this is my chance

the sixth installment in a week-long series exploring the rituals of starting again

in the voice of candace, 18 years old

cut it off.
just cut it all off.
really short.
i want it really short.
i've had long hair my whole life, and i'm sick of it.
you know what?
can we dye it, too?
well, white blonde.
just the tips, though.
let's do that.
this is good.
this is gonna be good.
this is gonna feel like me.
i want to walk in there and feel like me.
this is my chance.
i need to do it now or it'll be too late.
once people meet you one way, you're stuck.
i don't want to be stuck the way i am now.


i love

the fifth installment in a week-long exploration of the rituals of starting again

i love || TROSA

TROSA, i love you

because you not only give people who are recovering from substance abuse issues a chance to begin again, you give them a really super strong chance to begin again.  we're talking about 85% of program graduates who don't relapse in the first year.  i hope you're shouting that from the rooftops.

because visiting your christmas tree lot to choose our tree each year is one of me and my husband's very favorite holiday traditions--and one of the first traditions we started together.

oh, and because the guys at your christmas tree lot do not mock me when i talk to the trees to see which one wants to come home with us.  at least not that i know of.

because one of your moving service guys carried my husband's very heavy amplifier a very long way a few years ago.

because you have an impressive business + donations income model that allows every person in your program to receive treatment free of charge.  i'm a sucker for an impressive business + donations income model.

because you are here, in the triangle.


a place called front porch

the fourth installment in a week-long series exploring the rituals of starting again

citronella and cigarettes
the tiny glow of five candles scrounged from various corners of her apartment
and assembled here
on a dusty little table
beside a makeshift ashtray
(she doesn't smoke, but he does.)
her chair creaks as she lifts her butt and folds her feet underneath her in the seat.
wine sloshes as he pours too quickly into each of their glasses.
a car goes by
headlights over-brightening the railing, their faces, the front door
and then it's gone.
she notices the envelopes poking up out of her mailbox
the cobwebs in the corners of the windows
the way she is blinking a lot like some kind of weirdo
and tries to relax.
he is a kind person.
he is not noticing these things.
a breeze blows through as if to remind her
that this is new
that there is possibility here.


shhhhh: i'm starting something (again)

the third installment in a week-long series exploring the rituals of starting again

i didn't tell my husband that i was going to re-start my blogging this week until after i had posted.  and when i first re-started going to the gym a few years ago, i didn't tell anyone until i had used my membership three days a week for at least a month.  and a year before that, i didn't tell anyone that i was going to re-start on a program to help me keep my house clean until after i had finished the first 28 days of babysteps.

i've realized that, when starting on a goal or a project or a life-improving scheme, telling other people what i'm about to do doesn't motivate me to start.  i actually do better getting started if i make a quiet, but firm, promise to myself and don't tell other people about it until i've started (again).  it's almost a secret.

this strikes me as strange.  this is not what productivity-goalbuster-makestuffhappen gurus advise.

i do need to talk about the stuff i'm working on once i've got it going.  but for the getting-started part?  not so much.  no.

i'm so curious:  when is the best time for you to let people know you're starting something (again)?



the second installment in a week-long exploration of the rituals of starting again

he clamps his teeth together so hard he can feel his jaw muscles clenching
birds scatter and squawk at the creaksqueakscreech when he lifts his right arm right out in front of him.
he wonders what the spiders and the ants on the cement below him think
when they get caught in the snow flurries the rust flakes that float down from his elbow as it extends.
a rush of blood and his fingers are all tingly as he extends his palm.

he is vaguely aware that he is forgetting to smile
but he makes eye contact and considers that a victory.
he shook one hand at the entrance of this one interview and even if it all goes to shit from here
that's more than he did yesterday.

he clatters down the sidewalk
and the trees in their planters wave and cheer him on.


how to start again when you've stopped doing something you love doing

the first installment in a week-long exploration of the rituals of starting again

step one:  decide you're going to start today no matter what comes up, no matter how small your effort, no matter what the result, no matter how late you have to stay up

step two:  end up starting the next day instead

note:  i originally had all sorts of steps in here that included things like "beat yourself up for a while about having stopped and then realize that's getting you nowhere," "give up the perfect ideal of having never stopped," and "become indignant at some person, place, or thing that clearly caused you to stop."  but really, the two steps above are what it comes down to for me.

and you?