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Within walking distance from my house, there is a coffee shop, named Alchemy in an old industrial building turned out to look something more like a place that could hold the likes of a coffee shop and a tattoo parlor. The woman who owns it, along with her handsome hippie friend, is of elf ilk; black wiry curled hair and enormous eyes and that affect of nonchalance that always makes a person mysterious and unapproachable and irresistible. Even more mysterious a thing about her, is the fact that I get mistaken for her almost every time I visit. Even her close friend and co-owner, is sometimes taken aback when he sees me from behind and first thinks I am her. My last experience there contained me on a sofa with my own little elf running circles around me, a ham and cheese croissant dripping off her chin. An older man looks me meaningfully in the eye and says, “Hello, how are you?”. Thinking I know exactly why this man is acting so strangely, I just play along and return the sentiment. His smile melts, and he says, “You’re not Vanessa, are you…(Nope, not even related.) Oh my God, you look just like her, you could be twins, even your affect – it’s amazing!”

I have been thinking a bit about another friend of mine as January rears its depressive little head, a beautiful, creative, kind friend who cut his life short this time last year. I will never know why exactly. I know I have been there, staring down that tunnel, and made other choices only by the grace of God. I am sometimes angry at him but I never pretend to have his choices pegged, figured out, resolved. I don’t pretend that I am any different. I suppose that is what scares me the most about it.

My husband is a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Every New Year’s Eve he pulls out his notebook and attempts to coax me into joining him in the ritual of mapping your life out for the next year and saying a few key phrases that will make it all turn out differently than it always does. I have seen how this kind of resolve has worked miracles in his life. As for myself, I have been too much of a pessimist and typically respond with a roll of the eyes and a firm shake of the head. I am stubbornly set in my patterns of misery and have little faith that a few jotted down goals will do much to push them out of my way.

However, this year I am having a change of heart. I turn twenty-nine this month. On the day of my birth, I caught a morning sunrise reflection of myself in the glass kitchen cabinets and all twenty-eight of my previous faces stared back – smiling. So here I am, nearly thirty. I have a little one, I am making my morning coffee, I am thinking about writing and art and politics, I have bangs. I would have predicted very little of what I have become. I am often afraid it is not enough as I mix fantasies of glory with the reality of what I seem capable of making of this life. I am afraid enough of it to sometimes waist days in bed wishing for a stronger self.

What would she look like? Maybe the stronger, more beautiful, more self-contained version that sits mysteriously aloof on a bar-stool in her coffee shop two blocks away. The version I can only imagine because all I know of her is the way she says hello to me and my little girl and the fact that we are ghost-like twins. I make lists and lists of characteristics I wish I had. Then I crumple those lists and I burn them out of sheer overwhelm.

Then it occurs to me:

What if, instead of lists, you allowed yourself to simply be. What if instead of changing your hair, your home, your boyfriend, your cup-size, eternally running to find the place where you can finally stand still, you stopped right here in this second. What if you simply learned to separate yourself from your Self at times, and became the observer of your own life. Became someone who lovingly watches you grow, scrape your knees, have triumphs, have pain, have boredom. What if you became the one person in the world who really can accept you for who you are?

So here it is my friends: my birthday present and my New Years resolution. I am going to become the observer of my own life. And, in an effort to motivate myself to just watch, I am going to document it on a new, larger, more complex blog entitled Tea with Demeter.

I thank all of my readers here at Diaryland for sticking with me. I hope you will join me at Tea with Demeter because, frankly, you ARE my audience.

This is for Steve. We loved you. You were good enough. I wish you had known that. I hope you know it now.


12:41 p.m. - 2008-01-09


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