Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Space Between

I’ve recently been wrestling with this idea of “the space between.” Often times, the space between is a sign that change is on the horizon. It’s a transition stage, if you will. It can be good; it can be bad. Much like life.

For me, though, I seem to be in web of “spaces between.” And that’s not to say this is a bad web. It is merely neither good, nor bad. It simply is.

Most of you know I am a runner. I’ve been running since the sixth grade when I randomly asked my Dad if I could join him on his daily track run. He, of course, said yes and so I went. From that point forward, I was hooked. Over the years I have transitioned from a casual runner to a more, serious long-distance runner (although, I’m still snails-pace slow). I have run a total of five full marathons and dozens of half-marathons. It has become tradition for me to run the St. Jude full marathon each year in December. I’ve done so the past five years in a row. It was only natural for me to sign up again this year. However, the running gods had a different plan for me. I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my left hip last month and was told to lay off running for at least a few months (and obviously forgo the marathon). So, here I am, muddling through the space between—the space between now and when I can finally start seriously running again.

Relationships. They are hard. I’ve yet to master them. The emotions, the feelings, the time together, the time apart—it can all be overwhelming and difficult to digest. Loving people at their best is easy, but learning to love them at their worst takes far more strength and dedication. Not to mention patience…lots and lots of patience.
So, here I am, navigating the space between—the space between loving myself and loving my partner.   

Yoga. I’ve been a dedicated yogi since I was 15 years old (that’s eleven years!). I’ve seen my practice evolve from basic, I-can-touch-the-ground ability to advanced, I-can-twist-into-a-pretzel ability. Yet, lately, due to the hip injury, my practice has suffered. It’s frustrating—looking at myself in the mirror for 90 minutes, a constant reminder of what I can’t do; what I once was.
So, here I am, balancing the tight rope of the space between—the space between each posture.     

Finding a sense of contentment and peace amidst the chaos of the space between is the challenge. Yet, what if solace is found in just riding it out; relinquishing control; letting go; trusting that the answers will come, but only without force. Because maybe we will always be in the space between; maybe the space between is synonymous with what we call the present, the here and now.   

“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Too Much

In the words of Hannah Horvath, “I’m not what you’d call a chill girl.” I never have been and probably never will be. I obsess over seemingly insignificant things (especially things I cannot change). I worry incessantly. The ‘what if’ questions are set to repeat on the playlist in my head (No wonder I do not allow my students to ask ‘what if’ questions; I have enough of my own.) I have a color-coded day planner with my days, weeks, months planned down to the minute. 
Should I (or you) want to know what I did for exercise on, say, March 18, 2014, I can tell you because I have records. Not kidding.  
I do nothing halfway. I do it full-on or I simply don’t do it at all. 

Is this a perfect way to be? No. Is this an ideal way to be? Hell no. Will I ever change, though? Double hell no. It’s who I am. It’s in my blood. It’s my DNA.

This sometime-not-so-great quality of mine comes in handy when I am doing things like training for a marathon or lesson planning for school, but with dating and relationships…not so much. 

I recently read a piece on Thought Catalog (most of you know, it’s one of my favorite online magazines) titled “When You’re Never The Girl That They Choose To Love.” As I read each word, I became mesmerized. It was as if this very piece was written to me; for me. 

The premise is simple… there are girls, like myself, who are constantly flooded by thoughts such as:
“Will I ever be good enough for someone?” “Why is love so easy for some but not for me?” “What’s wrong with me? Am I heinous? Weird? Intimidating? What is it?”
And then, attempting to cope, you convince yourself it’s okay. You will find your “one” someday, just not today. Everything will work out. You don’t need anyone. You are fine alone. You don’t want to be like those ditzy, nitwits who rely on a man (or woman) for happiness. 

But the harsh reality of it all is… it’s all a facade. You’re disappointed. You’re pissed off. You’re confused. Nothing makes sense. 

Relationships are complicated. I’ve yet to maintain one myself for longer than six months. 

Maybe it’s because I am attracted to all the wrong kinds of love (something to do with my attachment style…still working on that with my therapist…it takes a village, y’all; no judgement). 

Maybe it’s because even the thought of having an air plant sends me into panic mode; I simply cannot care for another living thing, okay?! 

Maybe it’s because I windex my glass top tables multiple times a day (finger prints…I can’t). 

Maybe it’s because when I say I’m going to the “grocery,” I really mean the liquor store. 

Or maybe, as I’ve been told, it’s because I am “too much.” I worry too much. I obsess too much. I care too much. 

So, what is the Hannah Horvath, non-chill, care-too-much type of girl to do? 

You just keep moving forward. You tell yourself whatever it takes to make sense of the chaos around you. You convince yourself that someone is out there and he/she will be worth the wait; that the right person will actually embrace your “too much-ness;” that, in the end, you will be stronger for this journey; that patience is a virtue.

Some days, you’ll succeed. 

Some days, you won’t. And on those days, you’ll take a deep breath and try again tomorrow.      

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Moth

It’s midnight and I’m wide awake, thinking of you. 

It’s been five months since I’ve seen you. 

In many ways, I have moved on. Or at the very least, I’ve started the process. 

I’ve gone on dates since you. I’ve had butterflies since you. I’ve given and received kisses since you. I've shared a bed with someone since you. I’ve laughed; I’ve cried; I’ve lived my life. I've even had days where you never cross my mind (something that seemed impossible a few months ago).   

When “our” songs come on my playlist, I no longer pass them over. 

The necklace you gave me…I wear it. 

Yet, nights like tonight remind me of just how far I still have to go. 

Weeks like this past week remind me of just how much I miss you; of just how much I'd do to have you back. 

With each reminder; with each memory, I still feel the sharp sting; the sink in my stomach; the lump in my throat. And while I now try to embrace it, the pain is still there. And it hurts. It fucking hurts. 

As I look back, I realize you were the first person I truly loved. And while the past five months have been one hell of a struggle, I wouldn’t go back and erase what we had. You introduced me to a lot of things, and not just The Bass Pro Shop (ha).

You taught me how to love; how to truly, deeply, whole-heartedly love another person. You taught me to live in the moment; to say “fuck it” to people (and things) who (that) disapprove of my sometimes not-so-normal way of thinking.

With you, I not only experienced love, but I also felt it. For all of this, I am grateful. Because of this, you'll always be with me.  

People tell me we weren’t meant for each other; that it wouldn’t have lasted. Maybe they’re right. For healing’s sake, I kind of hope they are.

But my heart tells me they’re not.

And I cannot help but continue to hold onto some fragmented piece of hope that perhaps one day, in the distant future, we will meet again. 


This past weekend I watched the season 5 finale of Girls - one of my favorite shows. Hannah, the main character, ends the episode by participating in The Moth Story Slam. The theme that evening is jealousy -- a perfect theme for her situation at hand, which is that her ex-boyfriend and her (former) best friend are, as she put it, "fucking." A classic tale of jealousy, I suppose. 
Given her complicated situation, her message that night at the story slam is surprisingly simple. She admits that yes, she cried; she screamed; she had impure and unhealthy thoughts (like throwing a bike through his window).  
The story itself is one of heartbreak and loneliness; of abandonment and recovery. It's a story to which we can almost all relate. Sure, maybe our best friends haven't fucked around with an ex but we've all felt broken, alone, and lost at some point in our lives, if only for a moment.  
While the story is profound, it's her ending that resonated with me. After much resistance (and a lot of tears), she decided to surrender; to just accept the hand she had been dealt. And so, she delivered a fruit basket to her ex with a note (a sincere note) wishing him luck in this new relationship. In doing so, as she sat the basket outside his door, she realized she was finally free of it all; free from all the misery through which she was putting herself.
She ends her story slam with some of the most profound lines this season (maybe ever),   
"I'm Hannah forever. No matter what I do, no matter whether I start a new nuclear missile crisis with my emotions, or I sit back and chill and give someone a fruit basket, I can only control the mayhem that I create around me. But the crazy thing is, when I showed up, I heard screaming and I heard my name and I heard madness. And I knew that I was free. At least for tonight. That's all. Thank you."   
I, too, can only control the mayhem I create around me. Obsessing over the coulda, woulda, shoulda's of this past relationship I so desperately miss is... well... it's mayhem. 

I'm Halle forever. No matter what I do. No matter if I let obsession, worry, and fear cripple me, or if I let go, relax, and embrace the journey (with a beer in hand, of course). Either way, I'm still Halle. 

...And while I probably won't send a fruit basket to my ex, perhaps I can *try* to sit back and chill... and maybe, just maybe, set myself free.   

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Who Cares Anyway?

I have this routine in the morning (I know, right? Me? Having a routine? Shocking.): coffee in bed, laptop, Thought Catalog. 

Thought Catalog is a website “dedicated to your stories and ideas.” It’s run by an independently owned and operated U.S. media organization. 

I like to check Thought Catalog because there is almost always a piece that seems to speak directly to me. Yesterday, I was particularly drawn to the piece, “12 Things You Need To Know Before You Date The Girl Who Worries Too Much.” Today, I find myself reading “If He Wanted To Be With You, He Would Be With You.” 

After reading both pieces, I cannot help but make some sort of connection between the two. 

As a girl who does worry far too much, relationships are often difficult for me. My incessant anxiety and constant “what if” thoughts are translated to others as “she’s annoying AF.” And then it’s simply a matter of time before the other party starts to slowly back away, which only causes more worry (a vicious cycle, indeed).

What people don’t know, and what this Thought Catalog piece brings to light, is this… 

The girl who worries too much — she is often the girl you want in the long run. Her perpetual worrying is a direct correlation to how much she cares. In fact, when looking up the word worry in the dictionary, one of the synonyms listed is care

The girl who worries is the girl who cares. She cares about your feelings, your thoughts, your dreams, your fears. 

She cares. 


So, no, the girl who cares might not be “chill.” She might not be your late night go-to girl. 
But, she is kind. She’s gentle; she’s aware. When she loves, she does so whole-heartedly. 
And in the end, aren’t true, meaningful relationships built on real, authentic feelings, not “just chill” indifference? 

Which brings me to my next point… 

Women who have a tendency to worry excessively also have an affinity for making excuses. Let me be more specific. As a girl who worries too, too much, I find myself constantly rationalizing relationships that are sub-par. 

He doesn’t take me out? Well, he’s probably nervous. He will. Eventually.
He doesn’t call me? Well, he’s probably busy. Texting is easier.
He only texts me when he wants something (something specific, ahem)? Well, we all “love” differently. He shows his “love” through physical affection. 

I could go on and on (and on and on)… But, the hard truth of the matter is… 

If he wanted to be with you, he would be with you. 

It’s a hard pill to swallow. Trust me, I know. I’ve yet to swallow it myself (but admitting is the first step, right?). No matter how cute he is or how mind-blowing the sex is, the cold, hard truth is still there, staring you dead in the face. And it’s not going anywhere because men who aren’t ready just simply aren’t ready. No matter how many kisses you give him, no matter how many sexy pictures you send him, no matter how many sweet notes you write him… he still won’t be ready.  

I write this because I know how it feels. 

I know how it feels to make excuse after excuse for someone’s shitty behavior. I know how it feels to check my phone every few minutes, holding on to the faint possibility that he’s sent me a message — a proper message, that is. I know how it feels to jump up and go see him at all hours of the night because attention at midnight is better than no attention at all, right? 

I’ve been there. Hell, I am there. 

Will I change? Will I stop making excuses for others? Will I stop accepting what I'm given and instead, start demanding what I deserve? 

I’d like to say yes. Yes, yes, and yes! 

Instead, though, I’ll be honest. I probably won’t change. At least, not overnight. 

Change is hard. But maybe, just maybe, writing it down is the first step. A small, baby step, but a step nonetheless.     

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Stop the Madness, Ladies

A friend of mine recently stumbled upon a blog post — “You’re Not a ‘Plan B’ Kind of Girl.” After reading it, she messaged me the link, knowing all too well it would resonate with me. And she was right. Every. Single. Word. It was as if the post was written directly to me, for me. 

The premise is simple — Plan B girls are the girls who accept mediocrity (or even below) when it comes to dating and relationships; the girls who accept the “one day” and “just give it time” phrases; the girls who spend countless hours rationalizing, overthinking, proving, and most of all, waiting. We all know the Plan B girl. In fact, we might be the Plan B girl. 

I’ve spent the majority of my young adult life being this girl. So much so, I started to actually believe this was how relationships worked — the constant waiting would pay off; if I just do (blah blah blah), he will like me; I have to prove myself, first; it’s all part of the process, I would tell myself. 

I’m wrong. 

Relationships do not work like that. At least, not good ones. 

The good ones will not make you wait. The good ones will chase you, call you, write you old-fashioned love notes (even cheesy haikus), and above all else, the good ones will never make you feel less than a Plan A girl.

You (myself included) are not a second choice. You are fabulous and worthy of all things great. 

So, to all the Plan B girls, let’s stop perpetuating this “second is better than none” mentality. Let’s stop rationalizing (and even worse, accepting) late night booty calls, indifference, and overall shitty behavior. Let’s stop accepting anything less than the best. 

“Stop waiting for the guy who isn’t sure you’re enough and respect yourself enough to wait for the one that knows you are.” 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Waiting Game

It’s been nearly two months. 

They say time heals all wounds. I’m still waiting. 

Patience is a virtue, I know, but I'm rather antsy these days. 

Somewhere in the middle is where I find myself; torn between logic and desire — I should let you go, yet I’m not quite ready. A life in which you are no longer present, if only in my head, seems far too great a weight to bear.

I have the power to dispose of the tangible everyday reminders, though I’ve yet to do so. 

The large fox-shaped eraser. You were well-aware of my affinity for school supplies, particularly the smell of a fresh eraser. As for the fox? Well, I think that’s self-explanatory.

The army man bottle opener. Wino meets beer enthusiast - opposites attract, right?

Lil’ Mouse. He was more of a joke than anything. In fact, he wasn’t really given to me, but rather on loan until you got settled into your own place. He still sits, perched on my shelf, awaiting your return.

The boomerang necklace. My favorite. It still hangs on the jewelry tree by my nightstand. I haven’t worn it since that day but god knows I’ve reached for it countless times. You gave it to me as an apology (for what, I can’t remember) because just like a boomerang, you said you’d always come back to me. If only that were true.

The stack of cards. Some funny. Some serious. Some romantic. Some silly. All perfect.    

…but the intangible reminders – the abstract – those are even harder to clear out – reminders of the times in which we were indestructible (or so we thought); reminders of our “set fire to the rain” kind of passion-infused romance; reminders so vivid, so real, so raw, so present. With each reminder, my heart breaks, my soul aches (a literal pain), my muscles tighten, my stomach sinks, and I suddenly feel lost. 

In the midst of our whirlwind, maybe I lost myself and perhaps that’s what is most sad. 

I’ll find myself again. I am certain. And when I do, perhaps I’ll thank you — for loving me when I couldn’t love myself; for knocking me off my feet in a way only I could pull myself up; for pointing me in the direction of self-discovery; and most importantly, for showing me that no matter how shitty life can be, I’ll come out on the other side. 

For now, though, I still miss you.   

Friday, January 8, 2016


I got the news there was someone new. That someone wasn't me. 

I got the news while in the midst of regular day-to-day conversation. 

I got the news and my stomach sank. My heart dropped. The world underneath seemed to completely give way. 

Lost. Alone. Sad. Angry. All at once. 

Angry at you, yes, but below that surface "you-did-me-wrong" kind of anger, lies the real anger--the anger I have with myself. 

Angry I screwed up what we had. Angry I could be so careless to let you slip away. 

Angry when I reach for my phone, I can’t call the number that is forever locked in my memory. Angry your smile is merely an image perfectly embedded in my head. Angry when I reach for you in the middle of the night, there is nothing but an empty spot, bare and cold. Angry I can’t pack your lunch with that funky peanut butter you so hated. Angry I can no longer kiss your lips or hold you tight. 

Most importantly, angry that anger is what got me here in the first place; angry I let anger consume me, causing me to make a decision that is, no doubt, one of my biggest regrets in this life. 

I would do anything in this world to have a moment with you again.

...even if it was just a moment.

In the words of our favorite, James Bay,

“I'll come around if you ever want to be in love
I'm not waiting but I'm willing if you call me up
If you ever want to be in love, I'll come around.”