I wouldn’t have thought to sit outside, with the air as cool as it was. This must be why we keep friends, I thought, so we’re not just doing what we always do, in the way we always do it. I wouldn’t have considered the blankets, and the warmth of the dogs, and the feeling of fresh air filling my lungs. It was my friend’s porch. Across town was my house, where we’ve experienced two drive-by shootings on our street, multiple stolen car chases, and a flat-out murder in our front yard, in which the wounded man stumbled down our driveway, finally collapsing and dying in our backyard by the lilac bush, where my partner found his body minutes later. Often, as I stand on our front porch drinking coffee, men will stop to inquire if I have a boyfriend, and if I work out, as if that is their business, as if I am inviting them to ask, just by existing on my own front porch in the morning. Across town, being outside has felt less relief, more risk. Outside, we’re at the whims of the natural order of things, but with guns. But here, in my friend’s neighborhood, where there hasn’t been a wayward gun shot for years, we took our blankets out to the back porch as the sun set in the evening. The light was a cool blue, sky still bright against the swallows and bats that flew eastward, mysteriously only flying in this one direction. We posited that maybe it was actually only one bat, flying in circles, just to confuse us. But this was simply a silly story made up to amuse ourselves as we sat there. We talked about the crops we were planting (zucchini, fruit trees, tomatoes) and what time of year was best to plant seeds. We talked about the work we were doing on our houses. We talked about how healing from trauma is non-linear, but how processing it seems to alleviate symptoms. We sat in silence a lot of the time. We talked to the dogs. We breathed in the air. Our nervous systems relaxed after each of our separate, scattered and stressful days. We watched the light die and noted how the longer days had somehow brought life back into our bodies. We talked about cycles. I wouldn’t have thought to sit outside, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
why would anyone get married, part II
Okay, I’m back to continue yesterday’s post. How did I get from wondering why anyone would get married to actually proposing?
I started to realize something. Something that I didn’t really want to admit before. A healthy romantic partnership is many things. It is a daily practice of love. It is a logistical synthesizing of two lives. It is a romantic escape from the realities of the world. It is a business decision. It is a deep respect for another human. It is a trust exercise. It is an intentional path towards vulnerability. It is a promise. It is the dear knowledge that you can rely on someone else. It is lighthearted play. It is a lofty ideal, and it is an earthly adventure.
I started to realize that the meatiness and magnitude of the partnership I was in could no longer be encapsulated by the words “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” or even “partner.” Our relationship was spilling over of the sides of those words. It demanded more symbolism, more richness, more ritual, to carry the weight of what we were dealing with.
I use the word “weight” here carefully – I do not mean it to describe a heavy burden that I have to carry. Conversely, I’m trying to get at the vibrancy of life that is here in this relationship. The breadth of it. The way it inspires me to be more myself than I’ve ever been.
I never thought I would want more ritual or structure when it came to love. I thought love was this wild force, uninhibited by things like rules, routines, and agreements. It’s strange – the word “marriage” has come to sound completely different to me. It used to sound like white dresses, stuffy ceremonies, stunted growth, and disappointment. Now, it sounds like music, learning, colors, natural evolution, and vitality.
Have I changed? Has my definition of marriage changed? Has my definition of love changed? Has my relationship changed? All of these things are probably true.
Later, I’ll write about all of my anxieties leading up to this, and how it was very difficult to separate those fears from my intuition and Higher Self (some might call this God, some might call this a Higher Power, some might call this the Universe). Whatever you call her, she was there guiding me, and all I needed to do was listen.
why would anyone get married, part I
This is a question I have asked myself many times over the past few years. It truly befuddled me. Why would anyone involve the government in a relationship they were already having, in order to continue to be in the relationship? What was the end goal there? Plus, don’t most marriages end in divorce? Why would you want to be so optimistic?
I already moved in with my partner, bought a house with him, adopted two cats, and shared a bank account. What could we possibly want with a couple of rings and a signed contract? We were already living the life we both wanted. Sometimes, I would be in the midst of falling asleep, curled around my partner, and mumble to him in a sleepy voice, “why would anyone get married?” And he would respond, equally sleepy, “I have no idea. It makes no sense.”
Somehow all that logical kerfuffle culminated in me getting down on one knee and proposing to my partner a month ago. He accepted. I now have a 14K yellow-gold ring on my finger that we ordered from a Chinese jeweler on Etsy, we made the obligatory engagement announcement post on social media, and I am officially engaged to be married.
I’m really tired tonight, my computer is about to die, and I really really really really don’t want to get up off the couch to retrieve the charger, so I will have to leave you on this wildly unsatisfying (and honestly, not very suspenseful) cliff-hanger for now. To be continued. Good night.
when we choose the same words
I remember the oozing, frothing rage I felt at the scraggly neighbor at the annual block party. Or maybe he wasn’t scraggly, necessarily, maybe he was clean-cut and looked like a relatively normal, early 2000s, ex-hippie dad, but he looked scraggly as fuck to six-year old me. He was a stranger. He was a scraggly stranger who, when my sister fell off her bike and cut her hand, knelt down to touch her hand and ask her if she was okay.
We were all riding our bikes around like hooligans, yelling and laughing and having a great time. As soon as she fell, I stopped my bike and moved towards her, but he got there first. He was paying attention. She wasn’t okay. Maybe she was crying. Maybe she was bleeding. He was the closest responsible adult. He wrapped his arms around her tiny shoulders in comfort, attending to her.
I think, to a passerby, it looked like a friendly neighbor was comforting a child because he happened to be in close proximity, and her parents happened to be somewhere else enjoying the gathering. It takes a village. To a passerby, I didn’t exist in that scene, and I didn’t need to. I was just another kid. I was standing far enough away that I was outside the frame.
To me, though, it was a different scene. I was the sister. I was her Protector, and I was failing. I was frozen, rigid with rage, torn between running as fast as I could to pull our parents away from their conversation, and staying to protect my sister from this monster. I watched in horror as this unknown man put his body and hands on my sister. Boiling lava erupted inside me and ravaged my small chest. I didn’t know how to get in between them, so I just yelled “I’m her sister!” when he asked where her family was, hoping that that would somehow communicate to him that she was taken care of, that there was absolutely no need for him to pay any attention to her.
I think he let go when my mom came over to check on the situation. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate about what he did. He was a kind man filling in as a fatherly figure, and nothing more. I didn’t voice my rage to anybody – it made no sense in that scenario. That intense feeling of anger and powerlessness stayed with me, though, and resurfaced in various moments of my life after that.
This was such a vivid experience that I wrote about it a few of years later in my 2004 journal when I was nine years old. I’ll include it here, complete with all the original spelling and grammar mistakes.
Its like that time Maya fell off her bike at the tallent show. She scraped her knee. She was crying and bleeding. A man ran over. He huged her. He kept hugging her. Boiling hot lava bubbled up, I was mad + afraid. I stood there, riged. I stared. Here, was this man, daring to touch my sister when she was hurt. My mom and dad still hadn’t noticed. I ran to them. “Mommy!” I said, Maya fell off her bike!” This man’s Hugging Maya!” I shouted, well, so the man couldn’t hear. “It’s fine, it’s fine,” my mom said. She didn’t know how I felt. My mom ran over to Maya. She took her out of the man’s arms. A lot of the Hotness stopped then, But I still had enough left to glare at him. I don’t think he noticed I was staring at him.-Siena’s Journal, November 28, 2004
I didn’t look at my original journal entry until after I had written this blog post. I knew it existed, but wanted to wait until after writing my account of what happened to reference my journal. The only thing I got wrong was that Maya cut her knee, not her hand. I think it’s fascinating how my memory of it now differs slightly from my memory of it at nine. How some moments are elongated, some shortened. The things I chose to focus on over others.
The most fascinating aspect, though, is that there are certain words I chose at twenty-seven that are exactly the same as the words I chose at nine:
- boiling lava
- fell off her bike
Last Tuesday, I put the endless stacks of sheets into the closet. Finally. I’m resisting editing that sentence, even though I know it’s a bad beginning. It’s really a bad sentence in general. But I’m resisting. I want to try writing this piece all at once, badly, just to get something out.
In November I did my one-blog-post-a-day challenge, and it was so fucking hard but it was so fruitful! By the end of the month, there were thirty pieces, all about different things, all written at varying levels of honesty. Almost all of them had something good hidden in them, a little gem, that I will use later. So that challenge was a success. But the problem with challenges is that when they’re over, you can let yourself off the hook. You can say “alright cool beans. I’m tired now. I’m gonna watch Netflix at night instead of forcing myself to pump out yet another blog post. Yay! Celebration! Sigh of relief!” And then you can lie to yourself and say “I’ll write one blog post a week, instead of once a day…but after I take a little break.”
So five months later, here I am! Back at it. Not doing a daily challenge this time, just writing regularly and putting stuff out there.
Just for the record – and fyi, “the record” is pretty much just my overactive need for approval and recognition, things that I mostly need from myself, that I almost never give myself, yay for therapy – I have been writing almost daily in my journal. The first evidence of journaling I have is from 2001 (I was six). My family went to visit my 20-something aunt in California. I remember feeling a strong urge to write in this sparkly purple journal she gifted me. It was so beautiful, so empty. It was waiting. At least I felt like it was. I wrote about seeing the elephant seals sunning themselves on the rocks by the ocean, my handwriting was big and loopy, and I felt this weird satisfaction from being able to write something down in a little book all my own. I liked that nobody but me would ever see it, so I could write whatever I wanted.
I wrote a year later in that journal that I thought my best friend’s father, Les, was “brainwashing my dad.” I think I had never seen my dad agree with anyone before, and the fact that he was nodding along to what Les was saying was shocking to me. I was genuinely angry and afraid for my dad, and I wrote about those feelings in my journal. A “boiling hot feeling” spread through my body. I thought my dad would lose himself completely if he acknowledged any more of Les’ opinions. It wasn’t that Les’ opinions were scary or wrong. It was that I was terrified seeing my dad accept anyone else’s perspective as valid. It wasn’t normal.
To be fair, I had also just watched the Scooby Doo live action movie where most of the characters get possessed and lose control of their bodies, so the fear of being brainwashed was pretty present in my mind.
Then there was my fourth grade teacher. Mr. Baker saw the writer in me immediately, and made it his mission to nurture that identity. He was a writer, and actually encouraged all of his fourth grade students to keep their own journals, and read pieces to the class. Pretty much all I remember of fourth grade was writing writing writing. Every single day, my best friend Sophia and I would be the last to leave the classroom. We were either the most disorganized, or the least concerned about getting out, or the most chatty, or a combination of all three, and Mr. Baker would ALWAYS send us off with a hearty “don’t forget to write!” Every singled afternoon. It stuck. I’ve kept a consistent journal since fourth grade, without fail. So. Much. Material. So. Many. Ridiculous. Stories. So. Much. Processing. I fucking love it.
And since this was originally supposed to be about clutter, I’ll just quickly describe the clutter around me in my office. I did finally put the linens away in my closet. About 8 months ago, I took them out of the closet to organize them into piles – this piles is the towels, this pile is the winter sheets, this pile is the summer sheets, etc. Very exciting. The problem was, once I organized them, I didn’t have shelves to put them on. There are not shelves in the closet, because my partner and I just haven’t had time yet to build them. So I just put the individual piles on this big white IKEA chair that we got from my parents, and left it at that. It was easy to find each thing, at least, but it was terrible because my office was basically one big linen closet all winter.
Last week I decided enough was enough. I was putting the linens back in the closet, organized, shelves or no shelves.
There’s still clutter, though. In the right corner I have all of our house documents, including our deed and other important things, in a folder waiting to be filed, along with piles of music books, a broom for cleaning the upstairs bathroom, CDs that Chris and I have no intention of listening to, paintbrushes, paints, empty photo albums, empty binders, empty journals, and a collection of old calendars from my middle school years.
In the left corner of my office sits a desk that I found on the side of the road in Vermont and toted back to Rochester. Chris and I painted it this awesome eggplant color, and now it’s covered with art magazines that are “weighing down” a collage I made a couple years ago that got a bit curled from our move. There’s also a huge prickly pear cactus that we repotted recently, thinking it would do it some good to have space, only to find that repotting it was a huge mistake. So now it’s in rehab on the purple desk. Then there’s my little blue paper organizer that holds folders of receipts and checks. It’s kind of teetering on a pile of art magazines, just barely staying up. Then there’s piles of envelopes and stamps, also perched on top of the art magazines, that I use to send poetry to my patrons. Then there’s a pile of paper of various thicknesses and colors that I use for art and poetry. And to top it all off, I have a pile of piano teaching materials sitting on top of the art paper pile.
It’s all very overwhelming once I start writing it down. But the thing is, I’m doing the best I can. I actually keep our house pretty well organized. I actually look around me with a fond amusement. I think it’s delightful how messy and in-use my office is. Eventually I’ll create zones and more shelves and blah blah blah. But for now, this is what it is. This is where I’m at. And that’s okay.
The most important shelf in my office is my journal shelf. I have all of my journals, from 2001 to the present, lined up on that shelf. My history, my healing, my process, my trauma, my experiences, my family, my friends, my pain and joys, my core and my wanderings, everything is in those journals. Most of them look different. Most of them I received as gifts. All of them I love and cherish.
On Banana Bread
My grandma can only eat unripe bananas because of this special diet she’s on. So, when the bananas got too ripe for her to eat, I made banana bread. Yesterday was tough for me because, the night before, I had a PTSD-related panic attack. The next afternoon, I was still dealing with the residual effects of my nervous system getting completely overwhelmed. Baking is often the only thing that keeps my body regulated on days like these.
I used Ruth Reichl’s recipe for Devil’s Food Cake, and totally revamped it to create an incredible baked treat with no added sugar. The sweetness comes just from the milk, butter and bananas. The whole thing is almost gone – my grandma and I have devoured it over the past 24 hours. I will admit that this banana bread was pretty much what we ate for dinner last night.
Here’s the recipe:
1 cup milk
2 tbsp almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
2-3 overripe bananas
½ cup butter (1 stick) – softened or at room temp
1 ¾ cup flour
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Optional: replace half of the butter with ½ cup apple sauce
Preheat oen to 350 F.
Heat milk in a small pan until bubbles begin to appear around the edges. Remove from heat.
Put almond flour and all three spices into a small bowl. Feel free to go overboard on the spices. I always do. Slowly beat in warm milk (I just used a fork). Let cool.
Partly mash the bananas with a fork. Then cream the butter into the banana mash mixture using the same fork. Beat in the eggs, almond extract, vanilla, and apple sauce if you’re using it (again, all you need is a fork). Add milk mixture.
Mix remaining dry ingredients together and gently blend into butter mixture. Do not overbeat.
Turn into a well-greased 8×8 square pan, and bake 20-30 minutes, depending on how gooey you want it. 25 minutes creates a perfect, moist bake, but you could underbake even more for more gooeyness.
Eat it with your grandma!
Also, yes, I understand the irony of my grandma not eating overripe bananas but then eating them in a banana bread. Who cares. YOLO.
On Chicken Coops
About two days ago, my grandma and I started receiving irksome texts from my dad. Where’s the chicken coop? he kept asking, I’m sure it’s on the property. He wouldn’t give it up – he even sent us pictures he had taken last year of this mysterious chicken coop that was supposedly in my grandma’s Floridian yard. The problem was, there was no chicken coop to be found. There was an old red shed, filled with mismatched chairs and gardening tools. There was a big deck, and a round outdoor table. There were palm trees and aloe growing everywhere. But no chicken coop.
My grandma made sure to clear this up with my dad. She told him that “the whole thing is gone” and that the previous owner “probably cleared it away so (the) house would sell better.” And so, after many bemused texts had been sent back and forth between my grandma and my dad, the mystery of the missing chicken coop mystery was dropped (the only person who truly dropped it was my grandma – I’m sure my dad was still agonizing over it).
Today, in a rush of inspiration, I decided to go on a search for the chicken coop. What’s the worst that could happen? I turned on “We Can Do Hard Things” by Glennon Doyle, and walked out into the sunshine of a gorgeous Florida afternoon. I felt like a brave adventurer, out to discover whatever might happen along my path.
In truth, I vaguely remembered where the chicken coop was. I was actually there when my dad first discovered it, and I remembered seeing it with him, and being astonished by this rare treasure: a relatively large chicken coop in the backyard of a house in the Florida Keys. But, because everything is generally very cloudy in my brain, I thought maybe the chicken coop had been at a different house, or that I was mixing it up with a childhood memory of a chicken coop, or that I had simply fabricated the memory of a backyard chicken coop, and now it was parading around in my mind like a real memory, trying to trick me.
So when my dad first started sending chicken coop inquiries, something dim stirred in my brain. I ignored that dim response (because it was dim) and continued on with my life. But after a couple of days, the call of the chicken coop grew too strong to resist: I knew it was out there. All I had to do was go out and find it.
A minute later, I was standing in front of the chicken coop door. It was mostly obscured by vines. We had missed it because, until yesterday, there was a big tree covering it. We assumed the shed was a part of our neighbor’s property – we didn’t realize that we had access to a door. In that moment, I felt like Mary in The Secret Garden (I reread that book this past summer – there is some problematic racism in it, but I still connected, on a deep level, with the story of a girl growing healthy by spending so much time playing outside) finding the door for the first time.
I yanked it a couple of times, and it opened. Then, I snapped a few pics to send to the group text with my dad and my grandma. Proof. And then I went back inside and continued on with my day.
Moral of the story? What you’re looking for might just be right in front of you.
Just kidding. There’s no moral. It’s just really ridiculous that my grandma and I didn’t know there was a chicken coop in our backyard.
This morning my grandma and I woke up in the darkness at 6am to shoot a music video.
We wouldn’t have done this, except we were walking along a remote beach last week, and came across this abandoned homestead made of driftwood. There once was a community of people living here, my grandma said: I used to see them when I walked my dog down here years ago. In place of the colorful tents and long-haired men that once nestled into the sand, only a driftwood castle remained. They built this massive, angular structure, the center of their village, the gathering place. They tied emblems to the ends of the bone-dry branches: old Nikes, beautiful glass bottles, buoys, and strips of colorful ribbon. They painted a few branches with vibrant blues, yellows, and pinks, penning all-seeing eyes and names of past lovers. They put up a plaque for someone named “Red” who died there in 2009. There were clear outlines of different rooms, like the Aztec ruins in New Mexico.
When we first came across the driftwood complex, I felt like I was in Peter Pan’s wonderland. The place had magic. I felt so inspired. I casually mentioned how great it would be to shoot a music video there, and my grandma said, why not? We should do it.
I don’t think many people can say that their grandma was the videographer for their music video. I’m feeling really blessed to be in this position. My grandma happens to be a really masterful photographer, so she’s accustomed to being behind the camera, and was really excited about collaborating on this project with me. And I’m accustomed to being in front of it – it’s part of my job as a professional musician. I especially love shooting music videos where I’m interacting with nature – I shot one on an iPhone camera last fall, and made one with Lilac Milk last winter.
So this morning we drove out to the beach for sunrise and shot the first footage for the new music video for my song Meteor. In the castle on the sand.
Are we meant to find our soul mate? Do we have only one, or are there lots? Is this just another idea for us to gather around, warm our hands against, and use to make meaning out of our relatively meaningless lives?
Here’s what the internet has to say on the matter (you can read the full articles by clicking on the titles):
Wikipedia: “In current usage, “soulmate” usually refers to a romantic or platonic partner, with the implication of an exclusive lifelong bond. It commonly holds the connotation of being the strongest bond with another person that one can achieve. It is commonly accepted that one will feel ‘complete’ once they have found their soulmate, as it is partially in the perceived definition that two souls are meant to unite. The term “soulmate” first appeared in the English language in a letter by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1822.”
Ooookay. There’s a lot to unpack here. The thing that sticks out the most to me is that this definition stresses an all-or-nothing type of partner. You’re gonna be with this person for all of your remaining breaths, and you are not whole without this person. This is the definition of “soul mate” I encounter the most. It makes me feel nervous and confined.
Merriam-Webster: “1) a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament
2) a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs”
This is a really funny one. The thing is, I would never, ever want to be with someone who resembles me in attitude. I just wouldn’t. So, by this definition, would I not want to hang out with my soul mate? I honestly don’t think I could make it one day hanging out with myself (what’s that? I live with myself every day? Oh yeah. Well, I don’t want any more of me around. That’s all I’m saying).
The Atlantic: “Take the idea of romantic destiny, or “soul mates”—the belief that two people are deliberately brought together by unseen forces…Believing in soul mates is functionally the same as believing that if you get a certain job, achieve financial independence, or move to a sunny place, you will have true and lasting satisfaction. Nothing is more human than this belief, which keeps us hopeful in spite of our negative experiences. But it is a recipe for unhappiness. We cannot attain permanent satisfaction—at least, not in this mortal coil—and waiting for it will leave us disappointed over and over again.”
This realist view really resonates with me. It makes me feel like I have power in my own trajectory. I get a calm, contented feeling, knowing that a relationship will be sustained not by a mysterious, ethereal force, but by my own decisions and response to challenges.
Seventeen: “Wondering if your bae is the perfect match? Here are 18 signs that will help you know if you’ve found your true connection.
1) You just know it. There is no test that will help you determine if you’ve found your soulmate or not. To figure it out, you just have to know it. You have to feel it in your gut, that this person is the right one for you.
Alright. You know what? I’m tired of hearing this bullshit over and over.
One time, when I was 15, I caught sight of a super cute guy at a traffic light one summer. I had been driving around like a hooligan with a group of friends. Egged on by loud whoops from everyone in the car, I leaned out of the open window and asked this guy if he would marry me. He said yes. Then we pulled over after the light turned green and had a little wedding ceremony. I knew he was The One – in that single, summer evening moment.
I know that’s an extreme example. But we aren’t living in some masterpiece painting, where we work on a single painting for our entire lives, always with the same color scheme, the same brush strokes, always keeping an image of the finished product in our minds. Our lives are more like leftovers soup. We’re pawing through the fridge, finding the old broccoli that nobody wanted to eat, chopping up celery, throwing some chicken in there, and stirring it around, shaking various spices in, just improvising our way through this lumpy bullshit. And then, in the end, it’s fucking delicious. Maybe not in the exact way we thought, but it is!
Brides.com: “You might be wondering if you met your soulmate on a vacation, subway stop, or that time in the rain when a stranger invited you to share an umbrella—but didn’t realize it at the time. According to Dr. Tobin, yes, this is possible. “Everything in life is about timing. I believe it’s a matter of self-knowledge. When you understand that a relationship is not about control or the simple need of fulfillment but is essential to our psychological and spiritual development, then you’re open to the possibility of meeting your soulmate.”’
YES. Yes to this. I never would have thought that I’d have a full fuck-yes to something written by Brides.com, but there we go.
Here’s what I think: I think we have lots of soulmates. Not just one. I think a soulmate can be a romantic partner, a friend, a pet, or even a stranger who you lock eyes with on the street for a split second. Sue me.
I understand having a gut feeling about someone and following that. You make decisions based on your gut feeling, and you just keep doing the next right thing. I’m doing that right now with my partner, who I love deeply. What I don’t understand, and don’t accept as true, is the other part of Seventeen’s claim: that you just know it. Life is so complicated as it is. Sometimes I don’t know what to eat for breakfast. Sometimes it takes a little bit of recalibrating, rest, or space to be able to come back to my “knowing.” I don’t “just know” anything. And I don’t want to. I’m just here improvising.
Here’s one more article, in case you really want to delve deeper into the soulmate idea.
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I woke up this morning and shuffled to the bedroom door. What followed was a mess of decisions, routine, habit, emotion, and, like it or not, just plain humanness. What followed was a mess. A beautiful, powerful, ordinary, exhausting, comical mess. A regular day. A regular day where I made so many tiny decisions, each one influencing the next, and influencing the people around me. What a complex web we weave around ourselves!
walked out of the bedroom door
thought about boiling water for coffee, but didn’t
thought about picking up my phone
gratitude for coffee
more gratitude for coffee
dragged my feet to the bathroom
while peeing, considered not working out
tried to justify not working out (“I’m sore from yesterday, I didn’t get enough sleep,” etc)
realized that was bullshit
brushed my teeth while dreading working out
realized I could drink coffee right before my work out
got considerably more excited to be alive
turned on the shower accidentally (that was my habit before I started working out in the mornings)
turned off the shower
walked to the stove to put on the water to boil
went back to the bedroom to pull on my workout clothes
walked out of my bedroom, forgot why I walked out, then walked back in
thought about picking up my phone
resisted the phone addiction (I have a rule – no phone in the first hour of waking up)
grabbed my yoga mat and brought it outside to the deck
chose the YouTube workout I wanted to do
went back inside to pour the water over the coffee grounds
picked up my phone to text someone before I forgot
felt a bit guilty for breaking my “no phone in first waking hour” rule
breathed an audible sigh of relief as the coffee percolated (and my phone addiction was appeased)
poured milk into my mug like I always do
took the first, heavenly sip
walked outside to start the workout
thought about how terrible this feels
thought about how strong I’m becoming
gulped coffee like it was water and I was on a desert island
thought about how I still don’t have a “perfect body”
thought about how I definitely don’t want to do these fucking bridges
drank the last dregs of coffee
was amazed when the workout suddenly was over (I didn’t think I’d actually finish it)
stood up shakily
rolled up my yoga mat
thought about breakfast
thought about all the things I wanted to get done today
realized that the workout actually made me feel super energized
gratitude for my body
gratitude for a full day with “no plans”
almost immediately decided to go into town with my grandma to keep her company at the bank
thought “so much for a day with no plans”
thought “look at me, being helpful”
thought “oh shit, now I’m not gonna get as much done”
thought “fuck it”
tried wheat germ for the first time
discovered that wheat germ is pretty much a much blander nutritional yeast
got really excited about wheat germ
gratitude for wheat germ
had a fantastic conversation with my grandma about nothing and everything
gratitude for my grandma
showered and chose an outfit
decided I didn’t feel attractive enough in the first outfit
changed my shirt
got into the car to drive into town
realized I forgot my chapstick
went back inside
grabbed the shitty chapstick because I couldn’t find my good one
headed back to the car
called Chris while I waited for my grandma to finish at the bank
learned a lot from talking with him
decided I love being with him (I usually decide this 1-7 times a day, as if it’s a new revelation)
thought that I really want to trust him more
gratitude for Chris
thought about how I really really have to pee
talked about Christmas plans
felt stressed about buying Christmas gifts
received a text from my grandma which read “I’m going to scream soon”
felt panic rising in me, that old, familiar “I’ve been at the bank for almost an hour” panic
thought about how much I have to pee
went over to sit by my grandma, trying to be comforting
decided to go find a bathroom
wandered around the neighborhood for a few minutes, desperately searching
felt weird about going into any of the fancy hotel lobbies nearby, so just went back to the bank
hid in bed watching Monk
felt incapable and anxious
forced myself to venture out of the bedroom for a family video call
thought about how far away we all were from each other
gratitude for family
tried to time things so our dinner would be delivered before we both got way too hungry
decided what I wanted for dinner from the Cuban restaurant
called to order
thought about how luxurious it was that we didn’t have to leave to pick up the food
shared a beer with my grandma – Blue Moon – her favorite kind
finally read a text sent that afternoon, from the parent of a piano student (S)
realized she’s asking if I could teach S this evening, instead of tomorrow evening
weighed all the factors: my crippling anxiety, my love for this student, my deep exhaustion, her dedication to the instrument, and her recital coming up in December
decided to let go of my “free night” and teach her an online piano lesson at 7:45pm
ate dinner with my grandma
thought about what I wanted to teach S
thought about how proud I was of her
thought about how I wasn’t making any sense
wondered why the hell I was talking so much
thought about how inadequate I was as a teacher
thought about how much awesome wisdom I was imparting
wondered if anything I’m saying is actually getting through
ended the lesson on a strong note
felt proud of myself
gratitude for my student
gratitude for teaching
dreaded writing this blog post
said goodnight to my grandma
begrudgingly sat down to write this blog post
had zero clue what to write about
lay down and snuggled into my blankets, trying to feel more at peace
then decided what the topic would be: decisions