In 2014, I was writing my first book. Except I didn’t know it was going to be a book. I just thought I was writing down some stories from my unusual history as a child actor. I was certain about one thing: NO ONE WAS EVER GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO READ IT BECAUSE IT WAS WAY TOO VULNERABLE.
But for whatever reason, I was compelled to write it all down. I’ve always been like that. When I need to make something real, I write it down. I put words and spaces and commas to it — and only then can I truly begin to understand it.
Writing is not easy. As Ernest Hemingway once said:
“There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
Insert “iMac keyboard” for “typewriter” and that’s about right most days. Writers unearth our most vulnerable self and display our souls on the page for others to examine. Yet, there is also an unparalleled joy to it and that’s what we get hooked on. That’s why we sit down day after day and open a vein. That’s why I was writing my book.
Back then I lived down the street from a sweet little frozen yogurt place called Bloop. It was mostly a self-serve place, where customers mixed their own flavors from spigots that came out of the wall, and then some cheerful employee in a pastel apron would add a few colorful toppings, some fruit or sprinkles or caramel drizzle, and send you on your way, all happy due to aforementioned sprinkles.
Bloop seemed like a happy place to work, what with the cute aprons and the piped-in Top 40 hits. It seemed like opening a vein was not necessary at Bloop, in fact, it seemed like opening a vein would be entirely frowned upon.
One day, the vulnerability of my writing felt like too much and I decided I wanted a job I didn’t care about. I wanted something breezy and pastel-colored.1 There was nothing breezy nor pastel-colored about being a writer. I sent a text to a friend, telling her that I was going to quit writing and go get a job at Bloop.
I waited for my friend to respond, expecting her to say she was sorry writing was hard and that she’d support whatever decision I made.
In that one text, she lovingly said:
Get back to work.
Own the vulnerability.
Let it be hard.
You’re stronger than you think you are.
Fast forward about eight years and I’ve been feeling a similar sense of that vulnerability hangover these days, with the launch of Blue Mala. My Chief Operating Officer/Husband, Jeremy and I (along with our Chief Dog Officer, Olive) have been working so hard on creating something meaningful. It’s scary to put yourself out in the world like this. To take a chance, to do something new, to throw your whole heart into it.
But in those moments when I want to run away from it all, to do something that feels less vulnerable, less scary, less risky, I remember this:
Do the hard thing that makes you light up, y’all.
The rewards are even better than sprinkles with caramel drizzle.
Here’s what else happened this week:
What you needed to see
Please watch the video of antelope baby standing bravely on his furry little legs and shaking his too big ears and feel it all in your soul.
What I’m reading
As I prep to go to Texas next week to work with my Veterans group, I am putting together a three-part therapeutic writing workshop for them. I’ve been reading more on writing for trauma, and I revisited this wonderful interview by Monica Lewinsky for Vanity Fair: Roxane Gay on How to Write About Trauma
What I’m also reading
I just passed my two-year-alcohol-free milestone, and so I enjoyed this article the non-alcoholic beverage scene. An Ex-Drinker’s Search for a Sober Buzz - The New Yorker I love a mocktail (I know some find mock drinks triggering, but I was never addicted to alcohol, I just quit because it made me feel like shit) so I am encouraged to see more companies offering teetotalers fun drinks so we don’t have to order a Shirley Temple.
What I’m listening to
What I’m watching
I have no idea why I never watched The Wonder Years back in the 80s, but I just missed it somehow. I was aware of it. I got super goofy when my friend was dating Fred Savage and brought him to a group dinner once. But I just don’t remember ever actually sitting down to watch it. Yet, I was excited to see the reboot because nostalgia is a powerful force. I thought it was sweet and dealt with some important topics and Dulé Hill makes me so happy. You can watch The Wonder Years on ABC.
The Big Musical Finale
Doubtfire the musical is on it’s way back to Broadway! If you needed a little pick me up, you can listen to the finale - As Long As There Is Love.
Lydia 2.0 (Analise Scarpaci) is so.damn.good. Lydia the Original approves.
(Yes, I will be seeing it! Nope, I don’t yet know when.)
Thank you for reading, Poppets. And if you’ve already joined us over on Blue Mala, thank you so very much for being part of this venture right from the beginning. I hope you love it. If you’ve not seen the site yet, feel free to check out all our free content and learn about the pay-what-you-can monthly membership.
I am sure that working at Bloop had it’s vein-opening moments. But I tend to romanticize anything that is different than my experience.