Thursday, August 1, 2019

I'm a feeler.


I've finally discovered my party line.

(I don't even know if that's a phrase, outside of a shared phone line back in the day or a dividing line politically, but I'm tired so I'm making it a thing. A party line is the line you deliver at a party about yourself.)

Example:

"So, Bailey. It's nice to meet you. What do you do?"

And here's my answer, here forward until further notice:

"I'm a feeler. I feel."

The end.

**

People, I am so unclear on what I should be doing with my life, it's pathetic.

And I feel that. I feel the pathetic.

I feel the jealousy, the anger, the inability to let go of things that happened years ago.

I feel the sensitivity when a friend corrects me, tells me something as if I wasn't already aware of it.

I feel the fury when I go out of my way to be thoughtful and encouraging and focused in on another and that another doesn't do a d*mn thing back in my direction.

I feel the judge inside, harsher than any judge anywhere anytime. Bailey B. judging Bailey B. is ruthless. All punishment, no grace.

I feel that which can only be described as "the SQUEE" when I get a picture of my chubby nephew, hair spilling out of his Patrick Mahomes headband. I feel the urgent and consistent need to show everyone JUST HOW CUTE.

I feel this need to harp and woe myself and pity party like no one has pity partied before.

I feel the hard-learned job (?) to count my gratitudes, to give thanks for the warm chamomile at my side and the fact that I have shampoo in my shower so I don't need to stop for more on the way home.

I feel the list of gratitudes lift me. I feel the meditations lift me. I feel the social interaction lift me. (Almost) every time.

I feel the wonder, the ache, the fear, of what this life is going to look like if I choose to be a writer. Am I even going to enjoy it? Will it be harder to choose not to write?

I feel probably jealous of you. Doesn't matter what I'm jealous of, but trust me, I envy you. I envy your dinner, your money, your body shape, your career, your contentment, your laughing at that memory that I wasn't a part of, even if I was deep in a memory of my own. 

**

There is a person in my social circles who I feel jealously obsessed with. I check on their social media account daily. I recognize the personal hell they've been through in recent months, yet I can't beat, can't push down nor squash nor incinerate the belief that they're happier than me.

I love my partner. I'm obsessed with my pet -- in a good, non-checking-his-social-media-accounts-for-negative-fuel way. My family is unreal and so many of my friends are funny, smart, considerate, kind. A joy to be around and they build me up. Through texts and dates and emails and G-chats they always leave me with a LEGO brick, stacking up a tower of fierce, variegated love around me.

Yet jealous.

**

Hi, I'm Bailey.

Oh, and what do you do, Bailey?

I'm a feeler.

I feel.

Sometimes I hate it, sometimes it's fine. Sometimes it's new love on a golf course, sometimes it's funnel cakes and powdered sugar up my nose or fishy breeze whipping my hair cruising the lake at sunset. Sometimes it's irritation at the redundancy of my feelings on repeat.

Sometimes it's trying to write something brilliant as I feel myself getting more and more tired, making a joke via text about being a feeler, then realizing that's a blog post, then powering through the fatigue to tap it out, all the while wondering if this is going to alarm CONCERN.

Sometimes feeling is the responsibility of explaining that you're not crazy, you're not in need of intense professional care, you're just you. That after a solid night of sleep you might be a cheerleader on a trampoline tomorrow, and you'll just be like thank goodness I got a break from the bad feeling, at least.

I feel that if I post this, some of you might freak out.

I feel that some of you will be like I GET IT.

I feel like I will feel my way through all of that.

I will feel with my knobby tentacles through and around all of it. I will get stuck on things, suctioned into conversations of which I didn't wish to partake. I will get mad, annoyed, uncomfortable. I will feel no need to get involved, and I will dip my fries in more ketchup and could we get another round, please? Thanks.

I feel I will catch onto all of you people with my many feeling arms of emotion, and some of those moments will be beautiful and unexpected kismet and I will find God once again once again once again through the communion of His people as I duck into a space when I just need a break from the feeling.

Well, from the bad feeling at least. Or the feelings on repeat or the laundry list feelings or the "did I leave that candle burning?" feelings of crazy-making worry.

Y'all will feel through this stuff with me, in your own way. You're gonna make me nuts, I know it. Jealous, angry. Over the moon with love.

But what a lonely ocean it would be if my tentacles were forever waving in the surf, never to curl around your aimless, scribbling, dancing arms reaching out of the reef.

And what a lovely ocean it can be when our vacuumy rings bump edges and make a noisy, wet peck of greeting. The kind that hurts your ears, but in the good way. Not the obsessive social media searching way.

See you out there. May your feelings be content today, your gaze zeroed in on a dazzling school of fish, their commitment to traveling in a pack an inspiration to slip your wandering arm over to grab that of the one next to you.

MWAH.

Sorry, did that smooch on your cheek hurt your ears?

Nah. Just right.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

What my life is

 
When I was about 24, I called my biggest brother and whined and woed about how my friends were traveling more often and making more money than me and just generally living more luxurious days and nights than I was.
 
Ten years later and what else is new, am I right? I kid, I kid, but then again not really.
 
My brother calmly listened during our decade-ago phone call, said "mm hmm, mm hmm," and finally said, "I'm hearing a lot of what your life isn't. But what about what it is?"
 
This has come back to me in years since; it was a gentle reminder to shift perspective and realize just how much our cup runneth over, especially in moments when we trend toward bellyaching.
 
This is not a commentary whatsoever about not being allowed to have problems in the face of basic needs being met. I could give you a whole laundry list of things I am carrying around with me right now, yet I am not interested in getting into the argument of whomever who lives wherever having it harder than me for obvious reasons.
 
I will say that I think a lot of those whomevers are better than I at measuring what their life is than what it isn't; in many ways they can be better than I at preventing their chin from dipping too low.
 
But again, I am not here to initiate or carry on that discussion.
 
I just want to focus on what my life is. You don't even have to read on, this is really just an exercise for me to feel better. So move along with your day, please, or if you so please, continue to read on. And, here we go:
 
What my life is
by the Daily Bailey
7/30/19
 
My life is a cat that snuggled next to me all night last night, save for a trip to his dining counter.
 
My life is texting my dad-joke-loving brother a bunch of groan-worthy memes.
 
My life is FaceTiming with my nine-year-old niece and thinking to myself, "Who on earth is this kid I am talking to??" loving her suddenly adopted grown up turns of phrase.
 
My life is organizing my closet full of my many clothes and realizing I have an outfit, a pattern, a wrap for all seasons.
 
My life is planning two weeks away later this year to see family, and deciding to pass on other opportunities for travel.
 
My life is reconnecting with an old friend, and texting on the daily with a pretty new one.
 
My life is tomatoes and cucumbers diced, salt and pepper sprinkled on top. Three birthday parties in one weekend and subsequent new Facebook friends the days following. Doing an hour long workout and only growling during the planks.
 
Chomping gum, some days mint flavored, others watermelon.
 
Aiming for my macro percentages and feeling like a boss when I get close.
 
My life is light beer more than craft beer, meat without bread. But raisin bread for breakfast, with butter because yum.
 
Pink toenails and red fingers. Two pairs of gold/silver sandals, one set of straps in a braid fashion, the other more of a rope.
 
Workouts inside with the occasional brave journey into the outdoor sun.
 
My life is reading, once again. Ahh, sweet love above this interaction with words on a page. How many years the paragraphs have lit my nights, why should I have ever suspected they were anywhere but just around the corner waiting for me to return?
 
My life is a car that is essentially empty of stuff!!!!!!!! Those who really know my shame around my messy vehicle can imagine how much healing breath this offers me. My life is a trunk full of empty tote bags, at least 50 in total, some probably on their way to Goodwill or to unsuspecting friends who will soon possess a little piece of me.
 
My life is being grumpy, frustrated, asking a lot of why, yet trusting that this will swing back into calm breeze and emotional ease.
 
My life is siblings who love their kids, make me laugh, and fight for better lives for us all.
 
My life is the partners of those siblings, who treat me like a friend, work tirelessly in their jobs, and brighten my brothers' lives so in a way I can't thank them for enough.
 
My life is a possible five mile walk in tremendous heat after work, and two girls who are willing to do this August race at a "let's just get it finished" pace. No pressure, just pals.
 
My life is a supportive partner who lets me cry like a toddler. Who, together with me after tears have been dried, marvels with me once again at the fact that I could not be more like this girl.
 
My life is Friday Night Lights season one, Tami and Landry and Riggins, oh my.
 
My life is blogging approximately once a week, which hasn't been the case in many moons.
 
My life is habitual scrolling of social media, with occasional scheduled breaks from the madness.
 
My life is jealousy of people I know, sheer excitement for others, impatience to plan and contentment to be in the moment, even though a lot of moments are grumpy.
 
My life is tickets to a LEGO pop up event, a Tegan & Sara show, vague pending dates with friends and couples.
 
My life is fizzy water in the fridge, chilling for my arrival home. Bubbles to snap at the surface and make my teeth grit together after the first shocking gulp. Hydration and community. People who love me and check in via text. People who encourage me in my fitness journey and rejoice with me every time I get some of my bravery as an airplane passenger back.
 
My life is more than enough lipstick, journals, books, dresses, swimsuits, deodorant sticks, dumbbells, shampoo options, DVDs, cross stitch projects, and songs in my phone to call upon for any mood or occasion.
 
And so many tote bags. My life is bag after bag after bag, inside which I can't collect fast enough the blessings being poured out always. Yes, always, even yes, when grumpiness and confusion are present. They each get a bag, too, and may they find friends to nestle with them inside the slouchy canvas, to whisper secrets to like kids at a sleepover, giggling as connection and kindness win out.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

15 ways we can buoy each other up

 
1. Provide compliments. If you think a particular item of clothing flatters someone or you appreciate the way another person makes you giggle, say it. Don't keep it to yourself.
 
2. Be generous. Be willing to part with material things you're done with, pick up flowers to present to a host, offer to buy the first round at happy hour, or make a friendship bracelet. There are plenty of things we can do that don't even have to involve monetary usage, and countless ways to be creative with what we already have in order to brighten someone else's life.
 
3. When you think someone will like something -- a TV show, a musical artist, an ice cream flavor -- text them and let them know.
 
4. Avoid the jugular. Try to intentionally begin conversations without focusing on things you and the other person disagree on. There is always enough time to argue; make space for neutral topics and calm air.
 
5. Be honest when you're feeling down. It can only improve trust and camaraderie between people when you offer first to speak truly about what's on your heart. What's more, it can make a fearful person more brave to express their own struggles, and in voicing your personal heartache you help lance some of that poison that comes from keeping a thought a secret.
 
6. Suggest small actions. When someone tells you they're depressed or anxious, give them only a baby step of advice: walk for five minutes, drink one glass of water, change your clothes and go buy a soda. When you can, offer to join them.
 
7. Take care of yourself. Keep those fuel levels topped off and regulated, so you can more easily do the other things on this list. If you need a night off, say thanks for the invite and stay in and read that book, brother. If you need the opposite, speak up and ask someone to meet you for coffee to get you out of your isolated funk.
 
8. Put forth your utmost to have fun. If you're engaging in hobbies purely for the fact that they make you happy -- embroidery, running, talking to strangers -- people will take notice in a way that inspires them to conjure up their own joy. It's when we get competitive and do things for the feedback that it get hairy, but simple contentment is a wholesome goal to aim for.
 
9. Pray for people, talk to the universe on their behalf, send good juju or simply hope that others are having a good day. Wish them well from afar through a difficult work meeting, ask a higher power to assuage loneliness, and trust that they will be strong and capable in the face of their challenges, letting them know you're available to debrief later. 
 
10. Reach up. Help someone get an item down from a high shelf. Ask for a handhold to assist you when you've been sitting too long. Look up and see the sunshine so you can remember it's there and reflect it back off your face onto the people stuck in fluorescent sludge.
 
11. Put good out there, whenever you can. Fighting and irritation and hangriness are going to come visit us no matter what, so fill in those pockets in between with kind gestures, affectionate hugs and arm touches, and silly stories so that we all can live more balanced, knowing that rest will always return amidst the deserts of stress.
 
12. Let each other (and yourself) off the hook. Give yourself a cheat day with your diet. Forgive the person who didn't tip you. Let someone rant and rave at you about something trivial in their day just this once. No sense in counteracting all the little irritations with more irritation. You don't have to let everything go, but every once in a while, try letting something go. Remind yourself you're not a toy, and if you get wound up, others aren't necessarily going to come and release you; in some regard we are responsible for reducing our boil to a simmer.  
 
13. Try not to speak poorly of those who aren't in your presence. Recognize that your opinion can spread ill will to those who listen, and venting doesn't necessarily help you come around to believing that this person can change their behavior down the road. (I know this sounds REALLY preachy, and I was afraid to write this post because of that; just know I'm terrible at this piece of advice and I'm writing it so that I can hear it because I need to).
 
14. Surprise and delight. Again, this doesn't have to be costly, but where you can, catch people off guard in a good way. Let your employee go home early, bring a dollar store birthday balloon to a party, write a letter and smack some real postage on that sucker and see how good it feels to lick that envelope and mail out some happy. Lower your expectation of an enthusiastic reaction, and remind yourself that you're definitely making someone feel good.
 
15. Depart the harbor in hope. Expect easy seas, and keep faith that if things get rocky, we'll figure it out together. Be a champion for discovering and utilizing the skills of every last person in your crew. Help each other learn, mediate across tension bridges, and set sail with the triumph of knowing that you're going to do everything in your power to make sure all parties return safely and boy if we aren't going to at least try and enjoy our time untethered.
 
Be quick to grab those ropes when we dock, shake out lifejackets and tuck them under seats. Hydrate the seasick, guide disembarking children, and suggest the party not end here, tired and windblown at shore. Stumble your soggy boat shoes just a few steps further, and be sure to raise a toast to your newfound shelter; and to each other, for forming a team and weathering forward to solution. Cheers, Mates.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The facts of life (at this moment)

 
I am (mostly consistently) counting calories and sticking to a daily limit.
 
I am both finding myself jealous of other women's bodies as well as content with my own.
 
If I read for 10 minutes, I will fall asleep.
 
I have zero library fines.
 
Max wakes me up around 6 a.m. each day requesting scritches, and he bumps his head against mine. It takes me a few waking moments to figure out what's going on, but it is the best alarm.
 
Ice cold water is my jam while sitting at my desk during the day. I shiver and refill my bottle and recognize that my behavior is crazy.
 
I am working out with a personal trainer again.
 
My cross stitching activity has decreased, my reading has increased (as has my napping).
 
I got to see my family last week and it reset me in so many ways. Special and precious are they.
 
There are fresh sheets on my bed, which research shows increases the joy of entering slumber about six fold.
 
Four plus years in, Alex and I don't have a song, but we are considering Don't Worry Baby by the Beach Boys and Dire Straits' Romeo & Juliet.
 
I frequently have no idea what I'm doing with my life. At times this feels like a free canvas that is MINE, at others it feels like the GPS of my heart is not available.
 
I feel politically apathetic, and I bet if people knew that they'd be upset.
 
I feel, as I have for the vast vast majority of my life, that probably nothing is in my control. Yes, I can make my own decisions, free will freshman philosophy discussion blah blah, but I don't ever believe that my final call determines the final call, if that makes sense.
 
Michelob Ultra has 2.3g of carbs and this pleaseth me.
 
I believe in time I will complete the LA Times crossword I began a week ago.
 
A large stack of books sits above my bed, and I wondered as I built the tower if they would hurt me while toppling in an earthquake. I did not, however, relocate the pile.
 
I recently sat next to a pilot on a flight to Denver, and his kind, chatty presence helped me tremendously in the face of my air travel anxiety.
 
My five-year-old nephew is fearless in the swimming pool, and I am baffled by this.
 
My parents finally donated my brother and I's trumpet, the one that got lugged through knee deep snow, five days a week from approximately 1994 - 1999.
 
If you sleep on the day bed in Mom and Dad's basement, it is very dark save for a light on the DVD/VCR combo.
 
It is difficult for me to get a lot of protein in my diet. I do not crave it. Minus runny eggs. I do crave a leaky yolk. Even though I think the protein is in the whites? See? Not easy.
 
Others might disagree, but I feel that this summer as a whole has been less oppressive than the last few in LA.
 
I struggle to read or watch anything that is highly or widely recommended, because the pressure is too much.
 
A pair of adorable cross stitch bibs are on my Amazon wish list, but I am refraining from adding them to my cart.
 
I am trying to turn a mental corner with some people in my life who don't seem to take an interest in me. Trying to move forward without resentment and ill will; just recognizing that the connection isn't there, disappointing as it may be.
 
Last night I bought beets and corn, tuna and Spaghettios.
 
I think my Instagram account isn't working properly, as it appears I am losing several followers, and when I add someone as a friend, hours later it looks as if I never requested them.
 
Tonight I could exercise, read, stitch, shower, sleep, or go see a friend who's in town. I couldn't tell you what I will select to do.
 
A friend who I haven't known long but feel quite connected to is on her way back from Europe. I look forward to hikes and happy hours with her (and will resist pouncing on her schedule right away, as she probably needs to get past the jet lag and, I don't know, maybe wants to see her boyfriend first).
 
My mama fixed my pink sweater and I am so joyful.
 
I have gum at home, but I wish I had some on hand to chew right now.
 
It has been warm in LA, and we sweat when we walk, but we walk on our breaks anyway. Because we can, and it is motion, and it is sun.
 
I find myself holding onto clothes rather than getting rid of them. I tend to have a binge-purge/shop-donate pattern about me, and I find that if I just wait a bit I will re-appreciate clothing that I may be tired of now. Also I am trying to be gratefully aware of all that I have and get comfortable with living in that which is already provided.
 
A friend picked her wedding palette, and I am so excited to find a textured dress to wear in the woods as she moves her life forward into a union that is already so full of love.
 
I have no patience when it comes to waiting to plan special events for my people, and I can't wait to celebrate this cutie pie, kind, beautiful bosslady bride.
 
I am shivering as I type this, something Alex would notice before I if he were here by my side. Our companionship is so easy it feels like the sea; calm waves meeting outside a boat, taking shade in her sails. Afternoon warmth glimmering between mast and fabric, sparkling contentment on our heads as we share the silly details of our day. A younger me feared I would grow bored from the simple things, but today's me says this off-menu item was exactly what I meant to order. And to this I say thank you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

When the reader loses her place


I went to the library during my lunch break today, after paying a large amount of fines to get my patron status back to "good."
 
I checked out some classics, some kids' literature, a book about finance and a guide to vitamins. I got back to my car and wanted to read right then and there, for the rest of the afternoon. But alas, it was time to return to work.
 
I texted Alex about my haul, and told him I'm unsure I'll read even one of them in full, or even start most of them. I had a great time picking them all out, couldn't stop myself from growing the pile in my elbow even higher, all the while knowing that I may simply return them in a few weeks, untouched and undiscovered. My brain bounced between feeling guilty for the risk of building more fines, then over to a place of happily picturing myself doing what I once did on the daily: read.
 
My text conversation with Alex turned quickly from silly to sad. He said he could relate to reading voraciously for years and today not being quite as interested. I explained that sometimes it feels hard to read, as if there is too much pressure to finish a book or enjoy something that was recommended, so much that it feels almost as if I've forgotten how to read. What was once nearly instinctual has become a chore, something that other people do but I can no longer keep up.
 
This all sounds dramatic, I'm sure. But it's hard when you lose a piece of your deeply dug habits, especially when you never saw it coming. 
 
From about the time I graduated college until a few years ago, I read every night before bed for 30 minutes or more. Every night, minus those few evenings a year when exhaustion won out. But mostly I fought sleep to get words into my head. Numbered pages were my most important meal of the day.
 
***
 
It's true, according to Goodreads, that I've read 40 some books this year. But most of those were picture books and most were read in the first few months of the year. Since then? Basically nada.
 
Last year I had a brief love affair with the New Yorker. Read it with giddy glee...for about three weeks, then I let the subscription take my money until I finally faced the music that this wasn't meant for the long term and cancelled my payments.
 
When we shoot pool, Alex jokes that I'm usually good to play for about 40 minutes, then I lose interest. He's not wrong; I switch off with no warning or reason, and I wonder why the beer-advertising lamp above the table is still lit since clearly I'm done. Shouldn't life be on our schedule?
 
In my mid-twenties I ran three to six miles a day at least five days a week. For a whole year. Outside in 90 degree humidity, on a treadmill indoors when snow caked the curbs of the 24 Hour Fitness parking lot.
 
Then I went to graduate school, ran a few times in the first month of classes, and ultimately stopped. I managed to train for and run a half marathon a few years later -- when I was unemployed, of course. What else is there to do when you don't have a job? -- but since then? I've never run more than six miles at a time, and it always feels like a fluke when I do.
 
***
 
So what's with all this giving myself titles, and being upset when the nametag loses its stick and flutters into the trash can? For years, I called myself a "runner," a "writer," a "reader," without hesitation or feeling as if I needed to flex my credentials for people to believe me. Today I find that others don't seem to be too concerned whether or not the amount I participate in something qualifies me as a member of the team, but I am quick to correct them if they assign me as more heavily committed to a hobby than I really am. I only want credit if I'm currently established and obsessed. Otherwise don't group me into a family; I haven't earned the kinship.
 
Did I mention this probably sounds dramatic?
 
What I've learned -- in this process during which I am still learning -- about breaking up with a hobby is that it is a little dramatic. Because there is a grieving season involved. But also, I wonder if the separation is maybe natural, and furthermore, perhaps a blessing. Or at least not that big of a deal. Not something to cry about, even though we do.
 
I used to read all the time, now I don't. What's the big deal? People still by and large think that I'm smart. At least I hope they do. I never felt as if I needed to read the classics to prove myself, so why do I care now when someone says, "You HAVE to read Ready Player One!," that I can't get myself to focus long enough to get through chapter one?
 
I mean for crying out loud, SO WHAT??
 
So...well, that was me. And I thought without even really thinking about it that it would always be me.
 
And I think there's the key, to the blessing I was talking about. To the not-that-big-of-a-deal piece.
 
Being "a reader" is not who I am.
 
I want it to be a big part of who I am, but even when it was a big part of who I was, it was never the full me. Reading has certainly shaped me over time, structured my knowledge base, peppered the tidbits of Julie Andrews memoir trivia I offer up at parties.
 
No one ever asks for Julie Andrews memoir trivia, so it is up to one's self to get it out there in the world.
 
I want to be a reader, or at least someone who reads frequently, but why? Why exactly is this so important to me?
 
Your guess is as good as mine.
 
But I think the thing to realize is that we are never going to be the things that we do. And we are ever changing in the degree to what we do and how vigorously or seriously we do them. When we are students, we do a lot of coffee drinking and highlighting and complaining. When we are new parents, we do a lot of teaching babies to moo and quack, we refill a lot of sippy cups, we enforce a lot of bedtime. When we are faced with illness or trauma or fear, we do a lot of crisis containment, a lot of catching our breath, a lot of saying, "I love you."
 
Do you ever think back to a time, even in the last several months, when something had you tangled and trapped with worry? And realize, Hmm. I'm completely past that now.
 
We are never (exactly) the same as we were before or as we will be later, but we are always here, and of value. I think the struggle is trying not to get too attached that we used to "be a runner" and now we're simply "someone who runs." It's not easy, especially with over-achieving, success-driven American standards flowing through our water source, but I think part of growing up (or at least, part of my life, personally, right now) is learning to recognize that we still hold meaning and purpose, no matter what, where, or when.
 
***
 
I have been rethinking calling myself "a writer," as it seems that anytime I sit down with the intention of writing something for publication, I cry.
 
No, literally. I cry.
 
I get cranky watching Alex type type type away next to me, and I pull out stationery from my bag and write notes to my nieces and nephews, most of whom can't read.
 
Because that's easier. And makes me happy, whereas forcing myself to do something because I should, because it's my destiny, is not.
 
One of my bestest friends recently told me that no matter how much I do or don't write, I have still affected several lives in positive ways without even filling a well with ink. It was sobering and novel to hear that.
 
And frankly? Freeing.
 
Another friend said she loves my words, but that she loves me more. "Because you are your words," she said.
 
Anything I put on a piece of paper is borne from Bailey, the ever-changing person who sometimes runs, sometimes reads, sometimes cries and wanders and babysits and crafts and makes messes and cleans them and avoids confrontation and boldly speaks her mind.
 
It's all me. None of it is fully me. But all together it is me.
 
***
 
It's still hard to know that a dozen paperbacks are baking in my passenger seat right now. Hard because I know I may not read them. I may accrue fines and pay them in shame and wonder why I even visit the library in the first place.
 
But then I remember why: because I love that place. The library gives me peace, quiet, opportunity to come into communion with sentences of letters that match the codes in my heart.
 
I remember the tiny, crowded branch in Colorado that offered safety during thunderstorms. I remember the carrels where I would tuck myself to do algebra, treating myself after to a trip down the Babysitters' Club aisle. I remember collecting quarters from Mom to buy animal crackers at the cafĂ©, then her collecting me from my studies to take me to confirmation class.
 
I have spent much of my life in libraries, in bookstores, in musty smelling pages that disappointed when Rhett snubbed Scarlett but lifted when Jo found her way.
 
I have checked out more books in my time than I have read; this is a fact. In fact, this is basic math. We are consumers driven to get more more more, and it's not my fault the public system allows me to have 30 titles at once. We have been pretty well trained to take on more than we can maintain. This is 21st century first world life.
 
I have no idea where I'm going with all this, but here might be part of my point:
 
When I was shopping today for my volumes of free words, I felt, at least in part, good. In the face of knowing I may not read them, I didn't put them back. I took them to the counter and complimented the coffee mug of the page checking me out. She offered to renew my titles on the front end so that I wouldn't have to worry about it later, and with a little faith I said yes please.
 
Once upon a time I was a reader.
 
Today I am tucked somewhere in chapter 34, decorating a nightstand in a room where a cat sleeps. Trying to figure out what I'll say next. Getting those words just right before sending them out into the world.
 
Meanwhile being relevant, being a friend, being a girl who, sometimes, reads. And what a gift that I know how, so someday sometime I can meet some friendly words who right now are waiting eagerly in the stacks for just the right moment to say hello and feed my spirit.