Back when Marcus and I were dating, and our conversations turned to marriage, Marcus asked me what kind of engagement ring I'd like. "I really don't care," I responded. "As long as it's not a diamond."
Now, I have nothing against diamonds -- they are, after all, a girl's best friend -- but I did (and do) have a problem with what they've come to represent. Call me a cynic, but it seems to me that when a woman becomes engaged and proudly shows off her ring, more often than not her girlfriends are sizing up the diamond that her man decided to spring for -- as if that was a measure of their love. I didn't want that for us. In my mind, the ring was a symbol of commitment -- it didn't matter what it was made of.
As serendipity would have it, one day while we were walking through the tiny village where Marcus lived, we happened to look in the window of a small antique store -- and fell in love with a ring that was on display. It was cheap -- a moonstone, set in silver -- but we both loved it, and bought it on the spot. Since then, every once in a while Marcus checks with me to see if I've changed my mind about a diamond, but I haven't, and I won't -- my moonstone feel authentic to me. I wouldn't trade it for the largest diamond in the world.
I tell you this story, because I've been thinking about the story of my ring since entering into an ongoing conversation with an online friend about authenticity. This woman is possibly the most authentic person I know: in every part of her life, from her career to her family life, she is absolutely true to herself and to her soul. And through our conversations, she's been (somewhat inadvertently, but not really) challenging me to examine my own life and see where I'm being authentic -- true to myself -- and where I'm not. While I'm being far truer to my soul than I was, say, 18 months ago, when I was still working at the Very Large Corporation and miserable every moment I spent at that job, there are areas in my life where I probably still need to work on authenticity and truth. I suppose that's true for all of us.
In that vein, I've decided to take a look at all the projects I'm involved in, and adjust my participation in them accordingly. In some areas -- BlogHer immediately comes to mind -- you'll probably see me more often. In others, I'll probably start paring back. Chookooloonks, however, shall remain as strong as ever -- because if there's a project that most strongly comes from Me, that project is Chookooloonks.
This new focus, however, does leave Indigo Leaf in a bit of a bind. While I still love the idea of the project, and it has received overwhelming support from readers, I'm just not getting submissions. Since the point of Indigo Leaf is to provide a forum for unpublished writers and artists, if people aren't interested in submitting, I honestly can't spend the time poking and prodding people to do so -- mostly because spending that time was starting to feel like a chore, as opposed to an avocation. Besides, the point wasn't to nag people into doing something they weren't ready to do -- it's to just be there in the event an artist was ready to show his or her work.
So, therefore, I'll update and publish Indigo Leaf with my latest submissions this week; however, after this, it will no longer be a monthly publication. I'll probably keep it live for another 9 months or so, at the very least (after all, I've sunk a significant amount of time and money into it to get it this far), but will probably only publish quarterly, or whenever I receive good quality work.
Thanks to all of you who continue to visit Chookooloonks and leave your great words, and to those of you who've supported Indigo Leaf -- it means so much. The upshot is that I'm actually very, very proud of I've accomplished both here and at Indigo Leaf (and other venues that allow me to be creative) -- the experience is providing me the luxury of being a bit picky about where I spend my time. And as my ring reminds me, it's allowing me to remember to focus on being authentic.
What about you -- is there anywhere you could use some more authenticity in your life?