It began with a phone call, as most adventures do. My brother on the other end of the line, speaking in a hushed tone. He got a flat tire on the highway and needed someone to bring him a spare, some tools, and patience. I volunteered and dragged Alex along.
We found my brother and his girlfriend sitting on the curb beside his car a few minutes from the highway. My brother got right to work, swearing as he accidentally stripped a lug nut. Knowing that there would be no way he could fix it, his girlfriend and I took it upon ourselves to flag down the tow truck driver a few streets away. And by flag down I mean walk ten minutes across a busy intersection, me in my slippers and her in her white converse.
Fast forward 30 minutes and we’re leaning on the hood of my brother’s Miata with a coffee in hand sitting in front of Veer Preet’s auto repair on Dixon Road. With nothing to do but wait, we watched the planes land and take off from opposite directions. The sky was a ombre blue with tinges of golden honey and pink lemonade. A plane flew overhead making me feel incredibly small and vulnerable. As it landed, the wind from the engine nearly blew me over but I held my ground. Feet firmly planted, eyes facing forward.
For the first time in a while I felt steady and strong. It may have been the conversation I had with my friend earlier that day about how much pressure I put on myself. A conversation that reminded me to slow down and stop with all of the expectaitons. Or it could have been this little unplanned evening that took me to a busy mechanic shop where so much was happening, but no one seemed to know what was going on, either way I felt glad.
Glad for that moment of solitude. Glad for a moment where all the pressure I felt disappeared. Thankful for that brief moment of bliss and hope.
“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.” ― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon
There are days where I feel incredibly invisible. Days where I take myself so seriously that I literally have nothing nice to say about myself. And then there are moments that bring me down from that lonely dark cloud and into the real world where funny things can happen. Where life surprises me. Lovely moments that make me feel silly, alive, and insanely visible.
I was at Sherway Gardens last week visiting the new Pusateri’s and walking around with my family when I realized how desperately I had to pee. We went to the food court where I immediately ran to the bathroom. It was one of those one-person bathrooms. I ran in, sat down, and picked up my phone to catch up on Twitter when the door began to slowly swing open.
Standing at the doorway was an old woman with white hair, blue eyes, and a blue jogging suit to match. She had hit the automatic door-opener button. It took both of us a few seconds to realize what was happening. Picture me with my jeans around my ankles, my phone in my hand, and my thigh fat spilling over the side of the toilet staring at her like a deer in headlights.
As the door continued to slow-motion its way open, the lady began to apologize and try to pull the door closed. Unfortunately for me, once that button is pressed the door can’t be pulled shut. She pressed the button again hoping it would close on its own. It most assuredly did not. As people walked by to see what the commotion was I realized that I was going to have to get up and close the door myself. I put my phone down on the floor (ew!), slowly and carefully slipped up my jeans while thanking my lucky stars that I was wore a long and flowy shirt that most likely covered my woman parts, stood up and closed the door. It was only then that I noticed the big red button beside the door with a sign that read PUSH TO LOCK.
She counts on people. Counts the days until Friday; the minutes until five o’clock. She counts on the flowers to grow and the seasons to change. She counts on consistency and perfection. She counts on time to be good to her, to not disappoint. one.two.three.four.
She counts other things too; the swipes of deoterant she applies to her underarms, the number of times she’s pulled to door handle to ensure that it’s locked. The number of beeps her car makes when she presses the lock button – hearing it three times ensures safety and security. Her mind is a kindergarten classroom. Repetition keeps her head straight and focused; on the straight and narrow.
one. two. three. four.
She doesn’t remember when she began to count things or why it soothes a startling itch buried deep inside her. She knows that it gets worse when she’s stressed out, when there is something plaguing her mind and her heart. When she feels out of control.
one. two. three. four.
For a woman obsessed with words; she’s encountered so many numbers.
There are moments when deep in thought or crazy in love that we forget how visible we are. We create a space that is undeniably our own. We don’t think about who can see us nor do we care. We simply love and exist.
On my drive into work the other day, I looked up at my rearview mirror and happened on a moment so private I couldn’t look away. A young couple on their way to school (I assume), were parked behind me at a red light. He was in the driver’s seat, staring at her like she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. She looked upset, her blonde pigtail beneath a baseball cap swayed as she shook her head.
He smiled at her and reached his hand toward her face. He let it rest there until she lifted her own hand to hold it. A hint of a smile reached her lips as she turned her head and kissed his hand; then leaned over and kissed his cheek, once, twice, a third time for luck.
As I placed my coffee back in its holder I realized that I was still driving. The light blared green and I stepped on the gas in the hope that the young couple wouldn’t start honking me. I looked up every once in a while to see if they were still behind me. For a little while they were, smiling and laughing in their own little bubble. I lost them at some point but couldn’t seem to shake them from my mind.
I focus on the negative things in life. The days and weeks where everything goes wrong and the world appears to be a heaping pile of crap tend to weigh me down. I don’t think often enough about the many beautiful moments filled with love that I’ve witnessed or experienced. I guess sometimes all you need is a glance at your rearview mirror to remind you of how important those moments are.
It’s incredible how quickly routine and comfort override the desire to explore, take chances, and have adventures. The fragility of life has shown itself to me many times over the last year, more so than any year before. And while my first instinct when mulling over the details of September through to November 2015, is to run, to make a change, to go out into the world and experience everything that I’ve ever dreamed of, what I really need is a new perspective.
I want to turn my world on its head.
I want to witness all of the old and familiar with a new pair of eyes; actually I’d settle for a different pair of prescription glasses. I’d like to see something different on the drive to work or at least notice something new. I want to reread a novel and have a deeper understanding of it. I need to get outside of my own head and forget about the desire to have, see, and be everything all at once. It’s incredible what you can learn about your world when you take a step back and critique it from a different angle. The word appreciation comes to mind.
With appreciation and contentment comes the emotional balance needed to make the necessary changes, take on new challenges, and be more open to astronomical risks. Doubt need not be involved in curating this new brand of self-awareness.
There are times when I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the woman in front of me. I’m not referring to the faint but still visible wrinkles under my eyes or the newly nourished softness covering my once toned body. I’m talking about the attitude splattered all over my face.
We all go through phases where we’re pissed off at ourselves, at life, at our choices. Phases where we just want to be alone and the thought of being hugged, touched, or spoken to makes us cringe. It’s during times like this when an attitude finds itself planted firmly upon my brow. A LEAVE ME ALONE sign ceremoniously hangs itself around my neck and rests gently on the arms folded across my chest. Text messages find themselves unread, posts go unliked, kisses go unkissed, and I’m left in my own jungle of bitterness.
I write it out, sing it out, exercise it, coitus (sorry mom) it out of my system. Reality rears its beautiful head and surrounds me with all the things I should be thankful for. It reminds me that wishes are meant for children, hard work is the only thing that yields success, and success is really in the eyes of the beholder.
Reality check: giving up is for losers.
Reality check: you’re doing just fine great.
Reality check: you’re the source of your own happiness.