Different Cheese, Same Position: A Wildly Self-Indulgent Post

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Monday was my birthday, so it took on a little more weight. I started the day as I do most days, forcing myself to wrestle with that Mary Oliver line.

For a while now, I’ve worked on carving out havens in my life. I try to fill my havens with beautiful sounds and words and things to gaze upon and hold dear. Fill them with faces that smile and faces that cry, too, as needed. Fill them with people who are an honor to stand with, curl up next to, double over in laughter with, or log in and write with. People who will resist being grammar assholes over that last sentence.

And then I’ve worked on showing up in those spaces I’ve carved, because I need to do more of *that kind* of showing up. For me.

Because I think I show up in lots of other spaces – or I try to, at least. The spaces which need people like me – people who are loud and unsoft in public – can be harsh.

But being unsoft in public isn’t easy. None of us are unsoft at all times. And I refuse to grow callouses. But I can go to the places I choose to dwell in and to the people I choose to dwell among.

I think I am brave in this one wild and precious life, the kind of brave that requires ferocity and a willingness to occasionally be the cheese that stands alone. And sometimes I am the kind of brave that is also vulnerable…different cheese, same position. But lots of people like cheese, I have learned. You just gotta find the right cheese-lover.

I digress and also I am hungry for cheese.

I spent time, as I do on birthdays, checking in with myself. Am I the person I want to be? Am I surrounded by the people I most want to be surrounded by, those I am humbled to be with? Those I delight in? Is the work good? Is it mighty? Is it strong and brave? Is it truthful? (Is it occasionally funny, because bonus points for that.)

I really poured over this past year. It has been hard. It has tested me and all of us in ways that rattle our molars and make us long to burrow under blankets and just stay there for a good chunk of this wild and precious life.

But this is a new year. Every day can be a new year. This is why I wrestle with Mary Oliver and her profoundly, annoyingly inspirational poem.

And I’m full of gratitude for all of you, for all the spaces, and for the energy and life to carve out spaces and fill them with many of you.

And to get to be in some of yours.

Because at the end of the day, I hope to ease into another part of that poem: “Tell me, what else should I have done?” and know the answer is “nothing more.”

Thank goodness for time.

Thank goodness for you.

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