Am I my hair?

When you make a decision and it’s the right one, it seems like life starts again at that moment, like it’s silly that you’d ever lived with something else. This is something I never knew, or appreciated, for many years; I am not a great decision maker, and up until somewhat recently, I was *that* girl, whose response to “What are you in the mood to eat?” was a knee-jerk “Oh I’m fine with whatever,” or “I’ll go where the group goes!” I’m not sure what triggered the change in my decision-making prowess, but I’ve found in the past six months especially that I’ve been very confident in decisions I’ve made, big and small. That is, until this past weekend, when the haircut I’ve been looking forward to since August did NOT come out the way I wanted, and I’ve been second-guessing pretty much my entire life ever since.

Now I realize that hair is hair, and it grows back, and like let’s be real, this is currently the biggest headache in my life so obviously things are going pretty okay for me. But I can’t tell how I feel about this haircut. One minute I think it’s too short, and I have to resign myself to waiting for it to grow in a bit, and then the next minute I love that it’s so short, such a drastic contrast from my long blonde locks that served as a security blanket for over ten years. India.Arie has this amazing song, ‘I am not my hair,” a song of empowerment and understanding you’re so much more than how others define you. But somehow, I’ve found that my hair may not be necessarily what has “defined” me recently, but it has become an interesting point of focus for all the changes that I’ve made to become this person in the past two years.

As a species, we’re designed to adapt. Whether doing something as minor as getting a haircut, or as major as moving across the country, we’re not designed to stay fixed in one mindset, one spot, and never evolve or move forward. I resisted this adaptation for a really long time. Most of my teens and early twenties, in fact. I couldn’t handle big changes well, wracked by insecurities and anxieties, still deep in the throes of an eating disorder; I avoided inevitabilities like growing up and I clung to the things that made me feel safe, like the long blonde locks I’d been growing for years. Maybe the changes started when I moved in to my own place nine months prior to that first dye job, or maybe one month prior when I walked away from that bedroom for the last time. But there was something in the air when I looked and saw my no-longer-blonde hair in the mirror that made me feel excited, not scared, and the wheels of change started moving.

Last weekend I finally chopped off all my hair again, after growing it out for three months for Twinster’s wedding. It’s exactly what I wanted, but it is SHORT. Like, really short. And the shock of the short hair in the mirror completely threw me off my game, threw into question all of these changes I’ve been making the past two years, and for a brief moment I wanted my long blonde locks again, and I wanted it to be 2013 again. I took a deep breath to calm down my rapidly-beating heart at the panic of going to the office essentially bald (*not actually bald at all), and thought for a minute about what was really happening, what was really going on in my head that was making me second-guess all the changes I’ve embraced and wanted in the past few months and years.

Because the thing is, I am my hair. I am a drastic change from the person who wore those long blonde curls like a security blanket. I remember looking in the mirror the first time after I went red for the first time, and all I could think was “Oh, there I am.” And I remember looking in the mirror after I cut my hair this past spring and thinking “Oh, there I am.” Perhaps given the significance of this past weekend, I still had those long blonde curls in my head, and seeing a short red bob reminded me of how much I have embraced change in the last few years, a reminder that next year I’m making the biggest change of all. I am so much more than just my hair, but looking in the mirror as I’m still adjusting to the fact that for the first time I can’t put my hair in a ponytail, I’ll remember that who I am today, this person that I love today, started with a simple, impromptu trip to a hair salon on a cold December afternoon.

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In which I proselytize about yoga and life.

“You use the wall for strength. You don’t use it for balance.”

Last Saturday morning, I made my way to the Upper East Side for a yoga workshop with the incomparable Kerri Verna. I last took a workshop with her in February (if you recall), and wouldn’t have passed up an opportunity to practice with her again. Admittedly this workshop was not quite as evocative, physically nor emotionally, as the February one, but I think some of that was my own fault: I set my expectations very high, now that my inversions are nine months more practiced and advanced, and like all good lessons learned from the mat, my expectations were shattered, as the majority of workshop attendees were super new to any inversions, so we spent more time on fundamentals than the mid-room inversion practice I’d been hoping for. When we did finally start reviewing handstands, Kerri said the above line to the room, and I felt my face go beet red, because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing at home to practice handstands.

I walked away from the class slightly disappointed: it ran way over and I had to leave early to catch a train, leading me to miss savasana and the chance to spend time with her one-on-one, and my ego was a little frustrated that we hadn’t worked on the more advanced postures, despite taking valuable lessons in fundamentals away from the session. On the long train ride back to Connecticut, I decided to pull out the tiny notebook I keep in my purse for emergency inspiration and began writing. I journaled a stream-of-consciousness more than anything, trying to keep my handwriting steady as the train rocked left, right, but when I stepped back after 30 minutes of furious scribbling, the words from Kerri above are what stood out the most.

As the thought rolled around in my head, I started to relate it to a lot that’s been happening lately in life, and not just my own but in the lives around me as well. I see it in everyone that’s gotten married or will get married this year, and I see it in the sad moments, like walking into my childhood home on Saturday, only to run upstairs and burst into tears, because for the first time in eight years, the half-golden, half-Rottweiler welcome committee wasn’t there to guide me in the house before tackling me in slobbery kisses. There are these waves of life, new beginnings with endings, sad stories with a happy ending, which can all come back to something as simple as a handstand against a wall: the wall is for strength, not balance. What you choose to fall back on in life is for strength, but not for balance. The people in our lives that support us are for strength so we can pull ourselves out, but balance is something only we can achieve.

Balance is such an interesting and fragile concept, like balancing a needle on a thread, as someone important once told me. There’s the physical aspect of balancing, but on a higher level, balance is something we’re all desperately seeking in our lives. There’s the ever-difficult quest for a work-life balance and learning how to juggle responsibilities at home and to yourself, with the constant pull for happy hours and 4am nights in the city. As I thought this weekend about balance, and the walls I’ve been using to keep me upright, I thought about how the biggest balancing act I’ve had to manage in the past six months is between the strength I’ve gained from being on my own for two years, and the balance I’m chasing between the many selves, from the 23 year old party girl, to the brokenhearted 25 year old, to the 27 year old almost-yogi I can feel still present in the LB typing this entry now.

Probably the biggest thing I took away from the class on Saturday was the ability to reassess my life right now, and decide to take a step back from handstand practice. I may have the strength to hold myself up, but in the past two weeks things have felt so off balance, it’s no wonder I’d been leaning on the wall to keep me grounded. I walked away from a workshop feeling disappointed I couldn’t push myself into a pose, but in that disappointment I’ve found a calm peace of mind. We forget sometimes that the mind and body are intrinsically connected in ways we’ll never understand. Sometimes it takes a few weeks of getting back to the fundamentals before we can push ourselves away from our support systems, and find a balance on our own two feet – or in my case, hands.

Round 2, Day 9

For anyone who is a recent reader of the Chronicle, you may not know that back in April, I completed my first Whole30 (read about it here, I’m not going into it). It was challenging and wonderful all at the same time, but at the end of the 30 days, as I went to bed, dreaming about the nice bottle of wine waiting for me when I got home from work the next day, I remember thinking that sure, I felt great and had energy and I’d even lost a few pounds – but I didn’t think I’d ever want to do another. In fact, I think those were my exact words, when I went into the office the next day and my coworkers all stopped by my desk to ask me what my final thoughts were: “Honestly, I feel amazing, but I don’t think I’d ever do it again.”

So why is the title of this post Round 2, Day 9?

I could list a million reasons why I wanted to do another Whole30 after saying very insistently that I never would – I miss the mental focus! I like having solid nights of sleep and a steady mood! I love how much I can eat without the mental restrictions I’d imposed for years as an anorexic! – but I don’t actually care to justify my reasons for doing another round. Truth be told, I’ve been met with a lot of side-eye over this, from friends and family alike, and it all comes back to one thing: “but can’t you just do a Whole30 and still drink?”

To be clear: wine is my favorite food group. If anyone ever told me to stop drinking wine forever, unless it was imperative to my staying alive, I would laugh in their face as I popped another cork. I love the social aspect of going out with friends for a quick drink, and there is no better feeling after a long week at work than changing into sweats on a Friday night and pouring a big glass of wine. But it started to become abundantly clear to me just after finishing my last Whole30 that excessive drinking and I don’t really get along all that well. In all the other changes I’ve made in the past two years, I’ve neglected to learn my limits with alcohol in public settings. Since just May 1 of this year, that’s led to such lovely half-memories as: falling asleep in the middle of M and N’s engagement party that I technically hosted, losing my wallet in a cab, losing my phone in an Uber after an embarrassing display at R and H’s rehearsal dinner, and most recently, loudly fighting with an Irishman outside of the bar at H’s birthday (though to be fair, that last one ended pretty alright for me).

And also since May 1 of this year, I’ve: watched two wonderful friends get married, turned 27, made a decision for next year that will change my entire life, watched my twin sister marry her soul mate, said goodbye to a beautiful creature that helped me through some of my darkest days, and permanently altered my right forearm. In the two months to come, my best friends say forever under the Spanish moss in Savannah and I tick off a second year on my own, before we go into 2016, the year of yoga training and saying YES to moving on. There is so much love coming our way in the next few months and years, and the last thing I want to remember when I look back at the end of 2015 is how I did something else fucking stupid and ended the night in a blackout shame spiral, not learning from the past, yet again.

Whole30 means something different to every person, and it means something different to people at each round. I went into this round not so concerned with the food aspect, but hoping to reset my mind in the excessive drinking part of things. I want to take 30 days off from numbing emotions I need to feel about all of these insane changes in the past few months, and feel them. I want to remember that girl at 22, 23, 24 with crazy anxiety that drank first to loosen up and then because she didn’t know how to stop; and I want to remember how much I’ve grown from that girl, so the next time I go out with my friends I’m not a complete disaster, something that’s felt too familiar since finishing Whole30 the first time. Maybe the biggest surprise I’ve noticed in just this past nine days is that I don’t really miss drinking the way I thought I would, even a little bit. I don’t miss the social aspect because I’ve been out twice now in the past week where I’m drinking seltzer and no one blinks an eye; when we got the sad news last week, my instinct was not to reach for a liquid escape, preferring instead to cry and look at old photos, reliving memories rather than suppressing them. This round has felt like the very small introduction step to a new life that I’m chasing going into 2016, and while I know that myriad challenges lie ahead, I also know I’m ready, willing and able to take them on.

But I tell you this: come Day 31 on November 25, the VERY first thing I’m doing when I leave the office is buying myself a nice bottle of wine and enjoying as much of it, or all of it, as I damn well please.

Quick Thoughts: October

Hello beautiful readers! Have you enjoyed the Draft Series so far? I’ve had such fun rereading these old drafts and putting them up. It’s so funny how some details stay with you for a long time, and other times I can’t imagine for the life of me how I was planning to finish a sentence or a thought.

I’ve missed blogging, but to be honest, this break has been really welcome. I took a break from a lot earlier this month: wasn’t really on Instagram, didn’t do as much yoga, didn’t try to overexert myself. It’s been nice so far, stepping back from everything to regain perspective on why they made me happy in the first place. That’s not to say the month hasn’t been a whirlwind – M’s bachelorette party and N and M’s wedding shower, H’s birthday, work events and the general lead-up to this weekend, where Twinster says “I do.” I’ve had all these ideas for entries and stories to tell, cryptic hints about ten.27 and what happens when I drink whiskey after promising myself I’d make it home early (and alone), how to react when you tell someone important “I’m changing my whole life!” and their response is “Okay.” I’ve got lots of content planned for November that touches on all of those things and then a few more, and I’m so excited to get back to putting up new, complete entries to catch everyone up on where I’ve been.

Last year, just before the time where we all kiss at midnight and wish each other happiness for the twelve months to come, I made the decision that this year would be about everyone else. This was the year of R’s wedding and T’s wedding, and the year I knew M and N would be engaged. This was not going to be a year about me, no dating, no big changes; I wanted all of my time and energy to focus on the people I love and watch their happiness become everyone’s. Things are starting to come to fruition now, the weddings have happened or are about to, and I haven’t made any big changes for myself, save for chopping off all my hair in the spring. In focusing on everyone else, though, somehow I’ve set in place a plan for next year that’s all about me. Next year is so rapidly approaching that I feel claustrophobic at times at how quickly time is closing around us, and yet I still want time to move faster, so excited for the events left this year, so excited for all the big events planned for next year.

But all things in time! No more hints for now. For now, this is just a quick post to say hello, is it me you’re looking for? Because I’m still here, and I’m working on making November a fantastic month here at this Chronicle. Look for Draft Series posts the rest of this month, while I’m busy fulfilling Maid of Honor duties and taking care of something I’ve been looking forward to since May.

And in the meantime, let me just say: thank you to everyone reading. I love you. You’re perfect. And I hope you stick around.

xo,
LB

The Mean Reds

Currently: sitting at my desk at work. Sucking down coffee like it’s keeping me alive (which it may be) and taking deep breaths in a concerted effort not to throw my fucking phone across the office. Wearing jeans that are just a little bit too tight and pondering the implications of changing into yoga pants even though there are clients in the office today. Working as hard as possible not to start crying at my desk because truly I don’t even know what I’m upset about, just that I’m really fucking angry or sad or upset or maybe some combination of all three, and all I want to do is go home and sleep. Or the aforementioned throwing phone against wall.

I am having a WEEK, and yet if you asked me why I wouldn’t have an answer for you. Starting the week by leaving the Upper East Side has completely thrown off my normal routine and I’m still reeling slightly from that. It’s also the first week since mid-August where I’ve worked five full days, having had things broken up by weddings and spontaneous trips and birthdays. I keep making these plans to see people I love but all I really want to do is sleep. Or scream. Maybe both.

If you’ve ever seen or read Breakfast at Tiffany’s, you know the Mean Reds are… well let’s let Holly G explain: The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? That’s a good overview of my current mood, except I think I know why I’m afraid. I’m afraid I can’t handle the next few months if they’re all going to be like this. Because it’s barely been a week and I’m ready to throw in the towel. And for all the professing I’ve done about all the wonderful things this fall (*and they are still wonderful and I’m quite looking forward to all of them), I’ve been avoiding or delaying dealing with what’s required in between those events: my undivided attention and time and energy. Something I’m finding this week is in very short supply.

Anyway. I’m not sure how to end this post, but I have to now. There are meetings and documents and plans later and then tomorrow I’m traveling where I have more plans and things to do before coming back to the city to prepare for more plans and meetings and documents and things to do. There are always meetings, documents, plans, and things to do, it seems. I suppose that’s being an adult.

advice from the girl in the mirror.

So, confession time. Because I live alone, I find myself talking in the mirror a lot. Like, probably too much. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m bored, and need to hear myself think aloud, or if it’s because it’s easier to talk stuff out when it looks like someone else is telling me about it. Also sometimes when I’m really worked up I get crazy eyes? and actually it’s kind of funny, so all of a sudden whatever worked me up seems funny, and then I feel normal again. Anyway, I digress.

So, last night I was talking to myself in the mirror about the weekend after next, when my E&G will be in NYC for the rescheduled annual girls trip, affectionately referred to as Peace, Love, 403 (it’s a college thing). I’m starting to get a plan in mind for what we’ll do in our precious few days in this city I love, so I was talking pros/cons of various bars we could go to on Saturday night. One that came out as I was brushing my teeth was Village Tavern, and as the words came out I nearly swallowed toothpaste for laughing so hard. “I can’t go back there,” I said into my toothbrush to the girl in the mirror, “I’m too old! Plus, there’s little to no chance I wouldn’t leave there basically blacked out and then feel terrible the next morning slash for the next two days.” Spit, rinse, mouthwash. The girl in the mirror looked back at me still laughing and said “Seriously. You’re enough of a trainwreck, anyway.”

I laughed and continued brushing my teeth, and for a minute the words started to breeze away, until all of a sudden I really heard what had come out of my mouth. I paused briefly and tried to figure out how I felt about those words. Part of me was definitely laughing because they’re true, but the rest of me is confused, slightly. Am I laughing because I’ve just accepted that I’m a mess? Or am I laughing because I’m sick of being a fucking trainwreck, and that’s why I’m so eager for change? It was one of those weird sentences that came out of my mouth before I realized what it meant, and for a few seconds I felt sad. I stared at the girl in the mirror, who had applied a clay mask and sort of looked like a half-formed zombie. “Screw it,” I told her. “ I can handle trainwreck status. Plus it’s not like I didn’t have enough fun to last me a few years in the first six months of 2014 alone.” I went back to the living room to finish up a rerun of The Office while the mask dried, and let all of the odd thoughts that had come to the forefront wash over me in the final stretch to sleep.

The definition of trainwreck in terms of a social life has changed a lot over the years for me, but I think to some extent that’s been my role in my social circle for a long time. It was something I resisted for a long time, and then something I embraced, and now I’m in this weird middle ground where I could be ready to move past it, but one tequila shot at the bar and I’m regressing back to messy LB glory days, slurring and high-pitched yelling-talking and demands that everyone chugs a beer. And when I write it out like that, I know it doesn’t seem like those are glory days, but they felt like it at the time. It’s glory days of spending 10 hours at the same bar with your college girlfriends, drinking wine with your best friend until the restaurant closes and going out until the city shuts down. I suppose I’m a little nostalgic for the days where it seemed like a good idea to get that crazy. Or maybe I’m justifying that I’m still acting like that despite everyone else around me growing up.

Back in my bathroom, I rinsed off the clay mask and took a long, close look at the girl staring back at me, my eyes drifting up to the tiny lines on her forehead that speak to lots of lessons learned in a short period of time. Sighing, I said aloud “I mean, whatever, my skin looks good for 25.” “WAIT what the fuck, 27 you weirdo!” Both sentences shot out of my mouth from me in rapid-fire, and I stared at myself in this moment of amused disbelief before laughing again. It wasn’t a pang of nostalgia for being 25 that brought that thought to the forefront, I think, but the cost of reliving memories from the glory days at Village Tavern and the last official 403 trip in Austin. I thought about that for a final second, or maybe it was an hour, and then shrugged at the girl in the mirror. “Whatever,” she said, before I turned the lights off and finally, finally crawled into my own bed. “You’ll figure it all out. And if you feel sad again, just think: you’re two years older now, but that means our skin looks that much better.”

The Unbirthday

“Here’s to your 27th birthday!”
“No, T’s turning 27. I’m celebrating the second anniversary of my 25th birthday.”

Twenty-seven. When you’ve officially entered your late twenties, no ifs, ands or buts about it. 27 is the age I always thought I’d be an adult, or I’d have my shit together. I didn’t expect 27 to hit me as hard as it did when I woke up on Monday morning, just before 7am, right around the time my sister was born, the older twin by 14 minutes. After a fun-filled weekend of shopping, baseball, fireworks, hiking and lots and lots of beer, on my last morning in Massachusetts, I quietly grabbed my sister’s keys before she and her fiancé woke up. Pulling my hair into an almost-ponytail and cautiously closing the door behind me, I took my yoga mat out to the same riverside park behind their apartment where T and I did our first yoga class together two mornings before. I sat for a minute, watching the sun rise over the low river, enjoying the silence of the early morning, before everyone was awake and about, and just before starting my Sun Salutations, I took a look at the clock. 7:13, it read. Exactly the time I was born 27 years prior.

27 sounds like an adult age, right? And my life is starting to feel super adult as well, between all the weddings and whatnot. People I know are even starting to have babies, or have babies that are starting to look like humans instead of squishy adorably screaming things, and the fact that this all feels normal is the oddest feeling in the world.  I can’t reconcile reality with being 27 quite yet, I never gave much thought to life after 26, I don’t think, so now I’m in this weird age where it feels like I’m not at all where I thought I’d be and that’s kind of amazing. It’s also scary, though – which is probably why I’ve been telling everyone that I’m not celebrating my 27th birthday. I’m celebrating the second anniversary of my 25th birthday.

At first it seems a ridiculous notion on a number of levels, avoiding my birthday and therefore reality, but then again, turning 25 was when everything started changing for me. 25 is when I started getting tattoos again and when I dyed my hair red. It’s when I tried yoga for the first time and it’s when I started this blog. The years since 25 have been heartbreak and bad dates, broken promises and lots of starting over. I wouldn’t go back to 25 again, and hell, I wouldn’t even go back to 26 again. I’ve loved growing up in the past two years, and I wouldn’t change any of the lessons learned for anything. So if I’m going to be in denial that I have, in fact, crossed that late-twenties line, why not celebrate what it’s taken to get there in the past few years?

After a long weekend of traveling and drinking, I was grateful to have yesterday off from work, a day to decompress on my couch, snuggling with little miss and ignoring the suitcase that needed to be unpacked, the carpet that needed to be vacuumed. It was like a birthday present to myself, disconnecting from everything for the afternoon and just finding stillness in this adult life of mine. “27,” I said aloud to no one in particular at one point, letting the number roll off of my tongue and roll around in my brain. It’s starting to feel a little more real, this whole adulthood-thing, and that’s quite a scary thought. It helps in the meantime to pretend that I’m not celebrating another year, but an anniversary of when things started moving forward to the life I’m living now. Because this life might still be a little crazy, but to me it’s perfect. And it’s only taken 27 years to get here.

Hurry Up and Wait

“I’M PACKING!! Well sort of, I have a pile of things that may or may not fit in my suitcase on my floor. What should I bring?? Like non-negotiables.”
“Clothes.”

As a twin, my first 17 birthdays were not about me. I mean they weren’t about T either – when you’re a twin, your birthdays are about “the twins.” You share parties, even if you don’t share friends. You share a cake, even if one of you is desperate for all chocolate while the other swears she’ll cry if it isn’t yellow cake. And you basically share presents, because when you’re a twin, people assume you’re the same person, which for T and I meant 17 birthdays of people buying us the exact same thing (*occasionally in different colors). I don’t mean to be ungrateful that we were so lucky growing up to have people buy us gifts at all, or bake us whatever cake we could agree on, but let’s just say when T and I separated for college three weeks before our 18th birthday, the only thing I could think about was that for first time in my life, what had always been our birthday would suddenly become mine.

Birthdays are such a funny thing. When you’re little, the only thing on your mind is how much you can’t wait to be older. I remember feeling despondent around my birthday for years, like it was so exciting to grow a year older but I still couldn’t do any of the cool things, like drive or… well okay mostly drive. Once I had my license it was a desperate race to turn 21 so I could buy my own alcohol instead of asking someone else to do it for me not drinking at all because that would have been illegal (right Mama B?). Then it was a desperate race to be in my mid-twenties, wanting the credibility that comes from being over 25, instead of the constant eye rolls when I’d say I was 22, 23, 24, “you’re still a baby, you have all the time in the world.” And yet, the second you’re past 25, it’s a desperate want for more time in every year, the horrid slope till you’re 30, 40, 50, beyond.

For so many years all we want is for time to move faster. School days are eternity, waiting for the weekend is miserable until you’re heading home on a Friday, the thought of four whole years of high school, college; I don’t even know what we’re racing towards in those years spent wanting time to move faster but all I know is I spent so many years wanting exactly that. And now, as I’m staring down the barrel of 27, all I want is for time to slow down. I want it to stop feeling like every time I blink it’s another month, another season, another year. I want more time with the Nickname Posse on rooftops and more walks in Central Park that last for hours. I want to savor every moment in this city, the way the sky looks over the George Washington Bridge just before the sun sets, how it smells like hot asphalt after a summer rainstorm, the quiet buzz of the Heights in the early mornings before the kids are up for school. I spent so many years wanting time to go faster and now that my wish is coming true, I’m practically on my knees begging for it to slow down.

A few weeks back I was looking at this upcoming weekend, my birthday weekend, and started feeling super depressed. I wanted to try and plan something but everyone is out of town at weddings or honeymoons, or not drinking in September. Frankly, I didn’t even have the time to attempt and plan myself a party, which in itself sounds depressing, and I had this moment on the subway as all of that hit me where I had to suppress a few tears, because the feeling that I’m actually, really alone here hit me like a dodgeball to the gut. I started breathing deeply to hold back the tears till I was off the train like a good New Yorker, when all of a sudden I remembered I’m not alone. I’ve never been alone – there are two of me. Or maybe there are two Ts. Either way, just before I started to cry about my birthday, I realized the best solution was to stop celebrating my birthday, and start celebrating ours.

Instead of bursting into tears when I walked off the train, I immediately called my sister and within 48 hours I had a ticket up to Boston for the long weekend. Oddly enough, switching back from calling it my birthday to our birthday brought me back to childhood. I couldn’t wait for time to move faster. All I wanted was for it to be my 27th birthday so I could celebrate with my twinster for the first time in 10 years. And once I had that mindset, it started applying to everything: I can’t wait to be 27. I can’t wait for my anchor G and my soul sister E to get here at the end of the month for our annual girls trip. I can’t wait for M’s bridal shower and bachelorette and wedding, I can’t wait to get my next tattoo, I can’t wait for Christmas and New Year’s and most importantly of all, I can’t wait for T’s wedding in the middle of all of that. Who’s to say if time will start dragging the way it did in grade school when six weeks, six days, even six hours seemed like an eternity, or if it’ll keep racing through my 20s like I’d wanted it to for years. It’s fine with me either way, really. Because all I’m focused on right now is this weekend. As for everything else? At least with all these years behind me, I know one thing for sure: everything else will come with time.

Just once more.

Last night I was sitting on my couch, mentally preparing to re-enter the real world after the wedding weekend extravaganza and scrolling through the shared photo album one more time to relive the event. I wish I could go into detail here about the entire weekend, how I’ve never seen any of my friends look so happy, and there aren’t even words for the looks on R and H’s faces from the moment they saw each other across the church. But truly it’s their story to tell – not mine – and it took me two days to recover from the emotional high of every minute of their day. But with such wonderful memories comes a few embarrassing ones for me from the rehearsal dinner, to no one’s surprise, and it’s had me thinking a lot about the changes I’ve made since my birthday last year. Because let’s just say, when you’re less than a week from turning 27 and your friends are still starting stories from the night before with “No it’s okay, you only threw up in the Uber a little bit” and “how do you not remember trying to kiss the best man?!”, that’s just a *bit* of an issue.

It’s getting harder to make these PLDs. Not in actually making the decision – I’m quite good at doing dumb things– but in the aftermath. It’s starting to feel like a chore, cleaning up after the things I do when I’m making them. It’s losing important things like a wallet or a phone, or accidentally making out with different strangers because I’m trying to distract myself from who even knows what. There’s a part of me that appreciates I’ve had the chance to be such a crazy person in this city because I have the most incredible support system, but the rest of me is ready to no longer require a friend to reassure me that I didn’t ruin everything while I’m in tears in a cab, frustrated and ashamed at actions that could have been avoided if I’d just listened to myself and slowed down.

When I moved to New York City back in 2010, I was this person who knew one thing really well: that I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I got a job in an industry I didn’t study in college, I took an apartment from Craigslist because it was close to my brother and frankly, there wasn’t even much of a thought process to NYC, only because I’d always told myself if I could live there, I would. And now five years later, I’m looking back on these unbelievable memories and half-memories, people I used to see all the time, places I haven’t been in years. I’ve watched my life evolve in ways I’d never have expected, and yet the one thing that’s stayed constant is making dumb fucking decisions that cause shame flashbacks for days, or sometimes weeks, on end.

Last night as I sat on my couch, I had a silly decision to make. Since the Whole30 in April, I almost never keep wine in the apartment anymore, after years of always having a bottle around “just in case.” Since essentially eliminating occasional glasses of booze on weeknights, I’ve felt like a teenager learning my limits as I’m out drinking with friends, trying to reconcile the reduced tolerance that comes with age and nights dedicated to yoga hours instead of happy hours. I’ve enjoyed not drinking the way that I used to, because I think it’s helped me push through some emotional baggage and physical milestones, and since not drinking on weeknights I’ve found a lot of clarity in things that used to cause anxiety. But last night, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to crack into a bottle my parents gave me ages ago, just to enjoy a glass while relaxing like old times. It’s funny to look at something as simple as having a glass of wine at home on a weeknight as something powerful and nostalgic, but it feels like I haven’t been that person who did that in a long time.

I stared at the bottle for a minute, and had a very distinct thought: I want to be that girl, just once more. Just for something as simple as tonight, at home in pajamas after watching two of my closest friends get married, I wanted to be the girl that danced on bars and remembered every minute with pride, the girl who had an extra glass of wine with a friend on a weeknight because we were young and hangovers seemed worth it. I wanted to be the early twenties LB in the smallest possible way for just a few minutes. Because I’ve realized very quickly in the past month that I’m not the same person I was anymore, I’m just not. And that means a lot of things are about to change. But for a brief moment, alone in my apartment on a Monday night, I wanted to be that same person – just once more.

Same Same, but Different

Something very weird is happening right now. Actually, there are a lot of weird things happening right now. Let’s start with the least disruptive: because I can only do a handstand minus the wall when I’m outside (and also in a quest for cute Instagram photos), I spent a lot of time practicing yoga in the yard this weekend, and consequently there is poison ivy all over my back. ALL OVER. Granted, it gives me a good excuse to walk around my apartment without a shirt on in the muggy New York summer (shades drawn) (well, usually), but this certainly isn’t what I would call “fun.” Work has also been wild this week, and I’m leaving my apartment again this weekend to stay with D&D’s dogs in the Upper East Side, a staycation I can’t wait for, yet I’m desperate for a weekend at home in the Heights, curled into my chair with bad Netflix and little miss. All of these things contribute to weirdness in my already-very-weird life, but those aren’t what’s making my life weird at this moment. No, it’s something more funny and frustrating all at the same time. It’s funny because I’m acting so ridiculous, and it’s frustrating because I’ve had these conversations with myself before, and I can’t believe I’m having them all over again.

Lately I feel like I’m in the exact same spot I was a year ago, after six months of feeling like I’m a whole new person; like I’m a whole new person that’s exactly the same, with the exact same surroundings that have changed completely. People are still together but now they’re planning weddings, not Saturday nights; he and I are planning my next tattoo, only now it’s my sixth. I sleep in the same room that looks entirely different, and I’m having a conversation with myself I’ve had before, but even that’s a little different, too. “It’s all in your head!” the mirror tells me, “it’s just because you want a good story.” I tell her maybe it’s going to be right this time, and then I play Maybes and What Ifs, and she reminds me what happened last time, and why sometimes it’s silly to dream. It’s a conversation I had with myself just over a year ago, and now I’m having it again. Same same, but different.

Maybe things are in transition, and in an effort to prepare me for something totally different, the universe is throwing me a curveball of familiar, like a reminder that I pulled through last time, so just hold on for now. Maybe it’s just a fucking coincidence and who even cares tho really. And really, I’m probably reading too much into the situation, in need of an escape from the long days at my desk, and the long summer weekends where my free time sold out faster than a Taylor Swift concert. But all the same things wrapped into everything that’s changed are making the conversation that I’m having with myself again very strange, like a constant reminder of how much I’ve matured, except it looks the same as when I thought that was true the last time, too.

Someone I follow on Instagram posted one of those corny but poignant quotes recently, and I took a screenshot on a whim: “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.” On the least disruptive level, I sincerely hope that means that the poison ivy all over my back is healing and I won’t be in this kind of itchy-gross agony that has plagued me all week. It could mean that work is going to calm down soon, or that I’ll appreciate next weekend more than I already know I will, the only weekend in July where I have no plans but to enjoy my own apartment. But no, right now I think that means something more frustrating and funny all at the same time. It’s frustrating because I can’t figure out how to feel about this situation, and it’s scaring me that it feels so familiar yet foreign; and it’s funny, because I think this is what they call growing up.