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Archive for September, 2017

Today I went to go make an appointment to get my next tattoo.  And they were closed.  But that’s not the point.  I’ve got this super special design in mind and I’m finally ready to commit it to skin.  And it’s been long enough since my last tattoo that I’ve distanced in my mind how painful it is and I think that delusion will hold for another round of ink.  But that’s not really the point either.  The point is that I’ve decided today that the design will include a hummingbird and now that feels perfect.

Take a break from reading this and google Elizabeth Gilbert’s speech “The Flight of the Hummingbird.”  Or just simply stay tuned for my quick synopsis.  Basically, she says that one should not be stressed out if they don’t know what their one passion in life is.  Ms. Gilbert says that some of the most interesting people she’s ever known in her life haven’t had a clue what they want to be when they grow up.  They’ve been quite a few things and somehow have fallen into their passion along the way.  The flight of the hummingbird that she speaks of refers to the idea that when one finds something that interests them, they should simply turn their head a quarter of an inch and pursue it.  That way, if it doesn’t work out then one hasn’t spent a lifetime headed in the wrong direction (which can be the case when we try to convince ourselves that something is our passion only to later find out that it only looked good on paper.)

Of course, this is more eloquently stated by Elizabeth Gilbert on YouTube.  This fact does not stop me from telling my younger friends all about the flight of the hummingbird when I see them in near tears because they feel like their life doesn’t contain a passion or a direction.  But then I tell them to watch the video.  And then they tell me they feel better.  And then I get to feel like the wise older sister who made all the mistakes to pave the way for the younger sibling.  I’m an only child so I need to use my mistakes for something.

I have followed the flight of the hummingbird for sure.  Sometimes I think of it as a hummingbird.  Other times I think of myself of the dog from the movie ‘Up’ who has a lot of smart things to contribute to conversations and then SQUIRREL!  But I’m not getting that tattooed on my body.

Here are some of the things I have done with my professional post-college life: got a masters degree in marine science, managed a North Face store, waited tables, coat check girl at a swanky bar, cocktail waitress at an evening swankier bar, loan assistant at a bank, kickboxing instructor (that’s right….watch out), yoga teacher, professional beer nerd and now….a writer.

Perhaps I’m being a little premature thinking that my first big book project will allow me to be a writer in the professional (read: paid for doing something) sense.  But something in me tells me that this is where my hummingbird will rest for a while.  And when I look back on all those other professions, every single one gave me just the nectar I needed to continue to fly.  They were not for nothing.

It’s been one month into this project and I don’t even know where to begin with talking about how flippin’ amazing it has been.  It’s a ton of work.  But I wake up excited to do it.  It’s been a lot of reckoning with my own shit.  But even that feels pretty great.   I’ve already made some new friends with some of the incredible women that I’ve come in contact with thanks to this project.  Sisterhood, y’all.  It’s a pretty powerful thing.

I’ve filled one whole composition notebook with the ideas that come flooding to me on a daily basis.  Just today I started constructing my thoughts around a chapter that will be dealing with online dating.  I contacted an interviewee and decided on a title chapter—-Tinder is the Night.  I think it’s hilarious.  But it’s highly possible that my future editor won’t find me nearly as funny as I find myself.

And in the interest of that chapter and others to come I contacted two guys I had gone on dates with via online sites.  My plan is to have some open, honest conversation with them about why they weren’t that into me.  Oh, you thought I was brave before?  Watch this.  But it’s after sending those messages that I discovered something super interesting about myself.

This project and the constraints I’ve put on myself for dating during the duration of it have given me this sense of freedom.  I can speak honestly and from the heart with men from my past because I have absolutely no fear of rejection.  I don’t have any attachment to an outcome standing in the way of saying what I want to say without first filtering it out so that perhaps I can come across as more attractive.  Trust me, this is big.  And this freedom is allowing me to know myself better and, hallelujah, get some closure on the way.

Until next time…..don’t forget to turn your heads my darlings.  You never know what you might find.

 

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Science and Serendipity

I’m three weeks into my book project and I’m already quite certain that, no matter how this whole thing turns out, it will be one of the top five coolest things I’ve ever done in my life.  The other four include living in Bermuda for a summer, getting certified to teach yoga in Costa Rica, spending New Year’s Eve 2000 in Paris and selling long underwear to Ringo Starr.  So yeah, the bar is kind of high.

For those who haven’t been following this blog, my year long project consists of three different parts.  The first one is conducting interviews with one woman every week for a year.  I put out an open letter asking to hear their stories of love and heartbreak, intimacy, wild nights and gentle unknowns.  The response has been pretty awesome.  The second part involves me doing some inquiry into my own stories of love and it’s scary other side and discovering what happens when I spend an entire year pouring my energy back into my own well.  And the third part is research.  I’ve got a stack of about 20 books that run the gamut of topics, from how the Buddha would find love to how sex influences our relationships to the actual science behind connection and attachment.

Let’s start there.

Last week I discovered that there is a product called Liquid Trust.  I imagine it smells exactly opposite of Axe Body Spray.  But alas, Liquid Trust is an oxytocin-infused nasal or body spray.  Oxytocin is a chemical in the brain that is released during breastfeeding and orgasm.  The author of “Love Sense”, Dr. Sue Johnson, refers to it as the ‘cuddle hormone’ and the ‘molecule of monogamy.’  And it works like a feedback loop.  “Oxytocin spawns trust, trust generates closeness and sex, orgasm stimulates oxytocin and around it goes.”  Do you know what a vole is?  Go ahead and google it for join me in saying ‘aw, how cute.’ Distracting, right?  But focus…..there are studies looking at two different species of voles which differ in one major way–one has oxytocin receptors and the other does not.  The voles with oxytocin receptors mate for life; the ones without the receptors knock up some poor, unsuspecting female vole and then peace out before breakfast.  And…and! if monogamous voles are injected with a chemical that shuts down their oxytocin receptors and are introduced to a female vole that is not their vole soulmate; then they behave like the asshole other voles and have a vole affair.

Vole is one of those words that sounds weird when you say it a bunch of times, huh?  And also science is cool.

So anyway, enough of that.  Last Monday I took a two hour trip to go conduct my third interview.  Long story short, the interview didn’t happen.  But it was OK.  I had had a really strange weekend prior to that; it was one in which I was confronted with demons from my past love relationships on a couple of levels.  So Monday brought about a beautiful day for driving down windy two lane roads and it turns out I needed a little of what a friend called ‘windshield time.’  And I sat in the sun at a brewery with my dog and a notebook and the world was quite alright.  But nevertheless, I sent out an email right away to a different respondent from my open letter, asking if there was any way we could schedule a last minute back up interview.

This particular email I received was from a stranger who only told me that she wished to tell me a story that she had never told anyone else.  I had no idea what to expect.  And when she sat down and started talking, it became apparent that her story closely mirrored the one that I had been turning over and over in my brain during those four hours behind the wheel.  I won’t say anything else, mostly because I just want you to buy the book when it comes out.  But I will say that when the interview was over, I think the both of us had a great sense of catharsis, some healing in the telling, some strength in numbers.

I tend to keep a pretty tight control on my reigns around the universe.  I have an idea of how I want things to happen and get a little unnerved when they don’t happen that way.  But this project is perhaps the first time I’m letting things unfold as they will.  So far it’s happening in the most organic and beautiful fashion.  But I won’t even hold on to that.  It’s a rollercoaster I’ve waited all my life to ride.  And I’m just going to leave my arms in the air.

(To find out more about my project, please visit the last few entries of this blog.  The open letter asking for subjects is titled “The Intimacy Interviews” and if you would like to be involved, please send an email to the one listed.)

 

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