Break Your Glass Houses

Connection is the Sweetest Taste Selfie

I’ve felt surrounded by a proverbial burning down of houses. Left and right marriages of dear friends are dissolving. The death toll rises People have, and continue, to lose careers. My revered place of annual inspiration worship — the World Domination Summit — announced a final two year run before future closure. My sexual intimacy past patterns have reared their heads to test me. All the while, babies are born, minds are adjusted to a new perception, and my intrinsic community of adventurous nomadic junkies thrives onward. What’s a gal to do, but think it through with writing!

Outside gale force winds whipped tumbleweeds and tree limbs swirling about almost delicately as if the lightness of snow flurries. Yet I was tucked indoors from the 100+ degrees temperatures and winds that could knock me over. While I was protected from Mother Nature’s current trance dance thrashing, I recognized the chickens I was caring for might be rattling around their exterior enclosure. I decided to brave the elements to engage. Upon inspection, I felt the wilds of nature and shared some fun bok bokking chatter. All this dervishness jostled my brain cells into an order of sorts. Despite the chaos, I was reminded of the value of busting up our safety zones. There is nothing so pertinent in crisis as breaking down your glass house to harness a new impression. Risking more allows you to rise more. The power is entirely within the connection.

Recently, I ventured across continents and oceans to the romantic wedding of friends in the middle of Tuscany, followed by the arrival at my favorite conference summit in Portland. All the way from Los Angeles to Arezzo, via Istanbul (seriously an economy girls wild rides) and ending in Oregon only to find multiple uncommon bonds. Each instance stretched my attitude like Silly Putty. My awareness approach broadened and I was left with the reminders to practice non-judgement, compassion, and intense curiosity. These life skills will land you in the realm of ninja insights!

Related to that stranger — The chances seemed incredulous. One minute I was talking with the bride’s brother about music and varied machinations of that ilk. The next moment, he was waving his hands towards this man who’d caught my eye earlier. I was informed about why I should speak with this stranger due to our shared musical musings. Then, like we’re talking about toothpaste, it’s added that the stranger is heir to a family fortune that I happen to be very distantly related to by marriage many generations back. What are the odds you’re oceans away from your home only to find you’re seated near someone that runs through your ancestral family tree whom you’ve never met?

I’d like one extremely handsome Italian man from the menu please — Long ago I gave up the necessity to dress up for air travel. When I was very young, I have memories of wearing pretty dresses, only to later wear makeup and fancier dresses into my twenties when I flew on planes. Today, I strive for comfort coupled with practicality, depending on the length of the flight and destination. During a recent flight departing Rome back towards the States, I found myself famished with time for lunch. The food court upstairs in FCO was pretty quiet for a Sunday evening. I had a huge hankering for pasta bolognese, especially after being treated to so much pasta goodness the prior two days. I approached the first restaurant seemingly without patrons and nearly went in directly, but decided to compare menus and prices at the three other locations. I think serendipity drew me backward, as I wound back to the first place after all where I didn’t notice ‘him’ before or when I was initially seated. After the waiter placed me at a table facing outward, I found this devilishly handsome Italian man who’d been hidden to my view by a column staring a bit in my direction with a deep smile. I’d not showered in twenty-four hours, was wearing my tattered red cowboy boots over camouflage yoga pants and a tank top, my hair thrown up in an unkempt bun, and no makeup (par normal for me). What a sight I must have been! He respectful waited only a few moments before inviting me to move my lunch to his table to share the dining, along with personal and work conversations. We quickly learned we share quite a few life philosophies. We’re still in touch.

The sweetness of a rape story — (Disclaimer: I did state this in a way to get your attention fast. And being a survivor of rape, I don’t throw this word around casually usually. In this case, the double meaning is intended and authentic for me.) My conference registration in Portland was an easy schedule day for me. I purposefully planned a light day of meetings to ease myself in after the former week of two countries, three cities, multiple flights, foreign car rental, buses and little sleep. As I often do, I spontaneously walked to treat myself to ice cream for the afternoon. Again, only one man was seated in the establishment. He immediately smiled in my direction. As I stood to depart, he quickly followed me out and approached me. He introduced himself, complimented my ‘beautiful smile’ and asked if he may walk me to wherever I was going. I was heading a short two blocks, but I happily entertained the compliment and conversation. We stayed talking for nearly a half hour, as he opened up about his artwork, looking for a new job, local Portland favorites and being grateful for a nice person like me bringing some happiness to his day. He suggested another walk the next morning, during the only free time I had left for the days while I was local. We arranged to meet in my hotel lobby. He had to delay that morning and he arrived a slightly different person to our first meeting. He wasn’t looking me in the eyes. I felt a shift. I dug deep to reflect on what I might offer. I told him I observed he seemed ‘off’ and would he like to share anything with me, where I could simply propose listening without bias? There was a very long pause of silence from him. Then, out tumbled a tough story of some facts of his life: he was recently paroled in May from a twelve-year sentence served for non-consensual sex. He explained his state doesn’t require unanimous felony jury conviction. He was brutally honest about this one time he cheated with his beloved wife. The woman with whom he had the affair said it was rape. He told me he was innocent about it being a sexual violation. He showed me that wore his wedding ring to remind himself of his infidelity and all that he learned during prison. He took the time to learn trade skills he hoped would make him a stronger man, businessman, and to help bring more fun art to the world. I never felt him coming on to me. He appreciated me for my goodness. He was grateful for being able to be real with me. He said I was one of only two women whom he’d told his story who didn’t recoil. He thanked me and wished me peace. I believe in the sweet strength of redemption.

Intoxicating Tindr at the tender age of 70 — I’ve joked with my female family members about how I hope I never become too old to want sex, lots and lots of sex! Sexuality is one of my best forms of communication. So much so, that I’ve had to take time to not engage sexually in order to make sure I’m stimulating the intellectual, emotional, and other levels of intimacy equally. Balance is fundamental, and dare I say, a primal key for life. One of my newest friends astounded me with her age of seventy since she appears strikingly youthful. As someone who often is cast younger than my age, I hope to carry this into my future decades. Being around people that fly their youthfulness flag brings me much joy. Topping that, with a magical glint in her eyes, my new friend was publicizing her most remarkable revelation of finding herself fetchingly roaming the swipes of Tindr with exuberance. She proclaimed she was having the best sex, with the some of the best men, of her entire life! I fully trust this is the universe foreshadowing some of my intoxicating wants so I don’t stress anymore over this tender factor.

The tales above are a mere ten days of my life. Imagine how much I’ve missed in other days, weeks, and months. Consider what you may have missed along your way by discounting the traveler, stranger, teacher, peer, co-worker, and even the friend or family member within your path. Don’t be quick to dismiss others for their looks, clothes, actions, what you read or hear about them, nor their age, occupation, or lack of any of the aforementioned. Every single one of us has unique and interesting aspects to ourselves and which make up our stories. While everyone won’t find utter satisfaction in your narrative, there are others who will. Seek your tribe. Find your brethren. Be willing to connect outside the box of your glass house. Break free from the same things you do all the time.

Glass is for beauty as it is, but also for looking through, revealing, and breaking free to another side.

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