Out of Body

The scene: its Sunday night and the last of the hangover from the night before has faded, though that’s more due to the two beers that accompanied dinner rather than time. I see LB on a subway platform; she’s playing solitaire on her phone with an expression that looks like casual indifference to an outsider, but she’s hiding something. There’s a determination to her indifferent look, she’s trying just a little too hard to appear both casual and expressionless. She waits for the train patiently to take her from Brooklyn back home. Everything about her is patient and expressionless and collected. She is an unassuming stranger on a subway platform to everyone around her, except for me. 

I am standing in front of her on the pebbled yellow tiles like a rebel and I am screaming.

I am what she hides. I am the one she hides from. She suppresses everything into the black cavity in her chest and that is where I thrive; I am the part that feeds on every emotion and doesn’t let them fade away. I am standing on a subway platform and I am screaming, hysterical, my feet stomp and I remember how good it feels to collapse into myself and feel everything all at once. I am crying, hiccups puncture each sob and there are tears staining my good leggings and I don’t even notice. She keeps her eyes on her phone, methodically tapping the cards into place.

She doesn’t try to run from me, or beat me back into the dark place. She waits for the train patiently, and waits on the train patiently once it finally arrives. People around us are also methodically tapping phones, and there’s a general malaise to the energy, that heaviness that comes on a Sunday night. Neither she nor I know what that’s like anymore, that heavy sadness at the end of a weekend; we work every day and look forward to it even more. I stop screaming long enough to breathe into that space and shrink a little as I remember that the only reason I’m here is so we don’t ever feel that heavy energy for ourselves again. 

It’s a long train ride and by the time we get off in the Heights, I’m calmer. That black numbness that is my normal resting state starts to take over and I can feel us merging back into the LB that we’ve become these days. We stop wondering if he got the card that Friday and whether he’s really okay. The black hole where I emerge like a beast becomes a sanctuary for both of us; I can swim in her suppressed emotions and she can exist, and smile, and keep going.

We make it up the stairs and into the apartment, and take a deep breath into the comfort of home. I watch her put the keys away when they fall on the anchor doormat. She halts on the way down as the anchor reflects in her pupils, and before I can step in to save her she crumples onto that doormat again. I watch her breath, ragged and slow, and she counts to five with each exhale. She calls for me, looking for the sweet release of those screams she heard earlier, “come back,” she pleads. “I just need one hour. I just need 100 tears. I just need to feel and then you can go home.”

I enable. We cry. Tomorrow she’ll wake up, make breakfast and go to work and love every minute. But tonight we hold each other and we mourn. Just one hour. Maybe this time really will be the last one.

dreams, in real life.

At my second job this week, two of my favorite coworkers and I were up front, talking one of us through a dilemma; she wants to leave her second job to focus on this job and her acting career, but is having major guilt. “I wake up in the middle of the night with extreme anxiety that I’ll have a text from my boss,” she told us, “because every time I try to leave she pulls me back in and I can’t go.” We talked her through some advice, and I couldn’t help but smile thinking back to my days where I would look at my second phone and a hard knot would form in my stomach like a hairball. I remember the days of hating my job so much that the thought of reading an email after I left the office caused extreme panic and even anger, and I remember how liberating it was to walk away and vow that no job would make me feel like that ever again.

I haven’t talked much in specifics of the last six months of my life here, preferring instead to allude to changes and challenges until I could form coherent thoughts about where my life is headed. And things aren’t settled now, even a little bit, but they’re starting to make more and more sense. I have a better routine, and I have a clearer vision of who I want to be and how I’m going to get there. My days now are spent at the gym, pushing and learning and going going going until I physically can’t, and then I finish the week working at the store, where I’m connecting with amazing people from the fitness and fashion industry, people in the neighborhood, and I spend my life in workout clothes. This week I’ve been battling some kind of throat infection or other nonsense, and instead of waking up stoked I may get to take a sick day, I fought my boss tooth and nail and then almost cried when he insisted on sending me home early one afternoon so I could rest up.

This feeling, of without a doubt loving everything that I do, is a feeling I’ve been chasing my entire adult life. It’s the dream, right? To look forward to going to work every day, to find it easy to want to work harder and more and longer. I’m literally living in a dream right now and sometimes I think I need a pinch to remind myself it’s real. Unfortunately or fortunately that pinch is delivered to me every single day in multiple ways. When I wake up alone, when there’s no one to send a “Good morning!” text and no one to share my typical LB moments with, like whether I remember to put on deodorant or if I forgot my coffee at home (again). When I come home every night to the same apartment, just me and Little Miss, and when I go to sleep alone in my own bed, to wake up alone and do it again. I had wanted to spend more time in Washington Heights but this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

I wake up every morning loving where my life is taking me. I love my daily routine and I can’t wait for it to shift again as I move into new aspects of training and fitness. I can’t wait to get dressed and get started; I love that I spend my days in the West Village and I don’t have to fight anyone about binge-watching Golden Girls on Hulu when I get home. But in all the happy there’s a resounding theme that cuts through absolutely everything that I do: I miss you, I miss you, I miss you. The words are on backdrop to everything I see and do; I miss him, I miss us, I miss you. I am almost 100% totally fine in every sense of every word, except that little soundtrack I can’t turn off: I miss you. I miss us. I miss it all.

It’s so typical of life, it seems, that the happiest things coincide with the saddest. I’m living in a dream world on both ends, where I’m incandescently happy and also the saddest I’ve ever been. Perhaps that’s how we experience dreams in real life. When there’s no one around to pinch you when you’re waiting to wake up, life gives you a pinch that keeps on coming. I wouldn’t change a single thing in my life at all right now – not even the one thing that would switch the “I miss you” off for good. Because there’s so much behind the “I miss you” that I can’t put on a blog, not yet. But it’s enough for now to know that I haven’t had a pit of anxiety in my stomach like a hairball since I walked out of that office and that life for the last time, and even if it means missing him forever, I wouldn’t change a goddamn thing.

 

Collapse.

I collapsed as I walked into the door.

It was a familiar feeling but entirely different. The last time this happened, I fell to the ground in relief. Four years ago I laid on a different carpet, surrounded by white walls, and cried for sweet relief and mourning; there was a part of me that was changed forever but it was ready to move forward. This time I crumpled onto my anchor doormat before I could even get the door closed behind me, and I felt a part of me ripping apart. As I’m writing this I’m two very quick whiskeys deep, just enough to numb any sense of feeling so I can walk to bed and sleep before I realize what just happened.

I have missed blogging so much, but I haven’t been able to write anything. I’ve tried a few times in the past few weeks, but every time I started to write it felt wrong. The sunny picture on social media has had clouds for a while, and every time I started to write I couldn’t come up with words. Acknowledging the clouds made them feel too real. Not acknowledging them felt disingenuous. So I said nothing, waiting for things to make sense again, so sure that they would.

I can’t even write that much now, it seems. You see, I’m writing this just minutes after I collapsed as I walked into the door. Just minutes after I left the same fight and the same argument and just minutes after I realized something: I’ve already made the Worst Decision. I sat in a car tonight listening to the same fight and I realized I’d been here before. I’m not an adult I don’t think but I am also not 25 anymore. I know better than to repeat past mistakes.

Now I’m listening to Adele and I’m going to schedule this post to publish in the morning so I can sober up, both physically and emotionally. Except every time I start to sober up emotionally I need to de-sober physically, lest I feel the full force of what just happened. I can’t think straight right now and that’s probably a good thing. Otherwise I’d think about how everything just changed and it feels like my soul is ripping apart.

 

Journal Series: Intentions, Hopes, Wishes

Oh readers. If I could explain the last few months, across all aspects of my life, you wouldn’t believe me. The past week in particular has been especially different, to say the least.

I’ve been keeping journals since my teens, but the past 2 years in particular I’ve been almost religious about chronicling my life. After yoga, the journals became an outlet to follow the moon phases, and in particular, writing Intentions, Hopes and Wishes at the new moon. The hippie philosophy goes that intentions set at a new moon will manifest at the full moon six months later.

The past week, month, three months have been nothing but challenging. Tonight I wrote on the final page of a journal that took me 54 weeks to complete. It’s the close of a chapter, like when I set intentions in my Little Red Notebook the day before the night we met. Closing that notebook, the one that took me 7 years to fill, felt like an ending. Closing this one, that started 3 days after we met, feels like a beginning.

Last night was a full moon and the toughest of nights in a long time. I wrote tonight with a passion and a fervor and when I finally emerged enough to think clearly, I decided to see what my intentions were from six months ago. Just to see where these silly journaling habits got me. And that’s the entry below. The intentions and hopes and wishes that I set on July 5, 2016. They made me cry to read tonight. How strange to be comforted by your own words.

5 July 16

I’m a day late on intentions for the new moon. Today is my second Tuesday between jobs and it’s been a wonderfully weird few weeks.

A and I had our first fight this weekend. Typical, it happened after drinking and we hashed it out before falling asleep so details are fuzzy. It had been simmering all weekend though – his frustration at my optimism and my frustration at his pessimism. He drives me crazy sometimes and I couldn’t even kiss him because I have a stupid cold sore. Life is funny sometimes like that. Fortunately it turns out we fight like adults. We spent the fourth together doing nothing in his apartment and that was pretty wonderful.

I’m not sure what I’m hoping for come January. Or even in the next month. Hell, the next week. I’m so shocked 2016 is halfway over but when I look back at all that’s happened, it makes sense. I’m terrified, slightly, for what’s to come. The good terrified, I think. Changes this year have been so positive, if huge. I hope that continues. 

So here we go:


I INTEND:

  • To get my newsletter up and running
  • To teach at a Lululemon store!
  • To support A through all his health issues, even if/when he’s pessimistic

I HOPE:

  • A can use some of my optimism and we find him an awesome new hobby
  • [My last PR company] is the right decision for my PR/professional future
  • My injuries improve and/or I find out what’s causing the pain.

I WISH

  • More people come to my monthly classes!
  • A and I find the perfect apartment for us and Harlow to save money for a house
  • To spend the rest of my life with that perfect, pessimistic, hilarious, sweet, kind, funny, and handsome boyfriend I am blessed to have love me, and would be lucky to have love me for the rest of our days.

xo! LB

Circles

“Are we really having this conversation again.” 
“We’re just talking in circles.” 
“I feel like there’s something you want me to say but I’ve already said everything.” 

Life feels like it’s moving in the weirdest and most wonderful zigzagging pattern of growth and new beginnings. I don’t sleep more than 5 or 6 hours most nights. I’m constantly on the subway, running from the Heights to the Upper East to the Meatpacking to Queens and back. Half of the time I’m home for a stretch in the afternoon so I can food prep and make myself healthy meals, and the other half I’m scarfing down a Cliff bar and a seltzer after a long workout, hoping that sustains me for my three hours on the gym floor picking up 50lb dumbbells that the meatheads leave everywhere. Sometimes the thought of standing on my tired feet for 8-hour shifts at the store makes me want to cry. Sometimes the thought of working 7 days a week for the foreseeable future makes me want to cry harder.

But as stressful as everything is, the second I walk into the gym, and walk into the store, that all floats away. All of a sudden I remember how badly I wanted this, to be working my way from the bottom into something that I love. I start having fun, something I’m not used to at work. I’m excited to work and learn and the people I work with are concerned with following their own dreams and being happy, not stepping over each other to do better and make more. For literally the first time in my adult life I’m doing something that I love and I’m so happy when I’m doing it. Most of the time when I tell people about it they’re really excited for me. But their future isn’t directly connected to mine, and so they can be excited about the big picture without experiencing the little details.

The little details, like how I’m rarely home before 10 and usually am out the door by 4am. Details like how instead of feeling down because I’ve been staring at a computer screen all day I’m feeling sore because Barry’s Bootcamp with my coworkers just kicked my ass. And the little details like how talking about the future used to consist of “whens” instead of “ifs.”

Lately conversations are moving in circles. They start with normal topics, like “how was your day?” and “what’s the plan for tonight?” and they end with words like “I just need to get over it” instead of “I’m here for you.” When I think things are calming down I say something hoping for an adult conversation and it ends with me crying and refusing to speak, and then I feel awful because everyone feels awful. When you make a really big change, it affects everyone around you, and unfortunately how they react can permeate your opinions as well.

I don’t know. This whole post seems like circles. Something is upsetting me but there’s literally no way to make it better. It doesn’t feel any better to get it out on paper than it does to talk about it in circles again, but then again it does help to have it written out in front of me. Time should make it all better. It should. I hope it will.

A day in the (new) life

Monday morning. I’m up around 6:30-7am, my body clock was never good at the concept of “sleeping in” (or lately, “sleeping at all”). I wander to the kitchen to get the coffee started and mumble a sleepy hello to the other in the room. I stand and stretch up, good morning spine stretches and body wiggles to shake out the sleep from the night before. Coffee, breakfast, snuggles with my other and then I walk to my closet to pick out something for the day. I’ve had this routine for six plus years now, save for a few details, like the earlier alarm and the other there with me.

Outfit picked, I walk to the corner and pick up one of the rolled yoga mats, taking a minute to choose between the one I like because it’s big or the one I like because it’s better. I always choose the better one, the one that can handle my sweaty hands in the middle of sun salutations. I flow through a few stretches, a breezy playlist on Spotify soundtracking the fifteen minutes I set aside every morning to warm up a little and maybe film something for Instagram. I’ve had this routine for two plus years now, save for a few details, like how the early days were a quest to touch my toes instead of working towards a handstand, and what I’m wearing to work.

I throw on the final touches for work, quick makeup if I have the extra time and bundle up for the walk to the subway. Sometimes I say goodbye to the other but sometimes they aren’t there, having left already for work or hiding under my bed, and I pull the door shut, turning the key to the bolt and shoving my lanyard in my pocket. I hate keeping the bulky keys in my pocket, but as usual I’m holding at least two overstuffed bags, so I’ll wait till I get to the subway station to put them in my backpack. I make my way down the stairs and open the door, officially transitioning from Morning Mode to Work Mode. I’ve had this routine for a while now, save for a few details, like where I’m going now when I leave the building and and how I feel about going to work.

I spoke to an old friend for a long time over the weekend, and he said something that’s stuck with me: “Man, LB. Whoever would have though 2016 would have turned out like this?” The statement can be applied to quite a number of happenings since January 1, but we weren’t thinking that large. Really it was just looking at the small details of our lives every day, like what time we wake up and where we go to work. Sometimes for me it’s whether I walk out the door in Washington Heights or in Forest Hills, or whether I’m headed to the Upper East Side or Meatpacking. The days feel similar somehow in the small morning routines but the tiny details are something I never could have predicted, not six plus years ago, two plus years ago, whatever while ago.

After work, wherever I am, I eventually hop on a long subway home, headphones in with Spotify or a podcast and I’m usually playing Solitaire to pass the commute. I hop off the train and make the 7-minute walk back to whichever apartment I’m spending the night, Queens or upper Manhattan. I walk in the door, take off my shoes and flop onto the couch, sometimes with a cat in my arms and sometimes with A instead. I tell them about my day, and we make dinner, and listen to music while working or watching something to wind down before bed. I fall asleep with one of them next to me. I wake up the next morning and do the same thing. I’ve had this routine for a while now, save for all the little details, like how I feel about waking up the next morning to do it all over again. Because in the little details are some huge changes that make my every day anything but routine.

 

The Purge

The purge happened on Tuesday night. I was procrastinating finishing homework for my new job and started cleaning out a closet on a whim; 2 hours later my foyer was clogged with overstuffed bags of shoes, purses, jackets that I definitely haven’t worn in the past year. The purge itself felt like a funeral for my single life,  I wore [those] shoes to [that] party, and I carried [that] purse at [this] event. At one point something fell out of a purse I hadn’t used in years that immediately made me think of The Child, and then I saw a pair of shoes I haven’t worn since the night I knew Austin was the right decision. This kept happening as the bags filled faster; I wore that scarf on that awful first date, and I wore that jacket when the original Ex and I broke up. As I packed each bag there were waves of memories flashing from the time since I moved here in 2013, and when I stopped and looked at the carnage, I realized that Washington Heights no longer feels like home.

It’s not a coincidence I was living in the past on Tuesday evening. Actually, that’s how most November 15ths are for me, at least now. The thing is, November 15 is a day that I didn’t think I’d remember after a while, but it turns out I’m going to remember it for the rest of my life. Two years ago I lost a family member, the indescribable instigator of my understanding the concept of “family by choice.” Since her passing so many things have happened, not least of all the two newest (and cutest) members of the family. In two years I committed to yoga, got my cert, left the 9-5. I planned a permanent Austin vacation, then A arrived, and now I’m packing up for Queens. Two years ago from November 15 is a day I’ll remember forever. But it will also always remind me what happened three years ago that same day.

Three years feels like a lifetime. Three years is not a lifetime at all, but it is a lifetime of sorts for me. Three years ago Tuesday was when I walked away from life with the original Ex and started life on my own. That lifetime brought me so many amazing memories; that started Peaches and Jumpsuit and my all-star sister-wifing of M&N’s relationship, and there were concerts and happy hours and some of the best worst decisions in my 28 years. Three years ago feels like a lifetime, but then again so does two years ago, when we lost my aunt, and so does one year ago, just under a month before I’d meet A and I’d start a new lifetime with him.

There’s a quote from a recent TED show on NPR that has stuck with me. Well, the idea of it has stuck with me – I can’t find the actual quote as I’m writing this. Anyway, the gist was along the lines of: time does not move as quickly as we believe it will, but moves much more quickly than we expect. When we’re young, a 6-hour school day can feel like torture, because all we know is maybe 6 years of life. Of course an hour feels longer – you don’t have the past context of 10, 20, 30 years to know how fleeting one hour can be. And right now, in our late 20s, we bemoan how quickly the seasons pass, but all things considered we have a lot of time to savor the moments as we live them. It’s only after they’ve passed that we realize how fleeting each one really is. Time is a funny, fickle, silly thing, the kind of silly thing that somehow makes three years a blip and yet an entire lifetime as well.

Somehow in my split decision to clean up I packed eight freaking bags with material things to discard, enough to create a fire hazard in my hallway and three total trips up and down my fifth floor walk-up. As I huffed and puffed my way back up the stairs on the last trip up, cursing the circuit workout I’d done after my shift at Equinox earlier that day, I stopped as I walked in the door and smiled. Looking around, my apartment felt empty. It’s the beginning of the end of a short-lived yet wonderful era in life. It felt good to get rid of that literal and figurative baggage. It felt even better the next day to take the elevator up to another fifth floor apartment in Forest Hills, free of so much baggage, and run past the door into the arms of the love of my beautiful new life.

Hope and Change

Right now it’s mid-afternoon on Wednesday and I’m sitting in a coffee shop on the Upper East Side. I have a steaming mug of peppermint tea in front of me and I’m snugly secure in a sweater I “borrowed” from my boyfriend this morning; the sweater smells like him and it makes me feel safe, like he always does, like he did this morning when we woke up and read the news, and he held me in his arms and stroked my hair while I cried. I’m choking back tears now as these words pour out. I’ve been, on some level, choking back tears all day.

So many things have changed since my last words here. I never intended to take such a break from blogging, and there were days I would open up a new draft and think “this is it,” only to get distracted by another errand, another odd job, another meeting, another everything. I thought that leaving the 9-5 world would free up time for me but instead things have stayed just as busy, only this time I’m running around the city rather than sitting behind a desk. I’ve literally never been happier in my life choices, if scared and a little more than intimidated. This busyness in my life feels like early spring, where I’m planting all of these seeds that I hope to grow in the next year and beyond. I don’t mind the waiting, you see. I do mind not knowing the end result.

That brings us back to this morning. When I woke up and saw that CNN hadn’t changed the color of the map since I’d gone to bed. When I read texts from E and G and when I spoke to my sister. When it hit me that this is what we’re moving forward with as a country. I would bet you that some of my politics would surprise you, since as the daughter of a a police officer I have a lot of strong feelings on gun rights, states rights and the political elite. But this election stopped being about policy and progress a long time ago. The election atmosphere became toxic, exposing our shortcomings as a young nation and how far we still have to go to consider ourselves a true superpower in the world we currently live in. I thought the key to that was to continue with progress, not set ourselves back 30 years. I still think I am right. More people thought I was wrong.

I have so many more stories to tell here in the coming days, like why I’m no longer at a desk job, and what I’m doing instead, and what it’s like to blow up your whole life for a dream and watch the pieces fall like ashes on a windy day. I have stories about waking up in need of time with your best friends before remembering that most of them don’t live in brunch distance anymore. But I can’t tell those stories. Not yet. Not today. Soon, I promise. But I can’t today.

Today I can’t read the news because it makes me cry, and I can barely look at children on the streets without wanting to apologize for something I tried to prevent, if only through my lone ballot. But today I’m also inspired by everyone around me who feels the same way. The people that voted for the first time, the people that voted from across the world, the people who recognize our shortcomings as a nation after this long and extraordinarily arduous election. The lotus flower only grows in mud, and the sun always rises on the worst of times. Right now we’re in a tumultuous time of uncertainty and also an uncharacteristic level of hope from people who have been walking around today the same way I’ve been. There are good things coming for us out of this awful moment in our young history. I don’t mind the waiting, you see. I do mind the not knowing the end result.

Subway Notes (1)

Sometimes I write Notes in my iPhone to myself when I have a thought I have to write down immediately but I’m not around my journal or can’t get service to start a Draft Series – aka, when I’m on the subway. I found this one recently, and with all thats going on in my life, it felt appropriate to share. 


August 21, 2015

Austin, Austin, Austin.

I’ve made the decision to leave New York.

I know. I’ll stick around for the weddings through the summer, probably, but the goal is by this time next year I’ll be there.

I’m just not the same person that moved to New York in 2010. The goals I moved here with, the ambitions, I don’t have the same ones. I think there were a lot of ways this could have gone differently, NYC and me, but I also think it’s best to walk away from a relationship you’ve grown past, because you can’t move forward if you’re holding on to what used to be.

NYC, baby. I can’t imagine a different life, really. The big city, the people I’ve met, the adventures I’ve lived. What an incredible place to spend the majority of my 20s. The idea of starting over somewhere completely new at near 30 is fucking terrifying, absolutely terrifying, but in that fear there’s the thrill of a new beginning.

Mama B put it best when I mentioned I was scared to start over. We were at Meatball Shop for dinner on a hot Wednesday, and I’d been so nervous to tell her my decision. She is completely supportive to no ones surprise, and when I told her I was scared, she said it’s not starting over somewhere new. “You’ll be taking a wealth of experience, from heartbreak to work life, to surviving in a city on your own, everything you’ve learned in the past 6 years. It’s not a blank slate, really, but a fresh start as the person you are today.”

We never moved growing up. I spent 21 years going back to the same house, the same room, the same everything. It’s beautiful, the still calm of the familiar, but for much of my life, the lack of disruption was something that got me in trouble, caused me to resist change with such a fierceness, aggravating that dragon inside me, feeding into anxiety and an eating disorder as coping methods to handle the change around me.

Lately it’s like I’ve been embracing changes, because the little changes in my life are starting to feel like I’m creating the life I’ve always wanted. And the biggest part of that life is yoga. It’s what makes me happy, and makes me frustrated, and challenges me. It’s the best relationship I’ve ever had, even with all the ups and downs, and it’s starting to feel silly that I’m not spending as much time with it as possible. Why not chase the things that make me happy instead of working hard to make time for them? Why shouldn’t I follow my passion now that I’ve finally discovered it, after 20 years of hunting for it.

I love New York. But it’s time for me to move on.