I came out to my mother.
In a less conventional way than the normal coming process, of course. I can’t even follow the proper trajectory for a coming out story.
“I don’t think I’m ever going to have a ‘normal’ looking relationship, where I find one person that I want to move in with and have babies with and spend all my time with.” I clarified, “It’s not because I think I can’t have that. I could have had that a hundred times if that’s what I wanted.”
I took another breath before I spoke directly, “I just don’t want a normal long term relationship. It’s not where I want to put most of my energy when I feel like I have so many other things I’m here to do.”
I gauged her body language. The last thing I wanted was to be told, “If you just found the right person, I’m sure you’ll feel differently.” I kept breathing.
She shrugged her shoulders. “You don’t have any of the same pressures that I had growing up, where unmarried women were jeered as spinsters and old maids. You have so much more freedom to choose what you want to do! It’s inspiring that you are doing what you want to do.”
And I know this about my mother, but it still surprises me every time. She revels in the choices I have available to me, and celebrates when I choose the unconventional.
With a couple of weeks left before the new year and an intention to restart my regular check-ins, I’m here to find out: What do I want these last two weeks to include?
1. Rest deeply when I get the chance.
There will be a lot of work this upcoming week. I’ve worked too many days in a row already. When it’s time to rest, I want to do it fully. Turn off the work brain. Do things that nourish me: dance, legs up the wall, drink water, read, laugh with friends.
2. Notice the things worth smiling and laughing about.
I’m noticing a pattern where I’m always answering “How are you?” with one of three options: Busy, Frantic, or Working Too Much. I’m not wanting to just turn that off, as much of that is real in my experience right now. But I’m also wanting to notice the OTHER things that are also going on. And try out some different ways of answering that question.
3. Loving on my loved ones.
I get to visit some of my favorite folks next week. I want to make some plans with folks … first I need to tell them I’m coming! I also have a few more holiday gifts to find & send for my nephews.
4. Home office set up & functional.
It’s a little scary to be working from home again. I want my space set up so I can be sure to turn off the work brain when I’m done for the day. It will feel great to come back to my space being in order so I can transition into working from home as smoothly as possible.
These things seem doable. The most concrete things are the home office set up and those presents for my nephews. Everything else is about trying out some new ways of being, or expanding the set of folks I’ll get to hang out with next week.
My shoulders relax a bit seeing that I haven’t made myself a 47 point to do list.
It’s been a good year. I moved myself to Berkeley. I jumped right in to training for white anti-racist leaders in movements for racial and economic justice. I got one job, then quit it when I realized it was not a good fit. Before I could officially finish, I landed my dream job. A social movement started, and I found myself in the middle of discussions on racism, community organizing, and the power of peacefulness in the face of brutality.
It’s also been a hard year. I’m learning so much every day, it’s hard to constantly be questioning everything that I’ve thought before. The sheer volume of opportunities in the Bay Area can still be paralyzing. I know I’m in bad shape when I’m terrified to even make a to do list.
The last few weeks, I’ve been blessed with visits from friends and family. Like so much this year, there’s a bittersweet quality. I loved having my loved ones here with me, in my new place. I loved experiencing my new space with these folks. But when they left, their absence was even more profound. My enthusiasm for work and the Occupy movement felt hollow.
I’ve started asking myself, “What am I doing here? Why am I here instead of so many other places where I could be closer to the people I love?”
A dear friend reminded me that I came out here with a purpose – to learn, to grow, to participate in things that aren’t available in our small town. Am I succeeding in that? Yes. Am I finished? No.
He reminded me of my regular goal setting and check-ins I used to do here regularly. I’m not sure I realize the impact this kind of regular check-in has on others. I was surprised when he said, “I loved when you set goals and made progress on them. I appreciated knowing that at least one person in my life was working toward something important.”
So, back by “popular” demand … the weekly/monthly/periodic goal setting & check-ins return!