The Familial Glue

There are many reasons that could explain why I have not written since September. Many of them have to do with grad school, many have to do with family, and many, many more have to do with lack of commitment 😉

The simplest one is that I have been writing, just not here.

In December, I turned in a 10,000 manuscript that detailed the relationships and narratives that have shaped my life. “Leaving Lauren: A Scholarly Personal Narrative on Finding my True North” is about autism, love, family, and connecting with people. It is about not being afraid to feel. Not being afraid to ask questions. And most importantly, not being afraid of the answers.

While the writing is about those things, it’s also about how I was, and am still, afraid to feel, afraid to ask questions, and afraid of hearing the answers. But I’m doing those things. I’m living, and loving, and learning and not looking back (for too long, at least).

Recently, SPN writing has become a way for me to be me, even if it’s just in my writing. My upbringing, my family, and my experiences are all parts of stories that come together to form my way of seeing the world. SPN writing proves to me that I am not alone. My story belongs to me, but also to anyone else who will listen. Reading others’ SPNs makes me feel a sense of connection that I value in all arenas of my life. After all, as BrenĂ© Brown says, “Connection is why we’re here, it gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

These are the words that sum up what that 10,000 word experience was for me. My mom and I share a lot in common, but one of the newest ones is our love for BrenĂ© Brown. Mom took an online art class (yeah, technology, man) on “The Gift of Imperfection” and shared with me a lot of the little lessons she learned there. On top of that, my whole family learned to cherish another gift first-hand.

We learned to cherish the ones we love every second of every day.

My brother and his wife’s baby, Daniela, did not live to take her first breath, cry her first tears, or smile her first smile at her parents. But I think Daniela gave them their first breath, their first tears, and their first reason to really smile. My family was able to be there for them at a time that no parent, no sibling, and no friend ever wants their loved one to go through. The timing was perfect though the situation was tragic. The emotions were hard though the love came easy. I have never seen anyone love something so hard as my brother did that week; and despite the heartache and heartbreak of loss, he and his wife will continue to have that love for the rest of their lives.

Being away from them this year has been easier in some ways, but harder in others. I think the easy part comes with the knowledge that I am beginning my job search for my first professional position and am looking primarily in the Pacific Northwest. This means that in a matter of months, I could be as close as down the street and as far as a weekend getaway. My brother and his wife have been the catalyst for me returning to the west coast and my parents deciding to look at housing in the Tacoma/Gig Harbor area. I have always considered myself the glue (or social lubricant) that keeps my family together, but that’s just the ego talking. The real glue is embedded in our upbringing and our values that mom and dad instilled in us. Family. Uncertainty. Love. It’s all there. And we’ll be in it together… even if we’re apart. Because that familial glue of support will never waiver.

Promising to write more soon,
girl in like signature


Bird by Bird

She said to take it “Bird by bird.” Well, she didn’t say it. Her father did. The daunting task of writing a report on birds–the one you’ve known about for three months but just now, the day before it’s due, sat down to write–can be handled simply by doing as Anne Lamott’s father told her brother: “Just take it bird by bird.”

Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”

Despite the fact that I’ve been keeping this blog up and running by intermittent posting and vows to write more regularly since my first two-month hiatus back in 2011, I always forget how much I love writing. I love the way my thoughts quiet down and I’ll ignore the anxiety surrounding any homework assignment or final paper, no matter how many hours I have left to turn it in.

Writing is like running.

“The hardest part is getting out the door.”

Once you leave the door, granted you have on the right footwear, you are that much closer to the end of your mile or your marathon training. Opening up the word document, or grabbing your pencil and your journal, or, if you’re like me, logging into your trendy account is the first and most important step to a solid writing session. Your brain needs the mental exercise of thinking in long sentences, rather than in short bursts of anxiety ridden panics about your daily grind. Your fingers need flexing since your thumbs (from texting so much) have taken over the bulk of your “writing” during the past few days, weeks, or hell, even months sometimes.

My blog is my shitty first draft.

It is my narrative of all things complicated, brilliant, normal, comical, benign, or nagging.

This blog is my report on birds. Due never. And these posts are my way taking it bird by bird. For whenever.