nanowrimo.

national novel writing month.

i had planned to start nanowrimo yesterday with the simple task of writing something every day. i know i dont have a novel in me right now, but i do have thoughts. lots of thoughts. thoughts that could fill a vast void.

but what i dont have, what i havent had for a long time, is a voice. i dont know my place, my purpose, my intention. who do i write for? myself? a specific audience?

who do i hide my words from? him, her, them? what do i fear?

oh, that’s the question isnt it?

according to my 30 Before 30 bucket list, i wanted to tell my story before December 28. i am glad i didnt say to whom. i think step one may be to just put it on paper.. instead of into the ether.

i’ve told my story so many times.. in my head. sometimes even out loud, in my car, to myself. i’ve developed a certain rhythm, a consistency to the facts. like a testimony. replaying for myself what happened, and when, and who said what, and what i did next, and what i didnt do.

but it still doesnt seem quite real. the doubt is still there. did i really say that? am i exaggerating? that sounds more like me, not like him. did i create this story? if i write it all down, is it fact or fiction?

 

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what i’m reading:

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i’m so vain.

let’s see if i can do this, the way you do.

i just realized its been over a year since that night. i’m not really even sure how we got there but i remember being excited & nervous & well.. happy.

& then the morning came & i got.. weird. really weird. overwhelmingly & embarrassingly weird. so i had to bail. but let me explain.

i had such high hopes when you finally got here. it was like a decade – or two – in the making. despite what you may have thought, finding friends has always been painfully difficult for me. that’s why i cling desperately to the ones i made before i learned to be self-conscious. you were on the short list of people that i felt really, really understood me. like we shared a multitude of minor inside jokes, memories only we shared, cultivated over years & years of conversations.. even with oceans between us.

so imagine my disappointment when i found myself repeatedly silent or screaming; in limitless lectures or endless rounds of meaningless argument. but i kept trying because every now & then – i saw the spark again.

..until i didnt. instead of the quick, teasing gleam in your eye, i saw my own disappointment reflected. this is not what you expected either. so i tested my theory – how long could you carry the conversation? how much more painfully obvious could it be that you no longer cared for my side of a story? how little could i say while still technically being present?

the fall from my (your?) pedestal had been gradual but i suddenly felt the rush of gravity. there was something about that shit-hole apartment hidden behind a flowering face that became my metaphor. i could no longer seem okay – the pipes burst; the ceiling came crashing in.

& i saw myself as you probably did. so far gone from the person i was supposed to become as to be unrecognizable. but really, you no longer looked at me.. no longer needed to see me.

 

& now i know, the song was never about me.

“God has nothing to do with it,” Ranga retorted, “and the joke isn’t cosmic, it’s strictly man-made. These things aren’t like gravity or the second law of thermodynamics; they don’t have to happen. They only happen if people are stupid enough to allow them to happen. Here.. We’re not overcrowded, we’re not miserable, we’re not under a dictatorship. And the reason is very simple: we chose to behave in a sensible and realistic way.”

The Island by Aldous Huxley

we chose.

i often cry while watching Biggest Loser but it’s usually because of the emotional struggles and successes the contestants are crying about.

today i’m sitting in my office with BL on in the background as i answer emails. and then i hear from Dr. H:

if you had lymphoma, would you set aside 2 hours a day for chemotherapy? you are just as sick.

and the lump immediately filled my throat.

my mom just celebrated another successful round of scans at md anderson. 4 years of remission from acute follicular lymphoma after months of chemo kicking her ass. and through the treatment, she was out of bed and present in our lives every day she could.

and while she was killing cancer, i was gaining pound after pound and killing myself. emotionally, physically and spiritually.

so when will i start taking this seriously?

the lump.

in 2 years..

everyone says “a lot can change in two years.” and i look around at many of my friends’ lives and think wow – you’re totally right. i cant believe you went through so much in just 12 months.

& then i look at my life and not that much has happened in the last 2 years. or even 5 years. a lot has happened around me – my mom beat cancer. my sister got married. weddings, babies, tragedy and drama drama drama with my closest friends.

even with three jobs in five years, i wouldnt say any were a drastic change.

biggest decision of my mid-twenties: i adopted a dog.

apparently, i have chosen to tempt the fates tonight.

side note

if i could go back & tell my 16 year old self one thing it would be: be kind to your eyebrows. put down the tweezers & back away slowly. you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

there’s no better feeling in the world than thinking you cant do something..

& doing it anyway.

the benefit of getting fat.

in my head, i’ve always been fat.

at 17 years old and 118 lbs, i was fat. or at the very least, i wasn’t thin enough.

there was a brief fleeting moment in college – around 19 and 120 lbs – that i felt good in a bikini. or good enough to wear it in public but not good enough to position myself next to the thinnest girl in pictures. always need the slightly bigger buffer.

now i look back at those pictures and think holy crap – i was the thinnest girl!

i think the fact that i can recount my weight from 6th grade (101 lbs) to 9th grade (111 lbs) to college (smallest 120 lbs; biggest 138 lbs) really says a lot. there are very, very few pictures that i remember looking at and thinking “yes – i look good.”

instead, i can still remember every. single. critique. i gave myself – the tiny roll above my jeans which was mostly sweater. the width of my arm. my less-than-ripped thighs. my complete lack of calves.

the benefit of getting fat is that you see yourself with new eyes. sometimes kinder eyes. sometimes harsher eyes. sometimes you’re completely blind. but you see yourself for what you truly were – even if you cant quite grasp what you’ve become or what you could be someday.

i’ve gained a steady amount of weight since college, but i really reached a tipping point over the last 18-24 months. for most of that time, i avoided cameras. there was really no need to document this time of my life. and i’ve noticed that few people ask to take my picture. even my mom chooses photos from 2-3 years ago for our annual family christmas card. i’m not offended; i appreciate that they understand.

now, at 28 and too many lbs to admit, i give myself a little more credit than i did in my best days. i can look at a photo and think “hey – i dont look half bad tonight.”

or if nothing else, i give my spanks two thumbs up for a job well done.

the art of losing.

there is an art to knowing your growth, and ending the lie in your bones that says you are right where you always have been. { Good Women Project }

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over the last couple of weeks, i’ve looked through old yearbooks and photos and even the Live Journal i kept from 2003 – 2008. there are very obvious changes: the way i look. where i live and work. people i’ve added to my circle and people who chose to leave.

but there has always been a consistent theme: i’m not satisfied with my life. in the words of Bono, i still haven’t found what i’m looking for. and each year, it creates a greater unease; a stronger sense of disarray in my heart and mind.

at the beginning of each year, i make a list of all the things i want to accomplish in the next 12 months. i consider what makes me happy and pledge to do more. i review what upsets me or disappoints me about myself and vow to remedy it. or i just add something crazy to my 30 to Thirty list.

each item on the list represents something i think will make me feel more complete. but somehow, in the back of my mind, i know it won’t be enough. there’s something larger, deeper than just a check list of expectations that needs to change.

so this year, my resolution is to be still and know: recognize and celebrate every little moment that contributes to my growth.

{ 31 days } good enough.

i made two decisions today:

  1. make March a month of YES. instead of coming up with excuses or even legitimate reasons to say NO to things – i’m just going to take a leap and say YES. 
  2. in honour of GOOD’s 30 Day Challenge, i commit to writing something every day for a month.
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over the last two days, i’ve realized something very obvious: i’ve been settling. i’ve been allowing myself to live a life that’s just good enough, but not amazing. not fulfilling. not extraordinary. just barely sufficient.

i had two conversations with two people.

1. we talked for only an hour or so. it was brief with someone i barely know. but it felt genuine and i felt relaxed. we glazed over topics i’m actually interested in – passion, faith, the beauty of a breeze in a park, hipster dads in cowboy hats. it was nothing special, but i felt comfortable.. like i didn’t have to force conversation.

2. i made the “leap” to go out late even though i really wanted to go to bed early with a new book. this relationship has been a roller coaster over the last few months. it felt forced – like trying to shove a square person into my circle; trying very, very hard to make it work but we both always end the night disappointed.

it sounds awful to say out loud { or in print } but every now & then, i look around and think “i really need new friends.” i think at the end of the day, there’s a part of me whose needs are not being met. my needs for intellectual and spiritual connection, encouragement and motivation are not being met consistently. it comes in spurts – usually very suddenly and unexpectedly – but only lasts a few days, if that.

i want to leave a conversation feeling intoxicated and alive. i want community.

i love valentine’s day.

i’ve been single for the last 8 valentine’s days. and i absolutely love valentine’s day.

and not in an apathetic “singles awareness day” type of love. i love, love valentine’s day. next to halloween & my birthday, it’s my favorite holiday. okay, well i really just like holidays in general.

to celebrate, i like to spend the day doing all of my favorite things – all the things i love smushed into 24 hours.

this year, my day included:

  • the new boots i’ve been eyeing online finally on sale!
  • my favorite band shirt { interpol } and my wear-once-a-year red converse with hearts
  • chocolate-covered goodness from my parents + little bro
  • red & white roses
  • princess bride wine: as you wish white & inconceivable cabernet
  • bright red velvet flats
  • a beautiful evening at the dog park with my bella bear
  • cheap yet enduring manicures in silver glitter
  • glee @ the drafthouse with my sister
  • black keys + garbage tickets for april

a lot of this valentine’s included treating myself to a day’s worth of purchases. but i also started to think about all of the other things i wanted to do but couldn’t squeeze into one day: hiking with the bella; visiting an art gallery or three; reading for hours with a great green tea; painting; yoga and zumba and sushi.

i realized how ridiculous it is to just shove my favorite things into a few days a year. what’s preventing me from doing something i love every single day – or at least once a week? i can’t say that i’ve come through with this over the last few weeks, but it’s stayed in the back of my mind. what are the favorite things that you never make time for?