Is It Just Me, or Is There a Draft in Here?

I really like people, even the ones I don't like. We're all in this together, on a doomed little planet hurtling through a mysterious solar void we can only comprehend through the prism of our humanity.

Because I like people, I welcome conversations with strangers...not all strangers (I may be friendly, but I'm not an idiot), just strangers who seem worthy of camaraderie.

The other day I met someone having lunch at a restaurant, a traveler from California. She seemed to be a kindred spirit. Our conversation was light and full of laughter, and eventually we both needed to depart. As she hugged me goodbye, she handed me a laminated card. I thanked her but felt a level of dread: laminated cards usually hold messages about organized religion, about how I'll die in hell if I don't embrace someone else's evangelical fairy tale.

This card was different. It announced that I was wonderful just as I was, and all I needed to do was show up.

I felt like I'd gotten a beautiful gift, and my heart sang with joy.

And then...I lost the card.

The fact that I immediately misplaced the magical message says something about my mixed feelings about the matter. The invocation isn't new to me, and I want to believe it's true. But is it really possible that we're all wonderful just as we are, and all we need to do is show up? The answer is yes and no. If you crave public affirmation, just showing up is an iffy way to get the results you want. Some people show up and get showered with accolades. Some people show up and piss everybody off. Most of us fall somewhere in between during our life experiences.

Just showing up can feel like one of those dreams where you wake up in a public setting and discover you're totally naked.

If I handed out laminated cards, they'd read: "You're wonderful just as you are, but if you decide to show up...you should probably put on some clothes."

Some day I may even take my own advice.

Any Port in a Storm, 2015,  oil on canvas with archival glitter.

Any Port in a Storm, 2015,  oil on canvas with archival glitter.