Brené Brown’s “Sweaty Creatives” talk

I have watched this Brené Brown video at least a half a dozen times.

The video has been open in a tab in my browser for over a week. I’d think about how I wanted to write about it, but then I’d get busy with work or poking around online or zoning out with too much HGTV.

There’s so much goodness in these twenty-two minutes, so many points that made me go yes, me too! and ouch, yes and even, oh crap, yeah… that’s right. And I’d think, there’s some way to talk about these points, to connect them, that I should be making. And it kept not happening.

She opens the talk by telling a story of how she considered trying to get out of it. “I had tricked myself into believing this was my tribe,” she tells us. That’s the first point: recognizing the feeling of maybe not belonging where I think I do, where I want to belong.

The one that caused me to stop and watch the talk all the way through the first time (I’d read a quote, and this happens near the end) was “Not caring what people think is its own kind of hustle.” That was my ouch moment, because I’ve been there, and there was a long time when that was my hustle.

A healthier reaction to critics is to recognize them, but not give them the power you think they have to have. Saying “I see you, I hear you, but I’m going to show up and do this anyway” is a more grounded and realistic perspective than I don’t give a shit ever was.

I find the way she talks about her clarity of values inspiring. I want more women to talk about “the messages that keep us small” and how showing up and being seen is worth the ass kicking that inevitably comes our way when we really show up. How if you aren’t also in the arena getting your ass kicked, your feedback doesn’t matter. How if you think you are a member of the tribe, you probably are, and you don’t need to orphan the parts of yourself that don’t fit the ideal of what you are supposed to be.

All these talks won’t be the same — some of them won’t even be talks, but ways of living and sharing and creating — and that will be part of the joy and part of how it works.

Home

glow

We have a framed, signed print of Jane Cooper’s “Rent” in our hallway. It suits us, and our home:

If you want my apartment, sleep in it
but let’s have a clear understanding:
the books are still free agents.

If the rocking chair’s arms surround you
they can also let you go,
they can shape the air like a body.

I don’t want your rent, I want
a radiance of attention
like the candle’s flame when we eat,

I mean a kind of awe
attending the spaces between us—
Not a roof but a field of stars.

In the past week or so, we’ve pulled over three hundred books off our (still miraculously full!) bookshelves. We’ll be giving them away. This is in preparation for putting most of the others in storage, a step in getting our place ready to show. That’s right: we are going to sell.

the art section (141/365)

We’ve lived here eleven years now. I still love it — I love our deck, I love the light, the city view — but my knees don’t love the climb up to and down from the fourth floor. (Especially the one operated on this past summer.) While the cane I’m still using to get around may be temporary, the fifty stairs represent a permanent problem, so it is time to say goodbye to this place.

It has probably always been true that there are poems for every occasion; I just don’t know them. So I’m grateful when folks like Carpentrix, who has been saying goodbye to an old and much-loved family home, share what they know. This is from Mary Oliver’s “On Losing a House”:

1.
The bumble bees
know where their home is.
They have memorized
every stalk and leaf
of the field.
They fall from the air at
exactly
the right place,
they crawl
under the soft grasses,
they enter
the darkness
humming.

2.
Where will we go
with our table and chairs,
our bed,
our nine thousand books,
our TV, PC, VCR,
our cat
who is sixteen years old?
Where will we put down
our dishes and our blue carpets,
where will we put up
our rose-colored,
rice-paper
shades?

We’ll go somewhere, not far — not past the limits of the subway system, at any rate — but it will take awhile to get used to the idea of here not continuing to be home.