Part of the joy of being a blogger is making connections with other bloggers. Recently, one of my blogging buddies honored me by sharing with me this essay she wrote. She prefers to remain anonymous and did not publish this on her blog, but I asked her if I could publish it on my mine because I think it touches on a theme that is important. In fact, I was in the middle of writing a post on the subject of creativity when I received this. I'll publish that in the near future. Today, though, I present this post, written straight from a beautiful heart.
I still remember the card my mother gave me when I graduated high school. It is tucked beneath a stack of other cards in my keepsake box, a remembered insult among the other chosen memories.
The card boasts a Maya Angelou quote; one that is quite fitting for those embarking on their college and life journeys. But in my sudden switch from a lifelong dream of education to pursuing a degree in business administration, that quote smacked of judgment. "Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you."
In principle, I knew money should never be the goal. Duh. Yet after a childhood spent worrying over money, I was determined to get a white collar job that allowed me to provide a decently middle class upbringing for my future children. If that upbringing could be above middle class, all the better. In hindsight, Mom did not mean to lecture or insult. She was not judging me. Rather, she wanted to ensure I saw a lifetime of happiness. As a mother myself, I now know without a doubt that that is all she wants for me. Happiness.
At 21, I graduated from college and the reality of my dream was quickly realized by securing a once-in-a-lifetime job with multiple promotional opportunities. At 26, a wife, mother of one and full-time employee, I make more than a humble salary. At one point, I made almost three times more than my husband. As of this last winter, I "only" make twice as much as him. I am incredibly proud of my achievements and am thrilled to be married to a man who embraces this modern dynamic of me out-earning him. Many would say I am accomplished and successful; that I have excelled and have a bright future ahead of me. When you look at the numbers, they are right.
Yet I woke one morning not long after giving birth to my son with a startling realization: I am not happy. Far from it, in fact. The next promotional steps do not appeal to me, and as the principle breadwinner I feel trapped by my salary. I have effectively hit my glass ceiling, one of my own making, at my current place of employment. As a mother I am not interested in investing the extra time to further myself. As an unfulfilled employee, the glitz and glamour has faded. Going to work each day after maternity leave was a chore and eventually I found myself miserably dragging myself out of bed each morning, ever-so-tempted by the pull of a mental health day. The misery began affecting my marriage. My husband could not understand why I didn't try harder to find another job. I constantly looked at listings, but none of them appealed to me. Why waste my time if it isn't going to make me happy? I asked myself. Sure, one could argue that you never know until you try, but I know myself. Then, after months and years of fretting, it suddenly hit me.
I am meant to write.
The what, where, and why didn't matter in that moment. What mattered was the realization that suddenly sprang before me with startling clarity. I had spent my entire life ignoring numerous affirmations that I am meant to write. Affirmations from myself and others. God knew. Of course He knew. But unable to imagine how a writing career would unfold for me and noting its unrealistic nature, I ignored it.
I still don't know if or how a writing career will happen for me. Will I be successful by society's definition? I don't know. I don’t even really care. What I do know is this: ever since I knew how to form words with pen to paper, I have needed to write. It is as necessary to me as breathing is to us all. Without it, I am not whole. I am not well. Writing is what sets my soul free.
My Sonny Boy and his girlfriend are here from Virginia and I have had so much fun being with them again.
PLUS! Not too long again, my blog reader, Mardy, visited Los Angeles from Canada and we met up at Neptune's Net on the coast. It was wonderful to meet her and to talk to her about her life. She does not currently have a blog, but she should! She is a wonderful, generous woman and I am grateful I got to meet her.
In fact, I am one of those people who does not find the
smell of coffee even remotely pleasant.
I find it repulsive.
Since coffee drinking is such a huge part of our society, I have to put
up with the vile smell in some social situations.I try my best to be pleasant and polite, but I also
recognize that I am not a person who conceals her inner thoughts very well.
Though I am fairly sure I have a
pleasant look on my face as my friend places her cup of freshly brewed coffee
on the table in front of me, her quick movement to cap the thing again, and the
way she scoots it away from me, somewhat alarmed and frightened, may indicate I
do not have the control I think I have over my facial muscles.
My hatred of coffee stems from a lengthy time of servitude
in the kitchen of my parents.They
were both coffee drinkers and my job was to make it for every meal.
How well I remember the green plastic
coffee pot that was never washed, (ruined the flavor of the coffee my father
thought) and the messy dumping of the grounds.Holding the stinking, dripping basket of grounds in my
tender little hands, I’d slam the container of black grit against the sides of
the trashcan, wincing at the bits hitting my face.
After that, there was making of a new batch, the scooping
out of the Folgers, the plugging in of the pot, the sound of the percolating,
and the smell that permeated the house.
Then there was my parents’ slurping up of the excessively hot stuff, the
maddening loitering over the black goo, their vacant stares appearing as the
caffeine hit their systems.What
was happening inside their bodies?I did not know, but apparently it required so much focus that it
rendered them incapable of focusing on anything else.
Once in awhile, I would try to bring up a topic I thought
sure would lead them into a conversation, but inevitably, they would just stare
at me as though I was interrupting a very good TV show—one only they could experience
in their minds as the black liquid ran through their veins.
This was powerful stuff.
My ex-husband was not a coffee drinker and so our home was
free from the stuff.When we had
overnight guests who were coffee people, they would go out, bedraggled and
grumpy in the morning, ingest their coffee elsewhere and come back to us happy
and ready to start the day.Perfect!
However, as fate would have it, I have fallen
head-over-heels madly in love with a coffee drinker.He needs his coffee.He loves his coffee.I love
him.What’s a girl to do?
When we first started dating and he suggested we go to
Starbucks, my expression probably suggested that he had just revealed to me that he disemboweled kittens in his spare time.
However, I tried to recover quickly and, determined to keep
an open mind, I walked through those double doors and tried not to wretch at
the smell that permeated the air.I decided that rather than focus on the smell, I would be an
anthropologist of sorts, a note-taking visitor to the exotic Savanna of Starbucks.
The first thing that struck me was the line of people who
stood, patiently waiting, huddled and quiet with a subservience I had not seen
since staring at a picture in my Weekly Reader in fourth grade of Russian
citizens lined up for toilet paper.
We joined the line and I looked at the overhead menu board,
deciphering the code that separates outsiders from insiders.The first lesson?Don’t say Small, Medium, or
Large. It’s Tall, Grande, Venti.
Then there’s the
variety of drinks.Latte,
Americano, Mocha Whatchamahoot, Macchiato.Did you want that on the Clover?
People speak quickly, in the code,
sometimes so quickly that it sounds like a series of clicks.It is the magical Morse code, that when
spoken directly and correctly to a green-aproned clerk (SORRY!Barista) will result in delivery of the
Each person was asked his or her name to be placed upon the
heavy paper vessel.This name
would be called out later when the clerk (SORRY!Barista) completed your order.
(My suggestion: Why not have them write whatever it is you
really want need to hear that day? Examples: “Woman Who Rocks Her Jeans”
or“Man With Nice Butt” or ((and
you would need to purchase a Venti for this one)) “Woman Who is
Under-Appreciated at Home but Who is Actually the One Person Who Keeps it
Together for the Ungrateful Slobs She Chooses to Call Family.”)
As we waited, I continued my Jane Goodall impression and
looked around at the behavior of those who had successfully jumped through the
appropriate hoops and had, as a reward, received their cups of the sacred
While some were reading,
and others were talking to friends, about half of them just sat, gazing into
space with that faraway look I recognized from my childhood experiences with my
parents.I looked at them
intently, wondering about this Happy Place they apparently went to.
Soon, that Certain Very Nice Man’s name was called and we
exited the Starbucks.He was sure
to leave the lid of his coffee on in the car and I, trying some newfound
maturity, found it within myself not to make too many negative comments or too many retching sounds out of the window I immediately opened and hung out of.
These days I am a trooper and go to Starbucks with him
whenever he wants. Now, I still can’t sit inside because of the smell, but I
can sit outside, in the California sunshine and enjoy my large iced tea with extra cup of ice on the side.
One day as we were waiting for his order, I looked over to see
him looking at me with that Happy Place look.I looked around for his coffee since I hadn’t heard his name
“Where’s your coffee?”I asked.
“I don’t have it yet.”
“What are you so happy about?”
He smiled, “I was just thinking how incredibly beautiful you
Just then he heard his name called.
Well, he heard his name.
heard,“Man Sitting with Luckiest
Woman in the World, Your Coffee is Ready.”