Scrape

I originally set out on Sunday to write about returning to aerial — potentially with some line about not being able to practice for a while, and how getting back into the swing of things can feel like starting from the beginning again sometimes, but then my attempt to go on a run after class ended up being a better symbolic tableau of life as of late. Continue reading “Scrape”

Connection

“I don’t think you’re an introvert,” says my husband. “I think you’re an extrovert who got the extroversion beaten out of her.”

I’ve learned to take these insights from him seriously, even when they run in stark contrast to what I actually assume about myself. The number of times I’ve heard him pose such an insight, and I’d swear that it’s not the case — only to have life gently (or, at times, not so gently) unfold to me the truth behind reality. I’ve learned to hold such assessments with both hands and with cared regard.

An extrovert who got the extroversion beaten out of her. “But, like, not literally beaten,” I’ve said when telling others about it, like the only way a spirit could get crushed is under the weight of swinging fists. Continue reading “Connection”

Shift

I have a nasty habit of falling into old habits.

I train up too hard and too fast when I run. I get stubborn about my mileage, my pace, my frequency. I get impatient when I feel I can do better. Taking it easy is akin to giving up, and I handle both concepts with equal grace (or lack thereof). It’s how I sprained a hamstring tendon five years ago, trying to train for the Chicago Marathon — and how I turned that sprain into a minor tear by attempting a yoga class the day after and forcing a stretch where the muscles had locked up.

The injury took me out of marathon training, and out of mid-distance running in general for years. But recently, I’ve been trying to get back into it. Run more than 5 miles, or 6, or 7. I sign up for a 200-mile relay. I research local half marathons. For the first time in over a year, I hit 10 miles. For the first time in who knows how long, I’m hitting sub-8-minute miles on pavement. Right in front of me was a new set of goals, expectations, including maybe, just maybe, finally keeping my promise of running in the Chicago Marathon.

And then — not even during the run itself, but during a very, very gentle stretch, after a run that was anything but gentle — I feel a ping in my left hamstring. Not enough to have fully re-injured myself, but enough to awaken an old monster. Enough to remind me that tendon injuries never fully heal. Continue reading “Shift”

Marked

Afternoon has settled long and heavy on my shoulders,” Sarah Bareilles sings about December, and I listen to it the same way one bites down into a lemon wedge.

December has a way of leaving things raw. It has a way of sharpening the lines and heightening everything on one side and the other.

December has a way of making you feel like you’re about to pick up a heavy weight — or perhaps more like you’ve just been reminded of the weight you’ve been carrying all along. And I still don’t know if all the White Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock help push back against it or if it creates a glare with their tinsel and lights.

It’s a heightened time. It always is at this point in the year. The sun seems to shine brighter, more sharply. The overcast days bring more of a sense of gray. The darkness from the setting sun is saturating and dominating. The music pings a little more at the soul, the resonance lingering in the air just a little bit longer. The wind cuts a little harder than its January and February counterparts. Every sensation is just a little more alive, for better or worse.

May all be heightened and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.

Continue reading “Marked”

Roads

When I was a teenager — when I was the only one of my friends with a car, albeit a bedraggled former rental car with terrible brakes and not even a tape player — I would drive my friends through the South Shore, finding random roads and seeing where’d they go.

Depending on the night, we could get as far as the Cape, before eventually finding a route we knew would bring us home. We didn’t have so much as a road atlas in my car. Just blind faith that eventually we’d find 3, or 93 — or a gas station attendant that could get us to where we needed to go.

It felt like everyone around us was showing their rebellion by throwing parties that we were never invited to. We hit the road instead, wandering the roads, straying and getting lost, never doubting we’d find our way back. Continue reading “Roads”

Jumper

Don’t look down. Stare straight ahead. Clear your mind and do it.

I remember saying that to myself after failing the prelim jump for the airbag jump at Attitash. I had looked down, psyched myself out, and jumped feet first instead of flipping onto my back. I said it to myself when I first learned drops in aerial, when I’d clutch the silk tight and refuse to let go, every inch of me screaming, “You’ll die if you do this.”

Don’t look down. Stare straight ahead. Clear your mind and do it. Continue reading “Jumper”

Evolution

Sunday afternoon. It’s the first cool, crisp, sunny day in a long, long time. My neighborhood stretches out before me, the clouds wisping in slight arches, making the world feel circular, make me feel like I’m watching what’s in front of me through a fish-eye lens. Or maybe it’s the strange stirring in my soul that creates the illusion.

My hand is intertwined with my husband’s; we’re taking a quick stroll during a small pocket of free time in what is turning into a busy Sunday, a stroll that started by my husband getting up from the couch and going, “The weather’s nice. Let’s go for a walk.” A man who understands how much I need to be on the move in some way, how tough it is to be cooped up.

The world in front of me feels new. In a way, it is: it’s been a over a month of downpours and thunderstorms and oppressive humidity. This sudden calmness feels like someone switched out the movie, and now I’m witnessing a completely different scene.

“Everything feels so different,” I say, “even from just a year ago.

…but it’s a good different. This is a good evolution.” Continue reading “Evolution”