I wrote the date for the first time at work the other week and immediately became giddy. Writing "2016" feels fresh. It's a clean slate for which to scribble all over. Such a cliché, I know. But, I was recently listening to the podcast Monocycle, by my favorite-there-ever-was, Leandra Medine from Man Repeller, and she quoted Ed Bernacki saying "we must master the clichés before we can truly innovate." So, I am in the mastering stage. 2016 is a clean slate. There, I said it.
What am I going to do with this clean slate? Fill it with one of my favorite things: writing and another epic vintage jacket. Even better than that, I am going to write a letter to the man who gifted me this jacket. An open letter to Mr. Brenton Mitchell. A man working on becoming a myth and quite possible already a legend. Cliche number two, just re-worked.
You just gave me the greatest New Year's Eve that I can remember. Big statement, I know. For a Holiday that prides and sells itself on being "the best night ever," it often falls short of this description. But this time, I can say those words with no hint of deception in my voice. It had everything I could have wanted in this promised night and yet so much more. An epic "Cowboy Star" vintage bomber jacket was earned from the night. Like I said, best. night. ever.
There were old friends and new ones. There was a creativity station (thank you Morgan.) There were delicious cocktails. There was a collective effort of food. There was a live version of Auld Lang Syne sung by the piano. Some of the most beautiful voices I know joined with some of the most chalkboard scratching ones. I fall in the latter category, with no shame at all. There was family. There was a fog machine. There was a strobe light from the dollar store that went beyond its expectations of the money spent. There was dancing. There was LOTS of dancing. There was a dress up box, from which the jacket in this post was discovered and gifted. There were games. There were gold sparkle leggings worn by the host in the utmost confidence. There was conversation after conversation that made the time seem like the speed of lightning. And then, there was the bonfire...
Brenton, I don't know of anyone else that could have done what you did in the last 45 minutes of the year. As a group, we were asked us to set aside our libations and join you at a bonfire. There was no resistance. We could have easily reverted to childlike whining about leaving our cocktails and the break in lively action, but no one did. Coats were handed out in a furry and we made our way to a fire.
Throughout the night a wooden box labeled "2015" was made at our disposal. We were invited to write memories, worries, anything we wanted to leave behind. These anonymous hand written notes, combined in the wooden box, were then set on fire after profound words delivered by yourself. The act of visualization is a powerful tool. My shoulders instantly felt lighter as my paper burned, floated and disappeared. Despite the couple of Moscow mules in my system, I felt cleansed of my secret anxiety. I would like to forego my anonymity now.
My contribution, the item I wanted to leave behind in 2015, was "financial woes and concentrating on what I do not have."
Perusing what makes you happy is not always the easiest route. But yet anything worth doing is hard; cliché number three. Are you keeping count? There are still financial responsibilities in my life that easily led to questioning this leap of faith. Financial discipline has taken on a new meaning. Turning down drinks with friends at an unexplored restaurant in order to save for a web site to launch a blog, it is not always the easiest choice. Picking one pleasure over another, based solely on financial reasons, was foreign to me. That is not meant to come off condescending, though I am sure it does. I worked hard in my career surrounding sports; and I was paid well for it. I will never apologize for that. I was able to embark on activities and enjoy materialistic things at really any time I wanted. During this transition, there had to be a shift in how I viewed spending. Now, before worry sets in, especially for my mother and mother-in-law who will most likely read this, Ben and I are just fine. We live a comfortable lifestyle, and if anything, where the money has diminished, love, creativity and time together has replaced it. Despite my best efforts, however, worry still finds its way in. On December 31st, you helped me burn that burden.
Bet you didn't expect that confession. Knowing you, Brenton, I bet you are so honored to read it.
After silence surrounded the burning of 2015, the floor was opened for hopes. You asked us to share, out loud if we felt so inclined, any dreams or wishes for the impending year. Vulnerability surrounded the flames as folks became open books. Cliché number four. They say actions speak louder than words, (back to back!) but these words carried power and influence. They also led to this action of an open letter. I felt the need to write after each mini share. When this impulse grows in my gut, it means I am truly inspired. You created an atmosphere of trust and respect. Those ashes of woes transformed and rained down on us in the form of promise.
Deep breaths and hugs closed the reflection period. Like rubber bands just stretch to our limits, we quickly snapped back into party mode. Dancing among friends and fog commenced and we never looked back. Thank you a million times over for a spectrum of an evening, Brenton. Only you could have orchestrated a night of such meaning mixed with the highest level of goofy. The best part is you didn't orchestrate the evening at all. You were just being your genuine self which opened the door for all of us to join in on the genuine. It is a night that will be forever remembered. Thanks to the internet being written in ink and not pencil (cliché number six), it will live on in our cyber world now too.
P.S. The jacket is in good hands in Pittsburgh.
Photos by my husband with long curly locks
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