums, galleries, shops, parks, kid’s clubs, libraries, and snooty rich neighbors. And it has made me truly stop and consider who I am.
1. I am faithful. I’ve always had a close relationship with deity. I know who God is. We converse regularly. If I have a question or need inspiration, I take it up with the big guy. I feel His love. That sentiment permeates throughout my soul. It grants me peace and parcels out courage and conviction.
2. I am a mother. I love being a mom. I mean adore being a mama. Ambra’s mom-to be specific. At 2.5 years she is going through an extremely difficult ego-centric, self-centered stage. And you know what? She’s rocking it. I love that sassy little nymph. She is a total spitfire. And then, she’ll simmer down. Looking up at me with those saucer eyes and say, “I love you mama. I love you so much.” And you know what? There’s nothing better in the world than that. To know that Bryan and I have created the most marvelous treasure that there is. And I’m doing something oh-so right with my life.
3. I am a woman. I am feminine, and sensitive and yet, I have rows of prickles. I yell. I cry. I say the wrong thing. My feelings get hurt. I’m embarrassingly human. Skin deep confession: I haven’t felt beautiful or pretty or even somewhat attractive in five months. But, I can laugh. And I can make others laugh. And I do so frequently. It fills my heart with joy as thick as honey on the comb. As a woman I have fears, hopes, strengths and weaknesses. I love the woman that I have become. I’m proud of the dark haired lady that peers back at me in the mirror. I really like her. She’s not perfect. But, she’s a decent person.
4. I am an optimist. My life isn’t going according to my plans. The past few years have had their share of setbacks and heartbreaks. But, I’m still dancing. I am incredibly grateful for my breath. I’m thankful that I can crack jokes when life feels like it’s going to swallow me whole. I’m glad that I choose to be happy despite circumstances. I find beauty in exercise, nature, flowers, my best friend’s growing pregnant belly, and the twinkle in my daughter’s laughter. I am invigorated by architecture, art, music, a good book, a weak cup of jasmine tea, and a stranger helping me on the street. I choose to see the glass half full. I’m not naive. I’ve known dark days. I’ve personally witnessed helpings of ugliness that exist in this world. But I CHOOSE to see the incandescent splendor that this sphere provides. I choose love. I choose chocolate. I choose faith. I choose friendship. I choose hugs and gentle kisses that make me dizzy. I choose poems and the perfect silk scarf. I choose to live the hell out of this life. Because dammit! It’s a gift. And not one that I will ever take lightly.
So here I am. Completely vulnerable. An emotional nudist. You know exactly who I am, and how I am constructed. The veil has been pulled back. It’s not too terribly scary after all.