I AM STORMY SWEITZER, MAOOMBA-IN-CHIEF
My story, the story of Maoomba (pron: muh-oóm-ba), starts in Africa.
A young couple, on safari there, made a surprising discovery among a pile of coconuts: the knobby, fuzzy head of a baby girl. They brought this little girl home to live with them as their daughter.
That little girl was me.
While this bedtime tale was just my father’s invention, I proudly claimed the sense of whimsy, wonder, and adventure it represented and the nickname—Maoomba-Goomba Queen of the Jungle—that accompanied it. It is my personal myth. My origin story. And I bring the spirit of it to my work and life.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case. There were years when that Maoomba spirit was the furthest thing from my mind. Years spent striving to live up to others’ expectations (really my own ideas of what others expected) while discounting the strengths, voice, and gifts I was taught had no place in the “real” world. In the process, I somehow lost what made me, well…me – the wide-eyed, curious, sensitive, and introspective person that loved to write, explore, and create.
I felt so discouraged and lost at one point that I doubted my ability to do anything right. Turns out, I was just doing the wrong things.
I’ve since learned that how we choose to live our story,
whether we are open to the beauty and possibility that surrounds us,
what meaning and learning we draw from our experiences,
how we navigate the tension between desire and expectation,
and how much of ourselves we accept and share with others…
…these are what matters. These are the discoveries that inform my life as an everyday explorer, writer, teacher, and guide and shape who I am as an individual.
So who am I?
In a nutshell, I am a person moved by life, practical by nature, passionate about people, frequently wonderstruck, and infinitely curious.
To those who know me well, I am an apparent contradiction. They describe me as being “logical and emotional, business savvy and sensual, analytical and creative, practical and whimsical, and in possession of an amazing blend of head and heart.” I used to think this was a problem, that I I should be just one way and focus on just one thing. But, I’ve come to appreciate that my chameleon-like nature, my obsessive exploring, my unflagging sense of wonder, are gifts that let me draw on a vast array of knowledge, skills, perspective, and experiences in my writing and my teaching.
You will find windows into all my worlds and wonderings here on Maoomba. I hope you’ll also find windows into your own.