There’s Carmen!


“I just wanted to let you know that’s been me hollering at you on the way to work,” she said with a laugh and patted me on the arm.

“I see you all the time and you wave, but I don’t think you know who is yelling at you,” her eyes twinkled and I laughed.

“That was you!”  I smiled, “I was wondering who’s been giving me the hello’s.”

It’s nice to be seen.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently.

Allowing myself to be seen.

“You have to know that whatever happens, you meet the love of your life at Burning Man,” I pushed my friend’s shoulder, “no, I mean it, that whatever happens, this is important.”

And it is.

And there was a lot more said, but I am not comfortable relaying all that here.

Suffice to say.

I am being seen.

And as for meeting the love of my life at Burning Man.

I already did.

It’s me.

I stopped Calling in the One when I realized that I was the Beloved and that I was the love of my life and no one will love me as hard or as well as I love me.

That being said, it’s a constant practice, a constant, not struggle, it’s not a struggle any more, it used to be; rather a concerted and continuous work of being kind to myself, taking care of myself, loving myself.

Letting myself express myself and be who I am.

I am many things and as I learn to be continually open to vulnerability and emotional connection in the very real and the very present time, I get to see how deep the damage has been in my life.

And.

How far I have come.

I mean.

Really.

I have made amazing strides in my life and to not acknowledge that is a kind of affront to the work I have put in.

It is not all work though.

I must have some fun in the mix.

For instance.

I had two unexpected cancellations for this Saturday.

I have to get some fun in my Saturday.

I do still have plans, I’m helping a friend with some stuff, but I have extra time on my hands to find a little fun for me.

Whatever that looks like.

Some fellowship, some cards, some pinball, a museum jaunt.

I would love to see the Turner exhibit at the DeYoung.

I keep hearing great things about it and I have not been to the DeYoung in a while.

I do have things I need to attend to, book gathering, loan deferment paperwork, cooking, et al, the stuff and routine of life.

A mani and pedi.

The small pleasures that I allow myself to have are important to the quality of my life.

Framing the Marilyn print from the MOCA and hanging the Diebenkorn up in my room.

I am negotiating a ride out to Cheap Pete’s in the Inner Richmond to get that together.

I’m navigating other rides too.

It does indeed look like I will get to have a little more summer vacation before the work, the study, the balancing act of what my life is going to look like come school start, begins.

I am currently in the planning stages of going to the Grand Canyon.

I have never been and I am over the moon excited.

My friend and I would leave on a Tuesday, July 28th and head to the North Rim and a secret special spot for camping that a friend of his knows about that is not heavily touristed.

There has been talk of Monumental Valley and Bryce Canyon as well.

To tell you the truth.

I know nothing.

I really have no conception of what is out there and what it looks like and what I exactly want to see.

Except.

I want a road trip.

I love the open road, I love seeing new things, I love the vista from the car seat, I love watching the sky scroll by, I love singing along to songs on the radio, I love putting my feet, bare feet, up on the console of the car and scrunching up in my seat and being just simply free, happy and content, and I love telling stories on the road.

There is just something so soothing and satisfying about it.

Plus camping?

Please.

Bring it on.

Campfires underneath the stars, country, out of the city for a while, back roads, which I suppose we won’t actually do if we are going to get in what my friend has suggested, there’s also been talk of Death Valley and maybe squeaking in the top part of Yosemite, not going into the valley itself but driving along Tioga Road.

Again.

No clue.

No conception.

I suppose I could google some images, but open road, is well, open road.

And I love me a road trip.

Plus, more time with my friend before the onslaught of school.

More being seen.

More being myself.

More allowing abundance and joy and fun and flexibility into my life.

“Joy of living is my principle today,” I said into the phone and smiled at the imprint of flower blossoms, pink and fat and truculent against the sky blue sky.

It might have been because I got a ride to work and that’s a treat.

It could have been that the weather was kind and sunny and inviting and I do so much better in the sun than out of the sun.

It could be that tomorrow is Friday.

Whatever it was I was going to enjoy it, to keep enjoying it and be as present as possible every inch of the way.

Even when it was hard.

“Hit Carmen! Hit Carmen!” The oldest brother instigated his brother in a game of, well, I can’t tell you what the game was, it was high energy though, and when I went to pick up the three-year old for our outing to the park I got hit, hard, in the face, brought to tears, this kid does not know his own strength.

“You,” I said to the five-year old, “to your room, five minutes, no talking.”

I pointed to the door and he fled.

I picked up the three-year old I had abruptly set down on the bed.

I looked at him.

He looked at me.

We saw each other.

His eyes got wide and teary.

“Please, please, please, don’t hit me,” I said to him.

Then I paused.

I could see he was about to get pretty upset and I wanted to be stern, but not too stern.

I wanted him to see me, to know that I was hurt.

I also knew that he would probably forget, as he did in about five minutes, and I would get smacked again (he’s in a phase, but I think it’s passing), but for the moment, in the moment we connected.

He saw me.

“I’m sorry Carmen, what can I do to make it better?”

Oh.

Out of the mouths of babes.

“I could use a hug, sweet pie.”

He gave me a hug and burrowed into my arms, then off we went on our adventure.

The grandparents accompanied us to the park for one last outing before they left on the plane today.

There was much digging of sand and pouring of buckets and shovels flying and dump trucks dumping and when that became mundane, there was grandma to push the swing.

And.

One sweet five-year old boy.

“Carmen,” he said plopping down next to me on the cement wall, “I just want to sit next to you and eat grapes.”

He leaned into me.

“I love you too much.”

Oh.

My heart.

Little pie.

I love you too.

I love hard.

I live hard.

I try hard not to be seen.

Yet.

There I am.

Being seen and allowing myself the freedom to be exactly who I am in the exact moment of whatever is happening.

It is an amazing gift.

Astounding.

This love.

Bright.

Sweet.

Tender.

All encompassing.

All the love.

All the things.

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