My name is Lisa Michelle Guest. I am not, as per the teensy tiny video clip above of a two-and-a-half-year-old in a white dress, a child. I have an inner child, but she will have her own category.
This new WordPress blog is being created for me by my dear friend (UC Berkeley dorm Priestly Hall fellow inhabitant circa 1978-79) KarenQ, a wonderful fine artist and graphic designer who created for me the cover of my first book which you can see if you click on the ABOUT button that consists of four lines and four square boxes in the very top left corner of the blog over the little video.
ONE thing I admired about Charles Bukowski, is that he spent just as much time promoting his writing as he spent catching the words and stories in his head and pinning them down onto the page. In other words, he treated the submission of his work as a job.
For me, even though I wanted to be a writer from a young age and have written in a diary/journal since I was twelve-and-a-half, the whole effort to promo me and my words is not of interest to me. Don’t get me wrong. When Arianna Huffington invited me to write for her blog, and Paul Roger, an effective web designer among other talents said upon hearing my name by a mutual friend who helped edit the first half of my first book, “Oh, Lisa Guest of Huffington Post fame?” I didn’t think anyone was really reading my writing. I just knew my mother loved to hear me read my writing to her and it gave us some of our most genuine moments in this life.
I think I heard that both Joyce Carol Oates and Joan Didion both said they write to figure out what they think. I write to return home. I write to return to my core. I write to hear. I write to untangle feelings. I write to lay out my thoughts so I can stop them from echoing in my head so much I can’t hear the blessings and burdens of the moment. I’ve lived much of my life in my head. When I’m in my body, my head works much better.
I’ve heard it said that the body can’t lie. When I mentioned above that my inner child will have her own category, so will the human body in which I live which was diagnosed with CLL in 2010. I wrote a blog in a now defunct website during the first most intense three years of my treatment. I will carry on that conversation with myself in a category here I will soon name and begin again.
I’m trying to piece this together. I’ve wanted to start a blog again for years. The blog under this website link died a few years ago. I kept trying to kiss it back awake but had no success. Finally, I am beginning again. Am I doing this for you or for me?
I remember when I was 20 I got to backpack in Europe for a summer instead of taking a much needed semester off from the intensity of UC Berkeley after a busy corporate career in high school. I’ve never been as externally motivated as I was at 18, ready to go out and seek my way in the world. College was supposed to get me to learn how to study. I’ve been studying on my own ever since, but the minute I tasted freedom at 22 I could never conceive of returning to the academic and social pressures. When suddenly at that age the calendar was mine I felt so much of what had been bubbling up inside when too busy wearing all the hats I’d committed to wearing, and all the extra hats the world puts on your head when they realize you’re ready to do the work to be in the spotlight.
See that little 2.5 yo? I see the delight in her eyes, the freedom to express spirit coming through her, naturally in her flow without effort. She wasn’t playing coy, or smart, or trying to be adorable. I see a child truly delighted with the sun, the sky, and the daddy taking a picture of her. She doesn’t flap her arms like that because she is trying to be a bird or to fly. I think instead it is the deep soul I have come to know within, just being who she really is without all the concern or effort to be something more preferable, sale-worthy, or lovable. When I first saw this video a few years ago, it stopped me from doing anything else. I must have watched it 45 times right before I could take a break, breathe again and return to my “present” life.
Why? Because there is a part of me that is that light, positive, and unadulterated. A part of me is fluid and transparent and yet that is not how I was raised. Like my Spanish teacher, Mr. Small said to me when I had just won the Presidency. “Lisa Guest. Stand up. Do you know what Lisa means in Spanish?” I didn’t. “Lisa means simple, plain, unadorned.” I was embarrassed then. Now I love the description.
The part of me that thinks I need to succeed, I need to make money, I need to save the world, is the part of me that weighs down my soul and inches me into a weariness that sometimes doesn’t allow for any effective functioning unless whipped. One of my first poems said, “What if I put the whip down, what will keep me going?” Oh yeah, I know the whole coffee/am-wine/pm routine. Got through UCB on it.
At twenty, I tried throwing my TYPE A personality overboard off of one of Georgos’s boats on the Mediterranean sea between Paradise and Super Paradise in Mykonos. This world doesn’t encourage us to release and relax unless they can make money off of us as we do it! As much as I liked this thing called relaxation, I always felt the prods, “What are you going to do next? What are you working on now?” I never in those early years heard, “What is the deepest part of you within desiring, demanding, detaching from?” Nope, my father said, “If you look too deep, you might not like what you see.”
The reason I’m calling this new blog of mine, THE GUEST IS BACK, is because I’ve always felt like a guest and my last name is Guest. I like my last name enough I could never take another one. And besides, when an AXO sorority sister’s mother said when shaking my hand and meeting me as I entered her home, “Lisa Guest, is that like Rent-A-Friend?”
I heard and loved my new identity at 18. I had an annual Rent-A-Santa fundraiser during my high school class presidencies. I worked for three years to make the Senior Prom of my dreams. Working to pay the electric bill just doesn’t have the same magnetism to me.
I’m back because I know, that it is in the writing and sharing of my writing that I evolve and transform. Stuck in patterns of either self-abuse or doubt, focusing on what is wrong in my world or the world, I don’t evolve. If I can focus on what is bothering me, hit the ADD NEW POST button, open a vein, then I will figure it out and move on past the pain of terror or stuckness or sadness or fear.
When I wrote my book, in between cancer treatments, I didn’t want to put it into the world because I wasn’t yet the woman of my dreams and I wasn’t in the relationship of my highest vision. I wrote it because I was afraid I would lose my brain to chemo fog the following year. Publishing it March 9th, 2013 (five years to the day before my father died) started a process that made manifest many realizations of why my sex and love life had been as they had been, confusing to me at that time. I’ve changed. I love and date differently. My relationships with the opposite sex are better and it’s all because when fessing up to what had been bothering me, it freed me to BE ME without bother, and interact with OTHER completely honestly.
I have been going through a period so private it demanded silence of a sort to steer through it. I’ll be writing more about that in the coming months.
When bothered or blissful I’ll be writing it up here. I intend to lift above the bs and fly as I did before the weight of the world was placed upon my shoulders.