I always wanted to be the woman with the white floppy hat.
The one with the easy laugh, where time had not made her older, but all the more delightful.
The one who carries a basket of strawberries wherever she goes, the one who frolics in fountains, the one who holds his gaze just a little too long, who doesn't care if her hair gets wet in the rain, and whose signature scent is mystery–the straight up parfum version.
For the record, more people should carry baskets of strawberries, don't you think?
The woman with the white floppy hat knows her likes and her dislikes, as well as her great loves–and never apologizes for any of it. She radiates don't-give-a-damn bravado, while at the same time, manages to be elegant, ladylike, and effortlessly cool.
She can have a temper, however, because all great women also have their fire. And with good reason, because these kinds of women have their convictions about things. They've drawn their lines, they've taken their stands, they've dug up the unapologetic confidence to embrace their beliefs–the ones that make them who they are.
I recently posted a quote up on the TMFproject Facebook page that said:
Would Cleopatra have become a legend if she doubted her beauty and power?
And as I read that quote, I thought of my woman with the white floppy hat.
The one who's only a figment of my imagination, but who is always whispering into my ear, lulling me to lean into life just a little bit more.
:: It's because of her that I started my first copywriting company, without enough money in the bank to do so.
:: It's because of her that I found the nerve to leave the house, the relationship and the stability I built, in a comfy development in Philadelphia–in favor of my pleading heart, begging me to GROW.
:: It's because of her that I first left on a whim for both Costa Rica and later Chile, not knowing who or what I would find there.
:: It's because of her that I started TMFproject–this site–almost four years ago.
:: It's because of her that I dropped everything and pirouetted across the United States in a two-door car with nothing but my music and my gumption.
:: It's because of her that I found my strength again after The Mexican.
:: It's because of her that, the following year, I showed up to live in a never-before-seen apartment in Barcelona to live with people I'd never-before-met or talked to–and ended up rekindling a romance with a Spaniard I once met in London, many years earlier.
:: It's because of her that I then took the money that friends are putting down on houses and spending on car payments, and instead, went with Kyle to France. To Patagonia. To Ecuador. And soon, Colombia. (Click on those links for scandalous photos of us at each place.)
:: And weaved throughout it all, it's because of her that I love when I am not sure I should, and love even more when I am sure I shouldn't.
:: It's because of her that I've learned to have faith in the process. Faith in the unknown. And faith in knowing that when I put my mind to something, I will succeed.
:: It's because of her that I survived.
:: It's because of her that today I thrive.
:: And it's even because of her that I sometimes work far too less, and attend happy hour far too much (that troublesome bitch), because at my god damn funeral, I don't want them to remember what I did; I want them to remember who I was. The laughter, the good spirits (no pun intended), the connection we had, and the way we felt ALIVE.
It is she who guides me.
Who helps me remember to only do the things that would make me proud of my future self; the future self who carries strawberries, and few regrets.
I'd say I can't wait to meet her.
Except I know that, deep down, she's already arrived.
Minus the floppy hat, of course–those bitches were on backorder.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
-Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver