Wednesday, December 18, 2013

(And At Christmas You Tell the Truth)

The truth is I gave my heart away some time ago. Years have passed and I'm still trying to put all the pieces back together. My wounds have healed but some unanswered questions remain. Maybe they always will. Among other things, I've learned that sometimes you have to live without your ideal form of closure.

Reflecting on the past in an attempt to understand the present and move forward towards the future, I often wonder: What emotions or memories has time blurred? How much of what I remember or think about is based in reality? I know that at 22 I was as hopeful and foolish as a Taylor Swift love song. Desperate to make sense of impending post-college life and feeling completely alone, I clutched at everything I thought would bring me closer to the picture I had in my mind of what my life was supposed to look like. That approach didn't work very well. Happily, I've survived and become a better person for it.

For awhile I was so hurt and confused I didn't know how to get my heart back. To be honest, I don't think I really wanted it back. It was mine to give and I wanted nothing more than to start a life with someone I loved by my side. The dream had become tangible for the first time and yet, it still eluded my grasp.

Last Christmas my little sister got married. This summer my three closest college roommates, including my best friend, said "I do". My brother also tied the knot. Here in Chicago the majority of my friends and coworkers are either married or in serious relationships. It's no exaggeration that I'm often the only "single" person.

Maturity and time have provided me with much needed insight and perspective. I'm surrounded by couples and I can truthfully say I'm genuinely happy for them. Do I wish I had the relationship portion of my life figured out already? Absolutely. Do I want to be married and have a family? More than anything. Am I learning to embrace who I am and the life I'm living? Every day.

The truth is I'm still trying to figure myself and love out. That's ok. Love is actually all around.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Humanity is on display at an airport. Tearful goodbyes. Joyous reunions. Nervous explorers. Whatever emotion or scenario you're looking for, you can find it between arrivals and departures.

There's something about the airport and flying that put me in a hyper-reflective state. Maybe it's the long train ride on the L or anticipation for the impending trip. Whatever the reason, I usually become emotional and suddenly develop a strong urge to write.

I think about my relationships with individual people in my life and where they're headed--literally and figuratively. My melancholy mind becomes misty as I recall prior journeys with fondness. Senses are heightened and my memory enhanced.

When I'm up in the air, thousands of feet above ground, life is temporarily suspended. No phone calls can be made or texts sent. My wifi doesn't connect unless I fork over eight dollars. It is a period where I am truly alone with only music or reading materials to keep me company. Inevitably, my thoughts usually take over.

Flying is a chance to get away from the world.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Pain of Writing

photo by paper pastries
Ernest Hemingway said, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Today we sit in front of computers but Hemingway's sentiment still rings true. The act of writing is fulfilling yet painful.

Between undergrad and grad school, I've spent an infinite number of hours typing stories and papers on my laptop. Afternoons and all-nighters filled with despair, Coca-Cola, and fervency. Fulfilling a writing assignment usually feels as physically and mentally exhausting as running a marathon.

When I have a story deadline, I typically procrastinate because the blank page is a wall that appears too tall to climb. So I sit at the bottom and look up in dismay. Hours before my story is due I begin scaling the wall while the clock steadily dwindles. I need the fever of a deadline to spur me into action.

This dysfunctional writing cycle produces unnecessary pain and stress. Once I finish my story, with only a few minutes to spare, I sit and wonder why I didn't start sooner. Inevitably, the wall is easier to scale once I start climbing. Next time, I tell myself, it'll be different. The process doesn't have to be this way and yet, it's a habit I can't break.

I haven't written on my blog for almost two months because I either haven't felt like I've had anything worthwhile to say or the simple act of writing my feelings/thoughts down has felt too hard. The tricky thing about any creative endeavor is that you only get better with practice. How will I know what I want to say if I don't try?

So this is me, once again, trying to write. Make it hurt so good.