Thursday, August 16, 2007

I am a [fill-in-the-blank] & other myths

I am at the beach. Nag's Head, North Carolina. Last night I walked in the ocean with Cathy & this morning I walked in the ocean by myself, Cathy not being a morning girl. I should say Cathy's not being morning girls rather, as I think of my 2 roommates, both sound asleep at 9:57 a.m. This is a big house on the beach, because there are many families & all ages. (The youngest is a year old.) I was going to be on one of the couches downstairs, but Cathy & Cathy took a look at their bed & we decided I could just stay with them. So it was a Laurie sandwich. Plenty of room for the 3 of us.

I was tired, having popped up 3 or 4 times in the middle of the night before last to write. Words & phrases were buzzing in my mind, & they were too good to let go. So I got up & wrote & then went back to bed & the words kept at it so I got up again. A couple times. It was great. However, add that to a 7-hour drive to the beach &, well, I was tired.

But the beach this morning called me. Not being much of a sunbunny, I wore a long skirt over my bikini bottoms, & a shirt rather than my bikini top. Plus another shirt over that, with sleeves. Also a floppy hat once worn on a trip to Australia. When I was walking in the edge of the waves however, I did tuck my skirt all the way up so it wouldn't get wet.

I picked up some shells & stones. It wasn't until I was looking for pockets that I noticed I had my outside shirt on inside out. (Say that phrase fast 3 times!) It made think about how we sometimes live, which is outside out & never mind the inside, because no one can see that. Increasingly I'm trying to live by my innards rather than my outards. (Outards? What do you mean, outards is not a word. It is now. Grin.)

Before I went out, one of the women was commenting on the heat, as she headed out into the screened porch to smoke. "I don't like the heat," she said, clearly preferring to stay in where it was airconditioned, "but I'm a smoker."

That made me think about how we define ourselves. There's a difference between saying I am a smoker & I smoke sometimes. I don't care how many packs a day you smoke--there are times when you aren't. I believe--I don't know for sure, but I bet I'm right--that saying I smoke sometimes gives the cigarettes less power than saying I'm a smoker or even than saying I smoke. If you add that sometimes, it can't help but remind you of all the times you don't smoke during the day.

I was thinking about all the other things we say we are, too. What's my litany? I am a writer. I am an artist. I am a healer. I am a mom. Aside from I am a mom, none of things are what I am all the time. They are things I do sometimes. I think I'm going to experiment with just being whoever it is I am, & not defining myself with the things I do sometimes. It will be interesting to see how it feels to not introduce myself without saying "I am a writer."

Oh, the sand & the shells & the little fishes & the hopeful surfers lurking & waves retreating & advancing, flirting with my feet. Crab exoskeletons. Abandoned sand castles. Sun & wind & the geometry of piers. Shore birds skittering. Laptop battery power down to 21 percent--oops, time to post & visit with the Cathy's, who are now arisen. Also going to try sudoku with one of the little boys, who is a math whiz.

Blog alternative:
77. Live inside-out for a day. To remind you, put on some item of clothing the wrong way. (Today I'm saying it's the right way.)