just keep falling

Things fall apart in the fall. We start with leaves and end at everything. How the light teases through spiderwebs in a whole new way as though there was no such thing as silk until mid-September. Their construction, a completely perfect collision of intricacy and intention; it's nearly impossible to love them as much as they deserve. And you can hate spiders and still be hard pressed to find anything wrong with the way a spider builds their home between two branches at the very angle where it is the most beautiful thing sunlight has ever passed through at 11:32 am on a Wednesday. 

I'm not sure how to wrangle all the words to tell you this as if you didn't know, but these are complicated times. Marked by various truths so violently before us, it's as though life has just taken all its clothes off and is parading itself around completely untethered to what it once felt it should hide. And if you're anything like me - and by me, I mean sensitive, at the very least, you might feel like you are nursing some kind of emotional whiplash - and by emotional, I mean, a wild ocean of all the feelings. From fiery hot ones to detached nebulous ones that blur edges and create confusion.

And while the fall asks us to shift toward the end - before that, we must begin the task of closing up what we've opened, and this was a year so brilliantly about opening.

Opening, deepening, seeing and being. 

Opening up our eyes, for one. I mean, as a woman now in my forties I feel like I am relearning things I never thought I had so wrong. Like a million shards of glass, I'm trying to reconstruct what it is I inherited by virtue of being part of something infinitely larger than myself. And yes, it's hurting a bit. But as I try to build something recognizable, something of my own design, I step more fully into each day as myself. As an unapologetic version of myself, and as a person who has made many a relationship appear to thrive around the notion of pleasing, crossing into this new frontier has been, at times, a deeply uncomfortable and herculean task.

And in my ever-contradicting dance with permanence, I got a new tattoo recently.

I've never actually sat and counted how many I already had, but as it turns out now, I have seven total. I got my first one when I was seventeen, just before I graduated high school. A friend of a friend was friends with a tattoo artist who had a shop on Telegraph and 40th and I went with the friend (I'd tell you his name if I could remember it), got drunk, and told the artist I wanted two naked fairies floating above the Gemini symbol. My 17-year-old logic was airtight. I would always be a Gemini so this tattoo would always be relevant and reflective of a part of myself that would never change. He whipped something up, created a stencil and carved it into my skin with a needle. I managed to keep my new artwork from the adults in my life until after graduation until one day when I was with my dad and it was too hot not to wear a tank top. I knew I had to tell him before he just spotted it himself, and when I did, true to form, without missing a beat he made two fairly casual comments. The first was to double check that I saw them clean everything and use new needles, the second was, "well, at least it's on your back so you don't have to look at it."

"The girls," as they've been referred to over the years have lived over my left shoulder ever since, and I've fallen in and out of love with them over and over again.

My dad had a point I guess, but we can only hide from the inevitable for so long anyhow, so in a way, he didn't. 

When I got my most recent tattoo, I did things a little differently. I'm historically a pretty impulsive and fearless person who chalks my big feelings, ideas, and reactions up to just being part of this ride I'm on. I try my best to learn from my mistakes, but make new ones as I go. I believe wholly in the beauty of falling down and getting back up, like a mantra, a poem, an anthem - a way of life. 

So this last tattoo, I worked with an artist who created something for my forearm that was composed of some of the most treasured elements of my life as it is right now - and will remain. There was about a month's time between our design session and the actual tattoo, and I could not have been more excited. About two weeks before our appointment I unexpectedly started a very intense process with a job opportunity. I had been headhunted for a position I was not looking for necessarily but made a very good argument for itself. Never one to shy away from a little challenge, I went headlong into the experience to see what I might find.

And what I did was glorious.

I was knee-deep in negotiations and interviews with this job when I pulled up to the tattoo shop. Things had come to a head in my car and I was crying. I didn't even really want the job, though it reflected back to me a great opportunity doing work I am very familiar and experienced with. The offer was really good, they kept agreeing to my terms, I wanted to continue to pick Rafi up from school on her minimum days when she gets out - that time was non-negotiable to me, and they said OK. I wanted to work from home at least two days a week, and they were fine with that. They said I was their top choice and could I commit? I needed to sleep on it, they asked if I could call them the next morning, I said OK.

I walked into the tattoo shop and Joy was there waiting for me. She showed me the design she'd created and my heart sank. I was in the middle of a moment. My husband was admittedly upset that it was only that morning that I told him about the tattoo - upset not because I was getting one, we'd gotten many of ours together, but because he hadn't been a part of this one. This job process was eating away at me. While on paper it offered a lot and would seem foolish to turn down - it also meant giving up on everything I've built on my own. The work I love, the clients I adore, the relationships I've nurtured and the opportunities still unforeseen.

And while Joy was lovely, as one would expect of a Joy, she wasn't there to help me process these disparate yet entangled feelings I was having. We went over some of the design elements, toyed around with placements and I just drifted further and further from my body. I was way in my head. Typically, this would be a situation, me at a tattoo parlor, when I would just lean in and go forth. But nope. I vacillated, driving everyone there crazy, I'm sure.

And while the pleasing person embedded in my being ticked nervously away trying to figure out how to get a tattoo on my arm I wasn't 100% certain about, the woman in me remained there for it all, trying to hear what it was I actually wanted on my body.

I knew what to do. Thirty minutes later I was back in my car with something I'm sure of on my shoulder.

The next morning I respectfully declined the position and never looked back. I felt as though an anchor had been surgically removed from my core. My eyes were lighter, my mind clear, my creativity, like a bright sky full of a million stars. 

I'm like a hunter when it comes to clarity. I search in the wild for its tracks. I don't spare a shred or ever waste it - and what I've learned, is that it travels in packs.

I'll be relaunching my workshop in the new year, and with it so much more. In the meantime, I'm sorry for any inconvenience, this fall is for the harvest, and I've got a lot of work to do!

PS- I've got just a few writing coaching and Book Doula spots available until the end of the year. If you've been wanting support with your writing, let's talk - it's time to harvest those big, beautiful stories and ideas...