In that moment, despite the pain and the mistakes and the inevitability of time, 

I knew that he had loved me deeply,

and that was enough. 

To live a life unscathed is to not truly live. 

As an eternally flawed species, we have no better choice in this life but to find beauty in our shortcomings. But how can something broken be beautiful? 

This week has probably been the worst of my life, and with terrible moments usually come a boatload of humility delivered to the soul. That humility, if appreciated I believe, makes us all better. They say happiness is a choice…maybe finding beauty in brokenness is too. Ultimately our choices are what make us broken or healed. 

Hurt people, hurt people. 

Healed people, heal. 

And above all else, I believe this higher power, this being that I’ve been confiding in, and giving my pain to, and hoping deeply in, can heal me of things greater than any earthly scar can wear. 

There will be times when you can’t go home. There will be times when your resolve will feel so completely worn, as if it’s paper-thin. The water flowing through your skin will go from 70-100, the heart and mind and bones becoming a flooded ocean. Lost at sea inside your own cells. You will have realized by now that you no longer know yourself. I am no one. I am malleable, breakable. I am whatever you need me to be. 
When there is no where to run to, how do you go home? 

Seis de Mayo 

I’m sitting in my driveway eating buffalo-flavored pretzel thins and coffee-nut M&M’s that just taste like the regular peanut ones. It could be because I’m oversaturating my tastebuds with buffalo seasoning, and then following it with the M&M’s. It could be a bad batch. Maybe out of all of the coffee-nut M&M’s in the world, I got the one batch the coffee grounds were the weakest in, or the robotic-arm of the conveyer belt got locked and didn’t toss in the beans. There is also a chance that Mar’s did a lack luster job of creating a coffee flavored chocolate candy that I had hoped to enjoy. I say this all while pounding fists full of them with one hand, and typing with the other. 

I have been struggling with loneliness lately. It is not profound loneliness, for I am surrounded by people almost every day during my working hours, I have quite a few drinking buddies, a few friends from afar that I can still call and vent my woes to, and a boyfriend who doesn’t seem to mind my very regular presence. This loneliness, I believe, is a feeling I, and most people, battle all of their lives. No matter the amount of friends we find, the activities we participate in, and the amazing feats we accomplish, there is always a sense of uncomfortability in being alone with ourselves for too long. 

Tonight I planned on going out in downtown Nashville for a friend’s graduation. It’s the first Saturday I’ve had off in what feels like a decade, so naturally I put a lot of extra eyeshadow on and wore my favorite heels, and here I am…sitting in my car eating junk food and blogging. How did I get to this point? A few miscommunications, an empty gas tank, general hunger, but mostly, I believe my own unconfortability with being by myself got me here. 

I leave for Spain in late August. I’ll be living there for almost a year, teaching English as an assistant teacher in one of their public schools. I’m not nervous to travel, I’m hardly even nervous to teach, and although the language barrier is a challenge, it’s mostly exciting thinking about how much my fluency could grow in my time spent there. What I’m scared about is being alone, about being uncomfortable in my loneliness. 

I’ve always needed time to myself. I’ve always needed my space. I’ve always known how to go-it alone. But to be comfortable in it, to enjoy it, to relish in my solitude — that, I have not mastered. 

I also hope to start writing more again. Both, a test. 

“These great leaps I take into the unknown are not just doable, but necessary.” — Aaron Huey 

Path to the Half

I agreed to run the Music City Half Marathon with, realistically, less than a month to train for it. About a month ago, I bought a pair of brand-new Brooks with the goal in mind that I would start hitting the pavement more often, and the opportunity to run this half came without a price tag (thanks, BarTaco), so, here I am. In it to… finish it.

In the past two weeks, I have experienced some really good, and some really tragic distance runs. I completed 5.5 miles at the beautiful Percy Warner Park, only walking when I got to the steepest of hills, and then there was yesterday. Yesterday I ran from my house to Music Row (about to 2.5 miles) and had to slow it down right before I got to Tin Roof. Before I knew it, I was lost in a rough area of town.. and proceeded to walk/jog/call my mom…the entire 3 miles back to my apartment.

I used to get really frustrated with myself when I had a bad run, and even on my best days I knew I could do better, but I have tried my best to change my mentality this time around. First of all, I know I will not be the best runner on that street on April 29th. I will not be the most prepared, the most fit, or the most well-trained. With these facts in mind, I have allowed myself to see this race as less of a challenge, and more of a journey.

When I run at beautiful parks, sometimes I stop at the top of a hill to take in the scenery. The other day when I was jogging down 8th avenue, I caught a glimpse of Nashville architecture I had never noticed before; the houses looking more like they belonged in Seattle or Portland than the South. I’ve tried my best to truly enjoy my runs, and honestly when I stop worrying about how fast my miles are, or how many miles I’ve completed so far, I truly do enjoy the journey — the pace, the freeing of my mind and the movement forward.

I’ve been so blessed these past few months, there is no other word but blessed to describe it. I’m tutoring four days a week now; a steady routine in my every day that brings light to my life. I’ve found a patience with waiting tables that I’ve never had before. Even though I don’t see it as the end goal, I have thoroughly learned to appreciate the job that I have, that affords me so many advantages and opportunities (like the Half Marathon, for example). Although people are never perfect, including me, I’ve shared within the past few months, some incredibly good times with a few. I’ve caught up with old friends, and spent quality time with new ones. I only hope that my friendships grow and change with me and with time. I’ve tried to allow myself to dream, and to push myself toward the goals that I feel in my heart to be true — letting life gradually steer me in the right direction. Diligently, but gracefully following the path.

I’m going to end this post with a story of an event that happened on a busy Saturday night while I was waiting tables. Although I’m not sure that it coincides with the theme of this post, I’m hoping that the more I write.. the better it will fit; Because its been on my heart since it happened, and I need to type it out.

There are three kids, spanning from ages 5-15 who have been frequenting BarTaco the past few weeks, scanning the patio and asking people for money. They are constantly run off by managers who threaten to call the cops if they don’t leave the premises. On Saturday night, the 13 year old boy and his 5 year old sister had the guts to walk into the restaurant on a night so chaotic, they probably assumed they would get lost in the crowd. When I first saw the little girl at my table, I thought she was a “joiner” and began to fill her a kids cup with water. As the water began to fill, I glanced across the room and spotted her brother, arms crossed, eyes darting. I dropped the cup and bolted; “You guys have to leave,” I half begged/half asserted myself towards the brother. He refused to acknowledge me, the unwillingness to make eye contact a sure measure of tried and true practice. I spotted my manager across the room who was already on the way, “I’m calling the cops,” she told the boy, as his sister was crossing the room with a wadded up 20 in her tiny fist that she had just claimed from my table. They left hastily, but without a trace of fear or shame in their eyes. I stood paralyzed for a few minutes and then continued with my night; the situation not ever leaving my mind. Later I learned that these children’s parents drive them to 12 south, drop them off on the side of the road, and wait as they pan-handle in and out of different restaurants. When they get kicked out, they pick them up and speed away to the next location.

When I learned this truth, I filled with rage. How dare they make their children pander for money. How dare they steal from them their innocence. When I looked into the eyes of that boy, I saw nothing. His stare was blank. Even if he wouldn’t meet my eyes, I could clearly see into his. He seemed void of feeling, of hope, of anything but the task at hand.

When I run lately, its less about keeping my “eye on the prize” and more about enjoying every step, keeping an even pace, experiencing the journey full force. At certain points in my runs, I have been filled with overwhelming gratitude, which could be partially a runner’s high, but I think its more a state of mind — a place I go to physically and mentally.

I guess you could say the boy in the restaurant was doing the same thing, going somewhere in his mind, transporting himself to another place. I catch myself doing that sometimes. I feel like we all have our own mental destinations — mine is Mexico; the middle of summer. Tanned skin, eating local food with local people, running barefoot through the streets. I wonder where the boy goes in his mind when he’s in the middle of a restaurant, or a Walmart, or the gas station, watching over his baby sister as she begs people for money. I wonder if he’s ever seen the ocean, or dreams of going anywhere past his visions of being far away from his problems. I think of the kids I tutor every day, how they don’t come from the best, but less is always more to them. I wonder what they dream about at night. I wonder where their journeys will take them.

Radnor Lake

I love to hear it. Smell it, taste it, see it — Nature in all of its profound glory.

It takes me away from me.

Gold and forest green, the smell of pine in the trees, the wind gently breathing. Everything a slow rhythm. Life at its very best.
This is where it all began — how we make it so complicated, when I can step outside for a minute and be instantly reminded where I come from.
This.
The sounds. The smells. The life.

Earth and warmth and the breeze
It takes me back to me.

True love has always been the ultimate goal; if you think about it.

Rolls Royces and career milestones and sculpted bodies — incomparable to finding the soul that matches yours.

And to find out it’s a hoax, a plot to destroy the compass of our minds; it stings. Like needles and bites and punches all in one.

I dream about you in fading sunlight; glittering eyes, a soft smile, warm skin. Momentary perfection. If I believed in souls colliding, it would only be a farce– for I created yours with mine. A tangled weave that I built out of nothing, into something.

I can feel it in my dreams — the realness of you. But I wake up, and reality is the only real thing, and my dreams that felt so real are the fakest of things.

Like a puppet on a string, I made you tell the story I wrote in my mind, and when I realized you were but a hollow, empty, lifeless (loveless) thing — I dropped the ties that bound you, the curtains closed, the story faded to black.