Friday, November 4, 2016

Closets and words and potential

I hate being stir crazy.
I realize it's a total, first world, privileged luxury (privileged luxury: redundant?) to even be stir crazy.
Yet here I am, complaining in all my privileged luxury.
I can think of approximately 8,000 things I'd like to be doing right now.
At the top of that list is that I want to move a shelf that's in a corner of my bedroom into my closet.
Then I want to gather my 8 million t-shirts and fold them all just so, and stack them in the cubicle shelf cubbies.
Did I mention I have grandiose visions in which I am the ultra-organized heroine who gets a get-it-all-done-in-24-hours montage in a movie? 
Well it's true. Real talk. I want Cher's closet, Rory's reading prowess, and Felicity's ability to juggle being pre-med and an artist, having long, then short, then long hair, being loved by Ben and Noel, and squeezing in shifts at Dean & Deluca. Let me say the only thing my college self had in common with her is that I did the long-short-long hair thing, too. No curls, though.
I must remind myself that my life is a literal, physical mess, because I am beyond spoiled/blessed and so books and clothes and projects and opportunities spill upon my carpet and my bed and my calendar. And I mustn't complain, but instead turn my blessings into praise. (I don't say that to be pious, I say it because I think it's true, and about all I can do to thank the Man Upstairs for making my cup overflow(eth)).
Anyway, so today's one of those days that I can't sit still, yet I can't seem to accomplish anything either.
And I hate that place.
OK let's talk about something positive. Moving on.
I'm reading a book that I'm kind of obsessed with. It's called "Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco."
It's about an undocumented Mexican family living in the States and a privileged white woman who befriends them.
It's heartbreaking in many ways, it really is. The protagonist knows more adult pains than any kid should have to know -- further, she knows pains that I understand to be true pains that exist in our world but that I, as a privileged white woman, will never actually know. Which is why it's truly heartbreaking.
But it's a really intricately woven tale, and I think if youth read it today they'd have such a good base for knowing the reality of stuff that's right under their noses. Or, maybe not under their noses, but just outside their suburbs. So, within sniffing distance, I suppose.
I found the book at Goodwill, and I'm tearing through it. I'm going to make sure Jill reads it (she's basically Rory with lighter hair (and more witty), so she'll fit it into her reading schedule), and I'm going to give it to Mom when I see her at Christmas (Mama has Rory reading prowess, too, like whoa. Can you say Walking Dictionary?).
Guys. I'm reading about the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and I'm literally getting tingles on my legs. I want to be a part of that program so badly. Commence wild running of wild imagination. May my future favorite coffee shop be cozy and welcoming to this writer who fidgets a bunch. May I not disturb other customers with my many trips to the bathroom. Here's to many a "meal" consisting of pastries and yogurt.  
Bailey, breathe. You're not in yet. You haven't even applied yet. Maybe you should nail down your references first....
So last night I realized a vision and it was great. (I wrote that earlier part about being stir crazy and wanting to move a shelf and fold t-shirts yesterday. Yes, Folks. This is a real, live, two-parter blog post. WHOA.).
I moved the aforementioned shelf. I folded t-shirts and sweaters and jeans and tank tops and shorts, and placed them calmly and neatly and prettily in the cubbies.
I took things off hangers and folded them and added them to the (calm, hands-folded-in-laps, polite) party on the shelf.
I took a smaller shelf out of the closet and put it on the east side of my bed. I filled it with books and stacked some on top. Oh, it looks so cozy and readable and just made me want to stop everything and read the whole shelf right then and there, gobble gobble yum words yum yum!
But I powered through. (I do believe that all True Readers are in a constant state of powering through -- we must constantly ignore the books before us and soldier on and actually live life once in a while).
I took trash out. I cooked pasta. I called Mom and Dad. I poured more wine. I cleared items off my bed, and -- whoosh -- flung my blanket over its surface and checked the locks and turned off the lights and crawled under that blanket and read Barrio Blanco until my eyes couldn't hold.
And then I slept and slept and woke this morning and wanted to read and read, reading often first thing on my mind.
But I kissed the cat, turned on Garrison Starr tunes, and pulled on jeans and a hand-me-down top (that was hanging neatly in the closet).
And so here I am, feeling like my life is a little less chaotic, knowing my book is waiting for me once life releases me back into the world of words. (I'm cheating, by writing some words right now. I'm always finding a way to get into the world of words. Why do you think I talk so much?)
OK one final thought and then I'll leave you.
I'm warning you, this is a final thought that will make me sound like a final narcissist.
But, I PROMISE, I'm writing this because I think you talented, beautiful, overachieving people can relate.
Have you ever seen "Little Women"? (Admittedly, I loved the book, but it's been so long since I've read it that I don't know if this line I'm about to mention is in the book or not).
There's a great scene, where Jo is with Friedrich and several men. Jo speaks up about the right women should have to vote.
After making her argument, a man says, "You should have been a lawyer, Miss March."
To which she replies: "I should have been a great many things, Mr. Mayer."
OK. So for those three of you who are still with me and haven't closed your browser because you think your previous favorite blogger is a totally arrogant prick, who thinks that she herself could be a great many things...
I just find comfort in this quote. Not only is it badass and a powerful line for women everywhere, but it calms me when I feel like I'm overcommitting and don't know what to do with my life. I mean, thank GOD that I feel such confidence in my calling as a writer (because it was wandering in the desert before I figured that out), but I still just want to help in so many ways, use my writing skills and use my people skills and whatever.
But I KNOW that none of us can do it all (and if we want to get spiritual I think it's a beautiful thing that we're all parts of the body of Christ). BUT. I still have days where I feel lost because I'm not doing all that I can do.
Which is where Jo March, blessed Jo March, gives me some peace. As she always can.
Have a wonderful weekend, Friends. Remember: you should have been a great many things. Xoxo

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