There were cracks these last few weeks, some of which turned into those seismic shifts that create a new normal.
Life sometimes grabs us by the shoulders, to shake us or to steady us.
I recently participated in a book launch and signing for Here in the Middle. It was a joy to finally meet up with writers I’ve long been fans of and have met only virtually. They are just as clever and brilliant and open and lovely in person as on the page. I, on the other hand, was a bit of a dork. In other words, completely myself.
Both as the book reaches wider audiences and also my own life continues down whatever path this is, I ripple effects from the stories are that much more poignant. I find myself returning to these pages that I devoured when I first received my copy, and now am rereading with intention. The words feel familiar and yet strike me differently each time. I love a book who grows with me.
I was prepared to speak at the book launch if need be. And by “prepared” I mean I had scripted a little something on a sheet of loose-leaf in the car before I walked into the event. I find that usually if I have the words in hand, I don’t need them. The act of writing them down places them in a comfort zone in my brain, and I tend to not need them.
In the interest of honesty and never missing an opportunity to embarrass myself, I will share that my genius methods of giving my brain the equivalent of training wheels do not always work.
The other week I had the opportunity to speak at a meeting for new teachers – not about my book, but because I am the PTO co-president (*hold for laughter*). You’d think this task would be easy. I know the topic. I like the teachers. It’s a friendly audience. I had pamphlets for goodness’ sake. And I went and got nervous. My breath got caught in my chest. I was shaky. Rather than stay in the moment, as we say in improv, I was in my head, listening to myself in something between shock and amusement.
Did I take a deep breath and regroup? Nope. I barreled ahead, tossing words out and hoping some of them would stick. “Book fair. Teacher appreciation. Mexican food. Manifest destiny.”
The funniest part was that these lovely teachers all had this look on their face, with heads tilted like you can do this! We’ve got your back!
So, if nothing else, I can rest assured that the kids in this district spend their days with very patient, very kind adults. And that eventually, they will forget the massacre I made of the English language
So I emoted it out by watching This is Us. I am committed to the unapologetic heartstring-tugging. And also to Sterling K. Brown, because he is made of awesome and starlight.
Then, when I was done cry-swooning, I watched this a few hundred times:
Because sometimes when life grabs you by the shoulders, that is as much the new normal as anything else.
Have a wonderful day!