If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know that since the fire, I’ve decided I can boil life down to four things: connection, experience, awe, safety. Wait, I think I would actually add a fifth. Sacrifice. (I’ll explain that one in later blogs.)
This fire has been one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me, and one of the best. I’ve talked about the worst, now here’s some of the best.
I have seen so much generosity and kindness over the past two weeks, I’m overwhelmed. I’m currently wearing two of the, oh, 70 pieces of clothing, shoes and belts my friend Linda donated to me from her stunningly gorgeous collection. To boot, my new wardrobe is more me than my BTF (before the fire) wardrobe. Talk about Phoenix rises from the ashes. More specifically, Jean Paul Gaultier- and blue strappy sundress-clad Phoenix.
Linda had warned me she had some clothes for me, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I arrived to a princess’ showroom of cashmere sweaters, lacy camisoles, an embroidered knee-length shearling coat, summer dresses, and The Boots that might be worth the fire alone. I stood in front of a mirror for two and a half hours as Linda draped and disrobed me while I mostly just stood there, checking out my new red-and-yellow beaded salsa skirt or my new black and white striped cashmere hoodie (for which I have now developed romantic feelings).
This is what I love about the fire: I would never, in my past 41 years, or I could never imagine in the next 47 years of my life (FYI: I’ve decided to die at 88 bungee jumping — while high on opiates — off a train bridge south of the Equator somewhere, maybe Argentina or Zimbabwe), I would have been able to allow myself to be treated that well. If my house hadn’t caught fire nine days ago, I would never have allowed such an opulent display of … love and generosity from a friend. But I had no choice. And (correct me if I’m wrong, Linda), but I think she enjoyed it just a little bit, too.
Here’s my newly acquired trait I’m hoping will stick around: self-determinism. If I’m offered kindness, I will accept it and offer gratitude in return. If I want something, I’m asking for it. If I don’t like something, I’m speaking up. If something’s not working for me, I’ll figure out a way to make it work or change it. My house just caught fire. I don’t have time for bullshit.
Love and support have been coming in from friends and strangers all over the globe. Offers of home-cooked meals, errands run, places to stay. My friend Samuel came over, dressed himself in protective booties and a mask to avoid exposure, and took photos of every possession I was about to lose, 122 photos in all. A new friend Laurie told me she isn’t working right now and to let her know what she can do with her time to help out. My next entire blog post will be about my former roommate Christine, who has opened her home to me and taken care of me like only someone who knows and loves you dearly can.
And, I finally got my flat iron.