Author: Nutmeg

Nutmeg & Whimsy is a creative space for the endlessly curious. Curated by writer, artist and empathetic soul, Megan.

Words From the Window Seat

Monday through Friday I take the bus to and from work. The commute occupies a little over two hours of each day. If I take the math a step further that’s roughly ten hours each week. Ten hours in a moving tube stuffed with strangers. That occasionally smells like farts.

Yes, some days the negatives outweigh the positives. Like when a clearly tortured soul feels it necessary to listen to screechy hardcore metal music without headphones. However, positives do exist. Last year I read over 30 books!

My inclination towards open-mindedness and my hobby of spinning observations into moments of whimsy suit this daily routine quite well. I visualize myself as an anthropologist. Collecting field notes. The study: The People on the Bus.

Moments of Human Connection

  • The morning after I broke up with my ex-boyfriend I felt like a fresh bruise. No part of me looked forward to the day of work ahead. I sat on the bus like a bundle of feelings bound to spill over. And spill over they did. Despite my best efforts I began to cry. I put on my sunglasses and looked out the window and hoped to stifle an inevitable avalanche of emotions. I felt a warm hand gently touch the top of mine only for a second. The hand belonged to the woman sitting beside me. She said: “Honey, I know it doesn’t feel like it right now…but it does get better.” She smiled and returned to her book. This stranger, without knowing the context of my tears, gave me a little light to take me through the rest of my day.
  • One afternoon I sat next to a retired merchant sailor on his way home after volunteering at the VA. With very little prompting he told me that his daughter recently got married. He shared a beautiful metaphor about his parenting ideas. As a little girl, he treated her like a caterpillar. Helping her to form a secure cocoon by providing her with the essentials (love, shelter, food, education). Now as an adult woman he sees her as a butterfly. Fragile, yes, however, beautiful and requiring less parental control and more patient observation from afar.  He spoke with a positive and contagious energy. He recently renewed his passport even though he didn’t know his next trip. His favorite book is Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. Mostly because of the no-name cat. His newest hobby is sculpting with clay. We met and connected in the span of thirty minutes.

Intimate & Silly Moments Witnessed

  • A mom and her young daughter sit across from each other on the bus. The little girl is fussing with her little pony backpack. The mom beckons for her to sit next to her. Closer. So she can wrap her little frame in a full embrace. The girl reluctant at first, then settles comfortably against her mom’s body. Nestling into the soft places. Instantaneously the little girl drifts into sleep. The mom tenderly brushes a hand over both small cheeks. Runs a finger down her nose. She even gently touches both closed eyelids. Smiling all the while. Lastly, she kisses her forehead. A ritual of love and connection. A practice, I imagine, beginning when her daughter was a baby. Same cheeks. Same nose. Same set of eye lids.
  • A group of Hispanic women collect in the back of the bus every morning. Like clockwork they all open their respective purses and tote bags. Pulling out flaky pastries. Opening steaming thermoses filled with coffee. They share without pause their breakfasts. Passing around granola bars and oranges to be stored for later. They seem to create a circle. A community. Stories in Spanish punctuated by belly-laughter.
  • Two gentlemen, one young, one old, eagerly wait at the back door exit as their stop approaches. The bus lurches to a stop causing the older gentleman to almost lose his footing. He grabs the side rail and rights himself as the younger man reflexively reaches out to assist him. The older man puts a hand on the younger man’s elbow and says: “You alright? Hold on now!” A beautiful execution of humility.

Sentences Overheard

  • “Now here’s a question: who invented the caterpillar?”
  • “Don’t play cards with stoned people”
  • “There ain’t nothin’ wrong with being size medium!”
  • “Tomorrow is a new salad”
  • “Your only choice is forward”

 

In Pursuit of Magic

I visited the Japanese Friendship garden in Balboa Park. A decision born from impulse. Home was only a few bus stops away. But I felt this need to marvel at something.

The afternoon sun warms the dirt path. Although tempted, I keep my shoes on. How to describe a place so instantly tranquil? As if a very clear, but invisible, line is drawn at the entrance. One gentle step from the outside and ordinary into a place of magic. A world of soft pinks and deep greens.

A sensory treasure trove.

Simultaneously, as I slowly wander, I feel quite lonely and very alive. Small in the existence of natural beauty; but, connected by the soft buzz of the other visitors. I kick up a bit of dirt.

The waterfalls appear at the bottom of the descending pathway. In a twisting of the senses, the water sounds like cold and smells like clear. I imagine if one dared to dip a toe in, it would be just crisp enough to make you say ‘oh!’

Little girls in spring-colored dresses run barefoot over the small bridges. Laughing at nothing. A beautiful and sometimes forgotten pastime. A place for child-like wonder.

A place to fall in love.

Couples hold hands as they take turns leading each other under the archway of cherry blossom trees in full bloom. The wind pulls at the petals. Some of them detach. Suspended in a sort of dance overhead. Some ritual movement as they a stay a while between the old and the new.

They fall, soundlessly, to the dirt.

I recommend the song “We Are All in the Dance/ La Meme Histoire” by Feist. Give it a play in both English & French. It crossed my mind today as I walked through the gardens.

Love,

Megan

An Insiders Guide to Spending a Sunday Successfully and Solo:

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Start off the morning by sleeping-the-fuck-in. No alarm set. Allow yourself time to fully wake up before actually leaving the heaven-fortress that is a bed. Find all the cool spots on the fabric of your pillows and sheets. Marvel at the terribleness of your breath.

Welcome to the waking world! Your hair looks…great! Now it’s time for the best meal of the day. Breakfast. Sunday is not a day for ‘quick oats’ or ‘breakfast bars’. Sunday morning deserves the cracking of eggs, the sizzling of tofurkey-brand italian sausage, and the popping of the biscuit tin. Woo yourself. Hone the culinary prowess of a breakfast cheetah. Take your time. Add extra veggies to that scramble. Feeling a bit crazy? Sprinkle in some feta.

To bring the enjoyment factor up a notch: Play a classic episode of Parks and Rec in the background. Look at you, already having yourself a best day.

Stroll to your favorite coffee shop. Revel in some gratitude for the sun warming your skin in December. Because you live in San Diego! Oh look, you have $5 in your coin purse?! A break from the norm of loose change. Mainly loose pennies. Treat yourself to a latte, or a caramel thing that so many people enjoy. Splurge and get that extra shot of espresso. You’re worth it. Maybe break out the laptop and attempt a chapter at the great American novel. Or find a comfy spot on one of those chaise lounges all the cool coffee shops own. Relax. Indulge in one of the best past times: people-watching. So many bearded men. So many handsome dogs. Let the caffeine pour over your beautiful and introspective soul! Then it’s time to leave…because you had two shots of espresso and you probably need to poop.

Cover yourself in sunscreen (yes, even in December), grab a sandwich from Sprouts, and hop on the bus. Time for a good ole fashion adventure!

Adventure suggestions personally vetted by this insider:

  • Aimless walking tour through a park (if you live in SD, you best believe I’m referring to Balboa Park).
  • Aimless wandering through the zoo. Work on your balance alongside the flamingos. Absorb the majestic and playful nature of the elephants. To bring the enjoyment factor up a notch: grab a beer and spend an odd amount of time peering into the soul of an eagle.
  • Aimless rolling down some grassy knoll as you imagine yourself a hobbit…oh the possibilities of second breakfast.
  • Aimless perusing at the farmer’s market. Follow your nose to the flower booth. Discover your favorite flower.

Arrive home and take a steamy and luxurious shower. Wash away the dirt of a day well-spent in the company of the great outdoors. Play some music. Cover your bod with something lavender or vanilla. Mmmm…like lavender vanilla ice cream.

Light some candles and slip into something sexy. Like a pair of grandma-knitted socks…and nothing else. If you feel so compelled. Or cucoon yourself in that at-home-only outfit. You know, the pair of well-worn leggings and that un-shapely cardigan you purchased in the men’s section of Target.

The rest of the evening is open for more aimless activities. Anything to enrich your mind and cradle your heart. Some ideas:

  • Work on an art project while feeding your mild netflix addiction.
  • Allow yourself to feel a little lonely while splayed on your bed. But then catch sight of the neighborhood cat outside your window and smile. The cat-straction* reminds you that your Idris Elba is out there somewhere…it’s only a matter of time. [*Distraction brought on by the appearance of a cat or kitten. Especially a kitten.]
  • Brain storm dinner ideas. Distract yourself by giving in to the need to google-image various animals you recently discovered.
  • Put on Planet Earth and make some homemade pizza. The topping options are 100% in your control. That’s fucking freedom.

Turn on some tea lights and pour yourself some whiskey. Or red wine, or tea, or hot chocolate accompanied by a pillow-sized marshmallow. Maybe salute the homemade pizza by letting out a cute little belch.

The weekend is reaching its end; however, you know just what to do to ward off the blues. Pop in one of the Harry Potter DVD’s. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban to be exact. A classic. Just like you!

Fall sweetly asleep dreaming of that alpaca farm you hope to own with your husband. Sweet dreams, Mrs. Elba 😉

It’s Not Too Late…to Give Up Saying ‘It’s Too Late’.

“It’s too late to…”

What a crippling way to start a sentence. What a terrible demotion to the human spirit.

My opinion? Let’s scrap it entirely from our everyday vernacular. Leave it behind along with ‘I’ve peaked’. Reserve these over-used and abused expressions for when they realistically apply. It’s too late to grab your camera off the kitchen counter at home  when you’re on the peak of Mount Everest.

It’s not too late to fall in love.

As you wish... Princess Bride, my brother's favorite movie:

Love is an ageless gift. If a love once new and all-encompassing ends, give yourself time to grieve. Eat cake on the questionably clean floor of your bathroom.  If that relationship was ‘all you knew’…learn some more! Here’s a beautiful opportunity to remember who you were before, examine who you are now, and reconnect with who you want to become.

If some misguided soul lies, saying: ‘It’s too late to get remarried. Your too old and you have kids and good luck removing that tattoo of your spouse.’ Meet their disillusion with: ‘it’s never too late for love. I will get remarried if I choose. I’m too old for jello shots, maybe, but not adventure. My kids are upstanding citizens and will charm the pants off the next person I choose. Besides they love me and I’m important and that tattoo is actually of my dog…so jokes on you…and my former spouse.’*

*I’ve never been married or remarried; however, I’ve watched friends and family members get married and remarried. It’s not easy on anyone; however, all of them are better versions of themselves today for acknowledging their heart.

It’s not too late to start writing again.

Writing a book.:

I began this blog because I grew tired of the nagging negative Nancy monologue in my head.

The lines go a little something like:”Megs, you peaked in high school when you wrote that play. Girl, have you seen your portfolio. Dusty.”

In an effort to drown out the negativity on loop, I resurrected some of my journals. Pieces of writing from a simpler time. An era of blissful ignorance and poetry.

I uncovered a letter I wrote in my junior year of high school. An essay of sorts asking for acceptance to the Cal Arts summer program for writing.

The essay prompt asked: “Why do you write?” A pretty broad question. Young me answered quite poignantly: “Turning my everyday observations into stories gives my life an exciting amount of purpose and beauty.”

I read that particular line over and over. A remembered mantra and it felt like home.

When I graduated college, people parachuted down from reality-land and demanded “What are you doing with your life”, “What’s your purpose?”, “Write a book or have a baby, otherwise you’ll be evicted!”.

REALLY!?! Don't Tell Amy Poehler What To Do With Her Lady Business! on <a href="/upworthy/" title="Upworthy">@Upworthy</a>

It’s taken me up until this moment to regain my voice, look these people (and myself) square in the eye and answer: “I’m growing and learning and breathing and loving – that’s what I’m doing with my life.”

My purpose? Well, for starters, I was born into this word without signing a consent form. So my purpose is what I decide upon and that may change as I grow, learn, breath and love.

As  for the eviction notice? Kindly mind your own reproduction.

Dear friends, write because it gives you purpose and helps you see beauty in pain. Write a sonnet for your cat. Write a short play about the people you encounter on the bus. Write for others; but, most importantly, write for yourself.*

You ARE a writer. Even if you haven’t published yet. Even if you may never be deemed ‘famous’. Screw the implications of fame associated with how many strangers follow you on twitter! If you entertain the ‘masses’ that are the people directly in your life, you ARE famous.

*Replace ‘writing’ with whatever hobby applies to you. Hopefully it’s not killing ants with a microscope…but you do you, boo.

It’s not too late to get active.

Some entertainment to remember during your next tree pose.:

Who cares if it’s been 100 years since you did a proper yoga session. Your body will remember if you treat it with patience and humor. I avidly participated in yoga during college. I took a chance one day and crashed a 6am class led by a 72 year old Indonesian woman. One roll on the floor in happy baby pose and I was hooked.

Recently I began missing that consistent practice. My first and unproductive action was blaming my ‘useless’ body for gaining back weight and my ‘weak’ mind for losing dedication. I also blamed Target for not selling my favorite yoga pants anymore. A girl needs a sturdy pair of leggings.

Thankfully a much anticipated revelation hit me in the core: the problem wasn’t my body (a garment that is a part of who I am…not all that I am). The problem wasn’t my mind either. The problem was Target. Kidding! The problem was that at 26, I was already resisting aging and change. I was obsessed with what my body and mind could do THEN…not the potential of NOW.

It’s not too late to create a new practice. Even if it’s mostly comprised of happy-baby pose on the floor of your office after hours.

It’s not too late.

Not even if you are 26 or 49. Not even if you’re about to celebrate year 72!

Someone in my recent past asked for my five year plan. When I gave him my truthful answer, he asked the question again. As if I hadn’t answered. As if my answer was not enough. As if he was an absolute ass-hat.

When I humored him with another answer. He actually gafawed and said ‘ok. that’s it? It’s going to be too late if you don’t do this, this, and this now’.

And when he gave the best advice of all time: | 25 Times Louis C.K. Told Everyone The Goddamn Truth:

I actually gafawed and politely asked him to ‘shut the fuck up’.

This guy was, as I mentioned, an ass-hat-douche-canoe. He decided not to humor my decisions to proceed through life without ‘not possible’ and ‘not enough’ in my vocabulary. So I proceeded right out of our relationship. Following through on my life goal to grow and learn and breathe and love…myself.

Here’s my un-asked for advice from a good place:

If your hear someone you care about burble: “It’s too late…wahhh”, sit them down. Pour them a cup of tea or a shot of tequila. Tell them about the revolutionary idea to ban that horrible sentence starter. Explain that it’s only use is to distance oneself from their very possible and worthy happiness.

Remind them that they are not alone. That you feel overwhelmed or discouraged at times too. But on other times you feel like Beyonce in a field of wildflowers.

If you catch yourself thinking “It’s too late…whyohwhy”, force yourself to stand tall. Do a few jumping jacks and a couple right-left jabs at the conjured face of an ass-hat from your past. Blast your favorite song and forge forward into the soul-gripping exhilaration of being right on time for your individual path.

With love,

Meg