This isn’t one of those posts where I, the blogger, apologizes for an unexcused absence. I told you about my summer departure and I told you why I was doing it.
It was excused, planned, deserved.
I was losing my joy for writing. And that is something I cannot do. Not because I’m a so-called “writer” but because I’m not the same without it.
This was the longest break I’ve ever taken from my blog. It was hard.
I missed it. I missed all of you.
But the things I learned this summer were too good to pass up. There isn’t enough time in this blog post to share them all now, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I can explain what happened to change me.
I will say this. I came back to myself.
The separation gave me the room I needed to consider it all. And, I do mean “all of it.”
For this summer, I think I finally grasped life—its vast, violet landscapes that stretch forever. There’s absolutely no way to see it all, smell it all, touch it all. It’s impossible to experience all that beauty in one lifetime.
I’m a Life Enthusiast. Not because I’m one of those chipper individuals, dishing out too many compliments for the hell of it or going with the flow when they should react.
I’m sparing with my compliments, but I love to give them—to make people feel good when it’s right. I can’t brush things off or go with the flow…it’s not my style. I care too much about what’s happening.
I want to take it all in, all the time.
I often feel like that little girl still, the one hell-bent on learning to fly. I loved heights and I used to climb everything. I often jumped from places I shouldn’t have, trying to transform my scrawny arms into wings.
I wasn’t trying to look cool, I was trying to cover more ground. I wanted to see everything and I knew that flying was the quickest way to do it.
One day, when I was seven or eight, I fell out of a tree. I landed on my back and I screamed so loud that my dad sprinted out of our crappy condo, dropping the wooden spoon he had been stirring the spaghetti sauce with on the kitchen floor. He scooped me up into his arms and everything was okay.
That was when I realized I couldn’t fly, and I was devastated. I had been practicing inside my mind, imagining that if I concentrated enough, if I kept trying, I could do it.
My husband scoops me into his arms now. When I try to fly and I can’t. When I try to do everything at once and I fall out of a tree.
Thank God, he’s there to catch me.
I learned to fly this summer. Not physically, but mentally, I soared.
I came back to myself, and though I didn’t travel anywhere the entire time, I discovered new people, places, and things. Even the people, places, and things I already knew seemed different.
My mom and sister came to visit. And me, “the baby” of the family, saw everything differently as we drank beer and talked, as we found new ways to come back to each other in this part of our lives.
We are older, we have scars and memories, but we’re still family. No matter how little time we have spent together over the years, our laughs and hands are still the same as one another’s. We could be anywhere and do anything and still make it.
It was at once comforting and paralyzing to have this kind of clarity about my family.
I went whitewater rafting for my first time. It was a team-building activity at work and I was scared shitless. I refused at first, swearing up and down that I was going to stay on dry land where it was safe…and smart. That day another coworker couldn’t make it, and I decided to face my fears.
Rafting on the Salmon River is no joke—you won’t see a bunch of wasted people floating along with straw hats and cut-off shorts. You have to have a guide and you have to be sober. The water is also 45 degrees, so you need to wear a wetsuit. (For anyone who wants to see wipeouts on the final waterfall we went over, there’s a carnage montage video you can watch.)
I saw the great Northwestern beauty of Washington from the water, gliding along the rapids, working with a small crew to do everything in our power to stay in that little yellow raft, far away from the sharp rocks and raging river. I found a way to come back to my adventurous self that occasionally said “hell, yes” to crazy things.
I took a chance on a beautiful experience that ended up changing me for the better. To think, I almost dismissed it.
What else? Oh, man. So many things.
I guess I should tell you all that I finished the first draft of my book. Writing novels is nothing new, but I came so damn close to never writing one again. Summoning the strength to move forward with another one was a big deal for me.
I found a way to come back to my writing, without expectations or judgment. And I explored something new, a dystopian/fantasy genre, a HUGE change from the historical fiction I typically do.
It flowed. It flowed like the raging river I was just talking about.
I was so unsure and I almost didn’t do it, then I got in the little yellow raft and I paddled until my arms felt like they would never be the same. I paddled because it was the only way to move forward, to keep going when everything seemed against me.
The featured image I chose for this blog post is a bit racy and strange, I suppose, since I’m practicing Yin Yoga in my skivvies with a cat on my back.
I wanted to use it though. This is me when I come back to myself.
I bow down in gratitude, pressing my face against the sturdy earth, because I need it to ground me. I don’t look fancy, and just like in life, comedy swiftly follows even the most serious moments (in my case, that’s usually being mounted by a panda cat).
My cat knows. She climbs on top of my back and sits there, purring. She feels my agreement with peace and she likes it.
I hope you weren’t expecting too much from me—some great revelation or wisdom. In fact, I’m more confused than ever.
All I can tell you is that I used to want to fly and now I need the ground. So if you find you’re in a constant state of flight, unsure and unstable, do whatever it takes to come back to yourself. Because that feeling of being grounded is rare and difficult to grasp, but it’s truly the best place to be.