A Shared Interest

Beaming in the backseat of the car you gleefully exclaimed that you had finally found something that you “actually like”. We were driving back from your first hip hop dance class and sweat was glistening on your blonde brow.

During the short ride home we bantered about the feeling that comes over  the both of us when we dance. More specifically, when the song is really cranked up and you feel it on the outside and the inside. Hearing that you had not only found your “thing” but that we share the very same interest made my own excitement palpable.

We’ve always enjoyed breaking it down together in the kitchen in the privacy of our own home. This was different though. This was an activity you consistently asked to go to, and you were seriously bummed about missing if  I didn’t make it home in time from work to take you to a class.  I wondered still if it would be a short lived interest and you would move on to something else or lose interest as you had with soccer.

It was almost a year ago when you made this announcement about finding something you really enjoy.  You’ve since shared a stage with your best friend, performing in the variety show as a second grader. And now, in just two days, you will be on stage again for your second time ever doing a hip hop routine with your peers. You’re both excited and nervous -you’ve mentioned this now a couple of times. We chat about how it’s normal to feel that way before a performance and that’s what makes it fun. The thrill of going on stage, the lights on you, lots of people watching and the fear mixed in are all part of the territory. I watch you dance at home and in the car and at rehearsals – and you just beam. You go into your own little world and it’s really cool to watch.

When you’re older, I’ll talk to you about this time in our lives. “This time” as in the right now. I want you to know how momentous it was for me to be your mom watching you grow, develop interests,  and experience this piece of your personality unfolding. To share a common interest that we both feel so passionately about makes this a true bonding experience for me. I didn’t think it was possible to actually notice bonding. I can’t say that I’ve had any bonding experiences thus far in life quite like this one.

Someday, when my body doesn’t quite work the way it used to, and I can’t dance with you, run with you, or keep up with you the way I do now, I’ll have to think back to this beautiful experience. A shared love of something that allowed us to be a part of something separately but together at the same time. I’ll be so grateful, my heart will be immensely full and I’ll sit back in my wheelchair and wipe a tear from my old wrinkled cheek while reminiscing about the glory days of motherhood and a body that still worked. And then right at that moment, more than likely your dad will dare me to get up out of my wheelchair and twerk… and the sentimental moment will pass.

 

On Writing

Some insight into why writing feels right…

Everyone’s story is different. For that reason, there is something so satisfying about indulging in a good biography.  Fiction and non-fiction narratives that tell stories of the character’s arc are forever fascinating for the human mind. We can learn from someone else’s experiences; empathizing, marveling, relating, or grieving while reading what they’ve suffered, lost, overcome, or endured. As someone who thoroughly enjoys hearing and reading about others’ lives whether it’s over a beer, a coffee, a blog, or pages of a book, I discovered there is much to be enjoyed when writing about life as well.

I’ve always kept a journal. My parents gave me my first one at the age of 7. You could say there’s enough material to write at least 3 books!  Whether or not they’d be interesting is debatable. But I did take some time over the last few days to read through them and wow…what a trip. The details are long forgotten. That’s why writing in a journal is key should you ever want to harken back to the days of your youth.  Let me tell you-it zaps  you right inside that very moment that would have otherwise been lost in the Bumbletown of your waning memory.

In my mid-twenties I took a memoir writing course and when the class ended my professor made me promise to someday write a book about my life.  She also mentioned that if it never came to fruition, to always keep writing.  Her advice has long hung out in my conscience. She also warned it was probably best to write a memoir prior to having children because time would be scarce. She had written her book with two small children and cautioned it was tough to do so. Well, I didn’t listen to her and damn was she right. At any rate,  my chance at writing did eventually show up, even if in an unexpected way.

In 2009, I started a Facebook group for working moms. I wanted to meet other moms to build relationships and coordinate play dates on the weekends. Fast forward to early 2016 when an editor of an online blogging publication www.suburbanmisfitmom.com posted an ad in my working moms group looking for writers. A few weeks later my first and very personal article was published on my inconsistent childhood read it here.

There was a crazy waterfall of emotions that occurred when my first article had been published. I was sitting in morning rush hour traffic when the “You’ve Been Published” notification came through. Just picture Diane Lane in that bus scene in the movie Unfaithful. That was me.

Instead of dipping my toe in, I dove head first and opened up in the only way I know how when I write. It was scary but exhilarating.

Following the high of being published came the mystery of how certain people interacted with me after reading about my personal not-so-sunny experiences. Surprisingly,  whether they are close to you, an acquaintance, or a complete stranger- each reaction is different and some are not even close to what you would expect. Sometimes it’s confusing and off-putting and other times it’s gratifying and motivating. Either way, writing felt right regardless of some of the mixed reactions.

As the reader, when reading autobiographical content, I try to keep in mind that this is the writer’s experience. This is their truth and their life.  On the other hand, as the writer, you have to remember that people will interpret things in a completely different way than you meant them to and they will also project their own stuff onto it whether you like it or not.  This projection will then lead them to act in confusing ways towards you. Lord knows I’ve spent many midnights in an anxiety ridden sweat fest over-analyzing this very thing. This is the part no one can prepare you for as the writer.  I certainly wasn’t prepared for it, and I contemplated not continuing writing for a beat or two because of it.

Thankfully, I ended up pushing the nerves of vulnerability aside. Why? Because I honestly feel writing is a necessary thing for me.   Also, who wouldn’t want a hobby that feels right, makes the brain feel like it’s being put to good use, and that has the ability to  help people?

This is one of the most fulfilling hobbies. I feel just as giddy when I write as I do when I take a dance class. For example, in my article about getting lost and happy , I discuss the immense gratification I get from dancing and putting my creative side to work.  This very same feeling transpires when I write. To have connected with these two passions and made them part of my weekly routine -this is living life.

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Writing is also therapeutic for me in many ways. It’s a connection to people and a way to show why I have an appreciation for my life that runs deep. The foundation for many of my writings is derived from an epiphany I had after becoming a mom. I came to the stark realization that I would and will do everything in my power to give my children a better experience. This means throwing out the script. ERASE AND REBOOT.  It also means I have to unlearn a lot. That’s not going to be easy. But writing about my unlearnings  will be interesting for me to say the least.

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There’s an appreciation transaction that occurs every day that I pull into my little white ranch with my beloved testosterone-filled family.  The reason that transaction even takes place is because of  the bumpy road I pedaled on to get there.   Most of the time, the stuff that really hurts us, is the stuff that allows us to grow into who we are.  I am choosing to use the cuts that may have a lingering sting as a source to better this life in the NOW. And so far, at least today, it’s a feel good story.