Monday, June 24, 2019

Building the Building Blocks

Hello Invisible Audience,

I am using my 30 minutes of writing this morning to write to you. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, giving myself this new writing time. It sometimes feels like I’m trying to smash it in between two rocks and a hard place, but here I am.

I’ve been thinking about all the advice I’ve heard about how to start a writing practice; about all the habits I’ve tried to pick up that will stick and won’t stick. I’ve realized that giving myself this half hour in the morning to write has taken many more steps than I would have thought. 

It seems I have a specific way that I would ideally like to do things. I yearn for large swaths of time: hours and days to dedicate to a specific task. In the past, I have given myself that time and yet somehow it never feels quite as productive as I would have hoped. Life gets in the way, money runs out, but also I find I am intimidated by those large blocks. I pace and flutter and cook and make other plans. 

I’ve been feeling that way lately, but about other things. I have started swimming at the local pool in the mornings, but I also want to ride my bike to work downtown, but I also want to write in the morning, but I also need enough sleep, but I also want to make my lunch before I go…you see? Are you already intimidated by my day? Because I am.

At the end of each week, I print out next week’s calendar and write out all the things I need to get done for work during that week in a list on the side. When I reach any particular day, I write down two or three things I want to get done. If I don’t finish them, they move to the next day.

The system works best when I schedule things an hour or two at a time. When I try to block out a whole day for one task – balancing my books, for example – I get overwhelmed and don’t end up doing it at all.

The lesson seems pretty obvious at this point: small chunks of time build up to finished tasks and projects. Small chunks of time don’t seem as intimidating and require less extended concentration.

It’s true with the writing, too. What’s also true is that many pieces had to come first before 30 minutes of writing felt ok. 

1)   I had to establish a journaling habit that is separate from my writing habit, where I empty out all my worries and fears and to dos.
2)   I had to go to 12 sessions with a rolfing specialist to help me realign my bone structure and fascia so I wasn’t in pain sitting or writing
3)   I had to create a morning exercise routine at home that included building strength in my neck and shoulder to prevent the sitting/writing pain from coming back
4)   I had to spend several years working with my doctor to figure out what foods I was allergic to and stop eating them so the inflammation would diminish so I could sleep better and wouldn’t have an overpowering need to sleep during the day
5)   I had to change a lot of relationships and let go of some toxic ones to make room mentally and emotionally 
6)   I had to start going to bed earlier
7)   I’ve had to teach myself that 30 minutes of time for this in the morning is not going to lead to homelessness just because I’m not spending that time working for money

Now, this goes directly against all the things I hear, Invisible Audience. Even some of my favorite writers would scoff at the list of “excuses” I have for not writing. Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) wrote in a book that engineers don’t get caught up in their heads about their work, so why should writers? Then again, she also said the first step to writing any book is to organize the spice drawer.

I don’t know why it takes so much for me to write. It trips on some DANGER – CLIFF AHEAD wire in my brain and makes me want to veer away, even as I yearn for it. Maybe it’s precisely because it’s a cliff that I’m scared – because it will lead me off the edge of what I’m sure is the only way and into an entirely different world.

So here’s to anyone who is seeking their path and beating themselves up for not yet accomplishing what they think should be easy or straightforward. I’ve personally found that few things in life actually are. 

Love and block by block kisses,

Morgan

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Moving Beyond Black and White

Hello, Invisible Audience,

At the end of last week, I got home from a 10-day vacation in Northern California. It was a much-needed rest after a year of building my Spanish teaching business in Leavenworth. I have to admit, I’ve been absolutely fried. I spent a lot of time reading books, cooking for pleasure, wandering along rivers and near waterfalls and eating in new places where no one knew me. It was blissful.

In case you don’t know, Invisible Audience, emotional growth is not for the weak. I have found it difficult to both try to grow a business and also give myself the space I need to deal with the ever-peeling layers of the onion of – what would you call it? I used to think it was something like, “healing,” but I actually think it’s something more like “living.” Certainly there are people out there who are don’t feel constantly bombarded by the need to look at what’s not working in their lives and try to dig up the courage to face it and perhaps change it, but I am not one of those people. For better or for worse, I am incapable of sitting in discomfort for long – something that has led me in the past to leave jobs, people and situations the way some people change their wardrobes for the season. 

I’ve lived in Leavenworth for four years now, Invisible Audience. This is a personal record. I’ve lived in the same house for two years in August, something I have not done since I went to college when I was 18. That in itself is a major feat for me: to keep myself stationary while my mind, my heart and my ideas grow and stretch and change and sometimes howl at me in discomfort. Before, this discomfort would prompt me to seek a new landscape to drown in: new people to meet; new restaurants; adventures; and tiny fun little roadblocks that would keep me occupied and challenged so I wouldn’t have to address the pain I was feeling.

Of course, that’s not a completely true statement. My travel was not all escapism – I have a genuine need to see new things to be reminded that there are other options than living the so-called elusive American Dream. And just as the world is not black and white in terms of my desire to travel, neither is my life black and white. The difference now is that I am seeking ways to lean into the gray area instead of trying to hold everything to the simpler black and white picture I had subscribed to for so long.

Maybe I’m new to a concept that others have had forever, I don’t know. I certainly feel like the world has been trying to make itself more decidedly divisive in recent years. But despite the pull I feel, I am actually becoming much more of a centrist than previously. I have stopped looking for friends that can play all roles and enjoy more friends who only play one role that they play well. I have started to see how sometimes disagreeable situations can teach me something helpful, even if I never want to have that situation occur again. I have gained wisdom from those whose teachings I don’t agree with, and leaned into discomfort instead of shying away from it.

I think there’s a specific reason this is working, Invisible Audience: it’s because I get to pick.It’s because I’m starting to trust myself that Iam the one who knows best when to lean in and when to back away; whose disagreeableness I am willing to put up with and listen past and whose I prefer to let go of. I can sit with some discomfort if Iam in charge of what that means and how deep it goes. 

The day after I got back from my trip, I sat down to write for 30 minutes. This is different from other writing I already do on a regular basis. This was the kind of writing that was both honest and vulnerable but also has an intention of perhaps being publishable one day. The feeling about it is different. 

Each time I’ve done it now, I have finished the half hour I set for myself freezing cold – so cold I’ve had to immediately get into a hot shower. There’s something that feels so dangerous about it that it’s literally pulling the blood from my extremities and into my core to keep me alive. 

It doesn’t feel good, Invisible Audience, but it feels necessary. I can’t say I’m going to be able to keep it up forever, but I no longer think in those kinds of black and white terms: that either I’m writing every day or not writing at all. Instead, I think in terms of one day at a time. I wake up and say, “Today, I will write.” And that’s what I do. The goal now is to continue to say that every day; to do it as many days as I can; to continue to do it even after a missing a day, or two, or a week, or a month, or years.

I am lucky that I have writing. I have always known that I am here on earth to write; it has never been a question. What they don’t tell you in the American dream narrative or in most other narratives I’ve heard is that it does not matter how much you love a thing. It does not matter how many days you have committed to love a thing. To do it again today, you must commit to it again today. 

I have written and published several books. I have written in a journal daily for probably 7 years now. I write food blogs and articles and for websites and for many other things. I make money off my writing. But the writing that counts, the writing that I love, that shows me, that completes me and heals me, that scares me: that I have picked up and dropped, run away from and yearned for, over and over and over again. If I were looking at this in the same black and white landscape I used to operate in, I would see this as a failure, but it’s not true, Invisible Audience. I have not failed myself or my writing just because I have not been able to commit every day to it. Life is much more nuanced than that. And always there will be something new that I could not have written previously because I didn’t know then what I know now. So the goal is not to beat myself up for all the time I have lost, but to be grateful for all the lessons I have gained while my pen was idle. 

Love and gray kisses
Morgan 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

You Get What You Deserve...Right?


I can't remember the first time I heard the actual definition of an introvert vs. an extrovert: the first one gains energy from being alone; the second from being with others. However, I can remember having a conversation with a long-time friend once who told me she thought I probably only really needed human interaction about once a week. Although that might be a bit extreme, it's true that I need a fair amount of alone time.

I've known for a long time that I am an introvert -- I can remember friends in middle school being flummoxed because I would constantly disappear at parties to be by myself for awhile. My introversion has become more pronounced over the years, and I think now that I teach after school Spanish classes a lot of the energy I have for social interactions is used up for work.

Over the winter -- when my introversion seems to get ever more pronounced and I hibernate like it feels like we're supposed to -- I started to think about dating. It's been a long time since I seriously dated anyone, and I decided to give it a go again. I set up a couple online profiles, then immediately started to stress out about the messages I got. I found I didn't much want to reply to these men who were writing to me; I found that I had enough going on and plenty of meaningful friendships. Trying to make room for a romantic partner felt like a huge burden instead of a joy.

Then I stopped a looked at that feeling. Why, exactly, was I trying so hard? What did I hope to gain? Certainly there are many things that a partner brings that I was missing...but was I actually missing those things? I am rarely if ever lonely -- in fact, I am much more likely to be excited to have a night to myself than I am by a lot of plans that other people get excited about. Intimacy? I have been working hard to have intimate relationships with a handful of people; I do not feel like I'm lacking in that department. Intellectual conversations? Same as the previous question. A need to care for another? I have a 13-year-old geriatric cat who loves to cuddle, plus nine classes a week of kids in my classes. I get plenty of caring in. Sex? Well, yes, having a regular sex partner would be great. I cannot argue with that, but it is only one of the many facets people seek in a romantic relationship.

When I really started to look at it, Invisible Audience, I realized something profound: I actually feel quite content. Certainly I have worries and fears and stresses, but when it came to deciding whether I wanted a partner, I discovered that the main reason I felt like I needed one was because people told me that I either needed one or that I deserved one.

Deserve. What a strange concept. I feel like I've lived most of my life following the rules, with the idea that if I did so I would deserve all the things I could possibly want: the perfect partner; a great job that you adore, that pays a huge salary and is meaningful; an effortlessly beautiful body; all the energy in the world; perfect children; financial stability; a happily ever after. I have spent many, many years resenting the fact that I have played by the rules and yet seem no further ahead than anyone else. In fact, if you're measuring my life by what I just named, I have been handed a shit sandwich instead. But life is not fair in the way that it has been laid out to us, is it Invisible Audience? I realized this winter that I had found a choice I didn't know I had: to resent that I hadn't found what I "deserved," or to step fully into a life that, actually, I enjoyed more than I ever thought I would.

As soon as I let go of the idea that I should have a partner, things got easier, Invisible Audience. I stopped being afraid I was missing a chance to meet someone. I stopped worrying about whether I was missing my one and only chance at happiness, wrapped up in another body that I had not yet met. And then something strange happened: I stopped wanting to socialize as much at all. I realized that, unconsciously, many of my interactions with others were based in the hope that through them -- or through being out and about, or meeting other people -- I would meet my invisible partner and my life could finally start. I stopped fearing that I was going to miss something and started enjoying what I didn't want to miss: blissful sunny afternoons in my hammock with a book; the sound of my feet on dirt paths climbing the sides of mountains; curling up with my cat for a long Sunday afternoon nap. It made my interactions with the people I did see even better, because I wasn't always looking around for that deserving man I had yet to meet.

Suddenly, I realized that I deserved to be happy, without it being wrapped up in anyone else but me.

Love and deserving kisses
Morgan

Thursday, May 16, 2019

7 Truths and a Lie

Hello Invisible Audience,

I woke up in the middle of the night with such a deep desire to write that I found myself crying. I find it interesting: I write all the time, and can now say it’s my legit part-time gig that I use help cover the bills, but deep down in my soul I know the truth: the writing I’ve been doing doesn’t count. I mean, sure it counts in that it pays and it’s enjoyable. But it doesn’t count on a soul level; on an artistic level; on that fulfilling, earth-shattering level that it has in the past; that I want it to count for again.

So why haven’t I been writing? That’s a long story, but I’m going to try to condense it for you. I’ve already told you one truth; here are six more that perhaps explain my reticence.

1)   I’m afraid.
I’m afraid to write what really speaks to me: to bare my soul and write out loud. It has felt more difficult in the past several years than it did before, and that has stopped me. 
What am I afraid of? Oh gracious, so many things: that I will sound like a whiner, like a victim, like an ego maniac. That I will be flayed alive for what makes me feel the most vulnerable. Also, that unleashing myself could upset the delicate, hushed balance I have been trying to create and make life more complicated if I realize I don’t like this life I’ve built at all. 

2)   I want to be in control.
I want to control the responses to my writing, Invisible Audience: I want to control YOU. I want you to reach out and tell me how brave I am, but I don’t want you to advise me. I want a certain type of response, and that has stopped me from writing because once I’ve let it out into the ether I know that I have no control over what happens to my writing. If you decide to pity me because of what I write, or hate me or berate me, that is your choice, not mine. That knowledge has stopped me, despite a deep need to write. It has stopped me, despite the knowledge that there are always those you touch, and always those you don’t. It has stopped me, despite knowing, above all, that I need to write out loud for it to count.

3)   I want to look like I have my shit together.
I think every day about writing. I think about what I would write about; how I would present it; how I would state my case about the things that I think about and touch me every day. Then I think about how admitting some of those things will make it clear that I do not have it all figured out: that I struggle to feel like I have enough money, even if I always manage to pay my bills; that I battle with myself over whether I am justified to take the time, the money, the space that I need for my own self care. In this day of the curated social media profile, I struggle with admitting it’s not as pretty as it looks from my sparse postings.

4)   I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nancy
I recently learned a term I was in desperate need of: toxic positivity. This explains something I’ve long felt and haven’t been able to put my finger on. Every time I have a legitimate concern, struggle or distress, I get a voice in my head – through years of reading self-help books, I’m sure – that tells me that {sing song voice} I have to be positive if I want to have a positive life. This both enrages me and sucks the life out of me simultaneously. It has become yet another whipping stick to beat myself with. Life sucks sometimes. Change often comes to me as a result of taking a good, hard, honest look at what’s not working and making a change, not through Polly-Anna-ing around it and trying to live with it when it hurts. 

5)   I’m not saying this because I want to be fixed.
I’ve become weary of people offering up advice about how I can feel better when perhaps all I need was someone to witness my journey with me for a minute. I am not writing out loud because I’m seeking help. I have become very good at asking for what I need, and someone’s opinions on what I should do differently are not what I need when I write out loud. I do it for the same reason musicians decide to play and artists decide to draw or paint. It’s an art, and I want it out there. Maybe it will find and touch the right people, but mostly because it is not supposed to stay locked inside of me.

6)   Today’s world feels like sandpaper on my soul.
With all the things that are happening nationally and globally, today’s world feels hostile and hurtful. I am tired of feeling heartbroken, Invisible Audience. However, I’ve realized that closing off actually increases the heartbreak instead of decreasing it. Finding those that are willing to be vulnerable makes me feel better. The thing is, I need to show up as vulnerable in return to fully enjoy the exchange.

7)   I’m dropping everything that doesn’t speak directly to me.
To some extent, it feels like I’ve lost my own voice as I throw out messages and messengers whose words make no sense to me. I have been cutting out more than I’ve been adding in lately: I no longer believe everyone who speaks with conviction. It’s made my world smaller, although much more authentic.

So there are the truths; now here’s the lie that I am now trying to recognize and break through: the idea that I need to have a meaningful message before I can write. The idea that I have to be any different than I am to write to you, Invisible Audience. The idea that there’s anything wrong with me, or that there’s anywhere else I’m supposed to be standing, besides right here, right now, with you.

Love and truthful kisses,
Morgan 



Sunday, February 17, 2019

It's Gotta Come From Me

It’ been a rough ride getting here, Invisible Audience. There have been a lot of twists and turns, ups and downs and detours to get to where I am today. For better or for worse, I’ve realized something important: all the major changes I’ve made in my life have only come after I let go of what others thought I should do. They came when I did what felt like the right thing for me.

It comes at us from all sides now, at all times: DRINK THIS AND BE THIN! DO THIS AND BE HAPPY FOREVER! CHECK YOUR FACEBOOK LIKES NOW! YOU’VE GOT MAIL! SOMEONE’S CALLING! BUY THIS! DON’T DO THAT! 

It’s exhausting sometimes trying to keep up with all the messages handed to me on a regular basis, although I have to admit it used to be a lot worse. Not all that long ago, I found it hard to discount someone’s opinion or idea if they shared it with conviction, even if it didn’t ring true for me. If they were willing to argue vehemently about their opinion, I’d simply shut down, unable to find my way to my own truth in the moment. Well, actually that part hasn’t changed, but the way I look at it is a bit different. I have learned that I’m not great at coming to terms with what I think in the moment, and especially not during an argument. I want time to mull over what I think first; I also need some time by myself to decide whether or not what I heard makes sense to me. And ultimately, when it comes to my self-care, it has to come from me or it’s just not gonna take in any kind of lasting way.

I’m not saying I don’t seek advice or find it helpful. I’m not saying I have it all figured out. But I’ve figured out that just because someone raves that something worked for them doesn’t mean it’s going to work for me, and – this is really important, Invisible Audience – that’s ok. I am not less of a person if that one diet, religion, healing modality, mindfulness practice, friend, pet, skin cream, exercise routine, sex position or whatever other possible thing does not become my thing.

I used to think I’d write a self-help book one day. In fact, I think one of the reasons I’ve found it so hard to write these past several years was because I thought I was supposed to take all the things I’ve learned and share them with others in a way that would make them feel better: that I needed to make a bulleted list of things I did and tell readers how doing those things has made my life better. Well, I finally came to terms with something, Invisible Audience: most self-help books make me feel like they can only help me if I follow them to the letter, and following anythingto the letter has never worked for me. It’s because whatever author hasn’t lived my situations, or dealt with my own personal phobias and idiosyncrasies.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me that there’s now some research that suggests that religious people are more likely to have religious children, and not just because they’re exposed to religion as they’re growing up. It was more that some people are better with/get more from/find solace in/enjoy the rituals related to dogma. I started to think about it.  I realized that I know a lot of people that are very dogmatic about something in their lives, even if it’s not religion. I live in a mountain town, and there are plenty of people here dogmatic about outdoor recreation. I have a lot of friends in the healing arts, and many of them are dogmatic about the healing modalities that work for them. I know several people dogmatic about their eating habits. Even though there are several things that I could probably call my own personal dogma, I’ve also realized that in general dogma is a scary thing to me. Mostly, I’ve realized that I get uneasy anytime anyonesuggests that their way is the right way, regardless of what that thing actually is, and especially if amazing results would be available to me if I could just do xyz within a certain timeframe that they’ve decided on.

It’s gotta work for me, personally, Invisible Audience, and let’s be real: most of it doesn’t. For a long time, I would use the fact that the Acme Magic Life Changer I had just tried had failed as a sign that I had failed, too. I wasn’t dedicated enough; disciplined enough; strong enough; I didn’t want it badly enough. Well, it’s not true. I am actually a pretty dedicated person; I can and have made lasting changes in my life. And when I take the idea out of it that I have to follow someone else’s rules to get there, suddenly it’s not so painful anymore. Suddenly, I can make more headway than if I were following someone else’s agenda.

Now, I treat anything new like a new piece of food someone slipped onto my plate. I get to study it; sniff it; take a taste if I’m interested. If I don’t feel like eating it, I don’t have to. If I take a bite and don’t want anymore, that’s ok too. If I gobble it down, but then feel sick, I get to make a choice on whether I ever want to eat it again. If it takes several more tries to decide either way, that’s ok, too.

Love From Me Kisses,
Morgan

Saturday, February 2, 2019

It Takes As Long As It Takes

Hello, Invisible Audience,

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the parameters I feel compelled to adhere to in our Western Society – about the idea I’ve had that there is a checklist I must complete before I’m 40. Every day I’m inundated by ads and huge, powerful messages that tell me that I can take control of my finances, have the beach body I crave, have better health, better sex, better relationships, and if I start today I’ll get them within 90 days or less or my money back!

No wonder I’m tired.

If I’m going to be honest about it, the truth is that change in my life has never gone quite that direction for me. All the lasting changes I’ve made to my life have taken years to come together. They usually included one step forward, four back, a dosey doe to the side, and a heck of a lot of side trips to the dump before I can get there.

This is rather hard to admit. It feels like our culture says that if you can’t achieve the results you want in the time you’ve set for yourself (or someone’s program has set for you) you’re utterly failing at life: you’re lazy; undisciplined; or clearly you don’t want it enough. 

What utter bullshit. 

We can’t force kids to leap from 8 to 18 in 90 days just because we tell them they should. We can’t hurry fall when it’s spring. There’s a certain amount of time that it takes to get from point A to point B. Certainly we can work on making that amount of time shrink, but we cannot eliminate the fact that there is distance between the two.

Let me be clear: I am not saying change is not possible, or that it cannot be done. I am simply saying that I have struggled for YEARS to try and figure out why I was “failing” at accomplishing something when the truth was that I hadn’t failed – I just hadn’t accomplished the thing in the time I was told I should take to do it.

Ten years ago, I quit a corporate job in Bellevue to become a writer. I gave myself a year to get myself published. Well, that didn’t happen. It’s true that I ended up self publishing a book within about a year, but that was not what I had set out to do, and it was not the book I longed to write. 

Ten years later, I’ve self published two more books, and I don’t actively market or sell those books anymore. I don’t make my entire living as a writer, but I do write freelance articles and blog posts, mostly for the private sector, and I get paid pretty well for it. If you’d told me when I started this was where I’d end up, I would have been disappointed. Where are the riches and the following and the authorship I thought I would get after a year of working to get published? 

I never learned that these processes can take a lifetime, Invisible Audience. I never learned that the best way to make progress is one small forward step at a time, not giant leaps and life changes (although I’ve done both with varying levels of success.) It has only been recently that I realized that I get a lot more bang for my buck with small, incremental changes that build upon one another. In fact, the less I beat myself up for where I think I’m “supposed” to be, the more likely the change I decide to make will stick. 

·     My diet is the best it’s ever been. Finally, I’m not tired in the middle of the day and I can concentrate. It’s taken more than 10 years to get there.
·     I’m more emotionally healthy than I’ve ever been. It’s taken a lifetime to get to this point.
·     I’m more financially stable than I could have ever imagined being. It’s taken years of experimenting with different kinds of budgets, tracking, and giving myself permission to spend money on the things I personally consider important to get here...not to mention letting go of the ideas of what financially stable "should" look like.
·     I’m working on being physically healthier. Every time I try to rush the process, I experience a huge setback. All that has worked so far is small, incremental changes.

It takes as long as it takes, Invisible Audience. And sometimes, it takes a long time.

Love and however long it takes kisses,
Morgan


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Fewer Strings Attached

I've been thinking about you, Invisible Audience.

I've been thinking about you and what you mean to me, especially when there are so many other invisible audiences that I think about on a regular basis.


  • There's the audience that tells me there's something wrong with me that I'm single and 37.
  • There's the audience that tells me that I really should be getting out more, and that there's something wrong with me that I enjoy my time to myself so much; that often, I prefer time to myself to time with others.
  • There's the audience that thinks I should be able to do it all -- everything I expect for myself, plus everything everyone else wants for me, too.


There's the audience that thinks I really should be something different than what I am now -- more financially stable, maybe; with a newer car; that I should weigh less; laugh more; work less but get more done. That I should keep more toxic people in my life, simply because we share blood.

Here's what it's taken me a long time to come to terms with, Invisible Audience: just because these audiences are invisible does not mean they don't exist. After all, you're invisible, and you're reading this, aren't you?

I've spent much of my life wondering why I felt pulled in 200 different directions; wondering why I felt like I was fighting expectations even when I couldn't see anyone around me trying to enforce them. I would try to explain this pull to others, and many would look at me, confused.

"But you always do what you want," they'd say. "Just look at your life. You never adhere to the norm."

It's true I have not lived a life that looks normal, but that does not mean that stepping away from the norm has been painless.

For some reason, 40 years old has felt like a marker. It's loomed ahead of me as a finish line that I'm afraid I won't be able to triumph. Shouldn't I be something else by then? My hair is turning grey; I weigh more now; I am not as buoyant about life as I once was. Surely if I don't have everything figured out by 40 I never will. An invisible audience told me that. And for a long time, I believed them.

I have been turning these invisible yet very real expectations over in my head and in my heart, and I have finally been able to ask myself:

Do I want this?


  • Do I want to seek a partner just to say I have one?
  • Do I want to believe that I only have worth if others think I do?
  • Do I want a child so my friends that leave me out of conversations about kids will include me?
  • Do I want to live a more lavish lifestyle and battle stress and debt simply so I look more normal?
  • Do I want to try to push myself physically at the expense of my health just so I look more like one of the very athletic mountain town women who live where I live?
  • Do I want my life to look like everyone else's to quiet those invisible voices, whose presence is as real as gravity and as hard to pin down?


No.

No, I do not.

It has taken years. It has taken an ocean of tears. It has taken the loss of many friendships and loved ones. There have been many betrayals. There have been many surprising allies and steps forward and back.

Fuck it. Fuck all of it.

There's some saying that I can't quite remember about how inadequate a fish will seem if you expect it to climb a tree. The thing is, a fish knows what it's good at, but even as its fins work and its lungs breathe underwater, you can totally fool the fish into the thinking it will never be good enough if you tell it that all that matters is if it can stand on the uppermost limb; that, indeed, its existence and happiness depend on it getting there.

I know what I'm good at. I'm good at pouring my heart out into my writing; I'm a stellar solo traveler. I'm really great at starting over. I'm a great business woman. I'm really great at making sure kids love learning Spanish. I'm pretty good at speaking Spanish. I'm good at excel spreadsheets, and paying my bills on time, and getting my oil changed and my tires rotated when I'm supposed to. I'm the kind of renter that landlords rave about having. When that's the standard I aim for, I knock the expectations out of the park. When I buy into the invisible expectations that have nothing to do with me and everything do to with what is considered normal or acceptable, I look like a fish trying to climb a tree.

And that's the thing, Invisible Audience: I've always been a much better swimmer than a climber. It's just a question of owning it.

Love and swimming kisses,
Morgan