We all have our moments. A moment of insecurity that visits and revisits over time — a story that provokes a state of self-consciousness, not-enoughness, incompetence, unworthiness.
When you are next visited by one of these pesky low-mood states consider this:
Imagine that you are a mountain. You are this majestic rise of rock and soil and earth rising out of the earth’s surface, maybe covered with snow; perhaps wrinkled and rocky, carpeted in pine grees. …
Last spring, when COVID-19 set down its footprint, I heard the birds.
It’s not that I hadn’t heard them before. I live in a woodsy Seattle suburb that is tree-filled, with a lot of avian activity. And I love my birds!
But as this surreal pandemic settled in and Washington state imposed a shelter-at-home order, I hung on to the natural world like a needy child. I went on multiple walks a day, and upped my running after signing up for a virtual half-marathon.
I nearly licked the bark on my birch tree, I was so excited by its existence…
I wiped up salt flecks from the kitchen counter, my husband’s constant souvenir of meal preparations. For years, the sight of random salt bits scattered across the butcher block surface made me as angry as a bear. ROAR! I’d stand on my hind legs, mouth open, bellowing my disapproval.
Why the hell couldn’t he wipe his shit down afterwards!
Over time, this question started to creep in: Why did I care?
Why did I, upon returning home from work to a husband who greeted me with a huge smile and a prompt kiss, choose to give the goddamn kitchen counter…
What if we didn’t create such a fuss over how “confident” we are?
When I was 29, I looked back on a wonderful New York City magazine publishing experience with this rather jaded quip:
“S/he who feigns confidence best wins.”
I shared this newfound wisdom with my friend Anne over cocktails one night. “It’s not always about being good or even the best,” I continued. “But there were a lot of writers in New York who were so persistent, and who so thoroughly thought the world of themselves, that eventually others did too.”
Anne nodded and looked at me with…
The moments of bliss come unexpectedly.
I almost cried doing a plank. And not because it was hard, which planks are.
This moment occurred when I lowered my body onto a putty mat in a workout room at my swim club. As The Talking Head’s sublime “City of Dreams” played, I exited myself and saw a woman placing her elbows and forearms parallel to the sides of the mat; then, laying her body out as flat as possible, the toes pressing into the floor at shoulders’ width apart. …
Show me your teeth but not in a glass
(we’re youngish still; please, bite me on the under-
belly of my arm. I will make you mushy oatmeal in your eighties,
you can teach me sudoku, then I will remove
the parenthetical distance between us).
Today I will lick your incisors, make rare steak for them
before the kids arrive all grown up with babies.
The lawn will be reconstructed with badminton nets
and croquet that we admire and never use. Coffee,
beer, kombucha, detergent are the liquids of spring.
We are too refined, turning over in our white sheets
I’ve never been a gifted sleeper. Even as a toddler, my dad would sit with me at bedtime, massaging my forehead and humming Brahm’s Lullaby. Then, when he thought it was safe, he’d tiptoe away, invariably hearing “daddy?” once he got to the door.
It’s pretty heady when you think of it: a young imagination, waking up to the world and witnessing all this mystery laid out before her. Watching and listening to parents, her little pals, sniffing all the corners of a pink-carpeted bedroom, staring at herself in mirrors wondering What Is This Creature? Eventually interacting with classmates and…
Rethinking the engine that drives us.
October sun poured into my home office. The window cracked open to let in the crisp morning air and bird trills. This was the kind of day that got the citizens of a silver-skied Seattle to wag their tails with glee.
There was no wagging happening over here.
I was talking into a computer screen, to the three beautiful, inspiring, and encouraging women who made up my writing group.
My check-in was a tired repeat of months’ worth of non-doings: writing very little; procrastinating on sending agent queries, again. Breaking promises to write regular…
Oh, have I been lonely.
I have felt the weight of being separated from the pack. I have carried that alone-ness brick in my chest; walked the streets round-shouldered, passing neighborhood cats on their stoops and been too hollowed out to invite them down for a cuddle.
In my 40s, still single and living alone, I had moments of fearing my solo-ness, as if my chronic singularity wasn’t enough to withstand the storms of life (unemployment, illness, starting and ending relationships, new business ventures). …
I was only going to swim for two hours — max.
“I don’t think I’ll do the whole 10K,” I told my friend Tricia a week before. “My shoulder.” I nodded toward the offending body part.
Tricia is preparing to swim the English Channel this August. Since November, a generous club manager has provided three hours at an outdoor pool once a month for distance training. …