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.

Why I haven’t posted, Part 2

More excuses!

  • There’s a really, really good chance that come October 10 my life is going to look entirely different than the one I’m living right now. I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea of major changes and it’s overtaking a lot of my thoughts.
  • A is having major surgery this Friday and honestly, I’m terrified. I’m also only pretty sure he doesn’t usually read my blog but if you are, baby you’re going to be fine and I love you.
  • I literally just got over a face infection like three days ago. That was almost THREE WEEKS and five different medications to fix my stupid face.

That’s about it really. I did buy a new laptop though, so **hopefully** this is the kick in the pants to finally get blogging again. And, if bullet one comes to fruition, I’ll have plenty of time to do so in the coming weeks.

Can you believe it’s almost OCTOBER!? What the actual heck.

xo,
LB

Why I haven’t posted

Hey readers. I’m working on like 8 different posts but none of them are done and honestly, likely won’t be done this week. Here’s why:

  • Life is really busy. I had my birthday and then was gone for 5 days.
  • Dealing with a few health issues.
  • Okay fine it’s not “health issues” so much as “I’ve somehow contracted an infection that usually only affects children ages 2-6 and now I’m embarrassed to be in public.”
  • I’m teaching tomorrow and I haven’t written a damn thing for the class.
  • I had to work last weekend.
  • I have to work this weekend.
  • I haven’t kissed my boyfriend in almost 2 weeks courtesy of the aforementioned infection.
  • I haven’t seen my boyfriend much in the past 2 weeks courtesy of the aforementioned work.
  • I’m deeply entrenched in reading Girl on the Train (finally)
  • I’m also deeply entrenched in rewatching The Sopranos (SO GOOD)

So basically, stay tuned, probably until my stupid face clears up.

Seriously though who turns 28 and contracts an infection that LITERALLY ONLY AFFECTS PRESCHOOL CHILDREN.

Oh right. Me.

Milestones

Every relationship has milestones: first date, first kiss, first sleepover, first “I love you.” Those are the cute ones, the ones people talk about, the ones you look forward to and tell your friends about the minute they happen. There are also different milestones, ones you don’t think about, as I found out on the recently-achieved First Vacation Together with A. For most of August we traveled around Norway, a trip ambitiously booked four months in advance of leaving, and without either of us realizing it, there was a lot riding on this trip. Neither of us knew what to expect, and as we eventually discussed, we were both quite nervous about it. It turns out there are a lot of milestones when you’re on vacation with someone for 10 days traveling around a foreign country, more than I ever expected or could ever plan for. They’re kind of cute, in a weird, gross, super-real and also wonderful kind of way.

There are the weird milestones, that honestly are mostly about pooping. Like, it’s one thing to spend a few days at apartments in New York City, but 10 straight days in foreign apartments together is a whole separate level from your comfortable apartments. You get really close, really quickly, and that kind of closeness is the silly kind of thing that has the ability to tear your relationship apart or make it stronger. There are the scary milestones that happen when you spend 10 days straight with someone too. Chronic pain is something that A and I deal with as the third wheel in our relationship; usually it’s one of his injuries but this time one of mine got in the way. We had to cancel our first planned hike because of A’s back; we had to cancel our remaining hike on the morning of because of my knee. I thought he would be mad, maybe sad, maybe even disappointed, but instead he just let me cry out my own disappointment and then we planned an amazing day in Stavanger anyway. We adapt together well; I didn’t know that before this trip.

There were a lot of things I didn’t know before this trip. I didn’t know that he likes to get to airports early like I do, and I didn’t know how many Roots t-shirts he actually owns, which is a lot (maybe too many?). I didn’t know how we would live together for that long, because we talked about living together like its a given without any reason to think so positively, and I didn’t know if 10 days together would solidify what I’ve been feeling since the day I met him or if we would kill each other by the plane ride home. And there are a lot of things I learned on the vacation. I learned that my boyfriend is a 10 year old and likes to chase me around foreign apartments calling me Poopface while I’m simultaneously mortified and hysterically laughing. I learned that breaking the only razor on day 7 means I shouldn’t wear a sleeveless top and cropped leggings on a crowded plane for day 10. I learned that a lot of relationship milestones have to do with pooping, really, and I learned that I’m also a 10 year old because I think that nickname is adorable and high-fiving A over shared bowel stories is gross but also really awesome.

I also learned it’s possible to enjoy every single second of 10 days with someone who makes you laugh and cry and frustrates you before making it all okay again. I learned that 10 days with someone can completely transform a relationship without changing a goddamn thing. I learned more about the idea of forever. I spent a lot of time in the realm of thinking about forever. I learned what it’s like to consider 48 hours without someone after 10 days of constantly being with him and before that even happened I learned it made me cry too much, because those 48 hours felt like the kind of forever I want to avoid. I learned a lot this vacation. I learned a lot in the week since. Mostly I learned that I’m the luckiest girl in the whole damn world, and my forever these days is the best mix of Nows.

[Draft Series] The Ex-files

Original draft: August 1, 2016

Summer is usually a time for healing.

I’m not saying I have a ton of experience with the traditional definition of “exes” because in the traditional definition of “date for a long time, fall in love, fall out of love, break up,” I have two, both of which started in college. I have a lot of experience with other kinds of exes though. There’s the Banker, who only met me in bars after 10pm to act like my boyfriend until the next morning, and there’s the Nice Guy that I went on four dates with and never once kissed because he bored me. There’s the Boss, who only liked me when he couldn’t have me and insulted my intelligence once I finally gave in, and of course there’s the Child, the story we don’t need to rehash again. Those stories are all finished and gratefully so, but there are always little chances to run into people in a city like New York. Especially when there’s a Fling from a few years back that’s related to a core member of the group, and you start a new job that is quite literally around the corner from an ex’s office. You know. Those typical situations.

Truth be told, more than anything those last bits are funny coincidences over anything substantial in my life.  And I didn’t think that I needed to be contemplating all these past parts of me, not now, when there are so many exciting things coming up in the next few weeks. Maybe I still don’t, who knows.

Ha det så lenge!

Chau for now, USA! A and I are off to Norway for the rest of the month, with plans to hit all the big cities, hike through some fjords and naturally, head to the Arctic Circle to play with sled dog husky puppies in training. If you don’t already, follow me on Instagram (@lokahlobrunt) for photos and updates from across the ocean, and perhaps a yoga photo in a fjord. Or more specifically, multiple yoga photos in all the fjords.

See you back here in September. Enjoy the end of summer, lovely reader!

xo,
LB