When You Don’t Recognize Your Reflection

Today, after dropping off my son, I walked briskly home to start work. If you have never walked with me, you should probably know when I say walking, what I mean is I keep up a pace just short of a jog, as fast as my long legs can handle on autopilot to carry me swiftly to my destination. You don’t waste time when walking is also transportation.

After a lovely laid-back weekend, which was not originally in the cards, I was feeling rejuvenated even under the heavy influence of a lack of sleep. My mind wandered over the past twenty-four hours replayed in my head while Tegan and Sara kept pace with my stride.

What a wonderful place to be. Who would have thought that I could ever spend a hushed hour listening to philosophy and Buddhist enlightenment with my head pressed against a shoulder, a beard brushing my cheek? To let myself be truly held by a person, by a moment, and let myself stay vulnerable there? For once, I am simply content to listen and drink in the perspective of another without feeling I needed to add something simply for the sake of opening my mouth. When did pauses become as worthwhile as words? When did I become so soft?

After releasing all of last week’s emotional baggage, I feel light, confident that I can move forward in my work, my choices, my options. Turning a corner, I skip over the two steps and just barely restrain a public display of dancing.

I walked past a tall window and jumped, startled, because I noticed a woman out of the corner of my eye walking uncomfortably close to me. I wheeled around trying to get a better look at her and to get out of the way (she was in a bigger hurry than). Not seeing her, I spun in two full circles before I stopped – and realized the apparition was my reflection.

Pausing a moment to watch the woman mirrored back, I noticed she seemed taller somehow. The clothes she was wearing were still somewhat unfamiliar, although she looked well put together. Slightly disconcerted that I didn’t recognize myself, a smile started to creep up as the full weight of the realization hit me.

That woman looked great.

She looked ridiculously happy. Like she took care of herself. Like she knew what she wanted.

I think I’d like to get to know her better.

When the clothes no longer fit

You find ones that do.

For awhile, maybe you try to make it work, donning clothes too big and baggy that you look like you’re trying hide inside of. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your clothes and now they feel constricting and uncomfortable, your growth making it all too apparent that you have noticeably changed.

When your clothes no longer fit, you have to make a decision. Will you get something that’s the same as what you had before, just in a new size? Or will you take this chance to try something new? Will it be another black t-shirt and jeans year? Will you choose to blend in? You have a choice.

A few years back, in a world that seems very far away indeed, I started writing down my thoughts and publishing them for anyone to read. It was life altering. Where I had felt so alone in the small suburb I’d grown up in, I made that most cathartic of discoveries – that there were people like me out there who believed the world could be different.

I learned a new skill set, made new friends, and was introduced to possibilities I had no idea existed. My reality expanded to include ideas and concepts a few months prior I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend. I started to meet these people “in real life,” much to the confusion of friends who were still afraid of people on the internet. But I had so much more in common with these new friends that I couldn’t possibly go back.

After I’d been blogging a few months and making deeper connections with some of the people I’d met, I heard about a blogger meetup happening in Chicago. And I had this feeling like I had to be there. You have to understand how odd that was for someone like me. I’d done very little travel. The cost of a ticket was a fortune to me at the time.

But I had to go.

So I tapped my resources, fund-raised, and figured it out. (Even though someone offered to just buy me the ticket later, I didn’t take it.) And I did it. 12 days after I started, I got together the cash for the plane ticket for the trip I somehow knew was going to change my life. Running out into the heavy rain for miles, I laughed at the sky and sang Liz Phair at the top of my lungs and danced across stone walls. I did it. Chicago was going to change everything.

I had no idea.

It was an unbelievable few days, packed with experiences I hadn’t considered as options for me. It was crazy, sexy, fun, wickedly uncomfortable at times, and it left me reeling. Because everything that happened, I chose.

It was me who decided to forget my life back home for awhile.

It was me who decided I’d do something about that boy I liked. And that girl. Ooh, you know what? And that boy, too. And I did.

It was me who decided to kiss his mouth on my way out of town on the train, distilling the entire experience down to one unforgettable moment before I boarded my plane.

No one pressured me, no one made me do anything, and nothing was out of my control. Those decisions were mine, and despite the growing pains, the discomfort of leaving what I knew in the dust, and the lies I was about to start spinning, I didn’t regret a single thing.

On that plane ride home, watching dappled and glorious sunshine through peach and purple tinged clouds, my whole body was alive with the newness and intensity of it all. So this was a peak experience.

After that, I found myself questioning everything. Oh my god, did I really do that? Who was I? Were those decisions really mine? What kind of person did that make me? Was it who I wanted to be?

I’ve thought a lot about it. Obsessed over it. Because the aftermath hasn’t left an inch of my life unscathed by its touch. (And I still wouldn’t take it back.)

When I left my marriage a few months ago, I thought that girl from Chicago was who I was going to be. With no one to stop me, I could be that strong, ballsy female writing her story outside of societal boundaries and norms. I’d do what I wanted, I’d play the field, I’d upgrade my expectations – and my life. I’d be that woman I’d seen I was capable of being.

But it hasn’t quite happened like that.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a strong, independent woman and all that comes with that, and I love it. My expectations and life? Certainly upgraded. I do what I want.

But it turns out what I thought I wanted was, well, not actually what I wanted.

I cast lines out. The second I said I was single publicly, I was shocked at how many male friends suddenly came out of the woodwork. I had dates lined up, fuck buddies ready to go, big talk talked. OkCupid has been entirely too good for my ego. (I don’t know what people are talking about when they say they have trouble with online dating.)

I have lots of options. But once I got into that situation, it became clear that wasn’t what I wanted. I’m a lot of things, but it turns out being okay with casual sex isn’t one of them. That girl from Chicago might have been me once, but she isn’t me anymore.

In place of the standard route of self-destructive tendencies I usually opt for, I’ve been struck by this stunning honesty I wasn’t sure I was capable of. With all of my obligations stripped away, affectations have fallen to the side. Vulnerability has taken up permanent residence. And that thing I fear so much – softness – has taken hold in a way I’d never let it before. My values are driving my decisions in a way they’ve never been able to before.

By removing all of the baggage of a failed relationship, the heaviness of a complicated situation, the shame of an affair, the guilt of not regretting said affair, I’ve been left with very little that isn’t truly me.

My deepest longings are revealing themselves, these things I’d felt inklings of before but had never really given enough consideration to. Like how the writing I’d really love to be doing is more like this. Like how I want my work and life to all wrapped up in each other like new lovers. Like how I want dancing, music, and performance to comingle in this work, too.

Accepting this desire for more romance, more adventure, more truth in my life has brought it to my door in the most startling, wonderful way. And moving through this next phase of transition, I hope I can stay this open, this soft.

Not long after I moved, I realized I’d lost weight and none of my clothes fit. Looking again, I realized I didn’t like any of them anyway. Nothing felt like me anymore. Everything was drab, dark and gray. It was a wardrobe meant for holding back, hiding away in.

I found a boutique down the street, and I bought the brightest red dress I could find. Fortune favors the bold, right?

When the clothes no longer fit, it turns out what fits me best is happiness. (Well, and red lipstick.)

What happens when you ask for what you really want

December is a dead zone in a lot of ways – it makes it great for planning. I love choosing a theme for the year. It tends to change about half way through, but regardless, I think it’s a fun lens to view the year and my choices through. So I ask a question.

What do I want more of this year?

This year, I chose a bold theme – mischief. I even made a Pinterest board, which makes it official, right? At the time, I didn’t even make vision boards because I’d cut and glue and cut and glue and ugh it’s not perfect and rage… and burn.

It just never fit. It never turned out like I expected.

But I wanted mischief. I had to have it. I wanted that telling side glance so that when you made eye contact with me, you could see something dancing in my eyes. There was a story there left sparkling and unsaid – and you wanted to know what it was because it was clearly a good one.

I kept my list of goals for the Year of Mischief – because naturally there has to be an associated list of goals with one’s yearly theme – rather short for me.

Go camping. Travel abroad (finally). Write 150 poems. Don’t settle. Dance.

My goals all had a thread of movement racing through them. I knew I needed something I didn’t have, but I didn’t know what it was yet. But I could feel the tides changing. There was an undercurrent of momentum that wanted to carry me along as desperately as I wanted it to.

And it was starting to. I’d gotten a great job that paid the bills plus a little extra. I felt creative again. I was writing – poetry even! The pressure that had been heavy on my shoulders for months was beginning to ease up. Instead of the ease I expected, though, there was more unrest I couldn’t quite pin down.

So I asked the year for mischief. Bring it on. I solemnly swear I’ll be up to no good. Rain down the Loki on me. (And if you find a way, Universe, Tom Hiddleston wouldn’t be so bad either.)

But when you ask for something like mischief, you never quite know what’s going to happen. And oh boy, mischief did I get. By mid-January, I was in talks for an even better job. While talking with a friend, I realized exactly how dire the situation around my marriage was. (And how insane I sounded trying to justify it.) I came on to an unsuspecting coworker. (Whoops.)

I betrayed myself to the vision of Mischief. I craved it with every ounce of my being. After feeling so numb to my everyday life, I was desperate for more. So I did something crazy.

I started asking for what I wanted.

I asked for the divorce. I asked for everything to dismantle. To come crashing down. I asked for it. Oh, I just asked for it.

And it happened. It hurt like hell, it was hard, it sucked… and I didn’t die. Hmm.

But now I needed a new place to live. What was I going to do? where was I going to go? Covered in vulnerability with a future shrouded in uncertainty, where should or could I even go?

It took a long walk through northwest Portland to meet a friend and a seemingly random stop in front of a seemingly random brick building. But I had a moment of clarity. Where would I go in this new life of mine?

Anywhere I wanted. 

So I asked for the apartment. I walked in, asked the manager if they had any availability, and sure enough – they had an opening at the end of that week. I didn’t even know if my credit was good enough to get approved. But it did.

I asked for freedom. So I bought a little red dress, fresh flowers for my desk, and started up an OKcupid profile. (That last one is it’s own story.)

I asked for help. I was afraid of being told no. I was so afraid of being a single parent. I was afraid life was going to be so hard. (Spoiler: It’s much, much easier.)

I asked for mischief.

But what I got was a life.

A brave new world

I woke up this morning to the sun peering through the windows. It’s the kind of morning that refuses to be ignored, warming you and reminding you that you live in Oregon, so you better get out and enjoy this while it lasts. I lingered another moment under the covers before crawling out of bed to figure out how to spend the morning.

With no kids last night or this morning, it’s my time to recharge and fill myself up before the week starts over again. And everyone knows the best way to do that on a Sunday morning in Portland is with brunch.

Lucky me – turns out there’s a creperie down the street. Let my heart just flutter at that thought for a moment. A creperie! BY MY APARTMENT. I threw on a scarf, tossed my red notebook in my bag should inspiration strike, and was out the door. This sort of spontaneity is still new to me, and I’m enjoying every ounce of it.

Last night, I went out on a whim to sing karaoke. I made a lovely new friend who got my Firefly references and sang Disney karaoke without any prompting. Best of all, he didn’t hit on me once. This whole being single thing has been surreal so far, but my hopes for making friends in this city just grew substantially.

Walking up the the creperie, it was everything I’d wanted it to be without knowing it. The steps up to it were worn, the paint having long since been tracked away by other delighted food lovers. Inside, it was well-lit and cheerful, and I picked a table in a nook by the front door, chipped paint framing the old windows that gazed out on to the street. It was a people watcher’s dream, the perfect stakeout. Miles Davis’ “So What?” filtered through the air with the scent of fresh coffee grounds and a hot oven.

I ordered my coffee (black) and a fruit crepe dripping with creme fraiche. Oh happiness, thy name is French food. Every bite tasted exactly how a crepe should – light and slightly sweet with just a touch of tartness. This is food for the soul.

A baby squealed with delight in another part of the cafe. I knew just how she felt. Watching people walk past the cafe, I wondered about their stories and their lives, and I realized this was the perfect spot to write my next book. And I knew exactly what it would be about.

Sitting there finishing my coffee, I felt this sudden, irrepressible urge to laugh out loud.
This was my life.

Here I am. I live in a beautiful apartment – exactly the one I have wanted for years – in a delightful neighborhood tucked into the west hills of one of the most breathtaking places in the world. I found the perfect cafe to write my next book in. And I’m heading to Europe at least once this year with a dear friend.

This is my life. I did this.

I DID THIS!

I could leap out of my skin with the joy I feel in moments like this.

It’s not all like this. My kids are struggling with this transition, and some days, I do, too. It’s easy to pretend nothing is wrong when there’s a certain amount of security involved.

But that’s not me anymore.

I’m not going to pretend again. I’d rather take risks and smash my comfort zone to pieces. I’d rather be alone than be with someone who doesn’t value me. I’d rather turn people away with my honesty than lie to make them comfortable.

I choose this.

I choose dancing and travel and writing. I choose friendship and love. I choose to live this one life as fully alive as I can, and I’ll be damned if I’ll fall back asleep again.

There is so much I am uncertain of. But for the first time in my life, I know what I don’t want. And that’s a good start.

A Taste of Freedom

The more living you do, the more you have to say, to write about, to work with. Creativity – the more you do, the more you have. And sometimes, the longer you live, the less you are willing to accept from others as okay, as truth, as what’s right for you.

For a long time now, I’ve let things slip by. My acts of rebellion became smaller and less brave, until finally it all was too much. That suffocating feeling like you can’t move, you can’t breathe, you can’t trust yourself. I’ve been withdrawn, watching on the sidelines instead of writing and designing my own way through it all of this. And I was wrong.

It’s time to start following my truth in a way I never have before. Alone.

This is my declaration of separation and acceptance of aloneness. And in accepting this aloneness, this sometimes loneliness, and fresh perspective, I’m finding everything I’ve needed and only some of the ghosts I’ve been afraid of.

More than anything, I’m realizing I feel so full. With hope, with gratitude, with possibility.

There are so many people I’m thankful for in helping me get to this point. My kids, supportive friends and family, incredible colleagues, and new and unexpected friends. You all know who you are. You have helped me push through my fears, and I don’t know I could have done this without each and everyone one of you.

In the grand scheme of things, this is so small. This isn’t killing anyone. This isn’t the first time this has happened. This isn’t taking anything I don’t need away from me. This isn’t the end of me.

I will be okay. I am okay.

It’s not a justification – it’s a surprising and miraculous discovery at the end of several draining weeks.

This is the beginning of a beautiful dismantling.

Divorce sounds so heavy and awful – no wonder Gwyneth wanted a different way to talk about it. I’m not looking for anyone’s acceptance or approval with this choice. What I am looking for is more – more adventure, more travel, more writing, more passion, more music – and it is already coming my way.

I no longer have a husband, but when all is said and done, I might still have a friend. I know I’ll still be a part of a supportive coparenting situation where we can trust each other with the most important thing to either of us because we ended it before we hated and resented each other too much to turn back.

The next chapter of my life is here. It’s tantalizing sexy good so far, like it’s just been waiting for me to catch up, throw my arms in the air, and say yes.

And I can’t wait for more.

4 Productivity Myths Holding WAHMs Back

Don’t you find it frustrating that according to the “experts,” there’s only ever one right way to get things done? Me too.

As a WAHM, traditional advice on how to be more productive doesn’t apply to me. On any given day, I have two or three jobs that need to get done, and I’m not talking about just transitioning between tasks. From my duties as a Domestic Goddess to making sure I’m delivering as a CEO, most “experts” would say I’m doing it wrong. But have you ever noticed that most advice is for a very particular type of personality?

If you’re familiar with Myers-Briggs, it’s advice geared to turn you into an ISTJ. (Just like elementary school is, in case you were wondering.)

Deal with things in a literal and concrete way. Be rational and logical. Do what you say you are going to do no matter what the personal and emotional cost. Don’t depend on anyone but you to get things done the one right way.

That’s not me, and it’s probably not you either.

That kind of advice is tailor made for middle management. So if you’re over white guys at the top of the corporate pyramid dictating how to get things done, check out these how to bust these myths on productivity for good.

1. Meetings are a waste of time.

Meeting with people is the single most valuable thing I do every week. Why? Because people keep me sane. They remind there are people out in the world doing what I do, struggling with what I struggle with, and working towards the same greater good that I am. Connection is invaluable, and it’s where my best ideas are born. Only meet with people you want to, and your meetings will be a driving force in your life and business.

2. All tasks should be treated the same.

Recently, there’s been a large amount of advice encouraging people to hunker down and mindlessly work through their to do lists like everything on it has the same weight. I think that’s ignorant at best and elitism at worst. Have you ever worked with children running around in the background? How about trying to make dinner, take a client call, and make sure you don’t get mommy-brain and forget the thing you’re supposed to do after… What was it again?

3. Feelings have nothing to do with how productive you are capable of being.

I don’t do anything without feeling good first. Yeah, I said it. If I feel shitty, I’m not going to work on anything that requires any sort of creativity until I get myself back into the right frame of mind. When I’m not happy, I don’t do my best work. And if I know that, why would I deliver at a sub par level when I know what I’m capable of when I am on?

So have a cup of tea. Put on some lipstick. Do something that makes you feel good, and then get back to work. 5 minutes of self-care can make the difference between a lackluster performance or a memorable one. Recharge.

4. Doing the dishes is procrastinating.

Getting physical gets your brain moving. Seriously. If you’ve got writer’s block, go do the dishes. Go scrub your toilet, or better yet the shower. You’ll be struck by genius in no time. (And hey, even if you’re still brain-dead, your house is clean, right?)

Want fresh productivity advice that works for you? Join our Facebook group here – ENFProductivity.

How I approach social

I was asked a question earlier this week that I’ve been turning over for a while now.

“How do you feel about social? What’s your approach?”

At the time, I was a little flustered. Social media has built my business from day one. How could I just spit out something witty and short, succinctly summing up how social media allowed me to start a business, build relationships around the world, and help others build their brands?

So after some thought, I think I’ve finally come up with a decent answer. So what’s my approach?

I approach social media like a human.

That might sound tongue in cheek, but bear with me for a minute.

When you look through all of the “social media expert” advice out there, CLEARLY you must be doing it wrong. If you don’t instantly have millions of followers, why bother?

Well, I think that’s ignorant and short-sighted.

While instant growth and higher numbers make us feel good, if you are growing at that fast of a rate, chances are you’re also losing a lot of people. You’re missing out on creating superfans, the “I knew them when…” audience. Followings shouldn’t be grown overnight if you want a deeper/better connection with individuals within that group.

Building rapport with authenticity, helpfulness, and transparency is how I build relationships in my daily life – why would it change when I go online?

Nothing pisses me off more than meeting someone who is nothing like who they are online.

Good social media campaigns are creativity meets common sense, curation meets conversion.

How could it be anything else?

How To Never Have An Average Day Again

Think of the last time you had a day where you felt completely in your element. You worked from your core strengths, but things flowed easily. The energy was there. You were on fire. 

It’s incredible when it happens, right?

Now imagine an average day. Average productivity, average interactions, average work output. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. It’s probably not interesting to talk about.

What’s the difference in those two days for you?

Let me wager a guess. 1. How your day started and 2. What kind of work you were doing. 

Unless you have very small children, chances are you are in control of how your day starts. For most of us, that’s gratifying to know… And also terrifying. Why? Well, if you’re in control of setting the tone for your day, that’s an awful lot of responsibility, isn’t it? Even if you can’t control the type of work you do (if you work for someone else, for instance), you can influence your mood, performance, and more for the entire day.

Here’s another few questions – what would it feel like to eliminate average days? How much more would you accomplish? How much more time would you have on your hands for creating the kind of work you care about most?

Eliminate average.

If you have a choice, and you do, in expelling average from your vocab and your life, why wouldn’t you do it? The world doesn’t need more average output, it needs your best. We all deserve you at your best, and vice versa. If I’m not giving you my best work, give me the finger for wasting your time and keep walking.

So how can you eliminate the average day?

Fall off the balance beam.

Balance isn’t in my vocabulary, and it doesn’t belong in yours. Balance is for people afraid of getting what they want. It’s giving up interesting and provocative for more of the same. It’s staying away from our edges because we’re scared of what’s out there.

Jump off the balance beam, and go for it.

When I’m at my edges doing work I’m proud of, I’m either going full speed ahead, or I’m not. There is no in between, and when I pretend there is, I’m miserable.

Either you’re filling up your tank, or you’re draining it. You’re in your zone of genius, or you’re wasting time.

So how much of your day is wasted in indecision and procrastinating? Probably more than you’d like to admit, right?

This is directly connected to how you start your day. What if, instead of living in the land of indecision, you built a system that supported you that kept you at peak performance and out of the average zone?

“Automate and delegate” is my objective for the quarter, and I’m trying to implement the best parts of both of those into my life, as well as my business ventures. Automate everything that can be automated. Delegate anything you can that you don’t love doing.

How valuable is your time? Because mine is worth more than what it costs to delegate my finances to an accountant.

How’s automating and delegating working so far?

Yesterday, I launched two massive joint ventures. Guess how much stress I felt during the process? Zero. I knew what was going on, I knew what was left to execute, and I have the deep trust of knowing my two work wives (my work harem?) have my back. Besides, I’ve flopped enough launches that both of these were well-planned, have been in the works for months in one form or another, and were so ready to come into the world.

Guess what? You can do have that, too.

Take back your day, and start with your mornings. Here are some quick and dirty tips to get you there faster.

How To Never Have An Average Day Again

Find a productivity system. Use it, tweak it, repeat.

I took this class recently, and in combination with my printed planning sheets, it’s phenom. The last couple of days have seen me at my peak productivity. And if a 90 minute class is all it takes? More please.

Do what you’ve gotta do.

Let’s be real here. I’ve got a two year old boy running around during my peak work hours. How do I survive? Screen time. The kids loves screens, and I’m way over feeling guilty about pulling up a movie so I can make a deadline.

Do what you need to do get the results you want. Fuck the naysayers.

Take care of yourself.

Take your supplements. Take a 10 minute meditation break. Go natural with your health care. Stay hydrated. If I’m dehydrated, I’m useless. Drink 64 oz. a day minimum, more if you’re exercising or trying to lose weight.

Does this all sound obvious? Good. It should.

So why aren’t you doing it?

Jump off the balance beam, love.

P.S. Curious about the two launches I mentioned earlier?

Nina Nelson and I are thrilled to introduce the Simple Natural Box. Think of it as DIY meets Done For You. It’s an easy way to say yes to your desire for a simple wellness routine while still acknowledging that you’re hella busy.

Second, if you’re local to the Portland area, Princess Parties NW is throwing a Princess Holiday Ball. (If your kids love Frozen, you have to come. Also, catering by someone at Noble Rot. Right? RIGHT?!)

Is Kickstarter right for you?

I got an email this week with some great questions about Kickstarter, and I’d thought I’d share my insights publicly.

Hey Dusti,

I was wondering how you start a Kickstarter project. I am really hoping to start my own nonprofit organization, and I need financial help and support. What do you do? What info do you need to create this project to get funded? Is this a good and helpful process to use Kickstarter?

Thanks,
M

These are pretty common questions, and crowdfunding can be confusing at first. Here’s what I’ve learned from my successfully-backed project, as well as consulting on many others.

First of all, Kickstarter is only for creative projects. If you have a less specific goal in mind, another site like IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, or one of the many copycat sites may be a better choice.

What makes Kickstarter so desirable in comparison to other sites is twofold. One, they have the biggest platform and the most internet cred. Second, because Kickstarter only lets you lists creative projects, it makes you get hyperspecific – in other words, by the end of the process for creating a well-thought out project, you’ve also got a great sales page – the makings of a business.

To answer the rest of M’s questions, nonprofits need a board of directors. Get the people first, funding can come second. I personally avoid the nonprofit structure at all costs because I am a control freak. Okay, not really, but I hate the idea of having to kick the collective ass of the board,
For information to get moving on Kickstarter, it’s easy enough to start a project, but it has to be approved and meet their criteria. On the site, they have lots of great info, and I suggest you go through all of their great data.
The most important thing to understand about crowdfunding is that it is not about getting handouts. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter really only work when you already have an audience. The chances of strangers contributing is pretty minimal. This isn’t easy money – in fact, it’s some of the most painstakingly difficult money to get because of the massive time investment you’ll put into it.
I hope this helps as you seek out funding for your project, M!

A little bit of waxing

It feels selfish to write for myself rather than for others, but my heart is swollen with choice, love, more and the fleshy tears sting. Some days everything is so together. A perfectly tied package I can stack in the corner with others more or less like it. Other days are much more interesting. My strangeness causes so many issues, but in the issues I find so much more than this everyday push.

Onstage, I have begun to feel more at home in a foreign place than I have anywhere else. I am stranger, but it’s accepted and an expectation that I must be. The friends I’ve become closer to through this latest rehearsal process have shown me glimpses of myself I haven’t seen in years. I’ve been performing, but I haven’t given it everything it deserves.

Now the tattered trappings of hope shoved in trunks and forgotten in favor of putting out the moment’s fires have found their way to the top of my heart, and I find myself carefully trying them on, seeing if they finally fit right. And when I look in the mirror, I realize it suits me.

I want Paris. I want adventure. I want freedom. Everything in me is calling out and screaming and begging to run to those places whispering my name.

If my words were powerful enough to elicit that constant wind that knows you know it’s time to move on, I’d cry it out here until nothing but understanding remained. But I’m not sure I could do the wind justice. She knows me so well, and she knows the sway she holds over me. I don’t pretend to have the presence of mind to bottle her up for others to see.