It was a dreary, rainy day today. I had to leave my dry sanctuary for an appointment and swiped half assed through my coat options in the hall closet while hoping to get myself out the door with just enough time to find a parking spot downtown. Too fluffy, leather and water don’t mix, made for snow…it was almost to the point of YOLO on getting drenched and admitting I have more coats than one person needs when a final click of plastic hangers sliding together revealed the winner.
Have you ever bought something with the intention of using it every opportunity you get? I won’t bring up my quarantine purchase list again but, I have really good intention, every time. But this coat- it’s nothing fancy but it’s an actual grown up rain coat. It has three rows of double tortoise shell buttons and the most delightful cloth belt with a large square buckle. When I have it on and all buckled up it makes me feel, well, fancy. It hugs where in the right places and it forgives where I need it the most.
In the three years I’ve owned it, today marks the fourth time I’ve worn it. I’ve lived where it’s rainy and it’s even been packed in countless suitcases where it’s stayed for the entire trip. As strange as it sounds, this marrying of water replant cloth and stitches literally brings me joy when I wear it. I caught myself grinning in the elevator feeling like a kid with a new pair of light up shoes on. I thought Jesus, Rach, is this really going to be the highlight of your day? There’s a good chance it could have been and I would have been ok with that.
When I got settled in at my appointment I glanced up at the hook on the wall and saw that coat hanging there unassumingly in all it’s beigeness and pondered what else in my life could bring me joy if I lived by their principles more often.
Loving without explanation. The more years that pass, the more I realize that loving people is almost taboo. Nobody wants to say it too soon or at all and this whole love you but not in love with you shit- come on now, let’s have a real moment to think that through. If I’m looking at life through the eyes of my authentic self, love is the same for anyone. For me, the basis of love is when something about you matches something within me and that grows into care, concern, and a general hope that your life is as wonderful as you choose to make it. I think connections with some people will feel more like home and intertwining with them opens us up to vulnerabilities and a heightened sense of trust and desire that makes sharing our life with them an effortless choice. If people can hate for no reason why do we feel that in order to love we have to have a laundry list of reasons why? You think I’m a clinger stage 5? Good. That means you’re lucky enough to be loved by someone who unapologetically means it.
Avoiding avoidance. I know, as many of us do, that life can surprise you with a left hook and follow that with an upper cut. It’s a mothers fucker, really. Do these things make you a little more apprehensive and afraid? For most, including myself, yes. It’s human nature to avoid things that cause pain. Accidentally singe your hand in a hot ass oven you’re going to be careful the next time. But eventually, we become more comfortable and reach back in that hot box with a little more confidence and awareness. Why can’t we navigate the 18 inches between our heart and our brain the same way? Instead, we cling to the side of the pool, where we feel safe, and forget how much we love to swim. People and situations always have the potential to cause us pain but avoiding it all doesn’t mean we’re living either. Have confidence in your intuition and learn to trust it while you push off from the side of the pool and back stroke your way into your next soul shaping experience.
Speaking up. I can tell you with 100% certainty that there is no better time than now to talk to people. The day Ken died, I had gone to the store and randomly sent him a text thanking him for always being so understanding and kind. I still have his reply saved and when I read it I can hear his voice. I’m not sure when the “too much” stigma was placed on communicating but it can feel suffocating. What’s wrong with telling someone they crossed your mind and it made you smile? Or, being able to rationalize instead of reacting and letting someone know how a situation affected them? Too much, not enough…who is calibrating the scales we weigh our perceptions on? Speak the truth, say things the way you would want to hear them, let people know they’re cared for, let them know when you’re hurting or when you need an open heart to hear you, tell them when there isn’t enough room for you and their ego…whatever it is, for fucks sake, speak! People may not agree with you and you may not get the response you were hoping for but at least you were brave enough to say things that could alter the outcome you so badly wanted. I can’t think of anything that will help all of us stop trying to make periods into commas more than transparent and honest conversations with ourselves and others.
I could probably list 20 more things to add to my emotional intelligence bucket list but I’ll stop with these three, important ones to me. My journey into being better than I was yesterday is filled with lessons, heartache, and doses of reality that are difficult to swallow. I don’t think I’ll wake up tomorrow having conquered it all but, I do know that I’ll wake up real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful in my own way, and a little magical just by being who I am. If I’m lucky I’ll wake up to a few rain showers in the forecast but, to be honest, I’m going to wear that damn coat anyway…..rain or shine.