Spring cleaning.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

NaBloPoMo March 2013I’ve decided to travel home lighter than I left. There is at least one table, and possibly two that won’t make it across my “new” threshold. All the books (of course) are going, but all the clothes are not.  And that’s where things have gotten interesting.

I’ve had the pull to purge my closet since January. Time, location and will have kept me from it. That is, until today. The suits were the first to go. I bought several suits for a job I began over 6 years ago. My favorite two will make the trip, but the others, including three I’ve never worn, are being donated to Dress for Success.

Although I don’t desire those and many other items in my closet, forming the donate pile with those first few pieces was tough. It didn’t matter that they no longer fit my lifestyle, body, or personality. I got comfortable with them being there, just in case.

Just in case of what, I can’t say. But the truth is, they were taking up space. Physical space. Psychic space. They crowded out favored pieces. I even found the shirt I’d been seeking for months (months!). There it was, sharing a hanger with an outfit that no longer suited me. And despite the fact I don’t really need, want or even particularly like many of these items, I felt a pull adding each one to the pile. It was a weight. A mourning – saying goodbye I suppose. I took note of the feeling, but was resolute in my folding. It got easier. And now my closet is halfway empty.

I’ll have to start again. And really, that’s what I’m doing with this move. Not just starting a new phase of my life, but starting a new life. Professionally. Romantically. Everythingly. One should have the wardrobe to match, eh?

Still nary a box packed or even assembled, but that’s what tomorrow is for.

5 days. #countdown


A quick word on clarifying and silence.

30 Day Blog Challenge

I don’t give advice. I won’t go so far as to say I’ve never given suggestions or answered specific questions  (should I wear this dress or that one?), but life questions and, “here’s what you should do” stuff? No.

I’ve always been of the impression that I can’t tell you how to live your life, I can only offer you my perspective on how I might handle a similar situation. But it’s what I might do, not what you should do. And since it’s not about me – it’s about you, I turn the spotlight in the other direction and offer up a mirror besides.

My goal is to help you clarify your positioning to the topic/question/dilemma at hand, as well as your options and potential consequences. Clarifying, I can help you with; but deciding? That’s up to you. Our life is our best teacher. My wish is that we all become better learners.

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.
~Gloria Naylor

More on moving.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

So the corollary to “have you started packing yet?” is, “are you excited yet?”

It’s the same answer: No.

NaBloPoMo March 2013I was excited when I debated the move, weighed the pros and cons. I considered the risks of moving versus the risks of staying. Did I want to chase dreams and new possibilities, or did I want to remain comfortable? I was excited when I put in my intent to vacate. It was official. The chase was on! But as we approach the actual day, my excitement has waned significantly. There’s a good reason for that.

I don’t know if you know this, but moving simply isn’t that much fun. Especially moving across state lines. There’s stuff to do. Mail to forward. Utilities to turn on. Boxes to tape and label. Items to donate. And even though I can pack and unpack my residence in two days on each side, I can’t say it brings me great joy. And despite the beautiful things I have planned once I relocate, I really do like my current surroundings.

Regardless, uprooting moving is stressful. I tend to bury stress, hiding it even from myself. Unless I’m really checking in with myself, I may not notice the tell-tale signs. I get a little quieter, more reserved. Maybe I’m not as patient. Perhaps I don’t laugh as much. My sweet tooth demands more attention. Excitement during these final days is hard to muster.

Ask me again around 3/31.


A word on packing.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

NaBloPoMo March 2013

So I’m moving. According to my countdown app, in 10 days and 18 hours, the moving guys from Blitz will be loading up the truck.  Once people find out you’re moving, and D-day is close at hand, they start asking questions. Really, it’s just one question, but it comes in a few different flavors:

  1. Have you started packing already?
  2. How’s the packing coming along?
  3. Do you have a lot left to pack?

In order, the answers are:

  1. No.
  2. It isn’t.
  3. Yes, everything.

It’s part of my process. As one who has moved several times in recent years with basically the same stuff, I know I can pack in 2 days flat. One and a half if I’m really not feeling it. All of this includes a great deal of focus and plenty of sleep in between. I don’t believe in all-nighters.

I’d like to say I delay packing because I’m always busy, but that wouldn’t be true. Usually it’s more resistance. Stalling. Waiting until the last possible minute while I lounge around the house wondering when I’m going to start. My writing looks much the same way. In fact, once I start resisting and doing everything else, that’s when I know I’m almost ready to get words down.

But I digress.

This particular time I have been busy. In fact, I’ve barely been home long enough to unpack, wash clothes and repack, so forget about getting some boxes and packing stuff. But this weekend I think I’m going to get some boxes, at least. Maybe even tape a few together.

Be true.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

If you summon your courage to challenge something, you’ll never regret it. How sad it would be to spend your life wishing, “If only I had a little more courage.” Whatever the outcome, the important thing is to take a step forward on the path that you believe is right. There’s no need to worry about what others may think. It’s your life, after all. Be true to yourself. ~Daisaku Ikeda

I first saw this quote in the November 2012 issue of Living Buddhism magazine. Sae Chonabayashi said it encouraged her to pursue her dreams. It encouraged me to do the same. At the time I read the piece, I was at a crossroads; I was unsure about quite a few things. That quote resonated, and I got clear on next steps in a hurry.

Life is short and no one wakes up in my skin every morning except me. I have plans and dreams, and it’s quite possible they won’t work out as I’d like…but I have to try.  I’ve always been one to play it safe. But safe isn’t always satisfactory, and time passes way too quickly these days for me to waste it in any state of dissatisfaction. So whatever the outcome, in eleven days, I’m moving forward on a new path.

I embrace possibilities and love.

To thine own self, be true.

NaBloPoMo March 2013

What do you want? #rapeculture #vaw

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence

NaBloPoMo March 2013People who have witnessed the recent steps on my journey have sent me good wishes and hopes for the outcome I want. Truth be told, the healing, the outcome I wanted for myself, happened long ago. But I’ve started to talk publicly about it. And I recently told my ex my thoughts about our past. This has inspired the following question from many corners:

What do you want?

I want to agitate.
I want to make people feel uncomfortable.
I want to counter rape culture.
I want people to stop blaming victims.
I want to add my voice to the chorus of survivors.
I want partners to question their entitlement over another’s body.
I want people to talk. Especially men to their friends and brothers. To their sons and lovers.

Rape culture is allowed to fester, in part, because of our silence. So I am speaking up, speaking back. I want to speak more often and with more eloquence. I want to help survivors speak, too.

I want to make a difference.

Sun goddess.

30 Day Blog Challenge

9 p.m.  contemplative. quiet.

slumber soon come and then


glorious gift.

first light –



deep sighs.

promises made in silent darkness.

black skies give way to lavender wisps.

daybreak –


skies warm and brighten,

heralding crimson dawn.

I took this photo just after 7 a.m. I had planned to write a short missive on morning, my favorite time of day. Well, the day came and went before I had the chance to write. Here it is, nearly 10 p.m., and I’m looking forward to morning again. 


Midpoint check in! #NaBloPoMo #amwriting

30 Day Blog Challenge
all white salsa
Jorge and me getting our salsa on!

Cue the salsa music! Let’s dance!

I’ve made it to the halfway point. I committed to writing 30 blogs in 30 days, and so far so good. I’m amazed and inspired this time around. I’ve wondered why it feels so much easier than August. I think it’s because:

There’s no angst. It’s something I’ve accomplished before, so I began with the foreknowledge I can definitely be successful. Whether stream of consciousness, quick check-ins, or other short entries, I can blog every day.

I’m wiser. I discovered a lot about my writing process, so I realize my morning brilliance may or may not be written (much less published) by afternoon. Sometimes thoughts need time to germinate. Related to that…

I’m more flexible. I thought I would work through some heady topics in August, and I found it too much pressure to write on them publicly every.single.day. Now I write whatever I feel moved to write, which is why I have a blog in the first place!

I was ready. In August it was someone else’s idea to write 30 in 30, and I took up the challenge. This time I was chomping at the bit to do another. In fact, I was planning to start April 1st, when my schedule slowed a bit, but I couldn’t bear waiting another month. I missed the structure and thinking space daily writing creates. I’m glad to have it back.

I’m proud of myself because I’ve taken more chances this time around, and I’ve been consistent, without stress. Regardless of what happens over the next 15-16 days, I love myself for the effort.

Here’s to the second half!

NaBloPoMo March 2013

On ironing and grief. #NaBloPoMo #amwriting.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative

I remember when I stopped ironing.

As a young girl, I ironed all the time. And to some degree, ironing suited me. I’d iron shirt after shirt, and soon enough I’d be in a mindless rhythm. My thoughts were free to imagine new scenes for my current short story, or remember favorite scenes from a Judy Blume in progress. Usually I’d iron in the den on weekends. Daddy stretched out in his easy chair watching sports of some sort, momma half-watching, half-devouring a novel. It was easy, ironing was.

As I grew older, I continued ironing as needed. Didn’t think much of it. Maybe I no longer ironed clothes on weekends. Maybe I simply ironed the night before, as I laid out clothes for school.

In college, ironing happened decidedly less often. Using that mini surfboard on the bed proved neither effective nor fun, and it was college. Everyone knew you just needed to get your clothes out of the dryer while they were still warm. Ironing was reserved for the really stubborn creases, and only then at the last possible minute.

I entered the workforce and ironing again became a regular occurrence. Sometimes it was the evening before, yet more often than not, I saved it for my morning routine. There wasn’t much to it, after all. It was just ironing.

I remember when I stopped ironing.

Months after momma died unexpectedly, grief became stress became a fog. Life was thick. Heavy. Clouded over. Every morning it was time to get dressed and go teach my 4th graders, yet it got harder, not easier. Where was it? Where was the outfit I could just put on? I didn’t want to think about ironing. I couldn’t bear the thought.

I was near tears one day, trying to figure out tomorrow’s outfit and the requisite ironing, when cousin big sister suggested a radical idea: dry cleaners. I had only associated dry cleaning with my dad’s work shirts. Momma and I dropped them off early mornings before school and picked them up in the afternoons.

Neatly pressed clothes sans stress? Sign me up. I sighed away 10 pounds.

And thus marked the beginning of the end of ironing. Soon enough, through geography and professional choices, I all but eliminated the need for pressed clothes from my life. For years I donned sarongs and sundresses, jeans and fitted t-shirts.

As of late, the iron is no longer content to make cameos. It seems to be pushing for a more starring role. Yesterday’s sheath dress required a tap from the hotel iron, as did today’s button-down and slacks. And it was easy enough. There isn’t much to it, after all. It’s just ironing.

But I remember when I stopped ironing.

On looking and leaping. #NaBloPoMo #amwriting.

30 Day Blog Challenge

NaBloPoMo March 2013

Do you always look before you leap?

Of course. Gravity is real and objects are solid. Not looking where you leap can lead to injury. Or worse.

That said, looking first doesn’t negate the leaping. It simply means assessing the situation beforehand. I weigh pros and cons. I mull things over and consider multiple angles. I do a gut check: How does it feel when I think about leaping? I can’t say if I put more stock in feelings over facts. It depends on the leap in question. I don’t do all of this to talk myself out of leaping, but rather so I can leap mindfully.

I think a related question is Have you ever taken a leap you’ve regretted? The answer to that is a solid no. Regret is a strong word and one I’ve always scorned. I love myself and I love my life. Everything is not exactly as I’d like it to be, and that’s part of the drama of life. Sure, I’ve made decisions I wouldn’t make again. But I don’t regret them; I learned from them.

There’s no need for us to be held back by the past or how things have been so far. The important thing is what seeds we are sowing now for the future. ~Daisaku Ikeda

Keeping past decisions and future goals in focus encourages me to be mindful of my present actions.

So yes, I leap. But first, I look.