Weekend Coffee Share.  Let Me Introduce You

To me… Every week on Saturday, bloggers participate in a Weekend Coffee Share. It is now hosted by Natalie the Explorer at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2021/03/05/doors-in-morocco/ I join in this worldwide, virtual Coffee Share almost weekly. Since I am joining a new group of bloggers, and you, reader, may not have been here before, introductions may be in order. You see, Weekend Coffee Share can help fill the need for social connection during the COVID lockdown and social distancing era.

Last Saturday (or the week before) Iwelcomed readers in to my imaginary cafe complete with fuzzy dog, sun through window blinds,  and Nina Simone playing in the background. If we had just met in this cafe, you’d likely see me writing, as I am working on another book when the muse (and my focus) revisits me. How would the conversation go? (Please don’t mind if I assign you a part in this play):

“What are you writing?” You’d ask.

“Oh, just notes, ideas, reflections on my sleep schedule,  what’s working and what’s not, same with managing my anxiety…what’s working and what’s not. Ideas for my book in progress and some observations that could one day become stories or books.”

I realize you might wonder why I just told you all that. “I’m not ashamed of my struggles, but I guess some of that was all TMI.” I chuckle, as I’m older now and worry much less about being judged.

“I’m a writer too,” you say, “here on Spring Break.” When asked, you tell me you’re from Massachusetts, not surprising due to your accent,  which is great, because, I tell you, “I’m sort of from New England.”

“What do you mean, ‘sort of?'” you ask.

“My dad was military, so we moved from California,  to Illinois,  to Minnesota with family,  to Iceland,  then Virginia,  then here. Everyone says I sound like I’m from New England. Lived there from age 5 to 8.”

“Do you work another job, or just write?”

“I teach middle school, and have done so for twenty years. I write when the spirit moves me, which, these days, is sporadically. My focus is not as good as it used to be, but I sponsor a News Club at school. I love encouraging kids to write!”

“What else do you do?”

“Well, I enjoy time with family,  I have a twenty-four year old son, and my dog. Having a social life is rare these days with COVID.” I  smile under my mask, using my eyes. You are young,  and I  can’t tell if you’re male or female,  not for sure.

Your coffee is ready. “What is a good thing to do while I’m here?” you ask. “My friend will be here to meet me in a few minutes.”

“Go to the beach. The water will still be chilly,  but it’s really pleasant for a walk right now. Great for people-watching,  too. We’ve got some nice national parks with trails,  too. I’m overdue for a beach walk. Whenever I go for one, all worries disappear…I become a happy idiot.”

Circa 2006.

You tell me that sounds great, but you’d prefer to play some beach volleyball with a bunch of co-eds. Then your friend arrives, a young woman, probably also in college.  I’m amazed at how much I’ve told you. I’ve come a long way since college. I still don’t know your gender and decide that it doesn’t matter.

“Thanks for chatting with me, Ma’am,” you say, as I cringe. I don’t want to be a ma’am, as if I’m responsible for what you think of me, and you’ve decided to be ‘carefully’ well-mannered around me. As if I could be your mother. (Oh, guess I could). I’m still not Southern like that. Your friendly chatter was good enough for me.

“Just call me Pam.”

“Okay,” you say. “I’m Joe.”

Or was it Jo? Short for Josephine, like in Little Women? Oh, what does it matter? I could have asked, but it didn’t matter. I just enjoyed the company.

Fictionally and virtually, it has been nice meeting meet you. I hope we meet up in this ‘cafe’ again. If not, I wish you the best in your journeys! Today, it is dreary outside, and after a great night’s sleep, er…read that as passing out on the couch after a crazy, loud week-before-Spring-break teaching week, I am enjoying coffee with creamer after my cereal with blueberries and banana.

Feel free to peruse my blog to find out about books I’ve written, and if you check out my prior posts, you’ll find some interesting reads about my journey through health , anxiety issues, life changes, reaching students, family co-existence, fun with my dog, mental health (my own and my loved ones), etc. My journey is a path to a good place, and I want to be a voice that reaches other voices who may have felt the same, may need commonality, may benefit from my honesty, or may tell me what works for them.

**My title is a reference to my current favorite song, Caution by The Killers. Partial lyrics:

Let me introduce you to the featherweight queen

she’s got Hollywood eyes but she can’t shoot what she sees….

I’m throwing caution, what’s it’s gonna be

Tonight the winds of change are blowing wild and free…

Fearless, it what that song says to me. Though it seems to be a love song, the speaker wants to make a change, and “get out of this town.” You certainly have to be brave and honest with yourself first to make a change. For me, dropping caution means to end fear about sharing myself, my story, or my heart with others. Be brave, know yourself, and be yourself, without shame.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

Weekend Coffee Share. BE YOU!

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com.  It has been a good week, but I am going to be somber for a moment.  I want to share my sorrow and respect for those killed and/or wounded in Jacksonville, Florida at the shooting last weekend.  A place I have frequented for art shows, music concerts, or just river gazing was shot up and turned into a danger zone.  It is a sad day and age when a sick individual can ruin a fun day over a video game tournament.  That others had to lose their lives or run in fear to safety saddens and maddens me.  It also fuels me as an educator.  Trainers and Admin. have been reinforcing that we need to establish relationship with students, and it has never been more important than in this day and age.  Just asking if they are okay when you sense something is off could make a difference.  I truly believe this, and I am trying to infuse it into my daily practice.  It starts young.  I can understand a child’s belief that society sucks, especially when hearing of such news events, but I never want a kid to think that there is no one at all who cares. It is a scary world we live in, and that means, even more, that we need to be a light in this dark world for others.

Dancegiphy You are beautiful.  Be you.

I do not intend for this focus of this week’s coffee share to be a shooting, or the village’s responsibility for an individual child, including our lone wolves.   I’ve previously written on this subject due to my experience with the lone wolf in my family whom I am still trying to encourage to be an active member of society and to develop bonds with those other than myself.  I am seeing hope there, though.  🙂  I want to say that “Lone wolf” does not mean a sick mind.  It could mean so many other things, besides the autistic or MI spectrums.  We are all individuals, and everyone deserves respect.  They also need love, whether they show it or not.

Having said all that, let’s come up for air.  I attended our middle school’s dance last night and was amazed and inspired by the diversity of attendees and the smiles on their faces.  Little sixth grade girls with pretty dresses, eighth grade girls with army fatigue pants or skinny jeans, dyed hair, braided or plated hair, hair brushed perfectly straight, kinky hair, me with 5 o’clock tired hair,  hoppers, dancers, chasers, and observors.  Booty-shakers and twisty dancers.  It was wonderful, because everyone that was there belonged there.

I look back to my youth and remember that I did not attend a single school dance in high school, though I wanted to.  Something kept me from going; I thought I didn’t belong.  I think I was depressed.  I also wanted to try out for cheerleading, baton, and something else, but I never did.  Somehow, I talked myself out of it just as I did with applying for jobs until one day I took a terrifying drive (that I almost talked myself out of) to my first job interview for my first job.  Things were hard for me at times.  I don’t know if I just needed to kick myself more often or if I needed a voice, a mentor, to guide me and push me, tell me I could do it, and if I didn’t make the team or squad, I could try for something else.  I joined a Pep Club and didn’t really speak up or participate much.  I just know what it is like to be growing up and to feel so terribly awkward.  I wrote poetry, which helped, but I hid it away from everyone.

I have also had a rough time in the last 5 years, dealing with family events.  Until one day, something wonderful happened and I got to see my favorite poet of twenty-five years speak in front of a group.  I felt special.  I thought, “Why did this happen?  Will I win the lottery now, win a trip to Italy?”  Was it a sudden stroke of luck?  No, it was God speaking to me right in the most special corner of my heart, where my love for Literature resides.  I was inspired to write, to produce, to enter contests, and ultimately to self-publish.  This was my route to feeling better about life, in addition to a lifelong reading obsession.  If I lost a contest, I kept writing and entered others or found another way to share my writing.  God gave me this, and sometimes the only reason I do it is to keep my mind and my heart whole, as the use of my imagination is the greatest high-on-life experience ever, but I can do a lot better for the world when I am in that state of mind.  My hope and prayer today is that those out there feeling lost will find that one thing that erases all of the negativity and embrace it.

Thank you for reading this far!  If you want to know more about my writing, please visit My Published Books which also contains a link to my Amazon author site.  You may also want to join the Weekend Coffee Share or see other shares: Coffee Share at Eclectic Ali , 9/01