Gladly Beyond

When My Love Awakes

by Cris Gladly on April 10, 2014

image by Pablo Picasso

image by Pablo Picasso

I remember when he and I first met,
I would wait for him to wake up
on the other side of the world.

Time zones have always been a formidible foe in our relationship,
relegating us to very opposite worlds:

opposite seasons
(him in autumn, when I’m in spring),

opposite times of day
(night approaching in my world as the sun rises in his).

But as our rhythms slowly but surely started synching,
despite the 9,349 miles between us,
I would start to intuitively sense him
as my day reached mid-afternoon.

I’d begin to anticipate him awaking
in his world Down Under.

Back then, we were still communicating on a dating site,
and, as I learned to master the timezone difference calculation,

I figured out the exact right time to peek online
to see if he was there.

And if he was, my breath would catch
and I would blush deep down to my toes
and jump offline as fast as I could,
like I didn’t want him to catch me peeking at him.

And after I shut my laptop window down in a flurry,
eyes wincing and shoulders shrugging up to my ears, like “eek!”,
I’d just sit there, blushing … grinning happily to myself,
excited and content to know he was up and moving about in the world again.

photo by Rudolf Bonvie

photo by Rudolf Bonvie

Nearly a year and half later … I still do this!
In fact, today is one of the days when I still do this.

Only, we abandoned the dating site ages ago.
These days, we text/email/Skype/call/(and, when we’re lucky, visit in person)
These days, I have my EST clock and his Sydney clock ticking away
side by side on my phone. Always.

Around 3:30pm my time, I start peeking
to see if he has awoken and checked his messages yet.

Is he sleeping in?
Is he up early for yoga?
Will he message me before he catches the train?
Or will be need to dash in straight to work?

I keep the EST/Sydney clock app open as I go about my work day,
and I watch it with girly anticipation;
I watch, and I smirk, and I blush, and I wait …

three more hours until he wakes up …
two more hours until he wakes up …

my “count down to Christopher”.

image source: pinterest

image source: pinterest

Of course, now,
I have a mental picture to go with my anticipation,
because my heart-and-soul-and-body have been to see him in Sydney.

I’ve been in his world, in his house, in his room, in his bed.

And so, now, in my mind,
even from all of these miles away,
I can close my eyes and pretend I’m peeking through his bedroom door,
watching for him to begin to stir,
quietly going about my business in Life until he does.

And I grin, and I grin, and I grin, and I grin.

There is something so deeply comforting
about knowing when this man that I love
is awake in the world.



On My Word

by Cris Gladly on July 15, 2013

photo by Mil Ranon

photo by Mil Ranon

Late last night I accepted a challenge.
One that makes my stomach bottom out.

Because if I do not meet this challenge by Jul 29 …
I have to make a $5 donation to the NRA.

The theory behind the challenge being this:
when we do not put our work out in the world
(especially work meant to positively change hearts and minds),
when we let our fear silence us
(as I confess, I have hugely let my fear silence me),
our silence, in effect,
is SUPPORTING the very things we say we oppose.

The ills of the world occur,
not because of the actions of random dark souls,
but because of the inaction of hundreds and thousands of people
who stand complicity silent and ALLOW those dark things to occur:

people who see racism occurring and say nothing,
men who see women being raped, abused and harassed and say nothing,
adults who see children being harmed and say nothing.

Those who turn a blind eye to cruelty and oppression of any kind.


The step I have to take to meet this challenge is nothing dramatic.
It is “giant and scary” only to me,
but it is the first step toward putting my voice and my true work out in the world,

and though most of my work in the world is tethered to gender issues,
a $5 donation to the NRA
was a stomach-churning enough symbol to drive the point home to me.

If you are not actively putting your love and talent
toward what you value and believe
you are inadvertently supporting its direct opposite.

photo by Pierre Pedelmas

photo by Pierre Pedelmas

I am posting about this challenge because:

a) I found it so compelling when it was presented to me,
(my entire body went cold when it was mentioned)
I thought you might find it compelling, too,
and reflect on it your own way; and

b) I wanted to up the ante
by publicly acknowledging that I’ve taken this challenge on.

I will not tell you what the challenge is,
but I will share whether or not I successfully meet the challenge.

And I promise to be honest.

The “lost choice” is a myth.
Inaction IS a choice and its own action.

The work I long to do in the world SCARES me.

I feel small ALL the time.
I feel irrelevant ALL the time.
I feel isolated and lonely ALL the time.

I think: “no one wants to hear what you think” daily.

My fear silences me.

When I started this post,
I was writing it nonchalantly on Facebook.

Because it feels safer to post a thought there
then to “publish” a thought here on my blog.

There I’m a “peer”.
Hitting publish on my blog has a different energy.
It isolates my voice, singles me out.
It is me claiming my space.
That is scary.

But I accepted this challenge.
And I am a woman of my word.

I … am a woman of words.

So, July 29.
Two weeks to meet this challenge.

I accept the terms.

What are YOU holding back on in life?
And what negative thing in this world is served
by YOUR inaction?

I invite you to ponder the challenge I’ve accepted
and think about what the equivalent of it would be in your world.

Feel free to take this challenge on with me, in your own way.
Post in the comments if you want to join me in this.

Just know that your word is your word.
Will you honor it?


p.s. thank you to Heather Day for issuing this profound challenge to me. You are Springtime, my friend.


UPDATE: Aug 3 — Woo -hoo!!!
I’m pleased to report that I did, indeed, successfully meet my challenge.
My first attempt at completing it got derailed
(despite 3 days straight of me pouring hours of work into the effort).

But things always go as they are meant to

and the derail prompted me to go another direction entirely,
one that brought me back to my foundation of being a woman,
not only passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless in this world …
but also a woman madly in love with stories and words.

“If you are an interesting story, I would like to know you.”
This is my tagline. This is who I am!

I love writing!

And I’d forgotten the LOVE part of it
(the JOY part of it)
in the shadow of trying to figure out
how to best use my words to help better the world.

This shift in course has started a domino effect
of me re-strategizing several projects I’ve been working on …
seeing a new, exciting way to creatively tie them all together.

But, isn’t that how life always goes?
It’s always the knocks off course that help us find our truest path.

And so … onward.

This challenge was simply the first step toward something.
Now, I keep walking!

I SO hope that YOUR challenge (if you took one on, as well) went successfully, too.

p.s. Sorry NRA, no donation for you!!! :)


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Her Hair Smells of Ashes

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