Friday, July 20, 2007

A fairytale for people with trees in their belly at 3:00AM

Once upon a time, there lived a girl who had a tree living inside her belly.

It wasn't an ordinary tree grown from a wayward pit or carefully sewn seed; in fact, the girl didn't knowingly plant the tree at all. She didn't remember how it got there - just realized it was there one day even though no one else could see it. And while the girl never asked for a tree to grow inside of her, she knew that it was very important that she care for it for all of her days.

Even though she didn't have an instruction manual for her tree, the girl could sense it was flourishing inside. Her healthy tree was any number of rainbow bright colors - sometimes a daring pink or converging shades of orange and yellow. When the girl was content, new green leaves festooned twisting silver and gold branches and a royal purple trunk. And when she was excited, the leaves changed colors and sparkled as if lit from within. Even better, when she felt really happy, the tree sometimes curled up its roots inside itself and flew through her, a cool soulful wind blowing through its long-leaf hair.

But the girl knew that her tree wasn't always healthy. She felt it one Saturday afternoon when nothing seemed right with the world and she didn't know what to do. She began to sense the change in her leaves almost immediately - the tendrils curled and turned a muddy green and the branches cracked, slightly brittle. Her mouth had the distinct taste of Brussels sprouts mixed with tar. In that moment, the girl learned that no amount of water or food could feed the roots or nurture flowering bulbs on the delicate branches. Her thoughts and moods alone were responsible for growing a proper and brilliant tree.

Most days, the girl only thought of the tree in her belly once or twice. She listened to the leaves rustle in the wind of her soul and learned from them - heeding their warnings and celebrating the little things that made life so wonderful. The tree rooted itself deeper and deeper and got bigger and bigger with time. She never worried about it getting too big because it became part of her core and backbone. And it was beautiful. The strong clear trunk supported long limber twists of branch covered with thousands of different colored leaves in hundreds of textures. Before long, the girl didn't know where the tree ended and she began. She wondered if other people had trees in their bellies too.

So she went on her merry way in life, dancing around the world and thinking of trees and dreams. Occasionally though, she forgot peek inside to check and feed her tree.

And then one day the girl woke with a start. The clock on her bedside table read 3AM and she tasted tar and Brussels sprouts and fear in the back of her throat. She knew her tree was dying. The branches were black and brittle, turning to ash, and the crisp brown leaves scattered the floor of her stomach. She couldn't feel her roots in that moment, but sensed that they were somewhere uncovered and exposed to harsh thoughts and wilting dreams.

And the wind was so quiet it scared her.

She sat straight up in the darkest part of the darkest night and cried. She howled for the impending loss of her tree. She screamed on the inside. Why hadn't she paid more attention to those strong roots, the delicate branches? Anger, frustration, uncertainty, and fear poured out of her through Brussles sprout tasting tears. Her stomach churned. She was hopelessly lost.

When she finally stopped crying, her body felt bruised and broken. She felt as if she'd never feel safe and whole again. She laid back down as the clock silently turned to 4AM.

As she lay there in the dark willing sleep to come and deliver her from sadness, she felt an odd stirring in her belly. She inhaled sharply. Was that the end? Was it gone?

The stirring continued.

A single, yellow-green leaf sprouted from a tiny branch toward the bottom of the tree in her belly. And in that instant, she felt thick roots grasp her tight as the wind of her soul began to whisper to her softly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All in all, it's really cool to be me right now...(aka I think I've had too much wine)

It is the end of Day Two.

I have vascillated on what to do with my entire career - am I excited? Should I quit because I'm overwhelmed? Should I dive in even though I don't know what the hell I'm doing? I'm riding the roller coaster -wanting to quit my job seconds after thinking I have the best opportunity in the world.

I've met 20 new people, helped finish 6 bottles of wine, and obtained 3 new hefty promotion prospects.

I love conferences.

The only thing that would be cooler is if this meeting was in San Diego or Vegas instead of Chicago.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fireworks, anyone?

The evening started - and ended - with a bang.

We show up with sparklers and fireworks, ready to catch up with old friends over charred meat and drunken strawberry Jello.

Ginger needs help, so we arrive early to hoist bags of melting ice; toss the cold, crisp broccoli salad; artfully carve a watermelon; and manifest an outdoor, mosquito-netted harem room which serves more as a love nest for mosquitoes than it does for party goers.

Bill arrives early, inquires whether or not we had brought the pictures of his naked ass from New Years Eve, and then leaves again to retrieve Kelly Commander - our resident party girl and flasher-of-the-boobies. Later, it doesn't take long for the entire party to weigh in on an over/under bet on when she would peek first. (Before midnight, after 10; SCORE!)

Ginger and I suck down a Jello shot, then two more. As I'm slurping the third, there's a knock at the door. I throw it open. The Three Wiseasses appear bearing gifts of beer, sarcasm, and stories of years I've long forgotten.

"Hey, Roxy! Last time I saw you, you were drunk on a bar at Awful Arthurs downtown!" McLeary bellows. "That was the first time I sang karaoke too - I sucked."

I laugh. "Didn't you also flash us your penis?"

"Yep! If you're lucky, you'll see it again tonight." McLeary takes the cooler to the kitchen, making way for the Second Coming.

"Oh, shit folks, she's back. Long time no see."

"Hey Scotty-karate. Been in Arizona for three years - that's why."

"Been that long? Damn."

I move away from the door, not recognizing the guy bringing up the rear.


I turn around. Oh shit.

"I haven't seen you in forever, Roxy! I never thought... well, you know... um, I'd see you again. You back? For good now?" His face lights up like an exploding firework. I know what he's thinking.

"Hey, T. Yeah."

I see my husband come in from the porch as T moves in. "T, this is my husband. Husband, this is T."

T eyes me, eyes my husband. After a quick hesitation, T pulls it together and shakes Kevin's outstretched hand.

I think about the last time I saw T - two nights before I moved to Arizona, illegally skinny dipping in the pool after hours. I blush with what I remember.

Ginger laughs, hands me another Jello shot. The awkwardness is over.

We spend the rest of the evening languishing in the retreat of the usually humid East Coast July - wholly succumbed to the cool summer night. The hours pass- wrapping us in the rich smells of citronella, barbeque sauce, and roasting marshmallows.

I see people I haven't seen in months, years. My brother and future sister-in-law are there too - and they know most everyone from their bar. We laugh and talk, mingle from group to group, everyone switching locations and people as if performing an elaborate ballroom dance. My husband hears stories that I had forgotten. He laughs at the end of one and says he knew what he was getting into when he married me, and that life will never be boring.

We eat ice cream cake and light homegrown fireworks in the backyard. Flashes of green and silver ignite the evening. Sparklers pop and sizzle in our outstretched hands. I pause to look around at the illuminated faces.

It is so damn good to feel like I'm home.

Monday, July 02, 2007

About Me

Stupidly self-centered for over 3 decades!