The Leaky Faucet: A Case Study

Once upon a time, there was a faucet that dripped. Ever so slightly, every so often, ever so consistently. From the sink in the kitchen the dripping ensued. Whether the lights were on or off. Whether there was anyone there to hear or not, drip, drip, drip, dripping…

I would like to find some more people to observe / demoscope that are going through what I am. That way I could present an unbiased and accurate depiction of the transitionary time I am seeing myself go through, it’s a dripping faucet that is driving me mad. A constant and ever-present twinge, stabbing, that will not go away. The one nagging at me telling me that all is not as it should be. The little tiny slip-ups that I can just not seem to shake. And move on, and go forward towards a sterling shining bright and fully functionally water-and-life-bearing fountain rather than a leaky faucet.

A leaky faucet is caused by a seepage from the water supply. It can be caused by the watertight seal on the faucet being “loose” and failing at it’s job of holding back incoming water when the faucet is in the “OFF” position. What am I comparing this leaky faucet scenario to, you ask? Why the negative thoughts of course. The drip of negative thoughts that occur when that watertight seal has been improperly maintained. The sheer and utter confusion of the mind that is created as valuable resources are allowed to slip down the drain and  not harnessed for all they are worth.

I can tell when these periods of life are sprouting up, because I will try on an “old-faithful” job interview outfit that feels simply terrible to wear, I will make a mistake only I can see, I will fail to accomplish something I have written on my list for the day, and then I realize that I can barely look at myself in the mirror. My mind begins the negative bombarding of thoughts, that I do not know who I truly am, that I am not who I should be, that I am not who I was. The watertight seal’s weakness begins to show. The slow dripping begins. An uncomfortable feeling beginning in my head and moving throughout my bloodstream. My pulse changes from a smooth, calm to that of morphine dripping through an I.V. Poisoning and numbing. Kind of addicting. If I am honest. But also entirely sickening.

What I am saying is this:

I am striving to be a fountain, one bringing life, happiness, and warmth. To myself and to those around me. In the past, coming flooding back, with consequences today, I have let situations, thoughts, toxicity, even scarring friendships into my life that have rusted away this watertight seal, the one that locked in positivity and allowed ME to be in charge of the pressure, to turn on and off the stream as I please. Now, I face the dripping, without fixing it, I continuously  throw what I have left down the drain.

But there is still an endless supply. I just must get to the origin of the water, shut it off completely until I get this figured out. Which is what I am here now to do. I’ll have you know, that learning how to do it will be the toughest part. Though I suppose I am up for it. Even if it means the water works in my eyeballs will get their workout as I pour over the owner’s manual….where did I leave that thing anyway?

I probably left it beside my Encyclopedia of Mantras and Positive Self-Talk.

Rules, Roles, and Rolls Royces

Honestly, I have run out of excuses. I have no reason to blog. I just witnessed last night a band that played the most amazing chords on their guitars, whose music filled my soul with their words and perfect synchronicity as a unit, and who even made a joke about “New Hampshire” people, not knowing there were two in the crowd… 

My words fall dead from my brain, to my fingers, to a small silver screen which is propped up by a jelly jar and a napkin holder because it is broken and cannot stay open without reinforcements. Nothing to preach about, nothing to complain about, nothing to muse on. I’ll tell you how to break addictions, after I get myself to quit drinking milk in my coffee. I’ll tell you the secrets to a clear complexion after I go pop this zit. I will tell you how to be successful, right after I climb out of this rabbit hole of a money pit.

What on earth am I making of myself in this world!? I think I hope it’s someone or something. Or do I? Maybe it’s better to stay below the radar, silently playing my next chess move in this societal and universal game where I pay to follow the path.

Here are four reasons why Emily should not be let out of her cage:

1. I Have Full-On Debates with Myself about Facebook. And I Always Lose. 

I have all the respect for Mark Zuckerberg and all the other wicked smart people, innovators, ingenious brainstormers, and what-nots, who have invented various technological means of staying connected, pursuing our dreams, and finding out information via a small little search box and the “enter” button. However, when I get on Facebook, I dissolve all of my personal standards, rules, and become someone I wish I was not. I am putting my name out there, accompanied by information about myself which I would usually keep hidden where no radar could find it, and I am also presenting myself as a contributing member of society. In fact, I have analyzed it even more deeply and found that on Facebook, I present the version of myself that is “perfect”. The Facebook Emily only updates her status when she has something positive to say, she untags all the crappy pictures of herself, and she most certainly does not let anyone know of a major meltdown that she is having. She can send all the creative, funny, witty banter that she wishes across it’s Facebook channels, and people think she is the most clever individual that walked the earth. On Facebook, I get to play the “role” that I am expected to be playing. I am not writing my own script, but I am reading all the right lines. All of these are things I DO NOT WISH TO DO. I also find it to be quite pushy with me, asking me if I know this person, asking me to “Like” everything under the sun, are you going to this event, what’s on your mind, comment here…. look Facebook, all I wanted to do was stalk some fellow campus dwellers back in college, and now see where you have landed me….I selfishly deny friends so I can keep my number at a certain place, I feel guilty deleting people, yet I often wonder, “Who is this person and why do I read about their life everyday?”. I stand for hugs, love, community, and keeping my circles small, yet I am throwing myself around a network which tens of millions have access to. Why? I rationalize by telling myself, “It’s all for the sake of connecting with others, Emily.” And perhaps it is. But, as it was brought to my attention the other day, those you want to connect with most, you usually are not using Facebook to do so. That being said, I feel stuck and physically unable to remove myself from the social network. Has it brainwashed me also? 

2. When You Do Not Know What to Do…Do Nothing.  

My friend Jolanta reminds me of this when I present to her a life crisis or dilemma I am in the throughs of. This one goes along with not worrying so much, staying present, etc, etc. If the answer isn’t there, go for a walk, meditate, do nothing. It will be waiting for when the time is right to deal with it. I don’t really know what else to say about this, so I am not going to say anything else about it.

3. Lead by Example. 

I am a positivity, cleaning, combo health food FREAK. My three claims to fame. That’s right, anything that involves being overly smiley and joyful even to the obnoxious point of bursting into song, scrubbing a floor on my hands and knees until it’s clean enough to lick, and eating weird and unusual foods and drinking aloe juice –I am there! My friend and I were having a discussion the other day about how that which we are passionate about, we should lead by example. Not even nessecarily saying, “My way is the right way,” but just shining our little lights where we may by coming from a place of love, respect, and perseverance. I am going to keep mopping this floor no matter how dirty it gets. I will aim to keep shining brightly and helping my family voice the concerns that keep them from doing so on any given day or during any given moment (even if these concerns include me being a little twerp of a sister/ daughter). I will keep choking down garlic and kale sandwiches and hope that my skin glows forth as representation of my squeaky clean insides. All this being said, my main point has nothing to do with cleaning, healthy eating, but it does have to do with making the world go round: lead others to LOVE by example. Lead by serving others, preferring others, in doing so, we find joy. I like this quote sent to me from my friend Victor,

Whatever joy there is in this world 
All comes from desiring others to be happy, 
And whatever suffering there is in this world 
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.

SHANTIDEVA

4. You are / You are in the Right Place

This week, I found out a lot of bad news, everything from someone needing a giant hug, to someone being faced with more than 19 charges of felony and a whole lot more consequences, and to top it off people sick in ways I could only imagine. My friends = my family. They are as close to me as any pimple or freckle has ever been. When things happen to my loved ones, to my family, I am utterly heartbroken and distraught and I want nothing more than to come to their rescue. Then I begin to question, am I in the right place? Did I selfishly make the decision to move back here? Should I be doing something else instead? Am I even needed here? Shouldn’t I go where I am needed? Wow, do I think the Universe revolves around me OR WHAT?! That’s just the thing. It does and doesn’t. Emily needs to stop jumping around and BE where she is. And when I made the decision to do that very thing, the temptation to be pulled back to try to be everyone’s hero lures me in. That’s just it, I am not everyone’s hero, I am not an angel, nor a pixie, not making anyone’s dreams come true. I am just where I need to be, and following along the path that is illuminated before me of grace and peace. As much as I have played the various roles in the past, and not always been true to discovering my own…it has been made clear time and time again, that I am exactly where I need to be. Now if I could just BE in the place where I was taking better care of myself and forgoing all forms of self-abuse….

Not so hard to stay on the proper path, as long as we pay attention to the road signs. But ’tis true for the lot of us: Even if we may be far, we are 100% near.

What to Do When You’re Awake at 2.a.m

Yesterday I posted about the things I learned in turning 26. There are more. There is Part II, Part III, and a sequel. I was thinking of just making Parts 1-112 and publishing it as the Emily Encyclopedia on Life and the Pursuit of Happiness.

However, then I had a weird dream about a cat driving my car on 295N to Maine, so I decided to change all of my highly philosophical musings into a sob story about being insomniac. Then I didn’t want everyone feeling bad for me, which I am sure would have happened, so I transformed it into an advice piece on what to do when you can’t fall back asleep. When every noise in the house is ticking too loudly, creaking too creepily, and hooting a little too barn-owlishly.

After lying awake replaying through your mind numerous times, the horrific nightmare you just had and then trying to counteract it with the counting of fluffy, white, gentle, sheep which in your freshly nightmare-scarred imagination end up as an insane clown posse, here are some ideas of what you should do, should you find yourself in the bind of being awake when all other human beings are watching pretty little, dream-like images float past the backs of their eyelids:

1. Make Popcorn, Eat Ice Cream, and then Call for a Pizza

My brother, Matthew, upon hearing my genius blog topic, piped up instantly, “Eat popcorn.” I imagine his brilliant thinking is aligned with someone else’s in this universe, so I thought I would put in my two cents as well and say I think it’s a particularly fabulous idea. Especially if you’re goal is to slowly morph over time into an elephant or hippopotamus, eating junky snacks every time you’re up and about when the sun don’t shine is the best way to kill time. While popping the popcorn in butter, I personally like to indulge in a little self-torture and think of all the other horrific foods I subjected my body to in the past month that could be causing my insomnia symptoms, and the gout in my toe…

2. Clean and Vacuum Loudly, Make Vegetable Juice in Juicer (to flush out the grease from the pizza), and Grind Coffee Beans

No explanation needed here. Your family and roommates will love you for this. Do not hog the joy of being awake and alive, allow others to feel that same excitement of not being able to sleep that they felt as children on Christmas Eve, whenever you experience sleepless nights.

3. Try on ALL of Your Best Bibs and Tuckers

A good personal fashion show is just the remedy for being upset with yourself for losing precious Zzzz’s. You don’t feel like you’re wasting valuable time because you are planning for the future by finding out which outfits bedazzle and which bedrizzle. After you have tried everything that you own on and thrown it in a heap on your floor, you can switch your attention to looking up out dated phrases like  “Bib and Tucker” on Google. 

4. Google Something.

Everyone needs someone else’s advice to live, to move, to breathe and to have any sort of significance in life. Why not perpetuate this idea by Googling how to live your life, care for your spouse, pets, and be the same friend to all of your friends. Google funny pictures, catch up on sports news, find out what “Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth” is, and who laid the rules down for determining a “Good Egg” vs. a “Bad Egg” and how to “Hob Nob” successfully. When you have thoroughly exhausted this complexly, intricately-woven world wide web ‘s every particle of information, it’s time to move onto something more mindless and less educational to lull you back to sleep…

6. Facebook.

Go on, update your status, stalk your friends, find out when your college roommate’s oldest child is getting married, compare yourself to your ex-boyfriend’s new fling, and stir up feelings and create illusionary bonds with people with whom you haven’t spoken with in real life by reading Rumi’s status. This is the best time to go through your events list and RSVP, to make comments on pictures of people’s scary cats, and to write witty (or what you thought at 2:24 am was witty) comments on people’s walls. Hopefully, by your being the only one with “online” status on Facebook, you will feel too drained and tired to continue and your brain will have been morphine drip numbed from all thoughts of anxiety, anticipation, worry, dread, sadness, and the upcoming Mayan apocalypse. I am just waiting for them to make Facebook for babies, so I can recommend it to all my friends with newborns as a way to rock their screaming joy bundles to sleep when they don’t make it through the night either. Research somewhere from someone (written only to counteract other research from someone else) shows that staring a computer screen is the best for eyesight, posture, producing positive brain waves, and increasing the health of all cells in the body…that’s almost worth losing sleep over. 

Things I Learned From Being 26

Today I turned 26. Ok, actually I turned 26 ten days ago. But today, many of the lessons I gleamed from the changing of ages came rushing into my head like a Macker (see surfer’s glossary of terms for definition). As I was preparing my mind to unfurl the flag of these great revelations, I stumbled upon some writings that other 20-somethings had scribbled long before I had set my mind to such a task. This writer shares 25 Things Learned in his Twenties, and just months prior, this same author notes the many overlooked benefits of being in one’s twenties. While I occassionally wish to bury my head in the sand, get a makeover, and hide the fact that I am a struggling 20-something for fear of not being taken seriously, sometimes I appreciate being carded for a glass of wine or being asked if my 18- year old brother is my boyfriend (kidding, thats actually really awkward). I have also been asked if I am his mom though, so I guess that one is not a good egg to put my baskets in.

Here are some of the valuable, life-changing lessons I have discovered as I have crossed the line from being nowhere near 30, to being REALLY ULTRA CLOSE to 30:

ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS ARE NOT THE SAME
I always thought that all of my friends were birds of a similar feather and flock and I could deal with them all in the same way. I assumed I could send everyone helpless text messages at one in the morning and see them all just once a decade while we travelled about our separate ways, and still be able to pick up right where we left off. I thought I could prop my feet on the chair of every pal I had, and crack open their refrigerator to help myself to a snack. Incorrect. Friendships and relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Some friends, you call everyday and talk to for hours on end, or just breathe into their ear for an extended period of time. Some you email once a week, others you send a greeting card in the mail or poke them on Facebook every now and the; still others you see every night while you both just hang out on the front porch and watch life float on by. People tend to get mad at others when they can’t “figure them out” or they are not “speaking the same language” or when they are not able to relate to them like all their other friends. It has been interesting  for me to see, amplified over the past 10 years, which friendships have faded into the fringes and which have been strengthened despite trial and tribulation. Perhaps it’s when we try to put our friends in these little tiny, understandable boxes that this happens. Instead, is it best to let friendships and people unfold in an organic and intrinsic way and see what flows? All friends fulfill a different part of us, and all of them require us to examine what we are bringing anything to the table also. Giver’s Gain? And often just give, give, give. It’s usually a lovely thing, a much more lovely thing than your Lego block ideas of what it could be could have made it, and far easier.

COMPARISONS / JUDGEMENTS ARE FOR DWEEBS
Today while I was walking, I passed a runner who totally gave me the stink eye, the one that said, “You crazy walker, look at me running, who is burning the most fat, who is going to be fitter, live longer, and happier…SUCKER!” Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, I was thinking, “Wow, you really need a chiropractor or to work on your posture in yoga or something, dude.” Then, feeling like I wanted to offer his stinky eye judgement a myriad of excuses to defend myself as to why I was not running, I realized what had just occurred. We had both judged each other, or at least perceived what was each other judging each other. I do this all the time: comparing one person’s age and accomplishments in life to my own, another’s perfectly tanned chiseled legs to my pasty white tree trunks, and I try to base my choice of wine at a restaurant on what the chicest, classiest woman in the place chose moments before me. When will I get it. My life is mine! Her life is hers. Your life is yours. We are all so different and individual that comparing can actually become a hopeless, addictive downward spiraling cycle. Naturally, it’s easier to stay hidden under a rock so that we are not always looking towards what the Smiths and Jones are having and wondering if it is in some way better than ours, if they are somehow more enlightened. Circumstances in life usually have us out and about. We must keep focused, with horse blinder vision and ensure we are living up to the standards and ethics that we have set before us, rather than what another is telling us we should be / should not be doing. Ascribing to the opinion’s of others, taking someone else’s conviction as your own is not my idea of a good time. Find your philosophy, know where you are and where you are going and waver not. 

THINGS ARE WAY LESS WORRYING ABOUT THAN I THOUGHT
Ok so I have not ACTUALLY learned this lesson yet, but I know it’s one I should have learned and when I am done worrying about everything, I will be able to tell you that this is something I learned from being 26. I am a little worried that it won’t be done by the end of this year though….

EVERYONE NEEDS ADVICE TO LIVE
Magazines. Articles. Blogs. Friends. Health professionals. Counselors. Lawyers. And your kid’s sixth grade Teacher. It seems advice is everywhere, just waiting for us to voice our problems so it can rear it’s ugly head through someone else’s windpipe. My advice is not to follow everyone’s advice. I don’t want a guidebook written by someone else to tell ME what to wear to a job interview, or how to act when I go on a first date…isn’t all this advice just perpetuating the notion of “following the crowd.” Here’s some more advice: go against the grain. I must say, I have noticed that I am rather invisible lately, and in realizing said fact, I am much less worried about following everyone else’s perfect societal mold for my age, stature, body fat percentage, and gender. I am just me, I am part of you, and will one day become part of the ground and turn into a tree or hopefully a camellia, and I don’t really know what that means but no one else does either, so who are they to tell me that three eggs a day is healthy for me or that I should be using avocado peppermint hand soap. I guess when it all boils down to it, we’re all here learning and growing together. Share the wisdom you have when you are asked and keep it small, simple, and exquisitely personal to those around you. Then don’t be offended if they don’t follow it. That’s bite-sized advice from me to you.

To recap, these are artifacts I have gleamed this past year that are not to be taken seriously nor to heart. They are my own inner bubblings and gurglings and had I been smarter, I would have kept them all to myself. But I didn’t learn much in turning 26, so I still shamelessly broadcast to the world….maybe by 27 I will have learned to hush up.

I leave you with this interesting thought that hit me over the skull the other day:

HUMANS ARE THE ONLY SPECIES THAT PAY TO LIVE ON PLANET EARTH.

Can I charge it instead?

Pitch Black

Confession: someone has turned off the lights in this pit of despair that I just fell into and I can’t seem to find the switch to turn them back on. Although, I am not exactly sure if I want to. Who truly wants to expose the inside of a filthy pit?

Many of us are lucky enough to have the feeling of being healthy, and I believe that for the most part, many of us (at least those in MY audience) know what to do in order to keep ourselves riding the wave of wellness. I also believe that most people do a much better job of maintaining a stable, constant, unwavering, anchored, durable, enduring, set in stone  (I just had a face-off with the thesaurus) routine in their lives than I do. In fact, this scenario seems to happen to me quite frequently: I will throw myself into a new promising environment, a refreshing overhaul, a rejuvenating life transformation, full force, here I come, and then, after making resolutions to carry on with all the vigor and passion I began with, I fall into a pit, climb out, and repeat steps 1-3. Over and over again. This is what keeps me, and many others like me (maybe I am just kidding myself into thinking there are others like me by looking in the mirror at my reflection) from moving FORWARD rather than just going around in circles and wondering why that pit is still at the end of every loop.

This morning, while my dad was munching his regular, predictable, yet-not-at-all-boring morning yogurt and granola, and I was sipping another greens drink and having a banana with hemp seeds in an effort to launch myself into another cleanse bandwagon, one I will likely fall off in about an hour while licking Krispy Kreme donut frosting off my fingers and reaching for another Little Debby snack (run-on-sentence alert), he enlightened me as to the latest and greatest of health research.

“They” took a bunch of rats, took them out of their meaningless existence as scavengers in the wild, into the world of science and the “betterment of humankind” and taught them how to run around in a maze. After the rodents were sufficiently trained and running through the maze like smart rats rather than chickens with their heads cut off, they fed half of the group fructose like it was going out of style (which it isn’t, for the record) and half of them really healthy stuff (probably kale hemp coconut smoothies, if I had to guess).

The ones that they fed the fructose to, big surprise here, couldn’t remember how on earth to run the maze that they had once excelled at. The ones that got fed the healthy, happy, hippy organic grass-fed tofu burgers, flew through it with flying colors. To finish off the ever-so humane testing, they then filled the entire group of recently dumbed-down rat’s bellies with Omega-3’s, though still making them sip fructose cocktails, and then made them run that silly maze again. At this point, who knows if the rats were just trying to get these scientists off their case, or if their fructose-induced amnesia was really counteracted by the Omega-3’s, but they ran the maze as they once had, prior to all of this bingeing and purging. Nearly perfectly.

There are two morals to this story, and then it will help me weave it into my whole grand plan here:

1. Fructose (especially when it’s high) makes you dumber. People, rats, probably even crows. Sugar fries everything: six-pack abs, brain cells, blood vessels, and hearts.

2. There is hope for even those who have lived their lives on Rice Krispy treats and lollipops. A healthy diet, mind, with time, and the perseverance of making it a ROUTINE / LIFESTYLE has the power to transform.

Now, I know what you’re thinking because this is what I am thinking too, and I know everyone thinks like me. In this case, I know what you’re asking, “Emily, how can I be the healthiest version of myself?!” Well, I am glad you asked, because I just got to thinking about this the other day. I started by thinking, “Who is the very healthiest person I know?” It’s the person who feels good at the end of the day about what they have done throughout it. It’s the person who feels good upon awakening in the morning knowing that they are going to do great things throughout this one as well. It’s the person who is living true to themselves. It’s the person who is devoted to this true self lifestyle, and not simply chasing each new healthy marketing, latest big ticket item, scam after the next.

This is where I fall in the pit. Thankfully, I have you all here as witness right now so you’re not going to let that happen. Instead, we’re going to walk around it. Hand-in-hand (which by the way, I read yesterday about the healing power of holding hands, tune in next week for my hands-on, double blind study results).

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of chasing one “too-good-to-be-true” feeling after the other, letting the honeymoon experience of the juice fast yoga retreat weekend getaway in Bali melt away only to chug six margaritas and a plate of tacos when the relationship ends and you realize real life has begun. As the writer of this blog “Three Cheers For ‘Boring’ Love” writes, “Rinse. and repeat.”

We often tend to see “real life”, maintenance, ritual, routine, predictability as BORING. Preferring new shoes, new cars, life-altering experiences, and transformative revelations. This tendency is where the terms, “I’ll start tomorrow,” and “I need to take a 20 mile jog to burn off that three-person banana split I just clogged my arteries with…” come from.

But where does true love, true health, true healing lie? I believe it is in these two words that have been pervading my consciousness as of late: Devotion. Commitment. Waking up each and every day and knowing you will live it well. A routine that makes you smile. A predictability that is comfortable and simultaneously has you laughing and having fun.

Remaining true to yourself and that which you are creating, and not allowing the latest whim, the whiff of popcorn cooking, the temptress of being lazy, to entice you back into the pattern. The pattern that leads to the pit.

I’m in the pit today. This time, I want to go the way that I do not go. I have ample time, I even have the resources. Conditions are perfect, give or take a few carrots, and I may have just made the decision that I will gaze into the eyes of these here morning celery juices indefinitely…..for me, the spark lies in each and every predictable, yet exhilarating sip. 

Band Aid

Three days ago, due to an over accumulation of shirts that I wanted to wear and couldn’t because they were dirty, as well as my zealous attempts at wearing all of my pajama pants in a two day span, I had to do my laundry. As I was meticulously folding it and assigning each item to it’s proper location in my dresser drawers, I somehow managed to cut the pointer finger of my right hand to the point of blood gushage. I suppose when people say I am a sharp dresser, they mean it more literally than I thought. Was it the clean lines of my favorite button up red shirt? Or the killer color of my teal Icebreaker? My first aid training did not fail me, I instinctually reached for a pack of Band-Aids to avoid my ever pending fainting from blood loss. That did the trick and I left the blood flow constriction apparatus on until the next morning….

When it fell off…

In the shower.

I instantly began worrying that it would hurt when the water and tea tree oil soap poured into the wound. I braced myself for the second most painful experience of my life. I also expected my hemophiliacism to kick in and blood to spurt abundantly out of the gaping hole in my finger all day long, I envisioned rolls of gauze and ice packs being involved. Maybe even a trip to the E.R.?  Surprisingly, it did not hurt, and when I got out of the shower, there was no additional bleeding. Everything was A-OK. It was obviously time for that Band-Aid to come off and for me to expose my finger to some air. I had expected pain, but instead, I am finding that it’s just doing it’s own thing, and healing.

Possessing a mind that is rampantly creating analogies and comparing these random, natural occurrences to what is taking place in my personal life, I tend to over think even these small, petty things like Band-Aids falling off in the shower. So, I went ahead and did that very thing.

What is the Band-Aid in your own life? Is it that thing you’ve had on your wounds, perhaps too long? Sometimes they serve their purpose: to keep invaders from entering the areas in which we are most vulnerable, and to help you get through your one hour board meeting without dripping blood on the floor from the gash in your hand that you got while rushing to make it to work on time. I have Band-Aids like coffee, helping me wake up in the morning, reliable surroundings and situations that I can carefully control, little ways in which I nurse my ego after it gets injured, unhealthy habits and patterns for any area in my life that might become uncomfortable to me.

What do I do when that Band-Aid falls off? I panic. I fear that there will be pain. That it will sting. It might even bleed more! The cut is vulnerable and re-exposed to the world. But isn’t that, along with proper time and nourishment, how it eventually heals?

But with all things, it takes time. We cannot force ourselves, we cannot rush ourselves (like for example tearing that Band-Aid off of your knee too quickly), but when it is time for that little, protective force field to come off: SO BE IT! 

Yesterday I had a conversation with my dad over a delicious raw lunch at my favorite deliciously raw lunch place in Charlotte. He was saying how when people want to invoke CHANGE in their lives, there are three steps:

1. Find Discomfort and See the Need for Change

2. See the “Other Side”. What Will it Look Like When the Change Occurs? How Will Life Be Better?

3. And this is the step most often skipped / looked over / utterly avoided: TAKE THE FIRST STEP. Rip off the Band-Aid.

“When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.”

Check Your Connection

Good news for all. The circumstances of my current life have brought me back to my most favorite topic of all time. Kale.

I am back in the United States of America where vegetables and I have rediscovered our passion for one another and reconnected. They are the feature and highlight of my every meal. I am not sure how they feel about this, considering many of the times I am chopping, cooking, and throwing them into blenders with fast moving blades and such….but they endure it so that my red blood cells can be strengthened, and my heart can accelerate rather than stop in the name of love.

I recently started a garden in my parent’s backyard where I planted some conglomeration of the following: kale, collards, chard, arugula, carrots, beets, cucumbers, snap peas, and spinach (I think). Who knows what will come of this soil-turning, row-rowing madness, but eating food from the grocery stores has brought to my attention the dire need for planting my own vegetables. When I munch on a crunchy leaf of kale that was shipped from California, it tastes to me like I am eating one of those plastic soda pop rings seals die from in the ocean. When I pop into my mouth a juicy, succulent strawberry from the coast of who-knows-where-a-million-miles-away, my skin displays prominently a wave of hive-like marks that look like I am an adult trying to be sixteen and have spared no expense including the sporting of my own teenage hormonal dilemma.  Once you have tasted and seen the best of the land, the freshness and nutritional fullness of “Eating your View”, everything else pales in comparison. It leaves (no pun intended)  you washed up on the shore, starved even though you just had 10 pounds of organic spinach  –weak, alone, confused, and longing for true, deep, and meaningful beta-carotene. I’m a hold hand with carrot juice in public kind of girl. PDA…doesn’t have to be public….but it has to be willing to get personal.
Ok, I know you’re thinking I have gone off the deep end with all this vegetable love, but my digression will soon be a sensical succession.

According to my research, this same nutritional deficit can be felt with human beings, when all the pieces of the puzzle are there, there is just a flint shortage, keeping the flames from starting:

– They are in the time zone as you,

– You have the same interests or a mutual tie such as a favorite sports bar perhaps, or a favorite color, or you both find yourself shoe shopping at the same department store to ease the pain of the failure vegetables,

– You share a house or living space with the person,

– You bump into the person everyday on the commute to work (I’m not talking about the one you nudge every day with the bumper of your car! Be more imaginative, maybe you stop for a coffee every morning or something…)

As is indicated by the vegetable dilemma, the city presents reasons to interact with various people for many reasons. I have thus far in my life been unsuccessful at burying myself under a rock, someone always finds me when they are turning over a new stone and then it just becomes evident that I should find a new one as well. Because of my anti-hermitic tendencies, I have found myself intertwining with many people who try to “force” a connection. For example, the manager at Verizon decided to play a round of “Do You Know Who I Know” with me while I was renewing my cell phone plan. Mike Tate, from Nashua, NH…anyone??? Or, at times, I am the one trying to desperately force a connection because I want a lifetime of free hairstyling tips from our server at a restaurant.

“I’m so hilarious, why, just this morning I cracked myself up; surely the lady at the grocery check out will love my banter and instantly want to be my friend.”

Small talk may have brought us to a more advanced level, such as discussing our love for collecting Pokemon cards (secret confession), or our similar travel history to Mumbai where we both picked up the same parasite…but try as I may, I cannot get the relationship to go much deeper. It’s like finding the organic health food store and then finding out the produce comes from Botswana where “organic” is translated “soaked in pesticidal hot springs” and it’s actually just the crops no one there will endure. It’s surface level-skimming like one of those insects with the “Jesus bugs” that can walk on water, and it leaves me craving a real, refreshing, soul-nourishing conversation and pal. Perhaps I should just sit down at random venues, cross my legs and begin chanting. I could weed through the chaff, and find friends much faster that way. Though I might get myself invited to a lot of parties involving psychotropic drugs and 2am non-sanitary tattooing fests. Maybe I get a briefcase to stand on and hand out my own personally designed “tracts” describing the benefits of friendship with me? Transform myself into the Charlotte urban chic to try to open up some more opportunities for meet and greets…??

I suppose sometimes it’s nice to have the convenience of being able to get optimal nutrition at lightning speed, instant and effortless connections at your fingertips. And other times, it requires a bit more tending to, deliberate planting of seeds, like a garden. In the end, the result is actually the same.

I don’t necessarily need to venture out and hunt down the like-minded, push things along at what I deem is an appropriate rate (with say Miracle-Gro-Your-Friends or the equivalent off brand), or plant when it’s not seasonally appropriate. It would be easy for me to run to another land and make sure I have all my carrots in a row (although something else in my life would probably be painfully askew). It takes constant attention, watering, coyote-bb gunning, sun, vigilance, anti-pest patrolling, and a bunch of other things I have yet to learn about being a successful farmer. Maybe at this moment, I am learning how to properly tend the soil?

I am just now starting to see the real friendship crops of my reaping and sowing (as in, she is starting to agree with my opinions) with my wonderful friend, Jolanta and we have been Charlotte friends for a little over two years!

Everything good comes to those who wait. And patience –slow, steady and constant strides– indeed does pay.

— Emily —