Bill @ drbillwooten.com had posted a quote from Brene Brown that has stared at me for days now..
“Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable…”
And, as is typical with the route of the karma truck, a confluence of moments stop me along the road and force me to pull over and take stock of my surroundings.
– Elizabeth asks me about the act of becoming the me I am today. Who was I before I left biglaw? How am I defining myself today? Oh Elizabeth – do you want the short answer or the long one? 😉
– An email from a friend with so much sadness, I thought the screen was streaked with her tears. A chapter closing with an ending she didn’t pen. Now a character in a story that she would have written much differently.
– Friday night with Andy, Jo and Ben seeing “Pippin” on Broadway. A long ago story with threads that carry through from the days when I made up songs to sing while my dad played the Prince to my sister’s balletic swan.
I don’t remember when I began singing, but it has been my protection, my home, my sanctuary, my arguably limited coping mechanism when humor fails me. Standing under Roosevelt Avenue letting one note escape from my lips as the subway rattled overhead. Missing the green light because I was focused on holding that note until the last car was on its way to the 82nd Street stop.
When I sang at ‘Catch A Rising Star‘ my sophomore year in college, I did it I think, more out of naiveté than anything else (well that, and an incredible crush on the guy who arranged it). Jo and Bruce were there. Had we not bumped into each other on the street earlier in the day, the moment would have passed. I sang “Magic To Do” – stepping up to the mike after a gorgeously built woman in a gold sequined bathing suit and heels almost as high as her hair, ponied her way through an off-key version of “V-a-c-a-t-i-o-n”. The audience loved her, for they thought she was a comedy act. To say I took the mike with tremendous hesitation and nausea is an understatement. But I saw Jo – and her delight. On the wings of her smile I let it go. And they asked me to do an encore (I did “Summertime”).
I got an email yesterday from her telling me that she heard me singing during the show on Friday…I thought I was being pretty quiet. But I had to sing – this was my coming of age story. Believing that I had to do great things and having no clue what that meant. I believed I was destined to do the extraordinary, and in my nineteen year old mind, extraordinary meant ‘big’, ‘notable’. And I’m sure sequins had to play a part.
My extraordinariness is hardly extraordinary, but I have come to understand that it is what it is. My sons are miracles – and though I take no credit for anything other than being their mom, I would submit that their arrival trumps any other accomplishment of the exceptional. They were my reason and my privet for so very long. And they moved forward into the world with the knowledge that they are more than capable of soaring.
I built a great career and felt needed by a lot of people – which was pretty heady and gratifying and I didn’t sacrifice more of my soul than I could handle in the process. And when it required more compromising than I could abide, more injury to my body and soul than either could handle, I left. And where I’m heading…well, later to the supermarket.
What I am though is here. I am in this moment for those who need me to be. I am here to remind my heartbroken buddy that we shatter and somehow mend again. I am here for the moments when one doesn’t know if another day is really going to change a damn thing, and suggesting that if it doesn’t, a series of days may. I am here with a cup of hope. And if you sit close enough to me, probably a song.