I’ve always found myself with my feet in different worlds. In high school the music and drama departments vied for “lesser geek” status by proclaiming the other department the geekier, while I, both musician and actress, became the unofficial liaison between the two worlds. When my psychology training didn’t feel complete enough I hopped the fence into the land of bodywork and then, when that didn’t feel complete enough either, I straddled the fence and tried to see where there might be a gate. (I wasn’t quite brave enough then to just take the damn fence down!) When one group of friends (or colleagues) folded their arms and huffed at the other group, I was usually the one carrying the olive branch across the divide.
I may have been helped in this by often being the new kid; I changed schools seven times in twelve years, six of those times between kindergarten and 8th grade. This is not a terribly unusual scenario these days but I do think it created some interesting patterns in me. One, I got pretty good at packaging myself in different ways to appeal to the crowd I wanted to join. This group saw certain traits that appealed, while that group got a different picture that allowed me access. Two, whenever I committed a social faux pas or made a big mistake, I developed a desire to start fresh and leave the past safely in the shadows behind me. When things went south with a friend or I failed a big test, I would just pray for the end of the school year to come so I could start over again.
As an adult I continue to be a bit of a nomad: I’ve lived and worked in 15 cities and 25 residences since graduating high school (not counting the 50-some cities and hotel rooms I saw on tour with Annie). I have friends all over the world yet don’t always let people get closer than arm’s length. For a woman who craves Home and Community, who nests so fiercely in her mind and dreams of dinner parties and impromptu backyard potlucks, it is a bit strange, don’t you think? I must still find some comfort in the clean slate, in the prospect of a fresh start.
Funnily enough, these insights have gelled over the last few months as I’ve wondered what to do with my blog, of all things! Anyone remember Veganista? Mouthful of Soil? Food*Craft*Love? Wandernest and then Maggie’s Nest, and then back to Wandernest (which is called Maggie’s Nest)? And now, straddling this blog and the new blog at my namesake website? Oh, dear. What’s it all about? This part of me over here, that part of me over there. Creativity here, domesticity there, travel musings here, foodieism there. Five years of blogging, and still some embarrassment about how passionately I attack my various jags and then lose interest. (I’m blushing, but at least I can laugh about it now, too!) There’s also some history that part of me wants to leave behind, as I’ve blogged through the highs and lows (and the finishes) of two long-term relationships, and stumbling upon some of those posts makes me wince. No wonder I want to put chalkboard paint on everything – it’s so easy to wipe the slate clean and start fresh!
But this year started off with a call from the universe. My work for 2012 is to INTEGRATE. As in, the verb form of integrity. Integrating all the parts of me, taking down the walls and turning my inner space into one open-air loft, where everything can be seen from any vantage point and all the jags and passions, successes and failures, projects unfinished and dreams unmet – all of it can be embraced and owned, where they can mingle like dust motes and become all the same air.
I used to see all of my different interests and passions and paths as a road with lots of side streets – diversions, wrong turns, and dead ends…oh my! Then one day I decided that picture didn’t need to lay down anymore. I stood it on end and suddenly I saw a beautiful, interesting, full, healthy tree. Hm! The gift of a different perspective.
photo courtesy of William Warby, creative commons licensing
So, that’s what’s happening. Integration. Some construction will be going on as I bring all my blogging onto one page, and learn to let my future self write one big book instead of twenty slim volumes – and allow my past self to be embraced in full. Isn’t it amazing that I feel a bit nervous even as I write this? And work is underway as I learn how to offer all of what I have to offer as a coach, the “flexible day job” that will support and augment my performing career. I mean, let’s face it, will I ever be the kind of person who does just one thing? Take a moment to laugh now…because, of course not. And I’m cool with it. Finally. To paraphrase the wisdom of a modern sage: once I decided to stop getting paid for being a job description and instead just get paid for being myself no matter what work I was doing, life got a whole lot easier. Ultimate integration, if you ask me.
And as I sometimes sit here in Italy and scour the L.A. Craigslist for my 26th adult home, I wonder with trepidation and excitement if I’ll finally let myself settle in one place long enough to nest, unpack every box, paint a reasonable amount of things with chalkboard paint, let it all be under one roof…and throw a damn dinner party! Do you think so? Me too.