Is it too late now to say sorry?

Sometimes I like to think I’m like Donald Trump. I mean okay, I don’t agree with his personal politics nor campaign platform, nor pretty much anything that comes out of his mouth. Also I’m not an orange leather man-purse whose best accomplishment is hiding tax returns and tweeting at haters and my hair actually moves when prompted. Plus I’m not a demagogue racist pandering fear to an already-fearful electorate in an effort to get access to nuclear codes, and I definitely can’t match his duckface, he’s at like Kardashian level. So basically, we’re not alike at all, except for one thing: I love words. I have the best words.

I really do love vocabulary though. I love learning new words, finding obscure phrases with words that roll off the tongue like a song; if I can work “lackadaisical” or “diaphanous” or “nefarious” or “entranced” into a conversation you bet your sweet ass I will. I’m the nerd that would actually love a word of the day calendar (HINT HINT MY BIRTHDAY IS IN A MONTH) and I love that I work in an industry that’s heavy on writing and communication with top scientists and researchers who teach me new words with a single email. Yet with all of this – despite loving words and definitely having the best words – a conversation with a friend recently led me to realize that the word I say most often is “sorry!”

I apologize for everything. Sorry to the stranger who gets in my way on the subway, sorry to my coworker when we’re in the kitchen and I’m trying to sneak out of the way, sorry to my boyfriend when I laughed too hard after he mixed up chili powder and cayenne pepper in chili recently (that last one may have been okay though, he was in pain and I couldn’t even get him water for laughing so hard). I apologize to EVERYONE, for everything. Some of it is a cultural thing. Every time I travel abroad I’ll inevitably meet someone who will hear me apologize for looking at a building or sneezing or something else innocuous and they’ll laugh. “Americans apologize for everything! Why are you always so apologetic?” But even for an American I apologize a lot, and that conversation with a friend recently had me wondering why.

The conversation was after a yoga class in June. I had just decided to switch jobs after a wildly busy spring, I hadn’t spent time in my own apartment for longer than 24 hours since April, and basically I was a mess. The studio was too tiny and oddly set up for the class, and I hadn’t had time to practice it. As the class started and I fell into the easy rhythm of teaching, there were a few moments where I stumbled – as any new teacher does. But it wasn’t until after the class, walking back to the subway with a beautiful soul from my yoga training class, where she turned to me with a sheepish look on her face. “Can I give you one critique about your class?” she asked gently, to which I enthusiastically agreed, as she is a role model of mine for yoga. “Your class was beautiful – so STOP APOLOGIZING!! I was ready to get up and shake you at the last ‘Sorry!’ in there because you have nothing to apologize for!”

You have nothing to apologize for.

What a novel concept.

I’ve taken those words with me everywhere since then. Instead of apologizing for walking into the kitchen at the office when someone else is in the doorway I just say ‘Hi!’ Rather than apologizing to A when it takes me a while to get back to his text, I’ll just answer his question. I’ve stopped apologizing for things where I’m not actually sorry, and it was the most difficult and amazing transformation in my attitude and my day. I feel more confident. I speak more confidently, because I’m confident in my words rather than apologetic. I’d encourage each of you to consider how often you apologize for things and make that same change if you need to. Because you also have nothing to apologize for.

Unless, of course, you’re Donald Trump. Because frankly, anyone with the “best words” should know better than to use them for hate. And hate, in all forms, is absolutely something to be sorry for.

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Fog Lights

Yesterday was a weird day. I tried to write a post about this past weekend, where we celebrated how wonderful E is and what it’s like to watch someone change their life for the better, but it kept coming up short. I wanted to tie it into a larger piece about our pasts and maybe eventually I will, but I kept stopping and staring at the words. I felt really stifled at the thought of delving back into my past for inspiration. I started to feel really stifled at the thought of my past at all. And I started to tell myself that maybe this reality I’m living would become a similar type of past in the near future, and this giant fog fell over my whole day that I couldn’t shake for anything.

I’m really bad at being happy, it turns out. Like, resorting to self-sabotage-bad at enjoying happiness for what it is in that moment instead of freaking out that things are going too well and have to stop going that well soon. It comes in waves, this resurgence of the anxiety that’s plagued me for years, but lately it’s sticking around. It’s not like it used to be, where it was intrinsically connected to my then-self, where I couldn’t disconnect where my anxiety ended and I began. Right now it feels like a bandaid I don’t want to rip off; I know it’s not a part of me and it’s temporary, but I’d rather let it hang out to the side for now and I’ll get rid of it when I’m ready. Anxiety sticks to everything when you pay it too much attention: new job, finances, plans for the next year, and relationships. Right now I’ve managed to assuage fears about the new job, about our budget for the Norwegian adventure, about any plans that haven’t come to fruition, and so it stuck to my relationship, because I’m really, really happy, so obviously that means everything is wrong.

When you live in this mindset it’s hard to be present externally because you’re so focused on what’s happening inside your ego, your mind.  Last night A and I went out for dinner with a few friends in Queens and I think I said three sentences all night. He could tell immediately I was off, but didn’t push, he just let me sit and be, clearly inside my own head about absolutely nothing.  When he asked me later “are you okay?” I told him the truth and said “Yes,” because I am okay. I’m just off, and I don’t know why. Sometimes for people that’s a lot to handle, when someone is okay but then again they’re not, and there’s nothing to do to fix it.

Not A, though. No, he knew exactly what to do. He didn’t push me to talk when we got back to his place; he didn’t try to offer solutions to fix every problem in my life and he didn’t ignore that I was off. Instead, he put on Last Week Tonight, handed me my favorite sweatpants of his and we snacked on peanut butter pretzels. When we settled into the couch he laid behind me and held me close. He stroked my hair and kissed my cheek and said he’d missed me the previous week. And we stayed there, half asleep, even after the show was over and the television was blank, until it was time to go to bed, where we talked about Norway till we fell asleep in the middle of sentences.

I woke up this morning like a new person, like something had been switched back to “on” and I could see through the fog. I made us coffee and we watched old SNL clips for no reason until it was time to leave. It felt like the bandaid had fallen off overnight and all the delving back into my past from the weekend that opened up the old anxiety wound didn’t matter anymore. The past has happened and the future will come, but the present is really beautiful for what it is: the sliver of sunshine amid a sea of fog that comes with a little self-awareness and a whole lot of love.

Really, really, ridiculously

Sometimes things aren’t going well, and sometimes that’s where inspiration flows. For me it’s as simple as a bad commute, a bad practice in the morning, an exhausting day at work, and all of a sudden I can hyper-focus on all the terrible things I’ve ever done in my life and I have entries coming out of my brain like a typewriter ribbon, click click of the keyboard and I’ve got enough inspiration to last me a month. Some people only write in that world of inspiration, and I can understand why. It’s easy to create relatable material to the bad days, because we all have them. Some people like to live in that sphere of bad days, woe is me, everything is wrong; tragedy is inspiration and it would be meta-tragic to lose that muse.

Not today for me though. Not after this past week, this past weekend, the past month, hell, the entirety of 2016. It hit me recently that I’m really, really ridiculously happy. After minor freak-outs last week about things like “why is it so freaking hot in this subway station” and “what the fuck was I thinking leaving a job I loved?” the past five days have been, in one (non-existent) word, cra-mazing. As in Crazy. And also Amazing.

Life is crazy. I switched jobs. I’m staring down the likely barrel that I need to start planning when and how I’ll pack up my apartment after four years of living in the Heights, even though this is the time where I thought I’d be in the home stretch till moving to Texas. I’m trying to figure out if and how I can make it as a yogi in this concrete jungle I’m lucky enough to call home. My grandmother is in the hospital again. One month from tomorrow A and I leave for a two-week adventure around Norway and this summer feels like it’s already slipping away. I’ve put on ten pounds. My best friends moved to Vietnam. I haven’t seen my other best friends in months. Because life is crazy. Life is insane, life is can’t-stop-won’t-stop crazy.

But my word, life is amazing. Life is really, really, ridiculously good looking amazing. Tonight I have the summer party for my new agency, a chance, I hope, to keep getting to know this wacky group of people I’m already excited to call coworkers. This Tuesday I have dinner with my sorority big, and we haven’t caught up in way too god damn long. This Wednesday A and I are going to a concert in Forest Hills because why not, it’s summer! This Friday we’re watching D&D’s pit bull, which means a weekend in the Upper East Side, and on Saturday we have plans with R and H that have been on the calendar since May. May!! That is just the next week of my life and every piece of it makes me so excited and happy to be here, exactly here, in this moment, in this city, in this life.

And every day there’s A. Every day there’s someone who texts me “good morning” and “good night” and all day in between; every day there’s someone who tells me everything is going to be okay and brings me peanut butter pretzels from Trader Joe’s after I cry on the phone telling him I don’t think it will be. Every day there’s someone in my life who is really, really ridiculously good looking and smart and sweet and kind, and this past weekend we danced like nerds together at a bar with no walls while the summer rain raged outside, and I stopped for a minute to stare at him, because I realized he picked me and that thought took my breath away. Every day there’s someone who tells me “I love you” and it’s like the first time I’ve heard those words from anyone, and I feel like I can do anything. Maybe even fly. (okay maybe not literally but it’s pretty sweet hearing those words all the same).

Life is crazy. Life is amazing. Life is cra-mazing. Life will go back to the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs, the inspiration in the bad days or the slow churn of monotony, but man, I wanted to remember how crazy, amazing and really, really, ridiculously wonderful it is right now.

A Series of Nows

I have so many things rolling around in my head I want to write about and talk about. The whole month of May has been so frantic that I feel as though I’m never anywhere for long, a state of constant travel and never, never spending enough time at home.

There’s the camping weekend that wasn’t from a few weekends back, where Friday the 13th ruined a planned trip with rain but rewarded us with the most perfect day drinking Saturday, where margaritas at brunch turned into rooftop beers turned into midnight pizza with friends. I remember a moment from that day, on the rooftop gossiping with a wonderful new friend like we’d known each other for years; we were all making fun of each other and laughing with each other and I felt like I had a group again. And before the end of the night, snuggled into A on a chair that turned and laughing with the friends who technically introduced us, I took a look around me and for that moment in time everything felt like home.

There’s the Boston weekend, the annual girl’s trip last week, finally joined by D, who has been part of the family for years but hasn’t made it up for the trip yet. It was easily the best year ever: laughing together as we had to pee desperately in traffic on the drive up, getting a noise complaint less than five minutes after getting into our hotel room, drinking hot toddys because we’re “sick.” D’s face when she watched the ballet described all of our faces at the B ladies, past, present and future, spending a weekend of no drama all together. Sometimes I’m sad that my Twinster lives so far away and sometimes I feel guilty that I get so much time with D and she doesn’t, but this weekend I remembered we’re family, and no matter where we are or how long it’s been, when we’re together it will always feel like home.

And then there are the tough moments. There’s realizing I haven’t had a solid yoga practice for a few months because life won’t stop moving and any free time I have is spent doing fun things like laundry and repacking the same duffel bag over and over because I haven’t had a weekend at home in longer than I care to count. There are late nights in the office where I just want to cry and sometimes I say terrible things like “what do you want from me” and “this wouldn’t have happened if I were still moving.” There are bad days where someone’s car gets towed and I know it’s not my fault but it feels like it, and there are the terrible moments where I think I’m finally going to hear those eight letters in response but instead it’s “sleep well” and I can’t sleep at all. Soemtimes all I want is some time at home to myself like the old days and I wonder if I’ll ever feel that security of home again in this new life that’s happening so quickly I can’t catch up.

But then there’s moments like last night. The first night I’d seen C since March. A night on a rooftop with wine and duck pizza and even though I completely forgot her birthday present (AGAIN), I caught up on her life and I couldn’t believe how much I’d missed her. She laughed while I fumbled with my 17 bags and a glass of wine, trying to hold popcorn and a mini champagne bottle without spilling any of them, and I laughed while we took Snapchat selfies and reclined in the cool night air, waiting for a few hours of 90s glory to entertain our Tuesdays. We caught up on people that we both know and we caught up on new people that only we know and walking back late after the movie ended I stupidly led her to a subway entrance with no card machines and we rushed through a goodbye so she could get home at a decent hour, but it was okay. It was perfect actually. A rooftop movie in midtown on a beautiful New York City evening, watching Clueless with one of my favorite people felt like home as much as everything else above did too.

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.

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.

Paths

If your path is more difficult, it means your calling is higher.

Maybe I’m spending too much time on Instagram lately, and like 90 percent of the people I follow are yogis so we’re all about mantras and good energy, but I seem to be finding a lot of inspirational quotes there lately. The one above posted late last night, as I scrolled through my feed while waiting patiently for all the essential oils treating the poison ivy on my torso (oh yeah IT SPREAD) to dry, and it made me stop for a minute. The person who wrote it talks about her faith a lot, and while I don’t necessarily share the same world view, there is something about that statement, especially when you’ve had a week like I have, that makes you think.

I fucked up this week. There’s really no better way to say it. After all of the great things that have been happening personally and professionally lately, this week threw me a real curveball. From one perspective, I’m not entirely surprised – it’s a new moon today – but from the others, I hate that I can work so hard and juggle so many pieces in the air, and do it well, only to have a gust of wind come by and cause everything to drop in a panic. Mistakes are learning experiences, and to some extent I know they have to happen for growth, but it does suck to be in the same position I was in this time last year, feeling once again like I’m making the same mistakes, if a little different as well. After a few meetings with my bosses yesterday things are making more sense, pieces are coming together, but I kept waiting to find myself in a ball under my desk, fist in my mouth to keep from screaming, entire body rigid to keep from crying. And yet, I managed to finish the day on a stronger note than I’d started, and instead of taking on my usual coping technique of “a large bottle of red wine alone in my apartment,” I took a walk after work to call my anchor G, made it back to my apartment before the sun went down, and spent an hour doing yoga, letting the stretching and balancing reset my whole perspective.

There were times in my life where things would happen and immediately everything looked bleak, like a black night, no moon, nothing ahead but darkness, searching feebly for a ray of light to hold onto. There were times that the darkness was a twilight, where I fought to find the light without realizing I was letting it fade slowly and on purpose, despite insistent screaming for it to come back. Around this time last year I ran around telling everyone who would listen that I could see the light, I found it, I took it, it’s mine; but it was a flashlight, artificial, I thought I was taking charge of it but I was anxious for the day that the battery would run out. This is what I’m used to in my life, reacting to situations by falling into the darkness accidentally on purpose, and working hard but not at all to pull myself out. And now something happened this week, which was similar to something that happened last month, which was similar to something that happened last year, and I spent all yesterday waiting to enter the slow descent into the dark tunnel, the kind where you don’t realize how deep you’re in until no one can see you to guide you back out.

Sometimes it feels like I make a lot of mistakes, all in the name of growth. The paths I’ve chosen for myself, living in NYC, working in the field that I do, the terrible decisions that I make fueled by vodka and an instinct for self-destruction, are difficult paths to walk. Yesterday I acknowledged that the darkness that has tortured and comforted me since my teens wanted to take over, wanted to let me wallow in What Ifs and Why Mes. Instead, though, this time I acknowledged that it was there, and I stared back at it. I let it scream, and call for me, and I didn’t answer; I continued on with my day, letting that voice fade into the background by the time I made it to my mat at the end of the night. What would normally put me into a tunnel of depression instead made me feel stronger, and guiding my practice with my favorite mantra of I will do well contributed to my waking up this morning with a smile on my face, knowing the past can’t change, so all we can do is move forward.

There are paths that we’re given and paths that we choose, and each of them converge into a wild ride of life. Maybe the paths that I’ve chosen are the difficult ones, or maybe the ones I’ve been given are driving me to something more. Whether it’s divinely decreed or written in the stars or whatever else you believe in, I think that the quote above makes sense for everyone. Instead of crying that our paths are harder than everyone else’s, or wallowing in the belief that things will always be exactly as they are right now, we should all make a point to remember that there’s a light somewhere in every tunnel. Let the mistakes that can tear us down instead fuel us further, higher, better, more. Remember that we all have a higher purpose than stewing in the misery of a moment, and we’re all capable of watching the tunnel from afar instead of charging into it like it has the answers. The quote at the beginning of this post inspired me to make sure that I’m carving my path, and letting the rocky mistakes along the way call me to the best version of myself.

Quick Thoughts: Just Me

I saw a friend last night for the first time in probably six months, and we had so many things to catch up on – my no-longer new job, no-longer new haircut, and to his biggest surprise, my commitment at not dating in 2015. “What do you mean not dating though,” he remarked after I told him that the plan was still in effect. “Like you’ve only been on a few dates and don’t want anything serious?” Nope, I told him. I haven’t been on a date since January and it was so terrible that I just decided I’m not going to deal with them anymore, or at least not till I start contemplating getting more cats even more seriously than I already am. He sat back with a smile on his face, and stared for a moment, like he was trying to find something in me, maybe a sadness, a longing, or a trace of the “left behind” feeling so many people are convinced I’m experiencing now that everyone around me is engaged. The words he said next really stuck with me, and haven’t left my head all day:

“So this is what LB is like without a man. I gotta say lady, she was great to begin with but this is a whole new level.”

Much as I profess to being “single” for a year and a half now, he really has a good point. Last year was a flurry of dates and almost-relationships, of big promises and me wanting, trying, needing to find someone to fill this void that I thought would never go away on its own. If we’re talking single life as in no dates, no relationships, no promises, no crushes even, I’ve made it six full months and I’m on my seventh. It’s as though last year I was trying so hard to get to know other people that I forgot to take a few months to get to know myself.

So this is what LB is like without a man. I gotta say readers, I’ve been pretty okay with her for a number of years, but the past six months really are on a whole new level.

Perfect, then…

Last week on Thursday, I kept smiling. Despite having worked a full twelve hours, I’d texted my lovely friend M on the way out of the office to complain a little, and it turned out she was around the corner, so we met for some much-needed margaritas and maybe a tequila shot (or three) as well. The weekend ahead promised so many wonderful things: a yoga workshop in Central Park with M and my cousin, who I’d convinced to come in from Connecticut for the afternoon, followed by dinner at a different cousin’s restaurant in Nyack, and ending with a pit stop in FiDi to say hi to the rest of the group, as my partner-in-crime R, her Scot H, my fashionista C and N planned to spend the afternoon and evening on rooftops, drinking in summertime alongside Oyster Bay. I’d also promised D&D that I’d watch their dogs this weekend, so in between all of those wonderful things, I’d get to come home and snuggle with my favorite pug and pitbull, So as I took the last tequila shot on Thursday night and started the long trek back to Washington Heights much later than usual, I had this overwhelming feeling that life couldn’t get any better.

Last week on Friday, as I prepared to leave the office on the earlier side, I kept smiling. It had been a productive but simple day at the office, and I was just on my way out to meet my sorority big for a short walk along the High Line and then a long and leisurely dinner/happy hour at Montmartre, a cozy French bistro in Chelsea. The Supreme Court announcement led to a giddy elation that permeated the neighborhood streets, rainbow flags and songs about love every which way you looked, people gearing up for a pride weekend that celebrated so much more than they’d originally planned. As my big and I moved into our third hour of sitting in the backyard patio, munching on pickled vegetables and sharing a cool bottle of rosé, I had this overwhelming feeling that life couldn’t get any better.

On Saturday, I woke up early and met up with M to head to the Upper East Side, her to babysit for a few hours before our yoga class, and me to drop my things off at D&D’s and hang out with the pups for a few hours before it was yoga time. We rode the bus and chatted excitedly about dinner later that night in Nyack, and bounced in our seats at the chance to train with Superhuman Yogi. I felt my phone buzz twice, the rapid cadence of an incoming text, and checked my phone, assuming it was my cousin with travel plans or brother reminding me to take home the toy he and D had picked up for little miss a few weeks back.  Instead I saw a number that I didn’t recognize but I immediately knew who it was. Before I’d looked at the text, before I looked up the area code to confirm, I knew in the bottom of my heart that The Child had just sent me a text. After thinking all weekend that life couldn’t get any better, he had some fucking nerve sending me anything, especially seeing as today is exactly a year since he told me “I can’t.”

You can see why we call him "The Child" after that final response.

You can see why we call him “The Child” after that final response.

That’s our conversation. M and I debated hotly about what to say in response – should I take the opportunity to be a bitch and tell him to fuck off? Ignore it completely? Play dumb and just say “who is this?” In the end, I realized I just don’t care anymore. Maybe he thought about me for a split second this past weekend but I take that train every day, and I stopped thinking about him months ago. And as I crafted the perfect response to acknowledge I read the text, know who sent it and now want nothing to do with it ever again, I felt an eerie sense of calm. This text three months ago, six months ago, would have put me in an emotional tailspin. And all it did this weekend was make me angry for six minutes and then I didn’t think about it again until the next day, when I was scrolling through texts and noticed I’d forgotten to delete it. What a different place to be in from this time last year; what a different way to approach hearing from someone who used to hold a piece of my heart. What a great way to start a new week, a new month and a new season: surrounded by so much happiness and people I love, no longer preoccupied with the things that caused me so much pain in the past.