Chrysalis

Today should be day 56 but I’m skipping today.

Today Jonathan and I drove to West Virginia to say goodbye to his grandmother. She’s not eating or drinking. She’s on morphine most of the time. She’s tired.

I haven’t dealt with death since my own grandmother died almost six years ago. I was still a kid then. I hadn’t seen my dad, my always-laughing and joking dad, cry.

So for today I’m skipping. I started this project to remind myself not to be so cynical and critical, but some days should be reserved for sadness.

Advertisements

Precipitate

There’s something about running in the pouring rain that brings out the hope in me.

I hate and love the rain. It’s gross, it’s cold, it’s wet, I don’t want to be out there. But really, I love the rain. My hate for the rain isn’t hate. It’s the fear of what the rain uncovers – symbolically, in my life.

When I started trying to overcome an eating disorder, I wrote a journal entry about why I loved the snow and hated the rain. Snow covers, hides, makes everything look perfect. What I had always done with my life, and at that time, with my body image. But the rain. The rain uncovers, washes out of hiding, pours out the mud. It’s messy. It can be difficult to clean up after. This is a simple analogy. We need more rain in our lives.

Today. I didn’t want to run. I wanted to stay inside where it was warm and dry and I had Netflix. God, doesn’t that say everything? But, lime jacket and bright blue hat on, I went out in that forsaken rain. My neighbor, outside the front door smoking, nodded. (I also imagine he thought, what the hell is she doing?) It took two steps before I knew I was about to have a good run. Past the boys cross country team, the long lines of cars sitting in traffic, the one other female runner in bright colors and reflectors. Before I knew it I was intentionally stepping in puddles.

Today. I needed more rain, metaphorically. And I got more rain, literally. I’m sitting on the floor, typing this to you, lime jacket and bright blue hat still on my head. Because these words flooded out of me on the last hill climb. This rain makes me hopeful. This rain makes me believe.

At the end of my run, the song playing was “Walking on Sunshine.” Take with that what you will.

To Go and To Stay

I like to think I’m adventurous. Maybe on the outside I am. No, maybe I really am. I like exploring and traveling and reading all types of literature and eating new foods and chasing dreams.

But really, inside, I like traditions.

I like when my husband affirms a special [read: planned] date night by saying “Let’s do this again next year. Same day.”

Three course dinner at Fiorino on New Years, followed by the orchestra’s midnight performance.

Christmas village strudel and mulled wine. Mittens and scarves and hopefully snow but it’s still tradition if there’s no snow.

Anniversary dinner at Terrain because that’s where we got married and we got married there because the cheeseboard is amazing. So.

Fourth of July BBQ at our apartment not because we’re super patriotic [we’re not] but because summer is the perfect excuse for grilling and sangria and beer on ice in giant buckets.

Is that my biggest secret? Probably not. I still fall for spontaneous trips to the mountains and drinks at a new bar and promising to visit at least one new country per year. And perhaps that’s what makes J and I so great together: we balance our love for new with an enduring love for words like yearly, annually, and again.

Because that’s what love is. It’s enduring. It’s growing but holding. It’s wings and roots. It’s Italy next spring but home in time to see the cherry blossoms.

Love is adventure and love is home and it can be both.

On Running

Sometimes when I run I imagine I’m somewhere else.

I’m running through London, past Big Ben, past Parliament, in a misty summer rain. I’m there because I’m going to school there, and I’m writing theses in my mind as I cross through Hyde Park. I’m dreaming of what I aspire to be.

I’m running in dry heat, under palm trees and in between surfboards. I’m in Hawaii. I’m waving to locals like I am one. I’m envisioning the shave ice I’ll eat later. I’m dreaming of the vacation I’d go on right now.

I’m running at night, because it just feels like I should, and because the sky isn’t dark. I’m running in Norway under the Aurora Borealis. It’s cold but it doesn’t matter. The sky is fierce. I’m dreaming of the places on my bucket list.

I’m in California, flying up and down the hills. (That’s a dream for sure.) The Golden Gate is in the distance. I can see it because today it isn’t foggy. My closest friends all are with me, and they all love to run. I’m dreaming of community.

But really, I’m running down a shaded trail, parallel to a shining river. I know the people I’m passing – not by name but by the time of day we run. We’re the 5:15ers – maybe we all work from home and can get out to the trail that quickly. Maybe we’re teachers or night-shifters or stay-at-home parents. The young man with the compression socks. The roller-blading swim-suit-wearing woman. The dad with a running stroller and a kid with his hands in the air. And me.

These are the trails I could run while asleep, the spot where I tripped and skinned my knee like a child, the bench where I stretch my hamstrings when they’re acting up. I’m not dreaming. These streets are mine as they are yours. This is my place, for now or for longer.

This is my place, but these are my dreams.

Floating & Blogging

My most recent readings come from the poetry by Lucille Clifton. What a woman! I would have loved to meet her. My current favorite is blessing the boats. I think I like it so much because of the last few lines (below).

blessing the boats

 

may the tide

that is entering even now

the lip of our understanding

carry you out

beyond the face of fear

may you kiss

the wind then turn from it

certain that it will

love your back    may you

open your eyes to water

water waving forever

and may you in your innocence

sail through this to that

“Sail through this to that” is how I feel these days – floating along, not sure of what’s next, but moving, moving, moving. Always moving.

As I imagine happens to most people in their 20s, I feel a little lost. What am I doing? (Also, if you made it through your 20s without this feeling please call me and tell me your secrets. I know, I know, but then I wouldn’t learn them for myself. Ugh.)

So. Here I am. Working it out online because the internet makes me feel more accountable than my journal. (My journal is, if I may quote a famous, important woman: “just a sad, handwritten story.”)

To less confusion, bitterness, and cynicism. To more clarity.