Contractions: Catching Up on #VOWcross, #VOWwait, & #VOWspend

It’s the last day of July, and I haven’t posted since May.

Since then, #VOWcross, #VOWwait, and #VOWspend have come and gone.

I just caught up on Sister’s posts for the past three months, and I found myself nodding in agreement. Had I posted, as often happens with us, I would have said many of the same things, so I suggest you read hers.

I did reflect on our verbs. I even put them into practice. I thought about posting. I intended to.

But the last three months…well, they were something.

I think the best way to describe them is that they involved a hell of a lot of contracting, as Madisyn Taylor phrased it in her Daily Om newsletter that we reposted on the blog. (Also, you should totally subscribe to those emails, because they are life-changing; you can do so here.)

At the end of this year, I anticipating looking back on my One Word for 2018, Narrow, and remembering these contractions. I anticipate remembering the months spent trying to cross more things off my list than I possibly could get done. The time put in waiting for it to be time. The money spent when I would have rather saved it.

But despite this tightening, I think what I will remember more about narrowing is the way these contractions, ironically, expanded me. They flexed muscles that allowed me to cross lines and boundaries in nearly every aspect of my life, inspiring me to stretch and grow more than I knew I could—physically, sexually, spiritually, mentally, professionally. They reminded me about the goodness that can come from the Universe when I just sit and, therefore, trust that some things are worth investing in, worth waiting for. They taught me that sometimes Emergency Funds should be renamed Life Funds and spent in the moments that make you life rich, even if a bit cash poor.

And speaking of things that can be gold, this month, in August, we

Treasure.

Hold It: Reflecting on WAIT

I’m not so good at waiting.

I tend to be a girl who, when she makes up her mind, jumps into action. This is a quality I’m proud of, you see. And something that a former sufferer of Generalized Anxiety Disorder didn’t naturally come to. I had to fight my way towards my “yes and…” sensibilities. I had to relearn that to freeze the wasn’t the best and exclusive option.

So this month’s verb had me stammering a bit. In a bit way that I would start then pause, but momentum would drag me forward a bit. It took some relearning and leaning into the discomfort that had previously been sanctuary.

It’s hard to deprogram, I guess is what I’m saying.

But anytime I resisted the first waiting game, I recall one of my Rules of Adulthood. Anything that I feel must be said or done RIGHT NOW absolutely should NOT be said or done.

The immediacy is the key here. Anything that I’m so wrapped around that it cannot wait another second has yet to go exactly the way I wanted/planned it to. Rather, my rush ends up morphing my intentions so that things are missed, incorrectly articulated, or haphazardly done.

So even if/when it is against my revised baser instinct, sometimes it is best to not proceed forward. To give things time to marinate.

The TEDFellowship application.

Asking for a raise right after discovering disconcerting news.

Severing ties with my tarot group.

These are all things that I hesitated on. Deliberately. Effortfully. Intentionally.

Not only because of this month’s verb but because, dare I say, maturation. Evolution. And perhaps a bit realization that the in-between space I’ve avoided for so long isn’t as much of a compromise as it is a place to strive for.


Check out Steph’s post on #VOWwait here

Anticipation is the best part: Reflecting on WAIT

Christmas used to be my favorite holiday.

I loved the lights. I loved the music. I loved the festive air. And I fucking loved the Christmas movies.

I shouldn’t say all that in the past tense. I still do love all those things. But I’ve found as I age, New Years has replaced Xmas in my heart. Perhaps because I’m no longer religious. Perhaps because I’m a lot more jaded. Perhaps because tradition has less impact on me than personal evolution.  Christmas is still marvelous, it’s just no longer the best.

However, there is one thing about the holiday that I love. Something that doesn’t really exist the same any time else in the year.

The excitement of anticipation.
The build up towards Christmas morning.

I’ve never quite been the kid who wants to open all my gifts up on Christmas Eve. I prefer to open gifts round-robin, where each person opens things one at a time. To pause for coffee and later breakfast mid festivities. The WAIT of Christmas (both up to and throughout the day) is the absolute best part.

This year I knew almost everything I was being given, with the exception of two pieces of jewelry that brought tears to my eyes. But it wasn’t so much the excitement of what will I get as much as it was the slow process of it all (we eeked out FIVE HOURS when all was said and done). The thrill of seeing Josh open his gifts. The emotional bang of the Christmas gift finale that got us both in the feels.

Maybe that’s why every year I take down all my decorations on the 26th. Because once the day has passed, the pressure has been released . Why tightly grip onto the event once it has passed? Yes, once the WAIT is over , the magic dissipates, and I shift gears into the main event. New Years Day.

This week we start where we began, with our #OneWord2018, where I EMBRACE onCE More…


Check out Steph’s #VOWwait post here!

#VOWwait-ing for Christmas

I fly back home tomorrow. And by that, I mean that I fly back to the District from the rural town where I was raised. From my parents’ house. The place where I spent the last week.

It’s cheaper to fly on Christmas. Plus, you get free drinks. Actually I get free drinks anyway–a friend upgraded me to First Class.

I have to say that I always find the very well-intact class system at the airport a bit disturbing. But, I gotta admit, that pre-flight drinks in real glasses and a much-upgraded snack choice to enjoy in my very large seat is pretty clutch.

I have strong feelings about this, but thoughts of free champagne have me falling a bit off my soap box.

.  .  .

I always expect this place to ground me more than it does. I always hope the house that built me will leave me steadied. Yet I always leave feeling less anchored than I’d like.

I feel unmoored.

.  .  .

Sister says it’s the season. All the ghosts.

Man, I hope I see that big hairy muppet angel of a Hagrid in my dreams tonight. The one who shows you them.

The past ones.
The present ones.
The future ones.

Those are the ones I would like to meet.
The future ones.

Maybe then I would have some idea about what I’m looking for.
And where.
Who.

.  .  .

It’s Christmas Eve. My Saturn Return is upon me.

And I’m here. Waiting.

Feeling less like a kid leaving cookies out for Santa and more like the one who just found out he isn’t real.

To be honest, I think the lack of holiday cheer has to do with the introvert in me screaming for time.

She wants to hide out in a dark closet for a bit.
She needs time to think.

She needs time.

.  .  .

It feels like I have less of that lately.

There’s pressure.
To make choices.
To make starts.
To have happy endings.

But I’m just not there yet.

Or maybe I am.

I just need a little help believing.

.  .  .

Christmas is the time for that, and there’s still tomorrow.

.  .  .

And until then, all I can do is cry as much as I need and to be as present or as absent or my heart will allow. (Credit to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls for that.)

.  .  .

This week, our One Word comes back to close the year, and I continue to

Build.

P.S. Give Lin’s #VOWwait post a read.

#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.