A leap of faith

When I was a freshman in college I lived, like many freshman, in the dorms. They weren’t just any dorms. They were the fancy dorms. Well, as fancy as dorms get. The building was made up of five identical floors, each containing four suites. One suite held two bathrooms, five bedrooms, eight beds and a den* of sorts.

My suitemates and I lived on the third floor. One day I** forgot this detail. I got off on the fourth floor, walked through the common room and into the shoebox, er, bedroom directly over top of my own. A strange girl sat at what, at the time, I believed was my desk. I looked at her. She looked at me. We looked at each other. And then I said the one and only thing I really could say in that moment of deadlock.

“Well, all right then. I’ll see you later.”

If only I had heeded Bob Dylan’s advice, “An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place when he thinks he’s at somewhere.”

An artist. A student. Pish Posh. We all get lost sometimes.

Like the time my friend and I stepped off a train in Switzerland instead of Italy, because I carelessly confused Geneva and Genoa at the ticket counter. We were backpacking around Europe after graduating college. Clearly, I never took geography. Fortunately, my lack of very fundamentally basic knowledge worked to our advantage. Had we not found ourselves in Switzerland, it’s unlikely we would have found ourselves jumping out of a helicopter over what can only be described as the most gorgeous place on earth.

Interlaken and the Thunersee

I’ll never forget that first step into the sky. Mostly because the tandem diver strapped to my back tricked me. There was a step just outside the door that we climbed up to board the helicopter. Just before we were to jump I was instructed to step out onto that very same ledge. I stepped all right, but it was a long time before my feet found anything solid to land on.

Dylan must have been talking about the mandatory orange jumpsuits and the thrill on our faces when he said, “You always have to realize that you’re constantly in a state of becoming.”

Thinking back on my first and last days of college makes me feel a little sad. At the time, I felt like I had the whole rest of my life ahead of me. The possibilities were endless. Now here I am, charging towards my 30th birthday, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

But I have to remind myself that not much has changed. The truth is I’m a little lost. And I’m a lot terrible at geography. But I still have the whole rest of my life ahead of me. I just have to take a leap of faith and trust that when times get tough my parachute will open. And in the meantime, I should try to enjoy the ride.

After all, didn’t Bob figure, “As long as you can stay in that realm, you’ll sort of be all right.”

*My husband calls the living room the den, and I always ridicule his vocabulary choices, reminding him that, “We aren’t a pack of wolves!”

**As I’m writing this I’m realizing that this actually happened to another girl that lived in the suite. I think. I can’t actually remember. I do remember this. I was definitely the one who told a handsome young man that I could not give him my phone number because I didn’t remember what it was. And that was the truth. (Cut me some slack! It was a new number*** and I had a lot to take in that first week of college.) He, of course, thought it was the world’s lamest rejection line.

***Remember when most people didn’t have cell phones?

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Michael gave me this prompt: An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place when he thinks he’s at somewhere. You always have to realize that you’re constantly in a state of becoming. As long as you can stay in that realm, you’ll sort of be all right. -Bob Dylan.

I gave kgwaite this prompt: There’s always time to do it right.

What’s next

In case you were wondering, I do plan on continuing the daily posts. I’m just going to do it every few days now. I need a little break from everyday. I find that the evening, after Ruby’s gone to bed, is the best time for blogging. It also happens to be the best time for watching television. And for, you know, interacting with that man living in my house.

It was fun though. I feel like it’s been a period of growth for me as a writer. It was an opportunity to try new things. This blog has gone through a lot of changes over the last year or so, culminating in the last couple of months. Now I’m sort of sitting back and thinking about where I want to take it next…

Themed Posts

Yep, Ruby Tuesday is here to stay. For now anyway. I don’t expect to win any literary merit awards with these, but the family seems to enjoy them.

Runner’s High is also sticking around, but probably on a random basis.

Writing Communities

Over the last couple of months I’ve participated in writing challenges at Yeah Write, Trifecta and Scriptic. There are things that I really liked about each of these forums. Different things:

  • I felt the most engaged and invested in the process through the Scriptic prompt exchange. I also liked the specificity of the resulting assignment.
  • I liked the layout of the Trifecta website. The rules for participation were very clearly outlined and easy to find. I respect the level of professionalism the editors brought to the group.
  • The bloggers linking up with Yeah Write blew me away with their level of interaction and support.

As much as I enjoyed trying my hand at these writing challenges, none of them fit me as well as those custom made jeans I could only afford with a Groupon. I suspect I will continue to participate in this sort of thing if and when it feels right.

More on Community

The best part of blogging is community. OBVIOUSLY. What I really liked about joining the groups above was meeting new people and reading new content on a wide variety of topics.

I would really like to showcase some of that great stuff, the stuff that keeps me trapped in BlogLand, here on this blog. I’ve attempted to do this by including the ‘My Community’ and ‘Worth a Read’ sections to the right. But they haven’t really had the effect I wanted them to have. So I have some other ideas. Be on the lookout for an update on ‘Worth a Read.’

I am also toying with the idea of inviting the occasional guest over to post. We shall see…

Content Restrictions

One of the things I love about this blog is how versatile it is. I’ve written about everything from running to parenting with a postpartum mood disorder to the politics of Big Oil. And for some crazy reason you guys keep reading. Thank you for that!

That said, I’ve stretched myself and this blog more than ever over the last two months, and I realized there are some limits. This blog is about my life. It’s non-fiction. And it’s about right now. I’m not opposed to writing about something that happened in the past, but only if it’s relevant to what’s happening in my life right now.

This leaves me in a bit of a predicament. Sometimes I want to write out of bounds. Yet these lines are important to me. And so I’m on the verge of doing something I said I would never do – start another blog. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now.

And all of this leaves me with Some Questions for You

  • What writing communities are you a part of? Have you participated in any writing challenges you would recommend?
  • How do you highlight your community on your blog?
  • Do you feature guest posts on your blog? How do you manage it?
  • Do you or have you ever kept up multiple blogs? How did that work out for you?
Carquinez-bridge

The marble bridge

Between bridge tolls and co-pays I spend $22 a week to manage my mental health. This isn’t bad, really. Yet I still wonder how long it will last.

I could cut my weekly dues in half if I saw a different therapist, one on my side of the bridge. But the idea of starting back at the crazy beginning sounds intolerably exhausting. Ideally, I would have found a therapist over here back in April. But I would have had to wait another week, and I didn’t have that kind of time.

I had already waited three weeks, one week longer than the standard questionnaire requires. “Have you felt sad, worthless or depressed for two or more weeks?”  I emailed my OB/GYN on a Friday saying something like, “My anxiety is all consuming,” and, “I think I need some help.” She put in the referral on Monday. By the time the lady from the Psychiatry department called to tell me they were booked solid for the next month, it was already Tuesday. A fourth week was getting ready to pass me by.

She must have sensed my panic. Somewhere between breaking down in tears and stating that, “Surely this is affecting the bond with my baby,” she agreed. I better come in the next day. If that meant I had to go a little out of my way so be it. Nothing as trivial as a body of water was going to stand in my way. I felt like I had lost my marbles, and there I was racing across a bridge after them.

Twice a week I travel down this road to recovery. I’ve been doing this for nearly four months now. Some days feel a bit like that first day, like I need to release the nervous energy before I burst. Other days I wonder what I even have to say. I dread the inevitable awkward lulls in conversation, and question whether it’s worth the $5 bridge toll.

I wonder how I will know when I am “cured.” When do I stop suffering from postpartum anxiety and graduate to survivor? I feel like I’m waiting for my therapist to declare from the other side of the coffee table, “Congratulations! We’re all done here!” So that I can go on my merry way, immune to even a shred of self-doubt. But something tells me this is not how it will play out.

I am a parent now, and the ride has just begun. I will always care and worry about my child.  No matter how many bridge tolls I pay, that’s not something I can expect to get over. No one ever does, and there is no final judgment, and we never reach the end of the marble bridge. All I can really do is step on the gas and hope my sanity doesn’t roll too far away from me.

Carquinez-bridge

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Michael gave me this prompt: ​’No one ever does, and there is no final judgment, and we never reach the end of the marble bridge.’ – Glenn Carle.

I gave FlamingNyx this prompt: It’s all fun and games until someone realizes it’s not fun at all.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me