real {tiny} estate

"oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person. act now!"

“oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person.”

Friend: “How big is your new place?”
Me: “Um, the size of a hotel room?”
Friend: “So it’s about 300sq feet?”
Me: “…”
Me: “…smaller.”
Friend (politely): “Oh.”

Tiny houses are the new rage right now, so people who live in these small spaces (and even smaller) might call my 250sq foot studio a luxury.

I’m not complaining. I do have to share a wall with a 25 year-old who is going on 15, so if I sound muffled, it’s because I’m biting down on a stick right now to keep from bursting out in language that I only use when I’m alone in my car.

But I have the space all to myself. Hallelujah.

I am incredibly lucky to be able to live in a city I’ve been wanting to live in, be in my own place and have the opportunity to transform it into a nest, a place that represents me and the peace that I crave. It’s been a long time coming.

For years, I shoved my needs into the shadows and misguidedly threw them under the bus in my personal relationship.

The Dark: It’s pain I can never forget.

The Light: It’s made me strong and soft at the same time.

I am part of that population for whom trust and faith in oneself takes time to revive, renew, and restore. And our work is never done. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be done. I don’t want to stop learning from, growing up in, and experiencing the billions of moments in this dazzling, unpredictable life.

For now, I’m home.

I can’t say it any better than the incomparable Joseph Campbell:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

 

time

the road to point sur lightstation

I drove out to the Point Sur Lightstation last night to join one of the moonlight tours they offer every month. At first, my dramatic self didn’t want to go: Would being alone make the moon less beautiful? Would I feel even more alone going alone?

Get a grip, Sarah Bernhardt.

The wind up at the lightstation was fierce. I had visions of being tackled and catapulted across the ocean by this mack daddy of winds. I scanned the tour group to assess who would allow me to grab onto them without judging me. I now have a deep appreciation for sturdy frames.

As per usual, I was the only one who was there by themselves.

I’ve viewed a lot of sunrises, sunsets and moons as a singular person. In a way, I’m not really alone. It’s me and the sun. It’s me and the moon. Even when I’m with other people, it’s still just the two of us, sharing an understanding…sharing a secret together.

sunset

Last night I watched time pass as the sun set amidst a bank of clouds and the moon rose above the mountains.

moon

When I woke up in the morning, my hair was like the Salvador Dali of bird nests, tangled by sleep and that maniacal wind. And then during this very ordinary moment, time stood still. I found out my loved friend passed away from ovarian cancer some time this morning.

 …

“I don’t know, Jane…” She had said the last time I saw her. “The doctors say I have six months and I’m trying to be strong, but I don’t know…”

As I walked away from her, I suddenly turned back around, gave her a final hug and told her I loved her. We stood there together and cried in silence.

That was five and half weeks ago. And now she’s gone. My brain can’t compute it. But my heart, which I am learning to take more seriously, holds her close and revels for having known such a remarkable person.

I’m never alone. I never was.

Peace for Nancy. I hope she is seeing all of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets ever imaginable.

light

“I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day. To enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary ordinary life…We’re all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.”
~ “About Time”

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often mistaken for other illnesses – for more information, please check out the American Cancer Society website to learn more about this disease.

a breath away

low tide

A few nights ago, I held a friend’s two week-old baby girl in my arms.

A few nights ago, my ex’s father passed away.

The fact that life and death is just a breath away from each other does not escape me.

“That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything—every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate—is always changing, moment to moment.” ~ Pema Chodron 

“…I now feel more awe and wonder than dread of death, and the knowledge of its inevitability gives me permission to do more and more of what matters, less and less of what doesn’t.” ~ Martha Beck

I’m not there yet. I still dread it. But I’m working on it.

wake up, wake up…the time is now…

 

The Enemy of All Enemies

In the past couple of weeks I’ve learned of a handful of people passing away. Most of them suddenly, unexpectedly, swiftly. One in particular was a 47 year-old woman I used to work with. Cancer took her life in eight short months.

Cancer is my sworn enemy. And as my enemy…Cancer, you can suck it.

In fact, you can suck it big time: My good friend N is battling ovarian cancer. She started out at stage 4 in April 2013. The prognosis of this disease at that stage would lay anyone low. After enduring a multitude of tests, drainings, 12 weekly sessions of chemo, surgery, and currently more chemo, N just received the results of her CA-125. This marker measures the concentration of ovarian cancer cells, normal being at 35 and under. SHE WAS AT 8.

I flipped my lid when she told me and I cursed to the high heavens in happiness. True to form, she thanked me for making her experience less lonely, less scary. Seriously? How lucky am I to have a sistah and friend like her?!? I told her that she gave me strength. For real.

For the time being, N will continue her chemo sessions because her oncologist told her that the cancer cells could simply be “sleeping”. Oh? Then blast those suckers, I say. So far, she is tolerating chemo very well, thank goodness. I wish I could be there to celebrate with her.

I think I’ll go for a walk and celebrate the fact that I can.

Good health and wellness to everyone out there.

Love on the Pretzel Train

Because I never really dated that much in the past, I was looking forward to finding out what it was going to be like. I joked about wanting to juggle men. I pictured myself being cool, casual, carefree. “Date like a man” my friend Neal told me. But I’ve started to notice that I’m looking for that connection, that recognition of oh, hello…yesI feel what’s possible with you. Does that happen? Is that too much to ask? Maybe all those romantic, meet-cute comedies I used to watch have twisted my brain into an over-salted, unrealistic pretzel.

I’m not looking for the perfect, fantasy man. I know he doesn’t exist. At my high school reunion, one of my former classmates nodded knowingly when I shared that strange men tend to be attracted to me. “I hear ya,” She said. “But it only takes one.” He could be anywhere. Mae, is it true? Could he be with another woman right now? Take your hands off my future man, you hussy!!

I only want to discover the one who is perfect for me and I for them. It’s possible, right? Or am I on the Pretzel Train and every stop is SingleTown?

It’s also possible that I could drop dead tomorrow. Or the next day. I would be dead without ever having found love again. That pisses me off. But if I’m dead, I won’t know how to get upset – I won’t even know I’m dead, so I guess it’s a moot point.

Life doesn’t follow a straight line (like this post), so I have no idea what it has in store for me. Before I don’t know I’m dead, I would like to accomplish the following things this year and the next:

1) find a new job
2) move
3) travel to Italy and/or Spain
4) keep

— my mom just informed me that my face looks really round: “You look round here [cups her cheeks with her palms]. I wonder why…you exercise enough. Maybe I just don’t look at your face that often.”

1) move
2) exercise more
3) find a job that keeps me moving
4) travel
5) continue to date
6) continue being open to possibility
7) keep…keep what?? (I have no clue what I was about to write.) keep on truckin’? keep my head up, my spirits high and hope to love again before I die?

That train stop at my reunion must have done a number on me.  I thought I had chased away the dark clouds that my mom the inner critic brought in a few days ago, but some of them still linger.

Next stop?

Not sure. Think I need to catch that transfer out of CheekFat Town, so I’d better start running.