Old Friends Know What You Need (Or Emergency Encouragement)

Last night I was glum. I was watching Grey’s Anatomy when my phone vibrated next to me. Delighted to see it was my dear friend, Chris, I responded immediately.

He texts me when he’s working the night shift in the ER. He’s in Michigan, so I’m one of the few people still awake during the long, odd hours he is on his feet pulling bullets out of people.

We caught up on life: his twins, my dog, the state of my love life.

I admitted that my writing wasn’t going well. Forever an optimist, and forever my biggest fan, he encouraged me.

My life may not have been hanging in the balance, but my motivation certainly was. His belief in me was just what the doctor ordered.  (Forgive the cliche.)

As we texted, it occurred to me that the men already in my life — my friends — have set the bar exceptionally high and I told him as much.

“I pity the poor man who has to live up to the standard you’ve all set,” I told him.

“You’re too kind,” he replied.

“Well, it’s true,” I countered.

And it is.

Chris and I have been friends since we were 12 years old, and he is a tremendous human being. He has forgiven me for paying more attention to his soccer teammates when I was tutoring them in calculus… and other transgressions.

He has also come through for me with words of encouragement, a listening ear, and loyal friendship for 26 years. We first bonded over a mutual love of Twin Peaks at 7th grade camp, and we’ve never looked back.

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That’s why it was easy to give a toast at his wedding.

After last night’s pep talk from the doc, I’m ready to do a little writing today.

(Writing other than this, that is.)

 

Marriage, Madeleine Ferguson, and the State of the Mirror (Or Things Delayed)

Today I could, or rather, should do seven loads of laundry and seek intervention in the form of a pedicure. I’ve opted to read my new book and watch my dog sleep instead.

I’m ambitious like that.

Honestly, I worked six days last week, today is my one day off before it starts all over again, and I just don’t want to be productive.

Besides, I hung my own mirror this weekend.

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What more do you want from me?

The man who was supposed to do it for me is in Minnesota… perhaps permanently.

In truth, I never needed his help.

I was merely trying to make him feel useful when I asked him to do it for me. I needed to know if he would do what he said he would, and he didn’t.

I wanted to give him a chance to show me who he was. And he did.

He failed my simple test spectacularly.

As I recounted the story to my friend Mike on a recent phone call, I told him it was imperative that I could count on someone. He agreed. “Yes — because they can count on you.”

That’s the beautiful thing about friends.

They know you. They see you.

They know who you are. They’ve walked with you through so many seasons of your life that you show yourselves to one another again and again, sometimes without even meaning to do so.

I find it hard to replicate this while dating, everyone on their best behavior at dinner, struggling to be mysterious or romantic or whatever. It just isn’t natural… and I utterly despise it.

For a time, I felt inexorably pulled toward a traditional life — one with a husband and children.

Now I’m not so sure that’s where I’m heading.

I’m not sure I can handle what it takes to get there.

I like space.

I like silence.

Children don’t allow that. Husbands do, I suppose… if they like golf.

I wonder if that’s why I’m so attracted to golfers — because I know they’ll be gone for hours and days on end?

Or is it simply because J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Vineyard Vines make me ovulate? I don’t know.

One doesn’t know — can’t know.

I suppose that is because one’s head and one’s heart are very far apart at times.

I started this post for another purpose, and now it has become this.

Oh well.

Like the laundry that should be thrown into the machine and the nails that should be filed and polished, those words and that purpose will be delayed another day.

Now I’m going to straighten the art my dog decided to rearrange last night and go back to my book.

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Apparently he has a problem with Laura Palmer, Madeleine Ferguson, and all things Twin Peaks.

I, have a problem with my couch.

I almost can’t even look at that wretched thing.

Send help.

 

 

Broken Hearts, Crushed Mint, and Other Things (Or Cowboy Hoof Cocktails)

I had a mini breakthrough on my recent heartbreak. I was able to put some of the experience — and my buried feelings about it — into words. Granted, they’re words forever hidden in a journal, but they represent progress for me nonetheless.

(I’m super remedial when it comes to my heart.)

There’s a chance I’ll mine those words at some point for more inspiration, but for now I’m grateful I was able to do something, however small, with my feelings.

In other news, I came across an intriguing cocktail recipe today and thought I’d give it a try.

It’s called the Cowboy Hoof.

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I channel my inner cowboy at times.

#whenintexas

That’s why the name caught my eye.

As if the name weren’t enough, the ingredients sent me over the edge: mint AND gin?

Yes, please.

I’ve been known to sip Sapphire like it’s the sweet nectar of life, and I eat fresh mint garnish instead of the desserts it adorns, so this cocktail spoke to my soul and stuff.

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The drink is MUCH prettier than my pic.

(I’m probably more remedial about photography than I am about my feelings.)

ANYWAY, ignore the basic pic, and just make yourself one.

Cowboy Hoof
12 mint leaves, plus one to garnish
2 tsp simple syrup
3 ounces of gin

Muddle the mint and simple syrup. Add ice and gin. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Pour cocktail through a strainer. Add mint to garnish.

Sip.

Smile.

Repeat.

Oh, and just in case you want to hear the song that ultimately unlocked my feelings, it’s a Bearson remix of James Bay’s Let it Go. The juxtaposition of the chipper, yet haunting beats with the painful lyrics perfectly summarize my feelings. I’m trying to shake it off and move on while simultaneously attempting to acknowledge that it hurt.

So come on let it go
Just let it be
Why don’t you be you
And I’ll be me

Everything’s that’s broke
Leave it to the breeze
Let the ashes fall
Forget about me

Machiavelli’s Reign Ends Here (Or I Break Up With Fear)

When I was 15, my European History teacher asked the class, “If you were king, would you rather lead your subjects with fear or love?” (We were studying Machiavelli. Or something.)

He picked students at random. The first guy he asked quickly responded, “Fear.” So did the second, and the third.

The first girl he asked?

Said love. The answers went along gender lines for some time. It was as if we were lining up at a middle school dance: guys on one side, girls on the other. The Sweet Girly Love Camp on one side, the Powerful Scary Man Camp on the other.

And then he called on me.

“Fear,” I answered without hesitation.

I was the only one in the class who bucked the gender trend. I’ve often wondered since then if the answers truly would have fallen so clearly along male/female lines had the question been asked anonymously. I’ll never know, and ultimately it doesn’t really matter anyway.

What the exercise did was illuminate the way my classmates wanted to be seen — and the way I wanted to be seen.

I was a vicious competitor in those days, and I was fueled by fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of being imperfect. Fear of being unlovable if I fell short of expectations.

Later, when I began to fall short of my narrow definition of perfection, my fear of failure somehow shifted to a fear of my own voice, my own power, and maybe more importantly, my own success. Many people who know me may be surprised to hear this. Others? Not at all.

Many of us are afraid to do what we truly love — not only for fear that we might fail at it but also for fear that it actually might be amazing.

So today I’m here to tell you that I’m no longer afraid of failure. I’m no longer afraid of what I truly love.

And what is that, you ask? What does this dog-owning, cupcake-baking, home-redecorator really love?

Movies.

I love writing movies.

That other stuff is pretty awesome too, but its relationship to my calling is merely tangential. So, this is me saying thank you for coming along with me on this ride. Thank you for reading about all of those things while I found my voice again — while I explored everything that inspires me — and everything that doesn’t. Thank you for bearing with me while I sank into the abyss of despair again and again.

Thank you for being the place where I grew, fell, and picked myself the fuck back up again.

There’s so much more I could say about all I’ve shed this year, but this is not the time, the place, or the post for that.

Instead, I’ll leave you with this. I made it. And I’m not afraid to post it even though it has a typo in it. It’s not perfect, and I don’t care. I like it a little better for its imperfection anyway.

rocky and drago

I’m off to write a movie, people.

#love