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Unfinished

January 17th, 2011

In a way, I’m a little shocked that this is only coming up now. Shocked and confused.

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. I’m a pack rat. (It’s that Cancerian thing, again—I like to carry my house and all of my stuff with me. Wherever I go.)
  2. I’ve been writing/creating for a long time, as far back as my memory goes.
  3. All artists have egos. We have to or we wouldn’t be bold enough to take our ideas outside of our brains.

So why, why oh why, am I suddenly having a hard time letting go of my work. From that list above it seems like this should have been an issue all along. Why is this the first I’m hearing of this (from my innards)?

The infamous Kelly Diels said, “It’s like birthing a child and then giving it away.” At first I bristled at the intensity of that example, yet—while sending my work out into the world without you may not be quite so hellacious as giving up a child—my heart does feel broken.

I’ve written and sent copy to be used in a zillion places where I am not. And it’s never bothered me. So, again I ask, why now?

  • The emotional investment of working on a project for two months?
  • The connection with the mission of the client?
  • The desire to see the work ‘up in lights’?

Yes, definitely, on the first two. But, it’s the third that is stabbing at me. The blood, sweat and tears have been shed. And in this case, seeing the result, realizing the fruition, having that YES! moment—aren’t only sorely missed…they also seem to be the final stretch of a long creative run.

And now, I feel unfinished. The work feels unfinished. Though perhaps only to me, perhaps it’s only something that a mother would know.

So—it’s not, in the end, that I ‘let go’ of the work (ah ha! that shock and confusion was unfounded!)—it’s that the work left me too soon.

It makes me feel like I’ve lost all control, like I’ve lost something, like I’ve simply lost.

Other people, whom I trust implicitly, are finishing the work (work, in fact, that we all had our hands in).

…still, I can’t help but wonder, if it wants its mommy.

Image credit: WestCoastCrafty

The winner of the NOOKcolor

January 8th, 2011

First of all. I love each and every one of you, dearly. Thank you for the kind (and often feisty) words. (and thoughts if you didn’t put them down in a comment)

Second, but much more importantly, thank you to all who shared some pretty intense stories of being beaten down and then getting back up. You have no idea how much you inspired me. (And made me proud to have gotten up myself in this instance). Seriously, it takes chutzpah to do what you’ve all done. It also takes chutzpah to rehash it and share it with all of us.

I’m sorry that work took over and I was able to reply to each and every one of you…this was by NO means meant to send a message about your comment.

Third, and even more critically important. I used that random thing, and it said 22! I ignored myself and I counted only your comments and the 22nd beautiful, bold, brave, sparkling comment belonged to Le’Ann!

Congrats, LeAnn. This is well-deserved per your ‘standing up’ story. I know you’ll enjoy your NOOKcolor…(email me your mailing address and stuff and we’ll get you your NOOK!).

Image credit: And about that image up above. I typed ‘badassery’ into Creative Commons and that was the first thing that came up…so how could I not use it. I mean, come on! It’s comes from _chag

Just a post…and a free NOOKcolor (possibly for you)

December 31st, 2010

Free speech is a funny thing.

Here in the good ‘ole US of A, we’re allowed to say whatever we want, but our Constitution doesn’t protect us from our listeners. Because while we have the freedom of speech, they have the freedom of interpretation.

Have you ever noticed that when you like someone (even for 5 minutes), you don’t mind so much what they say? Because you like them and appreciate them and think well of them, you also (by default) like what they say and appreciate what they say and think well of what they say. Basically, you assume good intent, you assume they mean no harm, you smile and say, “Oh, that Julie! There she goes again being the Julie that we love!” (for example).

And have you ever noticed that when you don’t like someone (even for 5 minutes), you mind everything they say? Because you don’t like them and don’t appreciate them and don’t think well of the them, you also (by default) don’t like what they say nor appreciate what they say nor think well of what they say. Basically you assume mal-intent, you assume they mean total harm, you snarl and say, “Oh, that Julie! There she goes again being that terrible, horrible Julie that we can’t stand!” (for example).

And so it went, oh around the middle of October, when I wrote a sarcastic, ridiculous line in a post. A stupid, silly thing to say right in the middle of a deeply heartfelt post about learning and growing and being rather humble in the midst of a new world. And these words, they were misinterpreted, rearranged and then broadcast to  people all around me. By someone who seems not to like me, but IN REALITY (when I really thought about it) doesn’t know me at all. Not even one iota of me.

It was a bummer. The kind that just kept on giving. And growing. And then giving some more. More and more people told me what this person had told them. It was like the Ebola virus. Eating away at my public, work and private self.

After I first learned about the ‘rumor’, I sat down at my computer per usual to write a post. And I wrote it. But I couldn’t publish it. I just couldn’t. It’s still in my drafts. Along with 5 others.

I felt violated. In this holy, wonderful place that my blog is to me. In this, my favorite writing space in the world.

As my hand hovered over the publish button, I felt my positive self shrinking. Behind some serious and sad armor.

Why should I share anything with anyone? Why is it anyone’s business what goes on in my head? Why should I set myself up to be knocked down again?

I’ll just stay here, on the other side of my computer. And hide. I said. And I did. For the last 2 months. (And by hide, I mean purely: not writing this blog…in the meantime, I’ve been creating and writing my buns off work-wise. And having a blast!)

But who are we kidding? That’s not me! That’s not how we do things around here! And I miss it. I miss all of you. I miss the outlet. I’m bad at quiet. Really, really bad at quiet. I’m just sayin’.

And then there were all of the emails and twitter messages I got from you wonderful people saying things like how you were breaking down and reading my archives because you needed a fix. And I thought, why should we all suffer because of one misinformed person?

So here I am, writing and publishing. And I think we should celebrate—but not because I’m here writing a post (it was that sort of ‘seemingly’ ego-filled jab at myself (seriously, a jab at myself — AS IF I think I’m so great…puhlease!) that got me in this trouble in the first place).

Instead, let’s celebrate all of the writers that have said, “WORLD! HEAR THIS! I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY. AND DAMMIT, I’M GOING TO WRITE ABOUT IT. NO MATTER WHAT. NO MATTER WHO’S LISTENING OR HOW THEY INTERPRET MY WORDS OR MY CHARACTER!”

And how better to celebrate them….drumroll please….than with a brand new, NOOKcolor for your reading (of writer-badasses) pleasure!!!

The wonderful folks at Barnes & Noble have given me a brand new, hot off the presses, NOOKcolor to give away. (And they gave me one to play with, too – and I frickin’ love it!!!! Everything about it is beautiful and awesome and fabulous. Everything. For reals, you want this thing.)

Here’s the deal. Tell me a time when you were almost beaten down by something or someone, but you stood up and stood your ground and persevered. I’ll pick a winner with that random doo-hickey website on January 8th.

[And if ‘the one who doesn’t know me’ is still here and still reading. I’d love for us to get to know each other. And if there’s something you read that is upsetting to you, come on down. Let’s talk it out…and practice that free speech thing. Together.]

The perils of walking

October 24th, 2010

In every place I’ve ever lived, I’m now realizing, I’ve spent most of my travel time in the car. I grew up in Suburbia and that was just the way travel happened—in your car, mostly alone or with people you already know.

Strangers can be seen from the chest up at red lights or in passing on a two-lane road or as a blur as you drive past them on the street. They aren’t visible or distinct. And they aren’t ‘many’.

In New York, I spend most of my travel time walking or on the subway surrounded by a lot of other people – who are all spending their travel time walking or on the subway surrounded by a lot of other people.

And when this happens, you see a lot.

You see a lot of pretty things. Because New York is full of beautiful people.

You see some really ugly things. Things that rip your heart out. Because you aren’t in a wheelchair, deformed, irreversibly harmed. Because your young children aren’t standing with you at a bus stop at 11pm on a chilly Monday night when they should be home, sleeping, in a warm bed. Because you aren’t obese or otherwise unhealthy. Because you don’t look lost, lonely, sad, penniless, friendless, homeless, forgotten…

Because you’re praying to god that this is never you. That other people won’t walk by you and have their own hearts fill with pain.

There’s this moment—seeing these things that make me feel a physical discomfort that is akin to the time I got a shot in the bottom of my foot, ie. deep, stunning, raw, core shaking—where I get to choose where I want to go with the sickening sensation.

Is my life mine because of luck? What if that is me in 10 years, 10 months, 10 days? That’s not the life I want. Do I have a choice?

Can I help these people? Do they want to be helped? Do they even feel sad?

The other morning, I saw a few homeless people gathering their things from the building alcove where they’d presumably slept. There was one girl who looked to be in her 20’s. And as I ran by, pre-dawn, she said something that made them all burst out laughing. The sound was joyous. And full.

Who am I to think my life is better than theirs? How things look on paper aside, some days, I’m quite sure, it’s not.

And so the questions run. As I move down city streets wishing—for as long as I can remember now (7 or 8 years old?), on fallen eyelashes, birthday candles, found pennies, whatever I can find—that everyone be safe and happy.

Image credit: emanuela franchini

Absorbing the French

October 10th, 2010

In high school, I had a very odd French teacher. I don’t know that she seemed that odd at the time, but looking back on it, and knowing what I know now about how teachers are supposed to act around students, I’m coming up with odd.

Madame told us all sorts of things that I don’t think she should have shared (according to school policy, anyway). Not dirty things or anything lewd, unfortunately, just the sorts of tidbits that we shouldn’t have known. About her Man Piece who I think she eventually married, about her daughter who (when I piece my 15-16-17-year-old memories together in my 37-year-old brain) had some severe learning disabilities, if not something like Autism, about her thoughts on the school’s administration and, of course, about her life and her deep dissatisfaction with it.

She ended up feeling more like a friend than a teacher. And I liked her. Did I learn much French? Un peu. But I did feel really bad when I skipped class. Which I did a lot. (Hey, in my defense: Senior year, AP French was 7th period, I had 5th and 6th free and my boyfriend, the lovely Brad Downer, had 5th, 6th and 7th period off, my high school had ‘open campus’ which meant we could come and go as we pleased, he lived 1 mile from school and his mom worked all day…hmmm…conjugate verbs or conjugate Brad Downer….you do the math.)

But very little of that has anything to do with this post.

I remember very clearly this one day when our dear Madame told us that one of the most significant signs that we were really starting to learn, understand and absorb French was this: it would enter our subconscious and we’d know that it had because it would enter through our dreams.

And I remember the first time I dreamed in French. And I remember telling her about it the next day. And how excited she was. And the smile she gave me.

***********************

I have been fascinated these past few days to read your comments (and private emails) in response to my Existentialism post. You are all so passionate, so opinionated! Per usual, because we’re writers (and, I suppose, human) you took a simple question and loaded it with preconceived notions, your own story, the story you have about me, fears about all the laundry that has to be done…and so much more.

In response to the ‘welcome back’ tweets and comments:

  1. I never left, I’ve just been posting once a week, instead of 3-5 times a week.
  2. Depending on your definition of ‘back’, I might not be—I can’t see making 3-5 posts a week in the near future. But maybe you’ve been missing my once a weekers, so you thought I’d really been gone?

In response to the ‘you can’t force creativity, don’t make yourself post if you don’t have anything to write about’ comments:

  1. Yeah…about that…that’s not really the issue here.
  2. Just as I believe there’s a Sex and the City quote or episode applicable to just about every life situation that I can think of, I can find words and ideas to write for every life situation that I can find myself in.
  3. The day that stops is the day someone sticks a fork in me and sees that the juices are, tragically, running clear.

In response to the ‘yes I care and want to know’ comments:

  1. Thank you.
  2. And don’t worry, I’m about to fill you in.

In response to those of you that got rather uppity and self-righteous in our collective defense:

  1. Exactly.

And finally, in response to the dude that wondered if I choose to include my ‘self’ in my blog posts, in my writing:

  1. I’d sooner die than not include my self in my writing, in what I share.
  2. He clearly isn’t a regular here. (But, I’m delighted he showed up at least that once.)
  3. Maybe he was speaking generally and not directly to me?
  4. Writing without the self, is like most every food without the butter—dry, desperately sad and pointless.

So…I have been writing less (again, to be clear (she said defensively) I have not stopped, just less-frequented my postings) because I have been, drumroll please, busy.

Come on, people! You’ve seen me write through soul-destructing heartbreak, mind-pulverizing PMS, chocolate obsessions, public nudity, vanquished flying fears…what did you think could have possibly derailed me now?

You’d better come up with something good. Like tongue-stealing bunny rabbits. Or something.

I’m sorry to be boring and tell you that my reason for writing less is just, quite simply, a tremendous amount of work. And yet…

…it’s not really boring.

I’m working a LOT as Creative Director and Writer for a creative agency that produces internal meetings and trainings for big old corporations. I’m writing and directing videos. I’m composing creative strategies for meeting flows and scenic support. I’m working with amazing people. I’m helping to inspire people (read: corporate audiences so that they do their jobs better). I’m traveling (and fearlessly flying). I’m way out of my comfort zone and therefore, learning a shit ton and (hmmm…how can I NOT say ‘growing’) germinating my brain and conceptual powers at the speed of, ummm, 5th Ave.

The learning curve has been big.

I do well when I really know something, when I get it at the most basic, core, all-encompassing level. And I’m trying to get there with this new work…so that I can really make the people who plucked me out several months ago and said, ‘yes, we know you’ve never done this before, but we know you can’ proud.

A lot is new. Suddenly, I know and say things like, ‘spec comm’ and ‘IML’ and ‘rough cut’ and ‘cross fade’ and ‘DP’ (which, in this context, means Director of Photography not double penetration. Who knew? That one, in particular, was cause for an uncomfortable moment in the office.)

It’s like learning a new language.

Which is why I was thrilled the other morning when I woke up and realized that I’d dreamed all night about work. All night. It was fast and hard and crazy and invigorating, this dream—just like work is. I woke up tired and like I’d just had 7 bars of Green & Black’s 85% dark chocolate.

And I also woke up wondering where Madame is. Because she’d give me that smile again and tell me that this was a sign. A sign that my efforts are worth it. A sign that it’s soaking in, deep.

Image credit: worldmegan

Blogger Existentialism

October 8th, 2010

To talk about the fact that I haven’t been blogging much or not to…” That is my question.

My question may seem less dramatic than Hamlet’s, but it feels as fraught with pain, frustration, worry and confusion.

I’ve always loathed when people write on their blogs, “Sorry I haven’t written lately…” and then proceed to emotionally dump or make excuses or make promises. I yell at the computer screen, don’t tell us us, just do it.

Which is why I’ve been very, very quiet.

But then…I started getting some emails, some queries from readers wondering if I’m okay. Where did I go. Explaining that they look forward to my posts, and they want them back. And I’m grateful for those.

But they made me wonder if this could be perceived as rude—my silence.

What is our responsibility as bloggers? As columnists? As writers that, as I’m often told, wrote ‘just the thing’ someone needed to hear? What do we owe our audiences?

I’m interested to hear your take on this. Do you not want to know? Do you want to know? Do you care? Does my silence bring you opportunities to look at your reactions to it and to the way you live and work and grow and love?

Hmmmm….

________________________

image credit: king chimp

Tomato soup of the leg.

September 30th, 2010

At the start of the 35th week of my pregnancy, I went in for my weekly checkup with the midwives. And my blood pressure was 210 over 165.

Which is, how do you say: not. good. at. all.

It was the first clue that I had preeclampsia (or pregnancy induced hypertension).

The cure is to not be pregnant anymore. In other words, delivery.

But the immediate band-aid—to lower the blood pressure so that the mother doesn’t seize and so that she and her nugget inside don’t kick the bucket—is to be put on the Mag Drip. Otherwise known as an intravenously steady push of Magnesium Sulfate. Otherwise known as epsom salts. Otherwise known as a mineral that relaxes your muscles lovingly in the bathtub, but renders you unable to lift even a finger when it comes in via needle.

The weirdest thing, though, was that it made me hot. I was as red as a lobster and I felt like I had hot tomato soup running through my veins.

After Sophie came out and my blood pressure dropped and the IV was removed, it all (the muscle incapacitation and the tomato soup) went away.

Almost.

For days and then weeks and then months and then years, I’ve experienced a random hot flush of tomato soup up my right shin. Not my left leg, not even my whole leg. Just my right shin. Like a phantom.

It still visits from time to time. Like today. Sitting at my desk. Working. Stressed. Heart pounding. Chest so tight, I think maybe the two sides of my rib cage might be trying to fuse together.

And there’s the phantom flush. Fairly steady all day. Like a whisper over that sharp bone—the one that you’ve rammed into the same damn coffee table at least 15 times, the one that hurts so bad tears hit your eyes every time. And it says, slow down—breathe—learn and move on—keep going—trust…or this soup won’t just be in your leg.

Image credit: Daniel Slaughter

Comfort Zones…and Sharks

September 23rd, 2010

According to me, my comfort zone has habitually been small. And dictated by strict regulations. And ruled by a scared and scarred and horrid little voice that warned that stepping out of bounds would bring the fire and the brimstone (whatever that is). A threat not so far off from the carpet sharks I imagined to be swarming as I jumped from couch island to La-Z-Boy oasis when I was 7-years-old.

The regs have involved brutally strict rules concerning all things ‘daily living’. For instance, in the case of food, there was what could be eaten (healthy, no chicken under any circumstances, etc), when it could be eaten (early) and where (somewhere really nice).

As for running, it had to be first thing in the morning, I couldn’t have any food in me when I headed out the door, I had to go to the bathroom before I left, it had to be on a dirt trail, I couldn’t start then stop again, and on and on.

I could list several other life/daily events and their regulations, but I’m thinking you get the point:

  • Type A
  • Tight ass
  • Inflexible
  • Deluded
  • Annoying
  • Missing out on a lot

And it dawned on me this morning—as I ran pounded down a city sidewalk, having just left a friend’s couch and my belonging’s stuffed into a suitcase, after a dinner last night of barbecue ribs (the kind made from un-free-range, un-hormone-and-antibiotic-free, un-organic swine), and a dinner the night before at a pretty skeezey Indian restaurant with chili pepper lights, glittery swatches of wrapping paper laminated to the walls and a waiter that smacked me on the ass when he sent me outside to the ATM because they only take cash—that this comfort zone that I used to keep myself buried in was bullshit.

Or maybe just non-existent. A false sense of control. Crammed tightly with the anal retentive version of packing peanuts.

Because the more and more I think I’m leaving this ‘safe’ space and wandering out to shark-infested places, I see that, actually, there is no exit. The comfort zone, it turns out, is entirely and subjectively and bodaciously expandable.

Image credit: TheRogue

The waste of worry

September 14th, 2010

I have this wonderful friend. I think she’s in her 70’s, but that seems unreal to me, because she seems much, much younger—yet at the same time, she’s eternally wise and worldly. She’s a conundrum. Named Sally. Or as her husband calls her, ‘My Gal Sal’. Swear to God.

Anyway, when I was home in St. Louis my junior year of college doing an internships, we went on many walks.

It’s fair to say that during that time of my life, I was a mess. Eating disorder, panic attacks, general fear of just about everything. Such a sad thing, I was.

And I remember, on one of our walks, Sally and I were talking about our traveling fears. I was deathly afraid of flying. She was deathly afraid of highway driving. She told me, “There is no point in worrying. Because you always end up worrying about the wrong thing.”

Lately, I’ve been around some people that are worrying their brains off, their hearts up and down, their lives away.

It’s hard to be around. (Even especially when I’m one of those people.)

Not because I don’t love them (us) all dearly.

But because I think we’re worrying about the wrong things. Our worries are valid, their imagined outcomes quite possible. But, in this moment, there is literally no evidence that these worries will come true.

So, here some of them are:

  • Worried work and money will dwindle or disappear.
  • Worried about how people will react to their decisions.
  • Worried that someone might get hurt.
  • Worried they’ll be alone for the rest of forever.

When in fact, who the hell knows? And what if we spend a year—or five—worrying about things that never come true? How sad. How tragically wasteful. Think of all of the things we could have done with their time? With the heartbeats that pounded in our chests? With the breaths that just wouldn’t catch?

Bless our hearts, these worries feel very real. They are based on stories we’ve written about our potential catastrophes.

At this very moment, I’m half-way through the first Percy Jackson story. [For those of you who don’t know, these stories are basically Harry Potter only not written, crafted or designed quite as well, and insert Greek mythology and gods for magic and wizards. Oh, and some parts are cheesey as all hell.]

There’s a lot of action (and a fair bit of me yelling at the book, ‘Come on! This is so fucking obvious!’) that inspires anxiety. I find myself freaked out and worried with a pounding heart full of panic for a fictional kid. Even when I’m not actually reading.

My point is this: this book isn’t that well written, I don’t love it, I know it’s not true—but I’m starting to wonder…I mean, it could be…and it’s causing me real, intense anxiety and worry.

Sound familiar?

I mentioned the other day that the future doesn’t exist. It’s not real. But somehow, most of us fill it with terror. When, in reality, everything right now just (for most of us I’m guessing) isn’t that bad.

It might even be good.

Image credit: Ron J. Añejo

Episode 25, Volume 37: In which I insult a cop…and then break the law with one.

September 7th, 2010

And behind the hijinks, this is a also a post that proves last week’s post completely true. Ah, how I love when life parodies art.

But, seriously. The last 14 hours or so have certainly given me pause. As a series of events unfolded, I watched as my stock responses boiled up, my instincts were stronger and I worked to make new decisions. Really, to write new stories.

To illustrate what happened, I’m going to write how I believe I would have reacted during the first 36 years of my life in red and how I actually chose to respond instead in black. Black font being the winning reality of this blog, and all.

Here we go.

I am currently in New York City. The city, someone once told me, that is so nice, they named it twice. And last night, I was supposed to meet up with a friend rather late in the evening, to catch up, yes, but also (and this next part is very important to note: so that I would have somewhere to sleep).

Why late? Because I had fabulous plans to hear Chris Velan play his music and then go out to dinner with him and several other lovely friends, old and new. And because said friend was arriving back late from a Labor Day vacation. How late? About 11 pm.

Scene 1. So, there I was. Out. Having a grand old time. When I got word from my friend that, alas, she couldn’t get back in time. Oh well, no big deal, we’d catch up later in the week.

Past: Panic, freak out. Pissed. Sure that there was no solution. I was homeless in NYC. I might die.

Present: Pissed off, yes. Because it was a big deal as now I was finding out last minute that I had nowhere to sleep. But took a deep breath and knew that I could either get a hotel or sleep in my office. On the couch. Annoying, but fine. I wouldn’t die.

Scene 2. After much annoyance trying to find the number of the hotel where I often stay and being told by 411 that it doesn’t exist and trying uselessly to find the number on my Blackberry (which uses Bing as its browser for some stupidly stupid reason). I got through, not to the hotel, but to a reservation service that I’m quite sure was located far off shore. Natalia, from Calcutta, told me that there were no rooms available. It was 9 pm.

Past: The world is against me! Now I’m going to have to sleep in my office. This sucks. Everyone hates me. I’m going to die.

Present: Really? This is ridiculous. Oh well, I guess I’ll just sleep at work. I refuse to fall down the black hole of despair.

Scene 3. I finished dinner with my friends. And jumped in a cab to head to the office—figuring that I at least deserved a cab ride over a subway ride, since I was about to get a couch in lieu of a bed—when one of my dearest friends called me and said, “Just go to the hotel, I bet they have a room.”

So, I did. And they did.

Past: Still in a crabby mood. Still angry in the change in plans. Still unable to just move on.

Present: Snuggled up in a wonderfully warm bed. Thrilled it had all worked out.

Scene 4. What is that noise? The air conditioner. Rattling like there was a mutiny of air conditioner bugs inside shaking the vent’s grate and trying desperately to get out.

Past: I swear to god, if one more thing goes wrong, I will shoot myself. Hard. Oh, and, wahhhhh.

Present: Air conditioner, you are no match for me, you don’t have a chance. Turned the light on. Looked at the air conditioner. Put my hand on the grate. Stopped the rattling. Looked for something to be my hand so that my hand could go to sleep. Found something heavy. Put it on the air conditioner. Problem fixed. Went to sleep.

Scene 5. Woke up at 5:30. And all I wanted to do was go running. But I didn’t have my shoes. They were in the office as I hadn’t wanted to lug my stuff all over Manhattan, or Tarnation, the night before and had only packed my essentials.

Past: Dammit! Now I can’t even run. I’m going to be obese and feel like crap all day. I might kill my friend that screwed all of this up for me. It’s all her fault.

Present: I could just go to the office and grab my running clothes and run from there. Perfect plan! Especially since, yesterday, I got a keycard to let me into the building during off-hours.

Scene 6. All fired up with my plan, I threw on my sun dress, jeans and flip flops that I’d been wearing the night before. I left my bra in the hotel because I’d need it when I came back to shower and get dressed for the day, I couldn’t really run with it and I’d be putting my running bra on in 10 minutes at the office.

A very astute cabbie saw me from the other side of the street, u-turned and came to get me. Five minutes later, I was at the office and I pulled out my new keycard and…and…and…and…it didn’t work.

You have to be fucking kidding me. And this is the last of that past voice we’re going to hear. Do I even have to go through the motions here? I didn’t think so. You know exactly how negative, whiny, defeatist and miserable she was.

I stood outside the door to the office, on 5th Avenue, watching delivery guys do their thing, willing someone from my office building to randomly show up for work at 6 am the morning after Labor Day weekend.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

Scene 7: I waited for 5 minutes. And then I looked down at my self. Little cotton dress. No bra. Blue jeans. Cheap little flip flops.

I thought about Born to Run. And the Tarahumara. Who ran 100’s of miles at a time in sandals that rivaled my flip flops for foot cover.

And I started running. Felt great. Told myself I could stop if it hurt. It didn’t.

Towards the beginning, I saw a gym, and I ran in and asked if they’d found any size 6.5 women’s running shoes. They hadn’t. So I kept going.

Scene 8. And then I saw the cops.

It was on 36th street, just off the West Side Highway. There were tons of them hanging out. One clump in particular was lined up, waiting to go into a big white NYPD truck. As I ran by, I caught the eye of a young, good looking cop. “You guys lining up for your shots or something?”

On hindsight, it wasn’t the best thing to say to a cop at 6:45 in the morning. Or ever. But, I thought it was rather amusing. He did not. And, I swear to god, the cop next to him told me to ‘shut up’. Not very neighborly.

As I approached the corner, though, I found myself next to a much nicer demeanered cop. And I asked him what they were all doing. As they like to do, he thrilled at telling me nothing except that I, “shouldn’t worry, we do this all the time’. I told him my joke about the shots…and he laughed.

But then, we got to the corner. The light was red, the sign said ‘Don’t Walk’, but there were no cars coming. Usually, this is a signal for me to go about my merry way, but with the cop next to me, I recalled something about jay walking. And how it’s illegal. But then, he stepped right into the street and I followed suit. And we broke the law together.

Scene 9: I ended up running six miles. It felt great, though sticky in my jeans. And bouncy without my bra, though surprisingly not so bad, something about the fit of my dress, I ‘spose.

It did cross my mind that I must have looked rather odd, or at the very least, peculiar. But beyond some fascinated/appraising looks by the many men I passed (interestingly, there were several times more men than women out in the early morning)—no one seemed to notice.

Because this is New York. And a woman running the streets in flip flops can’t come close to some of the weird shit their eyes have seen.

In this story, I am the me that I’ve always been. The piss and vinegar that my dad (and some others) has been telling me is me was still there, DNA intact, I just poured it out in a different way.

The end.

Image credit: Neil Krug


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