hurricane + the rainbow

i can only describe 2015 as a hurricane and the rainbow after, all at the same time. taking a nod from my friend annie, here’s…how it went.

  1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

visited europe, took my sister out of the country, finally got a livable salary

  1. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

i made a list of 18 things i wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the year. i did 9 of them. one was to figure out how to wash my clothes in a way that actually got rid of the workout stank. i’m calling it a win. of course i am making new ones. of course i am not sharing them here.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

my cousin jess gave birth to whittaker gray. he’s quite the ladies’ man.

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

my sweet nanny. and i almost lost a dear french-canadian priest friend to cancer.

  1. What countries did you visit?

iceland, england, france and ireland

  1. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn’t have in 2015?

a porch and/or backyard and more dinner parties

  1. What dates from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?

nanny died on september 24th and my last day at my loathsome previous job was october 2

  1. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

realizing i’ve gotten myself to a place of stability and contentment, bordering on happiness, after years of the opposite

  1. What was your biggest failure?

believing the things i tell myself late at night while lying in bed, not fleshing out what i consider to be great ideas, and not reading enough

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

after months of downplaying the debilitating pain, numbness and weakness running the length of my leg and pelvis, i got myself to the world’s best physical therapist. and she fixed me. and she told me she’s rarely seen someone as broken as i was. and i feel a million times better. who knew?

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

nutella crepes from a street vendor under the arc de triomphe

  1. Whose behavior merited celebration?

the french man who explained the paris massacre to his young son on live tv. these people.

  1. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

anti-immigration trolls who forget most of us in this country are from somewhere else, too

  1. Where did most of your money go?

aer lingus

  1. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

i got really, really, really excited when i found out adele was coming to denver. and then really, really, really not excited when i found out she sold out in like two minutes. also,  my friends sarah and amanda asked me to be in their wedding and i am PUMPED.

  1. What song will always remind you of 2015?

hello. and anything by haim.

  1. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

happier…i think. stronger. possibly thinner? possibly not thinner? richer.

  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?

written. read. cooked. shared. photographed. walked in wash park. listened to podcasts. yoga-ed. volunteered.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

worrying. fighting with my sister. facebook.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

mom, sarah and i had coffee cake and sausage ring and opened gifts. i shoveled snow and went on a walk. we went to friends’ for dinner.

  1. Did you fall in love?

no. but if the universe is nudging someone my way…I’M ALL EARS.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

was kimmy schmidt this year? new girl. mindy. downton. gilmore girls. grey’s. nothing makes me feel more basic than my choice of television.

  1. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

not hate, but for sure dislike. for SURE dislike.

  1. What was the best book you read?

all the light we cannot see. this year and forever.

  1. What was your greatest musical discovery?

the film score spotify playlists.

  1. What did you want and get?

a pastry cutter. two new jobs. new bed sheets. a new yoga mat. a birthday cake made by my mom.

  1. What did you want and not get?

oh man. no comment.

  1. What was your favorite film of 2015?

far from the madding crowd

  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

i had just returned from europe with the worst jet lag of my life. pretty sure i did laundry and slept. 29.

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

seeing people i love in less pain

  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2015?

the harsh realization i now have to dress like an adult five days a week and don’t have nearly enough clothes to do so

  1. What kept you sane?

sitting on my couch in the sunshine watching traffic. orangetheory. books and chai in bed in the morning.

  1. What political issue stirred you the most?

the refugee crisis and paris attacks

  1. Who did you miss?

nanny. and all my great friends from dc.

  1. Who was the best new person you met?

our irish hosts kevin and marian and the northern irish high school boys at the hostel in england

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

things usually resolve themselves when you’re at the breaking point, and not a moment sooner

  1. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

you’ll find a rooftop to sing from

or find a hallway to dance

you don’t need no edge to cling from

your heart is there, it’s in your hands

i know it seems like forever

i know it seems like an age

but one day this will be over

i swear it’s not so far away

-florence and the machine, various storms and saints

all the feels

Yesterday I finally googled all the questions I’ve been asking myself about how to update, secure and improve my little corner of the interwebs. I’ve truly missed blogging, and if I had a nickel for every time I’ve had a post idea in the past few months, well…I could at least buy one of those overpriced, delicious Baked + Wired cupcakes I miss from DC. Probably the Texas sheet cake one.

I changed the background, updated my ‘About’ page (because, truthfully, things that happened in 2011 are not actually recent anymore), and started to look around and through my older posts.

Man.

I had so much optimism.

I had so much humor.

I had so much resilience.

It felt almost out-of-body to know I lived every day of that. I lived the thrill and terror of moving to DC, finding (all kinds of ) work, two years of grad school, navigating the bus and metro, walking and running past global landmarks every day, adventures with friends, once in a lifetime events and living large in the nation’s capital.

And I also lived the rest of it. I lived cockroaches, rats and house centipedes, $900+ in rent and utilities on $12 an hour, a mediocre graduate program, getting mugged in broad daylight, watching someone break into our house at seven in the morning, bailing torrential rain water out of my the back staircase as it flooded my apartment three times, witnessing others land the internships/fellowships/jobs I could only dream about while I came up empty time and time again. And I lived the crushing heartbreak of a boy whose incongruent words and actions left me feeling usable yet unlovable, irreplaceable yet irrelevant, perfect yet not good enough, and I must fight to convince myself those things are not true every single day.

After that, I realized I’m out of optimism. I’ll probably never run out of funny, but I’m out of optimism and I think I’m running low on resilience these days, too. It’s like DC drained every last drop and I’ll be damned if I have any idea how to refill the wells.

After I was done feeling all the feels (just ask anyone who knows me well…I FEEL THEM…and it’s not necessarily a good thing), I looked again at how I’d changed the tagline to ‘recalibrating in Denver, planning the next adventure’…and I started to think about what that truly looks like.

I have work that’s technically ‘public health.’ But I’m not sure how I will continue to live on the laughably tiny salary if I ever want my life to contain more than a 13 year old car and friend egg sandwiches for dinner every night. And if that doesn’t kill me, the boredom or the endless job application rejection letters certainly will.

I get to go to the yoga studio and walk in the park and bake all the things as often as I want, because my free time has multiplied exponentially since I got here. And I feel like I’m wasting hours right and left.

While recalibration was what I desperately needed after I escaped DC, now that the reset button’s been pushed, it’s about to drive me nuts, and I’m not quite sure what to do. At all.

So I signed up for the Miracle Worker class with Gala Darling, and I bought a ticket to London to adventure with my friend Meaghan this summer, and I’m trying to make time for friends and family and experiences and events that are important to me.

And I really hope to figure this out, because feeling like you’re wasting your life might be the worst feeling of all.

my people

A few weeks ago, my house and car keys, cell phone, and favorite down vest were stolen. From a yoga studio. From my favorite yoga studio. Somewhere between 630 and 930 that night, someone decided he or she needed those things more than I did, and scooped my vest, with what felt like my whole life in the pockets, and walked out the door.

While I will spare you the details of my meltdown, frantic calls to my sister, terrible night of sleep on her couch, and exhaustive chaos that ensued the next day as we pieced everything back together (well, as she pieced everything back together is more like it…I stared out the car window trying not to barf for most of the day), I can tell you I came out the other side wounded, violated, shaken up…and a little bit wiser and braver.

Later that week, standing in a cooking class with the other people in the program I was at when my things were stolen, listening to someone ask if we knew anyone who could work as a nanny and private vegan chef for her in nine months because, ‘I neeeeeed someone to do this for me. And I’m a planner. So I need them in nine months,’ I realized these did not have to be my people.

My people don’t have to be the pretentious women in cooking class who can’t see past the end of their micro-nutrient obsessed noses while millions of people around the world go to bed hungry. I can choose to align with the grandmother in Tanzania who practically crawled into her cabinet to fetch me the last pastry she had as a thank you for helping her carry a box of medicine.

My people don’t have to be the yoga teacher who would not even look up to greet me the next morning when I walked in to see if anyone had returned my things and merely told me, ‘better use a lock next time.’ I can gravitate toward Jeremy, the guy at the Chevy dealership, who cut new keys for me for half price just because Sarah and I were nice to him and most people aren’t.

My people don’t have to be the boy who’s made me cry myself to sleep more times than I can count, and months later still takes up more brain space than I’d like to admit. I can focus my energy on going to dinner with my friend Blake on a super snowy Denver night, on the boys in Texas who show me what it means to be a gentleman, on the men I know around the world who are phenomenal boyfriends, husbands, fathers and humans and remind me I am worth working hard for.

My people don’t have to be in my vicinity. I can give time to maintaining the incredible friendships I’ve made in the past decade, though we’ve been flung further apart than we ever imagined. I can work hard to make sure those human gifts from the universe do not go uncherished.

We do not get to choose who and what is flung our way, good or bad, temporarily or for a long, long time. But we do get to choose how we respond. What we do with it. Where we focus. And who we become.

today

this city is not my city and i will never call it home.

 

i’ve complained about it more than my fair share, and it’s wounded me (physically, intellectually and emotionally) more than i want to recall.

 

but i’ve walked those navy yard streets on the news many, many times. my small friends luke and faith live there, and their daddy is an officer in the navy. many of my friends, students and coworkers have loved ones who are first responders. and you can’t go two minutes around here without bumping into someone from the military.

 

we live in a world where the unthinkable has become commonplace.

 

let peace begin with me.

Image

gone

Remember the yoga studio I wanted to work at? The one that, in Colorado, shaped my practice, gave me my roots and wings and my sense of self, the one that molded me into who I am today?

 

I got hired.

 

For eight months, I put everything I had into teaching those classes. I spent long hours making playlists, creating sequences, commuting an hour each way. My brain hurt and my body hurt and I hardly ever got to take class as a student. I’d fall into bed after getting home at 1030pm (on a good day, and only if I caught the right bus). And in a city where some teachers are paid upwards of $100 per class, I made $15 an hour. Which, by the time you factor in commuting is $7.50 an hour, and by the time you factor in taxes, is pretty much charity.

 

I also got fired.

 

You’re insubordinate, she said. You have a bad attitude, she said. People are afraid to be around you and you’re dramatic and I know who you’ve been talking to and he said and she said and they said…

 

The place that was my shelter cut me off at the knees.

 

I could speculate for hours. I could consider egos and emotions and politics and intimidation and ulterior motives. I actually already have. I’d say it drove me crazy if I wasn’t already there.

 

But the fact of the matter is…it’s done. Suddenly I had time to go to the gym, and practice on my own, and listen to music just to listen, not to figure out where to jam it into a playlist. I’d find myself running or busting out a handstand and a smile would creep onto my lips out of nowhere. But I knew why it had come.

 

I was free.

 

Do I feel slighted, jaded, betrayed? Absolutely. Do I still cry about it, late at night, when I don’t think anyone else can hear? At least once a week. Have I heard a second peep from all the students and fellow teachers who were so outraged to hear what had happened when it did? Of course not.

 

Am I actually glad, is there a silver lining, do I find gratitude to have escaped the jealous sorority of boutique corporate yoga?

 

Every damn day.