Don’t F$ck With Me

The first adult penis I saw was attached to a complete perv who decided it would be thrilling for him to pull it out his Dolphin shorts (1980) and hang upside down on the monkey bars at the park where I was playing with one of my best friends. I also took in the rest of him. Strawberry orangish hair, beard, glasses. His artistic choice to upgrade his perp factor by hanging upside down, made the sad little member all the more ridiculous. Even to ten year old me.

I didn’t freeze. I didn’t get scared. I got emboldened. Perhaps a fight and flight hybrid. My friend and I hopped on our bikes and decided that on the count of three we would yell-

“PERVERRRRRRRRRT!!!!!!!!”

as loud as we possibly could. And we did, watching him over our shoulders as we biked quickly away, exhilarated, frankly, by our victory.

Later that day, after my mom called the cops, we also felt a sense of pity towards the young police officer who was clearly so uncomfortable asking us questions about the “incident.” The juvenile officer was blushing and embarrassed, and I remember thinking, even then, that his uncomfortable visit to our home to question us was a waste of time. To this day, I could tell a sketch artist exactly what that man, all of him, looked like.

The second time some asshole whipped it out in front of me was that same year not even a block from my home, where I was, again, riding my bike (which in hindsight I now see was my getaway vehicle on too many occasions). He pulled up next to me in his shitty brown sedan and asked for directions to a street that was literally yards ahead. Except for his pants were below his knees and he was sporting a boner, its ridiculous ugliness jetting straight up. The whole scene was ugly and confusing.

But again. I didn’t freeze.

Flight kicked in, and I hopped back on my bike and pedaled as fast as I could out of there.

 

There are too many of these stories. My friends who grew up in New York City have too many to count. And they become more insidious when they cross the line from creepy stranger to colleague, boss, or even friend.

As a mother to two daughters, I have been trying to figure out what in ten year old me had the wherewithal to know that she had the power to get the f away from trouble. It is a conversation we have in our house. A lot. From the time they were little, we talked about listening to your gut, that voice inside, that “uh-oh feeling” as some parenting experts describe.

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That voice? It’s almost always spot on. But some of us push it down.

In recent weeks so many women have been speaking up about having that feeling. On the way up to Harvey Weinstein’s room for “a meeting.” With a boss or colleague. A teacher. A mentor. No arena seems to be spared.

Now is the time to get so loud about this.

LIKE SO LOUD.

I am hoping women and men of our generation can put a stop to this so that my daughters and girls like them do not have to move through the world on high alert at all times. These stories have shed a light on how exhausting it is to be a girl or woman in the world. Always with peripheral vision in play. Turning down the music on the headphones when running to be on the ready. Positioning yourself in work meetings just right. Gaze lifted and a little bit of that “Do Not Fuck With Me” expression on at all times.

Now is the time to stop all of it in its tracks. All of it.

Not all girls and women have the same reaction. Some do freeze. Some are victimized for reasons that no one of us should judge. But those of us who have a rambunctious, loud, bike riding ten year old inside them must speak up. And not stop speaking up. Until this is no longer the norm. We have to. This needs to end.

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I Fuc$ing HATE Him (and how that does not serve me). The Solution.

I have been seething lately. Like screaming at news radio in my car crazy pissed seething. I keep telling myself not to watch the news. Not to listen to it in my car. Or at least take a break. Gather enough information to be informed, but stop at the point where I’m just doing it to fan the flames of my hatred. But I’m like a moth to a flame with it. It’s like House of Cards playing out in real time but with our actual lives at stake. It’s as if I feel like without my fully committed outrage, I am somehow disengaged. I am afraid of this ever feeling normal.

Have you been feeling this way too? Beyond outraged? Anxious? Depressed? And, somehow, these feeble words barely scratch the surface of the assaultive nature of what feels like an enduring day after day trauma. For many of us, the presidency of he-who-shall-not-be-named has turned our entire belief system upside down and on its head. All the lessons we have been teaching our kids about kindness and how the bully will never win in the end were just given the middle finger. Basic notions of “good will prevail” seem fairy tale at best. I know that I cannot sustain this level of outrage, this deep, searing resentment at this so-called (to use his words) president and his appointments who blatantly mock social justice, compassion and kindness.

I need a tool. I need to process. Otherwise I am doomed. Truly. I cannot afford to mire in this.

Yes, outrage and anger is important. Motivating. Sparks change. But for those of us who are deeply feeling (and isn’t that most of us?) creatures, we cannot linger in the resentment for too long.

And let’s call it what it is. HATE.

 
 

 

I am feeling SO MUCH HATRED. More than I think I have ever felt in my life. I will never, ever give this bigot and his posse of heinousness a chance. I will not give a man who casually feels entitled to assault women and demean people for their differences the benefit of the doubt. I listened to Maya Angelou when she told us, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I am a teacher of yoga, mindfulness, ultimately compassion, but I am consumed with the most non-yogic like thoughts about the assembly of bigots in the White House.

In my former career as a criminal defense attorney, I zealously defended the indefensible at times, feeling deep compassion for them and the reasons and circumstances behind their choices, and, yet, now I have zero compassion for this crew of backasswardness in Washington. I can try feel compassion for the spoiled, entitled little boy who was never properly loved or taught to love himself and others. But he does NOT GET TO BE MY PRESIDENT.

I cannot afford this hate. I am an addict. Clean and sober nearly twenty years. And this hatred feels as dooming as a lethal dose.

I must choose love. LOVE. Even the word feels like a sigh of relief.

But how?

By processing these resentments, writing about them, asking for them to be removed, and finding a spiritual solution. That’s how.

A solution. While miring in what feels like fairly justified pissed-offedness can be comfortable, it’s unsustainable and toxic. I am so uncomfortable carrying this load of hatred.

Sound complicated? It’s not. There’s a formula, and it goes like this.

1. Write the fears (or hatred, resentments) down. All of them. Don’t make it pretty or publishable or anything. Just do it.

2. Then write the following: “Dear God (or Universe, Mother Earth, Anyone, or simply ask Please). May these fears be removed, so that I can move with love and faith and be of the greatest service to myself and others.

3. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. And say, “Thank you.”

 

It will look something like this.

1. I f-ing hate DJT so much. I hate his cabinet. I hate his bigotry and entitlement. I hate his orange face. I hate that his ex-wives are muzzled and won’t speak up with what I can only imagine would be the most damning of evidence. I am scared he is going to start a world war and millions of innocent lives will be lost, including my daughters and my friends and family and everyone I have ever cared about. I am so scared and sad at the families who are being torn apart right at this very moment by his selfishness and idiocy. I am scared we are going to have the most heinous Supreme Court that will strip us of the rights that were so long fought. I’m scared he is somehow going to repeal the Constitution. I am scared the hatred I feel is making me the crankiest mom in the world and that I am poisoning my kids with my bitchy moods. I am scared that teaching yoga is not enough and that my calling is greater and that I am not sure anymore exactly what it is but I need to figure it out because I’m not getting any younger and speaking of that, I scared my mom’s health is getting worse… and so on.

See? Go big. Go small. Get it all out.

 

2. God, or whoever, I ask that these fears and resentments be removed so that I can be of greatest service to myself and others, so that I can walk with love.

 

3. Closed eyes. Deep breath. Thank you.

Do it. Every morning perhaps. Or at a pivotal moment. You can write it. You can think it. Just put it to words. Then meet a friend. TURN OFF THE NEWS. Do yoga. Go outside. Join some action efforts. Make political phone calls. Take a hike. Hug your people. And then choose love.

Over and over and over. Choose love.

(and then get out there and kick ass at exactly what you want to do)

 
 

The Unwritten (now written) Rules of Yoga Etiquette

 
 

1. Start your practice on the drive (or bike, bus, subway) on the way to class. Have you ever been driving to yoga like an asshole just to get there in time? Heart rate and blood pressure elevated because you’re late? The cars around you not driving the way you think they should? How about when you are looking for somewhere to park? So many classes are so packed that scoring that parking spot can be a bitter battle. But does that serve you? Begin first by noticing if any of the above is happening. And, if it is, laugh at yourself. Find your breath and notice it. Even count it. Let someone cut in front of you without letting it get the best of you. Remind yourself that yoga is more than just asana and that the breath and attitude you bring on your journey to class it part of the practice.

2. Be cool to the front desk. Especially if you’re late. Yes, it is their job to facilitate you checking in with kindness. So be cool in return. Learn their names. Take that moment to say hi. For many of us teachers, we strive to create community in our classes and studios.  After all, isn’t yoga ultimately about union and connection? I love when I see my students interacting with the front desk in a kind way. We are watching!

3. If you are an early bird. First of all, high five! If you managed to get to class early and create your spot, well done! But keep in mind, someone may not be as organized, or their boss kept them over, or their babysitter was late. As the room fills, you may need to adjust your spot. Make a decision not to get annoyed by that. It’s a choice. As your teacher, we so appreciate it.

4. Say hi to your neighbor. Introduce yourself. Nothing makes me happier as a teacher than when I cannot stop you guys from chatting in a friendly way before your class. Let’s work together to create connection and community in our classes. Your best friend may be practicing right next to you and you won’t know unless you say hi!

5. If you are late. Please no dramatic entrances. If the class has started, just quietly stand in the back until the opening is over or the teacher gives you an indication to come in. We get it. We have all been late. But do your best to ease in respectfully and definitely kindly say thanks to anyone who is cool enough to make space for you. Asteya, non stealing, is part of yoga, so remain mindful of not stealing the vibe the teacher and students have already started creating.

6. Save the singing for the shower. Or car. I LOVE music. Making playlists for my class is like making a mixed tape for a first love back in high school. And I really, really love if you love my music. However, we don’t all need to hear you sing, as beautiful (or not) as your voice may be. It distracts other students. Unless the teacher offers up a sing along (it happens on the fly every now and then), save it for the drive home.

7. Silence your damn phone and don’t even think about texting. And guess what? Vibrate is not off!!! If your phone makes a sound, it can take the entire room out of savasana. Even better, just leave the phone outside. That said, we all mess up. My mom once called (I forgot to go on airplane mode) and the phone rang through the speakers during our meditation. So when you mess up, as we all do, make as little deal out of it as possible, apologize and turn the damn thing off.

 
 

7. Wipe your sweat. PLEASE. Especially if you drip on your neighbor’s mat as you rock a stealth Warrior III or flip your dog over to their mat. It happens, and it’s fine. But it is definitely not fine if you don’t wipe it up. Use the manners your mama taught you.

8. Don’t impress us with your ujayii. Yes, your breath should be audible. But not to everyone. Only to you and maybe the people closest to you. Definitely not to the people on the other side of the room. You may not know. So now you do. Also, begin to notice if you favor the exhales or the inhales, and strive for balance between the two. Equanimity, after all.

9. Do the offered sequence. As best you can. As teachers, we for sure want you to modify to take care of yourselves, take breaks, rest in child’s pose. But please don’t go totally off grid and do your own thing. It is very confusing to other students, not to mention potentially injurious if your body is going one way and the rest of us are going the other. And check yourself. Do you really need fifty extra chaturangas or a handstand when the rest of us are in Warrior II? It is ego driving you or something else? Believe me, I have had days where my mind will not quiet without a fiery flow. But we teachers (most of us anyway) put love and thought into our sequences, and they are designed to set you up for success, warm your body up intelligently. Listen to the teacher. If she green lights doing your own thing (which I often do during a strong flow), by all means, but otherwise, do the best to, yet again, remember yoga is about balance and that you are part of a community when you show up. And if you absolutely can’t help yourself, go in the back row.

10. For god’s sake DO NOT SKIP SAVASANA. No one in that room, including you, believes you are the one person so busy and so important that you cannot lie still for a few minutes. I get it can be super challenging for some of us. Being still and doing what appears to be nothing, may be the most important thing you do that day. And if you have to leave early, tell the teacher before class, practice near the back if possible, and leave yourself at least a couple of minutes to do savasana before you go.

11. Please put your props away. Put. Not toss, throw, or leave in the middle of the room. Enough said.

12. Be you. Smile. Laugh. Cry. We want to create a space for you to have the most divine experience as possible. We love when you bring your authentic self to the practice.

 
 

13. Talk to us! Introduce yourself. We want to know you and know your name. If you have a pose you are dying to learn or a question or anything at all, we want to hear about it. And remember, there is so much choice out there. So don’t dismiss yoga because of one class or one teacher. If one teacher or class has turned you off to yoga, try someone else. You will find your teacher.

* Total bonus most important one of all… TAKE IT OFF THE MAT!!! Now more than ever, we need more kindness, more breath, more connection, more tolerance. All of these are encompassed by yoga. So we never need to confine our practice to the four corners of a mat. So let’s pick up our gazes, connect more, speak up, love wildly, and bring all of the lessons off the mat and into the world we share!

Skinny Is Not Amazing

 
 

“Oh my gosh! You look amazing!” they kept telling me. I was dipping dangerously below 100 pounds, my designer clothes, fancy, but dirty, hanging on my fragile frame.

“Thanks,” I would say, relieved they weren’t onto me, but confused, and even a little resentful, knowing deep down I was anything but amazing. I was sick, hopeless and strung out, but definitely not amazing. Even then, the irony was not lost on me. Eating disorders and body image issues had never been my Achilles heel. I was reading The Beauty Myth in college decades before Instagram was reminding us all that “we are enough.” I was born with a smirky confidence, feeling about a million more times than enough even as a young girl. So by the time feminist literature came across my desk, I was fully on board, railing against advertisers who dared to tell me that I was merely an object to look sexy for a man. “Fuck that!” I said all the way through law school.

And yet.

Here I was.

Scrawny. Strung out on pride and ego, among other things. Shuffling dangerously close to emaciation. So while I never starved myself as a means to feel pretty, or enough, or sexy, or to exercise control over an otherwise uncontrollable life, I was still here, anorexic by any definition.  The story of how I got there and, ultimately recovered, is for another day, and it’s a long one.

But, really?

Did I look amazing?

No. I definitely did not.

I looked skinny. Super skinny. Sick, actually. Not amazing. But the message I kept getting from most people was that I looked better than ever.

 
 

Cut to two decades later. In recovery, sober many years, mother to two kids, married, a successful law career under by belt and a blossoming new one. But we hit a rough patch.  Or I did anyway.  Maybe a pre mid-life crisis of sorts. Again, details for another time, maybe never.

Stress abounded.

I lost my appetite. I was depressed and so deeply sad.

And the compliments poured in.

“What are you doing?”

“You look amazing!”

“What’s your workout routine?”

And here’s the thing. I have always been fit and athletic. Not overweight by any standard. Bean pole thin, no. I have never cared to be. But strong. Confident. And, frankly, in my mind, amazing.

But not now.

I felt gripped by depression and indecision. I was forcing food because I knew I had to eat. But without an appetite, eating was a challenge.

And yet…

“You look amazing!” was the primary message I received.

Since when is dangerously thin amazing?

Sadly, always in our fucked up culture.

I am beautiful. I am whip smart. And I am amazing. But not because I am skinny or strong or have blond hair or straight hair or fewer wrinkles or whatever the thing is. I am amazing because I have grit and resilience and abounding endless amounts of love. Not because I wear a size two or four or six or twelve.

Major footnote: If you have worked your ass off to lose weight in a healthy way (ie. not starving yourself, or slamming ten Red Bulls, or lines of cocaine or pills, or purging), YOU ARE AMAZING and so worthy of major praise.

Sh$t Storm Strategies

This yogi’s five strategies to moving through a sh$t storm. Political or otherwise

This past election cycle and the ensuing results have been cause for discord, division and unrest, regardless of political position. Many of us have had our core feelings and belief systems in the world and humanity deeply shaken. While we may want (and need) to pull the covers for a few days, when we ultimately rise, what are our strategies to move through this with as much grace and wisdom as possible?

  1. Feel all the feelings. All of them. For as long as you need to. Don’t let anyone tell you when your time to feel and/or grieve is over. There is no right or wrong way to move through grief and sadness. But we can all agree that the only way out is through. If the feelings are frightening, scary, ugly, whatever – feel them all, without avoidance.
  2. Journal/Process. Pick up a pen and old school style, write it all down. All the feelings, the fears, the sadness, the madness, the frustration. Once it’s all written down, pause. Take a moment and then pick the pen back up and write this: “I ask that all of these fears and resentments be removed so that I can be of greatest service to myself, my family, my community, humankind.” Or something like that that feels authentic to you.
  3. Music. Play a super sad or motivating song REALLY LOUD and dance and scream it at the top of your lungs – in your car, in your living room, on headphones on a run. Anywhere. Never underestimate the power of music to help you move through the feelings.
  4. Stop looking at your device. Turn off the news and get outside. Absolutely stay informed, but don’t obsess. Take a run. Go to your favorite yoga class. Even better, get into nature and take a hike. This beautiful world is continuing to spin, so take some time to breathe in some beauty and take some deep breaths.
  5. Make your own personal action plan. This step is key. We don’t just get upset, process through all of the feelings, only to go back to business as usual. Be mindful and do the self study necessary to create your own personal, authentic action plan. Be of service. Research places you want to volunteer with or support through donation. Collaborate and strategize with others who share your point of view, or even better, those who do not to foster understanding. Bridge gaps. Have the hard conversations. Get out of your status quo comfort zone and actually be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t just post it on Instagram; actually do it. Make yourself a list of five things that YOU can do to make the world a better place. THEN DO THEM.
 
 

Worst Dream Ever

I had the worst dream ever last night. The kind that you wake up from sobbing and gasping for air. The kind that when you wake up you are beyond grateful that your subconscious just totally fucked you over and that you are lying in your bed, surrounded by family, everyone safe and sound. The kind that forces you to get out of bed, check on everyone, go to the bathroom, drink water, completely waking yourself up to ensure you do not fall back into the grips of the nightmare. Does that ever happen to you? Waking from a dream only to fall right back into it, picking up where it left off? It happens to me all too often, sometimes even picking up dreams from the night before.

Mothers have two very real deep-seated, inconsolable fears. One: that something horrible will happen to their children. And two: that something horrible will happen to them so that they can no longer mother their kids. Usually, we are thinking about something horrible, we are talking about death. If we really go there. To the deepest darkest fear.

I have studied (in a very cursory but interested way) dream analysis since high school. It first made an impact on me when describing a dream to my high school senior philosophy classmates . A dream in which a great white shark violently pushed its head through the floorboards of my room demanding to eat me. Subtle stuff. Dwight, our beloved, semi-cukoo/brilliant teacher, asked me if I might prefer discussing the dream privately, with a strong suggestion that something very sexual in nature was afoot. He did so in a way that I was not at all ashamed, but intrigued by the shifting of the subconscious to create these stories to work things out of which we may not even be even slightly aware.

So last night. I snuggled up with Luna, our ten year old, promising to sleep all night long with her, her last night before entering her first full day of fifth grade. I fully and unapologetically admit that sleeping with her is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. The snuggle factor is high, and we fit like a puzzle in a way that makes me feel like all is right in the world. She was particularly tired, so we actually turned the lights out before nine and both quickly fell asleep.

 
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In the dream, Luna, Dylan (my thirteen year old daughter) and I were old driving in a large SUV-like car. Somehow we were all in the way back and the car was working on some kind of navigation system. Then the super shittiness began. I was wasted. Or unable to control the car. I wasn’t actively drinking or using anything in the dream, but I was definitely altered and worried about being able to control the car. From the back seat. My awake reality is that I am almost twenty years clean and sober so this is already a nightmare because I had already somehow fucked all that up. 

Cut to dream analysis 101 as I understand it. The car represents me. And clearly I was out of control and jeopardizing my kids.

Then, as dreams will do, I was no longer wasted. That part was over. But I was still in the back seat and the navigation system failed. The car careened off the road, and from what I perceived, flew through the sky. 

Time. Slowed. Down. To. A. Snail’s. Pace.

As we flew through the air, as all mothers are so ridiculously good at, I began to multi-task. I screamed at the girls to check their seat belts and tighten them. I told them to brace for an impact. I TOLD THEM I LOVED THEM. I screamed it. I interlaced hands with both of them. Luna in my left. My artist. Dylan in my right. My academic. I saw that Dylan’s head was too close to the back window, so in true yoga teacher fashion, I contorted my leg to place my thigh behind her head so that her head wouldn’t smash glass on the impact.

Here’s the thing. I knew I was going to die. I thought they might. I prayed that they wouldn’t and that they would survive. But my final moments in that dream were trying to save them so that could lives their lives. Without me. Like a motherfucking punch to the gut in the deepest, most primal, painful way.

Then I woke up.

Thank god or whoever. I woke up. I’ve been shaking this dream all day. I cannot begin to analyze what it means. Them slipping through my fingers as they grow up. Me releasing control. Careening out of control into a new school year. Everything unmanageable. FEAR DRIVING THE MOTHERF$CKING CAR!!! Elizabeth Gilbert, help me!!!!

But here’s what I know. I woke up. We are alive. I will not sweat the small stuff for at least the next twenty four hours. 

My tribe. A love story.

I woke up in a mood. Feeling heavy and hopeless. Keenly aware I needed to move through it, at least to a place where I could show up and teach my morning yoga class without being the face of doom and despair. I can put on a happy face, leave my own stuff at the door. I used to be a trial lawyer, after all. My poker face is practiced and unfailing and has served me well. But I no longer want to fake it. I strive to be real, not always portray an inauthentic Instagram image of peace, perfection, and pretty poses. Today I was spent, overextended, feeling pulled in too many directions between work, home, marriage, managing my daughters’ schedules, not enough sleep, and so on. “Problems of abundance,” I scoffed to myself, all too conscious that I was not yet in a place to spin this moment, to get grateful.

This mood flew in the face of my usual cup half full, isn’t life beautiful attitude. But here it was. Undeniably sitting in the passenger seat of my car. My doom and I finished my strong cup of coffee and set out on our day.

Once I dropped my girls, 10 and 13, at their respective schools, I gave the tears that were gathering in a tight wad at the base of my throat permission to make their appearance. A mother’s learned skill, holding them in for a private moment. I considered blasting one of the saddest songs I could find, so that as I rolled down the 405 in morning traffic, I could primally cry and get it out. I have learned the lesson too many times that ignoring the feelings, putting on a happy face, and pulling up the bullshit bootstraps is a set up to make myself miserable or explode in the most inopportune moments, coming out sideways.

But then I remembered.

And then I did what I have learned, a life saving skill. I looked at my list of favorites on my phone and dialed Kendall, one of my lifelong best friends who lives several states away, the person with whom there is always a deep, soul connection whether we speak every day for weeks at a time or if we let long lapses of time go without connecting.  She and I still hold out hope that one day, even as old ladies, we will live together happily ever after. She is one of my people. One of my tribe.

She didn’t pick up. Fuck.

I persevered and called Bonnie. A soul sister about whom I could regale on and on for hundreds of pages. I know with all of my fibers that she is my person more than any man could ever be. My coach. Through births, my first broken heart, and countless escapades. A best friend with whom I traveled around the world, before email, social media, connected by the few mixed tapes we took turns with in our backpacks, hiking up and down the Himalayas and squatting on countless white sandy beaches. We have trudged too many roads to name. Bonnie. A woman who can build and create and fix things in a way at which I marvel. Just the sound of her voice calms me and puts a smile on my face.

She didn’t pick up. Fuck. Fuck.

But I charged on. Contrary action. A lifesaving skill I learned in recovery, knowing that if my mind is telling me to isolate and mire in my solitude then I MUST reach out until I find someone to hear me and reflect back what I need to see. I am acutely aware that by all outward appearances, I seem to have my shit together- fairly successful at what I set my mind to, careers, the marriage, the kids, the home. But today my heart was heavy and hopeless and I had to let it out to someone who would hold that space for me, not try to fix it, but empathize just enough and then remind me what I already knew, to get into action after wiping the tears.

So I called Laura. Equal parts spunk, smarts, soul. A tribemate nearly fifteen years my junior who has nudged, crawled and enveloped her shiny self so deeply into my heart, to the point where I am astounded we have only known each other four years. Side by side we both discovered our path, dharma, as yoga teachers. She has challenged me to learn that our greatest teachers can come in any form, any age, from any life experience. But of course she didn’t pick up her phone. She was teaching. I knew this as I often tried to call her on my jaunts down the 405, always reminding me of our overlapping teaching schedules. Laura. My partner on this path. The little sister I never had. Yet now, I do.

 
 

Determined, I called Amy. The one I’ve known the longest. The one with whom I first got drunk (then years later, sober), hatched plans to meet up with boys and then dragged along with me from junior high school in the Bay Area to boarding school in Santa Barbara. A true sister. She had an equal a hand in raising me from little girl, to brazen young woman, to who I am today.

She picked up! Hallelujah!

I cried and I told her all the things I was afraid of, the feelings that make me so human and scared and proud and terrified and beautiful at the same time.

And she listened. She listened and peppered in just enough “I feel yous” so that I felt heard and understood. And she held space for me, from her kitchen three thousand miles away, not fixing it, not even trying to. Amy. A woman with more self-awareness, savvy, and willingness to trudge through the mud than anyone I have ever known. Man, does she live her own skin. I love that.

I am all things- beautiful, wise, despairing, confused, bold, bull headed, insecure, brave, terrified, confident. And my people know this. My tribe.

When I hung up with Amy, I marveled. I marveled at how on my list of favorites alone, I have at least five women who get me. Who love me. Who challenge me. Who call me on my shit and raise my game. The ones who were there for the broken hearts, the huge successes, the birth of children and all of the moments in between.

Especially the moments in between.

My tribe. I have gathered, collected and nurtured these relationships over the course of my forty-five years, like beautiful, flawed, imperfectly perfect gems in a treasure box. I have been their safe place, the loving ear on the other end of the line when they wake up in the space I was in today. They are what make me a wealthy woman. They are what give my soul a deep sigh of relief. And, I know, beyond my children, they are my greatest accomplishment, what will have me drawing my last breath knowing I have loved.

My tribe. I glanced over at my passenger seat. Somewhere along that fifteen minute drive down the 405, doom had vacated her spot next to me, and I was left with a full heart. Puffy red eyes, but a full heart.