April 24, 2018

Show up for yourself.

© Clarkson Potter

Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-Loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood
By Mari Andrew

It's 8:30pm. I am already in bed (lol)—cozy after making a delicious, healthy meal, taking a long shower and practicing the piano. It feels so good to take care of myself. I know I may not always have this quiet so I'm treasuring it now.

I was really excited to receive Mari Andrew's new (first!) book in the mail. The weekend after I returned from Cuba, I had every intention of completing necessary chores and getting back into a routine: laundry, grocery shopping, spring clean the apartment (kitchen and bathroom, especially). But I woke up Saturday morning and all I could do was lie there. One hour became three hours became the entire day. I don't remember exactly what I did besides read and be still.

Sadness overcomes me after returning from a vacation and it takes about a week to fully recover. (Saudade may be the best descriptiona deep-felt appreciation for an experience and the simultaneous yearning once it's lost.) Being completely disconnected in Cuba was the best respite for my oft fast-paced, busy, complex emotion-filled life here in New York. Having to go to work the next day didn't help. By the time the weekend arrived, my body said, "nah." I needed some time to recalibrate.

This was the perfect book to get me there. I'm growing and could feel how quickly I'm evolving by how in tune I felt with the words. I'm proud of my journey. It brought me so much comfort it made me cry. Not sad tears. Tears tied to feeling recognition and a reminder that all the things I have felt—good and bad—are not new to the world.

Sometimes, I really feel the weight of my past experiences. I'm thankful an illustration exists that perfectly articulates this weight. Some days—like days I take a boxing class and feel so fucking proud for doing well because it means I'm getting stronger, and I think of my dad and how proud he might feel if he knew (he introduced me to boxing)—I feel the weight tug at me a little harder.

Most days lately I have it so good and can appreciate the sweetness that encompasses my life. The minutiae. I can take full breaths. I know my time on earth is limited and it fills me with excitement and purpose. As I've made more time to love on myself, I reflect on my life in disbelief and become overpowered by that feeling, nearly bursting with the anticipation of all the things I'm working towards and all of the things that can be good.

"I liked the idea of a creature whose features didn't make sense on land but all came together for a majestic flight. I felt like so many of my insecurities went away when I traveled, and the things I'm most self-conscious about became things that helped me be a better traveler."
(p. 168; My friends and I discussed how more ourselves we become when we travel. I sincerely miss my wide-eyed, curious, daring self and I'm pushing myself to retain that sense of wonder and openness more each time.)

"You've felt it before. You'll feel it again. Heartbreak is one of the trade-offs of getting to spend a precious few decades in this world. Never let the futile fear of it stop you from sending that text, saying it first, trying again, or letting it go."
(p. 174, on making friends with heartache from wonderful chapter "Anatomy of an Adult")

"Show up for friends. Show up for yourself.
Show up at the dentist. Even if your appointment is at nine a.m. on a Sunday, and you stayed out late, and you'd rather go to brunch, and you're sick of doing the responsible thing, show up. Go there and get your gums cleaned and be grateful you get to do that, even if you definitely don't feel grateful.
Show up with stories to tell. Your whole life prepares you for the big moments, so go in confidently knowing you have years of experience to your name. This goes for interviews, dates, or any important conversations. It's ultimately about whether they're a fit for you than you a fit for them, so be funny and self-assured and wear hot pink if you feel like it. Don't hide the fact that your favorite sport is bocce ball and you're currently binge-watching Golden Girls.
Show up for work. Take charge of your responsibilities. Be honest. Ask questions. Work hard. Offer to help, offer to stay, but don't let it keep you from doing other showing up for your loved ones.
Show up to see friends and family. Even if you don't feel like it. Even if you don't like your friend's friends. Even if you don't have anything in common with one of your relatives. Show up for concerts on a work night, for sporting events you know nothing about, for that thing your friend is doing for her job that you don't really understand but it seems important based on how nervous she is. Show up for your friend's birthday with the more expensive wine. RSVP and show up on time. People remember when you were there and when you weren't. Even the one you suspect doesn't even know your name—she does know, and she does care, and she will remember."
(pp. 176-7, on SHOWING up. Again from "Anatomy of an Adult." I can testify that showing up for myself and others these past few months has very quickly and greatly enriched my life.)

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