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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Finding My Tribe

I love the photo on the right! My childhood ROCKED, so it doesn't really apply to me so much, but there IS some truth in there. It really is a bad idea to cheese off a writer :-)

Having said that, I've been thinking of family a lot lately. I always do this time of year. My first regret: I wish I still had a child's unwavering faith and belief in the people she loves. My second: I wish my naivete had left me sooner and with a bit of gentleness. I suspect each one of us have shades of both of those wishes in our lives. Sometimes, it just sucks to be an adult.

My curiosity about my own personal history sent me to Ancestry.com for a free trial. NOT as easy as it looks in the commercials! It might be for you, but I'm a bit challenged around this sort of thing, so I was more than  a little confused at times. I look forward to further conversations with relatives (who HAVE a clue!) at some point in the near future :-) Even so, I was able to solve a mystery or two, and it was kind of fun. At some point when I'm a bit more solvent I will try the paid service (which is the same, btw, just of longer duration. The free trial is a good one that gives all the same access!). I learned that literally speaking, my 'tribe' is the Sihasapa branch of the Lakota Sioux. I always thought I was Blackfoot and Sioux, but as it turns out the Sihasapa are called "Blackfoot Sioux". It makes a lot of things I heard as a child make a LOT more sense. But that's only a small piece, and not really the point.

I have long struggled with the pervasive feeling of not belonging anywhere. I know that part of it is having had to make most of my housing choices based on financial means and the whims of others, and not on personal desire. I wasn't brought up to not want anything and to have no expectations of my life. Maybe that's why I keep fighting as hard as I do. What many people don't want to believe is that sometimes the only difference between 'poor' and 'doing well' is advantage and opportunity (or lack thereof) and/or a child. It shouldn't be that way, it isn't fair, but that's the way she rolls. It is NOT a level playing field out there. Poverty is not statement at all about the value of a person as a human being; about their usefulness, reliability or intelligence. To think it is is to delude yourself. Some folks thrive on comforting delusions though, so who am I to judge? Anyhoo, I haven't been anywhere I've wanted to be in a really long time. Most of my focus has been on getting there. It's a tough row to hoe solo (see what I did there?). But it's like there's a broken piece inside me that I can't fix until I can find 'my place', if that makes sense. Until I do though, I have 'my' people. The good people in my life have been the reason I've been able to heal at all. I've learned that family isn't necessarily blood, but shared experience, mutual respect and love, and no small measure of support. My gratitude is so big sometimes I have difficulty expressing it. I thank God for it every day.

But love isn't enough. I've learned that too. I've learned that you can love someone with your whole heart, respect and believe in them with everything you are, but if it isn't mutual, it's pointless to keep throwing energy there. As a non-confrontational person who lives in a world where 'loud and confrontational' often wins by default, it can be even more complicated. There are lots of us out there. We're not weak, we're not passive and we're certainly not stupid. We just understand that bullying someone into silence doesn't mean that you are right or that you win, it just means that you're an unpleasant, belligerent a**hole. We usually find another way around the situation that doesn't involve trampling on other people. And hey, if you're going to work me over so badly that it changes the entire trajectory of my life and has me in therapy for years, I won't be shutting up about it. I have every right in the world to talk about how I feel. Hell, I can can even shout about it, or sing about it (though you may want to cover your ears. I can carry a tune, but I'll never make it on Broadway). I can even dance a little jig and sing about it. I can talk about it in a book, or on TV, or maybe even in a movie (well, by proxy. I personally have no business on the big screen). I learned a long time ago that it makes no sense at all to tiptoe around the feelings of people who never even give mine the slightest consideration.

My tribe. My tribe are the folks who really know me and love me in spite of myself. Some of them are blood, most of them are not. They don't look down at me like I'm a pariah or some kind of second-class citizen because they know me well enough to know better. They're the folks who are gently honest with me when I'm making a mistake, they are the first to congratulate my successes. They've been through the tough stuff and the joys. They've laughed with me and cried with me. They've been there with a hug and a kind word at those moments when I had lost everything. They've been there with open arms and hearts when I was at my lowest moments, and without judgement. They're the familiar faces I've known and loved for years, they're the new friends I meet at book signings (which terrify me more than a bit!). They are all the people who's love and support continue to buoy me through the ups and downs. They mean everything to me. Sometimes my tribal memberships are fluid and flexible, but most of the members have been around for a loooong time. There is always room for more in my tribe, of course. The only requirement? Mutual respect and understanding :-)

Here's a song that some of my most valuable tribal members know well:





Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stop the Bus

When life would get to a point somewhere past ridiculous, my friend Dawn (AKA "Donna") used to say "Stop the bus, I want to get off".  It was silly, but somehow, nothing was quite able to sum up that particular state of mind quite so well as that statement. It just fit. I am currently experiencing one of those days. I wish there was a bus to stop. Figuratively, anyway, the bus I'm currently riding feels like it's careening down some random embankment, driven by a zombie, and I'm its hapless, helpless passenger just trying to hang on until it comes to a stop. My greatest hope is that when it does, it's still upright. Ahh...there are few things I like better than getting overly dramatic about bad days, so if you don't have the stomach for that sort of thing, you may want to get off this particular bus now.

I don't know where my car is. My daughter took it to work last night, and both the car and kid are still AWOL. Some days, I don't even feel like I actually own a car, unless it's time to pay one of the many car-related expenses. I said "You can use my car for work" She heard "You may take over my car, and my need for it will always be secondary to whatever you have going on". This is totally my fault. I hate playing taxi SO MUCH that it was a relief. But it has now reached the point of sublime ridiculousness. I don't like bringing the thunder, but if I don't I'm going to explode. Badness. I just have to keep reminding myself that yes, I actually DO own a car. MY car. MINE.

Don't get me wrong, my daughter has been in touch. This morning, at 4:00 AM. Then again at 6:00 AM. Then again at 9:00 AM. Ask me how fabulously I get on when I haven't slept. To say I feel prickly today is an understatement (and what an adorable little euphemism prickly is). I have decided to remain in my apartment for the safety of others. Well, except when I have to take my dog out, which happens. I will do my level best to NOT unleash the tides of doom on whichever unfortunate neighbor I happen to encounter en route. No promises though.

Did I mention that today was also 'sprinkler-test' day? That means the the sprinkler company is here all morning, setting off the alarms over and over again at random intervals. If that noise isn't enough to do in that last nerve that I hope I have, my screaming Doberman might just do it. When the alarms go off, the dog screams. AWESOME. Dobermans are a big dog and most people will tell you that they have a big, booming bark to go with their large size. But, (and all Doberman owners are very aware of this) they also have what I call 'tea-kettle' mode. They have a high-pitched, piercing shriek in their arsenal of sounds that is simply not to be believed until you experience it personally. It almost has a paralyzing effect on the nervous system in some odd, apparently supernatural way. My preference would be to get in my car and maybe take the dog somewhere until they are done, but ya know, I don't know where my car is.

Today is also one of those days when the folks I need to hear from are not getting back to me, and the folks I DON'T need to hear from won't leave me alone (and somebody keeps leaving voicemail messages on my cell phone, which is kind of new, and I don't know how to retrieve the messages). It's not a super day for chit chat. Trust me, you are SUPER psyched that I'm not answering the phone ;-)


Okay, so here's the game-plan: I'm going to hole-up until the storm passes. I can do this. I know that with a little bit of something chocolate and maybe a mocha latte, this day need not be an utter crisis. I promise I will not call you today, and I will not call my Mom. Her nerves and my nerves have a similar intolerance for utter madness. And yes, you may laugh as I am sure to do myself in a day or two. Until next time!



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Q&A

I can't believe it's been almost a year since my first book, "In Stone" was published. And what a wild year it's been! I am so beyond grateful for all the awesome folks who have gone out of their way to support me, all the folks who have read the book and all the kind words coming my way. Thank you, SO MUCH for putting out all that wonderful, positive energy! Not a day goes by when it's not appreciated.

I thought I would commemorate the book's almost-one-year anniversary by answering some of the most popular questions. I actually really like it when people ask questions, and I notice the same ones popping up with some frequency. I normally reserve this space for mind-wandery, whatever's-in-my-head stuff, but it seemed like a Q&A was long overdue. So here goes!

1) Why didn't you just leave?

This has got to be, far and away, THE most popular question I get. The short answer: We didn't have the resources, and we had nowhere to go.

The long answer is much more complex, however. I tried my best to provide some context here by highlighting how we grew up vs. where we suddenly found ourselves. When we rented the house, we were not in a great place emotionally or financially. I describe that time in my life as feeling like I had been pushed down a hill and I couldn't stop falling. Renting this house was supposed to be healing, and we desperately needed it to be. Letting go wasn't just financially impossible, but it was like an emotional last-straw that we didn't have. There was also a part of us that, in spite of what we were seeing with or own eyes, never could come to grips with the reality of what was happening to us.

2) When is the movie coming out?

Haha...the second most popular question! There has been some interest shown in making "In Stone" a movie, but I still don't know if or when it will happen. I wish I had a better answer, but this bit is out of my hands. I will definitely keep you all posted though!

3) I don't believe in ghosts.

Okay, not really a question, but for reasons I don't quite understand, total strangers have walked up to me and said this very thing. My response is usually "Okay...?" followed by me walking away confused. It doesn't matter to me who believes what. For me, it changes exactly nothing. Frankly, it's a little bit like a color-blind person walking up to me and saying "I don't believe in the color red".  Whether or not red exists isn't dependent on any individual belief. I've seen it, so I know it's real.  What would be foolish would be ME not believing in the color red. Am I making any sense? Wishing/hoping something isn't true doesn't make it so.

4) When you noticed things happening, why didn't you research the house?

I have had folks get REALLY angry about us not doing any research while we were living in the house. There were so many reasons for this! First of all, you have to keep in mind that this was rural Vermont in '97-'98. We had no computers, no cell phones and all the ghost-hunting programming was long into future yet. We didn't even have a cordless phone. Any contact information could only be found in the yellow pages, and since none of us had ever even heard the words 'paranormal investigation', we didn't look. If we had, we would not have found anything. It was a different time, a different place, and we were just normal people trying to go about our lives. On the very rare occasion that we summoned the bravery to say "our house is haunted", we were met with laughter and ridicule, which is exactly what one would have expected then. Also, we were TERRIFIED. We were in survival mode, and we innately felt that the more we acknowledged what was happening, the worse it would get. We didn't even talk about it with each other; our fear was that intense. Digging deeper was the LAST thing on our minds. We were just getting through the day. Most people who have lived in a genuinely haunted house totally get it, and for that I have been grateful.

I DID do some research when I wrote the book. What I learned is that it's really difficult to find anything relevant, BUT the Hinesburg Historical Society was able to provide me with some juicy historical tidbits that are included at the end of the book.

5) Are you Catholic?

This is one I get a lot but I don't really understand why. I am, but it didn't seem to have any bearing whatsoever on our experience. Maybe folks ask because Catholics believe in exorcisms, but since none was ever performed (or even considered/discussed), I guess I'm not really clear on the relevance.

6) Are you writing another book? And will it be paranormal?

That would be a 'yes' and a 'yes' :-) The next book is going to be a fictional story built around true accounts. It's been slow going because "In Stone" continues to pull focus (a "problem" I'm happy to have!) but I'm having a blast! There's something exceptionally liberating about writing fiction. "In Stone" was a true account and it involved so many people that I really had to keep things truthful and above board. Those who were there said I did so successfully, so YAY! But book two is just between my characters and me, and it's a much simpler path in many ways.

I would be happy to answer more question if you have any, so don't hesitate! If you're local, I will be at the Milton Public Library on Monday night at 6:30, so I hope to see you there!

So much LOVE AND GRATITUDE!!!!!!



Monday, September 22, 2014

Productivity

Photo: desktopbackgrounds.biz
Productivity means different things to different people. Some folks take it uber-seriously, breaking down each hour in the day for some active task or another. Some bosses ride their employees relentlessly to make sure that every minute they pay for is used in service to something. Some people drive themselves, pushing the limits of their own endurance because...well, I guess I don't know why. I think there is something a little masochistic to that mind set. I've had helicopter-bosses too, but not for very long ;-) It's not that I don't handle nagging/whip-cracking/nipping at my heels well, it's more like I don't tolerate it at all. It's the surest way there is to get me to bail entirely.

Don't get me wrong, I will work like a dog and respect deadlines, I can even work like that for awhile for a specific purpose, but I don't do well with someone standing over me. But long-term, it's like, something short-circuits in my brain and all I can think of is getting away. I get all weird and avoidy and NOTHING gets done. I used to think it was strange, because I've observed people with an (apparently) extreme tolerance for this sort of thing, but I've learned it's actually fairly common. Does that make me feel better or more "normal"? Better, yes. More "normal"? Well, that's a whole n'other topic.

My personal productivity peaks when my mind is quiet. Some of the best ideas I've ever had were in those moments when it appeared that nothing at all was happening. Some of the other most productive moments have occurred when I was going for a walk, or doing some easy but repetitive chore (like mucking stalls). My friend Autumn called those moments of brilliance "muckpiphanies" and it's one of the better words either one of us has made up (and we've made up a few!). I NEED that quiet. without it, I can do nothing. For me, being busy is not at all the same as being productive. For me, it's the quiet that's important.

It's something to keep in mind as I look forward to some of my fondest wishes coming true. I'm grateful for the time between being able to acknowledge the possibilities, and the actual manifestation. I feel like it's not an "if" but a "when" (when, oh WHEN?), and I feel it in my bones. I know that feeling, and I know what it means. So what do I want? Home, of course. But a home that's not a chore-factory. I will never be okay with spending an entire weekend devoted to mowing the lawn. That's just stupid, unless you LIKE mowing. I HATE it (probably because of all those weekends devoted to mowing the lawn!). I will never want a house so big it takes me all day to clean it. I simply don't see the point. What do people do with all that space, anyway? And for me, a lot of space would just make me paranoid. I write HORROR. My brain can conjure up all manner of things hiding in various corners. Do people get big houses to collect belongings? Why? I kind of like the idea of getting a few quality things (or even better, having them made) and then take really good care of them. Like, forever. To hell with what's fashionable. I'm not fashionable. It's not something I think much about. I just like what I like. And how much stuff does a person need? I will admit, I rent a storage space. I rent a space for us, and a space for my stuff. It would seem really stupid to me, but my storage contains outdoor furniture that my grandfather made. it doesn't work in my teeny apartment, but I won't let it go either. Okay, so THAT I get. But otherwise, what's the point?

I always thought I wanted so much but as it turns out, home and a horse would get it done. Lots of folks have both. I (we) deserve to as well. For some, a horse is not a want but a need. That's what keeps me productive and moving forward. Sometimes, when results are less tangible, or time goes by and I feel like I have to take everything on faith, I keep those basic needs in mind. Then I try to find some quiet moments to be productive, and lose myself in the (mostly) peaceful world of the story I'm working on.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Empathy

Photo: rapidlikes.com
I'm in an uber-weird place today. I blame the moon. I like to be funny, but today I'm just not feeling it. I've been a bit hyper-sensitive to the "ugly" in the world lately, and I don't like it. I know it exists; it always has and it always will.  Most of the time I choose not to focus on it. There's a lot of things in this world that are exceptional and amazing too, and I think the more we look at those things, the more we can shape our outlook to something positive. Even so, sometimes I feel like I live in a world devoid of empathy. I don't want to be part of that. Easier said than done.

I know what it's like to be around unsympathetic people. I know what it's like to be humiliated and judged. I think we all do. I know what it's like to be marginalized, verbally abused and physically assaulted too. It's a smaller group that I belong to, but not small enough. I know what it's like to be so betrayed by people I've loved and trusted that I was never the same again. I know what it's like to grow up and realize that nothing I believed in was true. I know what it's like to be told, over and over and over, "You need to figure this out by yourself." I've heard it when I was having the rug ripped out from under me, I've heard it when I was drowning emotionally, I've heard it when I was desperate and asking for help. I drove myself to the hospital in labor. I raised a child to adulthood without a dime of child support. There have been times in my life when just the smallest gesture, just the most minute amount of faith from another person would have made a world of difference, but it wasn't there. I have had to "...figure this out by myself" so consistently that my challenge these days is learning how to trust and work with other people. I'm not complaining! It's new, I've earned it, and it's kind of awesome. But nobody should have to "figure this out" by themselves. That's not why we're here.

But I know what it's like to be angry. Okay, not just angry, but so angry I thought I could be eaten alive by my own rage, and almost was. I can almost understand why people hang on every word of the "news" that tells them who to blame, who to hate and how to feel. And of course it works. If someone is "other" and we get to hate/blame/whatever them, then not only do we get to feel "better than", but it absolves us of  any responsibility for our fellow human beings. We can watch people struggle and feel nothing. We get to be selfish, and feel perfectly justified. Of course it's easy to hang on to that, to believe the lies, to be 'us vs. them'. To develop and cling to a paranoia so intense that we arm ourselves so that we are able to put fatal holes into other human beings as we see fit. Into them. That other created by the hate-factories called "news". How are we okay with this? I mean, HOW ARE WE OKAY WITH THIS?!

I know I'm not the only one who sees it or feels it. I am so grateful for that. But what if we all woke up tomorrow, and decided to trade in our judgement and hatred for empathy? What would things look like then? What if we could be human beings instead of Americans, Canadians, Russians, black, white and brown? What if we recognized that ALL religions (well, maybe not satanism) are, at their heart, based on love? What if we embraced our differences instead of using those differences to kindle fear and paranoia within ourselves or others? What if we saw people struggling, and instead of blaming them, we offered a hand? I know it's possible. In my very own life I have met people who do just those things. Some of them for me. Sometimes, that person has BEEN me. That's how I know we have a choice.

I have been angry and blamey. I know what it feels like. I know how easy it is to just exist in that. But the good people (my mother especially) who have come into my life have allowed me to see something else. We can all be that person for somebody if we want. I choose to be the kind of person I can have respect for. For all of us, it's a choice. You can hate and judge; you can turn a blind eye. It will be your sin to live with. No matter what other people do, the behavior we are responsible for is our own, always. How we treat people isn't about them, it's about who we are. We don't have to be the same to have empathy for one another. If we all had empathy, all the problems in the world today would disappear.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Significance of Sunflowers

Photo: amoreint.com
Monday was the Monday-est Monday I can remember for a long time. This week, they're doing work in my building too, so the space invasion is feeling extra invade-y Yet somehow, I remain somewhat philosophical about it. Perhaps it's because I'm fully and properly caffeinated, or maybe because I know it's temporary. All thing in life can't be cool and groovy all the time. Not only would it be boring (though I will admit to being all set with nail-biting, tooth-grinding events. ALL set) but there would be no contrast. There's lots to look forward to, not the least of which is "spooky season". I get giddy just thinking about it. Besides, (okay, awkward and lumpy segway) I hail from the "sunflower" tribe. I didn't always, but I surely do now. It's all good.

People often overlook sunflowers. They aren't popular in bouquets and when you think of beautiful things, sunflowers may not immediately spring to mind. But they actually ROCK.

Whenever I could, I planted giant sunflowers somewhere on my property just to have them around. Just looking at them made me happy, so why not? A few years ago, I had five of them growing in front of my home. It was August, and they were tall and strong and AWESOME. In an exceedingly unusual turn of events, we had a small tornado (an EF-0) kind of stroll right past my property (on rt2 in Grand Isle to be more specific). It was TERRIFYING. My dogs were glued to my legs and I could hear the ripping and tearing sounds of siding and shingles being forcibly removed. I saw all kinds of greenery flying past my kitchen window horizontally at an alarming rate, and hear the sounds of hail threatening to break glass. I had enough time to think "Holy crap, I'm going to die" a few times when it all suddenly stopped. Everything was a mess. It was kind of surreal. But my sunflowers still stood in my front yard. Their heads were bent over and their leaves were shredded, but they were the only thing I planted that year that wasn't just gone.

It was sad to see them looking so forlorn, and I was sure they were dead too, but I waited a few days to pull them up. Well, I never DID pull them up. Within a few days, their upturned faces were looking resolutely towards the sun again. They were renewed. From that time on they became my favorite flower.

There are flowers that are much more beautiful to be sure. But as a reason for existing, beauty alone doesn't mean much. When I think of beauty for it's own sake I think of orchids. They are delicate and unique. But when their exotic and ephemeral beauty is gone, there's nothing left. Some folks think of roses when they think of beauty, and they ARE beautiful. They are not quite as delicate as an orchid, but they have thorns. Some say the thorns are worth it for they joy the flowers bring, but long after the blooms are gone the thorns remain. Something to think about.

I want to be a sunflower. I want my beauty to be about my strength, a determined kind of joy and a desire to keep my face turned to the sun. I know that life's tornadoes (and forgive this clunky metaphor) have beaten me around and torn me up, but I was not left destroyed with my head hanging, at least not for long. I love the happy yellow petals of sunflowers, they are the color of joy. I love that when the summer is over, they aren't just dying and done, they have more yet to offer. With maturity they feed the birds, they feed us. They have something yet to offer beyond the way they look.

Last year, I was going through a bout of uncertainty. I was just about to finish my manuscript and I didn't know what would come next. What if I had done all that work for nothing? What if I had experienced all those sleepless nights, relived that nightmare, for no useful purpose? Then, inexplicably, I saw that a giant sunflower was growing in the small patch of grass near the dumpster behind my building. I don't have a yard anymore. I live on the 4th floor of an apartment building. As grateful as I am for manageable expenses and a safe place to be, I am really out of my element here. But there was a familiar sight sight in such an unlikely place. It was like seeing an old friend just when I needed them most. I felt a sense of reassurance as I watched it grow in such a inhospitable place, it's happy yellow face turned resolutely toward the sun. True or not, it felt like a sign just for me. The rest, of course, is history. I published my book and it's been a whirlwind of crazy-awesome since! It seemed unlikely (bordering on impossible) that a sunflower would just grow on that small patch of grass, and just as unlikely that my book would sell like it has, that I would get my picture in the paper, that I would be on TV and have a chance to think of my book being turned into a movie, and yet there it is.

Sunflowers, to me, represent resilience in the face of impossible odds and a fierce and determined joy. There's no bad there. Who know what's to come, but whatever it is, I bet it's good!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Games I Don't Play

Photo: www.facebook.com/kristelsmartsbooks
My daughter wants me to date. Okay, if I'm being perfectly honest, I've even been lectured by people who barely know me about how important it is to "find that person". I get it, I hear it, but I guess I'm not sure how to fulfill that wish for them. I'm happy alone, genuinely happy. I think I used to believe in the importance of that other person too, once upon a time, but years and experiences change a person. Even so, I'd be open to the idea if I could find a human being who was looking for a human being, to relate as human beings. I'm an Aquarius. That doesn't just make me odd, it means that friendship is the most important thing to me. It means if someone can't connect with me on a mental level and be my friend, it just doesn't work. Astrology aside, that really IS the magic formula for me. And brains are HOT. Seriously.

What's the difference between a friend and a boyfriend? Think about that for a minute; think about the difference between how a person would relate to one vs. the other. It would take a man bordering on magical (Yes, magical. That's exactly right.) to get that difference and even more so to find it appealing. I'm not saying friendship as in a platonic sort of friend-zone friendship, I mean a relationship based on two people actually liking each other as equals, respecting each other, on a human level. It doesn't sound like much, maybe, especially to folks who are happily enmeshed, but for me that connection has been as illusive as Bigfoot. And hey, at least Bigfoot leaves footprints and such to allude to his existence.

I'll admit that growing up in rural Vermont is enough to leave anyone jaded in the dating department. It can be a place where scantily-clad women draped over motorcycles (gross) are actually considered an appealing choice. I have actually had someone say to me "You're pretty, you don't need to be smart" and they were sure it was a compliment. I suppose in a land of cave-dwellers it might be, but in the world where I live (which, admittedly, is somewhere between Shangri-La and Middle Earth most days) it is disrespectful, marginalizing and attempts to diminish the light that dwells within us all regardless of gender. And therein lies the other half of the problem: The way I want to be seen also tends to be the same filter I look through when I see others. I don't even want to begin to tell you how much "bad" has resulted from that situation. It's one thing to strive to always see people as their best incarnation of self, quite another to do so with reckless and hopeful abandon, and a lack of common sense. Yeah, I'm over that. I take full responsibility for my part in the resultant issues there, but will admit to a learned-reluctance to engage because of it. And I haven't seen the need. I also have zero-tolerance far all things patriarchal and misogynistic. And why wouldn't I? I have had to do EVERYTHING alone, and now I'm going to let someone step in and direct how I live my life why? Some guys really frown on that, but they aren't the ones who are for me, anyway. So now we have what? A magical and very secure guy? Hmm.

I'm on a trajectory. I have this very clear picture of where I want to go and I'm working very hard to get there. Do I even have the energy to date anyone? I don't know. The right person could be worth the distraction. But I don't have the energy for games, or for the nonsense I've already dealt with. I'm not going to fight with someone to be who I am, and I'm not going to apologize either. The right person would understand that being an important part of my world does not necessitate monopolizing my time and attention. He would also know that I like shiny things, but that a really neat rock collected from a river just for me would mean more to me than something polished and expensive. That I prefer the joyful, upturned faces of sturdy sunflowers to the ephemeral and exotic beauty of orchids. My favorite sounds are of wind through the trees, the rolling of a river and the steady sound of hoofbeats on a dirt road. The moon and the stars are more beautiful than any city skyline; and silence, long and comfortable, can be the most meaningful form of communication.

I know exactly what you're thinking: I should probably just look for Bigfoot. Hey, you never know. Bigfoot might actually find me :-)