My Best Friends’ Wedding (or New Years’ Rambling)

dddd“People have a right to fly…”

My best friend is getting married. Last year, after she met him, I knew it was coming—and soon. But I never really anticipated what it would feel like the moment it was officially so. I don’t think anything adequately prepares a person for the moment someone so close tells them they’ve found “true love.” In life, there are a lot of phrases  that change everything once they are said. And I always thought “I’m getting married” was one of them.

Read More

Swinging Birches

“So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be…”

I think I want to run away. Pure, blissful freedom…

I wrote these words one night earlier this month after a particularly stressful, exhausting day. I have a friend who is usually on the receiving end of these pointless, rambling emails that I will never take action on. Well, at least I think I’ll never take action on them. I’ll confess, I have this silly little dream of uprooting and starting over sometimes. For some reason, I have romanticized the idea of living and working on a ranch in New Mexico, surrounded by mountains and plains. (Yes, go ahead and laugh. If you know me at all, you are aware that I’ve watched Legends of the Fall a couple dozen times too many.) I have this other dream of living in Segovia, Spain…undoubtedly my most favorite place in the world.

Read More

Act Accordingly

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some, they come in with the tide. For others, they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember all those things they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” -Zora Neal Hurston

When I was a little girl, I spent many an hour dreaming of who I would be one day when I was a “lady.” Among the sprawling corn and tobacco fields where my childhood played out, there was ample opportunity to dream, to plot, to imagine just what life could be. I had plenty of female role models to look up to: my school teachers, the woman who taught me to play piano, and our elderly neighbor who taught me how to grow African Violets, just to name a few. Of course, out of all of them, my beautiful young mother was the woman I admired the most.

Read More

The Storm (Part 2)

The thing about storms is their uncanny ability to either bring people together or drive them apart. In my own experience, gusting winds, pounding thunder and crashing lightning only make me want to be a little bit closer to the people I love.

As a little girl, I begged my dad to come inside and away from the storms he loved to watch because I was scared for his safety. But I also did so because I was scared myself: I wanted him to pick me up and give me a great big hug and tell me that everything would be ok. Sometimes, you just need the assurance and comfort of someone bigger, stronger. Read More

The Storm (Part 1)

A few weekends ago, I went for a beautiful 7 mile run through Cherokee Park and the Highlands. (If you haven’t put two and two together already, I am basically obsessed with this area of Louisville.) When I started, the air was a hot, smothering 90 degrees. But as I maneuvered among the curves of the road, I noticed the temperature was falling. A strong breeze began to blow and around me leaves were falling: scattered reminders that autumn is upon us.

Amid the leaves and the breeze, I was acutely aware of something else: a storm was coming.

In Cherokee Park, there is a hill that overlooks a small valley where tree tops and sky seem to stretch endlessly before you. For some reason, I love this hill and this view. It fills me with a sense of hope and anticipation (though for what I have not quite decided.) As I topped this hill that evening and looked out at that favorite view, I had to stop for moment because what I saw took my breath away: billowing clouds above me barely broke to reveal a glimpse of heaven, while in the distance the sunset shone through ominous, much darker clouds in an orange haze. Meanwhile sheets of rain fell to the earth against its golden backdrop. Read More

My "Sole" Overflows

I came that they might have life abundantly.”

A “long time ago”, when I was about 14, a close friend mailed me a letter. At the end of this letter, he wrote: “Within us all is the strength to fly, the love to sustain us, and the dream to make us try.”

When you are 14 years old, it’s very easy to accept these words of inspiration at face value. How inspiring! How uplifting! How empowering!

But in the 12 years since the words were coined, I’ve come to a sound conviction: My friend was wrong. Dead wrong.

As the eldest of three children, I can tell you a thing or two about “inner strength.” There is a set of criteria that many would argue govern the psyche of the eldest child. While I know that this does not hold true for everyone, it certainly holds true for me. My mother recounts a story of a defiant two-year-old standing in the middle of the bathroom with one hand on her little hip, the other outstretched waiting for her toothbrush to be placed in it: “Me do it myself.”

Read More

The Perfect Shoe

Someday, I’m going to slip my feet into the most beautiful, perfect pair of Manolo Blahniks, and my life is going to change.

In the photo albums, picture frames, drawers and coffee tables that contain the memorabilia of my life exists the world’s most beautiful picture. At least it was (in my opinion)…long ago. I remember where I stood, what I was thinking, and what I felt when I took it.

It was 2002, the night before my junior prom. A smaller, skinnier version of me (with long, straight hair that nearly reached to the middle of my back) was leaning against the frame of the doorway between the dining and living room, holding my head at an angle as I watched my whole world strum the strings of a guitar a few feet away from me. He was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, the muscles in his arms clearly defined as he played a song he wrote: my song.

As I watched in adoration, I reached for a nearby camera (filled with black-and-white film) and captured the moment. He heard the sound of the camera and looked over at me and smiled. My mother always said he had a Humphrey Bogart smile. And she was right.

I never know when I’m going to come across that picture: a profiled picture of a beautiful boy and his guitar. I never could bring myself to throw it away. From time to time, it appears in a drawer, a notebook, or a random folder, and my life freezes. I stop and sit down on a couch or a chair, and a wave of “could have, should haves, would haves” wash over me.

While there are experiences that I will openly talk about—whether good or bad—and even embrace, I rarely talk about the years between 1998 and 2004. I’ve learned to tuck those memories away in a little corner of my mind and I’ve learned to forget what it felt like to love someone so much you felt you could stop the wind if you wanted to.

But, on very rare occasions I will go to that corner of my mind and revisit those times, just like a collection of pictures. Sometimes, it feels necessary to examine them for what they are and for what they were. But regardless, they always end with the same recollections, faded by time and tears: a dimly lit hallway on a late summer’s night years later where I leaned, crumpled, against a wall and looked at him with pleading eyes and said, “Please don’t break my heart.” And finally, some of the last words he ever said to me, which were uttered over a telephone: “I love you, but I decided to marry someone else.”

To this day, I have never heard the lyrics of my song. I cannot remember what it even sounded like. I always believed he would finally sing them to me at our wedding…the wedding that would and will never be. I hear that he is happy. Sometimes I get a random snippet of news about his life, and a little twinge of pain burns in my chest. Other times, any news bounces off of me because I feel nothing. Sometimes, what happened between us just makes me feel numb.

But I have to remain optimistic. Like a pretty, expensive pair of shoes, there are relationships you may want with all of your heart but you just can’t have. And if you do want them bad enough to pursue them…it will cost you. Like my picture, sometimes our choices in life are clearly outlined in black and white.

So, every morning I slip my feet into my pretty, relatively inexpensive shoes and I set out into an imperfect world with all the optimism a starry-eyed little Cancerian can muster. Among the city lights and the whirl-wind of life that exists all around me, I know my future, my destiny, my “perfect shoe” is waiting. And I know and I believe, that eventually, I will find it.

Someday, I’m going to slip my feet into a pair of Manolo Blahniks—the most perfect,exquisite most perfect shoe—and my life is going to change. But until that day comes—the day when a $685 pair of shoes won’t reduce me to a buyers-remorse-induced-depression—the shoes I have will do the job. And I’m one happy, blessed girl.