Wednesday, January 21, 2015

six simple things to smile about

1. new haircuts
2. falling back into bed with a book you're loving every night
3. returning to visit a city you love
4. fresh snow on a ski run
5. forgiving yourself
6. second dates

pic from my first trip to vail with rach

Monday, January 12, 2015

on gratefulness

New Year's was hours away. We sat in Rachel's cozy apartment with Ryan Seacrest on mute and sipped our wine in silence; a sense of hesitation filled the air. My heart wasn't in it--these girls, these friends I loved; I owed them a better version of myself--more focused, more contented; less distracted. I had doubted going out, debated a night in with a glass of pinot and season 5 of Friends, but convinced myself I should try. "You're never going to meet anyone staying in!" a voice echoed in my head. Whenever I hear it, the source of the memory is blurry and difficult to identify. It may have been from a book; more probably, a nightmare. "When did that become the point?" I always wondered in response.

Midnight came and went after several rounds of drinks and games; the night passed, like many before it--with happy details, minor stories and memories that would blur in the coming weeks like that of the grey quote source in my head. We hugged goodbyes around 12:30 and created our own beginnings to 2015 in its earliest hours--Rachel, on the couch with Parks and pizza; Monica, drinking with another group of friends at a late-night bar; me, reconnecting with a boy who would never offer me more than a mild distraction, a relationship I revisited whenever enough time had passed to pretend I forgot this.

Days later, I texted Monica. "I'm in a funk," I said. Hours of relaxing, which I should have been relishing in, were instead spent drooping around my apartment, a space filled in every corner with collected items that normally brought me such comfort and peace, but seemed to only make me restless. "We'll be okay," she wrote back. "We're just in a rut." I kept thinking of possible distractions to try to feel better--what boy could I text? When would I be interested in someone again? In the game of love, was I just not lucky?

Back at work the following Monday, I slogged around the office, quiet, mopey, mildly nauseous and feverish, feeling like I needed another two weeks off. Cutting out early to sneak a nap at home, I began to feel chest pains. Hours later, I found myself in the emergency room, riding the wave of a series of compartmentalized emotions: frustrated, then independent, then scared, then openly weeping when the pain became overwhelming. Still, at this point, I wouldn't tell anyone where I was--this was the burden only a partner should have to bear, I thought. If it turns out to be nothing, I'm not making anyone else sit here for hours in this pale yellow room with not even a TV to watch the Bachelor premiere.

But then I didn't go home, and the doctors kept announcing new tests. To curtail this story ending a different way, I am fine--the pains were fixed and the cause was solvable--but sitting alone in the room before this conclusion had been announced, I finally broke and responded to a group text of my girlfriends in the city. "Meanwhile, I'm in the Emergency Room," I sent flippantly, trying to act blase. Within 30 minutes, Rachel and Amanda were at the door, LaCroix, magazines and Friends on the iPad in hand. "You look homeless," Amanda announced, hugging me in my hospital robe and sweatpants. It was the first time all night my tears weren't from pain or fear; more importantly, they were combined with laughter.

The next morning, I woke refreshed in my own bed, after the most solid night of sleep I'd had in weeks. I looked around my apartment filled with light, and for the first time in the New Year, with possibility. My phone revealed texts from friends asking for updates, and I called my parents to fill in the details I had groggily left out the night before. "You sure have an incredible family down there," my dad said. I thought about my parents and how I never hesitate one second to call them when upset; I thought about the girls who sat in that stale, airless room with me and filled it with stories and life; I thought about the friends who were checking in on me and the ones I hadn't told because I didn't want to worry them. I thought about the promise of the unknown and the complex and beautiful road unfolding ahead of me. "I know," I replied to him. "I feel pretty damn lucky in love."

image source

Friday, January 9, 2015

six simple things to smile about

1. winter sunsets
2. the return of favorite tv shows
3. resolutions lasting through january
4. cool rooms with warm blankets
5. weekend road trips

have a lovely weekend, friends. i'll see you back here monday.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

a new page

“why don’t you write again?”

The text came through in the midst of a commonplace, daily conversation with my friend Christina. We had been discussing dating sites and my recent sense of lethargy for romantic and work life. “I’m thinking about starting back up the blog,” I wrote back, realizing the truth behind the statement as I typed it. The idea sprang to the front of my mind, like a quiet overlooked student’s raised hand. And there it sat for months, popping up now and then while I continued to go on with my life--making breakfast, sharing wine with Beth on a Tuesday, sending one last email at work as my stomach growled for dinner, sleeping past 6 am spin class again—doing everything but starting back up the blog.

The blog world was different back then. The height of my commitment to it coincided with the Blog Bubble, when the word became common vernacular among 20-something girls and a handful of my friends maintained lifestyle and fashion sites to varying of success. It was my enthusiastic attempt at venturing into the world of a writer, a path tread clear by those whose years of hard work was just starting to pay off. Coupled with a handful of freelance jobs, the blog cemented writing as a daily priority—a passion that was finally paying me. But the work started to feel hollow, and the delivery was slowly driven less by my internal drive and more by external expectations—those with the checks, those behind the comments and competition.

Somewhere far way, in another fairytale land, there’s a charming cottage where girls and boys discover the directional career force that fulfills their hearts’ desire. Presented as a set of Russian dolls, children gradually reveal wooden figurines of decreasing size until they land upon the core of their being—the purpose that drives the gears of daily life. “Let’s see here…brooke…brooke…here you are!” the tiny white-haired shop-owner would exclaim as she handed over my set. “Ahh, the connector,” she’d remark as I uncovered my first and largest cover. Caretaker, reader, fixer, teacher. Each piece would be revealed until the tiniest center presented itself proud, quiet and clear: writer.

If a career is like a bank account, I’ve invested a sizable deposit into my current industry, and the interest has accumulated attractively. Transferring those funds is an idea consistently weighing on my mind-- even with the possible losses presented, the potential of personal internal gain promises larger reward. “Aren’t you always looking for something new?” my friend Joe asked about my career search when we caught up after months of not seeing each other. “No,” I said. “I’m looking for something right.”

A large part of my personality makeup comes down to trusting my instincts. As a favorite quote says: “When faced with a choice of yes or no, always make the decision that feels like freedom.” What I know now is that the daily decisions in one’s life are just as important as the seemingly world-altering ones. In many cases, as time goes by they end up being one and the same. Finding my dream job this instant falls out of my control, but pursuing my purpose with the intent of being true to myself is a daily decision I can make on my own accord.    

And so I return to writing as a daily dose of freedom--an act that beats yes against my chest consistently. Patiently. Firmly. A practice kept up not because it pays or because it pleases someone, but because it brings me to life, grounds me, clarifies my identity to my self and the world. Word by word, I ink out the story of my life and where it leads me before I even know the plot.

image source

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jackpot! Five Added Bonuses of Working Out

5. Discovering new music. 
Some of my favorite get-ready-for-the-weekend/walk to the train and imagine I'm in a movie about an awkward but whip-smart small town girl making it in the big city songs have come from classes at the gym. "Run the World (Girls)" by Beyonce, "Cannibal" by Ke$ha, and "Titanium" by David Guetta (featuring Sia) still make me want to burst into a sprint anytime I hear them.

4. Occupying your mind.
One of my go-to secrets when I've had a bad day or need to get my mind off a boy is to go to the gym and  sweat it out. Running or spinning or any type of hard cardio works, but the key is to push yourself to the point where all you care about is surviving the next five minutes...and then the five after that. The peace of mind from focusing on truly strengthening your body is beyond compare.

3. NSC's
My girlfriend Amanda coined this term--non-sexual crush--years ago in regards to those girls you instantly idolize or adore. So many of my teachers--spin, weights, running--have fallen into this category, but there are also girls in class that push you further than you'd intended on going. It's empowering to be around strong, driven females and it's even better when their drive and intensity inspires you.

2. Owning your body
I have this weird and awesome trait where I am either a decent dancer (as in I can keep the beat loosely but with confidence) or I am terrifically laughable (think Elaine from Seinfeld). It comes and goes without warning but I have to say when I've been working out hard--and consistently--the whole dance floor experience is exponentially less mortifying. Getting in tune with your body--feeling the muscles activate and respond--affects the way you use it.

1. Feeling Like a Bad Ass
Trust me. When you feel it there will be no explanation necessary.


Monday, May 14, 2012

One Question

Do you guys have a secret question you ask yourself when you start dating someone (or when you started dating your significant other)? My morning radio show was asking this today and it made me realize I have a silent litmus test in the back of my head: could I be happy if I were stranded with this person on a deserted island? Barring the survival stuff--let's just pretend we possess the skills necessary to keep living--would I grow annoyed or would we never run out of things to talk about? Could we make each other laugh and keep each other entertained if there were no TV, internet, or Iphones? Would I feel safe with him? The initial stages of dating are so fun--filled with new experiences, places and gestures of your best self, but when all that balances out, the connection that remains is what interests me. What about you guys--do you have a secret question?

image via pinterest (credit unknown, let me know if you have the information!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

six simple things to smile about

1. girlfriends that ground you
2. feeling strong
3. guys with rosy cheeks
4. weekend road trips
5. collarbones
6. actively pursuing a dream

Going on a road trip to Michigan with these girls plus two more lovely ladies, and I cannot wait for a weekend of wine and girl talk. What are you guys doing this weekend? Whatever it is, enjoy the time off and we'll meet back here Monday :)