Strapped

I’ve finally found a moment to sit and write, and even now I’m distracted by this boy blowing up my phone. But it’s okay, I really like him.

It’s the boy I casually mentioned last time, my sister’s fiance’s friend. He’s a really sweet guy, and I’m excited to see him soon. We couldn’t find any time to get together before I went on my trip, so our first date is the 11th of August and he’s taking me to a wedding the 12th. He stuck with me through my entire trip, always eager to know what I was doing, never happy when I lost service at the campgrounds. Very sweet and charming and respectful. Talk about a breath of fresh air.

My trip itself was fantastic. I was terrified of seeing bears, but I think I handled it really well for being my first time camping ever, let alone for two weeks straight. We survived a 5.8 earthquake that hit Montana, we swam in glacial waters of  Lake McDonald, we slept outside during a thunderstorm in Yellowstone, we heard wolves/coyotes howl just over the mountain ridge, we woke up early in search of bears and other wildlife, and we went to bed late, usually with some kind of alcohol in our systems. We climbed a 10,000 foot peak, and I got a tattoo in Denver. My only regret is that I forgot a notebook, because I’ve since forgotten so many of the inspired thoughts I had while on the journey.

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But the MOUNTAINS. The mountains were just more beautiful and magnificent than I could have ever expected. It felt a little strange coming back home, seeing my mountains and thinking of just how small they were in comparison. I’m hoping they don’t disappoint me…

Phoebe and I had plenty of great conversations, but the one that stuck with me the most was just eye opening to me. It was something that I’ve always kind of known in the back of my mind, but that I hadn’t really had to process it before.

You can’t love someone wholeheartedly if there is no trust. I remember the days of anxiety, the edge of suspicion to every text message and every name that came in the aftermath of being cheated on. I remember the knots in my stomach, the sleepless nights, and the pure worry, even when he and I were trying to work things out. Even when it seemed like we had, I was still always wary, ready to jump to the worst conclusion, because I had learned that the worst conclusion isn’t always wrong.

I remember enduring the same storm with Adam, with girls he told me not to worry about, who he then had to own up to. “Nothing happened, but…” Everything before “but” is bullshit. Something happened, and I was back in that hole, empty and broken at the bottom. Somehow he got mad at me for all of it, and my lack of trust was supposedly why he dumped me so harshly. Even though I was walking on glass, dancing around my own feelings to spare his, to ensure that he still loved me, that he still thought I was “cool.” I’ll tell you what, he didn’t, but I still get texts from him whenever he’s drunk and horny. To that I say, fuck you.

I say that you can’t love someone if you can’t trust them. You can’t wholeheartedly be your best self. You’re always being careful, always watching your back or barking at others to stay away. If there is no trust, there is nothing. I understand why it’s hard to trust, but you have to give that new person a chance. If nothing else, you’ve made it through heartache before and you will again, but it’s important to love as if you’ve never had a broken heart. I’m still trying to incorporate that into this new relationship, and he has been very understanding of the times I haven’t been able to.

I was telling Mom the other day how I’m just so sick of the dating scene nowadays. Everyone’s excuse is that they’ve been hurt before, so they’re “not looking for anything serious.” So when they do find someone they’re interested in, they refuse to put labels to anything. Because if there are no labels, it doesn’t hurt so much when someone gets hurt, right? We never made anything official, so she can’t be mad that I’m on a date with someone else. She’s not really my girlfriend, so I shouldn’t invite her to family events. I’m losing interest, I should just stop talking to her and she’ll get the point. If she says anything, she’s totally crazy because we aren’t anything and I told her I wasn’t looking for anything serious…

It’s all bullshit, and it’s all the same. Maybe if we as a species all grew a pair and gave it another shot, picked ourselves off and dusted ourselves off when we got hurt, we wouldn’t end up hurting so many people. We would love others instead of playing mind games. We would respect one another, and if we fell in love, we fell in love. Perfect world, right?

Spread some love and have some hope.

Dani

 

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Clustered Tulips

It’s late night dance parties in your studio,

Early morning kisses in your attic,

Getting locked outside in your clothes,

Talking to your mom as if I were here every morning.

Every little bit makes it harder to let go.

*   *   *

You found out she got married this weekend. In a little black dress at the county courthouse, with the brightest smile you hadn’t seen in years. My heart broke for you as I felt your last thread of hope peeling away. It was so subtle, with the impact of a guillotine. What could you do about it? She is not yours. You’re not sure she ever was, but maybe that’s what kept you on your toes.

So what did we do? We got drunk. I was excited to see my friends, some unusual faces in the crowd. I think you were torn between distraction and numbing. I got you to dance, but that’s the best I could do.

We slumped up the stairs, falling back to our puzzle piece rhythm. And my own misery couldn’t hold it in any longer. I asked you about it. I asked if you were okay.

In those moments, I feel like your friend. One that just wants you to be happy, to be okay. That one that’s empathetic because she’s been hurting too, one that shares your pain because it’s all she knows how to do, how to comfort, how to react. You talked, your voice plain, and I asked more, careful questions. In those moments we know each other. In those moments you find solace of your loneliness with my head on your chest and your arms around me. You find a love that you don’t know how to hang on to, and you’re too tired to try. I am too.

Like probably every other girl that’s tried, I want to fix you. I want to love all your broken pieces back together. Save you from your past, from your loyalty, your first love. And like every other girl that’s tried, I can’t.

*   *   *

I had a really great time visiting home this weekend. Work was hectic and annoying but we made it through as usual. Any motivation for free alcohol right?

I live for the nights that I can connect with people. As someone who has been introverted (and extremely shy) her entire life, relating to people and connecting to people through conversation is very inspiring and fulfilling to me. Some of them were my coworkers, and some my own family members.

I woke up to his kisses Friday morning, somehow made it through the entire day on four hours of sleep.

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Saturday I was well rested (he was gone), so I hiked by myself through Harper’s Ferry. Though the inclines were incredibly steep, especially with a 10lb weight in my backpack to help condition, it was probably my most rewarding hike. I had time for myself, to do and think about what I wanted, not worry about keeping up a conversation (I probably wouldn’t have been able to anyway). The view was spectacular as I watched birds swirl high above me, heard the train rustle below, the river to my right. It was incredibly peaceful, and it made me excited for my trip. It was also the first time my legs had been so sore in a while, and it made me feel so alive, that I was heading in the right direction, that the plateau was over.

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I spent the afternoon sanding a breadbox, of all things. At first it was stressful and annoying, time-consuming. But as usual once I slowed down I really actually enjoyed it. Working with my hands outside. Nothing but me and my thoughts. The more solitude I have, the more I realize I like myself. I’m not a perfect person, but I make myself happy, and I appreciate my own thoughts in a strange, cyclical way. img_0129.png

That night I went out with Kristen, Rosie, and Heather. Kyle owed me some drinks so he gave me a good amount of patron for free (love it). I didn’t get to spend as much time with Heather as I wanted, but I got to spend some time with Rosie that I think she needed. I don’t think she has a great outlet, and she deals with a lot of shit in her life. She’s such a sweet person that just wants love, and she definitely deserves it. She doesn’t get enough from some of the places she should… lots of heart to hearts. Like I said, I love connecting with people.

Sunday was a day with the family. Lauren’s absence was noticeable, and I don’t think I filled the space to its entirety, but I think it was good enough.

Something that I recently admitted to my mom is that I think the Main Cup is the only place in which I have felt truly celebrated, and that was kind of a tough thought to accept. I have always had an immense love for my family, and like I said I’ve always grown up kind of in someone’s shadow without it really bothering me. I don’t need to be center of attention all the time, I just like appreciation.

I shared with mom that I’ve always been in the shadow of my sister, through no one’s fault. I’ve just always been quiet and reserved and she has fit in better with the extroverted side of the family. Most of the time when Lauren’s missing from family events, the first question I get is “where’s your sister?” like I’m not good enough to entertain them in the same way.

I don’t want to paint a woe-is-me story about my life, because I have been blessed in so many ways. I’m just saying it’s not always fun to grow up in someone’s shadow.

But Main Cup has been different for me. I’m a different person. I’m more confident because I’ve learned that people like me for me, that they give me a chance because they want to, not because they know my sister. That they aren’t comparing me to her, let down when I’m not as outgoing. It’s given me a sense of self. Of finding who I am with fewer influences.

I love my sister. But I’m happy to be discovering who I am on my own. Why I love me. Why others do too.

Love

 

 

The Only Path is the One You Follow

Spring break is almost here! I know it’s going to fly by, as I’m planning on working 7 out of the 9 days I’m home and generally have fun stuff planned the other days I’m home. Hopefully I’ll find time to hike and get a little more realistic incline in.

So, I have an interesting “problem” I guess. More of a thought and situation. Have you ever loved someone but wanted them to go back to their first love? My love interest used to date this incredible girl. I hated working with her because she was so bossy, but the more I read her blog, learned of her personality, saw more of her heart and mind, the more I liked her. She’s beautifully artistic and she radiates confidence. Things turned messy for them, and they ended things on not-so-great terms, meaning whenever she makes her way back to our little town, her old place of work, the bartenders will warn him he won’t want to mingle tonight. The last time they were in the same building, he finished his food and left without a second thought, didn’t even come out for drinks with everyone that night to get his mind off things.

I know he was really hurt by her, more than I think he has ever let on. I have heard him talk about her, both in admiration and in bitterness. They are both such beautiful souls that I’m not sure he will ever love anyone as much as he loved her. What stuns me is that I’m not jealous when he talks about her, but I genuinely feel sorry for him. I want them to be together, even though I have such strong feelings for him. Even when I ask the universe for him, I want him to be with her because I think they could be the greatest love story, so passionate and pure. High school sweethearts, best friends, both fiercely independent but with gentle love for each other. It’s beautiful to me – I have so much respect for it. Which is weird right? I’ve asked the universe for this man! Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should ask for his happiness and see where it leads him. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a good love story.

Maybe I know how he feels. Because who doesn’t wonder what could have been?

Another thought I’ve been wrestling with constantly is my relationship with my best friend, and I think I’ve expressed it before so I’ll keep it short. Shouldn’t you be in love with your best friend? The one you’ve known since high school, the one where you can mutually tell each other everything, you’ve met each others’ families and it’s not strange to just spend all day together doing nothing and still having  a good time. I want nothing more than to love him, and I know so many people that agree and want to see us together. But there’s something in me that just can’t picture it, and I wish I knew what it was. But shouldn’t I listen to that gut feeling now? Before it’s 20 years down the road and I’m regretting not branching out in my life?

If you had the chance, would you want to know your future? I think I believe in some kind of predestination. It’s the least anxiety-inducing method of looking at the future. Everything is as it should be. Whatever happens, it is for a reason. I think I had to adopt that method, because the pathways were just too expansive for me to think about all of them, about every person I could be.

I actually remember that moment that I settled on predestination. I was hiking by myself, I think in Gambrill. My sister had recently been going through some of her anxious/depressive thoughts, and she shared with me that sometimes she felt overwhelmed by all the choices she could make in her life and all of the paths down which she could go. And I told her that I shared those same anxieties sometimes.

I remember when I was choosing which college to attend, I was like this decision is going to decide my life. And in many ways, it does. But I was worried that I would choose the wrong college and somehow miss out on meeting my future husband. Which is crazy for an 18-year-old to be worried about. (Although maybe I was right since, ya know, still single).

But on that hike, as I followed that beaten path, the one forged by so many others before me, set up by the parks’ services, I realized there is only one path in life. You can take many directions, you still have the chance to choose. But what if choosing is an illusion? What if your path is already predetermined, that everything is already aligned for you, all you have to do is follow?

I was very relaxed then, like I had just figured out life. All of my anxious thoughts were put to rest. It’s very easy when you think “what I am doing is what is supposed to happen.” That the universe is constantly guiding me in the right direction. It helps me have faith in my decisions, but I still don’t make choices blindly (not all of them anyway).

Anyway, here’s to love and other drugs.

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Wishes to the Universe

Had a wonderful and spontaneous night at home in order to see my best friend. It involved copious amounts of tequila and the perfect amount of french toast. Our hungover asses sat in his hot tub on a freezing day, fully bloated from the previous night, discussing life, praising the mountains, and feeling grateful for our town. I did, anyway.

As I’ve said, as it gets closer to graduation, I find it harder and harder to leave my little town behind. My heart yearns for the mountains, and I’m always so awestruck when I can catch the colors of the sun setting over the mountains or between the trees. I can’t tell you the number of times my gaze has left the road a dangerously long time just because I’m trying to enjoy the beauty of the sunset. I’ll say it here, if I ever die in a crash because I was watching the sun set, at least the last thing I saw was something I loved.

Morbid… Anyways.

Yesterday I stayed in town long enough to greet my parents after they had finally gotten home from their cruise. As I waited for them to call me, I laid down in bed, trying to close my eyes since I was running on a mere four hours of sleep from the night before (still went to the gym, proud of myself for that!). But I couldn’t close my eyes. My room was too beautiful. A light, happy, peaceful yellow, filled with a similar relaxing sunlight drifting in through the open blinds. I cuddled the pillow next to me, staring at the beauty that my windows framed, that my blinds teased. I wish staring at the sun wasn’t bad for your eyes. I’m not sure I’d ever look away.

I love to linger in those peaceful moments. I want to be able to just share that serenity with someone else, for them to understand my love for a beautiful sky.

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I told Ryan how excited I was to spend a few weeks out in the mountains, just me and Phoebe, someone else who appreciates nature and namaste-ing as much as I do – if not more. It really just made me more excited to think about being outdoors for days on end, not caring how dirty I get, not trying to impress anyone. Just me and her soaking up the wilderness.

Also, side note, I think I’m getting slightly better at yoga. It doesn’t seem like as much of a chore to do downward dog anymore. Part of it might be because it’s nice that my roommate enjoys it as much as I do, so she helps motivate me. She does, however, also motivate me to eat cookies all the time, so I’m trying to work on my will power here.

At the same time, yoga has also allowed me to see how much I need improvement, especially in my mobility. I’m hoping it opens up my hips, but even just side body stretches can be ludicrously difficult sometimes. It reminds me of when Mom makes me her physical therapy guinea pig and I realize I can’t hold poses/postures that are seemingly simple. Like sure I can squat a decent amount of weight, but can I lift my leg while keeping my core tight and hips level? Way harder than I thought.

I had a scary revelation yesterday. Mary texted me asking where I had slept the night before (she knows my drunken habits – I giggled), and I truthfully said that I had slept in my own bed that night, and then we had a short conversation about my love interest where she brought up how it’s been a long time of us being on and off and how he needs to get his act together (preachin to the choir, girl). And I realized that this on again off again thing has been the second longest “relationship” I’ve been in…

I officially dated Chad for a little over two years, I officially dated Adam for maybe a year and one or two weeks. Connor and I were on again off again for maybe four months. But this current one has been a year and three months. I’ve been battling with him and our feelings for each other for longer than I was with someone I had considered moving in with, someone I had considered marrying. It was a weird little revelation.

I doubt he reads my blogs, so I have no qualms speaking freely about it on here: I just haven’t been able to get him out of my head. Sometimes I struggle with it, especially the first time he grew distant. I wanted to be hurt and say “screw you” and never talk about it again. Easier said than done when you see him every time you go home and he’s there in the kitchen of your place of work. And he’s been there longer than you so you can’t be any kind of territorial over your workplace. Some days are easier than others, but that’s usually when I’ve been away at school for a few weeks and we haven’t spoken anyway.

You’d think that with all the back-and-forth, I’d be sick of it and just be done. Part of me wants to be done, sometimes I say with confidence that I am. And then I come back home and fall right back into it because there’s something about him that’s irresistible to me. He has such a good heart, the kind of person that doesn’t like to say anything bad about anybody, and he’ll usually correct himself if it has any kind of mean edge to it. He’s all about enjoying life, though I wish he’d do more with it. But who am I to judge.

There’s some part of me that just wants him. And I haven’t been able to explain to anybody, even myself. I’ve asked so many of my older friends for advice, something I rarely do, and they’ve helped me talk through my feelings, how there’s no reason for me to be as hung up on him as I have been. But I’ve never been able to put my finger on it.

So maybe someday we’ll give it a shot. Maybe I’ll be hung up on him until I move to another state, though the thought of never seeing him again makes me sad. Maybe I’ll be hung up on him forever. Some days I imagine (guiltily) that I’ve moved to North Carolina where I’ve met a nice man, but that I come home to Middletown and rekindle something with him. I want to give things a shot, almost as if it’s unfinished business. That it needs to run its course before I can give it up. But then again, I’ve never really been the one to give things up first, unless, sadly, my foot was safely planted in another canoe (I’m still sorry).

I have worried that I seem to be turning down guys because he still holds the higher pedestal in my heart. He’s the one I drunk call most often. I hope to not close myself off to the possibility of other, perhaps better suitors just because I’m hung up on him.

Some days I just ask the universe for him. And weirdly enough he seems to be headed in the right direction. So I guess we’ll see what happens. Maybe one day I’ll reread this and laugh that I was so attached to him, maybe one day I’ll read this to him. Who knows.

As the sirens screech down Route 1, I can’t help but crave the utter silence of my bedroom back home. So I need to go to bed, as I’m still recovering from the four hours of sleep night I had so recently. Life is great, isn’t it?

Peace

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Fuzzy Feelings and Blurry Pictures

Yesterday was a magical day all around. A warm February day, warm enough for me to wear shorts comfortably, I did some homework outside, my time at the gym felt incredible, I painted (!!!), did some yoga with Alex, and had an unexpected visitor (yes, the one I write about all the time). I was up for an adventure, and he was willing.

We spent the night as we usually do when we’re together – curled around each other, sprinkling kisses on each others’ skin, and laughing every step in between. I love the pattern we’ve fallen into, remaining independent, but coming together for special moments alone.

There were many moments I appreciated, but I think my favorite was I had turned over to finally go to bed, and he grasped my face, turned it toward him, kissed me, and said goodnight. An easy way to send me into some sweet dreams (though I can’t remember any because he kept me up with his snoring…).

The moments continued into the morning, wrapped around each other, him exploring his new surroundings for the first time. We rustled the sheets (sensually and otherwise) into the late morning. He was drifting off again, my head on his chest, his hand finding mine, when I told him we needed to get up and go to lunch if I was ever going to allow him to leave.

(Realistically, he needed to go home and enjoy a day off with his dog for once, and there was a lot of affectionate cuddling that depicted how neither of us wanted him to leave, so we had to spend as much time on each others’ skin as possible)

After lunch, I drove him back home, his hand finding my leg or my free hand (“mine,” he said) as he drifted back off to sleep on such a gorgeous day. I reminisced about how I loved sticking my head out of the car window when I was younger because damn is that wind exhilarating! Something that fueled my love for amusement parks.

It was a short goodbye and a “see you in a few weeks”, and for some reason it was really hard for me. I wanted nothing more than to stay in Middletown, go hiking, spend the afternoon with him, curl up on the couch after such a nice lunch and just continue the cuddling. I’ve grown to love being independent and having my alone time, and maybe it’s because I’ve been single for so long, so I’m hoping that slipping into any kind of relationship, titled or otherwise, doesn’t also send me back to being a more dependent person.

Anyways, it’s hard not to enjoy the days growing warmer (at least for the moment), and the feel of nature and fresh air on my skin is absolutely addicting. It reminds me of endlessly playing outside when I was younger, fresh air, a thin layer of dirt and sweat that clued you in to the fact that you just had an amazing day connecting to your friends in the presence of nature. With Phoebe and I going on our backpacking trip (July 5th!!), I can’t wait to douse myself in that feeling for two whole weeks. I really think it’s going to do my soul good.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to focus on my schoolwork due to the beautiful weather. I just want to sit outside, but College Park isn’t really conducive for just sitting and relaxing in nature (another reason I think it was so hard to leave my little mountain town today). Thank god I’m in my last semester, otherwise I don’t think I could make it.

I’m not even sure I want a white-collar job. I can’t see myself waking up for the morning commute, sitting in a little office, staring at the road in boredom while sitting in traffic on the way home, and doing it every day while trying to have a life and family outside of it. I personally have always loved blue-collar work (and workers). People that aren’t afraid to get dirty, people that are good with their hands, people that are fun! They don’t have to take work home with them, stress about the next project. They leave work at work, throw back some beers with friends, unwind, have a good time with each other! That’s what I want to do, and going to college may have been a mistake as far as that goes for me. Maybe in the future I will find a mix between my degree and what I do with my life. As with most Americans, I just don’t want to feel like my job is useless. But I do also want to keep bread on the table, while at the same time pursuing my interests and hobbies.

Clearly I’ve been itching to get out there and explore more of the world and of myself. I’m so close to that freedom! Life is good! Even sad emotions are signs that you are feeling and interpreting the world around you. Love that energy, embrace it. It makes the world better.

Love

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Remember that life isn’t always about the clear pictures. An honest, true, lovable life has blurry pictures that sometimes are more important. This one just happens to feature some of my favorite people in my life.

This’ll just be a short hodge-podge of things.

First, I want it known that it sucks to live with any kind of stomach problems. I’m happy for the rest of my health, I can deal with fighting to lose weight just like every other person in this world. But I can’t deal with being doubled over in pain because it feels like someone has poured hot lead into my intestines just because I ate something that wasn’t leafy green. It isn’t normal to endure such pain and try to move on with your day like everything’s fine, like you weren’t just trying to squeeze yourself into the most comfortable position just to make it through the next few minutes without moaning and shouting. The world needs to be more comfortable with talking about stomach problems.

Next, I’ve been working on that ex story some more, and it’s taking me through another wild ride of emotions. Sometimes reminiscent, other times infuriating. But I really enjoy writing it, and I’m not sure why. I’m not sure who I’ll dwell on the longest, but I would assume it will follow chronologically. I want to be able to share this one with the world, but it’s already 50 pages, and I don’t want to run into any lawsuits with the people I’m writing about. But hey maybe that’s the risk with dating a writer? Give me a good story and I’m going to write about you.

It’s making me miss a few people, one I never really let go of. The other one is really dangerous for me to miss, and I have to wonder whether or not I romanticize it. I know that I romanticize it, I guess I just wonder to what degree, whether it’s completely skewed or not. Side note, maybe I should date people that aren’t going to be dangerous for me to miss…

I’m burnt out from school, and I keep thinking about the days in elementary school that I think I reached a higher level of thinking, as if opening my crown chakra. I had moments that I questioned everything, and I mean everything. I would be running in from recess and think to myself why am I here? Why am I this brain? Why am I this body? That’s all we are, brains in bodies that somehow come from different walks of life, different situations. Why am I here right now in this brain with this body? And it happened all the time, like I was looking in a mirror and seeing a complete stranger, unattached to my body, unaffiliated. I’m not sure if that qualifies as an out of body experience.

I haven’t had one of those moments in a while, and I wonder what has changed. If I have been beaten and brainwashed by schooling, if I’m not as close to such spirituality because I have closed myself off to different religions. If that has blocked my crown chakra, and now it takes effort for me to consider not being this body, not being who I am. It’s very strange, and I wish I had more time to reflect on it, but right now my life is too busy.

I miss nature, as always. Yesterday I followed home the sun, taking the time to appreciate the steeples on campus, comparing them to the clustered spires of Frederick, and for the first time since orientation, I felt a connection to the campus. It was a nice change of pace from the constant resentment of being here in winter, seemingly putting my life on hold.

But I shouldn’t think that way, should I? My life’s already started. And I’m so close to having that degree and being able to do whatever I want afterward. If I still had three years or so to go, I’d probably rethink the whole thing. Do what I want now, go back to school later when I could afford it. Chad is always in my ear when I have those “I can’t wait to start my life” thoughts, because my life is already here. It’s helping me take the opportunities that arise in front of me (I spontaneously went to a concert with my friend on Tuesday and was in a mosh pit for the first time – very exciting opportunity that I’m glad I took).

I guess I should say that soon I will be able to take my life in the direction that I want. I will have more time for nature and reflection. I will have more time for myself. For yoga, for work, for exercise. I look forward to it and all the other days of my life, including tomorrow, should it come.

Cheers

When One Door Closes, Corri Pulls It Open

It’s been a long one, but a good one. Today I ventured into D.C. thanks to my friend Corri. I’m not sure if I normally would be down to see the city on a weekday, but my first thought was that would be good for the blog. That’s what it’s come to now – do it for the blog!!

Unfortunately, I’m horrible with public transportation. Maybe something to do with not wanting to make a fool of myself, but I haven’t exactly tried to learn. I guess learning through trial and error is sometimes the only way to learn. But we finally got me a reusable metro pass (ooh, how city of me), and off we went.

As we walked through town, I kept thinking of my times in Boston. The city and its historic, brick buildings had more of a charm than any other city I’ve been to, but maybe those feelings are more so tied to the person I once shared it with. Maybe I’ll never love another concrete city in the way that I loved Boston, but I’m okay with that – the mountains have my heart now.

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Wow I wish these pictures were less grainy. Soon I’ll be putting in those hours for some kind of camera, either a point and shoot or a GoPro if I’m lucky enough. Anyways.

After walking through the city, I realized just how little I knew of the place. I’ve been to D.C. a handful of times and I live an hour west. Corri is from Wisconsin and she said she and her family used to go twice a month when they first moved here. Mental checklist: take advantage of being this close to D.C. more often… do it for the blog! Do it for yourself!

I guess the monuments don’t really captivate me anymore. I don’t know if they ever really did. How are George Washington’s accomplishments immortalized by a giant toothpick? Museums may have a stronger effect on me, but even then I don’t really remember ever being touched to my core by staring at an historical artifact. I need to feel a connection. I remember going to the Native American museum on a field trip once. As I’m part Native American, I found it incredibly fascinating. It combined the modern day museum with the spiritual nature of the indigenous tribes of North America.

Side note, they knew how to live. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel healed by being out in nature. An old friend of mine decided he wanted to explore different religions, and he landed on Taoism because it was all about finding the path to the ultimate goal: returning to nature. That thought crosses my mind every time I step on a Maryland shuttle bus. If there was ever a place that needed to return to nature, it is College Park.

Back to D.C.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is this weekend, so we trekked past the monuments in the hopes of seeing some beautiful blossoms. We weren’t disappointed. We wove our way through the netting of people, dodging strollers, ducking past cameras, tripping over roots as we searched for a picturesque moment.

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(I’d say we found a few)

Corri was talking, ever the tour guide, about how the cherry blossoms were given to us as a gift from Japan after WWII. The idea was a bit absurd, considering our dirty hands. I hope we gave something to them in return.

I thought it silly, what we consider an apology. Thousands upon thousands of people were killed in Pearl Harbor and in Hiroshima, lives cut short or damaged beyond repair. Children grew up in fear, and they were to be considered the lucky ones because they were given the chance to grow up. Mothers, wives, brothers, all other family thrown into depression at the loss of their children, lovers, role models, etc., and we are given the gift of beautiful cherry blossoms in the hopes of putting these horrors in the past.

These lives ruined by war, such a logical and methodical idea. The reparation? A beautiful, artistic idea, as if the left brain is responsible for the attack and the right brain is responsible for damage control. I have a hunch that the minds that thought the cherry blossoms to be a beautiful, meaningful statement were not the same minds behind the kamikaze pilots.

But our acceptance of these beautiful trees is evidence that we do hold meaning in symbolism. We understand the beauty, we see the sacrifice, we forgive. Nothing is ever as blissful is finally being able to forgive. You feel the house of anger, misery, and bitterness that you have built collapse on itself, and the new breath of life is what it truly feels to be free.

I find it beautiful that these trees, these symbols, are a sufficient peace offering. To see the blush petals falling softly to the ground, no matter how harsh the wind whips, instilled a calmness in me. In a bustling city surrounded by people, cars, and buses, I felt quiet. Peaceful.

And on our way back to College Park, Corri and I ran to catch our train and she hopped inside just as the doors were closing, leaving me still standing on the platform. Lucky enough, she and a nice man were able to wrench the doors open wide enough for me to slip inside. Almost had me, L’Enfant!12939225_10208169223046429_1960290405_n

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Of course this doesn’t capture it, but the dim yellow sunshine filtering through the metro station gave the train a very sentimental glow.

I am learning to be a tourist, that it’s okay to have your camera out to capture a moment you don’t want to lose. I’m also learning that it doesn’t have to be the perfect picture to still hold meaning (although I do still want a better camera).

Lucky me, I got to continue my serenity by ending the day with yoga. I haven’t been in weeks, so my shoulders and triceps are not happy with me right now, but it’s a start. Here’s to getting back on track.

Wednesday’s yoga classes always get to me. During the closing moments, lying peacefully on our backs (I’m not even going to attempt to spell the word, but I think it’s pronounced suh-va-sin-a), listening to whatever background noise Chad has picked out for us today, I almost always have a profound moment with myself.

A few weeks ago, after having a horrible day, bound so tightly by anger, I came to yoga and worked it out. I felt calmer, sure, but still upset. During the final moments of rest, Chad played sounds of soft rain, thunder murmuring in the background. I was instantly pulled back to when I was 11 years old. I don’t even think it’s a memory, just a vision. I was 11, sitting in the warm, green, dewy grass in my backyard. It was summer, and it was humid, and I was quietly listening to the storm that had just rolled through. I have since spent the past few weeks trying to chase that calmness, that peace, during difficult times.

Today, Chad played something different from the rain and thunder. I was trying to imagine what it could be, and suddenly I was in Victoria’s backyard, with her and our other neighborhood friends surrounding a bonfire that sat in the old washbin. It was a clear night, crickets chirping, and I just sat and smiled. Victoria and Jess were talking animatedly, and I just sat back and smiled.

I think it says something that my peace has been found in nature, back home in Middletown, and when I was younger. I don’t know what it means, but I’ll keep searching.

For now, I think I’ll watch Ponyo. Or maybe I should go to bed since I have class in the morning… But I think Ponyo would make me happier.

Cheers