Mr. Carroll did not write a guidebook for this one, so I suppose from here on in, I shoot without a script. [I'm sorry for that; littlest brother arrived home on RISD spring break far more musical theatre savvy than I remembered him, and the effect lingers. Hi, Adam.]
Like Alice, and really all reckless, scrappy fairy-tale girls, I triumphed over the Queen and climbed my way out of Wonderland. For a moment thereafter, I napped, and when I awoke, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. The flowers were no longer teaching me lessons, colorful characters were no longer stopping by for tea parties, and even the caterpillar had stopped asking me to self-define. Wonderland was over.
In the final weeks of the store, you all asked me the same question: what next? I took it as a compliment and joked my way through the laundry list of tasks that go into closing a store. The truth that my valid list masked was that I didn’t have an answer. I knew I wanted to go west, closer to my family, but that’s as far as the plan extended. I remained fixated on the list at hand, as I often do, and continued to work, hoping that somewhere along the way another white rabbit would emerge and lead me to my next adventure.
And he did.
Tweed is one of my favorite places in Nashville. This should speak volumes about Maggie, its owner, because Tweed is a baby store, and I have no babies in my immediate life. The last time I went into Tweed (but I refused to tell Maggie that it was the last time, because I had already cried too many times in her own little wonderland), I spotted this bunny. As we all know, I’m a sucker for branding, so I obviously needed him. Plus, I knew that my flight home was looming, and, truth be told, sometimes the xanax just lacks that personal touch. I needed a buddy. So, I bought a bunny.
Tweed Bunny, as I’m now calling him, has not left my purse (the J.Crew Tillary bucket bag, sold out in neon yellow, btw). As the first step in our journey, he took me to L.A. (ok, my brother Danny did most of the driving), where we plan to make a new home for ourselves when the time is right (Did I say time? I meant money.). We’re home in Phoenix now, but we’re ready to get back to bouncing.
Now, although I cannot fully answer your question about what is next, I know that it involves telling my story, and crawling out from my post-rabbit-hole nap to begin writing to you in the middle of the night is the obvious move. But that doesn’t mean, dear fans of the wonderland formerly known as two elle, that I intend to leave you alone at the tea party. I’m hoping to take you with me, because my first lesson in life after wonderland is that we all need a little help along the way. When I stumbled into Tweed, I needed someone to tell me that there would be another wonderland in my future, that there would be a light at the end of battling the Queen, that my storybook would have another chapter, and that, most importantly, my story was worth telling. Maggie delivered. And with her hug and well-wishes, she deposited a new friend in my bag of tricks, a friend who will keep me company when threatened (aka, airports) and keep me bouncing on when I feel like stopping.
However, while Tweed Bunny is lovely at holding my hand, he’s really quite terrible with establishing connections or picking up a bill, so here’s what: I’m hoping that you, dear friends, will send me any words of encouragmentment or advice and that if you know of anyone who would pay me to tell my story (or act it out, or sing it, or build it, or style it, or style them, or….), then you will kindly send them my way (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our stories are now intertwined, so join me (and Tweed Bunny) as I begin the task of telling the tale of what happened behind that magical curtain we once called home.
And here is where the telling begins. Tweed Bunny has brought me home. I don’t know where the new home will be, but for now, he got me on a plane and took me to where it all began. So, here, as I have so many times before, in the warmth of sunshine and Mexican tile, I begin to tell the story. But, most importantly, I begin again.