recently, i have found myself easily irritated by the way other people act: the way they drive, they way they treat me in customer service, the way they treat our employees. the apparent lack of respect some people have for other people is bothersome.
my frustration with these things comes as much from these actions actually existing (and me witnessing them) as i see them in myself: quick to judge, critical of others, slow to admit fault, impatient, stubborn, and selfish.
i can get grumpy (my husband knows this). i am most certainly impatient. i get easily annoyed, as it is. perhaps it’s my fault and my blinders for good are on. but, at least recently, i’ve been aware of how we, as society, certainly have a knack for living for ourselves.
however, on my way to work one friday evening, i was listening to NPR and there was a story on about martha mullen. she’s a woman who has nothing in common with tamerlan tsarnaev (the older brother of the two boston bombers) but who went out of her way to find a burial spot for him. convicted by her faith and the belief that all people –regardless of actions, background, religion, etc– deserve a final resting place –to be returned to the earth from where we came– sought to find someone that would provide a plot of ground for the terrorist.
listening to the interview, i was suddenly struck w how selfless her act was. she did this for a man who is most certainly despised by what i can easily imagine is the far majority of the united states of america. she wasn’t condoning or excusing his acts. but, feeling it necessary to give him one last gesture of love as we all would hope to receive in our death, put her name and reputation on the line.
i’m crying listening to this, certain i would not do the same she did. and then a bunch of cars slowed down in front of me on a very busy thoroughfare into denver. as i neared, it became apparent that at least two or three cars had stopped to help a (very) old woman whose car had broken down (or run out of gas). they were either pushing her car or using their cars to help redirect fast traffic so that everyone involved could get themselves and this old woman to a safe spot.
then i wept.
for in my cynicism — which perhaps came from being too tired and having to juggle too many things and feeling a bit isolated– these people on the radio and in the cars popped up into my hearing and vision and demonstrated two very brave and selfless acts. they demonstrated that while life is not perfect and awful things happen (and always will) and people are grumpy (including me), the world is good.
i am so excited to start my contributor series here on the blog! when i first did a call for contributors from readers, i had no idea what response i would get. i’m delighted to say: it was a good one! and i have so many interesting bloggers w totally different backgrounds from all over who will be sharing their stories, experiences, tips, and how-tos here on A Denver Home Companion over the next couple of weeks.
without further ado, i’m going to kick it off w a post by sarah, of crazy virgo, who is both my interwebs and IRL friend.
Hello. I’m Sarah. I found Emily through a common friend, and have been girl crushing on her ever since. She has graciously allowed me to guest write on her blog. I’m a mother to a 2 1/2 year old little lady. I’m a writer. I’m 35. I’m divorced. And with that intro, I’m going to dive in.
As a mother, I dream of what kind of legacy I’m going to leave my daughter, Sylvia. I gave her the name of a writer who greatly influenced my life, and as a writer, I want to influence her life, even if she’s not a writer. Constantly, I find myself thinking what life lessons she’ll learn from me. What she’ll tell her friends about me. As any mother, I want to make my daughter proud. Every day is conducted with her in mind, yearning to be her hero in everything I do.
I recently had a year of change. I’ll spare you the details, but 2012 was my worst and best year to date. I’m 35, so that’s saying something. I’ve done some living. I woke up on January 1 with a hangover, no job, divorced, and no immediate plans for my future. Not the absolute best way to start the year. But, I didn’t jump into a bottle or anything. I’m more of an optimist than that, plus all the bottles were empty, hence the hangover. I was, however, at square one, with what I thought would be a long uphill climb. Time to trade in the Blahniks for the Nikes. However, the year took off pretty fast. I got a great writing job with a start-up advertising agency, enrolled in a fiction writing class, and became a regular yoga class attendee. Then, just as I was hitting a stride, I hit a speed bump, tripped, skinned my knees, abruptly ended my contract job with the great start-up and found myself back at square one.
However, this time, thanks to yoga and breathing, I was smiling –skinned knees and all– while in square one, because this time I wasn’t stressing about what happened next. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but I guessed it had something to do with the sweet child sleeping in the room next to me. Then, it dawned on me one night while lying in bed letting my mind wander, that I had given my copywriting career in advertising 13 years. That’s a freaking long time. And, I realized that I just don’t care anymore. I don’t love it anymore. It doesn’t get me excited and amped up the way it used to. And, more than all of that, it wasn’t allowing me to enjoy the time with my daughter. The workload I had been carrying was weighing on me, sitting on my shoulders, forcing me to constantly think about all the work I had to do after Sylvia went to bed, instead of playing with her and soaking up every minute of her time between pre-school pick-up and bedtime. That is certainly NOT why I gave birth to this amazing creature. Wait, what? Was I having an epiphany?
So, I made a decision. If I am going to raise a little woman who is strong, assertive, ambitious, independent, passionate, and wise, then I’d better start making an example of myself by doing the same.
So I am.
Well, writing for advertising, that is. I will write for myself. I will write things that please me and make me proud and happy. I’m going to actually write the novel I invested money and time into learning how to write. Ok, Ok. I can’t just quit cold turkey, unless of course a pile of money falls into my lap (that can happen, right??!?!). I have to take freelance jobs here and there to put organic food in sweet Sylvia’s mouth, and adorable Sweetwater sandals on her feet, but work isn’t going to be my driving force. She is.
With everything I am, and everything I do, I will ask myself, “would Sylvia be proud of me? Will I want to tell Sylvia about this one day?” Because I’m going to live more extraordinarily, instead of ordinarily. Yes, that will be hard, because some days a lady just wants to be tired and lazy and a lump on a couch. Fine. So be it. I’m sure Sylvia Plath and Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf took a day off here and there, and watched the flowers grow (because, of course there wasn’t any marathons of Sex and the City to veg out to, or season issues of Vogue to pour over). But, I want to make every day in this life count, for Sylvia and me, and us. I want my legacy for her to be a woman that is unafraid. I want everything I write to be useful for her, whether emotional or humorous or scary or truthful.
I may fail at being a novelist. But if I do, I will fail trying. And 50 years from now Sylvia will say, “my mom was crazy and awesome and totally fearless. What a woman!”
thanks, sarah! sweet sylvia is so lucky to have you as her mama.
if you are interested in contributing to A Denver Home Companion, please submit original writing (or ideas!) to emily [at] adenverhomecompanion [dot] com. though i may not be able to publish everything, i certainly consider all of them!
one monday ago, on a warm, well-lit evening, our dear friend nicole came and watched ramona so jp and i could celebrate my birthday w a night out on the town (or at least the lohi neighborhood). we had an excellent evening and i’d suggest the following things on your own lower highland date night:
- start w cocktails at williams & graham (old fashioned for him, original st. germain for me)
- walk down the hill and over the pedestrian bridge to sushi sasa. sit at the chef’s counter and order omakase.
- walk back up the hill via the 15th street bridge to linger for a night cap. everyone goes wild for the roof-top patio but i think the bar is a far sexier place.
- p.s. a shout-out to secondlove who just keeps getting better and better. the blouse and jeans i’m wearing are recent purchases from there.