December 29, 2009 7:47 PM- a noggin on nyquil

photo taken years ago . . .

The wind is howling, yowling, slamming windows, bringing down trees and generally kicking up a hell of a fuss. And? Add in arctic temperatures-- ARC.TIC.

It has been like this all day-- I came out of the grocery store midday and was slapped full in the face, my eyes peppered with salt and sand. To get back to my car I had to hold my grocery sack in front of my face and hope nobody decided to back out of their parking spot as I trudged blindly by.

Right now, however, I am downstairs next to Esse who has been eating wood like a beaver on a bender. There's a very good chance I may just sleep down here tonight-- and soon, as I took a shot of NyQuil before starting this post (you've been warned)-- but before I do, I have some odd need to share where I'm at.

It's not a particularly good place-- although it certainly isn't a bad place-- rather, it is that mile from the finish line most people don't talk about. There's no shortage of material about starting off on an adventure and no few books about the rewards of completing an adventure-- but what I am feeling right now is how exposed, fragile, and exhausted you get when you've been swimming for hours to cross the lake and the shore is still not in sight and it would be so simple to simply stop.

What possessed you to even begin this journey? The thought repeats over and over. What a waste of time. What hubris. What were you thinking? What will other people think?

And you know, YOU know that last one is the bell that tells me how far gone I am because if there is one thing I know about myself is that I am indifferent to the opinions of others even when I should really care.

But here I am-- and I chose the photo above (I have no new photos to share) because it reminds me of a time not so long ago--- freer in so many respects-- that walk was just a walk. The road looks there very much like it did yesterday with thick, white snow pulling every inch of every branch down toward the earth. I was also not free, in many senses-- and oh man the NyQuil has kicked in and I can hardly type.

I wanted to capture that taking risks is hard. You must expose yourself. You must put yourself, you, on the line--- and say-- this is me, for all to hear. I've done it enough times now you would think I've gotten more comfortable with the process-- but there is no getting comfortable-- not if you are constantly pushing yourself into new territory-- not if the risk you are taking is genuine.

Doh, risks are hard, you might be thinking-- girlfriend, shut the laptop and go to bed, you are embarrassing yourself. And that, is the point.

It is embarrassing to take risks-- the very word embarrass is derived from the French to block or obstruct. Because god forbid we do something that is socially unacceptable.

And yet, how else can we grow if we do not push against those constraints?

All I know is (as I seem to have been born to find every fence in the yard so that I can mow it down) that the only shame is if I don't act in accordance with my truth and that actions based in anything but truth are all I have to fear.

And, that sometimes, it is only in the risk taking that I discover what my core truths are and, that the truth, to paraphrase Wendell Berry, is always larger, sometimes difficult and often more inscrutable than we may have liked-- but that truth, is always good to know.

Bisous, E

got 2 cents?

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Megsie says:
This is a wonderful post. It connects with the thoughts that are banging around in my head since reading Pixie's post earlier today. I have been at that place where there has been work and work and work...and there is still so MUCH left, that giving up looks inviting. (I may have even done that, though I don't have a concrete memory of it.) I can say, that your journey has inspired me so very much--but you already know that--and your life is exactly what you have made of it. And, I am in awe. Really. So, taking risks is not my favorite past time, but necessary. And you captured exactly why: to grow.
posted on: December 29

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Cupcake says:
I always read that when you ask an old person what they regret the most is that they didn't take enough risks. I know that one day you, on the contrary, will look back and say, "it was really difficult at the time to take that risk, but I'm sure glad I did."
posted on: December 29

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bp says:
Megsie: so funny you say that as I wrote the above about 15 minutes after a long conversation with Pixie herself! And Cupcake: I appreciate that so much as I think that was why I tried to capture this here. I am a bit groggy this morning with the Nyquil hangover still clouding my brain, but what I was trying to say is, it is always hard to take a risk and even if they don't give us the results we most wanted, they are worthwhile for the knowledge we gained by going through the process.
posted on: December 30

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Michelle Shopped says:
whew! good to know one of the "popular successful" girls is going thru this -- this is such a hard piece for me -- the exposure -- i don't know if it ever gets easy no matter where you are in the journey but i swear, is it the weather or what? this is like a page out of my own journal and thank you for sharing -- i think sharing the fears with others makes them less powerful over us...and please don't misunderstand the "popular successful" girls remark -- just couldn't think of an easier way to say it through my brain fog ;)
posted on: December 30

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ab says:
The masses are urging you to plow forward and I mean that in the best possible way. We see your light and there are so many benefits we reap from your hard work. You touch so many lives in so many ways that makes this last mile doable. We, I, applaud all this hard work and validate your feelings. I admire your risk and feel inspired by you to take the same journey.
posted on: December 30

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Swirly says:
Yes and yes and yes and a million more times YES.
posted on: December 30

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lizardek says:
Fences = TOOTHPICKS. Mow, baby, mow! Wish I had some Nyquil. Damn.
posted on: December 30

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linda says:
thank you, deeply, for all you go through...for all the work & worry & care you put into Squam. "thank you" seems so little, but do it Nell-style, and it has more feeling. we are so lucky to know you...we are luckier still, that you have Listened and Followed. sending you perserverance & fortification. Linda
posted on: December 30

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DiaryofWhy says:
I love you for bringing up the French origins of "embarrass." :) I can't imagine what it must take to do what you're doing and to create something like Squam, but know that there are those of us out there who admire the fact that you are DOING and CREATING and wish that we were doing the same. Bon courage!!
posted on: December 31

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