v-e-r-b scrabble tiles

A List of Things Built: Reflecting on My #OneWord2017

I started 2017 with a list of things I wished to build in the upcoming year.
I start 2018 with a list of things built:

 A playlist.
Chaturanga.
A stack of hundreds of pages of creative work.
Tribe, anchored rather solidly at a used bookstore in Southeast DC.
A body I love, even on the days I don’t like it as much as I could.
Certainty in what it is that I want.
In a becoming.

Those last two words sum up my #OneWord2017: a becoming.

And perhaps instead of trying to write something poignant, I will share the words of someone who already did, in a letter to me, after my #VOWresolve post (my favorite post this year):

While risking sounding miserably cliché, I hope you can, in some ways, enjoy the process of becoming. Because, the truth is, we never stop. Becoming, that is. And I don’t think there is ever complete resolve. We are ever-evolving in ways that we can’t even comprehend.

But I know you know that. 

My wish for you, sweet lady? That you, in the midst of waiting for clarity regarding your next bold move, can focus on what does make sense. To really focus on those pieces that you’re collecting—picking them up, studying them in different shades of light, and realize that, “Damn. I am the compilation of a lot of cool things.”

And as for the frenetic aloneness? I hope that you can try your best to enjoy what solitude affords you. Even though it seems like a burden (especially at 3 am), there are so many gifts that solitude gives. I’m wishing I had more of it myself. And the solitude won’t be with you forever. I’m sure of it. 

Here to the pieces. All of them. Whenever they choose to show themselves.

I am still very much waiting on a some pieces, a couple of them somewhat impatiently, but at least I know what they look like now.

With all that in mind and taking her wish into consideration, in 2018 I have decided I am going to attempt to focus on what does make sense, on the pieces I have collected and continue to. I am going to

NARROW.

And with that in mind, this month, we

CHARGE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

K2 P2 rib, repeat 8 rows: Reflecting on RESOLVE

So it’s funny, I didn’t even think of interpreting RESOLVE as fixing something or wrapping things up until I read Steph’s post. For me, RESOLVE was always buckling down. Fixating on something and seeing it through, even as times got tough.

Work is brutal right now. Miraculously, I’m not stressing. I am RESOLVED to go with the flow. It is what it is. My god, is there a more adult mentality than that?

Every holiday season I like to make at least one or two handmade gifts. Over the past few years I’ve crocheted blankets for loved ones (to varying degrees of success). I haven’t picked up knitting needles since my divorce. But early last week, I set my mind to a project. And after searching for a pattern, I decided that what I wanted didn’t already exist. So instead, I decided I’d just make my own.

I’m not an advanced knitter. And I’ve never made up a pattern before. But my project seemed simple enough and I was feeling headstrong and creative, so I set to work.

I made multiple test projects, jotting down changes or thoughts as I worked my way through. It was intense enough that I didn’t blink, forgot to eat, spent the majority of my weekend curled up on the couch, knitting and purling and cabling until I’d figured it out.

I RESOLVED myself to making it work. And when it didn’t, no worries. I’d backtrack and adjust. It’s the process and I knew I’d get there… I just had to figure my way.

Finally, finally, I was ready to start in earnest. And when I was six tiny rows away from completion, it happened. I dropped a stitch that I couldn’t pick back up. I had to deconstruct the whole thing — all that time, all that patience — and roll it into a tiny ball.

Because I’m me, there were several oh shits. But otherwise I remained collected. I knew all I had to do was start again. Which I did. And I gotta say, the finished project is pretty damn cute.

Our last mutual VOW of 2017 is WAIT


Catch Steph’s absolutely glorious #VOWresolve post here (probably the best piece of writing all year — don’t miss it!)

#VOWresolve-ed to Arranging the Pieces as They Come

I had salad and a glass of sparkling rosé with a girlfriend today. She moved to Boston not too long ago, and I miss sharing a meal and a glass bottle of wine with her all the time. It’s funny—we’ve known each other for years but fell into closeness only months ago.

Life’s like that I guess.

Anyway, while we chatted away, the conversation eventually drifted to the thing that brought us together—men. More specifically, the marks they’ve left on us. And she didn’t know about my word this week—I’m actually not sure we’ve talked of this project—but she said it. Four or five times in the span of a minute.

Resolve. I wanted to resolve things. I want resolutions. We resolved it after so much time.

I got chills up my spine as the word just hung there.

Resolve.

.  .  .

Last night, I drempt of an ex-boyfriend. We didn’t part well then. We don’t speak now.

But last night, he was there. And he said all the things he never did. And I was the woman I never was with him.

I was strong.

And we made it all right. And I felt him. It was palpable. His presence. I swear, I spent half the night laying in his arms.

And then I woke up. And I walked out my door this afternoon and nearly crashed into him, with his new lady, and two dogs. Dogs? He has dogs now.

And I was shaken. Literally.

And we didn’t speak. We didn’t acknowledge anything. We walked in opposite directions, and then we both stopped and turned to look back and then kept on walking the ways we were going.

Maybe it was a ghost.

Because, lately, I believe in them.

I have chills up my spine most of the time. And I see them just as often.

.  .  .

I wished him well for the first time in almost two years tonight.

.  .  .

Resolve.

It just keeps hanging.

And it’s palpable too.

.  .  .

I’m trying to make sense of where I am.

As the end of the year and this project’s pilot near a close, there’s a sense of something:  being so close to where I need to end the year and yet so very aware that the next couple of weeks are going to have to shatter me to get me there.

I don’t know why. Or what that means.

I think it has something to do with the ghosts. Or perhaps with my resolute (didn’t mean to do that) belief that ashes bring life. That transformation is always born from wreckage.

.  .  .

More chills. Because it’s scary to write that shit down.

.  .  .

This year of Build has been a hell of a lot about knowing when to stand my ground on the safe shore and when to swim out deep.

Right about now, I’m pretty far from shore this time. Sister’s deep fear of what swims beneath her is pretty much consuming me—thanks, Sis; I never use to worry about that.

Now, I dream about whales, right below me, and it’s not a good feeling.

It used to be.

.  .  .

And I know I’m supposed to be right where I am.
Completely untethered.
No safe shores.
No life boat.

.  .  .

Frenetically alone.

That’s the phrase Dani Shapiro used in her memoir, Devotion—I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s swallowing me whole.

Anyway, I feel that.

I’m not lonely.

But I know exactly what she means.

I feel it at night. Normally at 3:30 a.m., when I wake up and feel my heart beating. Faster than it should be.

Probably because I’ve been swimming with whales. Or because there’s a ghost in bed with me.

But I can literally feel my heart beating. And I know I’m mortal. Fragile. Suffering from the human condition.

I can die.

And fuck if that isn’t the feeling of being on a speeding train knowing you can’t stop it. You can’t just say, Alright, I think I’d like to get off now. You were born, and that’s the beginning of the end of something.

And I haven’t Googled that symptom. Because I don’t need to.

That’s being alive.

.  .  .

I know there’s something there. Underneath. Not in the ocean but bubbling in my subconscious. Waiting to rise to the surface.

And I have no freaking idea what it is.

But it’s palpable.

And I can’t resist it or lean in. I just have to acknowledge it.

I have to wait. To “arrange the pieces as they come in.” (Thank you, Virginia Woolf, via Dani Shapiro.)

.  .  .

So, I’m resolved.

To being here.
To staying on my mat.
To deep breathing.
To knowing it will come.

And that it will pass.

I’m 49 percent terrified and 51 percent completely exhilarated.

This week, we

WAIT.

And, tonight, I’m going to watch 47 Meters Down, because that sounds like a really good idea.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out Lin’s post on #VOWresolve.

#VOWhush as Snow

I’m not sure why Lin and I both associated snow with #VOWhush, but we did. Hell, we may have manifested the flakes that fell on Alabama and DC.

For me, the day it snowed was the first time it really felt like winter.

Like the holidays were almost upon us.

Like the slow was coming.

Like I could sit for a moment, near my Christmas tree made of books, and just watch with wonder.

This week, we

RESOLVE.