The Coffee Break: It Cracked Today And So Did I

I lost it this morning over a coffee maker.  Not just any coffee maker, a broken one.  One that was a gift because coffee in the morning is something to enjoy and to breathe in and to slow the minutes.  It’s something I do on purpose.

I’d filled my cup pushing the button with the rim just as gently as every other time.  This time, though, it stuck.  Suddenly, I’m calculating, “How much did I make?” as I’m watching 5 cups of beautifully roasted morning peace spread itself across the counter.  I laughed.  Holly’s dad comes around the corner to find me next to a mountain of Bounty hoping for the best.  He helped me dry the mess and went back to bed before another trip out of state today.  I went to get the baby, admittedly quite pleased with my ability to laugh this one off so well.

I fed Holly her usual breakfast and returned to the kitchen to refill mine.  I pushed the button.  It broke.  This time, so did I.  In one fluid move, I reached for the paper towels to dry the counter and quickly found myself bringing them to my face instead.  I let out one of the most heartbreakingly long sighs I’d ever given and hung my head along with it.  The baby was happily playing in her crib as I could see her tiny feet kicking with glee at the sight of her own warped face in the plastic mirror.  I looked up and found my own surrounded by the frame of my favorite $12 mirror on the kitchen wall.

I had officially lost my shit.  I sobbed as quietly as possible as I dried my face and reached down to clean the other mess.  I found my way to the tool box, pleading with the powers that be to let the power of a Black & Decker screwdriver save the day.  Each twist of the Phillips head felt strangely exhausting.  Soon, I gave up and left the pieces, collected my own, and returned to a cheerful Holly peering up at me from her crib.

I lost it over a coffee maker.  Packed into a few minutes of silent chaos, it was so much more.

It was new motherhood and navigating it like it’s the darkest forrest intertwined with beautifully sun-lit trails.  It was forgetting the meeting last week and forgetting what day this one is.  It was balancing the challenges of parenting life along with the fun of it.  It was finding energy to work and energy to take time away from it.  It was looking in the mirror to find a messy pile of once-styled hair atop a bewildered face wondering if I accidentally gave the baby an extra drop of D3.  It was wondering what that might do if I had.  It was glancing into her room to make sure she was safe and looking into the next to make sure her daddy was still asleep after the thunderous tumble of the hairbrush into the fiberglass tub.  It was standing in the kitchen losing my damn marbles over plastic and metal representing my only purposeful break of the day.

It was the moment I realized that this tiny human, our tiny human, was looking at me- tear-stained face and all.  While I’m doing all I can to stop the world for a minute, she’s looking at me to make it turn.  And suddenly, I forgot everything.

 

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A New Heart: The One We Created Is Creating Me

I am a mother.

That’s still such a strange feeling and I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it.  More importantly, I will work forever to be it.  I get to be a mother when I never expected to be one.  I was the crazy hippie aunt, you know?  The one with a martini on a Monday and the quiet corner of a coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon.

The past year has proven to me just how far the mind can go in polar opposite directions.  It’s proven to me just how far I will go to follow it.  How willing am I to forge a path through the unknown on a daily basis and how grateful am I for that chance?  I’m learning those answers every single day.

The first 7 weeks have given me life and taken some away.  I am working to not feel guilty for the rough times.  I’m working to quiet myself and enjoy the good ones.  I’m working to take in every moment of both.

This is the ultimate game changer, freedom fighter, heart breaker, and peace maker.  It encompasses every single challenge in daily life and compacts itself into one tiny being who dictates everything about our next move because that is her job.  She has all of the things she needs while we are endlessly guessing, second guessing, determining, repeating..

What does she need?

Do we have that?

How is she doing?

How are we doing?

How are we?…

We are tired.  We’re usually hungry because her timing is fine-tuned to interrupt every single attempt to have dinner in its original state before the reheating begins.

We are lucky.

We leveled up.

 

Holly Jewell Bauer

**1-7-19**

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Challenges: Our Very Own Freedom Fighters

The past few months have been a swirl of my one world colliding with itself like the front winds of a storm encapsulated in the form of one girl.  It’s been challenging and wonderful.  I’m at a point where I can be grateful for that and not at all intimidated.  It’s  great and extremely freeing.

Here are a few key things I’ve learned as each aspect of my life has taken a turn, executed the dismount, and nailed the landing before the next one.

  1. Challenges aren’t meant to be struggles.  They’re presented as opportunities but only if we take them as those.   We have to take chances and risk our own comfort in order to see them show up in the first place.  Here’s how:  Look for the one tiny white space hidden in the chaotic scribbles of something that seems insurmountable.  We’re going to go through some heavy experiences but the upside is that we’re alive to do so and those spaces between still exist.  They are meant to be there in the mess just as you are.
  2. Welcome everything.  Welcome the sad, infuriating, and negative feelings and events.  Welcome the elation, discomfort,  and wonder of things not yet known. Welcome the celebrations and rest following them.  Welcome yourself to a break. Welcome the air into your lungs and yourself into the space in which to breathe it.
  3. Accept that you will not be able to make sense of the day sometimes and accept that as being totally ok.  By doing that, you’re accepting the process that it is.  You’re creating the ability to keep moving.
  4. Be a mess.  Have it out with yourself or your closest person while keeping in mind that the ultimate goal isn’t anything other than learning from the experience.
  5. Look for more.

The only chances we get to free ourselves from the weight of worry and stress are in the challenges we willingly accept.   Like the tracks of a rollercoaster, they’re placed carefully there for a calculated reason.  It’s up to us to open ourselves to that free fall.

 

 

Dear Girl: A letter to my yesterday.

You’ll be ok, dear girl. You’ll find things you never knew existed. Like the feeling you’ll have of knowing yourself. You’ll find that you’re the only one who truly does, flaws and all, and that’s ok.

You’ll be accepted, dear girl. But they won’t hear you until you speak. You won’t know yourself until you do, either. So speak, sweet one, and let them know why you choose to.

You’ll be in pain, dear girl. You’ll find the depth of loss which is ironic. But once you do, you’ll feel the power of it. You’ll use it. And you’ll find so much more under a torturous void created to strengthen you and the wisdom to finally use it.

You’ll be tired, dear girl. You’ll feel the drain of excitement and the ache of what you think is certain death. But you’ll be replenished. You, your entire being will meticulously fill every space left of what has felt so empty.

You’ll be loved, dear girl. Sometimes you won’t know it and sometimes you’ll vehemently deny such a thing. You’ll fight your own mind until one side gives up. For you, sweet one, you’ll know when it fell to the side meant for you.

You’ll be happy, dear girl. And you’ll know exactly what lets you be.

A History Lesson: Moveable Framework

One week ago, I had a comfortable job in a comfortable office for a comfortable 8 hours a day.  I had a routine and an alarmingly predictable schedule.

I had no idea what would be in store as I accepted a brand new job in a beautifully aged place.  It’s a palace of sorts full of little girls twirling in their fanciest dresses and couples walking hand in hand with tickets in the other for a night on the town.

The new office was built in 1928 and stuffed full of historic stage pieces, giant levers used to power what were once the most modern fixtures of the time in a basement I have yet to visit alone.  It has soaring rafters and drapes heavier than a semi held up by what I now know are “stage weights”.

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This city was experiencing all of the thrills and struggles of the Roaring Twenties just as I had with mine.  It was young and still figuring it out.  The wonder and grandeur of the theater drew people in from all directions.

Today, I learned that the curve along the back wall of my office wasn’t created to be aesthetically pleasing.  It was created as a route for the African American community of the 1920s and 1930s to enter and exit away from the rest of the crowd.  It was a passageway created to segregate.  Throughout the decades, this wall has been transformed and painted and refinished eight layers deep.  Now it serves as the backdrop of my yet-to-be-painted office and I’m sitting exactly where all of the boundaries had once been pushed.

There is something immensely unique about this place left unseen by any guest out for a night.  It’s where hundreds of people have passed through the door of a creaky backstage dock.  They were there to share their talent.  They were rock bands and acting troupes, comedians, and dancers.  They were who someone wanted to be someday.  Some were nervous.  Some were naturally comfortable.  Each one of them, though, was there for a reason;  To transform into the person of their dreams the moment they stepped ahead of the curtain.  To do that, they had to push forward through the heaviest doors with the shakiest hands.

These doors are weathered and worn just as they were.  These doors kept opening to new possibilities just as they had.

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We all begin somewhere.

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Keep The Change: Rest Through Restoration

FullSizeRenderMy friends and family heard me yesterday.  The weight of my purse was considerably lighter as the weight of losing my belongings pressed heavily on my shoulders.  But they heard me.
After losing my wallet, I went into a mode of repair I haven’t seen for a while.  Calmly, I listed everything that was in it along with contact information and logins to protect what was now lost.  It was a process made easier by precautions taken in previous years after having not only my purse, but everything in it stolen before.  I was relieved to know that everything aside from the birthday cash could be secured and replaced.
Throughout the day, I checked in with anyone who might have seen it.  I received phone calls offering help and anything to ease my worries.  I heard jokes and reassurance.  I heard empathy and support.  Somehow, the missing items no longer bothered me aside from the hassle of replacing them.
My people restored my faith in the power of compassion.  Instead of burying myself in a mountain of dismay, I got to be consistently reminded of who I have and how I have them.  I am eternally grateful.
Last night, I received a message from a restaurant letting me know someone had found and turned in my wallet.  I had called them twice throughout the day just to hear regretfully that no one had seen it.  Finally, someone showed up.  I immediately left to retrieve it finding every bit of what I’d left in tact.  Thank you to the kind people of Wheat State in Old Town.  (Try them!  They’re wonderful!!)
I was shocked but ultimately just peaceful.  I realize it’s just one bundle of belongings and it was just one day of worry.  But it unveiled so much of what I needed to see again lately.
I get to keep the change when it could have gone to anyone.  I get to figure out how to make sure someone else gets to feel this relief somehow.  Mostly, I get to move forward knowing that someone else wanted to do the same.
I have needed peace more than ever lately as I navigate yet another (particularly BIG)  interlude in the life and times of Darah Jewell.  It turns out, I needed to feel loss in order to feel restoration.
If you hurt, you can figure out how to change it.
If you’re ok, you can figure out how to change it for someone else.
If you feel loss, you can watch for who changes you.
Losing my change has encouraged me to keep mine happening.
Thank you sincerely, Universe.

A Whole Heart With Half Of A Table: Helping Through Hardship

I walked into a loaded coffee shop to sit down and get some work done. There were no tables available except for half of one across from this man. I’ve seen him sleeping downtown on sunny days and cold nights.  He’s usually on the move.  

I walked up to ask if he would mind sharing and before I could say anything, he offered it. I gratefully sat down and introduced myself as I pulled out my computer. I offered him a coffee or something to eat and he politely declined. All he could do was offer me help: plugging in my computer, making room for my bag, and asking if the shade was ok. He’d been listening to a sermon behind us. As it came to an end, he stood up, gathered his only belongings in 3 stuffed bags, tipped his head to me as he grabbed his cane, and off he went to his next destination.  

He never told me his name, but he remembered mine as he said, “Have a blessed day, Darah.”