The Same Things

I find myself lingering when I come across photographs from a woman’s wedding, and I realize something has changed. I do not know this woman at all; the photos danced across my feed thanks to one of her bridesmaids, my friend’s ex-girlfriend. But, I find myself studying the bride as well as the burgundy lace on the sleeves of the bridesmaids’ dresses. I am fascinated and held captive for longer than I should be, and it occurs to me that maybe I’m not as different or as unconventional as I once thought. Maybe I’m just like everyone else. Maybe I want the same things.

The first time I thought “I want to marry him” was on our fourth date. Some people would say that was too soon. Some people would say that even considering marriage at this point is still too early. But perhaps to those people I would say that I have spent enough nights tied up with dead end men and too many days crying over them. I am no longer interested in waiting to find out where a road leads or withholding the truth about where I’d like to go. So on our fourth date, I told him “I think you might be my person.” And he has been my person ever since.

Sometimes the old me-the lovelorn me, the boisterous me, the living-out-loud-on-the-Internet me feels far away. Some days it feels like she fell off into this ditch and this new version of myself just went speeding away. Sometimes I miss how easily the words would pour when I was hurting or aching or yearning for more. Sometimes I wonder if I’m still a writer or if I’m now just a woman who occasionally writes. The ways in which I’m evolving and changing now are happening both slowly and at top speed, and sometimes it feels like I can’t capture it all. Sometimes it feels bigger than a blog post. In fact, most days it is.

And I wonder if I sold my audience a bill of goods, if I spent all these years preaching about an unconventional life when all I want now are the traditional things. A husband. Children. A home where I am needed and safe and loved. The things I want now are what Taylor Jenkins Reid called “the daily peace of loving plainly.” And I wonder if that goes against the big life I once thought I needed, the life where my words touched people and sent a ripple effect through the world. I wonder if I can have both or if I somehow have to choose. I wonder if I am allowed both a big life and a small one-a quiet one, a life where I am fueled most by the responsibility of loving and being loved. I wonder if this hope for both a big life and a small one is overly ambitious. I wonder if ultimately circumstances will force my hand one way or the other. I wonder if despite my best efforts, I am not above the law and I simply cannot have it all.

And, yet, I still find myself lingering. On pages of books. On videos of toddlers. On the Lao Tzu quote, “Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” I linger on photos of brides. On songs about love. On tweets by my favorite writers. On pages from personal blogs. I linger on the things that resonate most with my core, the things that make that make me hum and resound. And those things are vast and varied. But maybe I am not so different. Maybe I am just like everyone else. Maybe I want some of the same things.


Something About Turning 27

My feet are on a different sidewalk of solid ground. I don’t know when it happened. It seems foolish to say that there was something about turning 27 a few months ago that picked me up from the rubble of earlier days and dropped me in this newfound place. Because there is hardly anything special or magical or definitive about turning 27. I am still new. Green. Young. Impressionable. Prone to making mistakes. I’m still following a compass that sometimes sends me into deep seas and dark oceans.

So, yes. It seems foolish to say there was something about turning 27 that reshaped the world and my precious place in it.

And, yet, there was something about turning 27.

There was something about driving up to the sunset of this first decade of adulthood, something that has pushed me to trim the fat, face the facts, and apologize less for the spaces I inhabit. There was something about this age that yanked the curtain up on the woman I am instead of the woman I spent one too many years trying to be.

There comes a point where you can’t run away from yourself; that point both liberates and elevates you. Maybe that is the something about turning 27.

I’m through with running away from myself. I am through with sitting under dim lights as I lean coyly over the table, saying one thing to a man while my spirit screams another. I am through with barricading myself behind walls and praying they won’t crumble. I am through cutting emotional deals with the devil or pouring gasoline on my wildfire heart just to keep up appearances. My portrayal of the cool girl while I was in my early twenties deserves a standing ovation, but she has performed her final act.

Sometimes knowing what you’re not is just as important as knowing who you are.

I am dense and intense, fragile and flammable, a woman with her heart turned up two volumes higher than recommended. I am the sum of all of the goodbyes I ever said and all of the scars they ever left. I am equal parts concrete and shattered glass, whole and broken, complete and wildly unfinished.

And, yet, here I am. Because there was something about turning 27 that summoned me to start singing all of the notes on my staff.

I want to fall hard. I want to dig deep. I want to dive under. I want to taste love on my lips. I want to live big. I want to apologize less. I want to take up all of the space the Universe already carved out for me. I want to stop wanting and instead start soaking up the distance in between then and now, before and after, the things that were and the things that will be.

Maybe therein lies the sweet something about turning 27.