Wednesday, June 20, 2018


A few weeks ago, I rear-ended someone on the freeway.

I was drowsy, dragging, having jumped in the car 10 minutes after waking, after performing the bare requirements to get the dog squared away and get myself on the road, en route to the grind.

The traffic was annoyingly--ingratiatingly--stop-and-go, and it took me a second too long to realize it was more stop than go. My commuter sneaker slipped slightly on the brake, and I knew I was in for it. My seat belt triggered, compressing my chest, forcing my cringing face forward as I crashed into the tail end of a Honda Odyssey.

Time elapsed as I stared down my red front hood, colliding, colliding, colliding into the white wall of a hinged van door. Protracted smashing, and then it was over.

Fucking fuck. A voice I didn't recognize from my own driver's seat.

I pulled over, foggily rummaging through my glove compartment, stunned, shamed, despondent. Resigned.

"Are you okay?" I asked the visibly irritated blonde women whose day, week, maybe month I'd just soured. I'm sorry, I wanted to say, I'm acquainted with ruined days. It was only a matter of time before I transgressed a perfect stranger.

We stood on the shoulder as the cars whizzed by. Clearly the bottleneck had resolved itself. We examined the damage, exchanged information, and coldly laid out next steps.


Is this what falling out of love feels like, I wonder? Operating in a haze, going through the motions of maintenance, and then the abrupt stun of impact and the paralyzing recognition of your culpability? The weight of anxiety as your reflexes kick in a moment too late. Surveying the wreckage with the only person in the world who knows just how egregious your offense.

Never mind the environment, never mind the stress. You didn't stop in time. At fault, the record will say. Would you like to document more details about the incident?

Maybe this is why we don't have insurance for our romantic lives. We could never afford the premiums.

Friday, May 5, 2017

A eulogy for doubt

"I'm not perfect," he said on our sixth date, on our second do-over.

"You don't have to be perfect," I said. "You just have to be trying."

What if we stop having a ball?
What if the paint chips from the wall?
What if there's always cups in the sink?
What if I'm not what you think I am?

"Don't give up on me," he said, after pushing me away didn't work. 

"Where there is love, there is no question," says the Yogi Tea tag taped to my desk.

What if I fall further than you?
What if you dream of somebody new?
What if I never let you win, chase you with a rolling pin?
Well, what if I do?


"Is he worth it?" she asked, after a weekend of wondering.

"All I know," I whispered, "is it's not time to give up yet."
I am giving up on making passes and
I am giving up on half empty glasses and
I am giving up on greener grasses
I am giving up

"Why would I jeopardize everything we've built?" he asked, after my mind played tricks.  

An answer, as quick as it was stunning: "You wouldn't." 

What if our baby comes home after nine?
What it your eyes close before mine?
What if you lose yourself sometimes?
Then I'll be the one to find you
Safe in my heart

"Am I cut out for this?" I asked myself, after one of the hard conversations.

"We will get through this," he said, after pushing him away didn't work. "Together."

'Cause I am giving up
on greener grasses 
I am giving up for you, oh
I am giving up for you, oh
I am giving up

--Ingrid Michaelson, Giving Up

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Summer 2016 Bucket List

It's that time again! You know, the time where I make an exhaustive list of what's in my calendar this summer so I can look back when I am in the depths of winter and remember that all of life is not darkness and hibernation.

So far my summer bucket list includes:
  • A Cubs game Ferris Bueller Day     X

  • Wanderlust 108, a mindful triathlon      X
  • A Chicago bike ride scavenger hunt with the Marquette crew     X

  • Yoga in the Sky at the Navy Pier Rooftop Terrace #yogainweirdplaces     X

   So instagrammable.

And a bonus horseback ride to boot!
  • Dave Matthews cover band at a street fest
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off in Millennium Park
  • Citizen Cope at House of Blues
  • Brett Dennen at Thalia Hall    X    (Received Casey's nod of approval: XX)

  • Camping in the U.P.
  • Kayaking in the U.P.
  • Watching Henley swim in the U.P.       X
  • Making S'mores with my mom on the back deck around the fire pit       X
  • The Roots at Taste of Chicago     X
  • An amazing Seattle and Portland road trip with not one but TWO of my soul sisters!      X
  • Yoga at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and other Denver adventures!     X
  • Seeing my bestie get married to an awesome Yooper transplant     X
  • Dixie Chicks at the Resch Center with my family      X
  • Watching grandipants dance like a moron to this song every chance we get      X

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dear You

Every time I've sat down to write over the past four months, nothing...came. That's the best way I can describe what happens when writing goes well: If I am ready, the words come. They arrive, and they march out in order and then I do a once-over with a comb in hand and say, hey you, you're the tallest, you belong in the back row, break a leg out there, guys and then we're ready to hit the stage.

Not so much when I'm not ready. When I'm still sorting it out or fumbling around in the dark back stage. When I'm still learning. And so it is right now, and so it has been for four months. Right now I have a giant stew (I cannot even be bothered to align my mixed metaphors) of feelings, and feelings about feelings, and the real Easter miracle: the second coming of hope. But at least my stew is regret-free. And everyone knows that regret is the gluten of feelings.

I'm still running over the events and the lessons of the last few months in my mind, memorizing my lines so that when I'm in the spotlight, they come like second nature. I am rehearsing, for who--I don't know, but I have stage fright. There is just so much that is new to me.

Sometimes I trick myself into writing by asking: what would you write to your former self to talk yourself through what you went through? Apparently I am a writing diva, all very meta and high-maintenance, but in the spirit of Mary Louise Parker and getting back to regularly scheduled programming, I present to you:

Dear You,

You can't carry someone else's pain, and you can't force someone to face themselves. You can turn yourself inside out trying to avoid the truth, but at a certain point, unraveling fabric becomes a really long thread.

You really do have instincts, just like your mom said. Anxiety is born when your thoughts about what is going on do not match your instincts. Trust your instincts and not the thoughts. Also: you should Google Jean Paul Sartre and really meditate on his assertion that hell is other people. Your strength has always come from within. Do not underestimate that.

You are a fucking resilient human. We are all so remarkable and awful, all of us, every single one. All we have is the good that we give to each other, and you will be pleasantly surprised--blown away, really--at how much good you can give, at how much good you have packed away in your closet, at how you will always know where that door is, even when it feels like someone turned the lights off and spun you around five times before letting you go.

But you could have a symphony of good to give and it will fall on deaf ears if the person isn't ready to receive it (Dude, what is with your metaphors today). I hope you can look back and realize just how many emotionally deaf men you have loved in your life; it was their handicap--and not some imagined one of yours--that was the problem. You were not too needy, or too emotional, or too complicated. You weren't asking too much (if you were even asking at all). You still aren't, and you never will be.

What they say about letting go instead of being dragged is true, and this will be the time you finally loosen your grasp. (Your hands were never really that strong anyways.) Cheryl Strayed's belief that what might have been is just a ghost ship that didn't carry us will become your belief, too. Wave from the shore, yes, but do not answer the SOS call, especially when they don't even make one.

And finally: the earth is crawling with good humans, who are flawed and loveable and willing to go there with you. And by go there, I mean to yoga, to your core, to what worries you, to the place where in order to see and experience you, they need to see and share themselves. There is no reason you can't make a life with one of those humans. There is every reason you should hold out for one of those humans and smother them with kisses when they make you happy.

But don't take my word for it. Listen to Tom Petty when you forget:

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free


Bobbi Marie

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Shortest Day

Today is the shortest day of the year, yet it stretched on like it had one hundred shadows.  

A shadow is an area of darkness where light is obstructed. A shadow is a silhouette or a reverse projection of the object blocking the light.

Maybe it's because I spent today brain-deep in cancer biology, but that sounds like poetry to me. A shadow is just an obstruction, a blockage. A shadow is a mere outline of whatever is blocking the light. And really, a shadow is the opposite of whatever appears in front of you, the opposite of whatever is between you and the light. 

It sounds a lot like fear.

Today, I did 108 sun salutations to celebrate the winter solstice. Fitting, because I am thinking about balance and centeredness in a completely different way than I have before.

I am wondering how long my heart will have shadows, how long it takes to see yourself clearly again when circumstances have changed so drastically. I already know the answer, but I can't recall it easily in the midst of change, so it waits for me, lurking.

Did you know that on the winter solstice, the sun does not rise at the North Pole—so you would have no shadow? And at the South Pole, the sun is up all day on December 21—so you would cast a shadow all day. So the size and very existence of your shadow depends on where you are, and when, and, presumably, with whom.

But tonight I was reminded that it depends quite a bit on the source of your light, too.

The number 108 has many symbolic meanings. Tonight's teacher shared one: the Buddhist belief that humans suffer and move through 108 human delusions in their lives. Buddhists believe that if you bow (or, in Chicago CorePower style, salute the sun) 108 times, you purify these delusions and as a result, find infinite capability and vitality of mind.

Delusions, I have many.

I am hoping my shadow might be one of them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


This is the cutest thing I have seen in a while: "Ooh, that's filthy. I can't do dat."

Except for maybe this.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When Things Are Good

I don't know how to write about joy, and it's hard to pinpoint why. What does it say about me, I wonder, that I am more skilled at describing struggle and loneliness than I am at security and bliss?

To be fair, I know the words for struggle and loneliness didn't come right away either. I wrestled with them and birthed them. I sat with them while they appeared, like old drawings on a foggy mirror.

I just know joy feels like a warm hand between my shoulder blades, in the exact spot that makes me lose my train of thought (but who needs thoughts anyways). I only know that "I can't wait to see you" sounds a lot like a melody, one that is loud enough to drown out doubt. 

When things are good the choice is easier. Light over heavy, forgiveness over resentment, optimism over worry. When things are good I don't mind that I'm too tired to pop up into crow pose. I don't bristle when Henley is jumpy, because Henley needs love too. When things are good I am only mildly annoyed when I run out of yogurt mid-week.

Sunrise on Lake Michigan

Byron Katie, knower of all things, has said that pleasure is an attempt to fill yourself, and joy is what you already are.

Maybe that's why I can't articulate it. I just know I feel more like myself than I have in a long time.