Milestones

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

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

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

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

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Eager Eager

It is AUGUST, which means I am BACK. Oh, it’s good to be writing again. A mini-vacation from a self-imposed responsibility to share my poor life decisions with the world was exactly what I needed before diving into yet another busy month in the life of LB.

A break, a break, I need a break. How often do we say those things? The city gets too overwhelming and too crazy, strangers pushing you in the subway: I need a break! Work is emails on meetings on phone calls on meetings, more hours, push harder, do better: I need a break! Life is weddings and parties before the weddings, clean that, decorate that, there are 40 people coming in 2 minutes: I need a break! It killed me to stop writing for a few weeks, but this was the one space in my life at that moment where I could actually, legitimately take a break, and honestly, it helped. I still checked in here, and I had all these great ideas for posts (“How Snapchat selfies saved my sanity on 4-hour client calls”; “Packing – how many feather boas are too many?”; “4 hours of sleep vs. my sister’s bridal shower”), but stepping away helped move everything along this past weekend, and this past weekend was perfect.

This past weekend was the bridal shower and bachelorette bash for Twinster, a Paris-themed fete complete with chocolate Eiffel Towers and wedding-themed drinking games (*at different parties). The weather was perfect, the crowd was perfect, and we had so many laughs that my cheeks still ache, months of nerves eased by obsessive planning on my part and a wonderful group of women. There was no feeling quite like spending 48 hours watching my sister smile and laugh and talk about her big day, which is so rapidly approaching it makes me eager and anxious and excited in a way I’ve never been before.

The weekend also kicked off bridal season for me, with weddings every month for the rest of the year. Speaking candidly, I’ve been so focused on T’s weekend that it only hit me this morning that we’re under a month before my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H make it official, the wedding I’ve been looking forward to since pretty much the day they met. The group has been so busy the past few weeks between weddings and work and other travel that it feels like we’ve barely seen each other since the springtime, so the prospect of a party to celebrate how much we love two of our own while they celebrate how much they love each other is such a delicious event to look forward to.

I’ve noticed lately that things feel like they’re on the verge of something, though I can’t tell you what that something is. Leading into last weekend things felt like they were teetering at the peak of the first drop of a roller coaster; there is anxiety and anticipation and some feeling you can’t describe, as you know things are about to tip and then the wild ride really begins. I can’t put my finger on what I’m feeling in that regard exactly – all I know is that a rush of calm came over me when I got back to my apartment last night, like things have officially been set in motion, and now everything is about to come to light. Where such a feeling might have scared me two years ago, the idea that change is a’coming whether I want it to or not has given me a steady calm, like I’ve never really felt before.

I realize this post has a lot of feelings and not a lot of substance, and a lot of crazy and very little sense, but after leaving the blog alone for two weeks, I think that’s what it needed: a boost from the cranky, whining posts of recent past, where I’m exasperated and exhausted; a new perspective after a few weeks to focus on everything calming down before everything else happens. So here’s to whatever is about to happen! Because I am b-a-c-k baby, and the only thing I can say to this crazy ride that’s getting ready to tip over is to bring. it. on.

Quick Thoughts: August

Alternative title: this is my white flag, part two.

I need a break from the blog for the next few weeks. Between work and the final preparations for T’s bridal shower slash bachelorette weekend extraordinaire next weekend, I barely have time to eat and breathe, let alone write. I have so many unfinished drafts from weekends past that I can’t figure out if they make sense to post or not anymore. Writing grounds me, and it makes me happier, gives me a new perspective when I desperately need one; but it’s also, admittedly, very time consuming and it requires my full attention, which I can’t give to anyone or anything right now, except for work and the wedding weekend extraordinaire.

T’s weekend is the one that starts everything: weddings every month for the rest of the year, my impending birthday, 10/27 and all the fun things in between. I know I can find a balance in life with all important things, including this blog, but for the next two weeks, I need a break to get everything else in order.

So if you want to keep up with me, follow me on Twitter (@LBthe20whatev) and Instagram (@lbdoesyoga), where I’ll still be posting silly things. And I’ll be working on lots of fun content for August, which will include finishing all the draft posts I’ve started in the last month.

Sending love and light, and good vibes for less hectic times ahead,

LB

Slide forward, jump back

I’ve come to learn I shouldn’t be left to my own devices in other people’s apartments. I don’t mean that I steal things, or that I look for embarrassing things under the beds and in the medicine cabinets. Those things don’t really interest me (though a certain Chanel purse had me rethinking the “don’t steal” thing), and between the Nickname Posse I would be SHOCKED if we had any secrets that would lurk under the bed or in the medicine cabinet; or at least any secrets that we don’t all already know/text/talk about in detail. But when left alone this weekend in my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H’s apartment to watch their pup while they went off somewhere beautiful and relaxing, I did *perhaps* go a little wild… on the wealth of non-Whole30 approved food in their cabinets and fridge.

Actually, even before arriving to their place down in the Financial District, the end of last week turned into a mini free-for-all for my diet, starting with indulging in free pizza for lunch at the office and ending with me ordering from my favorite Dominican restaurant in the Heights for dinner; I told myself it was because I had barely any groceries in the apartment to make a decent meal, but in reality I’d had a glass or two of wine and tipsy me figured “well, I already ate grains and dairy today so SCREW IT!” After settling in with the pup early Saturday afternoon, I went looking for a cup for water (because despite having watched the dog multiple times and having spent countless days and nights in this apartment, I still forget where everything is), and happened first upon a cabinet that contained, among other things, a jar of Nutella and something called “Cookie Chips.” I’d brought some leftover groceries with me and could have stuck closer to my normal diet if I wanted, but for Friday and Saturday I’d decided not to, which led to an interesting revelation on Sunday.

Sunday morning I woke up with what can only be described as a food hangover. My head hurt from all the sugar from a Nutella binge and an impulsive cupcake purchase, my skin was starting to break out from the dairy, and I was experiencing some gnarly stomach cramps due to I’m not even sure what. I wandered out of the guest room (aka my bedroom) in search of an essential oil or antacid or something to help, and found myself in R/H’s bathroom staring at a scale. Now, given my sordid history with anorexia, I do not own a scale and never will – but more often than not, I will still weigh myself if I see one. I know the number doesn’t matter. I know that. But Sunday morning after a delicious night of treats from R and H’s cabinets, their scale said that I was up 10 pounds from the end of Whole30, and seeing that number put me in a mental tailspin. Truly, I haven’t indulged in the Eating Disorder part of my brain in probably a year, but for whatever reason, this time, I did.

Life after an eating disorder is an endless struggle to think a certain way, constantly fighting to remember no, you’re not fat, and food is not scary. Before Whole30 I was really good at disassociating which voice was the eating disorder and which voice was rational thought, because okay, maybe I didn’t need to eat six KitKats from the work candy drawer that day but I won’t feel bad that I indulged in chocolate. During Whole30 I was really conscious about which voice could have been the eating disorder versus which was my body adapting to new meal patterns and eating schedules and the lack of sugar. It’s post-Whole30 where things have blurred; there’s this pull now to stay as close to that diet as possible because it makes a tangible difference in everything from my sleep, to my anxiety, to my work and to yoga, but once I’ve had something non-compliant for the day it turns into an awful cycle of “MIGHT AS WELL EAT EVERYTHING” followed by crippling anxiety about whether that will be the meal that finally makes me fat. Sunday night I sat on the couch for a while staring at a photo I’d put on Instagram earlier, a post-Bikram yoga sweaty shot where I’m in a sports bra, mentally bouncing between Rational Thought and Eating Disorder, and as I felt the panic start to rise, I immediately shut down Instagram and texted my soul sister E, the only person who could calm me down when anorexia rears its ugly head.

“It never really goes away, does it” I told E after we’d talked me down from my Nutella-induced food panic. “No,” she agreed. We talked a little more about how annoying it can be dealing with life post-ED, how one day I’m totally fine letting myself enjoy that third slice of pizza or a KitKat from the candy drawer, and then a week later I’m fighting back tears over a number on a scale. I hadn’t had a food-driven breakdown like this in months, maybe even over a year, and I’m lucky that E was available to help me step back and realize that everything is fine. I’m actually kind of grateful that I went a little crazy on R/H’s cabinets (*with full intentions to replace the Nutella I PROMISE), because I think I was starting to give in to the old rigid food rules that precede a relapse, hiding the anxieties connected to “bad foods” behind Whole30, instead of realizing what was happening and nipping it in the bud.

I’m not going to change my diet or lifestyle following this revelation – I still feel immensely better physically when I’m not eating things like grains and dairy, and frankly I prefer salads and smoothies to pretty much all foods – but this week my goal is to indulge in something every day, and to let myself enjoy it. Maybe it’s more Nutella on a spoon, a soy latte, or a warm croissant from the bakery in Chelsea Market; maybe it’s just an extra piece of fruit in the afternoon and a bigger portion for lunch. If I’ve learned anything else from yoga, aside from how to really shut down the anorexia part of my brain in such a way that dealing with this felt foreign, it’s that everything in life takes constant practice. Growth, after all, only comes after you slide back, fall down hard and still pick yourself up, always working so hard to move forward.

Turkey Time!

Hooray for long weekends focused on food and sale shopping! I’m hunkering down in Connecticut with the rest of the family for a few days to rest and recharge on this snowy and cold Thanksgiving week. I’ll be back next week with holiday-themed everything until T tells me to stop (she’s very particular about how/when/where the holidays should be celebrated.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the top things I’m thankful for this year:

  • Surviving #eleven25. Check back next week for details!
  • Little miss and her terrible cuddling skills.
  • Salsa Sun Chips.
  • The new Taylor Swift album.
  • And the new videos too.
  • Sharpie pens. (Have you used them? You’d be thankful too).
  • PLDs. My life wouldn’t be half as fun if I didn’t make a mess of it on the reg.
  • WINE. Always wine. All of the wine.
  • The Nickname Posse. You betches make my life complicated and a million times better, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Family, and especially my Twinster, for being fully on board with my wearing a jumpsuit as her Maid of Honor next year.
  • This Chronicle. What an awesome time I’ve had writing this over the past nine months.

Until next week – Happy Turkey Genocide Day, all!

Full.

After a blissful week disconnected from work and the general responsibilities of being an adult, I begrudgingly made it back to the real world yesterday, settling into my desk around 8, hoping to get a head start before the rest of the office made it in. As people saw I was on GChat again, and the office slowly filled up, I was asked every which way by every single person “How was your vacation!?” I think people expect to hear one of a few stereotypical responses to that question, like “Great!” and “Very relaxing!” and “Too short!,” but my take on our jaunt up north for four days last week was a little different. The best answer I could come up with for every “How was Maine??” thrown my way today was “Full.”

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Dis is Maine.

Let’s start with the obvious: aside from that time my lovely friend M and I plowed through a meal intended for 6 people while spending Thanksgiving in Amsterdam, I have never eaten so much in my life. Having also grown up in a beach town, I was prepared for lots of seafood, maybe accompanied by vegetables or maybe just next to more seafood and crinkle-cut fries, but we took eating to the next level in our mere 96 hours. None of us had any intention of turning down plates because they “weren’t healthy” or we “weren’t hungry,” so we encouraged each other’s bad decisions and ate our way up and down the coast: pizza and duck fat poutine in Portland, chowder and fried clams in Portsmouth, pancakes and french toast and bacon for breakfast on two consecutive days, a full lobster bake, and an interesting experiment with butter sandwiches (yup) after either the third gin cocktail or fourth bottle of wine on the cold Friday night. Everything had a drink with it, mimosas with breakfast, cocktails after lunch, wine after dinner; yet despite food comas by all and not enough water by normal standards, none of us felt any less than refreshed in the mornings, pain washed away by the sea air and a steady feeling of relaxed calm I’ve never felt in the city.

The weekend itself was filled with activities, though nothing that had a time frame or even too many boundaries. Time at the beach melted into time shopping in Portland, into time at the outlets, spending money we don’t have on things we absolutely need. We spent as much time as possible on the beach each day, digging toes into the cold sand on Thursday morning, bathed in sunshine till the rain moved in, tossing bocce balls and tossing back drinks all day on Friday, climbing rocks on Saturday to find a secret spot for just the four of us and taking pictures of everything on Sunday. Nights were spent curled up in sweatpants with an unlimited supply of red wine and an ever-present game of Cards of Humanity, graciously gifted by my partner-and-crime R and her Scot H for the weekend after they had to cancel coming last minute. M’s mother kicked all our asses one night as she laughed uproariously at everything and asked us repeatedly not to judge her for all the best answers. It hit me at one point on Thursday night, after the first of the four perfect days, that I hadn’t laughed like that in months.

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My lovely friend M told us that she can feel a shift in perspective the moment she crosses the state line into Maine, like the city hustle and everything alongside it melt away once you’re within state lines. Given this was only my second time to Maine ever, I didn’t quite have that feeling when we passed the “Welcome to Maine!” sign, but I sure felt something over the next few days. I felt it waking up the first morning, after the best night of sleep I’d had in months, to the gentle waves of the ocean undulating in and out of earshot, just faint enough that the whole world felt silent, and just loud enough to call us to the sand. And again, sitting in a car with my best friends, singing along to all the bad 90’s music, the perfect autumn colors flying past us on the still-full trees. And then again on the last night in Cocktail Cove, an aptly named secluded/secret mini-beach, where we sat on jagged rocks with beers in plastic cups, watching the sun languidly lower into the horizon, the colors changing from soft pinks and yellows, to bright blues, to pale greens, to black.

It wasn’t an epiphanic moment of clarity, that last night, but more like an easy calm setting in as I looked around at the beautiful sunset and the people around me. It’s corny, and cliched, but there’s something about staring into a clear sunset, into an ocean horizon, that reminds you how small these moments are in the grand scheme of life and things. It reminded me how small the little insecurities I’ve been carrying around like a bomb for months are, nothing more than Post-Its slowly losing their sticky before falling to be forgotten and trampled by rain-soaked feet. And it reminded me that it doesn’t take an army to have a good time, doesn’t require a big fanfare of drinks and shots and boys and bad decisions. Right then, I just needed a few days on the beach, listening to the sea breeze, digging my feet into the rocky, cold sand, with nothing on my mind but how beautiful everything was around me, and how my life was, and is, so very full.

VAAAY CAAAAY

Guess who’s on vacation!

*~*DIS GURL*~*

My lovely friend M, her N, my fashionista C and I are taking a very well-deserved break from the city to head up to Maine for a few days of eating, drinking, beaching and sleeping. I have a mini-staycation planned after that in the city, so will be taking a few days off from anything that isn’t Netflix and Seamless to recharge and reboot. Will have a Maine recap up as soon as I can, and a fun “announcement” to share in the coming days.

Hope everyone enjoys the beautiful mid-October weather and is as well-rested as I plan to be in 24 hours. As a parting gift, here’s a photo of little miss trying her hardest to figure out yoga mats:

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See you next week, kids!

UPDATE (Oct. 24): Unfortunately, the teased announcement above has been postponed by a month. Whomp whomp. Look for the news around Thanksgiving!