What the Water Wants

This summer has been weird.

On the one hand, there’s been traveling, dinners out, dancing, a new friend, swimming, sleeping in, jumping out of trees, poking into new career possibilities, committing to an examination of my fears, and a cute boy to spin me around the dance floor and call me beautiful all night.

On the other hand, people are cancelling jobs left and right, I’m borrowing money, an abnormal pap smear sent me in for biopsies, my Dad called me aloof again, a very large check got lost in the mail, aforementioned cute boy turns out to not be a great communicator, and still, no life plan that makes sense to anyone.

I’m not used to so much good and so much challenge all colliding at once.  I’d arranged my teacher life to where it was either mostly stress or mostly relaxation–aka, the school year and vacations.  I’ve started to feel like someone carrying a large bucket of water, full to the brim, trying to keep it from sloshing out.

This was very much the metaphor in my head as I started warming up for dance class on Monday.  Stretching, breathing, paying attention as usual, and then bam!  An utterly disruptive question.  You know the ones I am talking about, right?  The questions that are not necessarily logical.  The questions that will lead to more questions.  The questions that are turning points.  It was all this, and yet elegantly simple: what does the water want?

I’d like to say my response was spiritual and enlightened, but it was more along the lines of, “WTF!!  I am too busy trying to hold all this to consider what ‘this’ needs.  Can my stupid brain unhook from my magical intuition for just a few minutes, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!?!?!”  But, after having what amounted to a dance tantrum, I calmed down enough to be able to consider it as more play than work.

I tried to move like water as I dropped into the rolling beats of the warm up set.  I felt my own sweat, the heat of the day still trapped in the walls and floor, and puddles of light from the overhead bulbs.  I experimented with sloshing up against the side of an invisible bucket.  I flexed and bent to feel the liquid in my wrists, elbows, knees.  The dance, as it tends to do, reached up and took me.

I was water.  And then, I had my answer.  A perfectly non-answer, answer.

The water wants to be water.

I was tempted to tantrum again.  In my very own version of Family Feud, the left brain says, “This is not an answer to which you can create action steps.  This is not an answer that you can explain to others.  THIS IS NOT AN ANSWER.”  On the other side of the board, right brain says, “But it is.  And you feel what it means even if you can’t say it in a million words.”

A request for more patience.

Hold the shifting conditions lightly little H2O molecule, everything is temporary.

Feel the fun of making a mess.

Look at who and what is around you, one of many.

You are soft.

You give life.

So much combining.

The water wants to be water.  And so, year two of Delaney Walkabout begins.



Clearing Space

Spring moves into Summer.

I’ve loved few things more in the last few years than learning to check my pulse with the turning of the seasons.  It’s an easy stirring compared to the clawing, churning, and squeezing that my brain can get up to.  I went into Spring with the clear understanding that it wanted to be simple.  However, staring at my home altar this week, I wasn’t sure if I’d “accomplished” that.  My historical default is making things complicated, and with everything in flux and in question right now, how could I have done that?

But upon reflection, I have.  It came without much effort, in the practice of clearing space.  I’ve always been one to tidy and to travel light in the world of physical possessions, but this Spring showed me that there were quite a few empty shells cluttering my heart and mind.  The ones I know about…

  • I cleaned out my classroom for the last time and cashed out my teacher monies.  “Chelsea, that’s SO irresponsible!!!”  Maybe, but I needed all the feet out of that world as I continue my exploration.  I needed to walk back on campus and feel my whole body tense, I needed to hear former colleagues in the depth of May, state testing funk, I needed to play Kaleo’s, Save Yourself, sitting in the car with my friend Liz, bags and boxes packed in the back seat.  For all my moments of longing this year: for a predictable world, for something I’m an expert at, for challenge, for kids fawning over you–there is a solid disconnect that I can’t wish away.


  • I also called a truce between myself and masculine energy, after many years of fear.  Through writing, I finally spoke of my full disappointment, betrayal, and sadness–the things that were supposed to be sturdy and protect me, did not.  But the men were wounded, and they did the best they could.  And the masculine in myself has protected me with fierce vigor in every moment that it could.  I stopped playing around with medium length hair and went full faux-hawk, I bought charcoal gray sheets, I created and held boundaries like never before, I lead in my dances, I even stopped birth control pills.  Whether this makes any sense or not, I started both calling in and becoming the man that I wanted, not the man I was supposed to want.


  • I ended it with an on again, off again lover of almost ten years.  I showed up to our last meeting as the present day me, and found that our connection was no longer there.  I said a whole afternoon of heart rending goodbyes to him, without ever saying the actual words.  I didn’t know if it would “work,” but I did the best I knew how to do.  He texted a few days ago to ask if I wanted to catch up and have dinner soon, not if I wanted to have him naked in my bed.  He heard me.  My bumbling attempt to be true, to honor both myself and our interwoven history, was received.


  • At the end of my last movement workshop in March, my friend and check-in partner James looked at me and said, “You have no trouble knowing how to let people in to your life.”  He wasn’t trying to negate my truth in the moment, but rather give me a different possibility.  I started to weep.  The tears took my old, defunct narrative–Chelsea as awkward, Chelsea as outsider–miles closer to the ocean.  The space left behind by this narrative is immense, and my eyes get big as many other nearly dead narratives start to surface around the edges of my consciousness.  A Chelsea who does not have to earn love?  A Chelsea who can leave before she is exhausted?

I wish I could give you some step by step guidance for how to make all this happen, but I can’t really, not in a way that would be as personal to you as it is to me.  But it started with the intention to simplify, and as I stand in this spacious field and turn my attention to Summer, my next altar theme appears: doors.  How can I be available and aware as opportunities present themselves, not shutting out off awareness or availability for lack of tools?

I could tell you all about the new man in my life the last few weeks, the one who will probably help me practice a lot of this, but that is for another post 🙂

Notes from the Field

Hello from Day 6 of Delaney Walkabout!  This is the title I’ve decided to give to this year, one of many heartfelt parting gifts of the school I walk away from.  Yes, that’s right, for those of you just tuning in to my saga, I have started my year’s leave of absence from public education.  People keep peeking to see if I’m elated yet, but mostly it’s just confusing.  My mind is aware that we need to start this process of discovering the new creation, but my body has said repeatedly, “Why aren’t we drinking yet?”  In my defense, that has been the reliable pattern for the last thirteen years–I was last priority during the school year, and my reward was ridiculous sloth and excess during vacations.  Doesn’t sound very balanced?  It wasn’t.

So, as I approach the end of this week, let’s recap successes in order to keep the goblins of confusion at bay:

Jobs applied for: 3.  One of the “serious” variety and two of the “not-so-serious” variety.  I’m having problems with the not-so-serious jobs however.  First,  the applications themselves.  Although Will Smith’s Getting Jiggy With It (or Getting Jobby With It if you are clever like me) is a great song for loosening up before the experience, I can’t quite get loose enough to write down my former hourly wage in the work experience section.  I contemplated writing in very small print, “Way more than you pay anyone here, but that’s okay because  I know this is a minimum wage job.”  That seemed a little condescending however and so I ended up leaving them blank, with a very respectful line drawn through the space so they wouldn’t perceive any eye-rolling tone on my part.  I also balked at putting down references.  Both my principal and vice-principal are good sports, but there is not much they can say about my ability to work a cash register or not drop plates of food (I can do both by the way, if either of you are reading this).  Finally, I can’t understand why you’d want a resume and not just an application for a retail or food establishment.  Both give you the person’s experience?  Are you trying to weed out the mature from the immature by seeing who knows what a resume is?  I’m trying to maintain a straight face when I encounter requests like these, but my brain is getting a cramp from rolling its eyes.

Jobs considered but discarded: 2.  Transcription–listen and write stuff down.  Should be easy, right?  Wrong.  It’s REALLY FUCKING DIFFICULT.  I took a test to gauge my abilities, and after 15 minutes I still wasn’t sure about the accuracy of the 16 second practice clip they had given me, although I was sure I wanted to punch sports announcer Skip in the face.  Considering the fact that the pay scale was .08-.35 cents a clip, I figured this was not going to be a big game changer in the battle to pay rent.  Next, sex texter.  It is an actual thing.  You no longer have to have a seductive phone voice to do sex work, just be good with your thumbs (ha!).  This one had real potential until I read the fine print and saw you had to send 2000 texts a month in order to get paid at all!!  The boyfriends and lovers of my past will attest that I have a great imagination when it comes to chicka-chicka-bow-wow, but even I highly doubt I can send 2000 texts a month.  Just to be sure I looked on Thesauraus.com for synonyms for ass.  Sadly, only twenty-something.  Sex texter, dismissed.

Pledges made and kept: 1.  I have never done this in my life although I’ve heard it suggested as best practice a jillion times: write every day.  I know, I know, it seems common sense, but I much prefer writing when it comes in a rush of glory and not a calamity of toe stubbing and cursing your own brain, or word hole as I sometimes call it (“Come on you stupid word hole!” is a phrase my cat actually heard me utter last night).  But, I have written for six days in a row now, and I can see the appeal even through the frustration.  The highs may not be as fancy, but the door stays open more easily, and my patience for revision is greater.  Stay tuned for how long I can stick with it, but my goal is the whole year.

Some parts of summer are of course the same.  By the time this week is over I’ll have gotten to see so many of the people I love and catch up with them.  It’s such a treat to not have to force myself to socialize with what little energy I have left at the end of a teaching day or week.  I also start the yearly summer ritual of reminding my body what green food looks like–carbohydrates and cheese covered foods being the norm in May.  Finally, tomorrow on day 7, the day God rested from creation, I’ll finally get some drinking in.  Or, as my friend Erika likes to call it, Wine in the Daytime!!!!! 

All in all, not a bad entrance into the wild.