The Roar Sessions: Larissa Schwartz

The Comfortable Contradiction
by Larissa Schwartz

kittyHi.
I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC.
A dog-lover. Who lives with a cat.
So patient. And restless.
A traveler. A total homebody.
Don’t-touch-it-hot-obsidian. Freshwater ocean.
Commuting my sentence. Finishing yours.
Frozen solid. Floating on blue.
Snow-fall quiet. Deafening mind chatter.
I’m always wrong. And I’m finally right.

**

Jena and I sat in her kitchen last week chatting about more things than any two people should stuff into a 15-minute visit. I was jet-lagged from the seven hour time difference. I’d just gotten back from Greece.

While we were talking, she asked if I wanted to write something for The Roar Sessions. Of course the first thoughts that popped into my head were uh, no, I’m not a writer and I’m not looking for my roar. Because of those first thoughts, I said yes.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been facing down things that make me uncomfortable. Saying what I need to without feeling guilty, ignoring the imposter syndrome, paying attention to gut feelings and going with them, saying yes instead of no – to the right things. Somewhere in there, I also started getting kind of excited about being a perfectly comfortable walking contradiction.

But the blog post. I agonized about it all week. I dodged it with jet lag and a design project and editing through 798 photos from the 19 days of eat-pray-love time away. Time that forced me to change up the day-to-day and allowed me to take all those photos. Today calling myself a photographer – even though the imposter would have me say otherwise – feels fine.

By 6 o’clock on Saturday the deadline and the commitment loomed.

I stood at the countertop in my kitchen, laptop in front of me, set the timer on my device for 10 minutes (sorry I can’t call it a phone anymore) and typed out what came to me. Just like Jena teaches in her writing groups.

I didn’t edit what I wrote, though I’ll admit to making sure there weren’t any red squiggly lines on the screen. I fired the email off and waited. I’d already done the-inhale-then-exhale thing that happens when I’m about to do – or have just finished doing – something uncomfortable and necessary and especially something that makes me question, second guess, avoid and criticize.

The phone rang. I think she said, “Holy shit, you can write.” I can’t remember exactly. I just know I was buzzing because of how the words landed on the screen during the 10 minutes when I intentionally stood in the discomfort and wrote.

After a few seconds she said, go find Walt Whitman’s poem Song of Myself, there’s a section in it you have to read. And like any master, Jena had the prompt ready and waiting:

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

**

FloatingViequesLarissa is a creative technologist which is what happens when geekdom meets artist. She’s a user experience design professional, a photographer and a perfecter of the digital walkabout. After living in Boston, Buffalo, Santa Barbara, Connecticut and Hawaii, she has real mail delivered to her house in Western Massachusetts.

**

Learn more about The Roar Sessions and read previous guest posts here.  

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