“I want to be like a sunflower so even on the darkest days, I will stand tall and find the sunlight.” – Author Unknown
The #52essays2017 challenge hasn’t just helped me hone in on my craft, it’s also been the catalyst for meeting and reconnecting with some kick-ass writers and creators.
“Meeting” is subjective. There are two writers I can think of that I have never met in real life, but with whom I’ve received and shared intimacies as though they were my oldest childhood friends. I’m pretty sure one of them, a guerrera Brooklynite named Connie, has read most of my essays. I joked with her recently that my essays no longer felt like they counted until she marked them read.
In an attempt to increase my exposure to literature and other writers, I requested to join The Musa Reading and Writing Club, established by entrepreneur and powerhouse, Wendy Angulo. These women have held such an encouraging innovative space for me to grow personally and creatively. It was through Musa that I reconnected with her.
Names are not important here, energy is. We will call her Sunflower.
Sunflower offered to give me a ride to the last Musa meetup of 2017. I almost canceled on her, on everyone, last minute. It had been a trying weekend for me on the emotional forefront. As though she was reading my mind, she sent me a text hours before she was scheduled to pick me up.
Sunflower: Estas bien? Felt a disturbance in the force ::insert laughing emoji::
Me: Sometimes your bruja tendencies freak me out lol. Having a rough day today.
Sunflower: I can feel it.
Sunflower: You need MUSA today ::insert Sunflower emoji::
I walked out of my apartment building and the clouds hung as heavily in the sky as my heart in my chest. I got into her dark SUV for the first time.
She didn’t look up upon my opening the door. If she did, I didn’t notice because I was avoiding eye contact. I figured if I couldn’t see her eyes, she couldn’t see mine. Sunflower adjusted her glasses at the arms and looked for the address of the book club on her phone, slightly pursing her canary red lips.
She felt my energy before I even spoke. She’s a bruja like that. Deadass.
“You know” she started, “I call this the wishing car. Vanessa came in here, Angelique came in here and they both made wishes and they came true. You can say whatever you want in this car and it stays here. It also makes your wishes come true.”
I smiled through my blurry vision, tears threatening to fall, emotion thick in my throat.
“You can talk to me. But you also don’t have to talk to me.” And so she continued on, telling me about her life and what she’s been through. All the things that mirrored my life so well. “You know the universe put us together for a reason right?” And I smiled again, this time letting tears fall freely down my face.
This year of struggle and writing has taught me that the Universe will always give you what you need if you leave yourself open to receiving.
“I’ll never forget the first time I met you,” she said still shuffling with the phone in her hand.
“Do you want me to help you with the directions?” I asked noticing her back and forth on the phone.
“Nope, I got it.” she continued to shift her gaze between the road and the GPS on her phone. Her car, her rules. I never felt unsafe. “I remember because it was the first class I ever took with Vanessa. We all had to go around and say why we were there and when you spoke, you started crying.”
“You mean I fell apart” I not so jokingly interrupted her.
She continued, without paying my disruption any mind, “And I thought to myself WOW, she is so in tune with her emotions.” There was a hint of admiration in her voice, as though she appreciated my ability to cry in a room full of people I barely knew – a perspective I am unfamiliar with.
After checking in with my partner and a much-needed therapy session two days later, I felt a little more emotionally balanced and not so fragile. The balance is coming in more often these days and I feel a lining of resilience rising up from my belly like never before.
I am learning to own all of me – my feelings, my mistakes my strengths and my ugliest flaws.
I found myself reminded of Sunflower and the wishing car.
I thought of the esteem she held in her voice when she described my tear stained face and shaky voice during our first encounter. I was reminded that I am a vulnerability superhero and that there is no shame in being in tune with these feelings. Most people don’t take the time to deal with their feelings. They pile them up on every shelf and crevice of their closet until it is impossible to open the doors without having piles of undealt emotions crush them with their weight.
I’ve been met with a lot of respect and admiration for my participation in this challenge, for my relentless drive to produce these essays and for my ability to be vulnerable on the page in my own voice. It feels strange to receive recognition and gratitude for my writing, but I am learning to accept it. To say thank-you instead of shaking it off as if it’s no big deal.
Because it is. It is a big deal. I wrote my ass off this year. And I’m proud of that.
Oh – and for the record. I set an intention in the wishing car. I shared it with The Musa Reading and Writing Club and now I share it with all of you – my readers. I will be going to VONA 2018.
My writer friends know what I’m talking about.
Don’t believe me? Just watch.
***This is essay 50 in the #52essays2017 challenge created by Vanessa Mártir.