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Slow and Steady

“It’s like standing in place and watching everyone else and everything else move forward.
And you can’t move forward, too.”


I sent this in a message to a friend today. We were talking about relationships and how it seems like everyone around me is having really important things happen to them, like getting engaged, while I’m just sitting here waiting for something magnificent to happen in my own life. Or maybe for me just not to feel like I’m not doing anything significant with my life right now.


And how ridiculous it is for me to think that. Of course I’m doing something significant: I’m going to law school, and I’m 2/3 of the way finished with it, and if everything goes according to plan, next summer I’ll take the Bar Exam, pass it, and begin a career in which I can really help people and hopefully make some kind of difference, even if only a small difference, in this world. That’s significant, right? Logically, I know that it is, but maybe it doesn’t feel that way right now because I’m in the thick of this experience with law school and only just barely beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with it.


I also think that I’m feeling pressure in certain areas of my life right now, and because I don’t feel that I’m “successful” in those areas, I must be doing something wrong. Dating, for example. I feel like I’m always whining about the fact that I’m a complete failure in this aspect of my life, but lately it has really been twisting my heart. What’s wrong with me? Why hasn’t someone, anyone, come along? Am I unloveable? Am I inadequate? These are the questions I torture myself with on a daily basis, and not even just when it comes to significant others. I ask myself these questions with respect to many people in my life. Lack of romantic relationships, broken friendships, other burned bridges with people. It’s easy to let the failures, the perceived failures (whether they’re mine or someone else’s that have affected me) pile up and weigh on my heart like a boulder.


Sometimes I look around, look at the people around me, and feel the importance of their lives wash over me, making me feel so very aware of the lack of importance I feel when it comes to my own life. What am I doing with myself that’s so great? Who am I impacting positively in this world right now? Does anyone need me? Want me? Again, boulders. So very heavy on my heart.


Tonight, I went to work out at my CrossFit gym. I knew what the workout was going to be, and knew that I probably would be the last one to finish. I hate being last, being so behind everyone else and feeling like a complete loser. In many ways, this feeling I get when I’m in the gym getting my ass handed to me is the same feeling I have in life outside of the gym, too. I feel slow, behind, so incredibly aware of my inadequacies. And yet, on nights like tonight when I feel that way, I still keep pushing, keep going, even if it seems like it’s at a snail’s pace compared to everyone else around me. Slow and steady. Because I know that there is a purpose, there is some significance to all of this, to me. There has to be. There has to be something pushing me forward. And that something must have some reason for forcing me to do this way, this slowly and painfully, because there are so many lessons one can learn from being forced to live in and through her pain.


And so, while it feels like I’m standing in place, still and without and progress and with everyone around me moving on and leaving me in their dust, I know that I’m moving, changing, growing, in all directions. Not as quickly as I’d like, and not in all of the ways that I’d like right now, but I’m not the same person, standing in the same place, that I was even just a year ago.


I’m not religious, but I imagine that if I were, I’d be on my knees right now praying to have the purpose of all of this revealed to me. Just give me the answers already, damnit! Lead me out of this maze so that I can get to the better part of this life. But getting ourselves through the maze and learning from the wrong turns (and oh, will there be wrong turns) is the point of it all, isn’t it? I know this, deep down, but I try to fight it anyway.


Slow and steady, Tara. Slow and steady. Our journeys are our own, tailored just for us, and comparing footprints between completely different paths from completely different maps is useless. All we can do is learn to navigate what we have the best that we can and work our way toward the purpose that is imprinted in us all.


-T

Untitled.

What do you do? You laugh. I’m not saying I don’t cry, but in between, I laugh. And I realize how silly it is to take anything too seriously. Plus, I look forward to a good cry. It feels pretty good.

-Sam, “Garden State”

Cloudless Snowfall

Great big flakes like white ashes
at nightfall descending
abruptly everywhere
and vanishing
in this hand like the host
on somebody’s put-out tongue, she
turns the crucifix over
to me, still warm
from her touch two years later
and thank you,
I say all alone—
Vast whisp-whisp of wingbeats
awakens me and I look up
at a minute-long string of black geese
following low past the moon the white
course of the snow-covered river and
by the way thank You for
keeping Your face hidden, I
can hardly bear the beauty of this world.

“Cloudless Snowfall” by Franz Wright

The Catastrophe of My Personality

Below is a poem, Mayakovsky, by Frank O’Hara, that I’ve shared on my different blogs over the years. It’s probably my favorite poem, and, interestingly enough, I first came to know of it when I was watching an episode of Mad Men and the main character, Don Draper, read part of it. It’s beautiful and haunting and sad, and I love it. I’ve italicized the portions of it that tend to hit me particularly hard. I know poetry isn’t everyone’s thing, but I hope you can at least appreciate this one a little bit. -T

Mayakovsky, by Frank O’Hara

1
My heart’s aflutter!
I am standing in the bath tub
crying. Mother, mother
who am I? If he
will just come back once
and kiss me on the face
his coarse hair brush
my temple, it’s throbbing!

then I can put on my clothes
I guess, and walk the streets.

2
I love you. I love you,
but I’m turning to my verses
and my heart is closing
like a fist.

Words! be
sick as I am sick, swoon,
roll back your eyes, a pool,

and I’ll stare down
at my wounded beauty
which at best is only a talent
for poetry.

Cannot please, cannot charm or win
what a poet!
and the clear water is thick

with bloody blows on its head.
I embrace a cloud,
but when I soared
it rained.

3
That’s funny! there’s blood on my chest
oh yes, I’ve been carrying bricks
what a funny place to rupture!
and now it is raining on the ailanthus
as I step out onto the window ledge
the tracks below me are smoky and
glistening with a passion for running
I leap into the leaves, green like the sea

4
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.

Via

On 2015 and Me.

It’s 11:30 p.m. here in Kansas, where I’m sitting on my bed in my old room at my parents’ house, snacking and waiting for the clock to strike midnight. I’m not sure why, but even when I’m not doing anything to celebrate the new year (which is pretty much every year) I still make myself stay up until the next year officially has arrived. The most exciting New Year’s Eve I can remember was about four years ago when I was in college and on a leadership retreat of sorts that took place in the Florida Everglades. The trip consisted of us students, who had been sorted into crews, paddling in canoes for about 72 miles through the Everglades over the course of a week-and-a-half or so.

On that New Year’s Eve night, after a long day of paddling (I think we logged around 16 miles that day) we literally pulled into our stopping place as the clock struck midnight. It was an amazing experience. It was quiet — no loud fireworks or lights, only the millions of stars in the sky above us. Our instructors pulled out bottles of sparkling grape juice and poured them into little cups for us, and we drank them together and marveled at how unique that experience was, how much more fulfilling it was than going to a party or watching fireworks. Some of the details of that trip have become more fuzzy to me as the years have gone by, but I’ll always remember that night. I have yet to experience a NYE that even comes close to touching it.

I wish that I had a better segue into the real topic of this post, but I don’t. I just had to share that story because it’s one of my favorites. I guess that maybe that story comes to mind not only because it’s almost the new year, but because that trip allowed for a lot of self-reflection, which is what all of us tend to do at the end of a year and just before the beginning of a new one.

As I sit here tonight thinking about this past year and what I want next year to look like, one word keeps coming to mind: Me. Me.

I have spent so much of this past year, so much of my life, really, focused on other people and appeasing them, wanting them to like me, wanting to be important to them. In the process, I have completely lost my sense of self and what it means to make ME happy, to give MYSELF what I need. And so while I could sit here and give you a list of resolutions, most of which I probably would have given up on after only a short time, instead I’ve decided to resolve to this one thing: 2015 is going to be the year of me. Of Tara.

Life is hard enough sometimes as it is, but it becomes infinitely more difficult when you spend it living only for others and never giving yourself what you need or want. I just want to kick myself for all of the time I’ve given away, willingly, to trying to make others happy and sacrificing my own well-being and happiness because of it. It’s like I boxed up all of my self-worth, happiness, hopefulness, all of it, every good part of me, and handed them all to others and said, “Here, take these gifts and open them and tell me that you love them because if you don’t, then it means that I am a failure.” I just gave it all away and waited for everyone else to validate me and make me feel worthy, when really, the person I needed those things from the most was myself.

So, this year, and hopefully for all of the years that follow, I’ve decided that I’m going to try my damnedest not to do that anymore. Not to give away the best parts of myself for others to decide the worthiness of. The only person, the only thing in this world over which I truly have control is myself, so why am I not spending more time on improving myself, loving myself, strengthening myself? Why am I not making decisions for myself, but rather making them based on what I think other people want? No. Not anymore. It’s time to make things about me for once, and not in a selfish, doesn’t-give-a-shit-about-others kind of way, but in a I-care-for-myself-and-I-am-worthy kind of way.

It’s 12:04 a.m., now. Me. 2015 and Me. Let’s do this.

-T

Some Snapshots of My Life

When I first created this particular blog, I did so with the intention of keeping my identity somewhat concealed. I suppose I was just paranoid about people in my “real life” finding my blog and reading these deeply personal things about me and using them to judge me. I think this is the kind of paranoia that comes with being hurt by people and wanting to do whatever it takes to avoid being hurt like that again. But what I’ve realized is that I have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to this blog and what I write on here. And if people from my life off of the internet happen to find this thing and read my words, I hope they read them knowing that each thing I write on here comes from a place of sincerity and vulnerability and wanting to use my own life experiences to connect with others.

So, in the spirit of being transparent and, maybe more importantly, being unafraid, I’ve decided I’m no longer going to hide my face. No more hiding, and no more being afraid. I stand behind everything that I write on here, and hope that those who read my posts stand with me and support me.

With all of that being said, here are some recent (and one not-so-recent) photos of my life as of late. Nothing too exciting, but I wanted to post today and have been writing some heavy stuff, so I figured maybe some photos would be nice. I hope you enjoy them.

This picture is from September, but I came across it as I was looking for photos for this post, and figured I would add it. I took it while walking across this bridge to my apartment one evening. There were these beautiful lantern lights hanging all the way across the bridge. The lanterns have been replaced now with the flags of different nations, which is also pretty cool.

This picture is from September, but I came across it as I was looking for photos for this post, and figured I would add it. I took it while walking across this bridge to my apartment one evening. There were these beautiful lantern lights hanging all the way across the bridge. The lanterns have been replaced now with the flags of different nations, which is also pretty cool.

This photo is pretty dumb, but when I was studying for finals a few weeks ago and taking notes, I looked at my hand and noticed all of this ink. Oh, the joys of being a left-handed person.

This photo is pretty dumb, but when I was studying for finals a few weeks ago and taking notes, I looked at my hand and noticed all of this ink. Oh, the joys of being a left-handed person.

A shot of one of my favorite ornaments from my family's Christmas tree. I guess I just love the pretty colors and glittery-ness!

A shot of one of my favorite ornaments from my family’s Christmas tree. I guess I just love the pretty colors and glittery-ness!

Steak and Shrimp Scampi from The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate being halfway finished with law school.

Steak and Shrimp Scampi from The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate being halfway finished with law school.

Just a selfie of myself that I took in front of my family's Christmas tree. I look a little washed out because of my phone's flash, but would you look at that hair?! I'm damn proud of it. Well, most of the time--when it cooperates.

Just a selfie of myself that I took in front of my family’s Christmas tree. I look a little washed out because of my phone’s flash, but would you look at that hair?! I’m damn proud of it. Well, most of the time–when it cooperates.