Pearls on a String

More than a mist but less than an outright rain — that’s what we’re dealing with today. It’s not so wet that I wish I hadn’t worn my good running shoes, but it’s close. Getting there.

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It’s warm. Warm enough for cropped tights and just a long sleeve, tugged down over my torso in a half-sleep. Spring comes early in the Pacific Northwest. So early.

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Everything seems to have bloomed overnight. There’s just no mistaking those pretty pops of pink. I scan the streets for more, feeling more lighthearted than I’ve felt in a long time.

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I switch sides of the road to weave my way through a particularly pleasing tunnel and think about this week. What could you tell me about this week?

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I could tell you about the kale salad I ordered (primly, almost reflexively), instead of the cheddar biscuit sandwich I wanted, with an herby egg omelet neatly folded and tucked beneath the lid. The aforementioned salad limped along and finally struck out, despite the garlic sunflower seed dressing and savory granola sprinkling that had me saying ouuu, THAT! That sounds good.

I could tell you that I have no interest in continuing to be that girl, the one who couldn’t tell you about the bite of biscuit that hit it clear out of the park, because butter, because bacon, because biscuit. Dammit, will you go back with me for that biscuit?

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That date aside, I am doing better. I’m loosening the reins again, the way I promised myself I would. Am I doing a perfect job of it? Nope, negative, not even close. But was that to be expected? Also no.

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About once a week there’s a day in which I say nope you cannot have that — here, have a carrot stick instead — and then 10 minutes later I slink back into the kitchen to have 5 more carrots plus the thing I actually wanted in the first place. And then I often feel pretty terrible, until I remember how nice it is to feel full and finally forget all about food. And how normal it is, to feel a little bigger one day and a little smaller the next. A little more aware (orrr, okay possibly downright concerned) one day, a little more blasé the next. Things just don’t stay the same — not for any of us.

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It’s so much easier when I’m happy. I am afraid, too, but mostly I feel good. Not guilty. Human. (100% human.)

It helps that I’ve done this before. So the way my body looks when it’s not attempting to operate on 90% kale salad isn’t coming as such a shock. And on the very good days, there is, again, a small part of me that says: hey, I LIKE this body. This body is great. This body can do and feel 9,000 things my old body couldn’t.

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It also helps to have it start to feel like the rest of my life might be settling into place. I’m so thrilled with my new job. I miss my family but I’m okay; I can book flights. After a year and a half of hoping-wondering-doubting, I finally feel more at home in Portland. All of a sudden I like the layer of leprechaun green moss covering every available surface. It just looks right, somehow. I walk around in the mornings looking for the beads of rain that I know will be there, clinging to bare branches like pearls on a string. I have a few friends I finally feel close to (in the area), and I’m in the process of making more.

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It also helps to let go of the crazy and insane attachment I had to the idea that how lovable I am corresponds directly to however dramatically hourglass I may be at any given point in time. There are people who think hourglass figures are pretty, and I am one of them.

I know for a fact that my friends don’t care what I look like. I know my family doesn’t either, despite what I may have internalized along the way. They want me to be happy and healthy. Full stop. My best self. (Which, I am pleased to report, has approximately zero to do with weighing X pounds or exercising X days.) And I know eventually, there’ll be a guy who doesn’t care too much one way or the other either.

More and more, I’m finding that don’t care. Not really; not truly. I care if I’m a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend, a good employee, a happy human. I care whether or not I’m connecting with anyone when I write. I care whether or not I’ve been able to make someone else feel less alone. I care about learning and growing and stretching in all of the important ways, and if at the end of the day, my pants don’t fit, I will go buy a pair of bigger pants. Okay? You and me, we will go buy bigger pants.

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“Randi Zuckerberg has a theory that of the five priorities (work, sleep, family, fitness, and friends), it’s possible to focus on just three at any given time. Regardless of whether you agree with her math, I think her real point is that it’s okay — actually, necessary — to choose where to focus your time and effort, and to make a different choice every day. It’s impossible to do everything well all of the time, and beating yourself up instead of learning to accept that is a one-way ticket to disappointment and self-doubt.” -Merrill Stubbs

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“For a minute, therapy feels like magic, as if there’s someone who knows everything about you. Then you realize that it’s just apparent that you’re stressed, that you don’t sleep well, that you’ve forgotten to take care of yourself in the midst of life. You realize that there’s no person, no answer, no magic fix — except time and the willingness to do the work, be honest, and be kind to yourself.” -Anaïs Escobar

“I was afraid of being rejected, yes. 
I was also afraid of being accepted for the wrong reasons.” -Erich Segal

“Broken hearts healed. Maybe the cracks were always there, like thin scars, but they healed. People lived and worked, laughed and ate, walked and talked with those cracks. For many, even the scars healed and they loved again.” -Nora Roberts

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“Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.” -Mark Twain

“It was not enough to be the last guy she kissed. I wanted to be the last one she loved. And I knew I wasn’t. I knew it, and I hated her for it. I hated her for not caring about me. I hated her for leaving that night, and I hated myself, too, not only because I let her go but because if I had been enough for her, she wouldn’t have even wanted to leave. She would have just lain with me and talked and cried, and I would have listened and kissed at her tears as they pooled in her eyes.” -John Green

“Just because a love can’t last doesn’t mean it wasn’t real, that it didn’t change you. You can’t go back, you won’t stay the same, but I promise that one day, you won’t even want to.” -Anaïs Escobar

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“Can you erase entire chapters of your life? Rewrite what happened? You can’t if you’re really being honest with yourself at all. I drank coffee outside my office the morning I decided to stop trying to remove parts of myself and I stood content with the person I’ve become as well as all my past versions. I wanted to hug the girl who couldn’t talk to her family, who ran like hell to get away from herself, who thought through some kind of magical thinking that you could save yourself by giving yourself up, by punishing yourself. The fuller my life became, the more comfortable I became in my own skin, the less I wanted to change the past.” -Anaïs Escobar

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“If there’s any kind of magic in this world…it must be in the attempt to understand someone else. In the attempt to share something. I know it’s almost impossible to succeed…but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.” -Before Sunrise

“I hadn’t realized how much I’d been needing to meet someone I might be able to say everything to.” -Elizabeth Berg

“In real-life fairy tales, you can define who you are for yourself and, as a result, choose your own ending. You don’t really need someone to save you, just someone who can let you save yourself.” -Anaïs Escobar

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“This may be nothing, but I’m willing to give it a try.” -James Morrison

“How peaceful life would be without love…how safe. How tranquil. And how dull.” -Umberto Eco

@alainis

“What I have learned is that love — the beauty of it, the joy of it, and yes, even the pain of it — is the most incredible gift we can give and receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame, and without compromise.” -Ellen Page

“I urge you to go out and complete your dreams, touch a life, do something — make someone believe in magic.” -Chelsea Pavey

“She wanted him to see all of her and also none of her. She wanted him to be dazzled by the bits and blinded by the whole. She wanted him to see her whole and not in pieces. She had hopes that were hard to satisfy.” -Ann Brashares

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“I don’t like standard beauty. There is no beauty without strangeness.” -Karl Lagerfeld

“Love yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself, and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” -Leo F. Buscaglia

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“I know now that I don’t want to love or be loved in half measures. I want it all, and to have it all, you have to risk it all.” -Jenny Han

“The trick of it, she told herself, is to be courageous and bold and make a difference. Not change the world exactly, just the bit around you.” -David Nicholls

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{Steel bridge via @crippeakasizzler1, cherry blossoms via @sasha.swerdloff, Black Butte Ranch via @gemini_digitized, waterfall #1 via @andrewgolesch, Deception Pass State Park via @jamieout, Big Pink via @mckjoe, plane in fight via @grahamgoebel, sun in Sandy via @snickersv, Portland’s version of a high-rise via @megaguire, Columbia River Gorge via @spencer.kirk, moody mountain view via @alainis, ivy-covered house via @artifactuprising, waterfall #2 via @crippeakasizzler1, Oregon coast via @jeremy_fisher — all on Instagram.}

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8 thoughts on “Pearls on a String

  1. You write so beautifully. I have been where you the now and it gets lighter. The dark days are still there but punctuate them with colour and vitality. Don’t stop writing! Your words are beautifully crafted X

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