January 14, 2021
It’s now been two weeks since you left and I’ve been sitting here with continued discomfort and uncertainty. My heart is searching for the meaning in our tumultuous time together and I wanted to write you this letter when I felt ready. You know I’m not a woman to simply react on my emotions, so I needed time to sit with them before I approached you. I can’t believe I’ve had more tears to shed for you, but – alas – they are pouring from my heart onto this letter I’m writing.
I have to admit, I don’t feel as good as I thought I would after our severance. All this space has left me with a ball of anxiety and it’s unsettling! I hoped our splitting would suddenly alleviate the pressure, anxiousness, and uncertainty… all of which are relentlessly persistent in this world! Every time I settle into the uncertainty, the ground gets pulled from under my feet again. It’s exhausting. Yoga, prayer, meditation, breathing practices… I’m using ALL my tools. I’m getting there. I really am. But I just HAVE to release some of what I’m feeling.
I realized I needed to write to you when I started blaming you over and over again for the world’s grief and turmoil. I kept cussing at you under my breath and I didn’t really feel this was fair to you, nor to myself. The Buddha says hanging onto anger is like holding onto a hot coal and I’ve been acutely aware of the burning in my hands at times. This awareness has been painful, but also necessary and beautiful. I only feel it’s fair I alleviate you of the burden and fault I’ve put on you these past few months. I want to fire you as my scapegoat.
When I first sat to write, I wanted to tell you I despised you for ruining SO MANY things. I’ve held onto resentment after resentment as I’ve experienced cancellations of important events – birthday celebrations, weddings, baby showers, Christmas Eve gatherings with ALL MY FAVORITE PEOPLE, Taco Tuesday with a margarita in hand. I have felt sadness and anger seeping through my heart as I’ve experienced and supported others through loved ones passing away, trauma beyond comprehension, suicides, injustices, unemployment. I kept shaking my fist at you, pleading for you to JUST LEAVE US ALONE! At times, it’s seemed to be too much to bear. I think this is why I wanted to keep blaming you… blaming something. It has just feel too uncomfortable to hold onto all this grief myself.
The weird thing is, as I was writing to tell you all the things you did wrong, I realized there was so much you taught me through the process. You showed me I was never actually ALONE in this grief after all. You showed me how much community means to me and how interconnected we are. You showed what a ‘call to action’ can look like in the face of adversity and grief. You showed me comfort and security in ways I’ve denied myself in the past. And so, I’ve sat… and sat… and sat… observing all these feelings rising and falling within me, around me. I’ve felt them settling down more… and more… with each passing day. I feel like my InstaPot on natural release, just letting the steam escape from my heart and mind. The grip around me is releasing as I realize of all you gave me. Under all the yucky feelings, I am finally seeing you taught me invaluable lessons.
It’s taking a lot for me to say this, 2020. My ego is on overdrive, but I’m setting it aside for now. It’s time to release my feelings so I may reach further clarity, no matter how vulnerable or uncomfortable it may feel. Honestly, I think you deserve it, too. It’s been rough going for the both of us.
So, this is my cathartic release. This is my emotional shedding. It’s my way of cleansing, clarifying, and releasing through writing. It’s really the only way I know how to process, so thank you for listening to me.
Here I go, 2020… This one is for you…More
September 17, 2020
This year has inspired some SERIOUS content for memes, Facebook articles, SNL skits, and vulnerable conversation. Sometimes (all the time), it feels like we are living our lives in a post-apocalyptic movie. It feels like we’ve seen it all. A global pandemic, raging wild/megafires, air we can’t breathe (inside, outside, or on any side), social/racial justice movements, riots, toilet paper shortages, elections, working/schooling from home, unemployment, and the general crumbling of everything & anything we think we’ve known. Not to mention all the personal struggles: canceled weddings, loss of loved ones, and regular life stuff (flat tires, loneliness, and technical difficulties… to mention a few).
Yeah, 2020 is getting a lot of shade. ALL the hate. “Worst year ever,” we say. But where is the context here?
2020 definitely deserves some of this bashing. It seriously feels like a sick joke that ALL the best holidays are on THE BEST DAYS OF THE WEEK, but we haven’t been able to FULLY enjoy them. Cinco de Mayo on a TUESDAY? Taco Tuesday from home just wasn’t the same as
pounding sipping classy margaritas at the local taco joint. Halloween on a SATURDAY?! How will the kiddos go trick-or-treating? Christmas and New Years Day are on Fridays. Easter was on Sunday (oh wait, it always is). Ugh… It just doesn’t seem FAIR!
Add to it that there’s all this OTHER unfair stuff going on in the world. Racism, educational systems, healthcare systems are all showing their weaknesses. It’s literally being shoved in our face. Like how mom used to shove broccoli in your face. “Eat your veggies, then you can have ice cream for dessert.” NO, I don’t want the yucky broccoli. I just want the good stuff. I just want to have FUN and forget about all this mess. I SCREAM for ice cream. As Veruca Salt
says demands, I want it NOW!
Yet… we can’t do that, can we? We can’t seem to escape these truths being revealed to us. We cannot avoid the grief, anger, and injustice surrounding us.
This year has highlighted how we weren’t ever really put together. We are falling apart and it is painful, raw, and incredibly uncomfortable.
I really feel this brokenness is helping us to see collective truths and challenging our willingness to see things as they are. We are here, experiencing groundlessness of our being.
When it feels like everything we’ve known and understood has been taken away from us, what are we left with?More
July 18, 2020
Starting Location: Pennsylvania (Depart 10:00AM… woohoo sleep in!)
Ending Location: Kristen=Long Island, New York; Abby=Connecticut (Arrive 04:00PM)
Driving Time: Together=3 hours; Kristen=4 hours; Abby=5ish hours
Driving Miles: 215 miles (to
Long Strong Island)
Total Miles: 3,561 in seven days! WAHOO!
Today marks the grand finale of our journey and return to our east coast roots! Abby and I enjoyed a slower morning as our driving mileage today was 25-50% of our driving miles on other days and our bodies were calling for rest. Abby and I were planning to split in Allenstown, PA where she intended to rent a car and drive to Connecticut while I continued to New York. However, she got TWO car rental cancellations the morning of our departure because the rental facilities were over-booked. We resolved to travel together to JFK Airport where she’d rent a car. Once she got her “CAR-firmation” that her vehicle was going to be ready for pick-up, we were good to go! We were both excited to have a little more time in the car together and to drive into NEW YORK (the greatest city in the world, according to Hamilton… and every New Yorker).
Driving home across the country has been more than I expected it to be. It was eye-opening in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, our country’s landscapes, and the differences between coasts. There are many things I’ve always looked forward to when getting to the East Coast, but I think the gentle and gradual progression from west to east allowed for growing anticipation and appreciation for the things that make truly feel at home.More
July 17, 2020
Finger Lake Friday
South Bend Howe, Indiana (Depart 09:30AM)
Ending Location: Pennsylvania! (Arrive 08:00PM)
Driving Time: 8.5 hours
Driving Miles: 530 miles
Currently, I am laying in bed in the Holiday Inn with super slanted eyes, an empty plastic cup of red wine, and a subtle smile brushed on my face.
Today, Abby and I are feeling pretty pooped. The time change, many hours in the car, and emotional anticipation of being reunited with our families has been cascading over us in emotional waves. We’ve also each had personal journeys on this trip – from aiming to connect with family and friends across the country to emotional processing of events, we’ve had a lot of heart and connection on this trip.
I truly cannot believe it’s coming close to the end. As I mentioned yesterday, the indications we are approaching to the East Coast have been getting more obvious. Today, we drove from Indiana to Ohio to Pennsylvania and are OFFICIALLY reaching the East Coast of the United States.
We didn’t really see too many sights today, but it was definitely an emotional day. I am feeling so ready to be reunited with the people I love, while also grieving more of what I am leaving behind in Washington. Add to it real grief and my heart is a little all over the place, but mostly filled with gratitude for this meaningful journey with meaningful people.More