Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Unbeaten Path Part 2

     I’ve looked at my unemployed situation now from many angles over the past few months. There were times when I questioned my own decision to move on from my teaching job. It was close to home, I had invested in the materials needed, gone back to school to better prepare myself for it, most importantly, I loved the kids I worked with.
     Was this all in vain? I wondered these same wonders again as I made Scott’s lunch for his first day back at school. From now until next June he was again Coach Scott, P.E. Teacher at one of our local elementary schools. It was the first time only one of us would leave for work. The silence of this small house was about to be amplified in my companion’s absence. 

     After making two avocado sandwiches with aioli mustard and that no preservative healthy bread I insist on buying despite its perpetual dryness, I decided to sweep the floor. Now there was no longer any valid excuse for me to allow those thirsty bread crumbs to settle anywhere but in the trash. 

     The repetitive motion of sweeping our wood floor brought me back to my repetitive thoughts on my choice to stay home. I thought about the alternative. I thought about the past when we both rose for work, ate quickly and then left to tackle the day with what tools we had. 

     After discarding the crumbs, I picked up my pencil and journal to write these thoughts into its beloved pages. As I opened it, comfort greeted me and I recalled how blank notebooks have inspired and captured all the most original moments in my life. The more I wrote, the more clarity came. I felt now, as I always had, that writing led me to this elusive freedom. I loved teaching, but it was evident to me now that it was time to move on. THAT JOB WASN'T RIGHT FOR ME! It was as if I had married someone I didn't love, but kept trudging forward trying to uncover the warmth, fondness and attachment associated with it. 

     What I quit when I left my job wasn’t the trade itself. I would seek this role throughout my life, I was sure of it. Moments to do so seemed destined to cross over my path of life.

     My last day at my previous job coincided with the last day I would worry about the opinions of others. I had stayed in that skin for too long; skin soaking in air choked with trepidation. It wasn’t that staying within the walls of our house would shield me from them, but now that I was resolved to bring to life the person I was inside the bindings of my journal, I was committed to recognize my own weaknesses and become stronger, smarter, freer. 

     And I was going to write; write about anything and everything! I was going to surf until my legs were sore and my wax melted off! I was going to make more short films! I would follow my heart down this unbeaten path and no one’s opinion was going to change that!

     Only you should ever dictate your own behavior. Now was the time for me to dictate mine. What was I going to do today? In the silence all I could hear were my own thoughts telling me that today would be the first day I would follow my dreams.
"For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."

-T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Unbeaten Path

    The passage of time can lead to many things: wisdom, fear, growth, weakness, strength. In my case, time has manifested as comprehension. After all, hindsight is twenty-twenty, wouldn't you say? Details from the past year years of my life now startled me as they came in to focus. I was pretty miserable at my previous place of work. A place I spent every weekday of the last three years trying to thrive. How is it that an unwarranted misery so apparent now in times of happiness was so disguised while it was happening? In some ways, I figure I sunk that sadness down to the bottom of my brain and instead associated my sadness with the unfamiliarity I had with working situations in general ("Isn't everyone this lost and melancholy when they first start working?"). But now that I'm away from that job and the people who tried to make me feel unsuitable for my own skin, I am finding so much clarity. 

     In the spot I'm currently standing, a place that feels like higher ground in many ways, I can see that there are things that happened at my previous place of work that made my eyes swell and my teeth sore, but what sickens me most was that I had really brought this upon myself my entire life. And it had happened because I valued the opinions of others more than I valued my own.
     Letting other's opinions affect my behavior in settings I had less confidence in had become an unwelcome habit of mine since I was a child. I often became compliant, submissive and lost in certain situations when I should have been confident and unconcerned.

     This morning, I awoke abruptly to a dream illustrating these thoughts. It was still dark outside and my jaw felt tight as I opened my mouth to yawn. I have the tendency to clench it during my sleep when I'm dealing with unresolved emotions. I slid my feet around and dangled them over the right side of my bed as I took a sip of water from the cup on my night stand. As I drank, I thought about the dream that had woken me.

     I had been dreaming about the fifth grade. It was a time when I had started taking interest in basketball and the Boston Celtics. Why would a vertically challenged child born in Laker country be drawn to basketball and a team clear on the other coast? It was because my teacher loved basketball and the Celtics, but she did not love me. I figured if I could show an interest in the things she cared about, then she would start caring about me.

     Each recess I played basketball, melting my tree climbing shoes on the hot asphalt hoping that she would be watching me. When we went on vacation to Boston I begged my dad to buy me Celtics gear I could take to school to show my teacher.

    This is my first recollection of other’s opinions acting like my own personal kryptonite.

     In my dream, I had been playing basketball. My teacher was the referee and after every play I made, she blew the whistle even though I hadn’t been doing anything wrong. Instead of telling her off I told her “You’re a good referee.”

    As my bare feet hit the wood floor of our bedroom on this September morning, chills ran up my legs. This dream had awakened me in a curious way.

    Instead of silencing my own voice I needed to do the opposite; speak up! Express my own truth! True, not everyone was going to agree with me or even like me, but that was already the case anyway. By finding my voice and expressing myself honestly at least I would be pleasing myself.

    Walking across the floor I could feel that summer was slowly transforming into fall. On this particular day I knew change was coming.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


   I have to start this entry by disclaiming that any advice I try to give on this site is only produced by me failing in some respect and trying to come up with a logical solution to avoid the same mistake in the future. Sharing this solution, however helpful it actually is to others, gives me peace of mind. That being said, here are the details of my most recent personal, well, let’s call it a stumble.
    While stumbling through my own life this morning I realized that in order to have a successful relationship with your spouse...     Spouse. 
    Wow, the word looked even weirder written than it sounded, I thought as I etched it down quickly in my small pocket notebook. I was married now and as much as things stayed the same, life did seem different. Scott and I had been dating for 6 and a half years before we got married last month. We knew each other’s moods, attitudes, thoughts, beliefs ... you name it. Getting it all right was another story. I wasn’t always in the right mood, sometimes my attitude, well, just plain sucked. Now that we were married I felt extra pressure to be the best partner I could be. 
    Now where was I... Oh yeah I created some of my own marital advice for myself this morning:
    In order to have a successful relationship with your spouse you don’t have to be on the same page all the time. Meaning, you don’t always have to be in the same mood, experiencing the same success or enjoying the same activities to achieve a happy marriage. You just have to remember to demonstrate the love you share for one another.
    I wasn’t on the same page as Scott today. I had a long day disappointing myself yesterday only to wake up having a surf session that mimicked the same sentiment. Scott exhibited his natural blissfulness this morning, yesterday and everyday in between, and also enjoyed ripping some of the best 8ft set waves from this abnormally large Summer South swell that was hitting our coast. I was floundering around halfway down the beach catching and duck-diving big closeouts.   
    We had been traveling for 3/4 of the month of August and the past week had been especially full of over-stimulating activities while we moved our sisters into college on the East coast. The kind of activities that led the brains of introverts like myself to overheat and shutdown. For instance, yesterday during a family function someone questioned me repeatedly in front of our group about “being so shy and quiet”. Instead of coming up with something witty, or at least explanatory, my eyes welled up with tears! Talk about a moment where I needed to get a hold of myself! I wasn’t even that sad about the comment, I was just so tired of being in a new place and on a different schedule that I lost it. I was so embarrassed! At this particular moment I swore that if I didn’t get some alone time soon I was going to self destruct like a robot soaked in salt water.
    After our surf this morning I hid myself inside the warm waters of my parent’s outdoor shower, thinking about my recent stumbles. Outside the pouring water I could pick out parts of Scott’s story about his epic wave in to the beach. 
    “It was just so fun to go fast on a big wave” he explained enthusiastically.
    The envy I began to feel made the shower seem hotter. I extinguished it by opening my eyes. I tried to focus on the excitement in his. I loved listening to him talk about things he had passion for. 
    In this moment I realized that I didn’t have to have the best surf session or be in the best mood to be a good wife. I guess Marriage isn't always about experiencing the exact same emotions at the same time. I think it is more about sharing love for one another in every situation you encounter together. It’s not really that profound, but it’s hard! I didn’t need to be in the same place I just needed to demonstrate the love I felt for Scott by listening to him tell his story and by letting him listen to me tell mine.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Scott and I got married and set off on a surf honeymoon a little off the beaten path. We traveled to Thailand not only in search of a unique cultural experience, but also on a quest for waves; Music: Le Blorr “Oh Christopher”; Filming: Scott and Devon DeMint; Editing: Devon DeMint