I'm not a violent person. Not even a little bit. I can't even watch violence on TV. It makes me physically ill. I think people would describe me as gentle. A ball-buster, but a gentle one. Oh but I would indeed hurt a fly, so there's that.
Before I moved from the Bay Area to Ojai two months ago I was thinking about new habits I'd like to form in my new city. Moves are good for that, aren't they? Something about an environmental change that helps spur on other changes. I'm sure there's a science to this but alas, I'm a writer.
One of these changes I was thinking of has to do with being on my own team. Yeah. Like, advocating for myself. Listen, this is something that's taken me over 30 years to learn: no one else is going to advocate for you like you. I kind of hate this. Not because I don't want to do the work but because I wish we were more connected than this. I wish we could read each other's minds sometimes.
But that would be weird on more occasions than not and so being relentlessly on my side is the thing I need to work with and I'm working with it.
And the more I bring this into my awareness, the more aware I am of how many times I'm not on my team. Take this weekend, for instance. A woman connected with me on LinkedIn. I'd like to call her out so you can all fawn over her like I did, but I respect her privacy. Suffice it to say, she started a magazine I absolutely adored and now works for a company I also very much adore.
I wanted to learn more about her so I asked if she would be up for meeting in person or talking on the phone. She turned me down for good reasons that I very much understand but it left me with a feeling of "now what?"
I was *this* close to writing her back, telling her I understood and leaving it at that.
Instead, I went for the jugular.
In Natalie Goldman's book, Writing Down the Bones, she lists out her rules of writing. There are six and they are all wonderful and number 6 reads as follows:
As with writing, so with life, yes?
I wrote this woman back and I got...naked. I told her how much I admired her work, that it's not every day I come across someone whose experience is so inspirational. Then I took it even further, telling her a bit about me. Who did I think I was??
I'll tell you who. Someone who's actively turning over a new leaf. Someone who is not about to let life pass her by and is putting it all out there. Someone who's fearless and focused. Someone who is diving right in.
She hasn't written me back yet and that's not the point. The point is, I decided to be on my own team. And as far as I'm concerned, we (me and me) are winning.