for others.

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I’m sitting here, watching Layla chew on an ice-cube while thinking to myself, “how am I to going to get back out there?” I am happier than I’ve ever been, but I have been in a “doing-stuff” funk. Neil pretty much has to dangle a latte in front of me to get me out of our perfect koi-pond house. I haven’t done yoga every day since I moved; if I’m being honest, I’m at twice a week at best and that’s not my best. I haven’t read much. I haven’t written a thing in months. All this inaction seems level considering all I did for months was read and respond and write and move my body. In my mind, it’s much bigger than “I’m just taking a break,” which is what I mentally chalk it up to for fear of going crazy. This idea of a “break” has literally taken the shape and attitude of “I don’t know what I want to do,” a frightening thing for a person like me…which is why I’m sitting here, forcing out the words over cold brew.

Summer always seems to fly by, leaving a wake of enlightened newness and curious uncertainty behind it. Before the frying Louisiana heat hit, I was in an academic vortex swirling my way towards graduation and a summer that was full of promise. I’m not saying that I was disappointed in the season by any means. I think if anything, I was overwhelmed by it. Life turned in to a full-on heightened emotion marathon and once it slowed down, it left me feeling empty, reeling on the high. I finished college, completed the first of many yoga certifications, moved back to New Orleans, and most importantly, GOT ENGAGED TO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE! To say it was a lively summer would be an understatement, and to try to express my happiness with just words is honestly what’s been keeping this laptop at arm’s length. I feel like I can’t do any of these feelings justice.

But I’m here to try.

Graduating college is something I still can’t comprehend. I know it’s a common, every day occurrence, a totally ordinary something, but I feel so empowered by proving myself wrong so many times. Most of you reading this finished your undergrad in four years, give or take a semester or two. A handful of you were amazingly lucky to have college completely paid for by either scholarships, grants, parents, or grandparents; maybe you’re reading this, silently thanking your aunt or uncle for squirreling away $20 here and there so you could have gas money to commute. Maybe (hopefully) you’re still working towards your higher ed goals. (It is so worth it.) My personal college journey — financially and physically — was long and wild and I’ll certainly spare the details about all of that. Suffice it to say, it’s done and  I can’t believe I did it. It was the one thing my father asked that I start and finish, and even though it took over a decade of major ups and downs, I DID IT.  I actually removed this looming obstacle completely out of my way. I started to type “all on my own,” but that wouldn’t be the truth. While I did do all of the studying, cramming, testing and etc etc, I did NONE of this solo. I have had the most incredible support system over the last two years and it really changed the game for me.

I’m not sure how I managed to gloss over the fact that last year that I passed BOTH math classes required for my curriculum, but I did, and with a grade that didn’t kill my grade point average. (Seriously, how did I not write about passing math?) This was such a huge personal victory for me because mathematics has always been the thing standing in between me and undergraduate freedom. I know I’m not alone and if you’re reading this and suck at math too….PLEASE KEEP GOING. Listen to classical music and make up stupid songs to remember the formulas and BELIEVE IN YOUR MIND because it absolutely has the capacity to do whatever you want it to do. I absolutely knew in my heart and soul that I would have to set my dreams aside and find something else to study, because wrapping up college couldn’t happen without passing scores in Contemporary Math and Finite Mathematics. And I was wrong.

Fortunately for me, I had the squad of dreams in my life, and they weren’t willing to accept my defeat. They pushed me. They cheered me on. They listened to me cry, laugh hysterically at my failures (because without a sense of humor, what are we?), and loudly rejoiced with me when I succeeded.

They were for me, and these expressions of humanity will resonate with me for the rest of my life.

While I do love a good list, I’m afraid it’s impossible for me to “tag” everyone, but a LARGE thank-you must go out to those sweet, generous souls in Alexandria; y’all got me through the best and worst of it. It was hard for me to willingly swallow the bitter pill that was moving home, but I desperately needed to reorganize and reshape my life. “Relinquish control to gain it,” right?

On this soul-makeover journey I was fed, housed, listened to, hugged, praised, constructively criticized, and L O V E D. Through the good, the bad, the early mornings, the long nights, I was supported and uplifted over and over and over. I was caffeinated, stretched, enlightened, frustrated, and completely humbled at the ability of the people in my life to push me onward, even during times of emotional stress of their own. I am so beyond blessed (what a trite word for such an uplifted feeling) to have had two years with such a specific, growing experience, with so many beautiful souls who spend their lives being for others. The brilliant part? Most don’t even know they’re doing that.

I think there were three weeks in between finishing college and starting yoga school; not much of a gap when you’re busy getting ENGAGED!!! and celebrating with family, while also packing up to move to a new city as soon as the next thing is done. I didn’t have much time to process or decompress or whatever it is you do after you finish a lengthy academic journey. (Does it ever really end though?) I thought maybe I’d use my time in Ft. Worth, TX at Free Life People School of Yoga to do that. Decompression was not in the curriculum.

My soul has been so ignited and stirred by the things I observed and learned during the sixteen days I spent in school. I can imagine it’s why I’ve had such a hard time with my “break” from “normal” life, and I’m sure it’s why I managed to get behind this screen today. You see, during my studies at FLP we talked about/practiced how to actively take the seat of the observer and notice all. I think for the last month, during my state of inactivity, I have simply chosen to see. Perhaps, this morning was the morning it took seeing it for nearly the 40th time to say “okay, enough,” and I showed up for myself. Finally.

I didn’t feel the need to decompress at FLP because we spent our days in mindful movement and openness. I wish I could make that sound less flowery, but that’s how I feel about it and I very seriously doubt anyone in my class would disagree. While there were challenging days — and I mean days so physically and emotionally challenging we were all looking at each other like “She wants us to do what?!” — there wasn’t a day that I wasn’t willing to show up….because everyone else was showing up for me. 

We spent at least half of our day, every day, teaching  in small groups, offering feedback, coaching each other, leaning in and on one another. I will be the first to admit: there were moments I didn’t want to do it. We would rotate one person observing, one (or multiple) practicing, one teaching. There were moments when I didn’t think I could keep going. I was making excuses in my head about dehydration, my knees hurting, feeling hungry, and so on. I would feel an overwhelming urge to find a bottle of wine, crack it open right on my mat, and say, “TO HELL WITH THIS!” But I didn’t. I would do my best to survey the room and notice. And what did I see? Everyone, moving, sweating, and breathing…for someone else. 

I won’t forget teaching my last class with my small group; Gwen was my assist, Katie was practicing for me. The day started with a REALLY tough practice 9am, so by the time 430pm rolled around on day sixteen, our brains and bodies were worn out. But Katie practiced her heart out for me. Gwen gave magical, delicious assists, and I somehow managed to find energy in my mind, body, and voice to deliver an honest class. We were all able to withstand and move through the soreness and mental exhaustion because someone had done the same for us.

Though I feel that I’m not doing my experience justice, I feel like I need to save some of that good, magical stuff for just me, to give my blissed-out state longevity and not diminish the entire thing by TRYING to convey what’s in my mind. What you should know, is whole idea of “being for others” was my biggest take away from school, though there were so many things that cracked my thought process wide open, forever changing the way I think and feel. I can’t even think about moving my body in the same way. I have felt myself gently soul-searching during my whirlwind summer and know that the only thing I need to focus on is serving others in any capacity I can, and the rest is sure to follow.  

 

 

Here’s a little something we practiced at school that I’ve continued::

 

DUDE! I have missed my writing!! That felt so good! If y’all have any questions about yoga school, college, or whatever, please find me on social accounts or leave me a comment!  I’d love to hear from you!

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29: purposefully defiant

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you know, I  was a little more than disappointed when I realized my birthday was going to be on a Wednesday this year…until I realized that basically gave me the weekend before AND after to celebrate because it’s directly in the middle of those two things. I have debated about what to do and where to go because I always make a big deal out of my birthday, but this year? Nothing. Not a shred of interest in planning. I couldn’t land on a specific taste bud or wish or thought. I knew I wanted to blast Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj all day while driving to and from things, but that was it. Normally, I could honestly care less about any other holiday or break or whatever — I just want to celebrate the hell out of my birthday; every year, always have, always will. This year was different; I felt…underwhelmed. I’m not sure if it’s the idea of rounding the corner to thirty that’s scaring me or if I just don’t care about a number that seems so lame…either way, I didn’t really give a fck about my birthday until everyone else did. That’s never happened. I have people in my life that give a shit about me. ……..weird. right?  I seriously hope some of you are out there experiencing some amazing friendships and love BECAUSE IT EXISTS, Y’ALL. I could expound, but we’d be here until I turn thirty.

I have hit the stride in my life where the people who don’t want to be around aren’t and the people that give a shit are. I heard from all of the major players today before 10am; I’d say that’s pretty good for a bunch of millennials that don’t have normal working hours, most with children, most still in school and balancing a millennial’s worth of work. I am beyond impressed with where my friends are and what we’re doing and accomplishing for a generation that seems so lost to the rest of society. Yeah, it’s hard. It’s ridiculous, it’s a circus; it’s far too emotional and involved than it should be, but that’s the way the cards fell. We’re the Jetsons; we’re creating everything and displaying everything and gathering humble credit by the heap. Sometimes we make it purposefully difficult for ourselves, but that’s everyone I think. For the push, for the drive, or just out of sheer laziness. I’m closer to thirty and honestly no better than the rest of the world at making decisions or choices. I keep thinking that I’ll hit thirty next year and just know what the hell I’m doing; those that I know over thirty hear that and laugh. “We make it up as we go,” a friend says in a reassuring voice, and I know it’s true.

twenty-eight led me to doing more and seeing more and waking the fck up….way more than I thought. I taught 115 (maybe more, maybe less) yoga classes. I traveled to several places in the US and visited Mexico; put on more miles than since my father was alive. I tried new foods, read new authors, explored new religions, and music and ideas. I discovered this whole new me I didn’t know was there, but felt familiar once I found her. I am a more open version of myself; less judgmental, more rational, understanding and willing to forgive. It’s a hard thing to know you don’t want to forgive a person, or situation or moment…but once you do. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew. Wowzers. The introspection is ridiculous and the clarity is unparalleled. Seriously. Approach thirty and get over yourself. It’s amazing.

entering year twenty-nine has made me realize a number of things. I made this list as I laid in bed with my best friend last night (I slept on a giant, fluffy, pink unicorn after laughing my ass off about nothing at all.) I was fearful I might not remember by morning, and I may still be leaving some things out, though these are more observations than anything else::

  1. [most] my tattoos are ten years old. they have been on me and part of my body for an entire decade. I remember walking in to the old location of Speakeasy (a place that does not even exist any more) and thinking, “Okay. One down, 100 to go.” While I don’t plan on have 100 tattoos…I don’t regret them yet. I think they make me unique and I like the idea of maybe one day having to be identified by the treble/bass clef on my right rib cage.
  2. I cannot handle a hangover. Though it does not keep me from testing my limits every now and then. (Last Thursday night was proof, though worth it. Laughter always is. Laugh hard, deal with the hangover, keep going.)
  3. when I am tired, that’s the end. there’s no going back, no second wind, no hope. I am a lost cause to the room I am left in and lets hope there a blanket and a contact case with solution in it.
  4.  i constantly miss my father. the ten-year anniversary of his passing sifted right before my eyes this year and all i could do was blink to acknowledge it. it can’t possibly have been this long. how fast does time pass? is there a way to measure grief? i can’t possibly be continuing on without my best friend, but that’s what I’ve been doing because that’s what he taught me to do; I’ll do it for ten years more, I suppose.
  5. I am finally able to find the humor in abysmal situations. I feel like I could elaborate on this, but if you know me, or if you’re over 25, you know what I mean.

twenty-nine years has really gone too fast. ten years since my dad passed, nearly eleven years since highschool, still in college, no kids, no husband. But I am whole. I am learning, growing, connecting, disconnecting, reflecting, and moving forward. Social formalities seem to allude me.

I know it’s normal to make New Year’s resolutions, but I always wait until my birthday to commit to things. There’s something about being a January baby that just makes your commitment to the happenings of the new year more connected and final. I am aware that everyone has 364 days between their birthdays, but I feel like it’s much more refreshing in January. (and how appropriate for the most OCD star sign, the Capricorn.) This year, I have promised myself to be  better to my mind and my body; to make selections on what I do, drink, eat and etc. that will have only positive effects. I have committed to being purposefully defiant. It’s in my nature to go against the grain, to feel and empathize with minorities, to always be way outside the box and color outside the lines. This year, I’m following the rules to get where I need to be; I’m defying myself — in the sense that I’m reinventing/reshaping what once was — and isn’t that refreshing?  It isn’t always easy for me to say “yes” to what is expected, but sometimes, it’s necessary. I’m following along certain paths to make my dreams easier to reach, and I feel confident certainty is the most adult gift I could ever give myself during this pivotal year. “Thirty, flirty, and thriving,” doesn’t happen over night. I cannot disappoint Jenna.

As I close my eyes to sleep tonight, I am fully aware that:: I am focused, loved, happy, driven, subtly eccentric, and smart. I’m a weirdo, I’m wired backwards..and I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Happy new year and happy birthday to me. May the rest of this twenty-ninth year be full of discovery, travels, and nothing but daily celebration of breath and life.

 

 

EDIT:: I would like to make a note that after I posted this, WordPress notified me that this was my 100th blog. I believe in coincidence and milestone. happy birthday, indeed.

do the write thing

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I decided tonight would be the best night to get it over with; let my fingers meet the keys with no real intention at all, to figure out what the hell I’ve been doing, and where I’ve been for the last few months. It seemed like it was just March and I was making a mental note to write that short story about things I’ve read, make that one correction to a piece I started in February, draft that outline (a singular novel about my father.) And now here it is, middle of October, and I’ve done nothing. I’ve been avoiding this chair like the plague. Today, it caught up with me. This will make little to no sense at all, and without a doubt with serve no other purpose than to empty my thoughts of these thoughts, so please feel free to skip and scroll down to the song I’ve left you if that doesn’t sound alright.

I was antsy with the thought of how good it was going to feel to sit here and write something profound and well-stated for my mid-term paper, but those thoughts can’t come out until the rambling ones do.

The notion to write has been there, the inspiration and all that. I’ve got more characters in my head than I possibly know what to do with, each adding a little layer a day at a time, filling future books with all sorts of excellent nonsense. That’s if and when I give it much thought; it’s either all at once or nothing at all, and it drives me up the wall. It occurred to me that I may be dwindling my own craft by not putting pen to page, as it were. I saw another pen-plagued friend the other day, and it reminded me why we do what we do, and how well we do it when we finally decide. A decision not easily arrived.

It’s a heavy thing, this pen. The strength which it takes to pick it up is not a burden I’m inclined towards, some days. You have to sort and sift and bury and camouflage and that is so hard after you’ve been about the business of living all day. Other days, like today, I cannot get the words out fast enough, silencing the organized-chaotic around me.

I am shaking my head as I type this. I feel positively drowsy with inspiration sometimes, which makes me avoid it all the more. It’s a commitment I begrudge because I do love it so much, almost vainly.“If I start, I’ll never stop.” I wish I were kidding, but I think if I allowed myself to just sit and write all the pieces I wanted, I’d be in this chair for four years. FOUR. YEARS. I’m sure someone is sitting there, interpreting this as a humble brag, but I am really distressed at the thought of having to organize and manage these individual thoughts for longer than a minute. Hell, four minutes is agony, I can’t imagine more.

I’ve really missed the noisy corner of my mind, but the accidental quiet was a nice surprise. When you spend a certain amount of time with your characters, you sort of lose your wits a bit; much like when we get lost in a book we’re reading. – I just finished The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau and it was absolutely wonderful. If you haven’t, you should. – But the writing process is longer and so much more treacherous. Why did that character say that? Why did she phrase it that way? Does that sound feminist? Do I want it to sound feminist? Do I need to switch gears and go in a different direction? I hate this. I’m deleting the whole thing. I wonder if there’s coffee in the pot. I hate heating up old coffee. Caffeine. [walks to coffee pot] OH! I KNOW WHAT I CAN – [walks back to computer]SHIT! What was it I was going to say?! FCKKK!!! It really is annoying and wonderful and I have truly missed creating space with words.

I suppose the real issue I’m circling here is: what comes next? There are a few scary things I want a write, and I want to make a collection of those. I’d love to finish the follow-up to The Anchor but I don’t want to spend too much more time there, not now. I’ve been in Beulah for too long to want to visit so soon. But what next? The short stories, I feel, won’t be satisfactory and I have too much going on to write another novel, which seems twice as appealing because I can’t do that at this time. I’ve got the itch so bad and I am not allowed to scratch. So, what is this? Writer’s block or indecision? Or can I just not commit?

silent as the grave

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I didn’t realize I’d been silent here for so long. I’ve had plenty in my head, just no real will to write it down and I don’t know why.

Sweeping nostalgia and melancholy drown my coherent thoughts; heavy rain tends to encourage this. I unearthed some old writings today, by a click of dumb luck and I’ve been at the coffee shop reeling for the last hour or two.

As I sit here with my empty cup of lavender tea, I wonder: will I always handle self-reflection best with a pen in my hand? It’s like the feelings aren’t validated unless written by my hand. I must write all of my emotions down with whimsy, veracity and honesty so biting I won’t be able to help the eye-roll when I re-read my own words.

I’m thankful for the awful music and loud chatter in here, it’s aiding in keeping my brain at bay…the things I read today could really use analysis and this isn’t the place.

Or maybe it is. Until I can muster up the courage to summarize the things my eyes have seen today, I shall contemplate the various ways one could illustrate the phrase “silent as the grave,” because sometimes zipped lips are better than loose ones….ships sail longer that way.