I take an emotional inventory in the morning before I leave my bed.
I lie there, with my eyes closed, and try to feel how I’m feeling. Is my heart light in my chest, do my feet want to hit the floor and bring me upstairs? Does my skin crave another layer of blanket, does my head want to fold itself inside a pillow?

The first couple of weeks, almost every morning, I’d find that things didn’t look any better, and I’d dive into Facebook and feel worse until Sophie or I had to use the bathroom.

I will not tell you I’ve adjusted.
Or that in a month, a salad will come from our garden.
I will not tell you the time with the kids has been gift. It has been an revelation and complete pain in the ass.
I had the chance to know them when their only escape route is a screen. The fifth week in, it is easy to underestimate, and there is no end in sight. So I take notes and occasional pictures.

I check in with my overall state of mind all day long.

Today, I found joy, goofy, bird flying high, Christmas morning with toddlers and Santa, Bruce Springsteen in concert, joy.

At first, it scared me a little, this unfamiliar flutter, this smile that found my mouth, and lifted up to my eyes.

I don’t know, maybe it’s a symptom that hasn’t been documented yet.

I felt better almost all day, even though Katy and Colin are fighting over Netflix, Sheldon has some document I need to review, and it’s supposed to rain again tomorrow.

Tonight, I looked into the eyes of the cashier at Walgreens, read an update from my friend who works in the ICU, and washed my hands, like I’m Lady Macbeth on her worst day.

My spirit fell quiet, ached, went to wait in the wings.

Today, I glimpsed joy,
and it stayed for a bit.

I’m not sure why it came-
All I have to look forward to is clean sheets, a late night conversation with a friend, and pancakes for breakfast. I like French toast.

This joy isn’t strange.

I have clean sheets and soft blankets.
I have a friend waiting for my call.
I have pancakes for breakfast, and real maple syrup.
The coffee pot is set
so I’ll wake up to the smell of
dark roast and cinnamon.

I am blessed.
Sometimes, I don’t feel that way.

Today I did, for a while.

I need to work on that.

Love,
Jules

At the end of an online barre class, the instructor played a song by FINNEAS, my favorite new musician.
Most people I’ve asked, (this means my friends and my kids friends,) don’t know who in the hell FINNEAS is.
I was thrilled.
Hearing a pop song, played during an online exercise class, that I have listened to a million times already, was the high point of my day.
Thank you #BostonPia.

(He’s also Billie Eilish’s brother and producer, but I didn’t want to mention that except in parenthesis because I don’t want to diminish his work as an independent artist.
I also don’t know why he spells his name in all capital letters)

I’m including my link to his video for my favorite song below. He spends the whole song staring moodily into the the distance, except for the one bit where he pulls his shirt over his head. It is a beautiful, so maybe just listen the first time so the clip doesn’t ruin it for you.

Stay strong, and amazing.
Jules

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjmBLCbTgDo

 

I’ve always wanted to believe in God, or something divine and specific.

Most recently, I quizzed friends who go to church about what they think of their church.
I am a Unitarian, and recently have felt the need to check out a place of worship that celebrated and seemed mostly certain about the existence of God, Jesus, and miracles, Not something out of Flashdance, I like dancing, but I was looking for something a little less UU- everything is possible- and a little more Christian- Holy Spirit, hear my prayers.

I wanted to pray for my nineteen year old son. I wanted to believe those prayers would be heard by someone other than the inside of my own head.
Colin is not living at home, and he’s well, according to him. When I see him, he’s driving away.
He’ll text me at 1030 at night, when he knows I am sleeping, just to say he is thinking of me.

I wanted to turn the grief over losing my son to a higher power.
I wanted the higher power to explain to my boy that he’d do well in real estate, and maybe tell him to come home. (I know higher powers don’t answer prayers the way a waiter delivers orders, but I was reaching. As most people do when they pray, from what I know about the process.)

These days, I’m probably not alone looking for faith, hope, and miracles.

I don’t think I will find faith in a church, or online watching a virtual service, but I might try.

When I reach out to my minister or my friends from First Parish, I will find love. And they will tell me there is hope, and I will offer the same.

I find love among friends, when Katy tells me someday I’ll write a great book, when Sheldon gets out of bed to get me a drink of water at 5 am.

I don’t know about faith. If something has been answering prayers lately, I don’t know who they’re taking calls from. But this is a time traditionally of miracles, so…

Love will have to do for now.

Faith takes time, and work, I think.

These days, I certainly have the time.

Love,
Julie

 

 

The sun was out for the first time in days.

Katy has not been a fan of hiking with me since I dragged her and her brother wandering the Blue Hills behind the Trailside Museum when she was five and we got lost. I didn’t have snacks, and we probably ran out of water five minutes into our journey, which, I think, lasted about two hours. I’m surprised she speaks to me, or agrees to go anywhere near any kind of trail with me.

Today, I guilted her into coming. She was tired, and depressed. I was wide awake and depressed. By the time we left the house, (guilt tripping takes time,) the sun was hidden, it was windy, it was already 3:30 in the afternoon.

She didn’t want to drive. She put her head on the dashboard, and said she was tired. I said we could just skip the whole thing and go home. She managed to put her head further into the dashboard. (I don’t know how she did this, and, yes, I know this is incredibly dangerous. And I’m not the best driver.)

I was going to turn around, but spotted Sophie the Wonder Dog in the back seat. Sophie doesn’t like fighting and she really likes ponds.

We went to Houghtons Pond. Katy kept her head in her hands on the dashboard. When I pulled to a stop, she looked up.

“I thought we were going home.”
“I need to walk Sophie,” I growled.
“I want to go for a walk.” she answered.
“You don’t have to. You can wait in the car. Remember, you’re tired.”
“Well, then, if you don’t want me to go for a walk, I’ll go that way,” Katy marched off towards some rocks.

I dragged Sophie out of the backseat. She wanted to follow Katy. I wanted to follow Katy.
We walked in the opposite direction.

I took Sophie to the edge of the pond, and went back to the car. Katy was nowhere. I called her name.

I put Sophie back into the car and ran to the rock and yelled loudly- “Kattttyyyyy” and went back to the car scared as hell because my first go to every time we have an argument is to take the phone. I will rethink that in the future.

She came back to the car.
We didn’t speak on the way to Target.
There was no one at the store The people who were there were all wearing masks. Everyone stood miles apart.

For a little while, we were able to pretend it was a regular mother daughter shopping spree, the only thing that made it different was all we bought were pajamas and frozen vegetables.

We’re going to wear our new pajamas tonight, in front of the television, when we watch the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
It’s another Saturday night.

Katy and I have made peace, probably because I’m leaving her alone for the moment.
I need to leave her alone, or let her stay home when she needs to.
She needs to come along with me, sometimes, without the promise of ice cream or nail polish.

This is too hard to do with my daughter’s head on the dashboard, or standing in the woods, screaming her name.

I think she agrees, because she’s upstairs cleaning her room. (At least, she said she was. I’m not going to check.)

Peace be with you.

Love,

Julie

We are okay. We are healthy, Katy is upstairs coloring her hair, Sheldon is working, the dog reluctantly joins me for walks, Quincy College is going to let staff work from home next week, we have plenty of peanut butter and I am lucky to be alive but damn.
It’s really hard some days.
We meditated. Walked in the woods. Spoke to family and friends. Read. Talked to friends from work and reached out to some students I know from town.
It’s a beautiful day.
I’m sad and there is a glorious sunset outside.
I never thought I’d be nostalgic for a month ago but tonight, I miss picking out my clothes, packing my lunch, and negotiating with Katy over how she would get to school.
I miss needing coffee in the morning, parking where I probably shouldn’t, picking up the phone on my desk and knowing an answer.
I miss knowing an answer the most.
With love from a blue corner of the world this evening,
Julie

Last night, no sleep.
Today, I woke up around 10 am. I am sleepwalking thru everything.
is there a possibility that in future days I will look back on this as respite? As a moment with family, to indulge in watching tv and books and begin conversations I’ve been putting off for a million years?
At so many points, I’ve thought-
Once I get thru the baby years, I’ll be good.
Once Colin stops going to the woods, life will be perfect.
Once I lose 20 pounds, get a promotion, go on vacation, finish my degree, things will fall into place.
It’s hard to live in a world that is entirely defined by this virus.
Yet, my world is not defined by Covid 19.
Katy is coming downstairs to dance in our living room.
The birds are noisy, the air is warm. It is spring.
My house is clean, my refrigerator is organized. I actually gave a presentation to Sheldon and Katy about where to put the cheese, the hot sauce, the vegetables; and the importance of proper placement. (I can’t believe they actually listened, and pretended they would always remember to put the salad dressing in the door. Not a chance.)
I don’t really think it’s important that the cheese goes in the bottom shelf, my floors are shiny, and my blender looks brand new.
It’s important that this isn’t another time in my life that I spend waiting for it to be over.
It’s going to be while, and time is precious.
I need to know this in my head and in my heart.
I’m working on it.
Love,
Julie

I drove up to Milford, NH, yesterday to get a last taste of summer with my daughter. And her friend, (Because offering to let her bring a friend just makes everything easier. And she’s got really cool friends.)

The balloons were beautiful. The food was great. There were henna tattoos, bouncy houses, beer tents, tethered rides into colorful baskets, lines as long as the dmv at lunchtime, but much friendlier, handmade jewelry, live music, a summertime sunset, and a sense of summertime bliss.
No work in the morning. No bedtime. Fried oreos.

Here’s the thing.

Summertime is going to be over. in late September, I think. Last night is a million hours ago, and Friday at 4, when the weekend began, is a century away.

Kids will attend their first day of school, be sent away to their first sleep away camp, leave for college, if we are lucky.

One day, I realized I hadn’t pushed them on the swing in three years.

One day, you’ll realize their room doesn’t smell like their room.

The seasons don’t matter. The first day, the last day, they are milestones for facebook and family and reminders that time is passing, even if your sixteen year old has only eaten macaroni and cheese since he was three.

Not everyone has children.
There is still the first grey hair, the first ma’am or sir, the serious conversation about final plans. Menopause. Midlife. Mortality.

The weather is just a backdrop.

Don’t only live summer between June and August.

Fresh starts don’t only happen in September. Or a new beginning in spring.

All that matters is the people we choose, the people that choose us, and how we choose to spend the time that we have.
FYI, , if your kid asks for a push on the swing, give them a push. Take your time.

If you have to choose between Game of Thrones, and a conversation with your best friend, have the talk. Most shows are available on demand or can be found at at the local library. Even if you are feeling pressure from your well meaning, obsessed co-workers to watch a show, insist on meaningful dialogue. As a matter a fact, forget the best friend, call those television obsessed colleagues, and share every detail of your day. And your dreams. Then ask for their advice about redecorating your attic. Don’t let them off the phone until it’s dead.

Which brings me back-

The night sky, every day of the year, has something to tell you,
So does the sun first thing in the morning,
or whenever you wake.

I didn’t need to go to Balloon Festival with Chrs to appreciate summertime, or to connect with my daughter.
But I’m glad that l did.

A List and A Prayer

December 15, 2017

The other day, I was putting off writing these words, and I went to CVS, a great place to go when there are ten blank pages weighing on my brain. (Relax, the outcome was more like five. And I talk fast.) The woman behind the cash register was brand new, but she was familiar because she had been ringing me up at 7 11 for years.

I don’t know why, but seeing the person that I’d been buying coffee from since 2010 working in the drug store right down the street thru me for a loop.

You know the feeling? You’ve had it. That moment when something or someone changes, and you weren’t expecting it. When one of your favorite people announces they’re moving out of state. When two people that you love tell you they are getting divorced.  When you find out someone is sick, or wake up to discover someone unexpected was elected president, even though everyone said it could never happen.

There are great surprises in store too- there will be babies, amazing job offers, or full scholarships to top notch schools. Your favorite band might get back together after a nasty, public, breakup on Twitter.

Even considering the good kind, I am still not a huge fan of change.

When I’m going to the Cape, I immediately move all the way to the left, to the lane that merges with Route 3, so I can stay in the same lane for the entire trip. When our neighbors move, even if I don’t know them, even if I don’t like them, I grieve. I still watch Gray’s Anatomy.

For those of you that are like me, I’ve put together a list of things I use to help cope with the endless fluctuations, cancellations, and curveballs life will throw at you. If you have any to add, please feel free to email me. I mean it.

  1. Go to the gym. Ride your bike. Or take a walk. Do something with your body that helps you stay strong for all of the mind blowing, fantastic, and terrible stuff that is to come. There are so many options, from yoga in straps, to hiking, lifting weights, kickboxing, dancing- explore. Mix it up. Ruts are for the unimaginative and lead to other ruts.
  2. Get off the phone while you’re at the gym, riding your bike, or taking a walk. Okay, listen to music. Just don’t scroll thru life. No matter what you have heard, it is not necessary to tell your 872 Instagram followers every time you pick up a weight or climb a hill. It still happened. If you are going to deal with the world, you have to be in the world, not watching it go by on your newsfeed.
  3. Decide who matters to you. Make a list. We don’t have all the time in the world. Choose your people and choose well.

4.  You are driving your own bus.

I was planning my wedding with a good friend of mine. I complained that I was going to miss a concert that weekend. She pointed out that I had to get married right away I was six months pregnant. It was my responsibility to make sure that the baby wasn’t born out of wedlock. I agreed and stopped whining. Eighteen years after that wedding day, I’m still pissed I missed Springsteen.

If you want to go to a show, or out to restaurant, or to a ball game, on your special day, listen to that inner voice. YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR OWN LIFE. People will try to hijack your plans, or the route you choose, but remember- No one else should be driving your bus but you. You can ask for directions, you can give people a ride, but at the end of the day, it is your journey. You are going a long way. Don’t let somebody else take the wheel unless you trust them, and even then, sleep lightly. It’s your damn bus.

What does public transportation have to do with the roller coaster ride ahead? If you are in charge of the changes in your life, you own them. You can’t be in charge of everything- someday you might get laid off, at some point you are going to lose someone you love, but wherever and however you can, don’t let life happen to you. Be proactive, noisy, daring, decisive, and brave. At the end of the day, it’s nice to know you were the one that chose how it was spent.

  1. Be flexible. In yoga, or pilates, they tell you to keep your knees slightly bent during the balance poses. This helps you find stability, keeps you from falling on your face. Flexibility in life means you don’t freak out when the movie you planned to see is sold out, when someone cancels last minute, or when your landlord texts you to tell you they aren’t renewing your lease and you have two weeks to find a new apartment in October in a city that caters to college students. Let’s be realistic, a minor freak out is expected for the landlord thing, but after you’ve done some deep breathing, maybe gone to a yoga class, you’ll figure it out. Spinning your wheels happens, just don’t get buried.
  2. Choose your traditions and embrace them.

The other night, I decorated the Christmas tree alone. I’ve always loved placing the ornaments collected over the years on the branches, and the ritual has been a big part of our holiday since the kids were old enough to stab each other with the little hooks. This year, we tried to coordinate a night to decorate together. Their father was working. Katy had flute lessons. Colin needed to stay after school. Colin needed to go out to eat. Colin needed to spend time on his Snapchat Anyway, Friday night, the only creature stirring was Michael the three legged cat. So, I decorated the tree by myself. It was a little bit sad, not having the company of my family. But at the end of the evening, the tree looked beautiful, Colin and Katy had a wonderful time fixing all of my horrible decorating decisions, and all was right with the world.

You will find traditions, create new traditions, and then they will change as your world changes. But it is wonderful to have touch stones to honor the past, whether it’s your personal past, your faith, or your family. It’s a thread that allows us to step back and appreciate where we have come from and where we might go.

 

  1. Stop looking around. Every single one of us is obsessed with how everyone else is doing. When you were little, your mom was checking out the toddler next door, and going a bit crazy because Jaimie started to speak five months ago, and you were still blowing bubbles and staring at your feet.

This attitude, this constant need to check in on whose doing what isn’t a true or even a semi true, yardstick of where you are at. Joe is killing it on Wall Street, but he’s not posting pictures on Facebook of his partner handing him divorce papers. Jenn just crashed a computer system at work, and is talking about going back to school to learn sign language. All the little pieces of information of how everyone else is doing, what they’ve accomplished, what they’re wearing and what car they are driving, have this incredible power to make us feel better, or worse and have nothing to do with where we are at.

Pay attention to your own path, and you won’t end up face planted on the sidewalk, wondering if someone is going to step on your head or come along and pick you up out of the dirt.

In closing, let me fill you in on the outcome of the uncomfortable interaction with the woman that inspired me.

While I waited in line, I wondered- was it her presence at CVS that made me uncomfortable, or was it the fact she hadn’t mentioned she was leaving 7/11 during one our conversations about Scratch tickets?

.  When I stepped in front of her, I asked why she’d switched jobs. It turns out Gwen, (we exchanged names during our conversation., thank God there was no one behind me,) had been studying to become a pharmacy technician, and the chain had hired her to work the retail side while waiting to pass whatever test pharmacy techs need to pass. So in a couple of weeks, Gwen will be the person I see when filling a prescription for penicillin.

Our lives are as big or as small as we choose to make them. People will come and go, or change positions, or we’ll change the way we define our relationships with them- from lover to ex, friend to best friend, to Christmas card recipient.

Some of you probably love the roller coaster of it all- not knowing what’s to come.

For the rest of usLean in. Reach for the commotion and the havoc.    Uproot everything you know to explore the unknown. Be a part of the changes you’re scared of, embrace the ones that are out of your hands, endure and learn from those that feel like they might break you forever.

     Find faith, and know who you are in this moment.

    Don’t be a person that clings to one system of beliefs, and one way of doing things, but recognize and build on the wisdom around and within you.

     What you discover in the years to come has the power to change you, and transform the world around you.

     Right now, the world needs changing.

     I trust all of you are up for doing your part.

     

 

There is alcohol. Wine, fancy cocktails with basil floating in them like pine needles, and beer.

There are long, dark wood walks with a dog that follows, lingers, then sprints to a pile of damp leaves. There is the observation of joy, as she thrashes in gold and rusty brown and dirt. When she jumps into the van, my sweet girl smells like she was out all night, and it’s Thursday afternoon.

There is work, swallowing handfuls of chocolate chips from the fridge meant for Sunday pancakes, dinners out at restaurants I can’t afford, where we share appetizers and order just one more.


There is splitting the check even though I ordered just one more, and knowing it’s understood. I needed that.

There is time with friends.

There are phone calls to mom, and not calling mom, because I don’t want her to know details. There is knowing she is there to listen to the details if it comes to that.

There is music from when I was his age, and his own music, the inappropriate language, the grinding bass, the beat. There is time at the gym, lifting metal, finding downward dog in a room full of women who look they don’t have a clue even though probably half of them have been where I am now.

There are impassioned conversations about Trump, the Supreme Court, moving to Canada, the latest from Trump.

There the memes of Obama and Biden.

There is tv and slippers and sleeping pills and falling asleep with the tv on so I don’t have to think about anything but the carefully written dialogue written by writers on another coast that belong to a union and  are probably talking about Trump right now.

There is knowing, somewhere, in my head, this is not cancer. It is not Alzheimer’s, or living without heat, or living alone, or being old, and wishing for what will never come again.

When I find myself dealing with another variety of grief, I may or may not turn to the same these things I have found  along this journey.

Inside this life of mine, right now, I still find bliss and laughter, even though this heart of mine weighs more than my whole house, weights more than anything I have ever carried.

I have found a way to lift this heart and love this child and move forward into the tomorrow and next month.

Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes my knees buckle and I lean knowing I have lost it all. I find myself on the sofa, wishing I had softer socks, or a magazine, or a softer pillow, or it was ten years ago.

Then my daughter asks me to sign her permission slip. A student calls with a question. Sophie sighs in her sleep and I know she is dreaming of bunnies.

So I pull myself up and I take myself down to my bedroom. I find sleep, I do not dream of bunnies, that I know of anyway.

But I wake up next to Sophie and that helps.

My family is home with me tonight. I’m a little bit angry and totally blessed.

Well, mostly blessed.

I hope I dream of bunnies.

My world was huge when I was in my twenties. I spent time in Boston, New York City and New Jersey, going from place to place, friend to friend, sofa to dorm room to home, with the ease of someone in their twenties. Boston had school and work, New York City was, well, New York City, and I had a boyfriend in New Jersey. I packed light, lost a lot of stuff, and borrowed even better stuff from the patient and/or clueless people in my life. I think I still have a cashmere sweater from my mom. She is neither patient, nor clueless, but she is unfailingly generous, and the color wasn’t good on her.I don’t know if she knows I have it. Please don’t tell her.

I got older, Boston became home. The boyfriend relocated to my apartment in Allston, we spent a lot of times at clubs in the city. Often, we would hire a cab to take us to Walden Pond when I missed the suburbs.There were frequent invitations to the Cape, I’m not sure why, neither of us was  particularly charming, attractive or well off. But we were happy to head out for a weekend with little or no notice, so I guess we were the people to call when a new people were needed, vacations can get boring when you’re spending time with the same people you have breakfast with all year.

In those days, I moved a lot. I liked to stay up late. I liked to invite my friends over to stay up late with me. Landlords don’t appreciate tenants that stay up late, especially on Monday and Tuesday nights, and have friends that are happy to join them for endless games of scrabble or alcohol fueled conversations about what we were going to do the next day, even though all of us knew the next day was going to start around five o’clock in the evening.

Within a year of settling in to a new place, I’d receive the eviction notice.  I lived in Allston, Brighton, Brookline, the South End, Bay Village, the South End, the Fenway, all within ten years. Finally I landed in  in Dorchester Ma, in a huge one bedroom owned by one of the friends that liked staying up late. I was living with a different boyfriend and running a profitable business from my apartment. I still went out two or three times a week to clubs or dives most nights, the cab fare was just a little more expensive.  I visited Block Island a couple of times a year, I talked to mom on the phone instead of visiting  NJ.

When the stick turned pink, and the proposal came, we drove up to NH to take our vows. We were going to get married outside. I was seven months pregnant; maybe I hoped I could hide my huge belly behind a tree. There were bugs. We got married in the foyer of the inn next to the reception desk. There was a family of five, just coming back from the lake, wrapped in wet towels, wearing flip flops, with the two youngest brandishing sand pails, that volunteered to be our witnesses. By the time the family was thru with the wedding cake- I had to offer them something and hadn’t even thought about a reception, the cake was gone. No slices for the freezer.

After child number two, we moved to Milton, a small town in Southern Massachusetts, right off the highway. Lots of woods, huge municipal swimming pool, good schools  and public transportation five minutes away from the town center. We drank the Koolaid and bought the house. My world, my big, big, world, became even smaller.

There were no last minute trips to the Cape or nights out at the club. Spur of the moment day adventures to Walden were few. Packing a bag for two small children to spend a day forty five minutes away at a pond  is more complicated than the packing I did when I was relocating to a different area code. Two cans of bug spray, three kinds of sun block, diapers, socks, extra socks, water, juice, hats, sun glasses, books, coloring books, books for me, change of clothes for all, wipes, snacks for him, snacks for her,  and Ativan for me. I think I miss packing for the lake less than the joy of car seats. If you don’t know, you might. Good luck.

I’ve lived in the big world, or at least a corner of it, in the Northeast part of the United States. Then I had kids, and my world shrunk to whatever space they occupied.

They are teenagers now. Now that they are older, I suppose I could expand my universe a bit, visit an old haunt, head to New Jersey for a weekend to see some high school friends, head to the City for a Broadway show.

The truth is I’m happy at home with just one, actually two, human glitches.  The teenagers are, quite often, here too. The space is cluttered with  chatter of youtube, the streaming of sound cloud, socks, (you can smell the stench in New Jersey) smudged plates and pizza crusts, unfamiliar voices that usually respond to whatever question or comment I make like they aren’t quite sure who I am or why I am bothering them, large and very florescent shoes, backpacks, hair products, cereal boxes, which must randomly distributed throughout the house so they will never, ever go hungry, even if they find themselves in a hallway,- sometimes there isn’t any room for me.

The Cape isn’t an option on a Monday night, I have work in the morning. Clubs are out. I don’t want have friends over at three am, I don’t know anyone anymore that likes to stay out until three am, and as I recall, things didn’t really get interesting until three am.

So when I need to escape, I pull on a yoga top and yoga pants. I wear the yoga pants because everyone wears yoga pants, I wear yoga tops because when you spend a lot of time touching your toes, or doing that downward dog thing yogis are so fond of, a yoga shirt stays on your body like a one piece one size too small. I wore a tee shirt once, and spent the entire class confronted with the fact that I need to eat less food, plank more, or buy a yoga top. I bought the top.

I actually have my own yoga mat. The fact it is the same yoga mat I started with about six years ago is a miracle. I lost Colin at Canobie Lake Park, I lose my parking card so often the sour face attendant gives me a high five when I hand it over. I have six different novelty key rings, with the trackers that make the funny noises in a drawer somewhere. If they ever turn up, I could probably play a song with them.

I go into class. I take off my shoes and silence my phone. I step on my mat. I sit on a block, ( why do you need to sit on a block you might ask? I don’t know, but everyone else sits on a block, so I sit on the block like the sheep that I am, see comment above about yoga pants,) We breathe and I wriggle a bit, on our blocks until the teacher begins.

We move through the poses, each time it’s different. The music changes,  I take classes in  vinyasa flow, meditative yoga, hot yoga, whatever is offered whenever I get there.

I listen to the teacher. I move my body. I arch my back, I lift my arms, I balance on one leg, I breathe.

I am at home inside the space of my mat. Even at the end of class, during savasana,  (time for muscles to process all the work is the party line, I just think it’s a power nap,) I am thinking about dinner, work tomorrow, if I will ever be able to support my entire body on my elbows, whether or not it’s worth it give up pasta, but I am not wondering where I want to be next.

I’m on the mat. There’s plenty of space for me and all that I am on a flat piece of blue rubber, slightly ridged, two feet by six feet, in Milton, Massachusetts.

It took me a long time to get here.