Friday, January 1, 2010

the first day of my life.

If you're a regular reader of my blogs (the few and the proud of you!) then you know my style, and you probably thought I'd be waxing rhapsodic on the New Year about the contrast of the old year and the new; I realize I have a penchant for doing that. However, I'm out of steam for analyzing. I've tried to pick apart, inspect, box and label my past so much that sometimes it feels like the neat little containers of filtered meaning belong to someone else.

I don't know a whole lot. I know that on one side, I've been ludicrously fortunate this past year. I know that on the other, I've had a few swift kicks to the heart that were strong enough to be categorized as life-altering. I know that the former significantly outweighs the latter. I know that because of this, I'm beginning to heal in more ways than one.

When it comes to celebrating New Year's Eve, I'm easy to please. I want to be with a few people I genuinely care about and who I know care about me, and everything else is optional. I got exactly that this year, and I couldn't have asked for a better start to the new year and the new decade.

I'm not one for resolutions. I even thought about the prospect of making one for about five minutes today before I gave up the task. To be fair, my brain was flooded with happiness and that made it hard to think of something concrete to aim for. I was walking around S's apartment, cleaning up from our New Year's brunch. Z and S were talking in the living room area where Rosanne Cash was playing, and I thought: I can't really improve upon this. My life isn't perfect, and I'm sure there are goals I could create that I would gain something from attempting. I don't need those aspirations, though. I just need to enjoy what I have and work, as always, to improve upon the relationships, skill and tasks already present in my life.

If I were to create a goal for this next year, it would be to figure out how to please whatever real or imagined holy figure decided to bless me at this stage of my life. If I could just figure out what divine being to thank, then my resolution would be to thank them.

While I try to figure that out, I will be exploring the new year. I can't wait to see what it has in store.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

we walked on the beach.

There's a memory from last winter that I've held onto; it was a short conversation, but at the time it perfectly encapsulated what I was feeling and how important that feeling was to me. I'd just gotten back from my and Tracie's epic road trip, and had gone to practice at Roller City. While warming up, I skating around the track a few times with Robin; when she asked me about my trip, I sighed and lacked the words to express what I really wanted to say. She looked at me for a second and replied, "it changed you, didn't it?" It had, in so many ways. I nodded, and told her I couldn't wait to go back.

I came to New York for the first time one year ago today. It was then that the shift started, the slightest little prying-open of my mind that eventually split my vision for my future wide open. A year later, there's not much that hasn't changed. It seems strange that it's all happened in less than twelve months.

One night this weekend, my girlfriend and I were talking about how much of the country, and in particular the South it seems, thinks of the city as almost a dream. It's a place to fantasize about but also a place that seems out of reach. I remembered having that feeling even on the long drive north with Tracie. I felt that I was living a fantasy.

Last night I found out I got accepted into GGRD, and I kind of have that feeling of living a fantasy again. This can't possibly be my life, can it? My life isn't a fairy tale by any stretch of the imagination. Problems back home have become a constant source of stress in my life, and my job has as well. When I combine the amount of time I spend working, prepping, commuting, and going to class, I work almost 80 hours a week. I live in a near-constant state of mental exhaustion. Still, the good things happening in my life make it worth it. My hard work during the week is rewarded on the weekends with time spent with a warm and lovely someone I've been dating for two months, and whom I hope to keep in my life for some time to come. My stresses at school are buffered by the best coworkers I could ask for, and even though I want to strangle my students sometimes, I love them all. And now I'm going to be returning to one of my life's passions and playing for a league that, much like this city, at one time seemed only like an unattainable dream.

When I think about summer 2010, but heart starts to beat a little bit faster. Time off from work, a steady income, my unlimited metrocard, every museum I can muster, and as much derby as I can stand. And with any luck, that certain someone will be along for the adventure. I can't wait.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

positive and negative charges attract.

- my parents are separating, for real this time.
- my mom is worried my dad might lose the house.
- I'm not really happy with my living situation, but the prospect of finding a new situation makes me want to hide forever.

+ derby tryouts are Saturday.
+ art museums are a lot more fun when your girlfriend's an art history professor.
+ I'm coteaching my elective this term, which will hopefully ease the burden somewhat.
+ this term will be pocked with breaks, right when I need them most.
+ my students got their schedules today, and I had a few drop by my room to say they have me again this term, and they seem happy about it. this is good, because recently I haven't felt like too good of a teacher.
+ love?

Monday, November 23, 2009

a snapshot

This weekend I learned: the basics of wheel-throwing and hand-building pottery; how to fire and load a wood-burning kiln; how to navigate both the NJ Transit system and the Long Island Railroad unassisted; that my endurance is gone, but I somehow still have my speed on my skates.

This weekend I learned that I like: Sri Lankan food, broccoli rabe, and taking long train rides out of the city, with only my ipod and the passing scenery to entertain me.

This weekend I loved: watching S at work in her studio, puttering around her apartment, huddling around the kiln in the cold as if it were a humongous campfire, and making plans.

This weekend I began to look forward to: more of everything that I love.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I know this room, I've walked this floor.

Tonight I went to a skills night hosted by GGRD, making tonight the fourth time I've been on my skates since moving last May. My legs were shaking, my back was aching, my bad ankle is in full mutiny, and I may have pulled a hip flexor during an ill-fated plow stop. Still, I had a blast. I'm not sure there's a more eloquent way to put that, especially since I'm really, really tired. But it was amazing. The skaters hosting us were fun and super helpful. At first I was a little concerned because I felt like every two minutes someone was correcting my form or giving me pointers - their tips were great and I was definitely being sloppy, but I started getting paranoid that I just completely sucked until Ginger Snap commented that the attention I was receiving was a good thing. Whew! Needless to say I still feel very intimidated by the prospect of playing for Gotham, and I feel really self-conscious about the shape I'm in (or not in, rather). I guess my muscles still halfway remember what to do, though, which is encouraging. After two hours of drills I couldn't really make it up off the floor without a struggle, but I still wanted to keep skating. I can't wait for tryouts in a month.

For the past.. oh, six months or so, I've started to not like my reflection so much. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see exhaustion and stress. Dark circles, eye wrinkles, paleness, tension, stress-induced breakouts. Maybe part of that is I'm just getting a little bit older, even though my students still think I'm 20. Regardless, when I got home tonight I stepped into the bathroom for a shower, and while I was waiting for the water to heat up I glanced in the mirror. I didn't see tiredness for once, or stress. I just saw happy.

Oh, derby. Where have you been my whole life?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the big spoon.

I'm pretty open about the fact that I tend to be emotionally unavailable to all but a few people. Although it's easy for me to open up in my writing and express how I'm feeling in an indirect, albeit very public, medium, in person I don't often share a lot of myself with others. I share my humor and my stories, but everything else stays relatively hidden. To use the oft-cited metaphor for emotional boundaries, I have walls. An intricate maze of walls, actually.

It's something I'm working on. I've started seeing someone new, and I feel excited about this person. And even though we're very much in the getting-to-know-you phase, today it occurred to me that maybe she's snuck into the maze while my guard was down. It took me a little while to figure out what I was feeling today, but I think the feeling was that I miss her.

Maybe it seems strange that it would take me some time to register that feeling. I miss people and things regularly - I miss my friends, I miss derby, I miss Arkansas, I miss my family. I'm accustomed to missing those things, and I've long passed the homesickness benchmark such that my missing those things isn't a feeling of sadness or longing. It's more so a feeling of fond remembrance, and of looking forward to seeing those people and places again some day. It's a feeling that comes and goes.

What I felt today was different and more vague. Because not many people make it past the first few turns in my maze, it's been a little while since I've felt this way. Even when I'm dating someone, and even when I like them a whole lot, I don't usually miss them when I haven't seen them for a few days. It's a little scary to feel this way, to be honest. I can feel some resistance forming, as if some hidden guard is desperately trying to mend the breach to keep her from finding her way in further. When did I become so afraid of getting close to someone?

I'm hoping I can be brave and bribe my guard from his post. If not now, then one day. Because as strange and slightly alarming as the feeling was I had today, I like that I miss her. I like that I can miss someone, especially someone whose position in my life isn't permanent or well-formed yet. Maybe that's a good sign.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

you hear that, New York? the frog is staying.

Dear GGRD,
I know in the next few months I have a lot of shin splints, bruises, aching muscles, sweat, hits and hard work ahead of me. That is, assuming you let me join you. Pretty please? I'm a little afraid of you because I know I'm going to have to push myself harder than I have before. I'm also excited about you because you could be really good for me in more ways than one. So, are you ready for me? Because I think I might be ready for you.
Love, your wannabe rookie.

Dear Tapas Bar in the East Village,
Thank you for being eerily quiet and empty on Halloween night, for having an interesting and charming cave-painting-inspired decor, for giving me champagne instead of the cocktail I ordered, and for not being the judging sort. Bless you.
Love, one of the people in the back booth.

Dear New York,
Your version of Halloween is ridiculous. I could have done without the man vomiting and passing out on the train at 1 am, but the singalong among strangers I was privy to ten minutes later made up for it. I'm looking forward to seeing you in your full holiday charm soon.
Love, me.

Dear Life,
Should I be suspicious? I'm afraid to completely enjoy you for fear that something is looming around the next corner. I feel slightly undeserving, to be honest. I'm not sure how I got to be so lucky. If I close my eyes and hold your hand, will you keep leading me down this lovely path? I want to relax, for just a little while.. can I trust you?
Love, still a little guarded.