Sunday, January 14, 2018

Things You Cannot Teach

“Some things you cannot teach, only learn.” - my friend Zreba

I'm on the eve of 37, and just realized I never wrote a birthday post last year. Last year, I woke up one month into working full time for Tommy Rosen, and DJ brought me a gift as I started the kettle for tea.

I had intended to go to New Mexico, as I had intended to go this weekend, and instead found myself facing a day off in Venice, by myself, for my birthday. Instead of bounding off to go and play with his local friends, DJ asked me what I wanted to do, and took me to the beach. He took quite a few pictures of me (which I'll forgive) but otherwise gave me space to contemplate the completion of another year - one no one promised me.

It's funny, to think back, isn't it?

Knowing what ultimately unfolded?

These men have been my guardian angels, watching me re-emerge from the wreckage of my own burned out, self-destructive, worthless ways.

(maybe you have, too?)

36 was a Year of Sadhana. Chanting. Phoning a friend. Al-anon. Home Improvement. Therapy. Letters I wrote and sent to Hannah instead of the intended recipient(s). Eating on most days. Crying on most days. Making My Bed.

(Not in that order).

I graduated from cambio, a place I feel does good in the world, who no longer needed my energy and effort. I graduated from Enso, a place I helped build, whose community became so nurturing and so painful – everything I ever wanted – a place for mothers and babies who instead reflected back to me my own emptiness.

I wrote a book about love, and all of the different ways I tried (and failed) to be The Right Woman. A primer on the ways I've defined my self worth and sought to heal one relationship with others.

(It's also hilarious).

Last week, I started on book two, because I cannot help myself. I'd rather be in the desert right now, alternately soaking in healing mineral springs and wandering west towards the mica mines, a place where it looks like God dropped a mirror and sprinkled the hillside with glitter. But I needed to be still. To work from my own bed, my perch above the burned out hills and the coyotes in the canyon.

Last year I was an infant in recovery, just a few weeks new and still near sighted. I needed loving care and regular monitoring.

Sometimes I get lost in the minutia – the steps and missteps I've taken along the way. I forget the miracle of all miracles, which is that I was born.


The woman who cannot successfully get onto an airplane with a roll-a-board suitcase and a latte without The Kindness of Strangers.

The woman who can look you square in the eyes and champion you birthing or dying but cannot accept a compliment without turning 100 shades of red and choking back tears and vomit.

The woman who looks in the mirror and thinks (simultaneously) I have some redeeming qualities. I meet some of these beauty standards. And. It's a good thing you're smart, Kwinn, because you're rotting on the vine.

(Hannah reminds I have nothing to be redeemed for – and some things are better with age.)

I have believed that my love is a weapon, a cause of suffering for anyone in the wake, and so I've tried to keep it within the exoskeleton of the cage I've built around me. I have been sorry for existing, for the inconvenience I've caused. And I have so wanted to be seen, for who I am – a bumbling idiot with sexy defense mechanisms, a malnourished heart, and a few morsels of things to offer. Compassion and eye contact.

I'm such a toddler. Needing a rest and fighting against it. Except for me, the rest in question is human connection. Come at me, and I'll bury my head. Run away, and I'll follow.

The things I will do for a hug.

This year I'm publishing The Book. Finishing a few more. Buying an airstream and going to the beach. Sitting by the fire by myself and letting love come to me.

Last year was the dress rehearsal.

This year, the reveal.

It may have taken 37 years to get here, and that's ok.

Some things you cannot teach, you can only learn.

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