Week 23 (Résumé Rant)

I’m currently in the throes of an all-out search for satisfying, paying writing assignments. Which at times has me popping off with all the passion and tact of an insensitive sailor suffering from Tourette’s.

It’s this whole résumé paradigm that has me ready to reformat someone’s rear end! My new credo:

When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. When you résumé, you pull a lot of stuff out of your ass and file it under the haughty French nom theoretically giving all that crap some much-needed cred.

People even adopt a bit of an accent when talking about it.

“Could you for-waaahd me your…ahem…résumé?”
“Oh, please do allow me to for-waaahd you my…ahem…résumé.”
 

And when did French become too cliché? What genius decided to get Latin on our derrières?

“Could you send me your CV?”
“My what?”
“Your CV?”
“Wait…my what what?”
“Your C. V.”
“… … Oh, my seeee…breeee…?”
“YOUR C! V!”
 
Panic! Is he saying my TV? My CD? My teepee? My green tea? My precious, tattered and worn copy of “Sense and Sensibility?” He’s not getting my TV.
 

Pardon my French, but EFF ME! Je suis désolé, but I find it all so…terriblement passé!

For nearly two decades I’ve been entrenched in one kind of job or another. And while I admit to sending out a résumé or two during some of the more stressful stretches of employment, I didn’t really feel the need to stringently maintain a summary of my work history. I thought I was happy doing what I was doing. Until I realized I wasn’t. Now, I’ve become more aware of what would truly fulfill me and make me smile every morning when the sun’s early rays kiss my soft, smiling lips.

Only people keep asking me for my TV!

(Attention prospective employers or writing project partners, here’s some of what there is to know about me: All About Me!)

Til next time! But before you go, what’s your take?

Week 23 (Crash Test Dummy)

Right now I feel as though I’m being taxied along the road to delightenment in a sputtering car. The street is as nice and smooth as ever, but I’m in the jalopiest of jalopies, a real broken-down POS that couldn’t support my journey if it wanted to. And it doesn’t want to.

Frankly, my dear, it doesn’t give a damn.

Not too long ago, this is how I was rolling along:

Hello??! Really? Ahem! Excuse me….blog in progress(?) Not long ago, that’s almost exactly what life was feeling like and sounding like and…well…bouncing around like.

Right now, there’s more of this going on:

This is how I’m waking up in the mornings:

car crash 1

This transpires around the noon-time hour:

car crash 2

And right before I go to sleep nowadays, I feel like this:

car crash 3

And while I’m tempted to push my car onto the nearest set of train tracks, recline in my seat and take a nap, I am well aware that a train would hit me. Which would hurt. Probably a lot. And since I tend to not really do the whole physical pain bit, I’ve been content to just sulk in my seat. On the side of the road. Eating peanut butter with my finger. Humming Whitney Houston’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” Car stuck between N and D in a gear I created for myself called EI, or erratic idle.

Smelling the fumes has gotten old.

What I’m going to do instead is crank the ignition again and, as they say, put the pedal to the metal. Looking out my window, I can see the road ahead is as big and wide as it always was. There are even little angels and faeries and tinkerbells clearing debris in front of me as I forge my way ahead. Objects in my rear view mirror only appear to be close to me. The more I think about it, the more I see what a crash test dummy I’m being. And I realize I cannot create my delightenment if I give up and burn out every time my engine stalls.

Right now, I’m nodding out my car window to that kinda scary looking but pleasant and energetic old transient with the squeegee who just miraculously materialized next to my windshield.

“Go ahead,” I’m saying, smiling. “Clean her off. Here’s a dollar.”

Today is about counting my blessings. And getting back on the road to delightenment again.

crash test zen

Til next time!

(Note: No one was seriously injured in the writing of this blog.)

Week 22 (Veally Vun Vay)

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mounta...

(needle scratches across entire remaining length of album. Needle arm rises with a quiet little hum and zips back into place. Another arm with a pronged end rises dramatically with a loud, stiff bang, jerkily shifts into place over the album, drops, twists, grabs album with prongs, lifts album off player, and flings it like a Frisbee against the wall. Album breaks into a hundred little pieces.)

So, I’ve come down off my Rocky Mountain high. Boulder. Beautiful city. Magnificent mountains. Fairy tale-y snow. I have no regrets. Well, maybe a couple of little ones. But, I can honestly say I’ve returned to Austin a more enlightened woman. I needed a hiatus. A sabbatical. And it was a lovely segue into what’s to come. Live, love, learn and move along. It’s what some of the most agile and erudite men of our time encourage us ladies to do, and so I shall give it the old college try!

As I sat in the airport in Dallas before the second leg of my flight to Austin from Boulder, I met a woman named Ingrid. I was carrying with me a monstrous pleather purse jam-packed with junk, my gargantuan Lenovo, my big, red GoLite jacket (as necessary in Austin as my flip flops were in Boulder) and a big Wendy’s salad. I was easily taking up five seats. Ingrid didn’t even try to hide her amusement as she sat down two seats away. I was licking the lemon garlic ranch dressing off my lips in order to apologize for all my aero-static clutter when Ingrid asked…

“Ven did Vendy’s get salad?”

Me being part German (I’m no part at all German) I understood exactly what Ingrid asked and, happy she hadn’t instead chastised me for hogging all the chairs, I quickly responded,

“Vendy’s has always had salads. Vy vud you not be avare of zis?”

I didn’t say that. Over the next half hour, however, we did talk about unhealthy fast food, Portland, Boulder, Paris, Germany, about how business people in Europe are much more direct than business people in America. We talked about Austin, our shared destination. Ingrid told me she works as an IT Engineer for a German company with offices in Austin. I told her she may as well be a brain surgeon for all I knew about IT engineering. Ingrid asked me what I do and, handing her a business card with only a scant amount of dressing on it, I proudly told her,

“I’m a writer.”

She was as impressed with my writing as I with her IT-ness. Ingrid said,

“I couldn’t vite a good story if my life depended on it.”

“I bet you could,” I said.

“I vould die,” she responded, laughing.

“I certainly could not do what you do,” I said. “I suppose it’s a good thing that everyone likes to do something different. Otherwise, we’d all be doing the same thing and so much wouldn’t get done.”

Ingrid agreed.

On the plane, Ingrid the IT Engineer sat in first class and I, the writer, in coach. She smiled and waved at me as I passed. And I thought about how every day I’m opening myself up more, learning to be more accessible, learning to listen, learning to learn. I thought about all the people I’ve met so far in my 41 years of life and about all the many people I can still meet.

I thought about my Boulder experience. About how good it was for me. About how I will always treasure those two months for what I learned about myself. About how, as Robert Frost often whispers in my ear, way does lead on to way. There may be pain along the way, but there’s no reason one has to expect it. Or dwell in it.

This is what my delightenment looks like. I decided 22 weeks ago to fully surrender to it. It may appear I’m going around in circles, but trust me…I am not. Ingrid summed it up nicely during our layover chat. She said,

“Vat might appear at first glance to be a vound trip is veally vun vay.”

Yes.

Til next time!

Week 22 (Love)

Love works in mysterious ways.

This past week was a brutal one for me. At least that’s how old Charlotte would see it. And it all pretty much centered around my love life. A love life, to me, has always been about as clear as mud. I’ve not ever really maintained one. A real love life has just never…come up.

I have had a relationship I considered “serious.” It was out of that we created our beautiful daughter. Would I call what her father and I had a love life? Partly, I suppose. There were certainly moments of love. There were flashes and phases of peace and harmony. Mainly, there was confusion and this sad, empty longing. I was 20 years old! I was…I was… Honestly, I have no clue what I was. I see so clearly now that we were letting life live us. Love–or anything like it–was just along for the ride.

Over the years, I’ve studied the friends and family I have who have been able to maintain a love relationship. Now friends, don’t fret none; by “studied,” I don’t mean anything too snoopy. Yes, I peeked into your bedroom windows in the wee hours. Yes, I hacked my way into your e-mail accounts marked PRIVATE NASTY SEXY STUFF. Yes, I put on big, dark shades over my eyeglasses, my special little black cat suit–ears, tail and all–and I followed you on your hot, romantic Friday night dates (a. How could you not see me?! And b. Please, for my sake, STOP going to Applebee’s!)

I’ve watched you. Admired you. Admired your commitment to one another, even through the difficult times. I’ve considered you a unit. A pair of one. A perfect little yin and yang collector’s item. I’ve loved looking at you from here. And I’d like to believe it’s your love for one another that keeps you there.

An old Charlotte love life is made up of extreme emotions; longing, fear, giddiness, desperation, passion, jealousy. Up down. Up down. And an emptiness that nothing seems to fill. New Charlotte wants a love life that’s constant and pure. Genuine. Powerful and passionate, yes. But not erratic and out of control. Lionel Richie sums it up for me with his lyric “Easy like Sunday morning.” That’s how I want to be. That’s how my love life looks to me.

When I began my New Charlotte project, I had no idea how it would take off. Once I made up my mind to create my world of delightenment, I had absolutely no idea the Universe would say, “Hmmm. Really? Okay girl. You sure, honey? Alright then, buckle up. Here you gooooooo!” I was really sort of focused on my unfulfilling job situation, my desire to blog and write books, my intense need to feel like I was doing something worthwhile with my life. I had no idea the degree to which everything in my life would be impacted by my new choices. I had no idea the kinds of emotions and challenges and opportunities that would end up showing up.

Last week, love worked in my life in mysterious ways. It shook me up a little bit. Challenged me. It got all up in my face, with a tone of voice and attitude remarkably similar to the one the Universe used in the last paragraph, and asked, “Do you want me? Do you really? Because I don’t have to be here, you know. I work in all these mysterious ways and I can bounce up outta here if you want!” And then love settled down a bit and smiled. It reassured me that I’m capable of having it. If I want it. And it promised me I never have to go to Applebee’s if I don’t want. “Red Lobster is always right around the corner, baby!”

A love life is new to me. It’s foreign. Old Charlotte was pretty accustomed to being alone. New Charlotte doesn’t have to be.

Til next time.

Week 21 (The Big Butt Book)

Today was my first day as a bookseller at The Boulder Bookstore. Several of the employees have worked there for more than 20 years! One of them took me on a tour of this magical kingdom. It would take me four blog posts to describe everything I felt walking through the store, inhaling the smell of bestsellers and recommended reads, standing in the middle of the historic ballroom where the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath and James Joyce once performed pieces of their writings–in word, song and then-contemporary dance–before crowds of rapt literary fiends.

Whatever, just keep reading…

My words would fail to do the tour experience justice so I shall refrain from even making the attempt.

Please, hold your applause.

But, if I could very quickly mention two of the less memorable but whole-hoggedly blogworthy moments of the tour… #1 when my charming, genial, good-natured new manager introduced me to the Adult Books section of the shop with something like a quick and muted “This is the adult book section of our shop,” it took everything in me not to ask, “And how many of the The Big Butt Books do you actually sell in, say, a month’s time?” I was good! I just followed him away from the corner uttering only a barely audible “I’ll be back.” And #2, I laughed out loud when the manager–showing me around the self-help/lifestyle/DIY area–explained with a natural sort of flair, “Here are our books about love and dating, and next to those right here are the books about weddings and marriage, then moving right along down here are the books about divorce.” Chomsky help him, he didn’t miss a beat.

It was a two-hour tour. A two-hour tour. And I loved every delicious moment of it. Some might wonder why I left a sweet, fun, good-paying, promising job as a television news producer only to wind up working in a bookstore. To them, I say…well…not much. Except read this: Creating Delightenment: Day 0. And this: Why I Left News. And this: The Boulder Bookstore. And know that I am, above all, a passionate self-employed writer and soon-to-be published author who has successfully crafted a work-world in which she is surrounded by books. Glorious books.

Not only does that sound like delightenment being created. It feels like it.

Til next time!

Butt book

Week 20 (The Pope & Me)

Today started the 20th week into my new Charlotte project!

(Switch camera…)

In other news, the cardinals named a new pope!

Coincidence? I think not.

So, congratulations are in order both for me and Jorge Mario Bergoglio–Pope Francis as he shall be called.  I’m not even Catholic and I was excited, checking my phone every few minutes wondering, Is the smoke black? Is the smoke white? Is the Vatican on fire? Is my cousin Cardinal McLennan in there sending out mixed signals again cooking catfish and collards in the Vatican kitchen?

Nope, there was definitely a new pope. Meanwhile, I’m steadily working on a new me.

Out with the old and in with the new! And for me that means new thoughts, new habits, new ideas. It means new beginnings. New places and spaces. The me who is really me, who I’ve always really been–renewed!

I can’t speak for Pope Francis, but I think trying to take on a new place in the world is a little scary. Trying to shed all the old heavy stuff, the debris you don’t need, the back monkeys and baggage, the phlegmy flubber holding you down, and getting rid of all that junk you’ve come to believe is actually the stuff that makes you you–why, that can be daunting! But–and I say this with a shrug–what are you gonna do when the cardinals of your life start papal conclaving all over your world and electing some change? That’s what happened to me about 20 weeks ago. I sorta looked up one day and saw my personal white smoke.

Granted, I was chain sucking for all I was worth on a pack of Newport 100s. Smoke is smoke. I went with it. Charlotte cardinals were voting for a new ME! And I accepted the challenge.

So, here we are–20 weeks in. If you care, here’s what new Charlotte is looking like these days: She’s wearing a long white cassock, a triple crown, a multi-embroidered sash-like drapery thing over her shoulders and she’s sporting this huge shiny gold ring that people keep kissing…oh wait…no, no, no, no that’s Francis–I can hardly tell us apart right now. New Charlotte looks the same, but she’s being a little different. She’s eating a little healthier–less whiskey and Stouffer’s, more avocados and spinach. She’s spending more time doing the things she likes to do, like writing and reading. She’s living in Boulder now, so while she’s missing her daughter she’s also really grooving on becoming the more self-assured and empowered mother she’s always wanted to be. New Charlotte is looking for new work, having a bit of a struggle in the job search, but she’s not giving up or looking back. New Charlotte is smiling as she takes risks: Skiing, meet-and-greeting, QUINOA! New Charlotte is making plans to go on an around-the-world trip with a man she loves to look at, who makes her laugh and treats her like the queen she never knew herself to be. New Charlotte knows life won’t always be perfect, but she is truly blown away by what she’s learning–how perfect life can be.

A lot has happened in these mere 20 weeks. I’m raring to create what’s to come. And like the papal rockstar I’d like to think I am for the moment, I’m stepping out onto my balcony before my throng of supporters in my St. Peter’s Square, I’m spreading my arms wide, addressing my crowd in the language of my East Austin youth (uh…English,) asking you to bolster me as I journey into these next 20 weeks. The smoke has cleared and each day I’m seeing my world a little more clearly.

Til next time!

Week 19 (Brian’s Song and The Bible)

God works in mysterious ways. But, so does my friend Da’Rayvelle Crenshaw who wears bolo ties and eats the entire sunflower seed–shell and all.

It’s Sunday. For me, growing up, Sundays were pretty much about one thing only–Springdale Church of God In Christ. Springdale COGIC was this big, white, rickety wooden structure on Austin’s east side on Springdale Road.  Every Sunday a bunch of us black folks (and the occasional off-beat-clapping visitor from “off the street”) would send that rattletrap sanctuary throbbing and swaying with our singing and shouting and hallelujah-spouting!

And when I say us I mean them. I wasn’t much into the whole God/Jesus/Worship affair. For me, that entire religious experience–which went on for pretty much my entire childhood–was grueling. The scary speakings in tongues, the bible drills and 6-hour sermons about eternities in hell, the dramatic baptisms and communions…it just wasn’t my thimble of grape juice.

Not to mention we had to be up at the crack of dawn every Sunday for Sunday School and back to church every Sunday evening right before the ABC Sunday Night Movie of the Week came on. I never got to see “Brian’s Song” all the way through.

#TheBible. It’s trending! — Charlotte Moore (@CharlieMo444) 3.10.13

I don’t regret not loving my religion. My mom was sharing with me a route to God she treasured and loved, and I love her for that. It simply didn’t work for me. Now that I’m older, though, I’m wishing I had a stronger relationship with God. I have a sense of what God is to me–much less media’s humanoid with a big, blaring, booming voice and more of a kind and gentle moving spirit. I see God as a part of the universe–possibly Universe itself. I believe God is this divine source of electricity we can plug into that gives us the energy and power we need to get through our lives. That’s just what I believe. It’s how I can make sense of it for me.

The trick is staying plugged in to that source when times are good. And when times are bad. How do I stay connected to God when my body or my heart or my head hurts? When I’m confused or afraid? When I’m angry? I know, those are the times I should be duct-taping the end of my spiritual extension cord directly into God’s throat. But I forget. And I try to go it alone. And it doesn’t really work.

Right now, I’m reading Imamaculée Ilibagiza’s “Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.” After that, I’ll read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s little book, “Getting in the Gap: Making Conscious Contact with God Through Meditation.” I’m sure other books like these will follow; I didn’t love going to church growing up, but The Holy Bible is actually a compelling read, so maybe I’ll revisit some of the books in it.

And no, New Charlotte is not becoming a holy roller. Holy rollers don’t drink whiskey all that much, I don’t think, so I’m pretty sure you won’t see me hittin’ the block with many of them. But, I’m fairly certain I can’t get where I’m trying to go alone.

It would be so nice, though, if all of it were much less mysterious. I mean, God is all-powerful, right? Can’t he just, like, lay it all out clean and clear for us while we’re at Sunday School so we can kick back Sunday night with our cheese puffs and Pepsi-Cola, James Caan and Billy Dee? Works for me.

Til next time!

Week 19 (MF-ing Delightenment!)

Follow me, if you will, back to my childhood. I grew up with two brothers. So, not surprisingly, those days of yore were filled with the most awful kind of cuss words:

  • Dangit!
  • Shoot!
  • Dummy!
  • Stupid!
  • Stupid Butt!

and the combo slur…

  • You stupid-butt dummy!

Like any mom with more than one kid in the house, my mom tolerated many of our epithets with bored irritation, but for some reason when we dared call one another a fool, Mama would go off.

“What have I told you, Charlotte? I told you not to call anybody that!” It was a biblical thing–something about burning in hottest hell for all eternity if you either a.) killed somebody or b.) called your fool brother a fool.

Of course, fool became our most treasured cuss word. We would secretly lob it at one another whenever we could get away with it.

  • Time to wake up…fool!
  • Good night…fool!
  • Move out of my way…fool!
  • Gimme my marbles back, you stupid dummy…fool!
  • Mama told me to tell you to get in the house…fool!
  • Pass the Grey Poupon, fool!

When I got older, imagine my surprise to learn that other kids were cussing like they did on HBO and Cinemax! Real cuss words like (bleep) and (bleep) and mother(bleep)er. I was thunderstruck! We were 16 years old, my friends were cable-caliber cussers and I was still whispering the word fool behind my mama’s back. I swear, it wasn’t until I was about 36 years old that I could confidently cuss without looking around to see if Mama was standing there, hand on her hip, beckoning me over with a bible and a switch.

F*ck the days of yore, come back with me to 2013. I’m still not what you’d call a habitual cusser. Upset, arouse or entertain me enough and I might release with the b-word or the s-word or an a-hole. Overall, though, I tend to keep the dialogue pretty G-rated. Plus, I’m trying to create some delightenment over here! And, until this week, I didn’t believe bad words would be existing in the fully delightened world of my creation. You never heard of Gandhi calling Mother Teresa a dirty c-word , b-word a-wipe, and while the rumor is that Mother Teresa did have a trucker mouth, you never actually heard her cuss, either. So, in my mind, there are words that the delightened just don’t say.

That was before this week.

This week, I watched this clip of Tony Robbins talking to a crowd of what seemed like a bunch of oldish, fuddy-duddy, tepid-looking Australians. Now, Robbins is one of today’s most prominent self-help authors and motivational speakers. I’d only really ever heard him do his coaching on network television. He oozes easy confidence, enlightened power, refined suavity, and when he flashes those healthy white horse teeth, you feel safely enveloped in this sort of Mr. Rogers-meets-Hulk Hogan security Snuggie.

Um…so…when Robbins dropped the “F” bomb in front of all those old people I about choked on my Sour Cream and Onion Pringle. When he asked the middle-aged women at the microphone when the last time was she “blew her husband,” I…I…I…I poured out more Pringles, got me some dipping hummus, and really, really started to pay attention thinking Fool, this s-word just got good!

I don’t think I’ll ever be an all-out cusser, but I am glad to know that I’m okay with a little salty language existing in the world I’m trying to create for new Charlotte. Yes, I believe an occasional bad word or two or seven will fit quite nicely in my sparkly new living space.

Still, though, I’m glad my mom doesn’t follow my tweets, Facebook posts or read my blog. Ain’t nobody got time for the kind of mama drama that would come with all that!

Til next time!

Week 19 (Work From Home My @$$!)

What I would like to know is…who are all these people who are working from home???

Here we go again with Mayer drama! See my tweet — Charlotte Moore (@CharlieMo444) 3.7.13

Ever since Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer sent out that edict saying she wanted her employees to be at work, there’s been this national outcry! Employed people with swords and shields rising up as one, marching together by the millions in mob-like, mirage-y fashion, tops of heads then shoulders and torsos becoming visible over faraway green hills as workers unite, on their way to Yahoo headquarters to confront Mayer and spit upon her insensitive, wacko, craaaaazy new requirement.

What the…?

Ok, I have a question…do you work from home? Who are all these people doing professional-level jobs from their La-Z-Boys? I consider myself to be a professional. I’ve worked in a professional capacity for more than 15 years now. And the only time it was “chill” for me to “go ahead and work from home” was either when a half-inch of snow hit the Austin metro area (think Apocalypse Now) or when I called in sick the day after my birthday complaining of a sore throat and shingles. Guilt always made me suggest I do a little “word processing” or “research” from my “death bed.” And even then, you know I didn’t work from home.

By contemporary definition, the term “work from home” really means “watch The Price Is Right in bed while eating Fruit Loops right out of the box followed by underwear dancing to Shakira in the living room followed by a Facebook-a-thon from a corner table at Starbucks until 4:15 pm when you head out to beat rush-hour traffic and avoid a red-light run-in with a co-worker, or worse, your boss.”

I’ll admit something here. I’m jealous of people who get to work from home. I once even seriously contemplated getting pregnant just so that toward the end of my first trimester I could suggest a work from home situation which would have allowed me to comfortably do my job free of harsh lighting and bothersome co-workers, sip my whiskey and produce at my own pace.

I guess I do sympathize with pregnant women, women who’ve recently given birth, really introverted men with high waists or people who are dealing with health issues that make it easier for them to work from home. But, for employees who have apparently just kinda had it made for years driving about…oh…ZERO MILES to get to work every day and clocking in…oh…in the BATHROOM…I don’t know. I say if your boss tells you you’ve got to work from work…well, go warm up the car buddy. Or get another job. Or be your own boss, create whatever professional delightenment you’d like, and let yourself and all your other personalities happily work from home.

Problem solved!

Til next time.

Week 18 (A Slippery Slope!)

White men can’t jump. And black people can’t ski!

It’s trending! See my tweet — Charlotte Moore (@CharlieMo444) 3.6.13

That’s the general racist consensus. But, in the world of delightenment, words like can’t can’t exist. (Hee hee.)

Take skiing. Before my new Charlotte project began, I’d never gone skiing. In fact, about 20 years ago, I’d pretty much reached an agreement with myself that skiing was just not an option. I told myself skiing would simply not be an item in my repertoire of Charlotte performances. The net sum of it: Charlotte can’t ski.

Well, guess what? New Charlotte can ski! New Charlotte did ski this past weekend!

Sort of.

I mean, for sure it’s slow and ugly. It’s sloop-footed, knock knee’d and snow plough-y, no doubt. It’s accompanied by tear-soaked goggles, fright nausea and preceded by temporary ski cap to ski boot paralysis. It’s on Eldora Ski Resort’s Tenderfoot Trail where babies as young as eight months old take the slope with an unnecessary show of courage and skill. New Charlotte’s skiing is done with her skis locked into the skis of her boyfriend who’s really doing all the S-work and speeding up and slowing down. New Charlotte’s skiing is powerfully uncommon. But, Charlotte can ski.

At one point, I thought I had Tenderfoot figured out. There I was, at the top (yes, I would like to call it the top) of the slope (yes, I would like to call it a slope.) With knees bent, poles to my side, urine remarkably cold, I take off down (yes, I would like to call it down) the mountain (yes, mountain.) I’m going what feels like 45 miles per hour, swooshing past baby bibs and pacifiers, spraying up powder (Johnsons & Johnson baby powder, that is.) Yes! I almost fall but I nail my first turn. “Yaaaaay!” shout my friends up at the top. I slide easily around a man in a wheelchair, zoom past a nursing mom and a “Watch Me Ski” battery-powered doll…Yes! Turn two, nailed. Now, kidding aside, Tenderfoot Trail really is where they teach the toddlers to ski. It’s not steep at all. To be completely accurate, there is an instructor with a line of about seven or eight little kids taking the slope with ease and proficiency. And there’s me. A 40-something-year-old black woman in a bright red jacket and Jolly Green Giant goggles ski-flopping past at three miles per hour like I’m coming down off bath salts, one ski pole pointed east, the other stuck in my hair, and here–I’m sorry, the word can’t is the only word available to me for this–I literally can’t stop after my last turn. My friends shout at me to “SNOWPLOUGH!!!” but by this point, I’m really hearing nothing except the Lord’s prayer which I’ve involuntarily begun to scream at the top of my lungs. When I open my eyes, I’ve come to a dazed and confused halt at the head of the parking lot about three inches from the grill of a Subaru Outback.

It may be freakishly fatalistic, but New Charlotte can ski.

Here’s the thing: what good does a word like can’t do for you? The word can’t only shines harsh, incandescent light on some thing or idea or activity that you’ve told yourself is not a possibility. And who needs that kind of limitation?

I say jump white men! White women, too. Jump! And black people ski! I mean, don’t go crazy with the jumping and skiing…take it all slowly and sensibly. Skip first, then hop, then jump. And take a proper ski course before you mount anything as treacherous as Tenderfoot Trail (those kids get perturbed if you appear to not be taking the sport seriously!) But do it! And be delightened by it!

Til next time.