My hands are freezing as I move the necklaces from the rocks to my dress form to the box that sits on the chair beside me. My fingers are stiff and my breath feels airy almost wheezy in my throat in the way that happens when you aren't wearing enough clothes and are moving very fast and fall seems ready to give in to winter. And then I collide into a memory of my fifth-grade self playing soccer.
Running, wheezing a bit in the frigid air, trying not to be afraid of the ball. Always on defense. One of the two tallest, most "developed" girls in the class. I'm not the fast one. I'm the nice one. The one who decides team sports might not be for me when a sixth grader on the other team says, "Bitch, get out of my way." At the next pause in the game, I raise my hand to my coach and say, "I'm happy to sit out so someone else can play." And I cheer on the sidelines until my voice is hoarse.
I Open My Heart, new in the shop
I move the jewelry back and forth quickly and think about how I am literally a photographer losing the light like someone in a movie. A real photographer. A real artist. A real business owner making a living creating things and teaching about keeping your heart open to the beauty and the shit.
I focus on phrases like "live it baby girl" and "I am home" and "I open my heart," and I keep thinking about that girl raising her hand to her coach, knowing when to say, "This isn't for me."
And gratitude arrives. For her wisdom, her ability to set boundaries, her way of recognizing that something wasn't a good fit. She might not have known this was what she was doing, but she took care of herself in this really specific way. She recognized what she was good at and what didn't feel right. And she cheered at every single game.
I'm thinking about her today as I navigate my world over here. I'm thinking about this old story that I've often turned into something funny when people ask me if I played sports in high school. I'm wondering why I feel this need to make myself so small. I'm thinking about how I could reimagine this story and listen to what it has to teach me.
And I'm thinking about how much we focus on what we can't do, what we aren't good at, what we failed at, how we feel not enough.
When really we are miraculous beings finding our way. We are amazing. We are figuring out this crazy, awesome life. And we are stumbling. And we are doing brave things. And we are creating businesses and finding new ways to live our dreams into reality and becoming ninja warriors and opening up our hearts again and again.
And this is what I know: When I look up from my corner, I see so much love. I see so many of us cheering each other on until we are hoarse.
A gratitude prompt today: What can your younger self teach you today? What gratitude do you feel for her (or him)? Take out your journal and write down the words that come to you in this moment.
This November, I'm exploring the idea of saying YES to gratitude in all its gorgeous, sometimes confusing, heart-expanding ways. And I'm inviting you to come along on the adventure here on my blog.
Throughout the month, there will be a practice in letting others know I'm grateful for them, a few stories, a collaboration or two, inspiration from others, some giveaways, a special Etsy sale for my newsletter subscribers, and a few other good things.
You can find all the YES to Gratitude posts right here.