My trip took me from Hawaii to Singapore then Bali and Japan. I can honestly tell you after many years of commercial airline travel across the pacific, I experienced a plane ride I was sure I would not live through complete with screaming passengers and a snack cart serving Cup-o-Noodles. For weeks I was in Indonesia. At first it was great. I read and cruised around and was so ready to volunteer at the school. The volunteering fell through at the last minute and they kept my money. You usually pay in some way to travel and volunteer. In a way it worked out, I met a driver who had a friend who had an english tutoring school. I was able to accomplish a small part of my mission. I had time to walk, a lot and read, a lot. There was more trash than I had seen on beaches and piled on street corners. There were large packs of dogs, “Balinese tigers”, that lounged and ate the trash. Bali has beautiful temples and a ceremony everyday depending where you are on the island. There are some things I had never seen. Trees with skirts because they have spirits. Lot’s of honking when going over bridges, to let the spirits know people are driving over them. Beauty that took my breath away. Delicious vegetarian food. And more people on a single moped that you can imagine. I saw a family of five on one moped. Amazing. I read and walked. For 21 days, it was just me. I went to yoga and a documentary about bees. I spoke with strangers from all around the world.
I was disappointed about the volunteering. I was getting lonely in this place. I was wondering why I would travel so far from home to do things I could do at home. I had beaches. I had trash I could pick up. I knew students I could help. I also had a little boy that I was missing terribly. But something bigger was happening that I didn’t realize yet.
I got my first tattoo as soon as I was legally able. I have had many tattoos since then. All but one from different women artists. There was something about that. Each had a specific meaning to me and most were easy to cover up. That was important. Inside though, I had always wanted a sleeve of tattoos. But that is not what a (insert self-defining role here) would do. For me the roles that I would no longer be good at due to my ink were: mothering, teaching, success, business savvy and being well-educated. The voice calling the shots was very vocal about my goodness directly related to how people perceive me and people with tattoos are not perceived well (all in my own mind). I have met smart, happy people who are also great parents and have tattoos. But I’ve got my crazy. As the voice got louder, the more I thought about the sleeve. Then something in my growth at the time allowed a different train of thought and it asked why? Why would you not be a good person if you choose to adorn yourself with permanent body art? Why does what other people think of you matter so much? Why can’t you allow yourself to do what you want? Why would your mothering skills change if you had an arm of tattoos?
While in Bali, I read an article in a local magazine about the tradition of tattoos. This article stated a cultural belief “a man without tattoos is invisible to the gods” an Iban proverb, Sarawak, Malaysia. Knowing the depth of my own belief system, ultimately I want to know the gods and be known to the gods. This was a subconscious factor that drove me so far away from home. To know thyself. And in two sentences it all became very concious.
I am owning my crazy. I am owning my self-doubt and self-judgement with slight narcissistic tendencies.
I was going through a challenging spot in my life and I gave myself permission. I allowed myself to get a half sleeve. I had multiple consultations and the half sleeve was done in two parts and took HOURS. And it hurt. I sat or laid there for hundreds of minutes accepting my choice in this. I could still wear many things and no one would ever know it was there. I could pretend I didn’t have it.
I went to Bali with this half sleeve. It is pretty. Big red poppies because I woke up from a sleep, not for a drug reference but for a reminder. On this island in SEA, it was humid and no one knew me so I had no reason not to let my flag fly. A lot of people stared at me, tried to touch my arm, asked if I wanted more. I would keep walking. But I did want more, I wanted the whole arm.
We float in the world. Like a dandelion that just had a gust of wind scatter it around. If we don’t tether ourselves to someone or someplace, where will the gust take us? How far can you go when you just let yourself float? This idea used to scare me. I tried to gather up all the false securities and creature comforts I possibly could because I didn’t want to look at the impermanence of life head-on. Then I had no choice but to face it. And now I make that choice to face it. And my arm of tattoos reminds to take a hard look at all that I have and how quickly it can change. And I float like the seed caught in a breeze. I do my best to appreciate and share all the love that is out there for all of us.
My tattoos are just that, mine. They have meaning to me and when I try to hide them I am not being true to myself and my nature. People may love them or hate them or care less about them. Ultimately, we are all just floating on our own breeze. And we need to make our own choice of how we want to be.
In these days of “what have I done with my life”, my newest ambition (not entirely fleshed out) is to become an audiobook narrator. Let me preface with why I feel I am qualified to voice act books to the general public and not only my captive audiences.
I have read the first six Harry Potter books out loud to my son in the past two years. From first foot in Hogwarts to Dumbldore’s death, voiced through colds and weariness. I had to stop at six because life in Harry’s magic world was becoming too gruesome for my little guy. Seven awaits on the shelf. I have read many books to my middle schoolers over the last eight years. Honestly, I have read The Alchemist out loud so many times the pages are separating from the binding. Granted some books were repeats, but still aloud to the most disconcerting bunch of humans, the incredulous middle schooler. I have to mention that reading aloud one day to my favorite eight grade class, I was told I have great knees. An interruption of the finest caliber and truth ;). I also read the weekly Rob Brenzy horoscopes to my coworkers and my lovely assistant/counselor/confidant.
For the back story, my personal bibliophile tendencies were aptly honed early due to my singular childhood existence. Reading was a hobby and friend and to this day holds untold fortunes of knowledge that I continue to appreciate and hunt. I think armed with my love of reading I could make it in the reading-out-loud actor guild. And maybe not as my primary career. I am thinking a back up for my fledgling real estate entrepreneurship.
In full disclosure, I do look for alternate routes often. Probably because I am a variety seeker. Or I have a short attention span, or life is too short not to daydream about all the fun things I could do. So, my next viable step is to google this newfound potential passion.
Holy bazooks! This is not an easy type of gig. I cannot just plop down on the couch and record my eloquent verbiage. It’s hardcore. There are many websites explaining the fierce competition and hours of read-acting classes. My little nugget of hope is promptly dashed to a fleck of hope. I hold in my back pocket the desire to read obscure literature. Maybe things that people won’t admit they want read to them. Like instruction manuals, IKEA directions, computer tech help. But my further research accords a view into a cut throat realm of reading that I am not entirely sure I am up to. Maybe, just maybe, I should concentrate on real estate. And just as I am floating in my read acting bubble, I get business!
I have actually written and submitted TWO different offers on behalf of buyers. I know! Making my way. Learning the ropes. The first offer scared me so much, I had to pull out all my notes, light candles and have a glass of water at the ready for my nervous dry throat. It went okay. I made a couple of errors. One buyer backed out, after proclaiming it was “killing” her to let it go. Which brings up a funny thing, people and their words do not necessarily match their actions. Common problem I have experienced. It makes my internal creed of doing what I say I am going to do solidify each time I see and experience a fellow human do the opposite of their words. The other buyer is still waiting to hear back from the listing agent. Fingers crossed.
As a reflective human, I often wonder “what have I done with my life”. And I don’t think that questioning myself is entirely pointless. Some dense self-doubt and guilt has come of it as well as some clarity and calibration of my intentions. This new adventure of real estate has my committed energy and my scheming back-up plans may remain daydreams for the time being.
For the record, I have been reading a lot lately. It’s all the time I have not grading papers. My recent reads from last month, #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, both gratifying reads in their own way.
Spring is here with gusto this week. The tress are greening and the bulbs are bursting and Eugene is alive with new growth. The weather has been fabulous! Sunny with longer days. There is a flurry of activity as we all come out of our winter coats. It’s great. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sun.
With all the spring-ness abound, it is open house frenzy. My office had 5 open houses that I advertised on Facebook for this weekend. Not only am I a newly licensed real estate broker, I am a social media specialist, wellness and service coordinator and office liaison. So, I have my hands full with real estate. Anyway, I help brokers advertise their open houses and this week I was able to get one of those open houses. Woot!
The house: Built in the last decade, impeccably maintained, clean, organized, decorated, well-cared for, pleasant. It is in the back of a new-ish subdivision and has no neighbors across the street because it is protected wildlife area. Essentially, you walk out the front door and see green wetland wilderness that will not be developed. The house smelled fresh and had an inviting feel.
I was doing this for another broker because I have no listings of my own at this moment and it makes me feel like I am doing something productive. Kind of. The owner was there when I arrived and she was polite and left quickly. All my directional signs with balloons were leading the way to this gem. It took people awhile to actually make it over. I was there for about 45 minutes alone. But, it had wifi. This is good for a couple of reasons. First, when no one is touring the house I can do work like schedule posts and work on my business social media. Second, I can have my MLS up and be able to prospect and work my client profiles. I was pleased for the wifi 🙂 I often think of life before internet. What a huge change in the real estate industry and education and life and our culture due to this intangible creation that we now all rely on. And this makes me think of the invisible nautilus that is in the great tide pools at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Groups of people standing out to see something that is literally invisible. This is how I think of the internet, invisible, yet so extremely awesome. Sorry, I digress.
After 45 minutes, a couple walks in and they really like the house but they need RV parking. Sorry, not this house. As I am talking to them I am thinking how I need them to sign the guest card. But I really don’t want to ask them. Instead, I give them a flyer I made which has my picture and contact info. I feel this is like a card. After the last round of hounding for a guest card my heart is to in it for their info.
Next, these two middle school boys walk in. They are checking on the number of bedrooms. I wonder should I be suspicious? But, in my past life I dealt with this age group daily and they are actually sweet boys and one of them went to Borneo (cool). We walk around and chat about what they are looking for. They leave with a handful of candies, I didn’t have time to get the cookies. I know, I know.
Then this couple comes in. It’s there first open house ever. How cute is that? They walk around the kitchen, which is big and spacious. Another couple with kids walks in and I greet them. The first time couple meanders upstairs. I talk to the family and they are checking the house out. They leave with my flyer. The first time couple come back downstairs. They are kind of whispery. Another couple comes in. They are up from Roseburg, know what they want, have a broker, take a flyer and leave. The first time couple is outside walking around the house. Another couple comes in from across the street. They want to buy a second home, pre-approved, just haven’t found the right spot. We chat about the school their kids go to. I tell her you have my info on the flyer. I have had not one person fill out a guest card.
The first time couple comes back in. I ask how its going for them. They have a look about them. The wife wants it. This is the “one”. Now, it’s a crazy market here. Things sell fast. I ask if they know this. They do. Their broker texts as we are talking. The wife steps outside to take the call. She comes back and gets the husband to talk to their broker. I overhear “docusign” and “do it today”. They are excited and that made me excited. I mention to the wife that the luck on their very first open house and she says this is their first home purchase ever. First open house, first home and they are making the decision right in front of me. This makes me think, what if they didn’t have a broker and needed me to make the offer for them. Could I do it? Well, the broker I am doing the open house for, a potential mentor, could help me. But it stressed me out. These super nice people who really want this house, could I handle that for them?
Well, they put in an offer and they backed out of the counter offer. That energy they had and the look on their faces was pretty cool, I was really hoping for them. After looking and waiting to find something you really want, but as I am quickly learning it is hard to be sure about anything in real estate. It can be a long road and have many turns and this couple may make multiple offers on multiple homes before the find the “one”. I have learned that you must wait until the funds are disbursed and the keys are in hand. Still, it was pretty neat to be in the company of two excited, home buying hopefuls. And it was great for me to reflect on my abilities. Can I handle the excitement and hopes of people who may not get want they want? The pressure of letting people down if their offer is beat? Writing the offer? I have been in this for three whole months. That’s nothing in the lifespan of a career, have patience grasshopper.