Writing, blocks and the woods

I went to the woods today, and I didn’t come out overwhelmed with inspiration.

Normally, I go in with a million thoughts swirling around in my grey matter, and come out with dirt stained pages of ideas, snippets, new directions for existing projects, lines that may fit places and just an overall clarity about life.

Today I went in without much of importance on my mind, and came out feeling kind of bleh.

It’s just been that kind of week, honestly.

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It’s still so beautiful, even if it didn’t clear my block.

I’m coming down off a crazy creative high. I rode the wave, got all of the things in my head out on paper, and now the wave has deposited me back on the shore with a lot of stuff to work through and not a lot of motivation to work through it.

I have pieces of poems stashed in random notebooks, some poems that right now are two, but are likely different drafts of the same piece. I have some I’ve literally cried over because I can’t get right. Some I’ve spilled beer on because I’m frustrated (and also clumsy).

This is the time when writing feels like work. When the words don’t come smoothly sailing out of my pen and on to paper. When I don’t feel like a creative genius. When I feel like everything that comes out sucks and is worthless.

I hate times like this.

It’s not even writer’s block, it’s…editor’s block? It’s a lack of motivation? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what it is. All I know is that it’s testing me.

Testing my resolve to make this work and make something of myself.

That’s why I went to the woods. It’s my happy place. The place I can usually find clarity and direction and all of the things I need to be successful.

Today I just discovered I’m really dehydrated, and that hiking three miles in direct sunlight with no shade was not my brightest idea. I miss my mountains terribly.

The trees in the woods I hiked in today valued their personal space too greatly. I didn’t feel enclosed in a comforting blanket of branches and leaves and Spanish moss. Today I felt exposed. I felt like anything I stopped on the trail to write down would be instantly out there in the universe not simply scrawled on a dirt-stained page of my notebook.

I have a strict no music rule when I go into the woods. I like to connect with myself, connect with nature, and let’s be honest….listen to know if any snakes/gators/bears/cougars might be trying to plan a sneak attack.

Anyways, today I didn’t even have thoughts swirling around in my head. I didn’t have anything I was overthinking about or anything to even get out. So I turned on the music to simply have something to occupy my brain other than when this steaming hot, seemingly never-ending hike would be over.

It was that kind of hike.

It sucked.

I’ve word vomited everything. I’ve said all that needs to be said so now it’s just working with it.

I don’t know how to do that. I’m good at the initial dump, and I love the catharsis that comes from that. Once it’s all out there? I’m not good at that. I’m not good at doing something about things, or in this context, polishing poems and other pieces.

It’s an interesting space to be in creatively. I’m overwhelmed with the amount of work it still takes after I have everything down on paper. The projects I’m working on still have so far to go. It’s terrifying and exhausting.

The woods didn’t work for me today, but maybe that isn’t their job. Maybe I need to stop looking to so many outside things for motivation and validation in writing and probably a lot of other parts of my life, too.

But that’s a different story for a different time.

If anyone has any motivating tips, playlists, suggestions, etc., send them my way. I’m always open to suggestions!

Poetry, dates and coming home

I took myself on a date tonight. Make up, clean pants, brushed hair, favorite lipstick color and all.

It is part of my effort to be more comfortable doing things alone. Too often I skip out on things because I don’t have anyone to go with, and I don’t have anyone to drag begrudgingly along anymore.

I’m learning to enjoy my own company. It is uncomfortable don’t get me wrong, but I’m actually really glad I went out by myself tonight.

N.C. poet laureate Shelby Stephenson was speaking at the coffee shop downtown so I figured I would go listen to what he had to say and hear him read some of his poetry.

There is something magical about listening to a poet read their own work. He read with such enthusiasm and confidence. I hope one day to write things I am that proud of.

I’m not used to doing things alone so I assumed I would end up a wall flower among the gallery portraits in the crowded cafe. Attendees included groups of old friends, fellow writers and creative writing students from local university, obviously there out of a class obligation judging by their discussion of ‘the assignment’ on the evening.

Right before the event began, a table in the very center opened up. Quite the juxtaposition from the position I thought I would occupy. I sat down and was shortly joined by an older couple rushing to snag a table before Stephenson began to speak.

The husband was a fiction writer and an old friend of Stephenson’s. Ironically enough, my table mate wrote fiction because he couldn’t find his rhythm in poetry. I told him that I gravitated toward poetry because I couldn’t find my voice in fiction.

We chatted for just a few minutes, but it was nice. It was interesting having to define myself to a stranger. This person knew nothing about me, had simply sat down with me for lack of another option.

I didn’t quite know what to say when they asked even the most basic of questions. I have spent the past few months rebuilding and regaining my sense of self, but this might have been the first time I had to introduce myself to and make small talk with someone who had no background knowledge of me.

It was fun being able to tell them I write. Maybe if I say it enough times to enough people I will start to really believe it’s true. Lord knows I’ve been working hard at it, submitting all over the place and surely developing a case of carpal tunnel due to my incessant need to write everything by hand the first go round.

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The woods will always be my happy place. 

Stephenson started out talking about the idea of “home” or where you come from. He stumbled over his words as he tried to sum it up, and I couldn’t help but nod my head in response. How does one sum up where they come from in a meaningful way?

I have no idea. The concept of home is one I mull over quite often in my writing but don’t know if I share often.

I was struck by his words, or lack thereof, in that moment. All I really knew was that I felt a strong connection to this place. This tiny little town that we all couldn’t wait to leave, yet many of us returned to even after we spread our wings a little.

There is a force as strong as gravity that pulls us back. Maybe it’s toxic, and we are all just crazy, as one of my friends so often says. Or maybe there really is something magical about this place, something deeper than the surface that can’t quite be explained.

My heart hurt as I thought about leaving it. Hickory was the only place I wanted to come back to when I left Germany. I couldn’t imagine finding myself and rebuilding anywhere else. There was a pull to this place I couldn’t deny even though my family left years ago.

I’ve been back for a few months now, and despite the love I have for this strange place, I know it is time to go.

I rediscovered myself. I cut ties. I picked up the pieces of myself that I left here, and I claimed them as my own. I learned how to be defined by my values, strengths, weaknesses and interests rather than by my ties to another.

I cultivated friendships with people who were quick to remind me that I don’t need them. That while there is a lot of love, it isn’t a love of necessity. It is a love that is not conditional to my geographic location.

I needed to come back here to collect myself, but that doesn’t mean I have to stay.

Sophie and I are off to the next adventure in a few weeks. Packing up and moving and uprooting our lives yet again is terrifying, but it is the right thing to do. The sunshine state is calling us, and good things are coming.

I can feel it.

2016: the Dumpster Fire Year

Every year I say I’m not going to write one of those cliched, over-done, “year in review” posts. Yet, every year I find myself sitting behind a keyboard writing one any ways. I kicked enough bad habits this year, I suppose this one will have to wait.

I have a difficult time categorizing 2016 as a “good” or “bad” year. It would be easy to say that it was the worst, in a lot of ways it was a complete dumpster fire. However, that discounts the good things that happened this year which feels unfair.

Whether good or bad, 2016 will go down as a pivotal year in my life. This year took me to places I only dreamed of, and it brought me home again. It ripped me out of my comfort zone and forced me to build a new one –and even to learn to be okay living without one for a little while.

I call it the dumpster fire year because it went up in flames before January even came to a close. While this atrocious year is finally ending, I still haven’t fully extinguished the fire. That’s okay, though. Good things come with time. If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it is that there is no need to rush things. I’m terrible at patience, but I’m learning. Trying to, at least.

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What will go down as the most peaceful moment of 2016, and maybe my entire life so far. Walking, doing yoga and meditating on the beach at sunrise in Crete, Greece. 

 

This year was the year that I lost and found myself within one fell swoop. I uprooted myself more than once. First to Europe to build the life I thought I wanted with the person I thought would be my constant. Then back home again to figure out what the hell I actually want because I was so terribly wrong the first time.

I lost the majority of my faith in my decision making this year, but I learned a tremendous amount about my strength. I learned that I am far stronger than I have ever given myself credit for. I never thought I would have the courage to make such a drastic change to improve my life without someone to lean on as a crutch. It’s not to say that I didn’t have support, I certainly did, but I had to find the strength within myself to do what I needed to do because there was no one to catch me if I fell. It wasn’t easy, but the right thing rarely is.

This year I really began to embody the “do no harm but take no shit” mantra that spoke to me so deeply the first time I heard it. I learned I don’t have to belittle others to stand up for myself, and that I am worth standing up for in my own right. Not simply because of the role I fulfill for someone else.

More than anything, I learned to respect myself, and I learned to demand the same respect from others who wish to be a part of my life. I finally realized that I don’t deserve to be put down or shamed or treated badly by people who say they love me –friend or lover. I learned, and am still learning, how to set boundaries for myself.

That is a lesson I hope my daughter doesn’t have to learn the hard way.

I learned that goodbyes aren’t always negative and are often entirely necessary –even if they take a few pints of ice cream, a couple bottles of liquor and incessant bitching and ranting to get over.

I spent the majority of this year completely and utterly heart broken. This year brought me to one of the lowest points of my life. However, I’ll call it a win because I managed to feel completely overcome with depression and sadness and shame and occasionally far too much alcohol, but I never once felt like ending my life. That is an accomplishment, and yet another testament to the strength I have worked so hard to develop.

The year opened with news of a betrayal that shook me to my core, and it unraveled from there.

While my months in Europe were magical in so many ways, and I am so insanely grateful for that experience, they were also lonely. I remember being so overjoyed to be living my dream of traveling and exploring and seeing the world, but also so lost, isolated and that maybe, no matter how much I wanted it, it wasn’t where I needed to be right then. I don’t know that I’ve ever been more conflicted than I was this year, which is why it is so difficult for me to sum up.

My heart ached while I was in Europe so I came home.

The hurt has subsided. I no longer cringe every time I think about the way my dreams fell apart. I no longer question whether or not I did the right thing. I don’t cry myself to sleep any more, I’ve healed in countless ways.

I’m ready to slowly wade into this new year and see what it has to offer me. I’m ready for new beginnings. There are a few things brewing right now that I am excited to watch unfold.

More than anything, 2016 taught me about the power of friendship.

When Chris and I were together, he used to say that he felt like I loved my friends more than him. Honestly, it was probably true. Anyone who has been friends with me knows I love big, I love hard. I take care of my friends, and they are everything to me.

This year I felt that love back. I had to cut a few out, but it was worth it. I surrounded myself with the greatest people who supported me, encouraged me and loved me despite the fact that I’ve been a complete mess. You guys know who you are, and you know how much I love you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for everything.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to kiss an old year goodbye and welcome a new one with open arms. I’m going into this year with a smile on my face and a heart full of love.

Good things are coming, I can feel it.

I’m ready.

 

Find your tribe, love them hard

The idea of soul mates seems to come up quite frequently in my life whether it’s quotes about it on social media or Chris and I are talking about it. In today’s culture, it’s this strange idea that you are made for only person in the universe and you better get looking.

Neither of us seem to buy into the “one perfect person” ideology, but we, or at least I, can’t nail down a definition. I was thinking about the connections I’ve made with people, and I can’t seem to get on board with the fact that your soul mate has to be a romantic love or the person you marry or spend your life with, if marriage isn’t your thing.

I’ve been lucky enough to cultivate the most beautiful friendships with some of the most incredible people over the years (Amy, Emma, Eden, I’m lookin’ at you.) These girls have seen me through everything, and I feel so connected to them it’s sometimes hard to comprehend. Their pain is my pain. Their joy is my joy. Their tears are my tears. As different as we all are, and even though we are all in different parts of the world doing different things sometimes I forget where I end and they begin. They all understand different parts of me. They bring out the best, worst, but definitely the realest, rawest, most honest parts of me.

I couldn’t imagine life with out any of these three women in my life, and to be honest, I don’t think I’d survive it. In many ways, I consider them my soul mates just as much as I consider Chris my soul mate. If all four of them were in a burning building, I wouldn’t be able to choose who to save. I’d grab a bag of marshmallows, and we’d make s’mores as we all went down together.

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So much love.

There are different types of love. Anyone who I’ve considered a close friend can tell you that when I love, I love hard. Almost too hard. I’m fiercely loyal, almost to a fault. It’s certainly burned me a few times, and I’ve lost many a friendship I didn’t want to see go, but it’s also led to my having these wonderful people in my life. I don’t see much of a point in doing something if you aren’t willing to put your whole heart into it and risk being hurt.

They, Christopher included, are my soul mates. My soul sisters. The love of my life. My life has been tumultuous and busy and inconsistent the past few months, but I’ve always been able to count on them.

They’ve been the people who stood by as I took a sledgehammer to my life.

The people who let me do my thing, but weren’t afraid to call me on it when I took it too far.

The people who still loved me and helped me put the pieces back together when I did dumb things anyways.

The people who never, ever judged me.

The people who stayed up with me night after night to rehash the same shit over and over again.

The people who know when I need margaritas or a walk in the woods, and are always ready with either.

The people who take care of me when I’m sick or broken.

The people who drunk cry in the bathroom with me.

The people who let me smother them with love and affection, even if sometimes they’d rather I didn’t.

They are the people who know all the weird, random thoughts inside of my head and love me anyways.

The people I’ve chosen to be my family, no matter what blood or biology says about it.

They are the people that I know if they died, a piece of me would go with them.

We haven’t had perfect relationships. There are parts of all four of these relationships that I’d like to brush under the rug. I’ve been hurt deeply, but it’s only shown me the importance of forgiveness and the capacity of love in my heart. Loving someone deeply means also giving them the power to hurt you deeply. You trust they won’t, but we are all human and we all make mistakes. I’ve learned that short of intentionally hurting Sophie, there’s nothing these four could do to make me love them any less. You guys are stuck with me, even hen I’m an ocean away.

I’m lucky to have such incredible friendships in my life, but now I live on a different continent where making friends is hard. To say I miss them terribly would be an understatement. I’ve had these girls in my life for so long I forgot how to make friends. I stopped trying because I didn’t have to, but now I do have to, and I swear I feel like I’m online dating sometimes. How do adults make friends? It’s not as easy as it sounds. The need for human connection runs deep, but I’ve forgotten how to initiate such connections.

I had to remind myself that making new connections doesn’t mean getting rid of the old ones or that the old are less important. Not everyone has to be everything. (That seems to be a theme lately…) No matter what, they’ll always be there. I don’t think I know the right words to express how much they mean to me.

For that, I am extremely grateful.

 

Expectations, freedom and a walk in the woods

There’s something about being in the woods that heals my soul. It makes me feel alive and safe and invigorated and full of life and calm and peaceful all at the same time. It heals all the multitudes of me. There I let my mind wander as much as my body is. I don’t question. I don’t judge. I just roam.

We went and visited Sanspareil Rock Garden yesterday, and it was incredible. The way the moss carpeted the rocks. The way these giant boulders had so many intricate parts. The way the ivy vines snaked across the landscape. The way caves and passages opened up as we went along. We stayed in a small corner of this giant nature preserve and still there was so much to explore.

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I feel like that’s how my mind is. As I try to sort and work through things, I keep unearthing more. Lots of parts go untouched or unseen because there are so many layers to uncover in the areas I am exploring. It’s overwhelming, really, trying to sort yourself out.

As we walked around and took in the sights, and I took pictures of almost everything, I had a thought. It’s me, I had about 100 thoughts. But this one feels important. This one is keeping me up at 2:30 in the morning. This one I need to share.

I thought that maybe we don’t need to be so caught up in sorting ourselves out. What the hell does that even mean, anyways?

I took in this beautiful array of vines and weeds and moss and wildflowers and rocks and dirt and roots and trees growing out of rocks and secret caves and realized this rock garden is no different than my brain. It’s a damn mess. That rock over there can’t decide if it wants to be a rock or a tree. These two tree roots are twisted in a fierce battle to occupy the same space. The ivy is twisted into impossible knots. Some of these wildflowers are no more than weeds that bloomed.

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Anyways, my point is that everything in that landscape just as. It just existed and was there. It wasn’t sorted out, and yet it as still so peaceful.

So why do I think I need to be sorted out? Why am I under so much pressure, mostly self-inflicted, to put all of my ducks in a row and get my shit together hen the ducks swimming on the lake aren’t even in a row? It’s stupid. I try to make myself be a certain way, feel a certain way, be interested in certain things and present myself to the world in a certain way. I preach so much this “doing whatever the hell you want” attitude, but rarely do I live it. So rarely, in fact, that when I do I drown my problems in tequila and make really stupid decisions. I end up doing things I don’t necessarily regret, but also that I’m not exactly proud of. But that’s another story for another, far less public time.

I’m over it.

I’m over sorting. I’m over trying to force things. I’m over trying to make things be the way they are “supposed to be.” There’s no right way to live a life. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual, for good reason. You can read all the self help books in the world, but it really comes down to knowing what you want and unapologetically seizing it.

Nailing down what you want is the hardest part. As many things as I have going for me, if you asked me what I wanted, I’d probably stare at you blankly. I don’t have a concrete answer for that question. Parts of me know that’s okay, and other parts of me are still trying to be okay with that.

All I know is I want to be happy and proud of the life I’m living and the role I play in this world. I don’t always feel that way. Sometimes I feel more like I’m playing a part in someone else’s story than living my own. That’s something I’ve grappled with a lot lately, owning my own story. I thought to own my own story I had to kick people out of it. That’s not always true. I’m definitely a proponent of weeding out negativity in your life, but it isn’t always necessary. For me, I just had to redefine some things. I spent a lot of time trying to fit an expectation, but that doesn’t lead to my happiness or pride in the life I’m living. If I’m trying to mold myself into one specific kind of person, am I really doing myself any favors? I realized I can be a good wife without being defined by my husband.

I’m happiest in the woods because that’s when I just let myself be. I don’t think about what I’m “supposed to” do or how I’m “supposed to” live. I just walk. I take it all in. I enjoy it. I give myself space and freedom, and in turn I find peace. I can do that in everyday life, too, without being reckless. Damn, where was that knowledge two months ago?

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We drove home yesterday going about 100 miles and hour down the autobahn, and I was just so damn happy. Chris even asked me if I was okay.

“Of course!” I answered. “I’m just happy.”

“I’m just not used to you being so happy,” he responded.

And he was right. Oh. So. Right. It’s sad how right he was. I’ve spent so long shoving myself into this little box, letting him shove me into this little box that I became a terrible person to be around. I was always grumpy, always irritable and forever changing my mind because I wasn’t allowing myself to be true to myself and what I really wanted. I’d try, but then I’d get so worried about fitting into that damn box so I’d change my mind to something that would fit.

Fuck that box. I’m taking a sledgehammer to that box. In fact, I already have over the past few weeks.

I thought it would take some giant cosmic shift to change things. I thought I’d have to go to the other end of the extreme to be rid of it. Hell, I did go to the other end of the extreme to get rid of it. There’s a way to have freedom and fun and spontaneity in your life without being reckless and destructive to what’s already there.

I had to remind myself that just because parts of things were bad didn’t mean that all of it as bad. I thought I had to chuck everything out and start over. I’m slowly making changes and getting rid of what doesn’t work.

Feeling free has become as simple as saying yes when I want to say yes and saying no when I want to say no. I spent a lot of time feeling like I had some sort of unstated obligation to do things I didn’t want to. I spent a lot of time letting others make me feel like I had to do things I didn’t want to do. Yes, life is full of things none of us want to deal with, but I was making everything –even the good things –that way.

I got so caught up in wanting to live with an open heart and do everything in love that I forgot it’s okay to set boundaries. Boundaries don’t mean shutting people out, not at all. It’s about respecting yourself.

I came across a quote recently that really resonated with me: “This is the messiness of life –that we all carry multitudes so we must sit with the shifts. We are complicated creatures, and the balance comes from that understanding.”

We all carry multitudes. 

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I can have 100 thoughts circling in my head, some that contradict each other. I don’t have to pick a side. I don’t have to have everything sorted into neat little stacks. My life doesn’t have to fit your expectations. Believe me, it won’t. It’s not all sunshine and daisies (although there has been a lot of both of those things lately).

Some days it’s just shit. And that’s okay. We all carry multitudes. It’s okay to be happy and sad at the same time. It’s okay not to be thrilled with things other people think you should be thrilled about. It’s okay to want to punch them in the face when they tell you how luck you are or how perfect your life is –just don’t actually do it.

It’s okay to be unsure about things. It’s more than okay to be a bit of a mess. Life is anything but neat and tidy, and I need to stop expecting it to be that way. I’m much happier when I release my expectations and just go with the flow.

I live for the moments when I can walk in the woods and watch Sophie climb and explore. When I can be free in knowing that even if things aren’t what I expected, they’re still beautiful.

I have all the power to make this life whatever I want it to be, and that, that is big stuff.

Stranger doesn’t always mean danger

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we are all interconnected in this world. That there are so many ways we are all connected but instead of allowing ourselves to feel connected we often block ourselves off from the rest of the world with phrases like, “ugh, I hate people,” or “people suck.” I find myself there, too. I’m often dismayed by things I see in the news and wonder if there is any hope for humanity left. However, I got to thinking that some of the things that make my heart soar the most to read are stories about the kindness of strangers. I often see people posting articles like this on social media with the caption, “there is hope for humanity!”

I agree, but I think people fail to realize that we can be that hope. We are strangers, and we can help and do good.

For years Chris has given me a hard time about my inability to talk to people. If I can’t find something in a store, I’ve been more likely to walk out empty handed than ask an associate for help. I hate calling places, I hate customer service and I would never, ever be the person to randomly make a friend in a bar. That’s all Chris. He’s the social one, the go-getter of our coupling while I am just along for the ride hoping none of the strangers we end up bar hopping with are putting anything in my drink. But also, I’m enjoying myself.

Over the past few months, I’ve started trying to get out of my shell more. I think moving to a new town will do that to you. We’ve started on what I like to call our “big Army adventure,” and there are plenty of moves coming up that are going to require me to actually open my mouth and hope to God words that sort of make sense come out. Maybe I’ll just tell people I’m mute and carry around a notepad. I seem to make coherent sentences better via writing than anything else.

Anyways, I think my “oh crap I have to actually talk to strangers”epiphany happened a while ago, while I was still working at Camp Bow Wow. Even though we are lucky enough there to work with dogs who are generally much kinder than people, those dogs do come with owners. Someone had to pay the bill, right? Sure, you could hide out in the yards, but you can only scoop so much poop before you end up at the front of the house with a customer who has a million and one questions. I had to answer phones and make cute small talk with people to make them feel comfortable. While petrified at first, I soon came to enjoy it.

Since then, I’ve been  finding myself making small talk with random women I meet who are also waiting for their cars to get serviced in Firestone (one even gave me a coupon! Smalltalk: 1, Social anxiety: 0). I’ve chatted with baristas, drive through attendants and most recently another mom at the playground.

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Look at her! Standing and driving the playground like she owns the place!

Seriously, if anything will force you to communicate with other strangers, it’s having a child. Everyone wants to comment how cute your baby is and ask you a million and one questions about their behavior –including why your 10 month old won’t say “hi,” to them. Because she can’t talk, that’s why. No reason to get your panties in a bunch.

Anyhow, this mom at the park. Sophie and I had been there playing with the playground to ourselves for a while when she comes up with her son who had to be about four and her four-month-old baby girl. Her son ran up first and started talking to Sophie and being an adorable four-year-old and all of that cuteness. By the time she managed to get the baby in the stroller and rolled up, her son, Sophie and I were already involved in an odd game of hide and seek that was more like him not knowing how on earth to play with a child her age.

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We take a lot of selfies at the park, it happens.

So obviously, she just immediately strikes up conversation with me. (I don’t know why that’s obvious, when I first saw them pull up my first thought was, well shit. I guess it’s their turn to play. Even though it’s an entire freaking playground. See, part of me hates socializing.) Anyways, she just starts talking to me about how her son loves to climb and is Sophie walking yet and nap schedules and her life with two kids and all of these things. Normally, I would get super offended by people prying so much into how I raise my kid because a high and mighty attitude tends to come with it, but there was none of that here. She viewed me as an equal, another mother playing with her child at the park on an unseasonably warm December day. As a young mom, I often feel like I’m not taken seriously or that I don’t know what I’m doing or I’m lesser or something.

Not with this lady. She just wanted to know how things were going. She opened up about how she took her son off his allergy meds too soon and she feels really dumb. We had an open and honest conversation, and I never even got her name. I found myself thinking, “wow, conversations like this don’t happen any more, this is nice.” Then later I realized, maybe conversations like this don’t happen anymore because we don’t let them happen. Because when someone else pulls up, we feel this desire to leave. Because we live in our own little bubbles and think that strangers should remain just that, strangers. We don’t take the opportunities we are presented with to talk to other people who could potentially be similar to us.

As I was walking back to my car, I considered going back and asking for her number, but I had no idea how to do that without being completely creepy. Instead, I’ll just be grateful for a nice memory talking to a stranger.