Eat, Pray, Whaah?! Part 1.

It all started on a cold windy night the first week of January 2014. As I peered out the window into the crisp dark air, I pulled the cotton blanket I received for Christmas closer to my skin…feeling the warmth of peace.

I felt gratitude: While I enjoyed a long winter break, I rested in the safety of a warm house far away from the normal stresses of life. But as blessed as I felt, I found myself still wanting. It wasn’t a material want, but a desire to manifest more. So I made a simple request: “Lord, I want to do something fun! Help me find something fun.”

The answer? Start a blog.

It was my first experience into the blogging world. What better way to get attention than hidden behind a screen in the safety of my own room. Even with all the layers of security, there was still a sense of vulnerability.

From a creative standpoint, I was able to express and design the blog exactly how I wanted. The layout of each post was simple: start with a bible quote (the Divine), write about a specific life experience (me), and end the post with a pop video (worldly). Very simple, very basic but it kept me inspired.

Throughout the journey, I blogged mostly about the past…processing it, crying over it, making fun of it…. Little did I know where an exercise in blind faith would lead.

In the summer of 2015, on a marine layered morning, having slept in way too long, I came across a Facebook post. Author Elizabeth Gilbert announced the upcoming 10th anniversary of her travel narrative Eat, Pray, Love. To commemorate the event, fans were asked to write on how the book impacted their life. The top fifty entries would win a place in a companion book entitled: Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It.

I didn’t hesitate. I’d done my own version of the retreat back in 2010. I submitted my version without a second thought. It was something fun and required minimal work. By August of 2015, I received an email confirming my place in the book. An editor from New York would soon contact me to begin the editing process.

I was floored.

Blog Highlight: Beauty Beyond Bones

I’m about three months into the blogging universe. It’s such a huge space with so much talent and creativity it’s hard to capture it all in one sitting…heck, I don’t think one could ever catch up. It’s like Netflix – the queue goes on forever!

As endless as the rabbit hole is, there are some ideas and blogs worth visiting on a regular basis. For the month of March our blog highlight focuses on Mental Health. Beauty Beyond Bones is an inspiration…not just because of the content but the organization and aesthetic of the blog itself is beyond.

When I look into the future, I imagine my blog will look something similar to BBB. The content is real, personal and vulnerable. All three ideas create a full, breathing, living human being on the other side of the screen.

Beauty Beyond Bones has taken her pain and published her own book: Bloom. An interactive journal of past experiences with anorexia. Even though I don’t personally know her, I love her for this. This is definitely someone who has taken her struggles and turned it into joy.

If you haven’t already, please take time to follow the links above to peruse a website that will not only inspire but motivate the reader to take charge of their own pain and experiences.

Crewaiting

From what I’ve learned about creating and inspiration: it takes time for the energy to flow through. Currently, I’m in the middle of a move which has kept the flow from…flowing through?

In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures I’d like to share from a recent visit to Paris and London:

The London Eye…brought to you by Coca-Cola
The Moon and Paris

The Colt and Baby Giraffe

Sacred Heart Catholic Church; 1990

When I stepped onto the parish hall that evening after the retreat on February 11, 1990, I didn’t know a prerequisite for sustaining a long-lasting relationship with the Lord would require sleeping with men. Throughout my teenage years I’d vacillate between church teaching and the growing feeling inside.  

Steve, our youth coordinator was the first to greet everyone at the door. Steve was safe. He was squeaky clean. I would imagine his smile had its own soundtrack — nothing like a choir of angels — just the sound you’d hear when something is already so clean it makes a squeaking noise.

“I’m happy you decided to come back tonight Eddie.” His attention warmed the naive parts of me that were just starting to welcome in the devil. All I wanted to do was stand and admire him. Steve’s loving focus sent me back to a place that was becoming all too familiar. A place, that by the age of sixteen, would lead me to the confessional booth way too many times.

John had an intimidatingly spiritual presence about him; it was all-encompassing and without boundaries. He wielded it with no idea of his power. He was tall, well built without trying, and his young adult skin was as virginal as he was.   

All the mother’s wanted him for their soon to be in season daughters. Young, eighteen-year-old girls who would be ripe for the picking. The same young girls who readied their clipboards and pens as they checked off the boxes which lead them to till death do us part.

I, on the other hand, was an awkward and lanky sixteen-year-old boy who resembled more of a budding baby giraffe rather than a young, tight-skinned masculine colt. Although my calf stage had long since passed, I stalled and held onto it for no other reason than that it was all I knew.            

That Pink, Wavy, Elongated Tongue

Beech House: 1982

Eyes open automatically. 2:30 in the morning. 

That tongue; that pink…wavy…elongated tongue.

At any moment, as I pushed my head deeper into the hood blanket, I knew that tongue would creep its way between the sliver of the open curtain that hung steadily over the living room window.  To everyone else, the patterned providers of security guaranteed privacy from the outside world. But at night…when everybody finally gave in to the darkness outside and after the deafening silence of rebirth had settled in, that pink, wavy, elongated tongue would eventually reveal the man behind it.

It all began one evening when mom yelled across the room “Es satanas!” as she feverishly crocheted yet another completed square onto the growing quilt.

“What are you doing?”, my brother complained after I snapped his concentration from what was playing out on television.

“I’m trying to keep the porch light out” I grumbled, “it keeps shining in my eyes; I can’t sleep.”

Mom continued her rant, “Mira que fueo el Diablo!” as she knitted together her words of fear and spread them throughout the room.

The truth was, I had seen the devil that night. He had long platform boots that resembled a dragon straight out of hell.

That night, and every other night after, no matter how hard I tried, a sliver from the curtain would eventually find its way back to the default position. A long, thinly shaped triangle would slip in and out of sight and allow the porch light in. The anxiety and fear of what was behind those draped vertical folds only heightened after I had gone to bed and a wayward draft would create a succession of waves that set the stage for what I fought so hard to avoid.

Sometimes, in the height of summer, the linen fabric shades would appear as overgrown tendrils of murky moss that quietly held the heavy, recycled air emitted from the swamp cooler.  As the dank smell of mold rose from the ground like dry ice. No matter what the season, as the night wore on and the tension built, the late night concert was sure to begin.

At any moment those tendrils would open up and reveal an active world of ongoing performances that ranged from slick 80s hair bands to dark shadows conspiring to find a way into the safety of my bed.  My imagination (my runaway imagination) had already joined the shower of beaming light the moment I woke up.

I was nine years old, it was 2:30 in the morning and I was trying my hardest to avoid Gene Simmons’ signature tongue waiting for me on the other side of the window.