The Go Big Or Go Home List

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A few years ago I did a project here, called “30 Days of Weird.” You can probably find it like two posts down because I haven’t touched this thing much since then. My intention was to share content every day, for thirty days, that would show the world (or at least my Facebook friends) that none of us are alone in what we consider to be our weirdness. Coming to terms with my own “weirdness” (which really isn’t that weird at all, I’ve learned), has been a struggle for me, so I wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences with anyone who cared to tune in.

You guys, it was my favorite thing I’ve ever done.

My thirty days finished just as there were some big changes in my life, and things got a bit hectic for a while. Because of this I pressed pause on the blog, promising myself and the world (or at least my Facebook friends) that once things settled down I’d start writing again. Before things actually settled down I got engaged, then my dad got sick (and better), then I got a promotion, then I actually had to plan the wedding. The past two years have been amazing in so many ways, but they’ve been pretty intense in terms of the time I have been putting towards other important area of my life.

All along I said I’d come back. And figured I would, but wasn’t sure how or when. I was just going to let it play out and see where I ended up. Over the past six months when people asked me about how the wedding planning was going, I’d joke and say “I just want my brain back. This wedding stuff takes up so much space in there.” But I tell ya, I didn’t have any clue what it would feel like once that happened. All I can think about is getting back to this blog. I truly don’t want to do anything else but sit in front of this computer and pick up where I left off two years ago. It was over some delicious post-marriage margaritas this Thursday that I told Tyler that I JUST HAVE TO DO THIS. I know I’ve still got other commitments, relationships, a real job. But I can’t put this ONE thing off any longer.

My favorite parts of those thirty days were the interviews I did for the project. Reaching out to request said interviews, even though I was asking people I believed would say “yes,” and then following through to make it happen REALLY REALLY pushed me outside of my comfort zone. It was so hard to do. But once I was in the moment, sitting with someone who might be called “weird,” just asking them about their life and their choices…Man Oh Man…that’s where it was at!! At this point, two years later, there’s so much that I want to do. I want to meet other people who view the world differently than most. I especially want to meet people who view the world differently than ME! I want to talk to them about it. I want to learn about their choices and I want to share their stories with the world (or at least with my Facebook friends), if they’ll let me.

So we decided that we’d start it back up. My vision, but he’ll help with the execution, thank goodness. He’s soooo much better at most that stuff than I am.

Because it was the interviews and the people that had been the most exciting to me, we began listing fellow weirdos I could contact to see if they’d be interested in participating in this project/blog/strange need of mine. We listed people we were pretty sure would agree to sit down with us. Then we came up with a “stretch” list of people who maybe, somehow, if we can really make something of this blog, might potentially agree to meet with us. And then for fun, and because we were kind of drunk, we decided to come up with few crazy, there’s not a chance in hell they’d say “yes,” Go Big Or Go Home, people. We really racked our brains for this one. I started to take it super-seriously, shooting down a ton of people, as if this list couldn’t possibly be infinite like the other two. I felt like this list was a reflection of exactly how seriously I was going to take this project, so it needed to be good. It needed to be legit. Something to work towards. In the end I allowed three people on The Go Big Or Go Home List.

We weren’t sure of anything, but we left that Mexican restaurant with full bellies, a good buzz, and a promise to each other. We promised that we were going to get this blog back up and running, that we were going to make it exactly what I wanted it to be, and that before this time next year we would reach out to The Go Big Or Go Home List and see what happened.

The List: Jillian Michaels. Mike Rowe. Anthony Bourdain.

I’m sure you know what happened next. I woke up to a text message at 7:33 the next morning from Tyler. “Anthony Bourdain is dead. Apparent suicide while filming in France.”

I felt oddly deflated. Not deflated because I actually thought that he’d agree to meet with me when the time came. I’m weird. Not delusional.

I felt deflated because the thought of him really put some wind in my sail, or I guess some air in my balloon if we’re sticking with the inflation/deflation metaphor. I have a shit-load of understanding, kindness, love, and empathy to give to almost any human being. But admiration is different. That gets held a little closer. The Go Big Or Go Home List is a list of people I flat-out admire, and that’s quite special to me. I saw that text from Tyler and just thought, “Well shit.”

Then I thought…”I’d really better get to work.”

Over the past few days, as I’ve read some beautiful tributes to Anthony Bourdain as well as some utterly hilarious things that came out of his mouth, I have been incredibly inspired. What I love most about him is that he really didn’t seem to give a shit about what anyone thought about him. His vision was his own. His view of the world was unique.

I can’t pretend to imagine what made this man I admired take his own life, and quite frankly it’s not my place to do so; however, his death served as a reminder to me. No matter what the perception others have of us, no matter what we look like from the outside, we all struggle. Anthony Bourdain provided support in my struggle to let my own weirdness out. Watching him helped me learn that it’s okay to be myself. He helped me see that my life is my normal, and what a beautiful thing that is. He reminded me to go big, or go home. I’m so grateful to him for all of that.

My hope is that through my writing, I can do the same for others.

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