I did a little bit of flooding out yesterday over everything that’s happened the last two years, and it made me so sad I couldn’t move. I just laid in bed with tears streaming own my face, but luckily it was the end of the day, anyway, so I could take off the super suit of confidence and just be leslie. I reflected on how many changes I’ve brought into my life for the better, and when I think about the past, it only leads me to tears and regrets so huge that they won’t stop. Flooding out is not where I need to be right now. I need my focus to be on the funds I need to raise to make St. James and All Sinners a real brick building instead of clicks on a web site.
I have decided that because Maryland real estate is so expensive, I’m shooting for four million dollars. That is a building, maintenance, and an endowment to keep it safe in perpetuity. I am not saying that I can’t do anything with less. I am saying that if my dream is small and easily reachable, it is not long-term enough to provide me with complete and total change inside myself. I do not want to think small anymore. I want to be the visionary that my personality type dictates, and not worry about the small boxes I’ve been pushed into by past behavior.
Plus, especially with a homeless congregation, you don’t reach for four million dollars all at once. You take the widow’s mites and rejoice over each one. Each success builds into the next one. Mine yesterday was not being intimidated by Starbucks corporate saying no. If they continue to turn me down, McDonald’s is my next ask, because I’ve gotten to know the breakfast crew pretty well since it’s across the street from the Metro and I usually walk there early in the morning. Because I know them, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t ask them first. I should have gone to my friends for help, because I promise that if I offer coffee to homeless people, they’re not going to care about the brand. I suppose I just wanted to treat them to something they could not afford on their own.
Larry, the manager at “my Starbucks,” is taking an incredible leap of faith by going to his district manager and asking if there’s anything that can be done. I am not choosing to focus on corporate’s no, but Larry’s yes.
It keeps the flooding out to a minimum when I think about the successes I’ve managed to achieve in the short time I’ve been here, rather than in the clusterfuck I created by divorcing Dana. It is possible I will be single the rest of my life, and I am shockingly okay with it. I move in the world differently when I am alone, but that doesn’t mean that past hurt doesn’t wrestle me to the ground until I say uncle.
To that end, here are some of the things I love about living in Maryland, concentrating on the relationships I have in DC instead of the relationships I’ve managed to crater:
- When Pri Diddy said we needed an epic first convo, I told her that I felt broken right now, and she wanted to see me anyway. Just gave me huge hugs and let me talk.
- Nathan, my cousin, took me out for a night on the town and we walked and talked like the people who have known each other since childhood that we are. You cannot imagine how healing it was for me to hear that he’s sad at how disconnected we’ve become, because it gives me a goal for the future. How are we going to come back together after years of being in different times and spaces?
- I have fallen in love with the idea of “being a Nasser.” Mike, Hayat, Samantha, and Dom provide me with laughter on a daily basis, and support for whatever it is I need. For instance, Mike and Hayat were on the porch when I got home from battling SBUX, and it meant the world to me that they just listened intently and cheered me on.
- I am giving thanks for Dries (pronounced “dreece”), because a conversation that started with him making fun of me ended with a job opportunity.
- I am grateful for Judy, who has known me since I was evicted from my first apartment….. the womb with a view. I am grateful for every minute we’ve spent together in the past, and I look forward to becoming closer in the future. Judy is the type person that I ascribe to be- a citizen of the world and not just the US.
- I am grateful for the relationship I have with DC, and the fact that it is being renewed one step at a time, literally, because I walk everywhere I go. Setting has become character in my need for solitude, because when I stand in places like the Old Supreme Court, I feel like I can talk to the ghosts in the room and not feel alone. And these are some pretty badass ghosts. You could do worse than the representative from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. You could do worse than Teddy Roosevelt, and Franklin, for that matter. I am grateful for my awe.
- I am grateful and continuing to pray for the homeless people that have accepted me as one of their own: Cookie, Stefon, Rez, BBQ, and a blonde kid who didn’t give me his name, but whose eyes got moist when he said that before he became homeless, he’d been sober for ten years, because it’s almost impossible to stay clean on the streets because you need the distraction from it. He sleeps on pressed dirt and shares his floor with his wife, and if you think that image did not impress on upon me the importance of my calling, you would be wrong about that. It is an image I carry with me daily. Cookie said that when she went to his “house,” even she cried. Cookie is homeless and cries over the plight of others when she cannot help herself. I saw myself in her eyes, because it is the journey I am on as well. I have a place to live, but I am not so different from her after all. We both want to help ourselves, and we are limiting ourselves at the same time. Same software, different case.
I know what I need to do. Flooding out is ignoring my calling and letting myself slip back into the person I used to be instead of the person I am becoming. It is easier when I concentrate on my best friend, a lab named Daisy that lives with Samantha and Dom but is glued to me when I’m around. I tease her that she’s my dog, and she just wags her tail happily. Samantha and Dom are not offended. They know where to go to get her back.
And that makes me grateful as well, that Dom and Samantha don’t mind sharing Daisy with me, because they know that having someone to kiss my tears is important. They know that I am in pain, and letting the tears fall in ablution is necessary. They don’t know much about my life before they met me, only that I am gay and divorced and a writer. None of those things threaten them- they told me to write away about everything, and that it would be cool to have a writer at their parties because they could go back and relive them. I mean, they can anyway because we don’t drink, but hey….. always nice to have support. 🙂
I am so much calmer and more alive now that I’ve given me permission to be me. Flooding out is temporary, but rising with the water level is permanent.