because as mid-thirties creep closer
I run faster to the edge of my sightline.
Burn your bras, let your leg hair grow
but don’t let that womb go to waste I hear until
the voice gets so loud I can’t tell if it’s my own.
It’s not that I fear I won’t love motherhood
I fear I’ll love it so much that it will consume
every part of me, and easily too, like a newly
planted tree’s roots are devoured by the earth.
The past three decades I’ve been so busy
meeting expectations that aren’t my own
and simultaneously fighting against them…
Holiday cards should be two-sided
one side a beautiful photo, one a mess.
How we look when we’re in a fight we think
we’ll never recover from. While sobbing because
of the news or because our bones ache from exhaustion
or maybe a photo from the tedious moments when
we’re not being interesting or beautiful or kind.
When love and patience feel like work.
When we’re standing in the supermarket line
staring at screens without a novel thought in the world.
One where we’re awake at 3 a.m. filled with anxious worry.
One side that points out how unkempt our lives are,
how hard our relationships, how dull our inspiration. …
I saw a Matisse painting on the wall
of a walk-up building in the city.
The painting was hung perhaps
by a landlord hoping to add color
to the otherwise blank space.
The title, “Still Life with Dance”
appeared to simply describe the
painting’s content — a bowl of fruit
on a table, a painting within the
painting of dancing bodies.
The name made me think of
instructions an orientation leader
might give to babies right before
they were dropped onto earth.
There will always be signs
pointing you in opposite directions,
the leader might say.
Don’t concern yourself too much with
choosing the right path — you can find
good and bad almost anywhere you go.
You will experience heartbreak and may
struggle to feel at home.
Don’t worry about acquiring riches, you’ll
never feel rich enough. Don’t try to prevent
losses, for everything is temporary.
Sometimes you’ll be the lifeboat
and sometimes you’ll be the anchor.
The best you can hope for? …
I have picked up a habit of eating ice cream in my car.
Just this week I’ve done it twice, basking in the great
luxury of fifteen uninterrupted minutes to savor the
comfort of a small space, cool swirl of the air conditioner,
peace of stillness that a parked car can bring.
My to-do list screams out to me like eleven needy children
all with worthy requests: clean here, read this, donate money,
volunteer time. Seek therapy, invest assets, evaluate your fertility,
make a long term plan. Be a better daughter, sister, partner, friend, person.
My blinds, even, have begun to judge me. …
On a Wednesday night in July
we ride city bikes to the seaport
to get Japanese ice cream.
We almost don’t go because you’re busy
with work, but we do.
We close our computers and leave the apartment to
pedal through the city thick with
The smell of red bean cones fill the shop
and we don’t let it go un-appreciated,
eager to find joy in anything.
We eat messy Ice cream and
don’t talk about much but laugh a lot
because the world is heavy and life can be heartbreaking.
I think about how the best moments
are the unanticipated ones.
That falling in love with life and with a person are the same
in that they rarely happen when we think they should
but rather when Wednesday nights
remind us how magical ordinary things can be.
“Do you feel like you wasted time in your twenties?” my boyfriend asked me the other day.
We were in the middle of a conversation about our plans, goals and future, and, inevitably, we had entered the stressful part of the conversation in which we began to think about time and our perceived lack of it. We are nearing the end of our early thirties (entering our mid-thirties) and with each year, time seems to move faster. We have recently reached a phase in which every conversation about our future plans is accompanied by a timeline. Can we move our wedding back a little? Can we move baby making back a few months? …
Extreme change in the outside world due to the pandemic has equaled extreme change in our inner worlds. It has felt at times like our equilibrium is way off and we’re all just teetering on the fine line between blissful peace and insanity. I have found that with both my own habits and my and my partner’s collective habits, we have had to find a balance. Much like goldilocks, we have found that things can be too much of a change, not enough of a change at all, and a balance in between of just the right amount of change.
TOO MUCH of a change. At the beginning, I was feeling the pressure of “but you’re home and have all this extra time”. Why wasn’t all of my laundry all clean? Why didn’t I have time to write a book? …
I woke up on day one of official work-from-home quarantine full of optimistic hope. I stretched, got out of bed and walked into the kitchen ready to make coffee and take on the day. That was where my optimism ended. The previous evening, after I had made dinner, my partner had said he would clean the kitchen while I went to bed. What he should have said was:
“I’ll put the dishes in the dishwasher and forget to wipe the counters so in the morning you’ll see 12-hour old food sticking to the counter”.
I considered my options. It had not been above me to take photos of the scene so that I could provide evidence when I “calmly” brought it up with him later. It was also not past me to give the cold shoulder when he woke up because how many times have I told him how important clean counters are to me? I probably would have done one of these options except for then a third thought hit me. We were stuck inside together. All day. And the day after that and the day after that…for the foreseeable future. Was it possible that the best thing to do, not only for my relationship but my general happiness, was to….be …
Quarantine is teaching us many things. It’s teaching us to be slow and grateful, to be patient, to let go of missed plans, let go of the silly thought that we can control everything. It’s reminding us of the important things in life, reminding us that introvert or extrovert, old or young, social or antisocial- we’re meant to be around people. Maybe our jam isn’t a loud party or a crowded stadium (or, maybe it is) but it seems as if we’re all missing one thing in common: each other.
While we might be day dreaming of lying on beaches and jetting off to foreign places, we’d probably all agree that we aren’t thinking as much about the what but the with who. Sitting on a blanket in a park for a picnic or at a coffee shop while enjoying the company of strangers around us. Going for a walk with a neighbor and being close enough to reach out and hug them. Driving to a friend’s apartment and, without any hesitation at all, running up the stairs and flinging ourselves on their couch, drinking the wine in their fridge, sharing snacks from the same bowl. Sitting across from someone at dinner in a restaurant and not worrying about who has touched the food that we’ll eat. The community we have with our family, our dearest friends, but also the people who don’t play a big role in our lives but who are part of our story nonetheless- the barista at our favorite coffee shop, the couple that we offer to take a photo for as they struggle with a selfie, the librarian that we chat with when checking out a book. How blessed it will be to sit next to someone on a plane, less than arms length away and say “where are you going today?” How joyous to hold the door open for someone else. How soul soothing to walk outside with the intention of spending the day with others. …
Have you ever noticed how much we talk about ourselves? How social interactions tend to be filled with updates on what we’re doing, how our careers are going, how our relationship (or lack of relationship) is playing out, what vacation we’re taking, what new purchase we’ve made. How happy or unhappy we are with how things are.
I’m not sure that this in and of itself is a problem. …