Thursday, September 29, 2016

resisting change

I used to be a creature of habit.

A focused machine.

I'd set a goal and damn it, no matter what, I made sure I got to where I wanted to go.

These days, not so much.

40 days of daily writing petered out at 10. Or maybe 11. I wasn't keeping track the way I used to.


And so, I'm starting today.

Today is day one.

I'm hoping to change, at least a bit, back into who and let go, at least a bit, of who I've become.

Monday, September 26, 2016

a change I'm hoping won't come (11)

I'm waiting for this presidential debate to start.

Nervously. Anxiously.

With dread.


The potential changes that are inevitable should Trump win make my skin crawl. My stomach turn.

His enmity, his narcissism, his egotism, his anti-intellectualism, his hate mongering, his disdain for just about everyone would all bring changes of the most negative, fatalistic kind.

I'm hoping instead this country comes together to stay the course.

Not change would be the best outcome in this nightmare scenario.

Well, not really no change. Hillary kind of change.

Women supporting, equal opportunity, make this country even better sort of change.

I'm fine with those changes.

And would be honored to call her President.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

changes (10): they're not all good

Change of seasons can stump me when it comes to fashion.

Some days I nail it - quirk, funk, edgy, eclectic. Boots, dresses, scarves, colors all come together for something unique and different.

Other days, not even close.

Today was one of the latter.

My too big jeans didn't look cool. Instead they screamed = shlumpy and saggy.

A belt wouldn't have helped.

Turns out I didn't love my new Love Trumps Hate shirt.

My favorite fall jacket looked sad and worn, not hip and retro.

The lavender flower I pinned to many lapels, looked like a haphazard afterthought.

After walking too long in my new Frye boots, my poor feet could only handle beaten up Birkenstocks.

My hair? We don't have to go there.


Today nothing was coming together.

The crisp fall morning that would usually challenge me, instead left me lost.

But tomorrow there's a good chance I'll be back in the fashion saddle.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

changes 9.0: late nights in the big city

I'm heading out to a show.

It starts at 10:30pm.

There was a mix up with the tickets.

We were supposed to see the 8pm seating.

I'm always happier with the early option.

I'm not a late night person.

Daylight, early mornings, routines make me much more comfortable.

And yet, hear I am, about to start an evening.

Yes, I know that for many this is on the early side.

But to me it's late. And that's a change I'm working on being ok with.

Not sure it's a good one. We'll see how it goes.

changes 8.0: last minute switch ups

Every Friday I take a kick ass Pilates class - trying my best to never miss it. It's been a constant in my life for awhile and while I have both love and dread relationship with it, the good outweighs the pain in the end. 

Today I raced to class, set up my mat, and a sub walked in. I'd taken her class before and it wasn't what I was looking forward to. Before I even had time to process what to do, I left. 

Walked out. 

Grabbed my bag and skedaddled. 

I didn't want to hurt her feelings so I slipped out as she walked past. 

I then wandered over to my yoga studio, took an hour and a half class, got to hear a stunning version of Little Wing, and dissolved into one of the best shivasanas ever. 

Unexpected change. 

A delightful outcome. 

Not getting caught up in expectations or disappointment. 

Good lesson to hold onto. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

changes 7.0: down an organ

Six years ago, this coming Thanksgiving weekend, I got a text asking if I was serious about being a kidney donor.

Conceptually of course I was.

In the real world I wasn't as sure. 

I freaked out for a day or so and then realized I had to get tested. At least I'd know. I'd either be a match and then figure out next steps, or I wouldn't be and that door would be shut tight. While waiting for results, I wasn't sure what I wanted the outcome to be.

Two weeks after testing I got a voice mail that yes, I was a match. Joy flooded me. I sobbed in the street, thrilled beyond believe. I knew then this was meant to be.

The next six months weren't so much about joy and happiness. There was endless testing, there were complications, delays, stress, anxiety, countless unknowns. We didn't know until day of surgery if my brother even had room for a kidney in his scarred abdomen. And there are no guarantees that a new kidney would work.

It did. 

It still is.

That donation defined me for a long time. It changed me forever. 

I'm down an organ. 

But now I feel exactly the same.

My brother is healthier than he's been since he was a baby. But also settled in to his new status quo. 

Talk about a monumental, life changing, life saving change. 

That now feels like a dream. 

changes 6.0: riding the wave

For as long as I can remember, I worked for straight hair.

Blow drying in steamy bathrooms. Hot ironing before heading out of my bedroom. Bottles of shampoos and conditioners all promising help.

So much of me, my ego, my sense of self was tied up in my straight, at times bordering on perfect hair.

If my hair looked good, I was good.

When my hair was neat, controlled, managed, tamed, that reflected out the parts of me I wanted the world to believe were who I intrinsically was. There was no room for mess, for change, for awkward or volatile or unattractive. I wanted to be in control and have everyone see me that way.

Story of my life.

Inner turmoil masked with straight hair, a big smile, and a powerhouse drive to get things done.

Last summer, I gave up. Gave in. Threw in the towel (or at least straightening tools).

It was a sweltering August day, upper 90s, and as I sweated just holding my hair iron, not able to see myself in the bathroom mirror from the building up of fog, I stopped. The ridiculousness of what I was doing struck me. I unplugged my necessary accessories and walked out.

And then had to acclimate to the messy head I was choosing.

For someone so used to absolute control, wavy hair was an existential crisis. That is not an exaggeration. I stopped looking in mirrors. I apologized for how I looked when running into people. I researched products and techniques and spent more time and money on serums and sprays and beach bounce gel than one person should.

I dreaded having my picture taken. I hated people asking me what was different, assuming it was a polite way of noting I'd looked much better before.

And then, it all stopped.

I stopped caring. It stopped mattering. I left my house without touching my hair - how I woke up was how I spent the day.

And that was freeing. Letting go of expectations, of perfection, of rigidity, of control.

Turns out I was able to let go of those things in other places too. My hair was the way in.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

changes 5.0: fashion choices

Today is a cream puffy skirt with an ornate black pattern printed on it. 

A loose black tank top. 

A grey lace single wrap scarf. 

Weathered Frye boots. 

An ever present nose ring, circle stud earrings, and wrap bracelets. 

Every morning is a fresh palette, an opportunity to put things together I hadn't before. Huge change for me after years dressing in almost uniforms that hid me in crowds and made me as invisible as I wanted to feel. 

Now I embrace funk, eclectic, avant garde, on the edge - within reason. 

But I've asked people to let me know when I go from being a cool dresser to that embarrassing woman on the street. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

changes 4.0: bodies

I spent much, if not most, of my life unhappy with my body.

My hips too wide, freckles apparent on my arms, cellulite mottling my thighs.

Big feet, big nose, big ears.

Bowed legs. Thick eyebrows. Eyes that needed correcting in 4th grade.

Minutes, hours, days, months, years spent trying to lose weight, battling anorexia, working out too hard and beating up on this body I often felt was the enemy.

But now I revere it.

This is my home.

My heart beats with love.

My skin wraps me tight (although slightly less tight in some areas).

My legs walk for miles and get me where I need to go.

My hands knit and bake and hug.

My larger than ever lap held babies who grew into wonderful young adults.

In a world where it's all too easy to feel fat, old, wrinkly, inadequate, I treasure this body. I've learned to give it rest when it needs, to stretch it when it's tight, to heal it through meditation, to appreciate all we've been through together.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

changes 3.0: not caring

One thing I'm finding as I get older, is that I care far less than I used to.

If my hair's a mess, I'm fine.

It my outfit isn't fabulous, it's ok.

If I ask a ridiculous question or say the wrong thing, or look lost, or make a mistake . . . whatever. It's another moment that will pass.

I'm far easier on myself. Far more accepting, tolerant, empathetic. I've been letting go of negativity, self-doubt, and occasionally guilt.

It's a lovely place to not judge myself so harshly and to feel more comfortable in my skin.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

changes 2.0: adventure

I am not an adventurer seeker. I'm more a creature of habit, a doer of the familiar, a person who sticks to the same general path.

Brave new endeavors forced anxiety to the surface. It was far easier to maintain steady than risk going off the deep end.

But, delving into the unknown is getting easier.

I'm not searching for it per se, but when opportunities cross my path I'm finding myself more likely to take them than run away.

Today I hopped on my bike, rode around the tip of Manhattan to a ferry slip. We fly across the water to Sandy Hook where I rode, for miles, into the wind, in blazing sun, across a significant bridge and then turned around and reversed it. Back in Manhattan I rode back from the East River, through unchartered block, Stuy Town, Union Square, traffic snarls, tourists blocking blocks.

In the past I would have found one hundred, one thousand reasons not to go. And every step of the journey, if I actually embarked on it, would have been fraught with near panic, worry, doubt, fear.

Today wasn't that. Today was just an adventure. Long, hot, tiring, fun beautiful at times, frustrating at others. I watched the sun set over the Hudson. Saw the Statue of Liberty, twice. Felt light-headed and heat stroke-y a couple of times. Wondered at wildflowers blooming near blocks of concrete and the joy of ice water when over heated.

Adventure will never be my middle name. But I'm thinking it's going to be a hat I wear more often.

Friday, September 16, 2016

changes: 1.0

A major change I've noticed lately is my lack of commitment. Even here - a few days into a 40 day writing challenge and I blew it after day three. 

I used to breathe obsession. I could give up sugar, fat, salt. I could do cardio until I couldn't walk. I delved into projects with abandon,  until whatever I was working on became my everything. 

Now, not so much. 

Part of me thinks this is a far healthier way of being. Being more present in what is, rather than spin my wheels about other things. Letting the ebb and flow of days take precedence over an iron willed set of rules I impose. 

I'm less driven, less hard edged, more tolerant. And in the end that's good. 

But sometimes I miss the depth of drive that made anything possible. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

changes 4: so what do you do

So, what do I do? That's a question with an evolving answer. Actually, it's a question with a myriad of answers, most not particularly conventional for the world we live in. I've rarely been able to sum me up in a word or two and even when I try, it never quite works. 

I'm a mom, a caretaker, a holder of hearts.  

Until right now I've been an over zealous volunteer. 

I walk dogs, mine, on a regular basis. 

I'm a yogi. 

I'm a good interview if one's talking about menstruation or education. 

I've been a graphic designer for a long time, mostly freelance, but I don't do that much anymore. 

I'm a writer of a bunch of books, lots of articles, entertaining Facebook posts, and one screenplay. 

I can be an avid listener and/or a serious distraction. 

I'm a mediocre cook but an above average baker. 

I don't mention most of the above, when asked. Except for the graphic design and writing parts. But when asked recently I had a new answer: business owner. 

That's not something I ever aspired to or thought I would be, but it's a good fit. It's communicating, helping people, problem solving, and writing roled up into one. It's something I created that fills a unique niche. 

I'm making it up as I go along. Enjoying this part of my ride. And wondering what will come next. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

changes 3: what to wear

The air has an edge of crisp.

My hair is slightly less outraged by the humidity.

Air conditioning is optional not mandatory.

And so the question becomes: what to wear.

It's not quite a flowy summer dress day - my staple for summer. Even though it's beautiful and will be hotter later, that doesn't quite work for now. But it's not a jeans and boots day either - my staple for fall.

And so, it's all about making hybrids work.

I love fall fashion in the city - everyone working (or not trying hard) to make sense of changing weather, new shoes and sweaters, still longing for long summer days while excited for changing fashion.

Some people embrace it. Others seem to have randomly grabbed pieces in the dark to cobble together things that just shouldn't be worn at the same time.

It's a fine line.

Today I've got on a cream 50's style summer dress. Distressed mid calf Frye boots. A handmade brown denim jacket with a giant hot pink flower pinned to the lapel.

Could be good. Or I could be the one others are pointing to as an example of a fashion don't.

Fashion change is in the air. I'm working on going with whatever instead of stressing the finer points.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

changes 2


My house is quiet. 

One child away at college has a profound difference on everything. 

Truly everything. 

But the thing that I'm noticing most is the spaces. The silences. The lack of music or yelling to turn down music. Less showers being taken. Less discussions about what to eat, discussions about emptying the dishwashers, arguments about walking dogs. 

It's adjusting to a new way of being. A different way of staying connected. Forging a path both to stay in touch and to be ok with how things are here. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

changes 1

The fall usually brings change - a least it has for as long as I can seemingly remember. New grades, new school supplies, new classes, new adjustments, new challenges, new friends, new routines.

And so, in honoring  another September, with cooler skies and stunning sunsets, I'm going for 40 days of writing about change. This fall their not just for my children, who've been the center of just about everything since they arrived. This fall lots of changes have to do with me. 

And that is slightly nerve wracking while pretty thrilling. 

Friday, September 9, 2016


I mean to write every day. 

I plan to do 10k or more steps. 

Eating less sugar is absolutely on my radar. 

Working out more has my name all over it.

Purging and organizing my apartment is on my to do list. So are setting up doctor and vet appointments, booking plane tickets, putting together care packages, knitting hats. 

And yet I'm overcome with inertia. It's not that I'm not getting things done, but my lifelong ability to make a commitment and stick to it in an often obsessive way had gone into hiding. 

Could be summer mode. Could be all that meditating has turned down the volume on mania.

We'll see. 

For now I'm starting lists again and hope to cross even a thing or two off every day.