Seemingly Random Specific Occurrences

I don’t believe in coincidence all the time. Sometimes sure, things are just so wonky you chalk it up to coincidence, but a lot of the time I find something that feels like a coincidence is just a precursor before everything else falls into place.

Like today, for instance. This morning was a calm morning like any other, I was checking the news before the day’s tasks picked up. I reached for the coffee I’d brought from home and warmed (excessively) in the microwave without looking (how hard is it for an adult to pick up a cup, right?) and I watched the next ten seconds in slow motion: a loud CLINK of ceramic on fake wood desk, the coffee loping over the fallen edge and all over my sweater and jeans before I could even say “Uh oh.” Barely 9am and not only am I pretty sure I’m burned from my stomach to the top of my thigh, but I’m now facing a full day of sitting in coffee-stained clothing, or popping to Anthropologie at the Market to spend way too much on clothing I don’t need. Great choices, right? As I took a deep breath and tried to figure out next steps, I realized last week I left a bag of clothes here, the infamous bag that had my keys at one point too. A dress and a denim jacket that miraculously match the shoes I put on this morning. Problem solved.

Tuesday I was scrolling through old entries. I came across A Story, One Year Later, and read through it a few times for a few reasons. Tuesday was two years since a day that was supposed to be a date turned into a Saturday Funday, as Facebook reminded me via a picture I still remember C taking of me, R and H at Boat Basin on a beautiful May afternoon. I reminisced about reading magazines over and over on the subway and realized I haven’t been reading the same way since I stopped getting those magazines, and then I tried to remember the last time I went anywhere without my headphones, and honestly, I can’t. I chalked it up to a weird coincidence, that I would find that entry on that exact day, and moved on with my day, hoping to get out a few minutes early to rush through a Whole Foods run before finally, blissfully, heading home alone.

It’s exhausting to think about signs everywhere, that nothing is a coincidence because “everything happens for a reason” and all that. Sometimes it’s really nice to think something is a coincidence because coincidences are easy to comprehend, they’re just random things that happen and make you go “huh” and then you move on. Sometimes I drive myself crazy trying to understand random things that happen, like how I can feel the shift of energy as the new moon approaches this weekend, and there’s a planet of healing turning retrograde this month that’s making me think about starting over. A thinks I’m crazy when I start going on about the planetary movements, and okay, I definitely am. Sometimes things are really just coincidences. Other times it feels like there’s more behind the random coincidences, and I need a reason to pay attention to them, especially when they pile up like they have been the past few weeks.

Back to Tuesday, it was a late night in the office, which I haven’t had in quite a long time. I tried to let myself skip grocery shopping but I’m sick of buying lunch and coffee every day, so I sucked up my last bit of energy and made my way to the Whole Foods by Columbus Circle, a pit stop on the way back to the Heights. I realized while shopping around that I didn’t have pockets for my phone, so as I checked out I tucked my phone and headphones into my backpack, a foreign motion for me. As I walked out the glass doors and towards the subway, I thought that moment, sans headphones, would be a funny moment to run into someone I knew. And not ten seconds later, I saw R walking towards me about 10 feet away. I was so shocked that I just stared at her for a minute with a huge smile, and then shouted her name like a crazy person. She looked equally as shocked to see me – turns out she’d seen one of the “If you see something, say something” signs a few minutes before, and nearly sent me a note. We could chalk all that up to a big coincidence – and there’s of course no denying it was! But in a moment where I was missing a friend and in need of a good way to end a long evening, I may have to chalk that up to a little push from the universe. Everything does happen for a reason, after all.

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Retrograde

We’re goin’ hippie on the Chronicle again! Please feel free to tune out if you’re not into planetary motions and cosmic energy and come back later this week when I have another entry up (probably). I have a post I’ve been working on all week that I was hoping to have up today but just can’t seem to finish it, and then today happened and all I can think about is retrogrades and how they’re fucking with my life right now.

Even if you don’t believe in hippie mumbo-jumbo, you have to admit there’s something to be said about how the cosmos affects our tiny beings. The moon rules the tides, the ebbs and flows of the ocean, the motions of time. The planets all revolve around a single entity, held together by an energy that everyone accepts but doesn’t understand; we’re all ruled by the same cosmic matter and energy that creates the planets, a solar system, the trees in Central Park and the desk I’m writing this entry on. Is it so crazy to think that planetary movements, therefore, govern things that we can’t explain but accept as truth?

It is? Okay fine. Again, I invite you to stop reading now and come back later this week for more of my normal rambling.

Made it this far? Great. Mercury is currently in retrograde (looks like it’s moving backwards in the sky) and has been since late April. Mercury rules communication and technology, which is why when things are going haywire in our lives, people will jokingly blame Mercury retrograde. Retrogrades aren’t necessarily meant to be bad times actually – it’s just that the planet’s energies are expressed differently, more inward than outward. So yes, when technology goes haywire you can blame the retrograde, but this particularly long retrograde I’ve taken the opportunity to turn inwards on my own communication and goals to try and find growth in a period of backtracking. I’ve come to a lot of really interesting conclusions, meditating on all this, but there’s one really, really big one that I can’t run away from anymore, even though I’ve been trying to for a long time.

I really, really, really miss my best friend.

This is expressed for me in a million different ways right now for a lot of different people, but the one taking center stage is M. I miss M with my whole being. Literally every part of me aches every time I pass their old apartment or when I see that I’ve missed another text or a FaceTime from her, a product of backwards communication during this time. Everything reminds me of the past five years where she was my rock, the only one who could keep me sane, and for some reason this past week has been the hardest since she left, because we’re somehow talking more and saying less and I just want to walk the three blocks to her old apartment where she’s waiting for me with a glass of wine and an open ear.

And I miss the rest of my friends. H and I tried to plan a time where he and R and me and A could all get together and we’re not free at the same time till nearly August. C and I fortunately have a set date for a rooftop movie next week where I’ll finally be able to give her the birthday present I got for her birthday in February. S and I just laugh when we try to plan anything lately because we’re literally on opposite schedules. I’m so lucky to have A and his friends on a similar schedule, and they’re all wonderful, but except for K they’re not my people, not yet. Lately I feel like I’m floating in this weird bubble of life: this was supposed to be the countdown to my move, the countdown to a new beginning, the last weeks to see everyone; now I’m stuck and it’s hard not to feel alone.

Anyway. My whole life feels like a retrograde right now, moving backwards because none of us are where we thought we’d be at this point in our lives. This particular retrograde is ending on Sunday, and things will start to even out; things will start to move forward again. Energies will stabilize, and life will come together. I suppose that’s the best I can hope for, that things stabilize slowly in the next few days.

Either way, we’ll all adjust to the changes, the retrogrades, the new lives. We always do.

And then? Brunch.

You know how I’ve been bemoaning about how uninteresting my life has been lately? I was looking back on old entries, not just before YTT but going back to early 2015, and my word life has changed so much. All of the changes have been wonderful and positive, and I suppose most of the changes are what people refer to when they talk about growing up, but part of me missed that carefree LB. I missed reliving the ridiculous moments on the weekends, fueled by champagne and perfect weather, and I miss waking up to photos in my phone that I don’t remember taking, someone else’s selfies and kisses on cheeks as we fall down on the bar couch. I don’t want to go back to those times, but I did miss them for just a little while. And then this weekend happened. Or more specifically: and then? Brunch.

M’s sister was in town for the weekend, my first weekend after training, and we’d decided weeks ago that Sunday would involve the three of us and A getting together for brunch at Paradou, a tiny restaurant not too far from my office in the Meatpacking that offers what else? Unlimited champagne brunch. A and I had a perfectly lazy Saturday, dumplings in Williamsburg on Saturday afternoon followed by binge watching Amazon Prime on his couch in Queens, the lovely kind of nothing you don’t realize you miss until you go without for six weeks. Like the super-cool couple we are, we were dead asleep by 10:30 on Saturday, and up early in time for a long walk through Queens before we met M and her sister for the aforementioned brunch. I had grand plans to dedicate the afternoon to cleaning my apartment, grocery shopping, and generally being a productive member of society. And then? Brunch.

A. I haven’t mentioned him yet, have I? A is the person that I never saw coming, to say the very least. My 2016 had grand plans to continue the year of LB, a year for big life changes and life lessons and learnings, but never in there did I expect, anticipate or plan for A to crash into my life and change everything. We’ve been seeing each other for a while now, and to his enormous credit I have NOT made it easy on him. A few weeks after we met I was starting a Whole30, and then a few weeks after that YTT started, plus we live quite literally on opposite ends of the city. Rather than the typical “meet for drinks” getting-to-know-you dating that’s standard for New York City singles, our relationship has been yoga dates, cooking for each other, lazy nights on someone’s couch and weekends apart while I spent time in the studio. Actually, aside from the wedding where we met a few months back, he hadn’t really experienced drunk LB in her full glory, despite our dating for a few months now. And then? Brunch.

We all woke up in a daze on Monday morning, after brunch turned into the Standard Biergarten turned into a series of ridiculous happenings, like how M and I had to climb up her downstairs neighbors’ fire escape after locking ourselves out of her apartment and I almost lost my phone and keys in an Uber I don’t remember taking. A and I had talked about hanging out last night and quickly quashed those plans in favor of going to our respective apartments and crashing immediately; I don’t even know how I made it through an entire day in the office without throwing up in or around something. When I initially woke up I felt like such ass that I almost started to berate myself, talking down on my actions and decisions like scolding a child, trying to make hungover LB feel terrible enough that drunk LB would go back into hiding forever.

But the more events from the afternoon started coming out, the funnier everything became. There are videos on my phone that show the four of us heavily-lidded and laughing hysterically, a series of photos with A and I where we start off making joke faces and end up with these perfect smiles, a little reminder of how happy I’ve been since he swooped into my life and changed everything. We were all acting like the person that I was for so long and the one I missed a little bit; the hangover reminded me that I don’t actually miss her all that much, but I love the memories I have of that time. It’s easy to see life for all the changes at times, especially when they’re chronicled so neatly in a place like this. It’s easy to think you’ve grown past making some of those poor life decisions or bemoan that you’ll never be “that” person again. And then? Brunch.

‘Laugh More, Worry Less’

People think Mondays are terrible. It’s the day you have to go back to work, it’s the start of a long week before another blissful two days where your responsibilities are to yourself, and not to your desk. Personally I love Mondays. There’s something really wonderful about starting a week over again, putting the past week behind you and looking ahead to wonderful things in the days to come. That’s not exactly the case this Monday though. I can’t figure out how I feel about this Monday, because it’s the last Monday before I start yoga teacher training (henceforth referred to as YTT), and that means it’s the first Monday of the next six weeks where, to an extent, I have no idea what to expect.

I’m a natural worrier, passed down from my grandmother and from Mama B, and shared with my sister. For many years, I think I relished my worrier status. It’s a lot easier to punish yourself than it is to feel a sense of pride in accomplishments sometimes, so even when I’d find myself in situations that didn’t require me to worry, I would let the anxiety that’s plagued me my entire life take over. Much of that started to change as yoga became more integrated into my life; first it was taking a few moments to breathe and stretch in the mornings and reset my brain before a day behind a desk, then I started doing yoga after work to quell the office anxiety that followed me home, and eventually yoga came into my daily life, breathing through moments that would normally make me crazy, removing my ego from negativity that would bubble up inside me when I found myself in situations I couldn’t control. It’s a huge reason I’ve been so adamant about getting certified to teach yoga: I want to deepen this practice within myself while simultaneously sharing what I’ve learned with other worriers who just need to learn how to breathe.

All this worry though, all these negative thoughts about whether I’m enough, whether I’m good enough, ready enough, strong enough to handle the next six weeks still hasn’t gone away. I’m nervous about this in the same way that I’m nervous about everything that’s going to happen in the next six, ten months; my mind is constantly on edge that something is going to tip the scales and it’s all going to come crashing down around me. It’s in these moments that it becomes difficult to breathe and simply live for the moment happening before it fades away. It’s in these moments I need yoga the most, and it’s in those moments lately that I’m beyond grateful I’ll have the chance to explore and deepen my life within yoga throughout the next six weeks and beyond.

Something that I’ve been working to grasp as I’ve gone through the Yoga Sutras ahead of Thursday is that everything is external. All the worry I have, all the joy, all the moments where I can’t shut my mind down are completely external from who I am and what I need. I don’t need to throw a tantrum because I lost my phone while drunk at an office party and I don’t need to make a rude facial expression at the person on the subway who pushes past me to grab a seat I didn’t want anyway. Everything around me and in me, the worry about whether I’m enough for YTT or where I’ll be when September is finally here, it’s all external, and I can control how I react to it if I know how to control my thoughts. I can choose to look at any situation as positive or negative, but after a lifetime of choosing the negative, controlling a stream of consciousness towards the positive is far easier said than done.

Bipolar Sunshine has a song, ‘Laugh More, Worry Less.’ that I listened to a few times this morning as my subway unexpectedly crawled along the local track from 175th street to 14th. Such simple words, but they’re such perfect words to live by this week and all the time. Laugh more, worry less. Remember to enjoy this moment because there will never be another one like it and you’ll never get to relive it again. It’s so easy to focus on the negative, and it’s so easy to distort things you can’t control into these huge problems that take over everything. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing your perspective on a situation, whether it’s a Monday morning or whether it’s the next six weeks of the rest of your life. If I can learn to love Mondays over time, I can learn to breathe in the moments this week where it feels impossible that something I’ve been dreaming of for nearly a year is finally here.

Do It Anyway

Lazy weekends are just the best, aren’t they? Two days where you can sit and watch Netflix for hours, where you can eat leftover fried rice for breakfast and stay in sweatpants all day. I had a weekend like that this past weekend, one of my last remaining weekends before yoga training starts and I basically hibernate into the studio for six weeks straight. I spent most of this weekend relaxing or doing yoga, a vinyasa date on Saturday followed by impulse-shopping at Lululemon (came home with a leotard…) and then a night with M and N’s dog watching Netflix while they were out of town; in the spirit of a lazy weekend I was in bed by 9:30pm, snuggled with the dog and dead to the world for nine blissful hours. In fact, the only almost-stress I had for the weekend came when trying to decide what to do on my Sunday afternoon: should I stay home, meal prep for Whole30 and clean my apartment (aka be responsible) or head out to Queens for the evening (aka be impulsive)?

I’m sure this will come as HUGE shock to literally no one, but responsibility and I are not on great terms. Last week I accidentally forgot to send my rent check until it was pushing past due for no other reason that I forgot it was still in my purse, I triple-booked myself on Sunday afternoon because apparently I can’t read my own calendar, and did I mention I impulse-purchased a LEOTARD for yoga this weekend? In normal circumstances it’d be funny how little I think ahead sometimes, and okay it’s pretty funny I now own (and stand by) a leotard as an adult, but in the context of the big plans for this year, I know I need to start reigning myself in from the wild child that’s been running around for the past five years and start planning like a functional adult.

But then again, that sounds terrible. I mean, okay, obviously I’m a functioning adult, in that I am over the age of 18, I work and pay taxes and eat vegetables and lots of the other things adults do. I’m thinking more from the day-to-day aspect; I don’t want to have an exciting thought and then train myself at the end of it all to pull back from what brought me joy or happiness or anticipation because it may not be the “right” thing to do. I wear these small metal bands every day, Mantrabands they’re called, each with a small saying to bring me whatever I need in the moment: inspiration, positivity, courage. None of them are there to remind me to be responsible; there’s no mantra for “hold yourself back” or “think this through carefully.” They’re there to remind me that spontaneous is good for the soul, and that to hold myself back from anything, especially now, would be the worst thing. Yet still, it’s an internal battle. When do you let the planner win, and when do you say “fuck it” and have fun?

Yesterday afternoon I stopped in to see M when she got back in town, and on the walk to her apartment, I found myself weighing pros and cons of staying home versus heading out. I wanted to go, I knew I wanted to go, but I could feel the responsible person in my head pulling me back from falling into the mindset of DO IT! with gentle reminders of “Whole30 takes planning!” and “You have work you should do tonight.” Usually I look to M as my moral compass; she’s the most responsible person I know and she usually steers me in the right direction when I’m fighting my always-impulsive nature with the need to be an adult. I explained the options I had in front of me: be responsible in Washington Heights, or go chase happiness in an evening in Queens, and I have to admit, I did not see her response coming: “I say go for it!” she said. “This is the second-to-last weekend before you’re in training till March. Who cares if it’s not the responsible thing to do. Go be happy.”

I walked out the door with a smile on my face, and as I threw my coat on in a frenzy to get back to my apartment to pack a few things quickly and start the long trek to the outer borough, I knocked one of my bracelets askew. I shook my wrist a bit to put the bracelet back on right, and smiled as I quickly looked to see which one had been disrupted in the first place: Do It Anyway. Those words have become some of my favorites in the last month, where all of my careful planning for the big change this year has imploded under the weight of something new and unexpected; the words were exactly what I needed to see yesterday in the midst of the internal battle between responsible and happy. I know responsibility is gunning for me right now, and I’m probably looking at a serious bite in the ass at some point very soon for being such an impulsive 27-year-old child. But at least for now, I’m riding the wave of spontaneity and the last week of freedom before training, saying yes to everything and nothing, and repeating that it doesn’t matter if it’s the irresponsible or reckless path to take: sometimes that path is the most beautiful, and hell, even if it isn’t: do it anyway.

Are you smiling?

Are you happy? Are you smiling? Are you doing exactly what you’d want to be doing right now?

My time off to relax into the end of 2015 was exactly what I needed, a few days in Connecticut over Christmas to celebrate time with the family and our new puppy brother, followed by a full 8 days back in the city to enjoy. The week was almost a blur of relaxing, wandering the city to catch up with G and E on Tuesday, E and I binge-watching Netflix and putting together furniture on Wednesday, and then a lazy New Year’s Eve day, ahead of a fancy dinner with M&N&E&me in Mount Kisco, ending the year by celebrating in sweatpants at home, champagne in hand and a kiss at midnight to start 2016 on a great foot.

I spent the last Saturday night of the vacation in Queens, of all places, and as I was gearing up for the long trek home, I decided to download a TED talk podcast on happiness. After a segment on an app that helps track your happiness, which will periodically text you something akin to the three questions above, I started to get distracted by the time, in a valiant effort to get to my apartment before the (eventually terrible) Jets game kick-off, and put music into my headphones instead to calm down. Wait by NF immediately came up in Spotify; the lyrics include “Are you happy?” and “Are you smiling?,” also noted above. Being asked these questions in two different mediums led to some interesting internal dialogue, as I tried to answer the three questions above on the long journey home.

On the one hand, HELL no, I was not happy, nor smiling, nor doing what I’d like to be doing. I had been stuck with a local train out of Forest Hills to Midtown, and then stuck with ANOTHER local train from Midtown to the Heights, which cinched my missing part of the first quarter of the game. It was cold outside which I strongly dislike, it was Day 2 of my third Whole30 so I had carb flu (IT’S REAL AND TERRIBLE), and I was less than 24 hours from returning to the office after an extremely-needed 10 day break. Also there was a weird ringing in my ears that wasn’t due to my headphones? Basically if I took a look at that exact moment, and the circumstances around me, I was not happy at all.

Taking a step back is something that’s not generally associated with the new year. Come January 1, we’re expected to step into resolutions with enthusiasm and fervor, this is the year I’ll get healthier and cancel cable and shop less and love more. Then, of course, most of these are swiftly abandoned after a few weeks or days, depending on how much champagne we’d had prior to making them. This year I took a different approach to the new year, in that my whole goal leading up to 2016, even the night leading into 2016, was to dial down my normal enthusiasm and enjoy a moment to step back and reflect. I don’t do that enough, I’ve realized, step back and appreciate or reevaluate for a moment, but with everything coming up in a few short weeks, taking moments to appreciate the little bits of the new year is something I want to prioritize.

Because if I look back to the moment above, the cranky attitude on a slow subway uptown; if I take a step back and look at the bigger picture, the answer to those questions is a resounding hell yes. It came after the perfect vacation with friends and family and love, and it came after a night with friends where I stuck to seltzer and still managed to stay out till 3am. It came after a lazy morning on the couch, bundled in t-shirts and coffee in hands while laughing along to Parks and Rec; and it came before NFL Sunday and a yoga class by candlelight to end the weekend. So yes, world. I am happy, and I am smiling, and I am exactly where I want to be right now. As with all things in life I’m sure that will change, but if I can hold onto my 2016 intention to step back a little and appreciate the big picture, then I predict I’ll have another wild yet wonderful year ahead.

Fast forward.

The story begins when I’m alone in a bathroom. I’m 15, and I’m at dinner with my family; we just finished eating and I’m staring at myself in the mirror. I ate fried chicken with some kind of greens and I can feel rage bubbling up in me, why would you eat that, I tell the mirror, aren’t you fat enough. I listen to a baby dragon inside me as it tempts me to get rid of it, get rid of it, get rid of it for the first time, and I walked out of the bathroom with a secret smile on my face. No one knows what just happened. No one would know what was happening for another two years, until no one could keep pretending it wasn’t happening anymore.

Fast forward and I’m in college but I’m in Argentina. I have a boyfriend and he’s nice to me, and I cling to him like he’s my whole life; he is my whole life during most of college. Never mind how I’ve cheated on him this whole trip; my first time apart from him in our two years of dating and all it takes for me to let someone kiss me is a compliment and then the threat that they might like someone else more. I’m ruled by insecurities, tell me you love me, tell me I’m pretty. I’ve gained so much weight I think I’m unrecognizable, and I hate it, so keep telling me I’m pretty, tell me I’m pretty, tell me you love me and I’ll let you take me home.

Fast forward and I’m alone. I’m in my apartment in New York City and I’m alone. When I moved to this city and when I moved to this apartment I wasn’t alone, but that all just changed. I’ve just gotten back here after leaving the Upper East Side and a pit stop to see N; M is out of town and N let me sit on their couch and stare at whatever sports game he had on to numb my feelings, but now I’m home and they’re all coming back. I’m alone. I’m really alone. And all of a sudden I’m on the floor and I’m screaming, I’m screaming into a pillow until my throat feels raw, as tears race down my face, my neck. “I’m sorry,” I keep sobbing, over and over. “I’m so sorry. I tried. I tried so hard. Oh god, this hurts. It hurts. It hurts. I’m sorry.”

Fast forward and I’m not alone in my apartment, but I am. Sometimes I’m not alone, but I am always alone. It’s one of those mornings where I’m waiting to be alone again, no I don’t want your number and don’t forget your shoes. I make a cup of coffee for just myself and sigh; there’s a moment after the door closes every time where I have to laugh at myself and who I’ve become over the last 24 months since screaming on the floor. She’s every kind of crazy, this person, but I love her in a way I’ve never loved a Self of mine. She’s stronger, I think, rolling out the worn-out yoga mat; she’s happier, I realize, as I stretch up to a backbend and open my heart. She’s ready to leave, this Self, she’s ready to take everything and start over as this person.

Fast forward and we’re all caught up. It’s almost the end of the year and the beginning of everything, the end of an era and the beginning of a new me. I don’t know where I am right now, having scheduled this blog post in advance so it would post today, like my own little fast forward to the future. My future as I’m writing it now is as blank as the rest of the future ahead of it. It was time to fast forward through all the things that shaped me in the past 12 years and let them go. It’s time to fast forward into this year, all of the wonderful milestones to look forward to, all of the changes and new beginnings and new people. It’s nice to rewind sometimes, relive who you were and how you got here, but I’m ready to press play again, and watch as the next story unfolds.

An Open Letter to Someone Who Probably Doesn’t Read This Blog

Dear T.C.,

Normally I’d start a letter with pleasantries: hope you’ve been well! It’s been a while! What’s new? But this isn’t one of those letters. I do hope you’ve been well, and it has been a while, but I don’t care what’s new in your life. I don’t care about your life at all. I stopped caring about your life after that last text message and I stopped caring about you shortly after you told me “I promise” and then we never saw each other again.

I felt the need to write you a letter to say two very significant things: fuck you. But also, thank you.

This weekend, with the new moon, I said goodbye to a lot of things. I said goodbye to the person you met on the platform so many months ago, the one with these convoluted fantasies about a meet-cute on the subway that clouded her judgment, the one who let you say things that never should have been said. I said goodbye to the idealistic dreams of someone who was hiding a broken heart behind alcohol and men and poor life decisions, and I really said goodbye to the girl who was so terrified of being alone that she let someone manipulate her for months, in some desperate plea to be loved. I blame me for a lot of her qualities, but I blame you a lot too. Maybe even a little more. Because even though I’m saying goodbye to that girl, there are pieces that I’m learning I can’t get rid of, not yet, and those pieces are your fault.

You took a dreamer and turned her into a hard shell, piling on armor surrounded by nails, so desperately afraid to let anyone get close again that she purposely closed herself off for an entire year. You took someone who trusted easily and gifted her with such deep-seeded anxiety at the idea of someone knowing anything serious about her because she’s afraid they’ll throw it back in her face. You took someone who saw the best in people first and made sure that she looked at anyone’s motives as malicious; everyone is just another person trying to stomp all over her heart.

But for all of that, for all of those qualities that I hate, I also want to thank you. Thank you for toughening me up before a long year of difficult decisions, and thank you for walking away completely with no explanation, because it made it so much easier to forget you. Closing myself off means that this year has been the most introspective I’ve ever had, and it finally gave me the strength to grow up. Refusing to put myself out there gave me the courage to start saying “no” to things in favor of a night with just myself, something I never thought I’d be comfortable with. Thank you for turning me into a shell of my former self, because it was time to shed that shell anyway, and find a new place where I can continue to grow.

And most importantly, thank you for giving me all of those barriers. After holding onto them like a child with a lollipop for so many months, it was a wonderful surprise to find out all it took to start breaking them down, just a bit, was an unexpected favor from my last wedding this year, and a Sunday afternoon watching football in Queens.

So goodbye – forever and for real this time. And fuck you.

But also? Thanks.

LB.

The little red notebook.

11-Dec15

It’s a new moon tonight, the last of the year before the full moon on Christmas. Somehow this feels important, especially when you consider this is the last page in this journal, and also the day of my last wedding this year.

I’m nursing a hangover from the holiday party and picking the car up at LaGuardia in an hour, but I still feel like relaxing at home for a bit in my chair before I get ready. It’s so nice to do nothing.

So these are my final intentions in a lot of ways: final for 2015, final for this amazing journal, final when you consider where I want to be this time in 6 months, next year.

I have loved this journal, and it holds all my secrets from this part of my life – the parties, the men, growing up. I will love this notebook forever but I’m ready to let this entire part of me go, forever. I’m ready to move on. 

So my final, final hopes:

 

(are safely locked in here).

XO forever

(here, at least).

LB

Whispers

On Saturday this past weekend, I was sitting surrounded by family and family-by-choice as we celebrated the imminent arrival of my identical twin nephews. My sister sat to my left, Mama B to my right, D across and family on either side of all of them; we had so many laughs and traded so many stories since the last time we’d all been together at such a sad event, just over a year ago. The topic of next year came up, and I fielded some very shocked faces when I announced my big plans. As I started to explain the rationale behind my decision, the timing of everything and what exactly will be happening once the plan is in motion, my mother interrupted me swiftly but gently, put her hand on my shoulder and said to the rest of the table “Well, LB thinks she’s doing that next year.”

At the time, I laughed off her comment with “No, I am doing that next year,” and the conversation moved on, no harm, no foul. I spent the rest of the weekend laughing about it with T and my soul sister E, as we enjoyed wine and Christmas music before dinner with M&N, laughed about it with M&N again as the five of us blatantly spiked our post-dinner Starbucks with one of the multiple flasks in my purse before walking down Fifth Ave to see the windows and the tree. But when I mentioned it to my brother the next morning, as we walked to find a bar for the full B clan to watch the Jets game together for the first time since T’s wedding, he didn’t laugh the way the rest of us did. “Look, you know Mom means well,” he started, “and it’s not that she doesn’t support you. She’s just concerned you’re not thinking this through all the way, and that you aren’t going to be prepared for the reality of what this decision means for you in the months ahead.”

There’s something about the words from my brother that have stuck so much more than the original statement from my mother. It’s like a weird combination of feeling supported but not, feeling like I’m alone in how excited I am to make this big change because my family doesn’t think I can do it, but then appreciating the reality check because sometimes I don’t think I can do it either. There’s this harsh reality that 2016 and January and July and September are no longer these abstract concepts, but very rapidly-approaching milestones that I’m scared are too ambitious for me to achieve. Part of it is the fact that I can’t plan ahead the way I’m used to planning ahead, because there are so many variables for next year, but the other part is this nagging fear that I just won’t be able to achieve the goals I’ve set. Like I’m going to sabotage myself, or I was too ambitious, or maybe just that I’m making a crazy decision and can’t fathom how it’s all going to come together, aside from the fact that I want it so badly I’ll practically do anything to make it happen.

Lately I keep hearing these nagging little whispers in my ears like the angel and devil on my shoulders, one day they’ll say “It’s all going to work out” and the next I’m resigning myself to keep living a life that hasn’t made me happy in years. I know people support the decision I’ve made, but then again, sometimes I feel like I’m navigating these scary waters alone. I’m terrified the plan I’ve put in place won’t come to fruition. I’m terrified that the life I’m chasing isn’t sustainable, and that I’m deluding myself thinking I can make it work. I’m terrified about so many things for next year but I can’t talk about them with anyone, because half the people I could talk to would just say “You’ll figure it out!” and the other half would jump at the chance to talk me out of it. I don’t even know what I want to hear at this point from anyone: that it’s going to be okay? that I’m making a mistake? I’m set in my decision but I’m so scared that I want it as badly as I do, because usually in my life when I want something this badly, it never works out.

This week there’s a new moon on Friday, the last one of 2015, before the full moon on Christmas day. As I have with so many months past, it’s like I can feel the energy of the new beginnings coming this Friday, like the universe is itching to start a new cycle and begin a story for the last time this year. I can appreciate that I’m feeling the strife of the next year now, because the next six months are going to be crucial in moving my life forward the way I’m dreaming it will. So maybe it’s time to listen to the whispers instead of brushing them off, and changing my mindset to what it was when I first decided to uproot everything and finally live. Or maybe it’s time to reevaluate everything. Whispers are calling to me in every direction right now regardless – but soon enough I’ll be shouting back.