when i was in college, i had a crush on this one guy (one of many through the years). he wasn’t super popular, super cute, or super brainy. he was just a nice guy, a man girls felt at ease around, a man I suspect had had very few girls crush on him in his life. but still, a man i was comfortable admitting a crush on to my close friends.

on some random weekend trip to the nearest mall (an hour away) this guy told a mutual friend he suspected I liked him. That was it–he only told her he suspected it, without judgement or disgust. But I immediately stopped making eye contact, stopped smiling at him or making any sort of conversation. I was embarrassed that he knew, that he could pick up on it, that i had been so obvious. (which really, isn’t that what we want? to have someone know we’re interested and be interested back?) i don’t think i ever said another word to him, ever again.

it’s an all-too-familiar scene, albeit one more routinely conducted in middle or high schools. I just never really outgrew it. I suspect that even today, were something like this to happen, I would still blush and clam up. (it’s honestly a miracle Jon and I ever got together).

you know there is no happy ending here for K and me: he started dating the woman who would become his wife just a few short weeks later. of course i think everything turned out the way it was supposed to, but there’s still a part of me that questions what that alternate reality would have looked like, if i had been brave enough to admit my attraction and own my feelings. It doesn’t matter who you are, really–whenever a person encounters a fork in the road, there is always going to be the question of what lay down the other path (you can, I’m sure, insert the appropriate Frost reference here). i know there are billions of stories like this throughout history–fear of rejection has shaped more lives than the bravery of love.

the reason I bring this somewhat painful memory up is to pose this question: what kind of difference would have been made in my life if I wasn’t so afraid of vulnerability? Because that’s what I was REALLY what I was afraid of–a sharp dart to a soft heart. but in stopping short i was defeated already. where would I, could I, have gone, if only I hadn’t determined early on to quit? Not only with this guy, but maybe with a few of the others? Or with jobs, schools, homes? What shaping would have taken place, if I had been unafraid to try, at the price of a little pride? Would i be more fully rounded? Or would parts of me have been broken off, to leave me jagged and sharp?

i have been told ‘no’ enough times in my life to be used to it by now. Not to say it isn’t painful every time, but rather–you learn that the pain doesn’t last, that you’ll live through it and it’s not as bad as you think it’ll be. the build-up is worse than the actuality. (though admittedly, my pride took quite a beating in college).

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the human experience–about how happiness is only one small component to our lives. We shouldn’t strive for happiness, but for completion. Not for consistent comfort, but for accomplishment and triumph (which will always necessitate getting a bit dirty). Discomfort not the enemy, sorrow only a darker friend. As i wrestle with the choices in my life, as I second-guess and reconsider, I have to remind myself that I am being grown and pruned and made ever more lovely by both the rain and the sun. Vulnerability cannot be shirked, it cannot be avoided simply because it is distasteful or uncomfortable. It must be confronted, endured, and triumphed over–an enemy made a friend. It’s only very difficult, I am finding.

it seems to be a theme in my life as of late, as i reach the age where you’re supposed to have more of an idea of what you want your life to look like. my problem is, i think i know what that is, but i’m not sure i’m on the right road to getting it. i’m old enough to realize everything my mother said is true: I will never be that young again. I don’t get a second chance at this life thing. all of the moments NOW are what count because I don’t get them back again. I “believed” her but not in the way that counted. it hits me all of a sudden–my precious early twenties, those golden moments in the sun, carefree of student loans and broken AC units, all the lost years of opportunity to have children young: they are gone and I will never have the chance at them again.

then i remind myself: i am living my precious late twenties, i have sunlit moments still, and I may look back on this time of freedom and selfish fulfillment with longing, that Right Now is the only time i will not mourn ever. i cannot trade these moments I DO have for the moments I CAN’T have, because then I am robbed of my whole life.


everything is awesome?

I always feel a little hesitation when I come back to this space. Questions bubble to the surface: Who am I writing for? Is anyone reading this? Is there a purpose to my ramblings, or should I write for the practice of writing? And then I hit “Add New Post” and things begin to flow, and I know within a few hours, I’ll have something I’m proud to share. Every time I read someone else’s blog and think “how can they possibly think writing a blog is a full-time job?” I remember how stressed I get about writing once a month or so, how it can consume time and thoughts and projects, and I know without a doubt anyone relying on this for a full-time income is putting in the full-time effort. I can’t imagine the pressure of writing two to three times a week, let alone once a day. So I content myself with what I can manage. After all, this space doesn’t seem to be much more than an occasional drop-off zone: unloading only. I drop off the things rolling around up top, clean out the attic, so to speak, then head out for more clutter.

I used to use this space as a way to track my derby journey. I documented every step, it was so exhilarating, so thrilling! Everything was new and intense and it was the mushy lovey-dovey honeymoon stage of a new relationship. When I finally got through New Girl and made it into the league, I thought “I should write about how this feels. This is important–the culmination of year of hard work”. But then I didn’t. And then when the season started, I thought “I should talk about how much hard work this is, because I want to remind myself of how much I’m putting into this and use it as a way to look back”. But then I was working so hard and there are so many internal politics that I have NO IDEA how to navigate so I decided sleeping was much more important. And now, almost halfway through my first season with TXRD and fresh off my first time actually skating in a bout, I tell myself it would be wise to write about all the things i am learning–the skills, the techniques, the personal breakthroughs and how to implement them, how my heart & mind are changed repeatedly and how the friendships I am forging are so fulfilling and SO instructive–but I am at practice ALL THE TIME. And when I’m not at practice, I’m trying very hard to live out my other dreams–many of which require almost as much effort as roller derby. So writing about it takes a backseat.

I also wanted to use this space to document my first year through home ownership. I want to show you before-and-after photos of all my projects, of the several coats of paints I’ve painted and the TWO new front doors I’ve been through and the popcorn ceilings I’ve scraped and the builtin bookshelves I added. But my photos aren’t nearly the quality of other home-improvement blogs, and besides, that’s not really my forte. I don’t WANT to be yet another “look at my DIY home” blog. I’m not really the “add pretty photos here” type, though I’ve occasionally tried my hand at it. Perhaps if I had a different layout, or more time to practice photography with Jon’s camera, i would try more often. But the reality of the situation is: it’s not a priority for me. My priorities are more along the lines of: go to practice a decent amount, not eat so much take-out, get enough sleep, see my boyfriend more than twice a week, buy groceries on a regular schedule, and get some reading in at the end of the day. So in my everyday life I try to make little adjustments, little improvements to my abode so that it truly is a sanctuary and not a stressor. I need the calm refuge from the rest of my whirlwind, not another box on the to-do list.

And also–something I’m sure thousands of bloggers wrestle with: I’m not sure how much of myself, of my heart, I want to put out there. i know I talk a lot in my real life (and I’m really sorry if you’re on the receiving end and I just won’t shut up–I know it’s a problem and I try to be mindful of it and I’m sorry if you’ve ever, EVER felt run over or unheard) but it’s different when you put a signpost out there that ANYONE can read, and not just the SOMEONE you’re talking to. It’s always been a fond dream of mine that I would be mysterious and intriguing and respectful of my own privacy, but I am an open book, constantly edited. Much like Anne of Green Gables, I just cannot help myself–I feel things so deeply and experience things in such an exhausting way that to try to contain it is nigh impossible. So with this space, I envisioned I would be able to show only the edited portion of my life–I don’t want you all to know about my personal disappointments, the bitter taste of things, the questions I ask myself regarding personal relationships. But then, I value authenticity above pretty much anything else–isn’t it deceiving to pretend these things don’t exist?

So I guess the whole point of this post was to say: I’m very busy in my life, which is true of nearly everyone the world over, and the thought of writing here hasn’t been a comfort to me, because if I were to say the things I was really thinking, if I laid open my heart, I’m afraid of what I might find. I am at a precarious place in my life where I’m unsure of most of the decisions I’ve made. I don’t see a clear path ahead of me, and I’m not sure if the path I’m on is the one I wanted to be on in the first place. There are so many inspirational Wilde & Emerson quotes floating through the internet that urge you to follow your dreams, to be unafraid to live the life you want, to just reach out and grab it, etc. My dilemma though, is that I’m just not sure what else it is I want. And besides, just because I WANT something, doesn’t mean it would be available. It would require more work, another start-over, and that, while possible, is highly unappealing. I also think I’m in the middle of the hard stuff right now–and I think what I want isn’t real–because snapshots of MY life are just as pretty and just as dreamy as the instagram lives I follow that make me ache a bit inside.

But I think I’ll start writing again. This was nice.