Monday, May 31, 2010

for my life

Sorry Chris; you’ve just been bumped from the top of my list. Marcus Mumford, welcome...and get comfy; you're there from this day forward.

As advertised, last night I went to the Mumford & Sons concert at the 560 (five sixty) Club in Vancouver. Mumford & Sons has got to be one of the most coveted concerts currently in rotation; rumor has it, this one sold out in under 8 minutes. The accolades for this band are numerous and growing; they are in demand all over the world; and it is not at all hard to figure out why. Take one listen to one song (might I suggest Little Lion Man or The Cave) and I bet my firstborn that you’ll find yourself pressing repeat. Tip: best played loud.


I’ve made no recent secret of my love for all things Mumford, and if you’ve spoken to me within the past three months you’ve likely heard me talk about the group about as passionately as one might normally speak of the Second Coming. Yes. They are that good. In trying to define exactly what it is that pulls me to their music I can only conclude that every part of it sets a new standard; the lyrics, the melodies, the rich harmonies, the instrumentation, the honest depth and raw power of it all. Mumford is my adrenaline inducing  music, my sunny afternoon happy music, my rainy day whimiscal and overly poetic music, my soul searching, soul finding, hear-God-speak prayer inducing music; essentially, they’ve managed to create a sound that meets the listener exactly where they are, every time.

Music has always understood me in a way no human being ever will. Music, plain and simply put, knows me better. It would be impossible to explain how deeply I feel a song that I love, or how much easier it is to stomach the world to the tune of a fabulous soundtrack. So when I say that I have fallen in love with the music of Mumford and his Sons, I mean it. In a time of life that has taken me through more emotional changes and paradigm shifts than I ever thought was possible, the music of Mumford has been my go-to. They've accompanied every recent segment (and there've been a lot lately) of this amusingly awkward, sometimes painful, and always beautiful mid-20’s-ness. The prospect of seeing them live built an anticipation in me that finally, as of 11pm last night, came to a front: when the boys all walked on stage.

Keeners that we are, my friends and I lined up outside 2 hours before the doors opened and as such, were in the first 10 people inside. Beelining to the front & staying there meant that for the entire concert, I was one arm’s length away from the main man himself. That’s right ladies: I could see the sweat beads on Marcus Mumford’s brow. And I’m near sighted.

The concert proved to not only live up to but exceed my expectations. Musically, they were perfect. Performance wise, they were perfectly engaging and a thrill to watch. There is nothing more appealing than a man who’s passionate about, and passionately good at, his music – and here there were four of them, all in a row. Each band member brings an irreplaceable dynamic to each song, and watching them interact with each other and with the audience showed how genuinely they carry themselves. And as if they weren’t attractive enough, they’ve all got English (or is it British?) accents, and they're funny and charming and so. damn. talented. (or did I mention that already).

They opened the show with Sigh No More, the title track off their latest album, and closed it with one of their earlier tunes: Feel the Tide. In between those two we were graced with a few new tracks (the names of which I can’t remember, but will be buying as soon as humanly possible), and a plethora of familiar favorites. They even segued briefly into a tribute to Canadian artistry, by playing their own rendition of “Dance Dance Dance” by Neil Young (which, by the way, I pretended they were singing to me). From beginning to end, they were unbelievable.

I spent the entire concert in a complete state of Euphoria, giggling and sighing and pinching myself that I was actually hearing this music live. I was barely able to sing along for most of it, though I know all the words, because I was so beside myself with glee. That is Marcus Mumford. That is Mumford & Sons. This is my most favorite song ever…and here they are, playing it live, three feet in front of my face. I’m sure I looked somewhat rediculous, leaning on the guardrail and staring up in a dreamlike manner at the band (ahem. the lead singer), or dancing with my mouth in a perma grin, retreating for moments at a time into that blissful state only their music can put me in, or pretending that during Marcus’ turn at the drums, he was looking right at me (and falling in love, no doubt). Yes, I definitely looked a little silly. But I could hardly care. Best night of my life thus far (rivaled only by this one), and, I wager best night of my life for a long time to come.

I am so tempted to write a whole paragraph about Marcus and how much I want to hear him tell his story and know what makes up his heart (not to mention, a whole other paragraph about how damn handsome he is). But I figure that would be kind of stalkerish, so I won’t. Just know that I have become one of those women with a hopeless crush on a celebrity, and some small fraction of my head is planning out our future. Don’t tell him that though, I’m pretty sure he’d have me arrested (either that, or his girlfriend would).



really though, can you blame me?


When they come to town next, you must go. Be a keener, watch the minutes change until the tickets go on sale, show up early. Do what you need to do, so long as it gets you in the building where they play.

Marcus, Ted, Marshall, or Ben: if you’re reading this (which I am currently pretending you are), consider it a personal invitation to come back to Vancouver whenever you want, as often as you want. Vancouver loves Mumford & Sons. But, I’m guessing, not as much as I do.



*as a sidenote, there is only one radio station in Vancouver that is ‘with it’ enough to play Mumford (and other good music). 100.5 The Peak (the absolute best radio station in Vancouver) announced they would be hosting a free, secretly located Mumford & Sons pre-concert concert for yesterday afternoon. My girls & I went downtown early, the minute they announced it, to catch the show. In a crowd of hundreds, the four of us and maybe three other people had tickets to last night’s concert. When they asked those of us with tickets to cheer, we did, which is how we know we were the only ones. We may have gotten boo’d by a few bitter onlookers. Regardless, the pre-show was absolutely worth the anxious “will we make it!?” drive downtown, and a nice way to bookend a day: Mumford show in the afternoon, Mumford show at night. All this to say, if you live in the lower mainland you should probably change the first spot on your radio dial to 100.5 FM. It’s a good idea. Just sayin.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

bedtime prayer



Dear Jesus,

You aren't very good at cuddling.

love,
ashley

Saturday, May 29, 2010

two kids on a park bench

for Stacy :)



Knee socks and pigtailed hair and candy
colored lipgloss;
two girls on a park bench,
watching life go by.

One sees the mothers and their men,
the hot dog vendor across the way,
and the boys as they refuse to
walk, but rather tumble and roughouse
through the greenspace.

She sees the heights of all the flowers
and the lengths of all the trees. She sees
the smallness of the blades of grass and
the ladybug on her shoe.
There is nothing she sees that
she doesn't also like.

The second girl casts her eyes over
the ladybug and the flowers; she looks at the
tallness of the men and the smallness
of the coins being passed to the hotdog vendor
across the way. Her eyes roll
at the sight of the tumbling boys and
all their nature given grabs for
attention.

Her eyes then fall to her shoes,
where that tiny ladybug has since
taken up residence.
She takes a slurp of ice cream off
a dripping ice cream cone,
and pushes the hair from her
eyes.

"You are getting too comfortable,"
she says to the lady in red.
One finger flick,
one swift kick,
and her tiny little visitor is dead.

Girl one looks at girl two and sighs
dramatically. She props her ice cream
on the bench and kneels oh so
gently beside the smallness
of what once was a tiny red companion.

She sees the girl beside her and the
death beside her hand.
There is nothing she sees that she doesn't
also like. Except, of course,
dead ladybugs
and cold pretentious friends.

Friday, May 28, 2010

how to: exploit your lunch breaks


I'm not sure why, in the three years I have been at this job, I have never done this before. Today for my lunch break I whipped over to the coffee shop across the street, ordered a large espresso infused beverage in a to-go cup, and sat at the table in the farthest corner with the the book I am currently reading. My lunch break went from it's regular half hour of rushed-ness to a slow, meandering pause in my afternoon.

If I learned anything from my weekend away, it was this: taking a break works better when you actually stop the madness and take a break.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

twentysix.two miles

I may as well tell you now, before I get the chance to change my mind or wimp out or twist my ankle on purpose. I have agreed, and am prematurely excited, to run a marathon in October. Yes, a marathon. This October. Five months from now (that sound you hear is my brain struggling to do training math).

My Aunt and I were watching the Biggest Loser finale on Tuesday, and as we were eating dinner beforehand we got onto the topic of running, running accomplishments, and the fate of our favorite contestants on the show. In the episode before the finale, as they do every year, the final four completed a marathon. For those of you that don't watch the Biggest Loser, you should know that all of these people start the show as incredibly sick, intensely overweight individuals. By the time the season is over (approx. 6months), they are usually all athletes of some kind. In the case of the final four, they run a marathon at season's end.

As I was running the Sun Run at the beginning of the month, I kept thinking about Michael, one of my favorite contestants. This guy started the show as the biggest contestant ever: a whopping 526 pounds. While he was still at well over 300lbs, he ran 5k on a treadmill. That was the episode I watched right before I ran the Sun Run (10k), and as you can imagine, I pictured Michael's run the entire time I ran through the streets of Vancouver. "If Michael can run 5k, surely I can run 10." I was completely inspired, as I am every year, only this year I was inspired to actually become healthier as a result of watching these people get their lives back.

Something about this season got to my heart, even moreso than usual. Maybe it was because my favorite three contestants from day one ended up being the final three at the end. Daris, Ashley, and Michael were instantly loveable, each for their own reasons, and as the season drew on, they grew on me. Every accomplishment they made sent me reaching for the tissue box. Every time I actually got my butt out the door to go for a run, I pictured my favorite contestants doing the same for extra motivation. It worked: I, the slightly athsmatic non-athlete, ran 10k a few weeks ago.

The conversation with my aunt turned in a similar direction as we decided that if these contestants could run as far as they had (a full marathon, etc) in the shape they were in, then surely we could do it too. Running a marathon is a bit of a lofty goal, I admit, and it's something I am both excited and petrified to attempt. My aunt is a little nervous too I think, but oddly enough we are both pretty excited as well! Something about goal setting lights a fire in my belly. What I've found with running is that I'm better at it than I thought I was, and more able to complete my goals than I thought I was - which is a delight and a surprise and a motivator all in one. Maybe I'll actually cross that October finish line and still be alive? Time will tell!

To prep, we're running a 10k together in July, a half-marathon together in September, and then the Full in October.

As I'm running in fall (and up to it), I will no doubt be thinking of my friend Daris, who ran this season's marathon in 4hrs 2 minutes. That's the time I'm hoping to match - stay tuned as summer continues to find out where I'm at with this. Perhaps, along the way, you will have some health goals of your own to accomplish? I'd love to hear how you're doing, or have you join me in training for something that's slightly out of your reach, too. And hey, I'm always happy to have a running buddy :)



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

skinny people don't eat cake too.


Dear Lady-who-noticed-I-wasn't-eating-cake-and-felt-the-need-to-comment-rudely-on-it-eight-times-in-under-a-minute,

I'm not sure you got the memo, but mocking people for what they weigh went out with scrunchies and tie-dyed socks. Perhaps instead of scrutinizing what I do or do not eat, you should focus more on your own plate, and what kind of emotions you are putting on there.

Sincerely,
Someone who likes you just a little bit less after that conversation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

humanity is a virtue

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Faith, and faithfulness. To put your Faith in something (or someone) is essentially to declare that you will remain faithful to that thing or person. For example, if I say that my Faith lies in God, it means I will intend to be faithful to him; to his leadings, to his character, and to the life he calls me to live. But if I purposely dispose my life of his ideals, can I still call myself a person of Faith? If I believe in him, but I am not faithful to him, what does this say about me? What does this say about my Faith?

I have also been thinking a lot about Grace. Grace, by its very definition, is unasked for. It is never deserved, is usually a surprise, and always comes after some kind of broken trust. There is a set of Bible verses often quoted when the topic of Grace comes up; the paraphrase is this: don’t abuse the Grace you know is there.

To round out this discussion, perhaps I should also say that I’ve been thinking a lot about humanity, and faultedness. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that I have had to think about humanity and faults because I’ve been so recently bombarded with a ton of my own. What I’ve found in that awareness (that I am so very far from perfect) is that there are standards on my life that I didn’t even know were placed there. Through asking questions that no one asks and starting taboo conversation in the community at large I have come to discover their firm placement. These standards or Boxes of Rule are there in the hands and eyes of others. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing (that my community thinks I should fit a certain mould); I have, after all, tried to build up my own reputation and it’s obviously worked. But I’ve been surprised as of late how thick the borders are around my supposed character. Not entirely resentful, not entirely overjoyed. Just surprised.

So as I’ve been thinking about Grace and Faith and Community, and then trying to fit my own Humanity into the equation, I’ve come to realize that often, these four things do not fit together. Humanity abuses grace and offends people; it shifts my faith off course and breaks something in my community. Right? What do we do, then, when we are faced with the reality that we are not perfect humans? Do we try really hard to be perfect (and then, inevitably, fail)? Do we ignore the big questions in the act of saving Faith/face?

Or do we just act perfect and pretend we don’t have questions; do we hide our faultedness from the community at large?

You know, I think the answer is yes.

You can disagree with me if you’d like, but that still doesn’t change a lifetime of education. Truth be told, to openly admit fault is risqué, and risky even in the safest conditions; vulnerability with a person you don’t know well enough to trust is dangerous and unwise. This isn’t to say that hiding is always the answer; there are instances where admitting humanity to a larger circle is allowable and even encouraged. The distinctions for what to share and what is acceptable are made via tense: past or present. To give testimony about things that have happened in the past is an ordinary and relatively safe part of strong community. “I used to…” or “When I was younger I …” statements are commonplace. These kinds of stories evoke feelings of compassion, they open lines of questioning that seek to understand, and inspire forgiveness. But to admit a current weakness or wondering is to invite and invoke judgement of character, to open lines of questioning that seek to reprimand, and the assumption that you’ve completely lost your mind. To admit a current weakness is to taint the lense of how people see you. Certain people.

“I am thinking of doing ______ / I am not sure if I believe _________ / I sometimes wonder about ______” are statements that can get you into serious trouble. Even if you are not intending to act on any of these misgivings, even if you are genuinely seeking to learn, it will be assumed by some that you need to be lectured and preached to; pushed back in to the stereotype that quite frankly, you should be happy to live under. Because really, some people don't know what to do with imperfect people.

So when it comes to Humanity, Grace, Faith, and Community, I have come to discover this: the only way to mix these four together is to add a whole lot of LOVE. Without love, Humanity shocks the system and keeps a list. Without love, acts of Grace are incomplete and pretentious. Without love, Faith is a futile façade. Without love, Community dies.

If you can not love the person while they are still human, you do not really love them. If you can not love a person while they do not share your faith or beliefs, you do not really love them. If you can not love a person while they are in need of grace, you do not really love them. If the way you communicate with that person is not loving, consider the reasons this might be.

Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It is not self seeking or rude. Love keeps no record of past mistakes. Love protects (note: not “self righteously corrects”). Love induces hope and faith, but in the end is greater than them both.

So to this end I ask: do you really love them?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

weekend away







Sometimes the best thing you can do for an overactive psyche is run away to an island for awhile. I am happy to say that I get to do just that, and soon. Mental space and cool fresh air and lakeside views and ME go very well together. I’ve already started to do a giddy little jig in my head at the mere idea that this weekend, I might actually rest.



Dear Jesus,

You have impeccable timing.

love, ashley.


The temptation in running away, of course, is to actually run away….to leave this mass of ideas behind me and truly escape to the island this weekend. But then my first view on Monday’s return would be an oversized bulky crate sitting obnoxiously on the shoreline. “Welcome back” it would say condescendingly. But I would rather return to the mainland with my troubles left on an island, instead of the other way around. So, I’ve decided to cart the whole lot onto the ferry with me. When I set up camp, I’ll make room on my bunk for me, my sleeping bag, and a box full of stubborn questions for the Lord.

What I expect to find, though, is not that He answers every one of them. Rather, I expect that when I get onto that island and I breathe beside the trees and I go for walks with Jesus, He is probably going to ask me to for the whole box. And then He is probably going to put that box on the forest floor, empty out the contents, and make me walk away without the stubborn bits. I expect that He’ll put most of the questions in His pants pocket for later, though He might grab one or two and ask me if we can “just address these, for now”. And (if you give a mouse a cookie)…he’s probably going to ask me to stop waiting for island getaways to go for walks with Him. This is just a guess though; I don’t want to put Jesus in a box.

Monday, May 17, 2010

things I've learned about dating by being single.

It's easy enough to write down some "things I know about dating" if you've spent your entire life in relationships and you are not a social goon. But even us awkward folk glean a thing or two, on occasion. Here are my latest ruminations on the subject.


1. The only reason we find Cinderella's story endearing is because she eventually stopped running away.

2. Often, the people around you will like it when you go on dates even more than you will. To them, a date is to a marriage proposal as a kiss is to your first child: one and the same.

3. They say you shouldn't try your hand at a relationship until you can keep a houseplant alive. I have yet to be successful in the latter, so I am avoiding the former. I may be alone when I'm 80, but hopefully by then I've managed to grow a flower or two.

4. My mom warned me that "boys are only after one thing." So did your mom. So did my Gramma. So did every dating advice column ever written by a woman. Either every single one of us is off the mark, or it's true.

5. Even if you don't want to play, you are in The Game by default. Are you breathing? Then you're playing. You may choose to sit on the sidelines or hide behind the water cooler in the mascot uniform, but you're still expected to know the rules. You are never, ever off the field. Unless you are dead.

6. Men like women who can cook. It would be nice if that statement could be updated for the 21st Century: "Men like women who are so busy they only ever eat fast food to-go meals in their car." Really? I'm all set.

7. If you are single for long enough, even mentioning a guy's name is cause for tabloid photos and unprecedented lines of questioning. Be warned; and maybe keep some things a secret.

8. Knowing who you are when you're by yourself is a good thing. Don't get so far gone into contentment-riddled-solitude, though, that you can't form sentences around cute strangers. Trust me on this one.

9. Chivalry isn't dead, but it is a sleeping beauty. Gents: a bit of valiance, a good amount of persistence, even more perception and a well-timed kiss can go a long way to waking that bad boy up.


10. When I was 9, I thought 17 was a good age to get married. When I was 17, I decided it would be better to wait until I was at least 21. When I turned 21, I realized that waiting around for anything that far out of my control was just plain stupid. Now that I'm 26, and all the coolest singles I know are at least 2 years my senior, nothing has changed: putting your life on hold until you find someone to live your life with is still just as stupid as it was 5 years ago. Go have fun. Take a trip. Kiss someone you'll never see again, just to say that you did it. Redefine luxury, status, and status quo. Start a rumor about yourself just to see how long it takes to get back to you. Go for a run. Learn French. Write a book. Become an HTML expert or pick up a totally useless but visually appealing hobby.  Speed date, cliff dive, or learn to knit. Take up archery. Learn a trade. Whatever it is, do something. You're at your most alive when you are living, not when you are hitched.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

stationary religion





On Monday, mid-morning, at work, I noticed something odd. Posted to my cubicle wall was a little yellow post-it note with a handwritten message. I did not write this message, and I don’t have that particular color of post-it note, so you can imagine my surprise. This mysteriously anonymous note was instructional: visit (this website) for an “alternative, natural view of the world.”
Intriguing.

I wasn’t sure if it was a joke (a new funny website to pass time!?), but I obviously had to see what it was about. I opened a new window, typed in the address, and was taken to a forum of sorts; a website built and maintained to offer support to those who do not believe in the supernatural (God, etc).

Interesting.


After I read through some of the main portions of the site and did my best to understand where they were coming from, I closed the window and started to wonder more seriously who had written this secret message… and why. Do they know I believe in God? They might; they probably do; I don’t hide it. In an office of nearly 300 employees, I’m pretty sure most of the ones who know me would assume that I probably abide by some kind of “rule”. At least, this is my hope. So maybe this person knows where I stand; maybe they think I’m naïve to put my faith in something I can’t see; hence, the post-it. 

Fair enough.

I had a brief moment of panic, where I wondered it maybe I guard myself so closely that instead of looking faithful I look faithless; that instead of looking found, I seem lost.

Shudder…

After much thought, I posted my own little note in the place of the one there written. It reads “Thanks, but I’ve seen too much in the supernatural to ignore that it exists.” And then I put a little smiley face. And then I signed my name. No reply to date, although I think I'd rather have a reply via-conversation than a conversation via post-it.

Since my note is still on my cubicle wall I’ve had the chance to read it a few times. I’ve decided that to a person who doesn’t believe in anything supernatural, I sound like a crazy person. I think I am okay with this.





Friday, May 14, 2010

God is on my ceiling.



Do you think that, perhaps, it is okay to ask Big Questions? Like maybe the little ones don't do any good, and eventually a "but nobody ever asks this" question is the only one that applies?  Do I become a heretic?

If I've been educated one way, and told one story, can I still look around to make sure I am truly Faithful and not just Naive? If I have been commanded (and then reprimanded) to stay inside the Black Box or the White Box ONLY, can I still venture in to gray...on occasion? Do I lose my religion, my Self, or my standing in a community when I do this? Or are Grace's hands still big enough to hold me while I test out the different colors.

I can't ignore the Bigness of Life; it is everywhere I go. It is in the eyes of my neighbor, my coworker, my supposedly-lesser-friend. I can't reduce the size of someone's worth simply because they don't believe the same things I do, just as I can't reduce the value of asking a Question no one else wants you to ask.

Maybe this is not the place to ask or put my foot down in the asking.
But what I've found, as of late, is that there is no safe place to set the sole while asking those Big Questions.
Except maybe in my room, on my bed, to a God-graced ceiling.




avoiding cognitive exegesis.



...you know how they say that some people wear their hearts on their sleeves? Well, I think that I am nothing more than a walking heart with a sleeve attached. Despite my best efforts, my feelings usually end up on display.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

the Frap Dilemma.





If you buy yourself one frappuccino, and then drink it, and then 10 minutes later someone buys you another (larger) frappuccino…do you drink it and contract Type 2 Diabetes? Or, do you let that perfect strawberry deliciousness melt away and go sour in your hot car?

I think I’m gonna have to go with option A: Drinking the second frappuccino.








Wednesday, May 12, 2010

handwriting analysis confirmation: nearly dead...but only nearly.

 





 There was an article on the front cover of 24 today
that reminded the general public that handwriting really is
a window to the soul. Upon reading the brief summary of facts
I was informed that, according to my writing,
I am in conflict as a person.

Interesting.

Accurate.

So...damn...annoying.

Monday, May 10, 2010

1:14:08


That, my friends, is my official Sun Run time!
I came in 22,434th!

Yay me :)

For a girl who started at the back & expected to finish there too, I couldn't be happier! 1:14 puts me just inside the top 50% of running times, and it's a good time to beat for next year; as we all know, beating a personal best is much more rewarding than beating someone else's best any day... especially since the best of the best this year ran the whole entire race in just over 29 minutes. I'm happy to let someone else give that a go...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

just do it


well! I am about to go and run* 10 kilometers!!! If I survive, I will add this to my list of "things I never thought I'd be able to start and finish but very much started and finished."


*loose term.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

history lesson

By the time I finished grade twelve, I could not wait to get out of my hometown; the city where I’d been born & raised. I loved my family, and I liked my friends, but I had come down with a pretty severe case of Cabin Fever. It was an unquenchable thirst; lessened only by moving out. I had an Image there; I had developed a Personality there; people knew me. It was my home, after all. And yet there was inside of me an insatiable desire to go somewhere else, where nobody really knew who I was. I wanted to be expectationless, if just for a moment. I wanted to start over. I wanted to turn my life into a clean slate, so I could see what it looked like when the “who I ams” were rewritten.


So I left.

I don’t remember exactly how I got there, but I do remember that I went: two provinces over, to college; by myself. These here were my formative years; for the first time ever, I felt like I was beginning to understand and even like who I was. Much to my suprise, I started to find people who liked me, too. There were a few familiar faces in the crowd of hundreds, but everyone else was new and had yet to decide how I should, or would, act. The feeling of being relatively unknown was exhilarating, and I started to see areas of my personality I had not seen before.

Try as I might, however, I couldn’t shake away my roots. While I had left for school hoping I could leave years of awkward social wounds behind me, I was instead forced to reconcile myself with their memories. I-was-who-I-was because of where I had come from, and for no other reason. Each aspect of my personality (both newly formed and old) was fashioned in my history… by my history; carved out by experience or challenge; left to grow stronger in safe keeping and through gracious timing.

We cannot deny the existence of the very things and people that have shaped us.

This is hard for me to say. Like you, I’ve got memories I’d rather ignore. There are certain boys and stuck-up girls I would rather not remember. There are words that I would really, really like to forget. There are moments that have brought me a little too close to despair (or in some cases, right into it). But it is these very things that have played a part in making me who I am now – can I really know myself if I white them out?

I often stop to re-evaluate my life and personality and make sure the “who I ams” are still lining up correctly. This pausing usually requires me to flip back to an earlier page and take a good hard look at the words written there. Now, these words have become a mandatory reference point for moving forward.

In what my friend Nurse Rita calls the “Eat, Pray, Love” syndrome, I think there is often a temptation to sever all ties with the past so we can “really” discover who we are supposed to be from here on in. The trouble with this behaviour, though, is that it’s contradictory. You cannot cut all your roots off in an attempt to live. You’ll die. Just as you can’t refuse to form new roots or you’ll never grow.

I like who you are, and I like who you are becoming. But you and your roots are one and the same, and I’d like it if you didn’t try to cut them off.


...because I am a dweeb, I just Wiki’d “root”. Here’s what they had to say:



The three major functions of roots are

1) absorption of water and inorganic nutrients,
2) anchoring of the plant body to the ground and
3) storage of food and nutrients





Take a second look at number two: roots are the anchor of the plant. They keep the plant grounded.
Take a second look at one and three: the roots feed the plant and store things to feed the plant later.

You’ll notice Wiki didn’t point out, “roots are always pretty”. Because regardless of what they look like, they are essential to the life of the plant. The plant cannot ignore the roots or walk away without them.


We can’t erase our history, and a “fresh start” doesn’t imply that we should. Everything we grow through and from becomes a part of who we are. Everything we see and experience will remind us of something we’ve seen already. If not – if it’s a new experience – then we will subconsciously compare it to our past anyway. How do we know if something is new if we don’t first recollect the things that are old? Carrying baggage or believing lies from our past is entirely unnecessary, but we certainly don’t reject where we came from, either. It is, after all, where we came from; it is who we are; it is why we are.




coming soon to afterthoughts: a long, long, long overdue SHOUTOUT!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

the temporary fix

I recently commented that running by the ocean can create temporary euphoria, and it's true. I can honestly say that as hard as it's been to get my body up to speed, I have fallen in love with my twice weekly routine of hitting the pavement; beachside.

My original goal for this morning was to get up and go for a run at 9am. But like many a Saturday before this one, getting up that early seemed entirely criminal. So I stayed in bed, and slept for another hour. I then ate a delicious breakfast of 5% plain yogurt with juicy mangoe chunks and Kashi crunch cereal (and I also downed two breakfast tacos, handmade by my awesome roommate). With fuel in my belly, I considered again the thought of heading to the boardwalk. But then I reckoned that I could use that energy in a better way: bra shopping. I was right; it was a successful trip (is it inappropriate to mention right here how bittersweet it is to buy an adorable bra that no one will ever see? Yes, it is inappropriate? Okay, I'll say nothing).

Finally, around 2 o'clock, I went for a run (*cough* ...wog). I am proud to say that it was the best run of my short lived running career, and the high of my accomplishment lasted me all afternoon. I managed to not only get in quite a few hills, I jogged for eleven minutes - straight! Yah you read that right baby....eleven minutes...in a row! My sister suggested that might equal two whole kilometers! Ah, yes.

One week until the Sun Run, and I'm kind of sort of almost feeling ready.