A Fresh Story: On Peace-ing Out from the Internet

My dreams veer between acute realism and apocalyptic wastelands – an obvious, albeit depressing, metaphor for my perspective on life. Some nights, I dream that I’m in my own bedroom, eyes open in the dark, everything around me just as it should be…and then I glance upwards, and see a spider drifting down from the ceiling, legs extended towards my face.

Other nights, I’m walking down an office hallway when the building begins to crack, glass shattering in my face. I scurry down the side of a building to shelter beneath a support beam while the rest of the building comes down around me. Later, I find myself charged with shepherding a group of mystery children through the ruins of New York City.

These are the poles of my dreamscapes; there are few worlds in between.

I often remember my dreams as if they actually happened. I sometimes have to remind myself that I did not live through the collapse of New York City, even though I remember it vividly. I have a recurring dream where my knees refuse to bend; I have to sidestep down flights of stairs, my legs threatening to buckle at any moment. And even sitting here now, I wonder whether the problems with my legs are real after all; the dream is that frequent, and that vivid.

Another, much more pleasant, dream I have is one where I walk up to a friend’s house: a big, gabled Victorian with an ornate front porch. I go inside, and my friends Olivia and Jenny are there. It’s warm and smells like bread. They usher me into a dining room filled with sparkling tchotchkes, then show me to my place at a table set with a red velvet tablecloth and mismatched plates. We eat tea sandwiches together, and I feel like I do when I visit my aunts and cousins in Canada – like I’m with my people, with my family, with my women.

I have never met Olivia and Jenny – the founders of the beautiful and brave and frankly revolutionary Fresh Starts Registry – in person, despite the fact that we’ve been deeply involved in each others’ lives for well over a decade. Olivia helped me through my divorce several years ago; I like to think that I helped her through her more recent one. The divorce activity book was dedicated to her, a woman who has shown up for me – an internet stranger who she somehow recognized through the screen as a friend – over and over and over.

It’s been so exciting watching these wonderful sisters grow a brand from the ground up, while being unfailingly committed to supporting other women in the space – a core value that they’ve not just talked about, but actually lived, since the moment I met them. So having the opportunity to be interviewed by them – two people who, weirdly, know me better than almost anyone on the planet – made for a pretty remarkable experience.

We talked about depression, self-created chaos, and taking accountability…and for the first time since my pull-back from the blogosphere, I got into the specifics of my new career and new partner.

For the very first time in my life, I want to stay still. Because I’m realizing that all of the external things that I was grasping for, holding onto with tenterhooks…

I mean, I live in Malibu right now. There is no reason for me to live in Malibu. It is so expensive. It is so dumb. And I see now that I moved here because I’m a single mom, and I was scared, and it felt like a zip code could say to me, “You’re fine. Your kids are fine. You’ve got it.” And I see very clearly now that I’ve been moving and moving and moving in search of a place that feels like home because I’ve never felt at home anywhere

It’s true. I don’t feel at home anywhere. Except sometimes, with the women who lift me up, I do.

Listen to the episode here.

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