This is hard. I hear the quivering voice of Sister Mary David, a nun in full white and black habit, as she was assigning our senior thesis- Who is man and Who am I? This was impossible to answer at seventeen at St. Cecilia Academy all girl’s Catholic school and even harder now that I know how much I don’t know.
I am confused, bewildered,
I find who I am in my writing and I like
the girl, the woman in my words.
I am a mom, a writer, a dreamer, a teacher of kids with disabilities, a survivor of parenting a child with a life threatening illness (anorexia), an adoptive mom, a mom of a child with a disability, a gun control advocate, a fierce democrat in the State of Georgia, and a believer in kindness.
I am learning to be a friend of other women, an independent financially responsible grown up (or at least not a financial disaster), a divorced person, a person who takes anti- depressants, a photographer, and a grieving daughter.
I blog to offer a space for people to read words that connect with their soul. I am willing to have “no pride” as Bonnie Raitt would sing. I can bear my soul on my laptop and post away and only suffer from minor vulnerability hangovers. Having at least one foot in the world of parenting a child with a disability and a child with a life threatening disease, I am forced and fortunate to live in the truth- the world of no pretense, no glory, no vanity. All parents get to touch on the truth- well, hell, all humans know the truth at one point or another. I think I’m just humble enough to not mind sharing my weirdness and trials. And I’m lucky enough to live in the moment with my work and my home both including children with disabilities.
I want you to hear real words. Real thoughts. Real feelings. This world can be isolating and I somehow set up my life to be unusual, separate and hard. In high school, I was incredibly lonely and yet I was awarded the superlative “Friendliest” in my senior yearbook. And for me that sums it up. Somehow who I am contradicts with who I appear to be. So I write for you to see the real me and still like me. Sally Fields always pops into my mind when I need this sort of reassurance. “You like me. You really like me.” She said in her Oscar acceptance speech.
Tonight, I’m strangely home alone because my kids are at a cabin with their dad and I get very confused about who I am when I am alone. This is a rare occurrence- only happens about 2 weeks a year. And I find it disconcerting. This is the first night of my after work vacation nights and I dove right into a bath with lavender bath salts. I placed my laptop precariously on the edge of our too small bathroom vanity to watch a really fun short documentary on Bill Murray. For the 10 minutes that the water stayed warm, I felt luxurious and a tad cosmopolitan. This Netflix show, looked at Bill Murray in real life doing crazy stuff and approaching average Joes in silly ways adding joy to their moment. The maker of the documentary wants to find out Why? Why does Bill Murray interact so lovingly and playfully with us mortals?
The Bill Murray stories are plentiful -he comes up behind a guy at a urinal places his hands over the guy’s eyes and whispers in his ear “no one will ever believe you”
– he walks into a house party near St. Andrew’s in Scotland and fusses jovially at the girls living in the house for having a sink full of dishes and then he tells the girls to enjoy their party and he washes their dishes
-he bartends at a bar in Charleston for the night and takes people’s drink orders and then pours a glass of whatever is close by.
To have this saint of an actor/comedian be accessible and off the cuff is mind blowing and year making for the people graced with his fun. I loved watching these grown men and women retell their personal Bill Murray story with flushed cheeks, tears of joy, and belly laughs. I mean to find an actual show to watch out of the thousands of shows available is a gift and to get so lucky that it includes real people mesmerized by such a sweet generous man was inspiring.
The theme of the Bill Murray story is that he wants to connect with people. He is getting at least as much as he is giving. By inserting himself in everyday situations with strangers, he provides them a photo for the water cooler or Facebook and a memory of a lifetime. And he receives joy. He meets someone heart to heart even if for a flash. It is real. It is living. It is community.
This need to connect is part of what makes us human. I embarrass my children by making conversations with strangers in grocery store lines. My mom did the same exact thing and yet I repeat the cycle of tween mortification. I prefer a house with a front porch, so I can wave to you as you pass by and mention that the weather is gorgeous. I’m not Bill Murray but these posts and paragraphs and streams of conscious are my way of connecting with strangers, of being real. Maybe I make you feel a tiny bit better about yourself because I am crazier than you or I have more laundry than you do. And, I need you. I need to have a reader. I need a red heart emoji from your corner of this pocket world. I need to know that my crazy resonates with your reality. I need Bill Murray to wash my dishes and for you to reassure me that we are in this world together.