This post is sponsored by Hallmark Signature. No ordinary card for extraordinary people.
In this age of bright blue lights reflecting off of shiny foreheads, there is something to be said about real-life community. And maybe even more-so than community, which can be a buzz word. It’s about people who reach out the arm’s length it takes to make one feel like they’re part of something.
When I was in college, shuffling back and forth from the tip of the Bronx to the edge of Brooklyn, I spent a lot of time with myself. Unlike my mind now, that often pieces together bits of stories throughout the day, my mind back then was tired and restless. Still I had to stay the course of a one-way street. It was a weird time for me. I had friends, loyal ones, who broke day with me, hopped turnstiles, and gathered my things and moved me from apartment to apartment. Now they are my children’s aunts and uncles, godparents, and babysitters. But my daily travels, the single trips, became such insular experiences, that despite the friendships I had at that time, I felt I only had me. In some strange way, I felt that pushing through the nothingness would make me more resilient. It sort of became the story of my being, I guess. And what I have found is that we all share some version of this drive; still wearing it, displaying it, is something of a totally different nature.
Unexpectedly, almost a year ago, I met Alexa, a fellow writer, musician, and magic mother of two twin boys, West and Lou. At face value, her story looked like that of many born-and-raised New Yorkers. She was downtown with dark jeans and dark hair and wide-brimmed hats in the winter. In the summer, she wore soft bohemian dresses pulled by the wind. We got to know each other, and I found in her was what I found in myself: That insular and sensitive personal journey.
I didn’t see it as grief. Or maybe I did? The confusion reminds me of Joan Didion:
“People who have recently lost someone have a certain look, recognizable maybe only to those who have seen that look on their own faces. I have noticed it on my face and I notice it now on others. The look is one of extreme vulnerability, nakedness, openness. It is the look of someone who walks from the ophthalmologist’s office into the bright daylight with dilated eyes, or of someone who wears glasses and is suddenly made to take them off. These people who have lost someone look naked because they think themselves invisible.”
Alexa didn’t lose someone; though I now realize that there were days when she thought she would. Her son, Lou, a year before we met, called the hospital home; but today he is a fiery and wild cancer survivor, with the funniest personality to match. During our relationship, Alexa and I have unveiled our almost-collisions. When I was riding that train, feeling alone and blossoming too, so was she. When I was in the throws of loss, she was in the hospital, writing music on a baby grand piano by her own baby’s bed side. We all have our own version of pain, and in those stories waits inspiration and perseverance to get up, get going, and get it done. Make it magical. Make it evolutionary.
We joke that we are more like sister-wives, burying our stories within each other over morning coffees and crusted eyes. And other women need the stories of mothers who find inspiration and community. They need the stories of women who find the light and do, and in-turn, become the light for others. We all need that hope.
I’m honored to have partnered with Hallmark Signature and their beautiful designed cards. For my friend, Alexa, I wanted to say thank you for letting your light shine. I chose a cream card with gold embellishments, a white envelopment with gold foil. It reminds me of the serenity and peace found in people who push through and make it to the other side, all the while, freely giving out their own light.
There are only FIVE more days until Christmas! Grab your cards and write a note, and tell people how much they’ve inspired you this year. Click here to find a Hallmark Signature store near your!
This post is in partnership with Hallmark Signature Cards. Thank you for supporting our partners.