Thursday, October 23, 2014

Word

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Surrender to Life on Life's Terms: Picking up Dog Shit

Me in the Erg Chebbi Desert, Morocco / photo cred: Mike Bacchione
On the phone the other day, a dear friend told me about a speaker that came to her place of work and talked about how our goals most always be just far enough out of reach because we measure ourselves not by attaining the goal by by how far we've come.  She went on to say that Buzz Aldrin and all the men who came back from their landing on the moon fell into subsequent depressions - a little unknown fact that the history books do not detail. They had been to the moon, they had attained their life goal and when they returned the world they lived in what was no longer familiar. What tops landing on the moon?

I did not land on the moon and I have not made a dent in history, but I accomplished something that brought me the greatest joy and adventure and freedom I ever experienced in my life. It only makes sense for me to still not know what the hell is next for me. And yet, I know enough. And more is becoming clear.

My life has been about dogs lately. Maple, my brother's dog Wally who we watched for a week while they were on their honeymoon, Morgan's dog who needed a loving ride to the vet, and today, Lily Grace - a runaway that found her way to Mike and Maple. Maple gets her final shots this Friday which means FREEDOM. She can finally be walked outside. We try to socialize her with Wally and other dogs when we can but today, it was like the universe opened up and dropped a tiny gift for us. Lily Grace and Maple got a very active and friendly play date until her owner's contacted us back to come and get her. But it's been good to be around dogs. They don't care about anything but loving you and eating and pooping. Whenever I start to feel blue or take myself too seriously, I clean up the patio and pick up piles of dog shit and scrub it all down. (And I do this at least twice a day to give you an idea of how much shit we are talking.) Nothing humbles you like picking up feces under a blazing sun.

The other thing my life has been about is screwing up interviews - something I never had a problem with until coming back here. And part of the reason, I have to believe, is that my heart hasn't truly been in any of the positions I have interviewed for. For one interview I switched the time in my head and got there an hour late. I have only done that one other time in my life and it was for the SATs. My confidence was so shot I blew the entire thing. The latest interview I also screwed up by talking too fast and also accidentally asking "so is that the light at the tunnel?" when asking about the trajectory of the job. The truth is, I have been working since before I even left for the trip. I have worked freelance, consistently, and even now I am working full time freelance.  But I undervalue that work because it's hard for me to tell myself "good job." It's hard for to acknowledge when I'm kicking ass at just being me because I have this gaping blind spot where I actually seek approval from others.  It's also hard for me to value it since the pay is not something I can live off, yet. It's hard to trust that if I just really commit to this whole freelance thing, that the consistent work will come, the pay will come. But more importantly I could actually design a life and career that I want if I let go and trust. Surrender is a bitch. And for someone as stubborn as me, it seems to be coming with an ass-whoopin' to my ego. (Did I mention I got another candidacy rejection email today?) Surrender by beat down. But, my ego's not worth much these days and it's probably done me more harm than good in the scope of things.


It is only with the heart that one can see rightly....
--Antoine de Saint Exupery

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Teamwork

Photo credit: @smshanny / Posted by @the818
This past weekend my little brother got married. It was a fabulous affair in Palm Springs with all the glam and flare these two beautiful people deserve. I have come to love my new sister-in-law as a sister, indeed, and I was honored to stand with them as a bridesmaid and give a reading that was actually a writing taken from their own words. There were many toasts and lots of pictures and endless laughter and shared stories and memories. But my favorite picture of the night was taken in a vulnerable moment behind the scenes. Lauren's bustle had broken just before dancing was to commence. My mother had just given a toast that I felt conflicted about at best, but mostly just raw. I was leaving the bathroom and ran into my Aunt Gail, down on two knees trying to fix Lauren's dress. I joined her in the pulling and tying and fixing and just then, Scott, perhaps my oldest friend in life, (and really more like family than friend) was walking back into the ballroom and snapped this shot. My Aunt Gail was the woman in mine and my brother's lives who stepped in when my mom had to step out. So much of the kind of woman I became was shaped by "Growing up Guenther" - spending weeknights and weekends at Gail's house with her four boys, my cousins who are more like brothers. This picture captures all of us in our element, but most importantly it captures the kind of family values I was raised with - teamwork, service, and laughter.