Hello! I’m truly glad you could come. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for a long time. Make yourself comfortable! I’d like to offer you a cup of warm tea … but you’ll have to get it yourself.

Seriously! Something warm in the hands. I’ll wait.

Very briefly, my aim is for us to have a conversation about the feelings and relationships — questions and discussions about the thoughts and observations we have regarding the struggles of being a person that’s trying to be a better friend, partner, parent, neighbor, or human. My personal approach is from a psychological/neurological/philosophical perspective, so, have your vodka handy.

My pie-in-the-sky goal is to post four times a week: once with a conversation piece, like this one; once with a link to a journal article, summary, and some thoughts and questions for discussion; once with an image of a quote or something funny to help us embrace our humanity; and once with work I’ve created (or found) that aligns with the theme of being human, imperfect, and beautiful. I’m hoping that, since it will align with my school and lab work, that won’t be unrealistic.

Since half of our conversation has to happen via mind-reading, I hope you’ll be patient with me and correct me when necessary because I don’t just want to imagine that I’m getting to know you. I’m more curious than you might imagine. But, not in a creepy-stalker way; there just aren’t enough hours in the day for that, and I don’t like sifting through trash cans – your neighbors are surprisingly suspicious.

Now, enough about you …

The first thing that I’d like to tell you about me is that, despite the limitations of this medium, I hesitate to filter out my dry humor. It amuses me, and I hope that it will occasionally make you laugh, too. But without the shifting eyes and barely-suppressed giggles that you’d observe in person, it may come across the wrong way … or, perhaps, the right way, without the veil of humor covering it … but either way, if you’re wondering, “was that meant to be funny?” the answer is, yes! And, yes, I’m working on it. I’m unshockingly imperfect.

My word processor is telling me that “unshockingly” is a new word. Huzzah! We’re creating new ideas already!

So, let’s formally compile the goals for this post:
1) Getting to know each other (underway)
2) Introducing you the theme for this blog (underway)
3) Creating new ideas (done and done!)

I feel like we’re making good progress.

The meandering path that has brought me to this place is long and interesting, but most of those stories deserve their own conversations. Most succinctly, the connections between all of the paths in my life are linked together by my dangerous curiosity, tears, and introspection.*

No matter where I’ve been in my life, I’ve always had the same questions: Why do we do what we do? Why are some people more motivated by something than others? What makes it seemingly easy to understand one person but so heartbreakingly hard to understand another? Is it possible to get our minds and our hearts on the same page? How do we better accept our own imperfections so that we can better love imperfect others? Does that mole look normal?

What I’ve come to realize is that those questions weren’t just ancillary curiosities as I pursued other interests; rather, my other interests have helped me flesh out the deep and broad significance of those questions.

I’m guessing that between you and me, we’re a pretty mixed bunch. I’ve had the honor of meeting so many diverse and amazing people, and if our paths have crossed I hope that you’ve tagged along to see where this crazy circus landed. For the rest of you, welcome to the party! I think you’ll fit right in.

Some of you are all in and want to explore these questions as much as I do.

Some of you are cautiously curious. You might wonder whether we should try to answer questions that seem unanswerable, or try to unwrap thoughts and behaviors that you or others might consider deeply private and/or make you feel vulnerable in a world that seems full of raging, insensitive assholes.

Some of you are 100% sure this is all new age bullshit, and that there’s no reason to mess with what works. Suppress those goddamn emotions and get on with life.

(See how long I resisted the urge to use profanity? I think I’m going to be great at this!)

No matter what questions we’re exploring, usually you’ll be wrong … but then, so will I. Probably mostly me. And that’s okay. I believe that the only real truth lies in the spaces between us and that we need each other, curious and willingly vulnerable, to shine some light on it, pick it up, drop it and pick it back up, to ask what the heck it is, and if we can’t sell it on eBay, to learn from it. So, that’s why I’m so very glad you’re here.

Next time, I’ll bring wine. You bring the cheese, the good kind.

In the meantime, comment below and tell me what camp you’re in. Do you believe that asking hard questions has value, even if it doesn’t produce actionable answers? What kinds of questions do you ask? Are you aware of anything in your life that led you to give that/those question(s) significance? And, how much do you think we should ask for on eBay?

Love you all,

* I am an Oxford comma woman, but I feel like those two needed to be together, like peanut butter and jelly, and whole-wheat tortillas. The quesadilla, reinvented.

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