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Who We Are Now

Deserving

In the most recent episode of Girls, a character asks the question “do you think that I deserve all of the things that are happening to me?” In the last moments of my yoga class this evening, this question came echoing back into my brain. Do I deserve all the things that are happening to me?

In the spirit of honesty that I seem to be in lately, I think I’ve decided that yes, I do deserve all the things happening to me. I deserve the good and the bad. I deserve the change that I’m embracing. I will only further the good things in my life if I clear out all the negative thoughts and feelings. In light of recent personal development, I think I’m heading in a good direction. I can say that because for the first time in over 2 years I seem to be blogging regularly (ish) and have the mental capacity to sit still and finish a post. That’s a big deal to me.

But in respect to the people I’ve known and met, I also deserve all the things that have already happened to me. I did some shitty things to some people who, in retrospect, didn’t really deserve it. There are situations that I have rectified, there are situations that I have not. At this point, I don’t think it’s worth it to go back and try. It’s just weird sitting here and thinking that, on one hand, I think I’m a pretty nice, open, caring person and, in the other hand, I’m kind of the worst. I like to think other people have this internal battle as well, but I don’t know.

I think at this point, it’s too late to go back and fix what has past. I think at this point it only makes sense to move forward clearing out the cobwebs. I need to let go of my fear. It’s just important to be who I am and be the most honest version of myself.

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Hippie Bullshit

I came home from bikram yoga tonight feeling extra sweaty. Everything was wet, my pants, my shirt, bra, underwear, everything. That’s what I love about bikram yoga. I started my shower as Jake started dinner. I had too much caffeine today and my stomach aches; dinner doesn’t sound good right now.

I strip my clothes and plunk them in a gross pile. I climb in the shower and begin washing the sweat, salt and stress off my body. With my face submerged in the warm water, something my yoga teacher says hits me like a ton of bricks. I internally gasp and pull my head from the water stream. Wiping water from my eyes I realize what my hole is; I realize what my habit is.

Let me preface this story with a little something about me. As a child, you would have sworn I would grow up to be a care-free, positive-vibing, Oregon hippie but the truth is something so opposite. Over time, I’ve become a tense, negative, angry person; maybe not in every day, but in important, deep areas of my mind and soul, I am not someone that I like being. Ask me a year ago, and I would say “fuck you, I’m awesome,” but today, today I am changed.

Let me follow that story with another one…I promise to get to the hole soon. I am a huge yoga cynic. I tried it once or twice, got bored and irritated with how slow shit moves and gave up. I clumped it with the hippie-dippie bullshit I wanted to escape about my Oregon childhood and move on. Years and years down the line, a good friend of mine recently suggested I take up bikram yoga. I had been complaining that my normal workout routines were not yielding the sexy wedding body that I had dreamed of. I was bored, complacent and, well you guessed it, pissed off. About a month ago, with much reluctance, I started bikram yoga at a local studio in Hoboken.

Over the past few weeks, I have started to see differences in my body, differences I haven’t seen from running and lifting weights before. But the biggest change I’ve noticed is mentally. Our yoga practice is started and ended by focusing on our mental state; thanking our bodies for what we’re about to do and what we have done, letting go of the stress of the day and focusing on now and centering ourselves with breath. Through focusing on myself and thanking and apologizing to myself, I find that I have kind of started a path to being a person I honestly never thought I would be: open, positive and happy…daily.

Ok so now the hole.

Today at the end of practice, I’m laying on my back, sweat literally just fucking everywhere. I felt a little queasy from the caffeine and downright thirsty. Sarah, my favorite instructor, starts us on our slow breathing and starts to read a passage:

“There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk: Autobiography In Five Short Chapters” ~ Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

The ‘hole in the sidewalk’ is a metaphor of life. To see our habits as our own may be the realization we need to make a change… and to find another way. We need not keep repeating what holds us back.


Coming out of shavasana, or corpse pose, to sit, put pull our hands into prayer pose and bow our heads. Namaste, we say. Thank you, self, for the journey we just went on. I turn to Jake, we nod our heads, good class, good class. It’s not really until I get home and climb in the shower that I turn to face my hole, my habit.

Over, I could say, the past 27 years, I’ve had issues with honesty, with confrontation and dealing with the rough stuff. Recent situations in my life have presented themselves where I keep falling in the hole; I keep making short cuts and telling half-truths to get through one short situation, just to face that same issue somewhere else down the road. I keep walking down the same bloody street and falling in the same hole, over and over. It hasn’t been until this class, today, the last day in March 2016, that I stand at the lip of the hole. I‘m about to fall in the fucking hole again! I exclaim in the shower. I need to open my eyes and find a way around the hole; I need to face my habit and be honest with myself and those around me.

This isn’t the first life-changing realization I’ve had since starting bikram yoga. During just my first week, I was experiencing trouble in a class, we were 4 days in, I was tired and sore. But I started to really tune into what the teacher was saying during practice. How to be true to yourself, be kind to yourself and other. She literally mind fucked me. After class, I could barely hold it together, I had such a hard time recovering from that. I am not nice to myself, I am not true to myself or others all of the time. I won’t be able to get through life being this way.

So with this post, with this realization tonight, I am giving myself over to the positivity that I have defended myself against all these years. This hipping bullshit life might not be so bullshit after all.

Hiatus

I’ve sat here for a good 3 hours trying to find a way to get out of this blogging hiatus. I find the only way to get the words back is to start with images instead.

 

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Blasterjaxx at the Hammerstein Ballroom
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Tequila drink that tasted like peanut butter at dullboy
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The apartment; sunny day
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“Keep off the grass”
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The Pier
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Rosa Mexicano on 18th for Restaurant Week
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Almost looks professional, or nah?
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Weehawkin Memorial
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This will never get old
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Waiting for the subway
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Excited to be here…finally

Join Us

It’s kind of funny to me the strangely high number of people I know who are totally off the grid. No cell, no Facebook, no e-mails, no Twitter. I mean I guess it’s not such a phenomenon since 10 years ago we barely had any of it.

I was just thinking about an old friend today, Jerrad, who I really only see when we go home for Christmas. I was thinking how it would be nice to talk to him, see how he’s fairing; but there’s no phone number to call, no Facebook to leave messages on. It’s just a weird feeling! At the risk of sounding ignorant; is this what it was like for my parents?

It’s truly baffling to think about just how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. Before I literally do anything in the morning, I check my e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. I associate those first daily encounters with waking up. If I didn’t have lines of text to read on a small, brightly lit screen 4 cm from my face, I don’t know how else I would wake up!

Anyway, I just had that thought and am now laughing because my first thought after have that thought was to put both thoughts on the Internet. I guess when you’re as embedded and obsessed with social media as I am, it’s second nature to share everything with it!

Forever Young

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

If you know me, you know I’m addicted to family drama TV shows. I can binge watch any family drama there is and love every second of it. From Gilmore Girls to Friends, I’ve watched them all.

Currently, I’m stuck on Parenthood. Lauren Graham got me hooked after watching all thousand seasons of Gilmore Girls. Jake always makes fun of me for it; he doesn’t know why I love these silly shows so much. For a long while I didn’t have an answer for him. Until now.

It’s 1:40 pm on Easter Sunday and I’m watching my 8th Parenthood episode today. Or what feels like the 8th. There’s something about the opening credits song that just pulls at my heart strings. I feel like I am a part of the family on TV, that I’m sharing in their adventures and their drama and their triumphs. It’s really psychotic, isn’t it?

I believe it all boils down to how long I’ve lived away from my family and how disconnected I feel from that part of my life. I keep that part in a shoe box under the bed and take it out maybe once or twice a year when I visit; other than that, I have my actual life. It’s really weird to me to think how Jake and I have this life together, that we’ve built for going on 5 years, that barely anyone knows about. We’re essentially in the secret club of just us. Our families don’t really know our lives, our current new friends don’t really know and neither do out long distance friends. It’s like, who knows us?

Luckily, we are very versatile people and we easily adapt to any situation we are in. But I think it’s really built this shell that we retract to. I mean like we’ve moved into this shell…I think I’ve decorated it any everything. (Oh and no pun intended on the shell joke.)

We’ve talked a lot lately about starting our own family when we get married next year and what that means for our future. We both want to move back to Oregon at heart, but it’s kind of like trying to put on a pair of jeans that fit you 3 years ago…you’re not sure if they’ll fit and if they don’t then it’ll be devastating. I’m honestly scared at the thought of moving back to Oregon yet I know that’s what my heart of hearts wants.

So watching these shows is like a replacement for the life that lives in my shoe box. It fits into my lifestyle right now. I just hope that someday I don’t have to keep that shoe box anymore.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Watercolors

It’s an overwhelming feeling, jumping into something so huge. The water closes around my head and I plunge in. Sounds become muffled; off in the distance screams of delight and splashing come from the surface. Everything is suspended; hanging in this landscape of stillness.

If I let go now my arms float over my head, my legs begin softly floating upwards. I let the current take my body away little by little. It’s overwhelming to let go, to lose control but I let go, I lose control and follow my body where it goes. Legs and arms swing up, floating towards the surface. But the other parts of my body, my torso, my heart and stomach and blood, heavier than the rest, pull down. Even though I know I’m just full of hot air, I float in both directions, feeling the water around me decide, pulling. I let go, I lose control.

My dress is wet; not even wet, saturated. Licking my skin, like it’s been plastered there. My hair, loose and out of control, wraps around my face. I let go, I lose control. The water slowly swirls me around, showing the new world around me in it’s watery, discolored, disfigured glory. Muffled and blurred and wet and wrapped. The life above is still long-distance. Water in every crevice and every fold of my dress, my hair, my skin, my body. I feel as though I’m being hugged by thousands of little arms; pulling me down then up and twirling me around.

I start my journey down. Everything above me, all colors and sounds stream upwards, towards the sun. The water swirls and twirls me around and it’s all suddenly changing. The light is up and the dark is down. Down in front of me, down where the heavy bits of my body are pulling. Inviting bubbles push up towards me, greeting me into the darkness. I panic; I know those bubbles aren’t here to welcome me. Bubbles are escaping, pushing the air inside towards the light above to escape the dark below. Bubbles of warning, do not go down, do not let go, do not lose control. Water swirling me and now pulling me downward, pulling my body and hair and breath and light down. My bubbles follow suit; pushing out of my lungs, escaping with the others. I realized my breath is escaping. That’s when I take control back, I take a hold.

My breath has escaped me but I must fight to get it back. My blood pushes to the outer limits of my arms, bringing with it the life I need. They push back, pulling at the watery ledges around them. I push and pull my arms towards the light, towards the top. Follow the bubbles, follow the breath, follow the life. I start kicking, kicking go of the watery darkness that surrounds my legs. Kicking and pulling and pushing; I send my body upwards; chasing the sun. Everything above is choppy bright light, colors swirling. It’s getting closer and closer.

Swirling sun, water-colored life. It’s getting closer.

 

The Last.

A few days ago, out of the blue, I got a Facebook message from a guy I had an off-again-on-again crush with in college. “Did you get married yet?” he asked. Those five simple words were enough to make my heart drop about halfway down into my stomach. Was this about to go there? Was I going to have to relive some painful sorta-breakup moments from umpteen years ago?

As a matter of fact, no I did not. He did not turn around to profess his undying love for me while I softly, let him down. Four long, dragging minutes later he started typing his answer to my “no, not yet but next year” reply. “Oh cool, Elise and you both are getting married,” he sent back. And that was it. Like, the end of the first conversation I had with this guy I was really, really into from college for the first time in about four or five years.

I know it may seem like I’m a little let down about the prospect of being wooed by another guy 14 months shy of my own wedding; but I’m not. I know I’m not but it’s also difficult to put into words exactly how that made me feel. There is no way in bleeding hell that if he had come back with any arrangement of love-professions I had streaming through my head at that exact moment would I have left Jake. Like, seriously, not even a trace of a thought. I think I was more bummed at the fact that I didn’t have this wild story to tell about a near-marriage (near-death? 🙂 ) love confession from some guy I had a hard time getting over four or five years ago.

But it got me thinking about love and college. How many guys did I date, sleep with, hang around or generally like-like during the four wild years that is known as higher education? And for how many of those was I the last for? You know, the last; the last person you slept with, dated, had a major crush, before you found “the one.” I got to thinking about this the last few hours of work yesterday and I think I know at least an approximate answer: 3. I know that I was the last for at least three guys, and that’s a weird feeling to have.

The first I can remember, we’ll call him Jack, I dated for not too long, a few weeks maybe. I met him somehow when I moved back to Portland after college. We went on a few dozen dates, to a couple of clubs, I met his parents, etc. But all of a sudden, he began to annoy me. I’ve never really felt in the place of power in the relationship but I think I was wearing the pants in that one. But after me he met some other girl, then got married and moved to some other state where they both live happily with excellent careers and some cute dogs. How do I know? I’m an expert Facebook-er, guys. I wonder if he ever thought about me during the time leading up to his wedding or anytime after. Not in a longing way but just a general curious way.

The next was Paul (not his real name). To me it was a short and hard experience. While it only lasted maybe a handful of nights, I found myself really crushing on Paul. We hung out, drank, argued and that was about it. There was just something about the way he held himself that I think I truly loved. If you had to line all of my past flings up, you’d see there was no method to my madness, meaning I did not date similar guys. He was just another genera I tried out. But after I stopped answering his calls (or maybe he stopped answering mine?) he found a girl who he’s been with for three or four years. Again I sit here thinking about that period in my life and I wonder what he’s doing or if he’s run across a Facebook status of mine and thought about me. Just curious.

The last that I can remember, would be Mike (not his real name). His story was very different and I was a very different person at the time and because of everything that happened. Mike was my first boyfriend since my ultimate shitty relationship about a year prior. It was a complicated year; one in which I did a lot of things I’d never done before and experienced a lot of things I’ve never experienced before. I got into some shady shit during that time and thought I was happy doing so. But after 10 months of unreciprocated respect, it came down to a Valentine’s showdown. Ultimately, I lost; throwing anything that would break on the floor and crying into umpteen cigarettes. But it was one of those it’s-not-over-until-we’ve-tried-30-million-times things. Off again, on again, it was rough. I ended up getting a nasty “present” from him and then we finally broke up when I move from college. Haven’t seen him since…unless you count Facebook.

After our thing, I saw he had a really steady girlfriend and I felt actually really happy for him. I think about him sometimes. I wouldn’t say often because it’s not, but I think about him when I feel like I have something good and I was to brag. I want to tell him “look what I did,” for some reason. Sadly, I think they recently broke up. Poor guy.

I sit here now with a lot of feelings rumbling around. Any decent writer knows that you draw from you personal experience when you write; making characters in the image of someone real, story lines that reflect personal journeys, changing the end of the plot to mirror you dreams. And I think that’s why I got sad when the out of the blue Facebook message appeared on my screen; I thought I was about to go down a road that would ultimately bring me a good story to tell. So when I diverted into the Pandora’s box that was my love life before I met the love of my life; I realized that I really do have a lot to go on.

I think in order to process it all, I need to start sifting. After all, writing is the ultimate form of therapy, if I don’t say so myself.

Free To Be

Free writing is supposed to help keep all your creativity loose. So why is it that I always find it difficult to free write? It’s not like I have an outline to stay in. I find I always get distracted; looking at the time, finding a snack, checking my e-mail or Facebook, playing a game on my phone. I think the issue I have with free writing right now is that I let my mind be in too many places at once.

The other day Jake and I were talking about some things and I brought up my ability to think about 1,000 different things all at the same time, often referred to as multitasking I guess. I used to think that maybe it saved time, being able to do that, but now I think it just disrupts my ability to stay on one path for a long time. But I think I’m just a product of my time. With the prominance of all things electronic, we’re taught to be in 30 different places at once and to think about 30 different things at once. It’s hard to accept but maybe my writing style is changing?

I’ve toyed with the idea that maybe I’m ADD or ADHD; but then I don’t want to just give up and say I need the help of medication to do my most favorite thing in the world. I think I just need to retrain myself. I gave up writing for such a long time that I’ve forgetten how much I love it. I love how fast my fingers move; sweeping across the keyboard typing out my thoughts even before I have them. Like little extensions of my brain. I love creating the worlds I imagine and see in my head; a result, I’m sure, of years and years of being in love with fiction. I’ve dreamt for such a long time that I will write a book someday and I really want to make it to that point.

For the past almost two years now I’ve been working for a small private label credit card company. I never in a thousand years saw myself working for something like this but I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity. Working in an environment like this has really taught me a lot about myself, about office life, about working for a national company. It’s been an interesting journey; however, I’ve slowly found that there are things that have changed about me since I began here. I am prone to the negative in any situation now more than ever before. I think it’s due to the work I do and that’s not really who I am. I find that when I do get time to write, it’s more formal and strict than I’m used to. Creative and free writing has become more laborious then usual. Instead of always looking at the brighter side and trying my best to give the benefit of the doubt, I jump to the opposite. It’s taken me a while to realize these things about myself but with the help of Jake and my best of friends, Joanna, I think I’m able to take a handle of these changes.

All of that leads to my realization that I need a more creative outlet; I need to find a career that allows me to use the parts of my brain that I’ve put on hold for such a long time. I want to live in a white space where I spend time each day creating my environment. Hense the sudden need for free writing. When I began this session today, I had no idea I was heading down this path. But here I am; feeling content with my writing session and happy that I’m able to be so confident about my views. I know I can take all the lessons and experiences from my job here at the credit card company and apply them to other aspects of my life; I’m not denying that this has been a good experience. I just know it’s time to start thiniking about what I really want to spend the rest of my life doing. And that, my friends, is writing.

Who I Am Now

Who We Are Now.

The inspiration for the title came from a thought I had one day: how did I get here? I was looking through old photos on Facebook, thinking about the person I was in college and high school versus who I have become. I thought about the lessons I’ve learned and the challenges I’ve faced. How did I get here? Who am I now?

When I was a child, I always wanted to travel. I would think about the places I wanted to go and people I wanted to meet. I even wrote a whole slew of stories about a girl named Molly and her dog who would travel the world, especially France. I read the Madeline books growing up so I’ve always been a little obsessed with France. She always had so many fun adventures in her little yellow jacket with all her friends. I dreamt away my childhood in far away lands.

I graduated college and moved back in with my parents in 2010. Of course it was fun  to be back in my home town, at first. I spent a few months being reckless; partying and drinking a lot, staying up all night and being hungover the next day. But eventually I started thinking about what to do next. I was getting bored, I was looking for a way out. I wanted to go somewhere. Anywhere.

It’s been 5 years since I left Oregon. Just typing that out made me do a double take. Has it really been that long? Will it be 10 years before I even know what’s happened? Now I sit here, looking at the past 5 years and wonder who am I now?

So when I started this blog I wanted a place to explore that question. Somewhere to share my thoughts and my experiences; the lessons I’ve learned and the challenges I’ve lived through.

I’m ready to explore who I am now.

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