Just Tell Me Your Story

by

What ever you feel comfortable with, just let me know, start where ever you want and tell me about yourself.

A little while later I realized that it had been a while since anyone had heard the full story.

And I had not even given him the full story, I did a damn good job, but there were little parts left out here and there and I tried to keep things relevant to my creative process and the work that I do writing and how I got to where I am at, writing every day, blogging every day, attempting to take photographs every day, even when I believe I need that extra space in my messenger bag for groceries and not my camera.

I still take photographs every day.

Street Art

Street Art

This for instance was a stencil on a sidewalk outside of Duboce Park Cafe where I was headed to my third coffee of the day, but I get ahead of myself.

I met with my friend today at Boogaloos on Valencia and 22nd and we got caught up.

I had the tofu scramble with home fries and ranchero sauce and sliced tomatoes instead of the biscuit, coffee with soy milk, and great conversation.

All of which was vegan.

Two months.

I realized that today, I have been vegan for two months.  This may mark the longest stretch of time that I have ever gone vegan.  I have done vegetarian a number of times, but neither flavor for longer than a few weeks.

Not that I was super meat centric, until I was in Paris, shocker, but I do feel good with it.

And, again, shocker, it’s a lot easier being a vegan in the Bay area than it may be anywhere else in the world.

We caught up and discussed a little bit of the project that he was doing and what it would entail, taking some photographs, doing a video, answering some questions, a basic interview, and telling my story.

We took a load of photographs in front of the corner building on Hill Street, which is a law office in yellow brick.

Thank God for digital.

I joked with my friend that I could never be a model since I have no idea about how to present myself, or how to work my angles.

I am usually looking off into the distance or making a face or my mouth is wide open in laughter.

Yup.

There were a lot of those photos in the group that he took; however, with a little patience and some gentle coaching, “inhale through your nose and exhale, relax your face, look to the right, then at the camera,” I was able to take a few shots that I believe may be flattering.

I had dithered around this morning trying to figure out what to wear and I realized as I was sifting through my slight wardrobe, that it did not matter, dress in what I normally would wear.

Leggings it was, a short teal t-shirt dress, a screen print t-shirt with a bicycle on it from an arts collective in Oakland, and my hair in pigtails, with yes, heart-shaped earrings in blue sparkle.

Add my messenger bag to the mix and my bicycle and you have me.

Voila.

After taking photos we retired to Ritual Coffee Roasters and scored the back couch in the rear of the coffee-house.  It may be my favorite spot to settle in, with a book, or a friend, or a confidant.  I realized that I have made a lot of important life decisions on that couch.

In fact, I was able to describe to my friend exactly the conversation I had with John Ater when I made the decision to quit the bicycle shop and travel and take photographs and write–it was on the same couch.

I have sat and cried on that couch, caught up with friends over shots of espresso, sipped lattes (when I was still drinking milk) with girl friends, made life altering decisions, read important big books on that couch, done intense writing, taken suggestions.

I have lived a great deal from that coffee shop.

Calvin and I have had lattes on the side-walk in front of the shop window blasting old Michael Jackson on a boom box.

I have played dominoes there, snuggled with one very cute boy in the window, drank spicy sweet chai with Shadrach there, when I still was imbibing sugar and Shadrach was still around to drink coffees with.

I was glad to have a comfortable forum to retell my story.

The Americano went down smooth and I got into the details.

My life, so many details, so many words.

Again and again, as I look at how my life has unfolded, from leaving the Bay Area when I was a little girl to traveling back, once, twice, and now thrice, may this third time returning be the charm (and the last time I leave), to all the adventures I have had along the way, I am amazed.

One that I am here at all.

So many things conspired against me to even be here at all seems like a sort of miracle.

If life was fair, I would be dead.

I ain’t dead yet and I don’t plan on going that way anytime soon.

There are no mistakes.

A little Asian girl with a pacifier in her mouth, bright yellow daisy flowers, pink rim, wide dark brown eyes, toddled over to me and asked to explore my bag.

Her mom, not her birth mom, came over and explained to me what was going on.

I smiled and nodded, and said, “I know what she wants, I am a professional nanny, she’s fine, she’s not bothering me at all.”

I wanted to tell the mom it was going to be all right, but I don’t know that for her, I just know that for me.

I let the little girl explore my messenger bag and look at my water bottle and we chatted, well I chatted and she nodded at what I was saying, while my friend wrapped up the notes he had been taking about my life and my story, discreetly taking out his camera and shooting a few more photographs.

It does not even feel like my story, it’s just an experience, a living, a lust for saying yes and allowing myself to be authentically me.

That is how I love myself, I let myself be myself.

Whether that is flirting with a beautiful little girl and talking to her with a smile on my face and acknowledging her curiosity or allowing my own, it does not matter.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and that is why I get to continue to tell this story.

It’s yours as much as mine.

And I know a great couch to sit on while we get caught up.

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One Response to “Just Tell Me Your Story”

  1. Mark Menke Says:

    For the record, there are some flattering shots in there – with more to come! #Take2 =)

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