I started writing Stuck in my Bra in 2011. I’ve worn a bra since I was 12 or 13 years old. Personally, I have never been terribly happy about it, but I still need the support. You feel me?
In the summer of 2011 I was ordered to seek respite from my everyday life. I booked a week-long Swell Women surfing retreat with a group of strangers. Meaning that none of us knew anyone else on the retreat until we got there. It was magical, but every day I struggled to get myself in and out of my swimsuit, my rashguard, and my bra while I was wet, sandy, sweaty, and exhausted. It was then that I realized that my relationship with my bra was a metaphor for my life. I was struggling for my liberation. My life has become overly restrictive. I became determined to never get stuck again.
At the time I met my surf sister warriors, I was somewhere near the beginning of what turned out to be a tortuous end of marriage to the father of my three beautiful kids. He and I had known each other since we were kids ourselves. We were married for a total of 12 years and the last three were really miserable because we were battling. I had battled invisible illnesses for all of the years of our marriage and I needed to gain my strength back so my counselor wrote me a simple prescription:
(1) go outside every day and just look up at the sky
(2) get skin to skin contact
(3) take a two-week vacation by myself where someone else takes care of me.
I did my best to follow the prescription. I spent one week lying on a surfboard in the ocean, floating in the water, using all of my strength and balance and will to surf, staring at the water and the sky, laying in the sand, practicing yoga, eating raw, vegetarian food prepared by someone else, getting massages, and spending time with five other amazing women who were all doing the same thing. These women encouraged me to share my thoughts and my stories. They told me my words were powerful and funny. “Offensively hysterical” were the exact words from one of my new friends. These women encouraged me to write.
Since then many others in my life have encouraged me to share my stories, start my own non-profit, run for public office, write a screenplay, do standup comedy. . . it goes on and on. People tell me I am witty, funny, strong, fiercely independent, deep, inspirational, energizing, kind, committed, supportive, crazy, too serious, too sensitive, a visionary, a good friend, a good mother, a strong advocate, a sounding board, a rock, weird. I can be all of those things, but what I know about myself is that I know who I am and what I stand for. I stand up for myself and for others and I strive to always do what I think is the right thing to do. I also absolutely understand that my perspective is only that . . . my perspective. My truth is only mine and no one else’s. I consider myself to be a peacemaker and a bridge builder in my bones and I almost always feel solid. But I am sensitive inside and I’m still learning how to be protective of myself.
I have been a writer for as long as I can remember and I have wanted to publish a book since I was a young child, but instead I’ve mostly written legal decisions and kept my own stories and ramblings rolling around in my own mind. I now realize that I have never had a choice in the matter. I need to write whether anyone ever reads it. But I know that these people are all giving it to me straight and I am taking their advice. I might as well spit it out.
I have always felt compelled to share my experience. The problem I have had is that it can make people uncomfortable. Sometimes I can be too personal and too blunt. I dislike the use of labels, but the one that feels most suitable is Autistic. I don’t mean to make people uncomfortable. Throughout my life, my sensitivity to how my sharing makes people feel has affected the way I express myself, but it has not been good for me. I believe it has actually been a key factor to what has made me sick at many times in my life. I don’t ever want to be sick like that again, so I am going back to who I really am. Someone who shares. This is my life and this is my perspective. If my thoughts somehow make you feel uncomfortable just don’t read this. That’s my best advice. I never mean any harm.
So these are my thoughts. This is my truth. This is my contract with myself. This is my advice to my children. This is who I am and what I stand for. This is what I know right now. This is what I believe. This is what I’ve learned. This is my therapy. This is my caring bridge. This is my holiday card. This is my chat with friends and family I don’t see or speak with often enough. This is my thank you note. This is my apology. This is my collection of thoughts. This is my book, my series, my movie, my play, my blog, my newsletter, my poem, my art. This is my manifesto. This is my platform. This is my masterclass.
This is my gift to myself and to the universe.
In 1m3s and 6sd2s always,