aspiring writer

You’ll find a way.

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I want to talk about one night in Costa Rica. On this night I felt something change inside of me. The entire trip was incredible, and both instructors were gifted, and each and every woman that was on the trip touched my heart in some way. But one night, my heart healed, and I felt it happening…and I didn’t fight it, I let it heal.

Nosara, Costa Rica is this tiny little yoga/surf town that is so quaint you may miss it if you blink, even if you are on foot. Fruit stands selling watermelons and coconuts are freckled upon a bumpy dirt road and the sandy beach is nearly empty but the waves are dotted with surfers. Dread locks, man-buns, and beautiful tanned bikini clad surfers are too cool as they walk toward the beach with their boards under arm. The constant waves make this one of the best surf breaks in the world, and one of the best places to learn on. (I took two lessons and was able to get up the entire second day! So can I say I am a surfer now?)

IMG_3503 (1)On the second to last night of our five-day retreat we walked quietly through the jungle to the Nosara Yoga Institute to practice yoga in “the tree house.” This was an open-air two story wooden cathedralesque building perched on the top of a hill. The jungle stood thick around us, and the treetops were eye level we were so high in the sky. The sounds of monkeys and exotic birds were so loud that it almost seemed like someone was playing a secret record that spun at the cadence of an intermittent speed of a windshield wiper. Peace and quiet, to the instant and intense deep throaty chant of a howler monkey.

 

 

When I think about this night, I think about it as if it took place in a vat of honey or tree sap. It seemed that time slowed down and the entire world had a golden glow.

I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the location, and my body was sore from the constant yoga and surf lessons. Fourteen of us sat up on our mats cross-legged and faced our instructor, Emily as she began class telling us a story out of Paulo Coelho’s book, “Adultery.”

Emily is one of those people that make you feel like the sun shines on you when she is in front of you, wether  she’s teaching, or having a conversation with her. She has a gift for teaching yoga, and for giving love like no one I have ever met.

It felt like we were in Emily’s church being perched up here on this hilltop. This was where she completed her yoga teacher training, and it was as if the Earth was showing off to honor her. The sunlight beamed through the trees and cast a dusty light that looked like an Instagram filter. The scene was perfection, and then she began to talk. Her words. Her inflection. Her timing. I don’t know what it was, but the story hit me so hard in the heart that I had a physical heart palpation. My chest fluttered as if my heart was trying to knock and get my attention. As if it was saying, “This is it. This is why you came here. Now listen up.”

I will paraphrase the story as best as I remember and it goes something like this, without Emily’s delivery it won’t sound remotely as powerful, so please look up this book yourself if you want to really read this anecdote.

A woman is hang gliding after committing adultery. While in the air she has a telepathic conversation with an eagle.

 She said, “I want to stay up here forever.”

The eagle replied calmly, “But, you can’t.”

And the woman said, “How will I ever face what I have to face when I get back down there?”

And the eagle replied, “You’ll find a way.”

 I realized in the moment that it was almost time to head back to New York, to face my normal life again, and I felt panic/fear/pain/sadness/loneliness all in one inhale. But the story she just told us. The story spoke to my heart, “You’ll find a way.”

The tears rolled hot and slow down my cheeks and I kept repeating to myself, “You’ll find a way.” I knew I would find a way to get through all of the hard times when I landed in New York again. Every woman here was facing so many of the same struggles that I was. I was not alone. Something else fluttered in my throat and chest and it said, “You are enough.”

As you are. Right now. For everyone. You. Are. Enough.

Between the two mantras that sang in perfect harmony, I listened. I listened! I even believed it.

We flowed through vinyasas and squeezed through eagle pose, and swayed through goddess pose and I cried the whole time. Tears fell onto my mat with a pat pat pat pat. And I let them. I let them fall because I was enough even while being vulnerable. I was enough showing my emotions, and my weakness, and my soreness.   This class is seared into my memory forever. This classs is sticky in my heart, it tastes like fresh fruit, and smells like wildflowers. As we ended the class in a circle I could feel the energy and the love and the healing sealing the class, and the week, and the trip.

Afterwards we walked in a single file line on the skinny trail and the tears flowed from me the whole way to dinner. I felt my heart open that night. My heart had been closed and hidden behind a vault for so many years.   I felt a peace about my last breakup, and I felt a hope that I would love again-that I deserved to love again.

That night a fellow retreater shared her heart-breaking story of a breakup that was very similar to mine. I felt empathy, I felt her deep sadness, but I didn’t feel like sharing my story. I realized then while I listened that mine is just that; a story. It doesn’t give me pain, or sadness, it is just my story. I know that I am so lucky/blessed/thestarsaligned for me to go to Costa Rica, and it is going to be a treasure in my life forever. I just had to share this light that is beaming from my heart. I feel renewed after this vacation. I am writing again. My heart is open.

We will all find a way. And we are all enough.

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Remember the Romance

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IMG_1808People often ask why I moved to New York, and I can’t really give a solid answer.

I had zero interest in New York City. Like, none…until I did.

When I read my rejection letter for a creative writing program at Boise State University in a Starbucks parking lot, the tears came fast and hard. I tried to blink them away to read and re-read the email. The moment embodied hopelessness. This hopelesness was not about getting rejected by Boise State, and I know that now. But grad school was my way out, my hope, it was my chance to move on. I had just suffered a breakup that still can wreck me if I let it. A breakup that still makes my voice crack, and a breakup that has made me push every guy away for the last three years. Not getting into grad school felt like I lost an opportunity to move forward. Because I didn’t feel like I had any other options. I felt physical pain in my chest and I didn’t know what to do.

I sat there in my car crying tears for so many reasons. And then I had a feeling or a whisper that floated through my thoughts for the first time in my life. Move to New York. Writers move to New York.

The very thought, scared me. My heart raced. And I pushed it to the back of my mind. I had never even visited New York. Had never wanted to. And now, this overwhelming feeling washed over me that I had to move there.IMG_4204

So I did. I listened to the whisper. And I’m here.

And I’m so lonely.

And it’s so hard.

It’s big, sweaty, smelly, vicious, loud, uncomfortable, exhausting, and it makes me afraid.

I have been here going on two years now, and I still don’t feel like I fit here. My clothes aren’t expensive, my school wasn’t fancy, my heart is too sensitive. I feel that most days are me against everyone else. I have never cried more in my whole life combined before I moved here. I cried openly and hard on the street corner recently because the line was so long at Trader Joe’s and I just needed a few things. That day, the City won. Lately, the City wins a lot.

But there is never a time that I don’t pause in complete awe when I’m on the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridge. I look Downtown at the sky scrapers and the Statue of Liberty, and in those moments I can’t believe I live here. And I feel alive. And I remember the romance that is New York. The grocery store lines fade, and the sweat dripping down my back stills, and the smell of bagels baking, and cobble stone streets give me the nutrients to get through another day.

It’s hard to remember the dream in the tough moments, It’s hard to remember my excitement when I boarded the plane with a one way ticket. It’s so hard to go home alone every night. This place has shown me hard work, thick skin, and has broken me down pretty hard. I’m thankful for all of the things it continues to teach me. One day I won’t live here anymore, and I’m sure my heart will ache for it. I can imagine an emptiness after leaving a place like this. Because I will remember the romance and the tumultuous relationship that I had with this City.

Until the day comes, I’m hoping for a few days that the City lets me win.

Kindergarten Artist

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My mother kept school memoir books for each one of us. I remember being so jealous of how thick my older brother and sister’s books were in my elementary years. The book has a couple of pages dedicated for each grade, and a pocket to store report cards, certificates and a few school assignments. There was a space for your yearly school picture as well. Next to your picture you were able to (write in the book!) and answer a few prompted questions and sign your name, at the time it feels exciting to merely write inside of a book. When I look back through this book, you see the metamorphosis of your appearance, your handwriting, and the ever important line to fill in. “When I grow up, I want to be…”

hatchet-gary-paulsenIt just dawned on me, sitting here at my desk, I always wrote that I wanted to be an artist (and then after I got my childhood dog, it changed to a veterinarian for many years, to inevitably make Coco live forever). Remembering this fills me to the brim. I knew at age 5, that being an artist, a creative, was something that I had to do. I remember my first artist’s apron, and can smell the brand new box of oil pastels. My fingertips can still feel the raised wax and the feeling of smudging the vibrant colors across the paper. I cherished my first spiral bound sketch pad like it was my most prized possession. I remember reading books like The Boxcar Children and can still smell the stews that they would make with wild potatoes and onion. Then I read Hatchet and felt the pull of adventure on my heart, and I became obsessed with the outdoors collecting survivor gear for years after.boxcar

I have been influenced and drawn to the arts my entire life. I don’t know why this feels like such a revelation to me this morning. It feels empowering. It makes me grateful to have parents that encouraged my bookwormery and live inside of my imagination while my brother tinkered with motorcycle parts and was completely logical thinker. My sister wanted to play house, and be a mother and chase boys.

Thinking about this makes me feel like maybe I didn’t stray from my heart at all. Most people call me dreamer, a wanderer, but I always have been. I wanted the whole world then, and I still do. I want all of it. I want to hear music, paint watercolors, write poetry, travel alone, and fall in love over and over. Maybe I’m an artist, after all. My inner child approve wholeheartedly with my path. For today, that’s enough for me.

The Only Difference

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2013-11-08 12.16.55How is it that in New York restaurants don’t serve ice in your water and a lot of places don’t take credit cards? Come on.

I have had people ask my, “What makes New York so hard to adjust to?”  Everything is different.  It feel like I am in a different country.

The main difference is space. You are in such close proximity to people in this city. You are forced to interact with people in a whole different way than in most other places.  I am from the suburbs of Denver-not even the city.  If I sat on a table for four at Starbucks in Colorado-I could be assured that no one would sit at my table with me, no matter how busy the lobby was.  Here in New York, they don’t have the spacial luxuries to have a personal bubble.  Every table, every chair, every bench bar stool, and sidewalk are full of people.  New Yorkers seem to be void of spacial anxieties that most suburbanites have.  This is both a beautiful thing and undeniably uncomfortable for me to get used to.  I keep wondering how much my life would be different if I grew up here.  You are exposed to people in a way that most of the rest of the country is.  You are exposed to the arts, culture, the richest people, and the poorest people.  What an amazing place to grow up.