As some of you may know, Sweatpants & Coffee just celebrated our 2nd birthday. I feel much the way I did sitting in the pediatrician’s office with my gorgeous, plump little toddler while the doctor showed me a growth chart. She pointed to a dot way out past the 100th percentile. It looked like an accidental mark from a Sharpie. “This,” she said, pointing to the last line on the chart, “is the 100th percentile.” She tapped the dot. “This? Is your child.” She wasn’t even in school yet, and my kid had received her first “exceeds expectations.” When I look at the thriving community Sweatpants & Coffee has become, I feel the same sense of gratitude I did that day. (Except I’m not currently walking around expecting someone to give me a medal for all that nursing.)
Today, I am reflecting on the small, goofy things that make me happy, which is a lot of what we do here. So, this: I was out for my evening walk when I met an elderly dachshund escapee. He was hurtling down the street as fast as his stubby legs could go, which is not very, and let me tell you something – if you haven’t seen a white-muzzled wiener dog making a frantic, gleeful bid for freedom, you haven’t witnessed real glory. I could see the fire in his eyes and hear William Wallace’s speech from “Braveheart” which was clearly playing in his head. A few feet away, his human stood watching with an expression of wry indulgence, like “there he goes again, bless his heart.” I crouched down to let the doxie press his muzzle into my hand, and I felt something healing pass between us. It was like that moment in the Bible when Jesus feels someone in the crowd touch his robe and zap! He senses some of his mojo flow out of him. I’m not saying the dog was Jesus or that I was magically cured or anything, but I got a much needed hit of happiness.
These moments obviously happened before Sweatpants & Coffee, but since embarking on this journey, I have become so much more observant and appreciative of them.
This also happened: I was getting ready to shower after a workout and had just wrestled myself out of the Gordian knot that is my sports bra, which is a considerable feat when one is tired and sweaty and gross. My friend Kathy once mused, “Have you ever had that moment when you find yourself tangled in your sports bra and you think, ‘This is it? This is how I die?’” Anyway. I noticed, stuck to my skin, a TINY DEAD SPIDER. After I’d froken out sufficiently (muffled screams, arm flapping, ritual flushing of the corpse down the toilet), I thought, “I might share this with my tribe.” Because somewhere, another frazzled, sweaty, anxiety-ridden woman will smile. And perhaps check her bosoms for stray spiders.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last two years it’s that when you expose your weird, vulnerable underbelly, when you talk about your bad temper and your depression and your appallingly lax housekeeping, people get it. You think for sure these stories will make them pick up their books and lunch trays and move to the other side of the cafeteria, but instead they nod in empathy and relief.
Be strange. Be real. Be open. And watch out for spiders.