Read, follow, and investigate with me. Who Am I?

 To those of you who read this blog, thank you for the encouragement (you know who you are). I’ve been putting off posting this for almost a month. It was the kick in the ass I needed!

THE WHO AM I PROJECT? Finding myself through the layers of my own baggage, bullshit and fear 

Take 1
Something of a Prologue

Today I begin
a challenge beyond my brain;
one to reach my soul.

From the beginning I am asking that this be a dialogue.  So please follow the blog from the site directly and not just Facebook or Twitter (comments on those sites don’t translate for a blog). I suggest setting the notifications to once a week. I want this to be a shared journey and not just me yacking at me (I already do that).

I did it – I made my “ASK” (thank you Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking). That was my first big risk on this journey, the second is this post! Please post comments and ask questions, I would love this kind of communication and sharing. And lastly if you see a post that means something to you, share it (anywhere and everywhere).

So here it goes. I am making a declaration. I am going to commit one year to self-exploration and writing a book documenting my journey. I have been thinking about this for quite a while and after reading THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin I see it is time to do something different. I know this certainly is not a new thing, but I am inspired by the idea of a yearlong dedication and research of and to one’s self. I started my journey in March without realizing it. I had challenged myself to commit to 3 things for 3 months. Honestly, I was not sure I could do it. The reality is that with a few glitches here and there, I was successful…until the discovery of a brain tumor that is. I admit my priorities and commitments moved elsewhere for a bit but here I am back on track.

I ask myself: How am I going to do this? What is my end goal? Do I take it on all at once or do a month by month thing? How do I assess myself as I go? Is it a “Happiness Project” or something else? I had all these questions. I am not a psychologist or a researcher. I am not a doctor or a professional writer. But, I am ready to share my voice, to commit. I love the idea of dedicating a year to self. So what the hell….I will give it a shot.

The expedition I am embarking on is one of truth and self-discovery. For years I have been fighting myself in so many aspects of my life with no idea why. I have taken classes, read books and seen a shrink. All of this work has helped. I now realize the wall I keep hitting is me. Over and over, as I start to move forward believing I am on the right path that voice in my head steps in and says; are you sure? Is that what you really want? Maybe you’re just on the bandwagon again.

Really…just REALLY?

So, in spite of the doubt and questions I commit one year to writing a book for me. I will examine my choices and decisions. I will do the things I say I want and explore why I have a self-sabotaging (or self-punishing) pattern.

Each month will have its own goal…yes Gretchen, that’s your inspiration. What would this entail? I will start with a list (by the way I love lists)! Here is a quick draft of my monthly commitments.

  1. Jump and Start (August)
  2. Health and Well-being (September)
  3. Home/ Foundation (October)
  4. Focus (November)
  5. Goal Setting/Education/Priorities (December)
  6. Time Management (January)
  7. Projects (February)
  8. Balance  (March)
  9. Review/Remind/Reset (April) 
  10. May (TBD)
  11. June (TBD)
  12. July (TBD)

It’s a start. As soon as I know May, June and July I’ll let you know. I will get more specific in my intentions as I go from here, but this will serve as a good platform to dive in. The working title is “THE WHO AM I PROJECT? Finding myself through the layers of my own baggage, bullshit and fear”. It is an extension of an art project I have been organizing over the last year. However, this is more personal since I am the subject. The art project asks the question of all who experience it (more on that later around month four).

The reality is that I have somehow lost track of who I am and what I want for my life. I do know “who” I am but not in the existential way I am seeking. I want to know why I’m here and my purpose in this life. I want to find passion and heart in all that I do. The only way to really accomplish that is to truly understand myself and to figure out what I want. For me this starts with why. Why do I continue to get in my own way? Is it that I really don’t know what I want or is it that I have told myself so many conflicting things over the years that I’ve confused my soul? Is it that I honestly don’t have the ambition or drive? Is it that I deep down know my purpose and it terrifies me? Or is it that my need to know WHY is my problem?

Even as I write this I’m thinking…this is silly? Who the hell is going to read or connect with this? At the same time, do I really care? What if no one reads it, but I have answered a key question in my life; if that’s the case then nothing else matters. I am a person filled with ideas and longings. Yet, despite what many think of me, I am also a person who I believe gives up easily. I don’t love challenges and I absolutely despise being bad at things. Failure is unacceptable so it’s better not to try (I don’t really believe that, but it is my perception of how I’ve lived). I’m not sure where it came from, but I have this deep seeded notion that I should somehow know how to do things (all things). I should be a natural and if I’m not, I’ve already failed. I know it’s not true and yet this is how I judge myself. I envy people who thrive in challenge; whose goals are to get better and better with ambition and enthusiasm, the ones who enjoy learning and failing until they get it right. I want to be that person. I wonder though if that’s who I am. I hope so. The goal in this yearlong exercise is to answer my question and teach myself how to embrace and accept who I am. I know I am smart, strong, and sometime courageous but truly believing it is what I crave most.

I will be using my blog to work through a lot of these theories and challenges. At least one weekly post is going to be dedicated to this work. We all need to be heard and I believe that there is something inside each of us that everyone needs to hear. I believe this about myself, but I have been unable to figure out what voice to use; which one is the loudest, which is the one I thrive in and enjoy the most. Is it my visual art, poetry, writing, theatre or something else entirely? Being heard as an artist seems daunting and almost impossible. My mind goes directly to how I make money as opposed to exploration and fun (which is why I became an artist to begin with). When did I start denying myself the fun in art? I am an artist. For me, this has many faces and forms. I am certainly not limited in the creative use of what I do unless I take no risks; I’ve never been willing to risk enough to fail. I never had the confidence. That is the intent of this book, to find that place inside of me willing to fail for freedom.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope you will join me on this exploration of self.



In Retrospect


So Friday is my, get things done day. I don’t have to go into the city, which can kill a productivity day. I have a good list of to do’s and a number of wants. I’m working to challenge myself today with time management. It’s my nemesis. The lack of this skill has caused many hours of stress and anxiety over the years. Its not that I don’t get things done, I do. I’m just not efficient so its messy and often takes far longer than I think.

Along with my time goes my preclusion for distraction. I like to call it the Squirrel Factor. The joke we’ve all seen and heard where a dog is in deep focus and…BAM! A squirrel goes by and all is lost. Yes, I am saying I’m like a dog in that way. Something comes up; a text, an email, a request of some sort that has nothing to do with my focus at the moment and…BAM! I’m off and its incredibly difficult to get back on.

I’m certainly not going to fix this in a day, I accept that, but I want to be better. This is a start. I am actually writing this on Thursday for Friday. My goal is to write as many of my posts as possible at least a day ahead. It allows for consistency, planning and review. I don’t want all posts to be like this. Some need the authenticity of the moment, but not most. I hate having to rush or to push my daily envelope by posting at 11:55pm. Its stressful and messy and not who I want to be as a writer or an artist.

So far I have really served the three goals I set out to accomplish for these three months, March though May. I still have a month and a half, but I’m going strong and it feels great. Those three goals are a post a day, daily meditation and easing way back on the alcohol. Have I missed a day here and there? Sure, I’m not trying to be perfect. I am working to build consistency, trust in myself and well…to simply feel good. Its working.

Being almost half way through my goal I want to add on. This may be a bit more challenging, but a challenge is meant to be faced. I want to start creating posts ahead regularly and meditating by a certain time, lets say 11am. This is the time management thing. I figure one step at a time. I need to practice. I want to practice managing my work and trusting myself.

I’m not quite sure whats happening for me at the moment. Its a bit like a ski jump where I can’t see whats below me until I’ve already jumped (and I don’t ski). But I’m excited. For the first time in a long time I wake up every day ambitious and come home every night exhausted but grateful and happy. It’s incredibly exciting because really…this is just the beginning!


Observations 3/13-3/20


I am going to say something so obvious perhaps some will say its not worth saying, but I think we all need to be reminded, and often. My key observation this week is a particular reminder of what every person needs, to be heard and acknowledged.

There have been three incidents this week alone where I received calls with questions and concerns on an issue. The one thing all of them had in common was that they had not felt heard and/or acknowledged.

I stopped and realized that so often we focus on what people “complain” about and not what they are really saying. I thought about how, sadly so many of us have not been taught to say what we mean or ask for what we really need, so instead we complain or feel hurt, get angry or cry.

So this week I decided it was not my job to listen to complaints, but to listen to what happened and how it effected them. My goal was to work through how I could support or help. I wasn’t able to necessarily solve their problems, but I assisted to the best of my ability and that’s all we can really do. More often than not, that’s all people really need.

At first I was uncomfortable and concerned about how to handle their issues, but I thought about my goal to approach my life and the situations in it with compassion. If I am so busy preparing for the conflict, I will not hear the true concern. So I released my worries and simply had conversations with lovely people whom I heard and I am grateful.

My second observation this week is an acknowledgment for myself. For so long I have been protecting myself from people. The problem is I love people. I love connecting and sharing. I love, big. However for so long I have kept this wall around me. It served me in the past but I no longer need protecting so I am taking it down piece by piece and its working. I always wondered why I was the one to have to reach out, make plans, check in. Now I see, how could anybody get past the barrier? They couldn’t. It’s changing. People have been reaching out and making plans. I am open and excited. I have so many friends whom I adore and I am making new ones, which hasn’t happened in a long time.  I went to dinner with a new friend just last night and had a wonderful time getting to know someone new, someone interesting and fun.

Tying back to my first observation I have to admit that I too have needed to be heard, I just didn’t realize how often I didn’t speak or turned my head or worked so hard to not need anyone else that it seemed obvious to others I did not need them. I do. We all do. We as people have a basic human desire to be with and share with others.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis

Thank you to all of my friends.



Joys 3/7-3/14

My favorite things

This week I was reminded of something that fills me with joy, air. That special first day of the season where the weather is warm and the breeze is fresh. On Thursday I opened every window in the house. The sun filling my living room, I lounged on my couch in silence closed my eyes and allowed the soft breeze to caress me. The birds were each singing their unique songs, I think as grateful as I was for the warmth. I felt such calm simply allowing myself to be in the moment and find joy in what is a gift to us all.


A week in Gratitude
I am so grateful and excited for the art  class I am taking.
I am grateful for a quick set of laughs with my boys and still making my train!
I am grateful for a lovely night getting to know new people.
I am grateful for some quality time with a good friend, chatting until our eyes were closing.
I am grateful for my friend Bill’s successful night featuring 2 of his wonderful plays, one of which has always been one of my faves!
I am grateful to have gotten our taxes in and still having time to have a relaxing evening home with my husband.
I am grateful for a wonderful day out with one of my best friends enjoying art and making an awesome “out of the box” dinner! It doesn’t mean what it used to, so healthy and soo good 🙂



Letters to Loved Ones


Dear B,

I have no idea how many years its been but I know I think of you often. It was a strange relationship we had. Some would say you were a father figure, but those who really knew us knew it was unique, a close family friend who played a huge role in my life.

When I think of you so many memories come to mind. I grew up with you. Many of my childhood memories not only included you, but were because of you. I would never have seen so many places, learned I loved theatre or simply had a color tv if it weren’t for you. We were a strange little dysfunctional family unit and I am so grateful for all you gave me.

I saw Canada; Montreal and Quebec, Virginia Beach and Disney World. I had weekends in Vermont and New Hampshire, and I first experienced NYC with you. I saw My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Camelot with Richard Harris! Who can say that. I went to the ballet and took classes. I remember Christmas caroling with your daughter at the senior homes and getting in trouble for inappropriate laughing  in church by you mom.  I remember weekends going to see singers who were your friends, at the local Chinese restaurants. I remember bowling and end of season banquets, I have trophies because of you.

You took care of us more often than not and helped us through hard times over and over; though you weren’t the best at showing emotion, I know your heart was good. I thank you for these gifts and I think of your grandchildren often hoping they are well. I wish it was different in the end, that you hadn’t given up and checked out. Reckless with your health you ensured your fate and it still makes me sad. You were more distant and more cold. I know how hurt your were by your daughter. I wish it had been different, that she had been different because I know how much you loved her and how damaged it made you.

I hope you knew how much I cared for you, how appreciative I was and am for everything you did. You ensured I never felt as poor as I was and that I didn’t go without. You were one of the most influential men in my life and I just want you to know I miss you.







As I meditated today, my eyes closed the sun shifted. I felt it through my whole body. My eyelids felt the warmth and there was a shift in how the air dappled my skin. I became fully aware in the moment. It made me smile.

The crocuses were popping up everywhere today, I wandered past a patch of hundreds gathered here and there, a canvas of rich purple and deep green reaching out from the sun soaked ground.

When my husband is tipsy and needs to concentrate his nose crinkles and his mouth perches, it makes me laugh every time.

I have a friend who is so fun and warm, she makes everyone feel special. I watched her wandering around the room gathering up smiles and sprinkling joy and thought…what a gift!

Even when I think I am doing nothing, I am actually quite busy. I’m not quite sure how I feel about all that, but I will say today’s crazy busy day felt full and that’s a good day.

Life Poems 1


A New World

I don’t know where I am. I’m lost and yet there is guidance. Confused as I am, I’m learning quickly. This body is amazing, fascinating even. Who knew hands could do so much?! Did you know that if you reach for something, all of a sudden you hold it?! Its tough to master, but its amazingly satisfying!

Today I touched my mother’s face. Her smile was so wide it could have consumed us both. How is it that such a simple gesture can make my world so large.

I did it again with the hope of seeing her joy once more and this time a bellow came from within myself, for a moment it frightened me… but a joy within me rose above it. Laughter overcame me and I clutched her hair, her smiling face embracing me.

I felt such freedom as the air tickled my skin and we laughed.




Joys 2/29-3/6

My favorite things…

This week I’m celebrating, the Bubby. This little girl wakes me up with kisses everyday and makes me feel like the luckiest human on earth each time I walk through the door. When I got her her harness was 5 times smaller and I wish I could say the pitch of her bark was higher but its not, she still squeaks when she’s excited! The treasure of loving her through these almost 12 years has brought joy to my soul and I look forward to many more.


This week I am grateful for so many things but here is one for each day…

I am grateful for laughter at an event with silly friends on a night I needed to laugh.
I am grateful for Shana’s partnership in our many endeavors.
I am grateful for making a new friend at work an possibly a new hair stylist…very important!
I am grateful for no traffic on a long late night ride.
I am grateful for time chatting with my mom on Saturday morning with the sun shining through her window in her new home.
I am grateful for my family’s laughter, silliness and love of toilet humor!
I am grateful for the quiet walk with the kids in a familiar hood.

Photo ©donjè photography