leaning into my enough-ness

I lit the candles. The cookie cake was cooling on the counter. I dipped a strawberry in the coconut whipped cream, savoring the moment. I was pleased with how clean the house was despite the four kids and four dogs running amuck.

I was ready. 

Kristine came over with her two kids, adding noise and chaos.

I helped her set up the jewelry and by 6:45 we were ready.

Her husband picked up her two kids. Doug took my three out on adventure. 

Peace descended.

The minutes ticked10616010_10104938356026810_5849422438655786421_n. At 7:15 it was fairly obvious that no one was coming. I took a picture wearing some of the new Noonday pieces. We sipped the sangria and enjoyed the (gluten-free) desserts I had made.

//

Matthew got home and asked me if I felt sad that no one came to the party.

I did. I enjoy having people over and feeding them. I enjoy hearing the stories and the conversations and making connections with people.

I didn’t care so much about selling jewelry—it was just an excuse to see people I don’t often get to see. 

But as I rest in this emotion, one thing is clear. I feel sad that no one came, but I am not experiencing it as rejection. 

I think in some ways, I was prepared for no one to come. Only 7 people RSVP’d out of 60 so the odds were not in our favor. And I decided that whatever happened, it would be enough. But it’s hard in those moments when you’ve cooked and cleaned and prepped and opened your home to have people not show up.

I have been hurt a lot by these kinds of moments. Feeling inadequate, and unloved. Knowing if the invitation came from someone else, people would be all over themselves to show up. What makes her more lovable than me? Bitterness and jealousy were always moments behind, fueling the comparisons.

But this time…this time I embraced the moment for what it was. I enjoyed the time with my friend who I don’t see often without our kids. I got to feed a few people. My kids are thrilled about the leftover cookies. The candles created light. I knew I was enough. I felt sad, but not rejected. 

I have learned no one else can make me feel this—if I rely on the outward circumstances to speak adequacy over me, I will feel empty more often than I feel full. But when I rest in my enough-ness the outside circumstances don’t get to speak value over me one way or the other. 

I am enough.

cover reveal: somewhere between water & sky

Today I get to participate in the gorgeous cover reveal of Elora Ramirez’s new book.

Title: Somewhere Between Water and Sky

Author: Elora Ramirez

Release Date: September 18th

Cover Artist: Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations

SBWaS AmazonGRSW

About Somewhere Between Water and Sky

I heard it said once that every human is a story with skin.

If this is true, paragraphs would be etched in the scars on my wrists.

Whole chapters could be written about the way my heart pounds when I startle awake.

And every single one of my tears could fill a book.

But stories, with all their promise, only leave room for disappointment. I don’t have room for that anymore. I left it all—the hope, the love, the promise—back in my old life with the ghosts I’d rather forget: Jude. Emma. Pacey.

Kevin.

This is how I dare to move forward and to believe in a new beginning. I let go of the old. I just grab the new and run. I don’t wait around anymore. I can’t.

Waiting leaves room for the voices.

Somewhere between water and sky, I’ll find a way to burn these voices to the ground.

Add on Goodreads

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

I heard it said once that every human is a story with skin.

If this is true, paragraphs would be etched in the scars on my wrists.

Whole chapters could be written about the way my heart pounds when I startle awake.

And every single one of my tears could fill a book.

I watch the people sitting around me on the bus. The single mother with two rowdy toddlers, the older couple on vacation with cameras strapped to their necks, the boy rapping beats under his breath and writing in a journal—all of them breathe into this poetry of life.

Normally, I’d want to know their stories. I’d wait for hints of who they were inside, the poetic shifts that make us human. Now I just watch.

The boy rapping pauses with his hand in mid air and thinks for a minute. Breaking into a smile, he nods vigorously and lowers his hand to his paper. I frown. I used to have a piece of that poetry inside. It’s just all a little broken now. I don’t know how to fix the one thing that used to put me back together. The poems still come; I just don’t know what to do with them anymore. If I’m feeling particularly brave, I’ll attempt to scratch them into a journal.

Usually, I just write them with my finger on my jeans. No one needs to read them anyway. Besides, I can’t hold on to them for very long. The silence is on fire and the sentences and scenes that used to extinguish those flames do nothing but fan it hotter and brighter. I’m a new person here—no one knows anything about me. All of my journals are in various trash cans around the city. I fill one up and then throw it away, shedding the skin and finding someone new underneath every single time.

This is how I dare to move forward and believe in a new beginning. I let go of the old. I just grab the new and run. I don’t wait around anymore. I can’t.

Like clockwork

the words disappear at dusk

empty cans filled up

like dust.

Rapper boy looks back up and catches me watching him and then offers a shy smile. My fingers pause their lines and curl in to the protection of my hand. I flip my lips upward into a quick grin and then look away before he can strike up a conversation.

I don’t want to know his story.

Stories, with all of their promise, only leave room for disappointment. I don’t have room for that anymore. I left it all—the hope, the love, the promise—back in my old life with the ghosts I’d rather forget: Jude. Emma. Pacey.

Kevin.

Something like grief catches in my throat and a small burst of air escapes through my parted lips.

I miss him. I miss him and I can’t miss him. If I give into these feelings…this emptiness…I shake my head and wipe the stray tear on my cheek.

This is ridiculous.

Reaching into my bag, I pull out my phone. One missed call shows itself on the screen and I frown. No one has my number. I swipe the screen open and scroll through until I notice UNKNOWN NUMBER in red font.

Red like blood.

I shudder.

After the life I’ve lived, I’m nothing if not over-dramatic. It’s whatever. I feel I’ve earned it.

With a few more quick swipes, I delete the notification and sigh the misgiving away. There’s no voicemail, and so there’s nothing to worry about yet.

No harm, no foul. No one knows your number. No one knows your number.

I’ve learned different but I’m choosing another way of living. I repeat these phrases in my head, tapping the rhythm of the words on my knee.

 

About the Author:

1555334_10153643110030004_531682707_nElora Ramirez lives in Austin, Texas with her chef-husband. At the age of four, she taught herself how to read and write, cutting her teeth on books like Dr. Seuss and writing anywhere she could find the space–including her Fisher Price kitchen set, the pages of picture books and Highlights Magazine. Since then, she’s grown to love the way words feel as they swell within her bones. Writing holy and broken is her calling, and pushing back the darkness and pursuing beauty through story is her purpose. She embraces the power of story and teaches women from all parts of the world how to embrace theirs. She has a knack of calling things out , the truth and the detail, the subversive threads that make a life a story. She loves hip-hop, wishes she lived by the beach and cannot write without copious amounts of coffee, chocolate, music, and her husband’s lavender liqueur.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Author Goodreads

i am a writer

She gripped my hands firmly. Her blue eyes met my green ones with conviction and intensity.

“Say you’re a writer. Say it!” She demanded. I tried to look away, but her eyes searched mine out. I laughed myself out of the moment, shirking her mantle and her passion. I couldn’t say the words. They were words I desperately wanted to hear and experience, but I couldn’t say them for myself. Someone had to say them over me. I couldn’t just say I was a writer—that’s not how this worked. She let me go without me ever having to say the words and the encounter left me shaking.

Because it was my dream and it seemed cavalier to just claim it. I needed someone else to see it in me and to speak it forth. That’s when it would be real.

And when this same friend told me about Story 101 I decided to take it. I signed up late as I do all these things, hesitating until the last minute to take the plunge. The first fuze call was awkward…I didn’t know these women I was staring at across the computer screen. I listened and I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote.

And then something began to shift. I began to see the term writer, not as a gift bestowed by someone else, but as something that I get to embrace. It’s a role, a function—how I process and make nonsensical things make sense for a moment.

In the syllabus there is a list of all these great books. I started reading books that authors had written about writing. Click. Things shifted into place. The way I encounter the world is through words. Journaling is so much more than a diary but can actually be practice. No words are wasted. I learned how to find my voice. I learned the people who read my words are the ones who needed to read my words, and to trust the process. I learned about rhythms and that there are times when the words run fallow—and maybe I’m reading more than I’m writing. And then there are times when I’m writing more than I’m reading.

I am not an author yet. But I am a writer. Story 101 was part of the journey which helped me claim what only I could claim. I became more confident in my expression. I learned that while I may write on the same topic as someone else, my perspective and my words will add a new flavor to the discussion. An invaluable piece that would be missing. I learned that numbers are less important than being authentic. And I learned how to streamline—what’s my underlying theme? What is my life and my writing pointing to? I write to wrestle with the tension of the wild beauty and the horrific mess that I encounter. I want to live and write in that tension—never sacrificing one to the other. I remembered I love fairy tales.

All of these elements came out of taking Story 101. I learned who I am as a writer, and I let go of some of the lies I had been clinging to. This world is so big. I won’t be the only one to write about something, but I learned to write anyway. I learned that my words matter. And I learned that there is enough room for all of us to share our stories.

That beautiful friend opened me up to a world of possibility.

Say you’re a writer…

Try it on. See how it feels. 

Say you’re a writer…

And if it resonates, think about signing up for Story 101 and letting that carry you for a little while. It carried me. I found women to support and encourage me. I found a community that welcomes my words. And I found myself. 

Click here to learn more about Story 101.

Housekeeping: The cost is only $127 because this is the last time Story 101 will be offered live. The registration deadline is August 29th at midnight. I’m thinking about taking it again–it was that good. 

baptized by water

IMG_0908I’ve been thinking about the corrosive force of water. In this space I’ve been invited to occupy the past two weeks there’s this amazing window. It backs up to some Alaskan wilderness—there’s a stream that cuts through the forest ten feet from the edge of the window seat. It has become my window. In the morning I hop out of bed and land here, greeting the sun that never sets, writing the words that have been churning in my soul, and sipping coffee. It’s been a happy place for me. I will be sad to leave it. It’s serene and peaceful and I want to package it up and take it home with me.

I’ve discovered that bodies of water call to me. Something about rivers, streams, and oceans soothes my turbulent soul. Even on the 21 mile kayaking trip that exhausted me beyond belief, I continued stroke after stroke because I could hear the water lapping at the edges of the boat around me. Once we were out of the water, however, I experienced a different reality that ended with Doug carrying me up the hill to our tent, helping me get dressed in dry clothes and leaving me curled up inside the sleeping bag where my body worked to generate heat.

I’ve been watching the water. I’ve been watching the way it cuts through the land. I’ve seen how it floods it’s banks, killing trees, forcing the land to recede when it needs more space. It will not be stopped or diverted. It is indomitable. Little by little, even this harmless creek that flows through my father-in-law’s backyard is carving through earth, forcing it’s way through. It’s not at all tamed or peaceful. It’s not safe. It’s a pretty picture—but it must never be mistaken for anything less than powerful. 

I’m tired of living at the surface. I’m tired of one-dimensional stories. I’m tired of two-dimensional characters and tropes. I’m tired of conversation that talk about the weather or read like a “dear diary” entry. 

I want to suck the marrow out of life. I want to see beyond the pretty picture to the rapids and tides that flood the banks. I want to see how we’ve taken the lot we’ve been given and moved beyond it. I want something thick that I can sink my teeth into, something that forces me to pause and wrestle with the truth I’ve always thought I’ve known. The life-giving source is so much more than a river, so much more than a body of water. It’s all the terror and destruction found in this world. And I want to see it and know it. I want to see and know people.

So often I have settled for one or two dimensions. People get scary when we get close. When people exceed the boxes and boundaries we’ve put them in, it forces us to change—but that’s so hard to do. Often it’s easier to walk away, lest the world as we know it get carved up and redistributed. Self-preservation. We stopped seeing each other as people so that we could send each other to hell.

I don’t want the world to stay the same anymore. I want to see the world turned upside down. I want water to cleanse and baptize me so that I can be made new. So that boundaries are forgotten. I want relationships to have dimension so stereotypes dissipate. I want relationship instead of ownership. Water has become my theme, my metaphor. It speaks to my heart. It soothes and calms me. It beckons me to abandon the superficial and to go deeper. Always deeper.

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