belonging

It’s Wednesday and that means I am bringing you another super blogger who I super love to be a Sluiter Nation Recruit.  Wait.  You don’t know what a Recruit is?  Well, check it out here.

I am beyond honored that my dear friend, Lori, is here today.  She is so very busy with her two blogs:  In Pursuit of It All and Your Child Talking.  She is hilarious, kind, and smart.  That’s right, she has the tri-fecta of awesome.  Oh, and did you hear?  She was one of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year. Yeah, she is kind of a big deal.

But she is pretty humble about it all.   Instead she chooses to build up others.  She is by far one of the most supportive, lovely people I have met in these interwebs.  And I know I am not the only one who feels that way.

I am thrilled that she is here today…and you will be too.

*************

A girl walks to the library, shoes worn on the inner edge of the sole from her pidgeon-toed-ness, clothes faded, tight in some places and short in others, from many years of wear. Awkward in her loudness and uncomfortable in her roundness, she opts for the company of books over games where she is clumsy and uncertain.

 A young lady walks to the library, shoes several years removed from stylish, clothes selected carefully to avoid tightness over a body several birthdays ahead of her age. Awkward in her intelligence and uncomfortable in her maturity, she opts for the company of books over relationships where she is clumsy and uncertain.

 A woman sits in front of a keyboard, barefooted toes curled around the base of an office chair, clothes picked for comfort to prevent distraction from a narrative running in her mind. Agile in her vocabulary and nimble in her descriptions, a life-long love affair with words comes to passionate fruition as she pours out a memory of a life-changing gift.

A woman stands at a podium, shoes elegant and heeled, clothes chosen and rejected a half-dozen times in effort to manifest the perfect communication. Confident in her voice and buoyed by her community, she speaks words out loud to a welcoming audience of hundreds that she once upon a time meant for only two or three.

 I have not written yet about speaking as one of the Voices of the Year at BlogHer. Trapped in a paradoxical conflict between thrill beyond description for myself, and ache that what I had received others had not rendered me mute. But when asked to write a piece about belonging, this came pouring out.

If I could bottle that feeling – of sharing beyond giving, of connecting beyond commonalities – I would gather glass containers until I was dropping them and fill every last one to the very top. I would pass them out as fast as my hands could deliver, then I’d gather them back up, refill them all and hand them out again.

In a community of wordsmiths and writers where we seek to reach, to bond, to communicate and to express, every last one of us is worthy of such a moment. Every last one of us deserves a celebration and an occasion of reach beyond our grasp. And whether that moment comes on a stage with bright lights, in print pages turned and savored, or in the quiet lightning strike of strangers becoming united over a shared experience, it will come. We are worthy, and so it will come.

I hope I am there with you when it does. I will cheer, and I will stand. Because we belong together in this place, you and I. And we are worthy.

 *************

Do you still have dry eyes?  You do?  Well, then you need more Lori.

Here is the piece she read for Voice of the Year at BlogHer.  I can’t read it without weeping:  The Red Underwear

This is the piece that inspired me to look at myself from Eddie’s eyes:  The Letter Your Child Would Write

A reminder that the small things in life are, well, not so small.  They are what connect the big stuff:  Pebbles

And to leave you with tears of laughter, a sampling of Lori’s amazing artistic skils:  BlogHer11 in Pictures

I know.  She is amazing.

I know.

 

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Lori, as always, your words amaze me.

  2. Lori is the whole package.

  3. “If I could bottle that feeling – of sharing beyond giving,of connecting beyond commonalities – I would gather glass containers until I was dropping them and fill every last one to the very top.”….. can a feeling be more delicately & perfectly worded than this?

  4. Oh Lori…this is beautiful. Hearing you read your piece at Voice of the Year was incredible. You just took charge of that stage and your words were heard by so many.

    Much love to you…..

  5. Lori is amazing because she is a woman who has wisdom. Yes, born through pain. BUt she also has clear vision, impartial, unbiased, open minded, with no personal agenda in place.

    She will give you her honest ear and open mind. And she’ll tell you back what you may not want to hear, but it’s all right out in the open.

    To call her a friend, is a gift.

    I appreciate Lori in my life.

    And I need to let her know more often.

    I’m doing that here, Lori.

    It was an honor to be in your company, backstage, behind the big screen.

    xo

  6. Lori: I loved your VOTY post. And I loved this post. I wish I could have joined you at BlogHer to hear you read. Except I’m sure I would have blubbered as much as I did when I read the post all by myself. Thanks for all the laughter and the tears. And for making me feel like I belong…

    Amy

  7. Oh Lori, waving my panties in the air!
    oops, not in the library!)

    Yes, “I will cheer, and I will stand. Because we belong together in this place, you and I. And we are worthy.”
    Yes to it all …

  8. Lori, I was so glad to have had the chance to tell you how much I appreciated your reading at the VOTY keynote. I listened with tears in my eyes. I was so grateful. Not for the loss that you suffered but for the fact that I had something in common with you. I lost someone I loved to cancer too. Your writing reminded me that we must have courage to tell the hard stories. The stories that make our insides hurt. But those are the stories that hold each other up. They show us we’re not alone.

    So thank you! Your chosen piece was well deserved.

  9. TheNextMartha says

    Lori is brilliant. I’d say more but really she takes my words away.

  10. Lori, I didn’t have the privilege of attending BlogHer, but thanks to Cheryl at Mommypants, I did have the privilege of hearing you read your Voices of the Year selection out loud at the podium. And although I’m a fairly new reader of yours, I was so proud of you. You rocked it!

    I’ve read that piece several times before, but hearing it read in your voice was truly inspiring. I just wanted you to know – and I can’t believe I’m admitting this in a public forum – that I now read every single one of my blog posts out loud with the same clarity and confidence, as if I myself am standing at a podium in front of hundred of people, before I hit Publish. Just to make sure the piece flows and captures the exact tone I want to convey. And I think of you (in a non-creepy stalker-ish way) when I do. That’s just how perfect a piece I found The Red Underwear.

  11. Yes to what Kristin said above. Except I am creepy and stalker-ish.

    what?

  12. I read your VOICES of the YEAR piece online and I was blown away, literally. I cry a lot at work lately, reading these amazing words from amazing women.
    Reading this piece here with Katie makes me want to be your friend, hug you tight, tell you I know how you feel…that sharing the spotlight is so much more fun than hogging it and to let you know that I find your heart and soul, AMAZING.

    thank you for sharing these very beautiful words with us.

  13. This was beautiful Lori, I am so glad you experienced your moment of belonging.

  14. Oh, my Lori…I just love you. But you already know that, right?

  15. This is the first time I’ve ever hard the privilege to read anything by Lori, and I’m just in awe. Amazed, and in awe. The talent that you have is astounding and that you want to share it with others is inspiring!

  16. Beautifully said as always. I remember the red underwear story – one of the most touching stories I ever read. She’s amazing.

  17. I am so very honored and blessed to count you as a friend. Your open ears, arms and heart are the greatest gift.
    This was beautiful and spot on.
    Congratulations again!