Volar

“At a certain point, I realized there’s a huge difference between what we work for, and what we live for.”

Last weekend I had the enormous privilege of watching D&D’s dogs, a welcome respite from the insanity of life in favor of long walks under the summer sun in Central Park and along the East River. It’s so comfortable to be back in that neighborhood, where I spent the first two years of my NYC life; and it’s also a quiet time, where outside of the walks, I’m mostly watching Netflix, snuggling with the pups, and thinking. This weekend’s Netflix binge of choice was Sense8, which was the sci-fi escape I needed while on mini-hiatus from my normal life, and without going into details (because seriously, everyone should watch this show), the quote above caused me to stop, and rewind, and rewind again, just to understand and grasp those words. They were exactly what I needed to hear when I didn’t even know I needed something to hold onto, and they pushed me into making a decision that I’ve been thinking about for longer than I care to admit.

I feel things really deeply. It’s something I’ve had to learn to control in the past few years, in an effort both to protect myself and just to pull back from extremes in emotions, as from experience, they can be incredibly draining. On one hand, the elated high of good fortune, celebrating friends, having a crush, falling in love, those are moments that stick out to me so vividly it’s like I can relive them if I close my eyes and breathe in. I’ll never forget the rush of saying three words for the first time to someone who said them back, and I’ll never forget what it felt like when N clued me in on the date he planned to propose to M. In 10 years I won’t remember the conversations that I’ve had with friends and family, and I won’t remember which night was a night we spent on a rooftop and which one was a night spent on my couch with little miss. But I will remember the way my heart swelled when C and me surprised R not once, but twice in a day with parties. And I will also remember how fiercely I cried when I came home one night, exhausted from 15 hours in the office and needing someone to be there for me, finding myself once again saddled with the full weight of being alone.

When a movie or a television show or a song makes me feel, really Feel something, it’s like a drug for me. I drink in those emotions like a feral beast in the desert: this song made me feel heartbreak, this show made me feel joy, this movie made me feel love. I’m obviously capable of these emotions on their own (*I would hope that’s obvious), but connecting them to songs, stories, images, is a way that I can lose myself in the emotion, the full depth of the feeling, like I can understand it without the distraction of real life. Feeling things like this can get me in trouble, and absolutely has in the past, but I wouldn’t change that part of me for anything, the part that works to connect on a different level, whether real or through my screen, through my headphones. I want to understand what people are going through in some sort of self-destructive effort to feel on all ends of the spectrum, possibly so I know what I’m up against in suppressing those emotions at the end of the day.

There’s something that’s been on my mind for the better part of a year, something I haven’t talked to anyone about, not the Nickname Posse, not my family, not anyone. Little things in the past few months have been pushing me closer to that gut feeling, pushing me to a point where it was on my mind and I couldn’t get rid of it if I tried. And weirdly, my moment of clarity midway through binge-watching the entire season of Sense8 in 48 hours wasn’t an emotional roller coaster, or even a big epiphany. In finally giving attention to this idea, and considering it from the full emotional spectrum, I could feel a wave of calm energy wash over my entire body, followed by a tangible sense of relief, like pushing a rock up a hill for years and finally realizing it’s not meant to be at the top. I texted my anchor G before anyone else to gauge her reaction, and after fielding her perfectly ecstatic replies, I found myself noticing little signs everywhere that maybe this time I’ve made a good life decision.

That calm feeling hasn’t left me, and if anything, it’s given me a better focus for the days ahead. I won’t go into details here quite yet – there are things that people you love should hear from you in person first – and I’m going to need all the emotional anchoring that I’ve learned from years spent overfeeling everything in the weeks and months to come. But in looking ahead, all I can feel is excited, because this next year is going to be one hell of a fucking ride.

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My Life, as told by Google

One of my favorite things to respond when someone asks me a question is “let’s ask the Google.” Can’t remember the first day of spring? Ask the Google. What day of the week does the fourth of July fall this year? Ask the Google. Want to know exactly what red lip color T. Swift wears so you can potentially buy it? Ask the Google! (Just kidding, I didn’t do that)…(Twinster found out for me and we found it in Boston ps it’s AMAZING). I feel like my Google search history says a lot about what’s going on in my day-to-day life, from the silly searches on celebrity dirty laundry, to more serious things, like looking into potential causes for a random migraine before naturally leaping to the conclusion that I’m dying (thanks WebMD). In the busy past few weeks of my life, I’ve asked a lot of the Google, a byproduct of spending a lot of time on my own trying to fill hours in between working.

So as a snapshot of why it’s been hard to write for the past few weeks, here is a sample of my recent Google history:

  • Bone broth helps hangover
  • Chicken bone broth recipe
  • Chicken bone broth slow cooker recipe
  • Slow cooker won’t turn on Cuisinart
  • Chicken bone broth no slow cooker
  • Best Thai delivery Upper East Side NYC
  • Sore neck
  • Sore neck from car travel
  • Sore neck yoga stretch
  • Can yoga cause a sore neck
  • Yoga headstand causes sore neck
  • Fixing sore neck from yoga
  • How long after slight neck sprain until yoga headstand
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt binge watch Netflix
  • Working more than 50 hours per week
  • Health implications sitting in a desk chair all week
  • Sitting in desk chair more tired than standing when working
  • Coffee health benefits
  • Annual cost Starbucks coffee daily
  • Am I really spending that much on coffee
  • Coffee alternatives at home no money
  • Craving chocolate alternative snacks
  • Craving chocolate eat almonds
  • Health benefits almonds
  • How many almond are too many
  • What happens when you eat too many almonds
  • Is Easter chocolate in stores
  • Single life in 20s New York City
  • Best things to do in New York City alone
  • Single life New York City NOT “finding a date”
  • Staying home alone with cat
  • How can I get my cat to use scratching post
  • Why does my cat hate me
  • Cat is acting crazy how to calm down
  • Wine delivery Washington Heights

So in conclusion, apparently my life revolves around coffee and food. I’m totally okay with that. Happy Weekend, kids!

Gettin’ by.

“You’re doin’ what we all doin, baby. You’re gettin’ by.”

Like most single 20-somethings, I’m in a pretty serious relationship with Netflix. Sometimes I pretend I’m watching the “acceptable” things, like documentaries and House of Cards, but if I’m being honest, more often than not I’m cycling through some kind of terrible 90s movie or a show I’ve seen before, most likely multiple times. I know there’s a whole world of new choices on there and I should explore beyond Clueless and Dawson’s Creek, but there’s a comfort in having words, images, stories that I know playing on loop to the backdrop of what sometimes feels like every night. Lately, I’ve been watching Weeds for the second well third let’s just say I’ve seen it before, when that line popped up in season one. I paused for a minute and sat with those words, wrote them down so I could see them in my own hand, said them out loud so I could hear what it meant coming from me. They’ve stuck with me this week, and I’m still trying to figure out why.

If I take a step back and look at my life as a big picture, there’s really only one way to describe it: pretty fucking great. I live on my own in a one-bedroom in New York City. I’ve risen swiftly through the ranks of my profession and I’m currently with a company that encourages continued growth and learning. I can stretch and bend in some pretty impressive shapes after only a few months teaching myself yoga. I spent seven weekends this summer traveling to places near and far, and my plans for the rest of the summer involve carefree relaxing with the people I love the most. And yes, that is a fair bit of humblebragging because I don’t want to play the next thought as a woe is me. I have no use for pity because at the end of the day, things are going pretty okay for me and that’s more than some people can say.

But there are those moments, the nights alone, the meals alone, where it just feels empty. I’ll struggle to find things to say here that aren’t whiny or boring, I’ll hear a bit of feedback from a client that feels like a personal attack. I’ll try to find something to do after work only to remember that my entire group is out of town and also I’m broke till payday. Just this week, a stranger almost knocked me over in the subway and yelled at me for getting in his way, and there was a dead cockroach on the landing 2 floors below me when I left my apartment this morning. I’ve slept in twice this week instead of getting up to do yoga, something I never do anymore, and then berated myself all day that my lazy ass can’t get out of bed at its normal hour, and then I was cranky because I hadn’t stretched. Times like this make it feel like things are slipping out of my control; all I want to do is move forward and I keep getting pushed back.

So in the midst of all the good with all the bad, I had to think about the line above. Is that what we’re all doing? Between constantly battling being completely broke and trying not to go broke, straddling the line between single and confused, finding something you might actually want, only to remember you can’t have it, at least not now, there’s much to be said about getting by. To say you’re “getting by” sounds like you’re coasting, dancing on the edge of easy but never venturing too far into the hard. Getting by should be the kiddie coaster at an amusement park, slow slopes and manageable speeds, not these rickety highs and lows like the old wooden coaster, the kind that makes your head spin and your ears ring, first enthusiasm then adrenaline, and then nausea. Sometimes I think I’m thriving in the chaos and bad times; sometimes I think I’m just surviving, waiting for someone to rescue me from whatever it is I can’t handle. But I guess, in a sense, you could say I’m gettin’ by.

Yesterday I sat at my desk trying to focus on a big project, feeling my thoughts and attention span seep out of my ears like slow honey, coating everything in fatigue and indecision and a sticky-sweet desire to call time out on my life. I felt the quick buzz of my phone and saw a very welcome text, part of a conversation I keep thinking is going to end, but to my surprise and smiles, it doesn’t. It had been a long week, and a tough week, and for a second I thought I might be drowning. But a quick, pick-me-up chat in the morning (afternoon?) put a little color in my cheeks and brought me back to the task at hand. I finished out the night, and went home to a blissfully empty apartment, relishing the chance to turn on the rest of Weeds and settle in with a glass of wine, content to be alone. Maybe it’s not an easy ride all the time, or any time, but every once on a while, there’s something to be said about gettin’ by.