Monday, July 28, 2008

What's in a name? Let's find out.

I looked through the dares one at a time. Some of them scare me senseless, which is probably good. Some of them I think I'm not ready for. Some of them I don't think I really need...which probably means I really do need to look at them harder. This is all to say, I didn't know which dare to pick first. And while a favorite or two stuck out at me, I thought it best to let the fickle finger of fate pick where I would start. So helped me pick out this very special dare for our very first one. I think it's a good one. Are you ready?

"Dare To Not Label Yourself"

Now I'm not going to share all the wisdom Natasha Kogan gives us in her book. But the basic idea is right out there...we all label ourselves in ways that are limiting, self-depreciating, or simply not helpful. The fact is, we can choose to shed those labels. My challenge for you, and me too, is to pick three labels you've given yourself and challenge them this week. I'll see you soon. MUAH.

Take a ride with me. I dare you.

Back in the summer of spending every moment of time I might actually have to face myself trying to make friends with with anyone who would talk to me on the Internets (as long as they were women who had children and didn't have any interest in setting me up with someone) I happened upon a website one day. I wish I could remember how I got there, but somethings are just supposed to happen. This website is a promotional site for author Natasha Kogan's book The Daring Female's Guide to Ecstatic Living. I adored the concept of this book and I wrote to the author right away with the intent of starting an online "Daring Circle" with my Myspace girlfriends and they were eager too. Natasha sent me a free book, and because I wanted her to get something out of it from me, I encouraged all my friends to buy one, and bought one for my first friend who issued me a really good dare. My friend Cyndi won that challenge and I blissfully sent her one in the mail along with a box of goodies for "BARK bags" for her kids. And we really tried, but school started again and everyone kind of floated off in different directions and our circle bottomed out before we really even got started.

This spring, Cyndi's life met some unexpected changes...changes that would have set most of us on our ears. Cyn's bounce back obviously awed not only me, but everyone who knows her. About two weeks later she was telling me on the phone about lunching with a co-worker who has gone through her own messy divorce and she was revelling in Cyn's bounce-back factor. "How do you do that?" she nearly sobbed on Cyn's shoulder. Cyndi told me she went home and pulled this book off the shelf and re-read the note I'd written to her..."Pay it forward, girlfriend." And so she took it to her friend and told her to get daring.

And in doing so, she did the same for me. I went upstairs that night and started digging through my books. I found it fast and I carried it around for a few weeks before I really even looked at it again. But now I's time to get daring. My life is ready for it.

I'm inviting you down this daring road with me, and if you come I'll feel like I'll finally be paying up my promise to Natasha to start a daring circle. But whether you ride along or just spectate, or maybe a little of both, I promise nothing, except maybe something to laugh about or something to cry about, hopefully something that makes us feel alive.

I'll be sharing some of the dares from Kogan's book (which I think you should buy for'll love it). And I'll endeavor to dare myself to do them, and report back to you the results. You can share, or not. Send me email's or comments, or blog them yourself.

Dare #1 coming up shortly. See you there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's about time

"Hey Ei, you've been awfully quiet, whatcha been up to?"

I cocked my head and thought about it for a moment. I thought about telling her about how blissfully uneventful my summer had been, how I'd been spending a lot of time reflecting on who I am and what I'm doing with my life, how unhappy I've been with the answers and yet lacking the resolve to change them. I thought about telling her how I'm actually caught up on laundry, but the rest of lives has been slipping away. I considered saying a whole lot more. But the visual of having to call a paramedic to summon her from a coma after bearing my soul to her was pretty painful. So I smiled and shrugged, "Y'know. Kids." Her eyes flicker with recognition. She doesn't have any kids. "Yeah, I guess I do."

Two years ago I found myself wandering familiar terrain, single life, with a whole new set of rules...children, an ex-husband, an aging post childbearing body, and very little curiosity for anything left. At the time a friend told me that the hardest part would be when all the loving kind support I'd received had gone home and tucked in, when the children settled down, and I had to actually look it all in the eye. That took longer than I expected, but that's where I've been. Well, I've been there for awhile. The distractions of life have been plentiful...and my own mad skills at avoidance, well they are pretty amazing.

But more and more lately, I am reminded that I have a long life in front of me, and as much as I love my children, making my life about them would set us all up for, them, and certainly their father and the people in his new life. The thing is, my kids are making remarkable progress, growing and stretching in their lives now. They'll always have a hole in their hearts for what they have lost, but now is the time for them both to flex the muscles they've gained from the hard work of recovering. And maybe it is time for me to start too.

Damn it. Didn't want to be sappy. Sorry it is a habit I'll have to work on.

So there is step one of having a weird, quiet, good, moody summer. Admitting you have a problem. Step two is figuring out what to do about it. There isn't a local chapter of "I Got a Divorce and Never Quite Got Around to Getting a Life Anonymous." I don't do bars (thankfully). I don't have all consuming hobbies. I could, I suppose look at all this as a failure. I'm choosing instead to look at it as a blank slate to be filled with beauty and thought. And it's all mine. Let's do this thing.

Yes, I did.

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