I'm still here.
I know it's been a REALLY long while (with a few peppering of posts here and there) since there's been fresh content on the Daily Bailey, but I'm here.
I can't say I've been off riding camels in the sunset on some grand thirty-something hippie adventure, or that some publisher suddenly discovered me and I've just finished a 23-city book tour, or even that I've been valiantly holed up with my computer typing something valiant that wasn't blog related but was in fact writing related and was indeed valiant.
I can't say any of that.
But I can say this:
I have been living. The mostly painful, sometimes boring, kind of living. But the alive kind of living.
I have been (hopefully) growing.
I have been hustling. I have been climbing up the dirt embankments of vegetable-eating, therapy-session-homework-assignment-doing, exercising, etc. I have been successful for a day, sometimes days, and have then slid down, feeling ashamed with clods in my fingernails.
And sometimes I haven't felt ashamed at all. Sometimes I've felt good and haven't felt the need for mental or physical health management, happily clicking the "Play" button on the next episode of "Girl Meets World."*
*This is EXCELLENT television and people of all ages and genders should give it a chance. I'm actually being a thousand percent serious.
There were many reasons for my absence from the blog.
Fear that if I wrote something too sad you would worry.
Fear that if I wrote something too happy you would think I was all fixed.
[Fear that now that you've read those sentences I just wrote you will fear: "What the hell HAS been going on with Bailey?!?" Lather rinse repeat this fear of mine. I don't generally mind being the poster child for public vulnerability, but lately I've wondered whether I really, fully, wholly don't mind...]
And I've been a whole lot of just plain busy and also occasionally *GASP!* enjoying myself.
Let's talk about some of those moments, shall we? The enjoying myself moments:
Jennifer Knapp closed out her set at the Hotel Café with Martyrs & Thieves, and with a smirk on her face she said, "You've got this," took her voice away from the mic, and let her fans of nearly 20 years sing the chorus. Then she came back and we all rang out this call together about being broken but not afraid, and with our scratchy voices we supported this brave, amazing artist who we love for so many reasons but most of all for the fact that after years of not singing she decided to sing hallelujah sing once again!
I devoured this same Jennifer's memoir in a week, and cried and resonated with this other person who once felt deeply subdued in her innate need to create, and then, slowly, eventually, created once again. It was the first full (adult) book I had read in two months, and it fed me in huge ways.
As our ship cruised north to Juneau in May, I got on the treadmill and jogged five miles. I was very proud of myself, and really felt like the most difficult thing about it was not falling over when the waves steered us askew. This was a good moment, and I took a selfie in the elevator of my red face to document the achievement.
This past Sunday, I wrote a poem. I printed off copies at the 24-hour FedEx Kinko's and went to an open mic and stood up when they called out my name and I read it. Alex was there. Jill and Sam were there. Boys I know from karaoke and shooting pool were there. People clapped, snapped, gasped, laughed. I used my voice. I reminded myself that I still have one, and I heard others use theirs to hear mine.
I ate sushi with my friend Caleb. We tried (and loved!) a fried mystery delicacy called "sushi pizza," which cost us a whole $4.99, and our entire bill came out to $31.
In Los Angeles.
Caleb is fun and easy to be real with and good for me to be around. We share Kansas roots, which is always an added bonus in my book.
I went out for drinks with my roomies and we just giggled and chatted and it was the most "me" I had felt in a while. I walked in to the bar that night pretty beaten down, but walked out, if for a moment, refreshed.
So here I am.
Feeling a lot better, generally-speaking-don't-want-to-say-this-too-loud-just-yet, than I have for the last few weeks. Reminding myself as best I can that emotional/physical/spiritual/mental maintenance is still important. Get up and wash the dish you just ate from, Bailey. Clear the papers off your bed before you go to sleep. Take 10 minutes to reply to that actually-important email. You don't have to break your back becoming the next Oprah do-it-all Winfrey, but you have to keep yourself well-oiled and semi-organized to aim yourself toward feeling good and being productive and moving forward as a writer which by the way you really do love.
Yes, you really do love it quit with the excuses. Even though you feel inadequate sometimes and really far behind and unheard etc. etc. etc....as soon as those fingers get flying across the keyboard you know the sides of your smile turn up. You. Know. They. Do.
I don't usually dedicate blog posts, but this one here goes out to Jill, who gently and fervently, for weeks, asked and suggested that maybe I should come back this direction and put some words down. I gave her many excuses. I laid many fears at her feet. Her texting thumbs were gentle in their response and quietly came back a few days later, with the same request. Thanks, Babe. So glad I found you out there on the webosphere. I hope your words touch the world far and wide, as they most certainly already have. Xox
All righty. Time to go do some maintenance in my life. Cat snuggling. Drink toasting (to 2 1/2 years today! of being in love with Alexander). Laundry folding and hanging and sorting and putting away-ing. Taking dishes from bedroom to kitchen. Maybe (?) taking some trash (and other items) out of the Corolla Coaster. Cat snuggling (this I can do as much as I want, as it is always very good for the soul).
I'll be back here soon with more words.