Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blank Slate

A blank slate. That’s how every page starts. Sometimes I think I’d rather leave a page blank than start blotching it with imperfection – I have always struggled with the idea that my potential is greater than my reality. That’s also why I haven’t necessarily written for my blog since, ohhh, November. It’s been four months since you’ve heard from me…or since I’ve heard from me, really.

Avocados and Aspirations (side note: I thank all you jerks who failed to point out to me that this aspiring writer’s blog TITLE was spelled wrong for its first 6 months of its life) was created as my Mexico blog. And now that chapter has ended. I like to think of it as a cliffhanger – I left before I was ready and consequently must go back to finish the story. Life here constantly reminds me of the life I left behind. I am living a double life of building community in Asheville, NC while daydreaming about sitting beside my failed attempt at a rooftop garden. It’s almost like getting over a bad breakup – every day I can still smell the bakeries and the burning garbage and hear the gas vendors’ stupid jingle, but every day it gets a little easier to wake up and live in the present. This new chapter was sort of like a blank slate, and I didn’t know where to start chiseling. It was almost as if I stopped writing for my blog, I could always come back to it again and pick up where I’d left off – in Mexico.

Do you think it’s just that I idealize wherever I’m not? Can it be that I’ve forgotten the corruption, the misogyny, the trash, the loneliness all in favor of placing the adventure on a pedestal?   Perhaps. But I’ve always been an idealist and a daydreamer and I don’t think that will ever change.  And more than that, something about that land and those people spoke to my soul. It was like coming home in a foreign body and I fell in love with the world all over again.

So. Here I am. Welcomed back to this home… for now. And I’m already starting the next adventure. After years of transiency, I am officially moved out of my parents’ basement. I mean, we will overlook the storage closet and garage, but I felt better trying to define what it means to be “officially out” when my friend told me that her mom still calls her 40-year-old brother trying to get him to clear shit out. But for the sake of argument and because, well, it’s my blog and I can say what I want, I’m out. I just moved in to a 3br/1ba in the West (the funky) side of town. There are so many hipsters that the air is just polluted with irony. And while I don’t tout thick-rimmed glasses and my low-tops are geriatric in nature, I still feel like I’m settling into the groove of being a West Ashevillian rather nicely. I have two fantastic roommates. One is a mediator whom I met through ultimate Frisbee, and the other came with the house – she’s a cupcake extraordinaire and a badass rock climber. We balance one another out quite nicely, and all LOVE to communicate. But there has been more cookie dough and glitter in this house in the last week than all of my Valentine’s Days combined. So I’m trying to get used to that (and either develop extreme willpower (not likely) or find 3 sports to compensate).

I am starting a business. It’s called WinnersWords (I’ll let you know when the site is officially up and running) and I am offering services of content writing for sustainable and socially-conscious business and non-profits. I’ll write their blogs, articles, print and social media content, etc. I actually started this through blogging with Community Links International  in Mexico and enjoyed it so much, that I realized I wanted to share everyone’s stories. Plus, it gets me involved in as many things as possible but participating through one specific medium to improve their outreach. I wind up getting my fingers in a bunch of honey pots without getting overwhelmed. I’m loving the process and berating myself for not taking any business classes in college. How is it possible that I am the only Jew in my family who considers putting certain wads of money in different parts of your sock drawer an acceptable means of money management?  The rest of them are financial planners, tax representatives, book keepers, accounting professors, etc. Sooo, I have a steep learning curve ahead, but I get bored when I’m not challenging myself.

Finally, I am starting a new part-time job tomorrow. I’ll be working with an amazing mentor of mine, Althea Gonzalez, as an administrative assistant at Hispanics in Philanthropy. So I get to learn from her every day, speak Spanish, network with (and fingers crossed, eventually write for) Latino NGOs and communities and get out of the house for a bit each week to do good work. Awesome.

I know that I really want to go back to Mexico – to continue in the same field to develop sustainable communities and connect travelers to new experiences and perspectives.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had with CLI and the path it cleared for me. But I just have to remember to be patient and that I’m on this path for a reason. From the roots I’m digging here will bud new lessons that will prepare me for what’s down the road. As I reread this, it’s dawning on me that perhaps that metaphor of a blank slate and unblemished potential that I have always used isn’t necessarily accurate – you get to the blank slate, the fresh page, on a trail tainted by blood, sweat, tears, cow shit, litter, spilled ink, worn down patches of grass from others who’ve already beaten down this path. So the inaccessible potential is a fa├žade we create to cater to our insecurities and call it quits before we even start. Damn - that’s a pretty solid breakthrough for 10:09 in the morning. I’m already feeling more confident about the day. Maybe I’ll call it a success and go back to bed until tomorrow.