I too lived—Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine;
I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the waters around it;
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,
In the day, among crowds of people, sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed, they came upon me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my word of the year. Even though I haven’t posted pictures that represent my reflections, trust has become an essential part of each day for me and the word continues to resonate strongly. You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted for the last few months. I don’t have any major “excuses,” except that things have been feeling big and I think in a lot of ways too vast to put down in words. We’re moving to Albuquerque in four days. Even as I write this, I’m overwhelmed and tears fill my eyes. It’s not about leaving NYC per se. NYC and I have certainly had a trying relationship at times, but we’re at peace with each other and ready to say goodbye after nearly two years.
I think the tears are about change and the unknown. Although I have a sense of Albuquerque from our weeklong visit, there’s still so much to be discovered and figured out about creating a home and community in a place where I don’t yet know a soul.
The other huge thing is that we’re going to have a baby in September! I could probably write volumes about this. I don’t know if I idealized pregnancy or if I just couldn’t fathom how incredibly wild it is, but it’s certainly not what I expected. What’s funny is until now, I’ve been surprised by my reaction to pregnancy. I guess when I think about it, I’m interacting with the experience in a classic Erin way – introspective, fearful, moments of true contentment, hysterical laughter, lots of tears, obsessive over my weight, and missing my friends and family dearly. As I write this, it occurs to me that this whole time, I’ve been exactly myself – just pregnant.
You can imagine the multitude of ways that trust is so meaningful right now. It’s a daily practice.
Song of the day: The Girl by City And Colour
I’ve been asked by a university to give a talk. At first when the director asked me, I actually told her about other people that might be good to contact instead. She said, no, I want you to come speak! It took me a minute, but as she started describing what she wanted me to talk about, I realized that yes; I’m the right woman for the job. I do have experience and have things to say about journeys in life.
It’s so hard to see yourself sometimes. I spend so much time thinking about what I want to do or accomplish, that I forget about the life I’m living now. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. It’s only lately that I’ve begun to wonder if that’s even a goal that I should have. Maybe it’s perfectly fine to just be curious and explore without a specific destination.
I love markings of time – anniversaries, birthdays, holidays. I’ve come to realize that it’s because the marking of time provides a structured opportunity to be in the space of that occasion. This year, my birthday was no exception. In fact, I felt pretty contemplative. It was raining and after work I walked home on the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was empty except for a few tourists. It’s so rare to be outside in NYC and have that kind of space around you.
So, I’m officially in my mid-thirties. It’s hard to imagine that even the bare outline of my life that I may have sketched when I was younger does not look like my life at all – in a wonderfully crazy way. I’ve learned that I can’t even begin to wrap my arms around the things that I thought I could control. The thing that keeps running through my head is the constant letting go and embracing.
When I first met Bunk, I fell hard. However, I had a really difficult choice to make. I had always dreamed of marrying someone Jewish. I thought about it for a long while and realized that life is not just what I make and create for myself. Really living is a partnership with what comes – life presents opportunities and our choices define how we lead our lives and allow the possibility for exploration and joy. The decision to be with him really marked a change for me in how I participate with life and how I interact with the present.
On some level, this letting go and embracing happens in each moment. It was so nice to just take some time to remind myself of this process and how much more rich life is when I acknowledge it.
There’s something huge happening. It’s powerful. It’s called voice. And it’s trying and fighting to be heard. I work a few blocks away from Zuccotti park. Occupy Wall Street has grown over the last two months. I have to admit, I had no idea that it would get this big and become viral. It’s not surprising though. People are enraged at the economic inequality that exists. Civil rights, women’s suffrage, and many other movements have been based on dissatisfaction with the blatant inequalities that have existed.
The city cleared out OWS this morning and now has new terms under which the protesters can occupy the park. When I came into work this morning, I found people laughing about it. I do get that some people think that protesting is an ineffective way to show opposition, but unless you’re in the one percent (and maybe even then), I can’t understand how someone could not “get” that something’s wrong. It’s amazing and saddening how people can laugh at others for trying to make change.
This morning as I walked Jibbs, I noticed several bikes whose wheels or frames had been stolen. I bumped into my friend T who’s lived in the neighborhood for most of his life. I asked him if he knew anything about the thefts. He said that he saw the bikes too. But instead of beginning to explore ideas about who stole the bike parts, he started talking about how whoever stole the parts really needed it. We talked about our economy and what it means to struggle and go to great, sometimes unethical, lengths to feed one’s family. It’s not that I don’t think about things systemically, but this morning, I was caught up in what the thefts meant for our neighborhood, our community. T gave me insight into an even larger sense of community and prompted me to see things from a broader perspective.
I think about posting here about 20 times more than I do. I put so much pressure on myself to write about great things or be eloquent. I need to relax and let go of what I think is expected of me. (This is a huge life lesson for me). Today I’m going to write about things that make my life interesting and my days colorful:
- Last night someone set off some fireworks in the middle of the street. I don’t know why, but it caught me off guard that it made me so happy. In the past, I might have spent time wondering who did it or if it was unsafe. All I kept thinking was – I’m loving this moment.
- The other day I saw a small kitten on the walk to the gym. It didn’t have any eyes. It was really upsetting because I realized that someone wasn’t keeping him on purpose and that he was going to die. I rang the doorbells of three houses nearby and asked someone on the street and no one knew who the kitty belonged to.
- I had a really lovely talk with my upstairs neighbor this morning. She’s lived in NYC for over two years and has had a very similar experience as me. Everything here seems more intense. People work harder, play harder and then collapse. She was saying that the people who live here seem adjusted to and have normalized this way of life. People who aren’t from here can’t understand when she tries to describe it. In thinking about it, that’s probably true for a lot of places, but for some reason it feels so much more exaggerated here.
- One thing that I love about Bunk and I is that we both get very excited about treats. On the little trip after our wedding, we were driving and saw a sign for saltwater taffy. We both knew that we needed to turn the car around and search for the store. When we arrived, we both put every single flavor we liked into the bag. You can see what we ended up with. Yum.
Yesterday I went to an Afro-Caribbean Dance & Movement class at the Mark Morris Dance Company. The energy in the room and the ritual of the dance are hard to explain in words. It was the first time since the wedding that I let my body dance and drop into joy. I knew that I could go there and try to get every step right and follow each instruction OR I could listen to the beat of the live drums and feel the solid earth underneath me as I moved. A woman told me in the class that I looked so happy. I told her, “I came here for joy and I’m going to be joyful!” She smiled broadly. The room was filled with fluidity and gratitude. It was an amazing release.
I was caught off guard by another moment today. I went to cheer on the runners in the NYC Marathon. A number of people had their names written on their clothes and when they ran by, I screamed, “Go Carlos!” “Go Juliette!” “You can do this!” I was so inspired by how people push and challenge themselves that tears kept coming to my eyes as I watched them. I was about to head home when a gospel choir came out of the church and started singing for the runners.
(I couldn’t help cheering in this video!)
I needed to push myself this weekend. I was craving inspiration and intentional energy. Happily, that’s what I found.
How is it snowing?! It’s only October!
There’s something about snow. It really does feel magical. I wonder how we came to think that snow is beautiful. I know that we get excited for rain, but there doesn’t seem to be that feeling of awe for the first rain of the season. Rain is desperately important for crops and drinking water. But the first snow – wow. Maybe it’s because you have to wait for it. We’ve basically had rain every season this past year. There are tons of cultural references to the beauty of the snow (i.e. White Christmas, snow globes). But, those still come from somewhere. Maybe it’s the idea of innocence and purity. Maybe it’s the unconscious permission that now we get to hibernate.
I found this quote from Gilmore Girls. I know, kind of cheesy, but it’s exactly what I’m talking about. Lorelai: [dreamily to herself] The world changes when it snows. It’s quiet. Everything softens.
What are your thoughts about snow?