Showing posts from 2021

in the water they can't see you cry

The only place in my life where I ever feel graceful is in the water. I certainly don't look  graceful. I've got the general build of an oompa-loompa: short thick legs with all my extra weight around my midsection. I feel dumpy in a swimsuit, especially a one-piece, I wear earplugs and hide my goggles under my cap and I'll just never be anything even remotely close to Liz Hurley when I'm wandering around on the deck with my arms full of swim toys (#triathlete) waiting for a lane. It's probably why diving in will always be my favorite moment. Gravity stops yanking all my flab down into the planet and instead I'm held, balanced, smooth, strong. Always starting with six dolphin kicks, then surfacing and settling into the rhythm of the stroke, succumbing to what feels like tranquil stillness, centered in a constant fluid motion.  I learned to swim when I was maybe 27 or 28 and nursing my umpteenth running injury. An old friend taught me most of it and we had plenty

when the daylight comes

If you had told me a year ago what my life was going to look like today, I might have hauled off and punched you in the mouth. For the past few weeks, I've been rumbling with how to talk honestly about where I've been. It's been so hard to see anything except the brokenness of the world. How much I've suffered, how much I've lost. My life last spring and summer (and fall and winter) was a frightening Venn diagram of misery. I recall writing in an email, if I can study for and pass comprehensive exams in the midst of a global pandemic, the brutal dissolution of my marriage, and a race revolution, academia is going to be a piece of cake; writing a dissertation sounds like a margarita hooker sparkle bounce house of easy living right now. While I do want to be genuine about the struggle, I've been dissatisfied with how to tell the tale that it feels like I need to tell. Thanks to my bud Taryn, I recently watched one of those music video photo compilation things. It

the best is yet to come

I got my first shot of the COVID vaccine last week (what a weird and wonderful world we live in). Every state is handling it with a different level of chaos, but my "turn" rolled up in the distribution matrix and after a few days of refreshing five different pharmacy websites, I managed to snag a spot up in Loveland on Friday morning. When I got there, the line was long, there was only one pharmacist and everyone was pisserpants about the wait. I was stressing about making it back home in time for a Zoom interview, and started doing my nervous-extrovert thing which is talking to anyone who will listen, at speed. Pretty soon I had made friends with everyone in line. Someone's son is studying entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago, someone's aunt sells leggings on Facebook (sigh). I bored the poor guy behind me with what's going on in my life (spoiler: holy shit LOTS!) and just like that, I was up. The pharmacist was frazzled and I could tell that I was defin

until it's time to go

I have a really good memory. It's a curse, not a blessing (also a curse: the number of sentence fragments and selfies in this post so if either of those things chaps you right in the craw, click away now). It makes arguing with me a gigantic pain in the ass, because I will unfortunately remember, word for word, who said what and the precise inflection in your voice when you said it. It means that I almost never misplace anything, and in the rare moments that I do, it drives me freakin' bonkers with frustration because where I left my old man carpet slippers gets locked away in brain prison behind three complete albums of Stevie Wonder lyrics, my childhood phone number, how many pairs of running shorts I own and how much I paid on the underground market for each. I don't need a calendar to remind me of doctor's appointments and dog haircuts. From inside the house I can closely estimate how many miles are on my car and how much gas is in the tank. I can recite ever detail

continually bracing for impact

My greatest fear in life has always been that my husband would die. I had nightmares about it for years, terrifying dreams that broke me awake, shaking and silently crying, reaching over to touch him in the dark. Soon after we met, he told me that he was certain he would die in a car accident, and it haunted me. On long car trips I sat on edge, jumpy, continually bracing for impact. Quite illogically, I have always believed that fear will protect me. Too often, though, it dominates me and I succumb to the dangerous edges of what it brings forth. It means I run when things get hard. I hide when I'm in pain, careful and silent and still. Early in life, I was taught that a defensive position is considered weakness. I learned that it is always the right decision to attack first, that the only way to survive when things fall apart is by crouching behind barriers hoisted sky-high, covertly reloading. It's where and when I learned to be dry, sarcastic, flip and ironic and self-depreca