I love scary things: haunted houses, suspenseful movies, mystery novels. Those are my jam. So there is a special energy that I feel when a Friday falls on the 13th day of the month, or during the month of October, or on All Hallows’ Eve.
Tonight we had friends over for dinner and games. It was their first time playing any type of CAH game. And it was so much fun. Lots of laughter ensued. Instead of playing to a certain number of black cards, we played until they needed to head home and counted all of our cards up. I finished first: 13 cards. Then Shelly: 13 cards. Then A: 13 cards. Then T: 13 cards. Cue our shocked faces, yelling of confusion, and goosebumps. It was surreal.
Full moon. Friday the 13th. And very strange “coincidences”. Insert the theme of Twilight Zone here.
I generally don’t like the anticipation of things. It’s one of the intricate pieces of who I am as a person. Even things I love to do, in the moments leading up to them–I dread them. Things as simple as hanging out with friends, sometimes I convince myself I’d rather stay home and so I cancel. Things as complicated as being in a new place by myself where I don’t know anyone–I overthink it often and just don’t want to go.
That’s how it’s been as I started my grad school journey. For our orientation a few weeks ago I got there early (go figure) and waited in my car until I thought I wasn’t too early. But it was daunting–I didn’t know where I was going, I haven’t been a student on a college campus for 10 years (10!). Of course it was fine, the people I met were friendly, and just about everyone was in the same boat of not knowing one another.
But I felt the same way before my first class too–what was it going to be like? Had I forgotten assignments or readings I was supposed to do? #overachiever And again, it was good, I got to know some people better and I finally felt like I was in the swing of things. And I’m just excited to continue that journey forward.
I talk a lot about relationships. As an enneagram 2 (and an empath and HSP) relationships are very intricate for me. So when I find people I click with I embody the “find your tribe, love them hard” mentality. This year has brought some turn over at my job, and I don’t usually like to be left with feelings of the unknown. So when my boss and co worker retired/moved on professionally, I was very tentative about the new folks who would be coming in.
Today just solidified for me how grateful I am for the staff at my job. Things aren’t always easy, some days (or weeks) every little thing seems to go wrong. But there is a lot of collaboration in our office. We operate in an environment with open and honest communication (and the comfortability to say “I don’t know” or “I can’t share that” and still feel heard and supported).
There is one coworker in particular who has office hours that completely overlap with mine during the work week. She and I have become close and I am thankful for her unique perspective and ease of asking tough questions. We laugh a lot together (evidenced by our boss walking in this morning to us cackling and me being crouched near the floor). We support each other. We share advice about work things and life things. Sometimes work can be stressful or monotonous or any of a myriad of adjectives. But this girl makes things that much more entertaining and positive–you can call us Frick and Frick.
It’s funny how we are brought together with others over the course of our life. Coworkers teach us in unique ways, and I owe a lot to the lessons I’ve learned from various colleagues over the years. And I’m excited to keep receiving lessons along the way.
It’s been two days. And no posts. My goal was posting every day in September, but obviously that didn’t hold true exactly. The last two days have been insane (not trying to make excuses, just being honest). On Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with others from Tapestry that dealt with effective communications. I learned a lot and it was super interesting. However, when we got back I had just a short time to grab dinner and get a few things done before an evening meeting. Which meant for a 13 hour day at work (woof). Thankful though that even with those types of days now and again, that my current job is very flexible and accommodating. But yesterday was a long day as well. Working my normal hours, a meeting after hours, and running “home” to prep for time spent with friends. It was a go-go-go type of day. So, I hope to make up those two posts this week somehow! I hold myself accountable.
Not every day feels like a writing day. But I picked a challenge, and challenge myself I will. So here I write.
Tonight was my first class. Let me just say I’m excited for the time, the learning, these people, and the experience.
What I go back to is my need for community. Intentional space shared with others. That’s what I love and thrive on. I was reminded this weekend all the ways that I’ve created community over the years–through sorority, through ASP, through The Journey, through Inclusives, through international travel, through Women’s Retreat, and so on. I thrive on being around others, I thrive on traditions and deliberate concentrated shared time. And when I feel that void in my life, I create what I need to feel like I’m thriving again. Oftentimes it has the added bonus of being a positive affect on others as well.
This weekend was exactly the community and the people I needed to be around. The endless laughter, the tears, the sweat, the raw honesty, the vulnerability and willingness to go deep, the quiet (and the noise), the nature, the opportunity to reflect and recenter. This group of women fuels my soul. They make me remember that where I am in life is fine, and I am supported and loved come what may.
I’m thankful for the space my friend Anne made by facilitating this weekend. Oftentimes I am the one leading and I so appreciate the opportunity to slow down and not always know what’s next. There are no words for the things shared this weekend–but it was truly exactly what my heart needed.
The idea of community makes me so excited about starting classes and being with a cohort the next three years. This will be a community, people I’m bound to get close to and probably remain colleagues with over the years. It makes me excited about a book club on the horizon–of connecting in a new way with people I know and some I don’t know. It makes me excited about the possibility of another Inclusives Retreat.
Community inspires me, lights me up, drives me forward, and gives me a safe haven. Each community is different: unique and specific in its reach. Generally I create community because of a need I see. But the added benefits are endless. Community helps us dig deep, growth, and flourish.
Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to do or be something. Other times we need to give ourselves permission to let go of something. And that’s okay. That’s what my take away was from our session this evening at our annual Women’s Retreat. And I didn’t realize how much I needed that permission.
It’s easy to write down the things that I want to give myself the permission for–but it may not be as easy to implement them. So in order to maintain what I am permitting, I will share the permission slip I filled out, signed, and dated with a select few people who are close to me. This will allow me to be vulnerable and to have a group that will hold me accountable–that is priceless.
This weekend always has a way of restoring my soul. These women have become so dear to me over the last year in very meaningful ways. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.
People say things come in threes: good, bad, and awkward. Yesterday a conversation about trips to visit sick relatives and saying final goodbyes, just in case. Today a text saying my dear friend had lost her baby, my heart aches. These moments make me catch my breath–they cause my instinct of “reaching out” to kick in immediately. It’s moments like these that I am thankful for my own grief and how it has taught me to share with others and support others. My advice, empathy, and care would be very different without my experiences with my grandma and mom and other close family friends who’ve been sick or gone through hardship.
But as soon as my breath catches in my throat, I hold it there and don’t let it out for a while. My mind changes to the mode of “where and what is number three?” And then I have to tell myself to breathe. It’s different for everyone. But it’s nice to have others who walk alongside of you who understand because of the thread of shared experience.
Thankful to have received and to share compassion and love in times of need.
I won’t let today slip by.
I won’t forget to write some words on the page.
There is something beautiful about introspection, and advice of loved ones.
And something so refreshing to see things in a different light and remember the value and worth of the tiniest grain of sand.
We build each other up until we become large hills–forged and solidified by lightening and turned into glass.
We are the grains.
We are the glass.
I can remember early on the way people would assume I didn’t know what I needed, or that I couldn’t take care of myself. Sure, I’m a girl, or was so more back then, and there is an unspoken stereotype that girls are out of place in a hardware store (unless they are in the garden center). It was even worse on those occasions that I was put together, well-kempt, or gasp, in a dress. My exterior seemed to scream that I was lost or unknowing or looking for the man I was with–not so.
Even with my air of confidence that I learned to slather on my face as I pulled in the parking lot, even with my laser stare pointed to the exact section where I knew I’d find what I needed; still the questions would come “can I help you?”, “do you need some assistance?”, “ma’am are you doing okay?”. I should be grateful–and part of me was, is. It’s customer service. But it seems so unfounded when the contractors, builders, men with weathered hands and sun-beaten brows don’t get the same inquiries. I take small pleasures in the victory of making it in and out of a hardware store without being asked if I know what I’m looking for or where to find it. It’s not something I grew up on–my dad didn’t teach me to know my way around lumber or the difference between 14/2 or 12/3 wire (though he did teach me and continues to teaching a lot about other types of construction and mechanics).
I take pride in what I learned on the Porch some thirteen or so years ago. And I value my time learning in the Barn (May it Rest In Peace) and alongside my double returner (love you, B) and leading three great groups of staffers as a CD (shoutout to Knox ’09, Leslie ’10, and GV 2010 year round). But a lot of it I learned myself. It was intuitive and hands on and liberating. It was tough and dirty and emotionally overwhelming. But it’s a part of me and a piece of why I can and do take care of myself. Our parents encouraged us to be independent and strong willed (whether through their words or actions) and I definitely picked up that torch. So yes, I’ll take comfort in knowing my way around a Home Depot, what penny nail I need for a project, and the different between OSB and plywood.
I could spend way too much money in a hardware store–I could. But I’m okay with just going to feel a sense of peace too. picture of my adventure at HD today for work