Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Affairs of the Heart

Me. In mustard.

I am supposed to be doing something else. Instead, I am following my heart. My heart gets me into trouble sometimes, but, trouble or not, I never regret the chase.

This is what it looks like, this following my heart.

For an hour or so, I traipse around a nearby open field. I make my way through grasshoppers and butterflies, milkweed and thistle. The leaves are turning, gold and crimson, deep brown, the few green remaining are unwilling to give up those sunlit, bare-shouldered days of summer. This is not a walk. This is a mind clearing, meditation, an exorcising of my demons. This is a soul cleansing of significant sort, a small series of tiny come to Jesus moments. I stare mindlessly into the fresh air, into the autumn breeze. I pray, both out loud and to myself. I converse with the inner Tammie, with God, with the Universe, with no one in particular and everyone all at the same time. Answers or not, I am content in the knowledge that the thoughts have left my head and landed where they may.

Despite the butterflies-and-brush spiritual awakening, I still cannot focus on the thing it is that I am supposed to do, so I run out to one of my favorite shops in search of a blouse to complete a look I have been trying to create. I find a beautiful silk in sweet potato. The blouse I wear is mustard. Are all clothing colors the names of food? And why is coordinating a look so easy for some, so complicated for me? I belong in the south where a girl can throw on a pair of jeans and a cute little tank and she’s good for the day. My body and my home are the same. I love them both to look great. I love colors and textures and a knockout visual, a place where people like to hang out, but for the life of me I cannot create that look. Could I get someone to dress me? Is that too much to ask? Still. My heart is happy here with the oranges and reds of the long-sleeved tees, the soft knits of the simple cardigans, the funky earrings, chocolate trouser socks, and sweet potato blouses.

Can I confess that I am now sitting in my local coffee shop? The thing I am avoiding that I am supposed to be doing is homework, but I am just not feeling it. It was in my head to write when I worked my way out of my sheets and comforter this morning, and so I will write. Essays are like that. Much like a cold, they sneak right up when I least expect. They catch me unaware when I have other, more important tasks to complete. And, like dealing with a cold, I am forced to succumb to the power of the words. I enjoy my window table and the energy that surrounds it. The delivery guy at the curb unloads cases of pop. I wonder why because I hear the barista tell the young couple ordering that the soda machines were done away with during the remodel. The young woman in the pink sweatshirt, furry boots, and bedazzled jeans picks up a blondie bar and an unsweetened tea. Another runs into a former teacher. Good to see you again. It's been too long. Can I mention the lady in the parking lot in the floor length magenta rain slicker and red galoshes? I think I can, because it is not raining. And, yet, she is so ready.

You should know that I could not focus on my work earlier because I wasn’t certain it was work that I am meant to be doing. This confuses me because this is a degree that I have known I would pursue since I first laid scalpel on that high school biology fetal pig. And now I question whether it is truly in my heart to accomplish what that fifteen year old girl set out to accomplish. I feel I will disappoint my former self if I quit my studies now. But the current me is not so sure she is excited, moved, or inspired by either the process or the goal.

Regardless the plans I laid out for myself today, a checklist my head was certain had to be met, I enjoyed a beautiful walk in the fall colors. I breathed in fresh autumn air until it encircled all of my insides. I fed my artsy funky side with gorgeous silk blouses in sweet potato and mustard, with dangly earrings and chunky necklaces. I caught up on the community happenings at my local café, something no self-respecting Gemini should ever deprive herself. And now I find myself talking with you. My heart is happy. My soul is fed. It has been a good day.

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