Sep 172012
 

I’ve been fielding lots of questions about my college years lately. These are hard questions to answer because those years are hard to describe, and by describe I mean remember.

Here’s a snapshot.

 


 

My college experience was a little….vague. I am told that I had an excellent time, but I can’t be sure. Mercifully, I mostly recall college as a seven year black out, but sometimes a memory of something I did, said, or worse, WORE, hits me like a wave of nausea, and I marvel at how I made it out of there alive.

Throughout college I had this sweet little ritual where I’d enjoy a couple dozen drinks and then go for a walk, perhaps at 3 am. And then, usually, I’d get lost and decide to go ahead and sleep in a cozy parking lot or under a tree somewhere in town. It was like camping, except without a tent, clue, or functioning liver. There must have been a strict No Camping rule in my college town though, because I was often awakened by annoyed men and women with guns. These uniformed bandits were not my parents, although it would take me a good three minutes to understand this. They would ask me why I was on the ground and I would assure them that I planned to explain just as soon as they told me where we all were, and also, my name.

Fortunately they actually would be able to teach me my name because, well, we’d met before. We went way back. And they’d invite me into the back of their cozy car and put shiny silver handcuffs on me. And I would sort of settle in and ask them how their families were, and they’d tell me. They liked me, and I liked them. I went to school in a sleepy little town, and so I like to think that maybe the night police shift was glad to have the company.

So we’d continue to catch up and all would go smoothly, but inevitably during the ride to my new camping spot my officers would get frustrated. Because every time they turned around to check on me, my handcuffs would be off and placed in a tidy pile on the seat beside me. So they’d stop the car and put them back on. And I’d take them back off. My wrists are very small and I had decided that while it may have been silly for one to sleep under a tree in January, it was ridiculous for one to PRETEND that one is handcuffed. I just couldn’t fake it, though I did try for the sake of my police friends. I have a paralyzing respect for authority, so I was always vehemently on their side. But they really were going to have to do better with the handcuffs. I understood that they weren’t arresting child sized people often, but still. I explained that it was probably important to be better prepared.

{A few years ago, Craig and I were watching Cops and I noticed that police forces had started using plastic cuffs that look like garbage bag ties which close more tightly. I got very excited and told Craig that I was positive that the plastic tie handcuff innovation was inspired by me and my mini wrists. He stared, as always, and then asked me to never share that theory with anyone. But it’s hard not to discuss what may have been a real contribution to the law enforcement community on my part.}

When we got to the station I would say hello to Tom and Carla, who were often in charge of checking me in. “Booking,” I believe they called it. They were lovely people, just lovely. And they’d lead me into my very own private cell which made me feel like a bit of a celebrity, to tell you the truth. Special treatment, you know. One time, after having been there for a few hours I called Carla over and asked her if I could be released early for good behavior. I’d been quite well behaved that night, if I did so say myself. She said no, it didn’t work that way. But she did agree that I was being especially good, so she shared her granola bar with me. I was deeply touched.

Eventually I’d fall asleep and I’d awake in the morning and call my long suffering friend Dana, who had always wisely slipped an index card with our phone number into my back pocket. And she’d pick me up and we’d go to Waffle House and discuss what we were going to wear that night.

Wow. Strange, but true.

I started thinking of these stories yesterday when I got an email from a woman who is a sheriff deputy and reads this blog daily. In her email she thanked me for inspiring her. I was up all night thinking about her and how proud I am that she’s reading my blog. I forwarded her email to my dad with the subject line: DADTHE POLICE ARE READING MY BLOG! which was probably so much more enjoyable for him to receive than my usual announcement “DAD- THE POLICE ARE READING MY RIGHTS!”

You guys, I don’t want to sound boastful, but I think I’m finally coming up in the world.

Joelle, Tom, Carla, Grandpa, and every other kind and dedicated officer. Thank you. Thank you for protecting me from bad guys, even when the bad guy is me. Thank you for serving so bravely and honorably. Thank you for improving all of my camping experiences exponentially. And thank you, especially, for the granola bar. I was really hungry. I appreciate you.

 

Love,
G

 

And for those of you who’d like a deeper, heavier, truer snapshot of real addiction today, click here. 

 

Love Again,

G

Dec 312013
 

tish beautiful

Tish and I were walking together on the beach last week. She stopped to look out at the water so I did, too. She put her hand in mine, looked up at me and said, “Mom, am I pretty?”

Luckily, I’d been thinking about that word for a couple of decades, so I was ready.

I sat Tish down in the sand, took a deep breath, and dove in.

“I think you’re pretty, Tish. I think you are very, very pretty. But pretty is a weak word, because it means different things to everyone. You really don’t have much control over whether folks think you’re pretty or not. Spending a lot of time asking the world if you’re pretty – it’s just not a strong position to take. You will have to keep changing yourself for everyone you meet, and eventually you won’t know who you are. I know because I used to think pretty was really important, so I felt confused and weak a lot.

What I want you to be, Tish, is beautiful. Beautiful means “full of beauty.” Beautiful is not about the appearance of your outsides- beautiful is about what you’re made of. Beautiful women are women who spend time discovering what they love – what sings to them –what their idea of beauty on this Earth is. Then they make time each day to fill themselves up with that beauty. They know themselves well enough to know what they love, and they love themselves enough to fill up with a little of their particular kind of beauty each day.

That’s why we’re here today, honey. I was feeling a little empty this afternoon and so I brought you here to the beach to fill myself back up with beauty. This place is beauty to me. So I come here to fill up with the Gulf of Mexico. With the sound of the waves rolling in and the sight of the pelicans fishing and the feel of the cool sand on my feet. When I leave here I feel really beautiful. And I brought you with me because you are beauty to me, too, Tish. When you smile at me – I am beautiful .

Many of the things you see me do each day, honey – I do them to be beautiful.

It’s why I take time out to spend with good friends.

It’s why I read and look at art and always have that music I love playing in the house.

It’s why I light candles in every room.

It’s why I watch you climbing those Banyan trees in the front yard.

It’s why I roll around on the floor with Theo and Meadow and why I’m always smelling the top of your head.

It’s why I drag you to sunset and to church every week.

I’m just filling up with beauty- because I want to be beautiful.

Tish, you will meet plenty of people in your life who are pretty but haven’t yet taken the time to be beautiful. They will have the right look for the times- but they will not glow. Beautiful women glow. When you are with a beautiful woman you will not so much notice her hair or skin or body or clothes – because you’ll be distracted by the way she makes you feel. She will be so full of beauty that you will feel some spill onto you. You’ll feel warm and safe and curious around her. Her eyes will twinkle a little and she’ll look at you really closely, Tish- because beautiful, wise women know that the quickest way to fill up with beauty is to soak in another human being. Other people are beauty, beauty, beauty. So you will notice that the most beautiful women take their time with other people. They are just filling up.

Women who are concerned with being pretty think about what they look like, but women who are concerned with being beautiful think about what they are looking at. They are taking it all in. They are taking in the whole beautiful world and making all that beauty theirs to give away to others.

Does that make any sense, baby?”

And Tish said, “I think so. It’s like, when you first wake up, mom. You look really,really bad. Your hair is messy and your face looks weird. But when you see me, your eyes get twinkly. Is that because you think I’m beauty?”

“Yes, baby. I’m filling up with you. Because I want to be beautiful.”

 *********

Friends – in 2014 let us decide to be beautiful women. Let us take the time to discover what in this world is beauty to us –  and fill up with it daily.

Being beautiful is a strong position to take.

Love and Peace and Beauty for all-

G

 

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