A number of years ago, I met up with a friend from grad school at a cute coffee shop in New Haven, just outside of Yale. She was one of those friends that make you feel good just being around them. You know the friends that are always genuinely excited to see you and make you feel like you should probably run the world? She was one of those.
On top of that, she was also an artist and we regularly commiserated about the struggle to decide between using our master's degrees in social work or doing something more free, creative and exciting! (As you might be able to tell, our conversations always leaned toward the latter.)
I don't remember much of what we discussed that day. But as we were about to part ways, I remember she suddenly blurted out, "You know what I think you should do?!" (I didn't.) "I think you should start a blog!"
There was no time for follow up, so I didn't really know what she meant. But I was immediately flattered. Maybe she thought I was a good writer...or that I have something interesting to say. Or maybe it was a "you have a face for radio" type of comment. "Since you suck at speaking, maybe you should just write and not be in close contact with other people!" My social work friends were notorious for these types of stealth ‘reframes.’
Either way, it was one of those things that I tucked in the back of my mind. And it stayed there. "I should write a blog!" was stored alongside "I should move to California and live by the beach!" and "I should get a tiny house!"
Fast-forward to about a month ago. I found myself headed to the same coffee shop, which incidentally is named Koffee. (Clever, huh?) But this time, I was headed there for a date...one I had nearly canceled about 87 times that day.
Loads had happened since that first Koffee meeting.
I did eventually move to California and live by the beach. And while I had plenty of positive experiences in the years that followed, they were also filled with struggle, trauma, and loss.
Shortly after I moved to San Diego, I was raped. Then I was retraumatized attempting to see my rapist brought to justice. (Unfun fact: When it comes to rape, justice is rarely a thing that happens.) I was fired from a job for the first time in my life. I founded and developed a nonprofit, but over time became consumed and drained by it. I had my chest cracked open and my heart repaired. And, in a cruel twist of fate, I then had my heart yanked from my chest, thrown on the floor, and smashed to smithereens, when my sister (who was the absolute love of my life) passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in our home.
And half those things happened within the last year and a half.
One could say that maybe this was not the best time to go on a date. But after months of self-imposed isolation, I had had enough. I pep-talked myself every step until I was sitting at a wire mesh table, in the sun, across from a nice-faced guy with red-framed glasses, sipping my frozen, chocolatey, and not-in-the-slightest-bit-coffee drink.
And, again, I don't remember much of what we talked about. But I did share how I had almost bailed...several times. And I remember he said, "But you didn’t. You showed up. And that's huge! You should keep doing that." And I knew he wasn’t just talking about dating.
I drove home feeling energized and a bit smug. He was right. I did show up.
Show up. Those words were small but powerful.
So, all these years later, here I am. I am taking my friend's advice and starting a blog. I don't know how it will go. But I have a lot to say. And I hope you'll join me as I fumble through trying to say it.
I took this photo in the bathroom of Koffee during that first visit with my friend.
As you may have noticed, I kind of have a thing for potty humor and bathrooms.