Tag Archives: eat pray love

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see.

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I catapulted into the passenger seat of the car wearing the most convincing grin I could find before leaving the house.

I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t wanted her to accuse me. I didn’t want the argument. I wanted to ramble about the things I was sure of: the weather. My shoe size. My craving for the evening entree: Mexican. Definitely Mexican. 

“So, how…” she started to speak.

“We had a really great day,” I cut her off quickly. “We spent it hiking. And we didn’t fight at all. It was like we were starting all over again. It was great.”

We sat in silence for a tiny eternity before she pressed her hand to the gear and pushed it into reverse. “Hannah,” she whispered.

Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it.

“One day does not change the last year of your life.” 

 

Hi, my name is Hannah Brencher and I am a retired member of the “I Tried to Fix You” Club. I’ve resigned from my position as secretary of the “Please, Just Change” Club. I’ve stopped knocking my gavel at the “Tomorrow Things Will Be Different” Club.

I’ve been there, floating on the dang door in the icy ocean, holding tight to someone who is dying right in front of me. I’ve been the one to say, “I’ll never let go.” And I’ve learned the pain that comes in loosening the grip simply because we don’t always stumble into the people who ask us to hold on. Some people have never wanted that of us.

Sometimes we stumble, crash, collide, and even fall in love with people that walk away. It happens. That’s life. Cue Frank Sinatra.

But that story of mine goes back to a bad year. A year full of fighting. A year full of tumult & tears. A year spent wondering what it would cost to walk away. How would things turn? How would they tumble? And could we stand on our own anymore? And where, oh, where was the guidebook– the handbook, the dictionary, the Wikipedia site– for all of us who got so tangled in Another Soul that we forgot who we were apart from another pair of hands. Another pair of arms. Two eyes that always saw us through?

 

I used to put my whole body into relationships.

I used to turn to a speck, a glitter, beside someone else.

I’d be sucked dry of self esteem and left hanging on the every word of boys who should have never needed to validate me like a Taylor Swift ballad. I cried at night after parties, my tiny body on the floor wondering how vodka brought so much honesty & heartbreak through my bloodstream, imagining the day in which I would take the concrete shoes off. The day I would walk away finally. The day I would finally face the mirror and ask, “And who are you, girl?” Who. Are. You?

I never wanted my fingerprints on that question. I never wanted to dance with the Ugly I found inside of me. I’d rather pour my energy into fixing someone. And healing someone else. And be a big ol’ bandage to anyone who ever came to me with their heart in their hands. And staying in relationships as flimsy as scotch tape houses if it meant I could focus on holding up anything other than me.

 

It was nearing 2am.

Her words kept rubbing against me as I crossed and uncrossed my legs on the floor.

“One day does not change the last year of your life.” 

“One day does not change the last year of your life.” 

I was alone now.

And I’d stayed up to plow through India and learn to love in Bali.

I was reaching the edge of “Eat, Pray, Love.” In a quiet house that held the snores of my parents somewhere within it, I was reaching the point in the journey where Elizabeth Gilbert would dot her last sentence. Leave me there. To start my own path towards fixing whatever was broken. Replacing whatever was lost.

I was alone now. The texts weren’t coming any longer. There were no goodnight kisses or someone to battle with over who loved who more. And I felt aloneness for the first time. It was the first sense of knowing that I was on my own. It would stay that way.

And it was strange but lovely to feel like, for the first time, it was time for my own repairs. The fog was clearing and it was just fine to learn the art of putting myself back together again. Without all the king’s horsemen. Or all the king’s men. 

I felt more worth it in that moment than ever before.

I sucked the last line in deep. I closed the book and folded my legs up around me. I whispered to the spaces that always hold God at night, “I don’t know what I was made for.”

I didn’t know what God was scratching his chin about on the day He decided that there’d be a little girl with freckled limbs & wild red hair. I didn’t know if He sang. If He danced. If He wrote a poem and sat in a cloud of a canopy for the rest of the afternoon.

But He had gone through the trouble & the tumble to make me. And I was a being who cried separately, who dreamed apart, who could walk away. It might take a few steps, a few falls, a few mistakes, but I could walk away. And stand alone. And learn to fix the wings so stitched for flight.

And, in that moment, knowing just that was enough.

It was enough to start over. It was enough to stay walking on the path towards Away.

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Filed under Love Yourself, Uncategorized

A guru at equipping souls with a Simultaneous Sense of Eating, Praying & Loving, once wrote that we cannot expect to win the lottery if we don’t first buy the ticket.

I spent two years stealing love notes from my brother’s bedroom just to admire the handwriting styles of his girlfriend.

I may or may not have contemplated stapling the letters to my trendy Unicorn sweaters of the time and wearing them around with my jacket unzipped. Not to expose any juicy secrets, of course, but  to show people what eloquent handwriting looked like. The kind of stuff Hallmark Illustrators gnaw on for breakfast.

Instead, being the slightly neurotic ten-year-old that I was, I took out my Lisa Frank planner and scheduled a time slot from 4-5p.m., Monday thru Friday.

Handwriting Practice.

Yes, yes. While other girls read Tiger Beat Magazine and gushed over the Backstreet Boys, I holed myself up in my bedroom, unfolding love letters from their paper football form, to master the technique behind a round & full lowercase “a” and the precise swoop of an uppercase “Y”.  The anticipation of one day seeing these same delicate letters parade on my very own book reports and love notes was enough to keep me diligent for two entire years. Close to 300 hours or so of handwriting practice.

I’ve grown up keeping this notion closer to me than I would my purse on a packed subway car: If we want something then we need to work hard for it. Every Single Day. Every Single Day we carve out time for that Dream of ours. We don’t merely coo at it or coddle it, we bring it into this world. Loud & Rapturous.

I also grew up cursing the God who put a great deal of distance between Point A & Point B.

Why not connect them closer, God? Why not give me what I want right this very moment? It would probably make His Sky High To-Do List much shorter. More manageable.

It would be much easier this way, if we could pick up our deepest desires from the racks of the department store & plop them into a cart.

Chances are, a lot more dreams would live to see their realization if we were able to skip right from Point A to Point B. If Time, Energy, Hard Work, Rejection, Struggle & Discernment were not so adamant in demanding a seat in our Ambition-Covered Wagons.  

I’ve written it before but I still believe that our dreams are very much like infants. We conjure them up in diaries and during long commutes but we have to then step up to be teachers to them. Teach them to Walk, Talk, Sing, Dance, Shake, Shimmy, Move, Be. Understand their weak beginnings. Understand their wobbly legs. Covet the progress. Smile at the Baby Steps.

But the one thing we cannot do if we ever hope to find them as a reality, sitting across from us like a familiar stranger who knows how we take our coffee, is belittle them. Degrade them. Find small boxes to shove them in. Let them collect dust on a shelf within our memory.

You see, one day our dreams being labeled as “unreachable” won’t cut it anymore. They will grow stale. They might fall apart. They will tire from us putting “Cannot” and “Should” in front of them in line. And they will slink into a slot just as forgotten as the lone sock, abandoned under the bed and left praying for some sort of companion who understands their wool & texture.

Elizabeth Gilbert, a guru at equipping souls with a Simultaneous Sense of Eating, Praying & Loving, one wrote that we cannot expect to win the lottery if we don’t first buy the ticket. I don’t know about you, but I have some tickets to buy… some dreams stored up inside of me that need to start sending their resumes out to reality.

So here’s to taking some coins, sunk deep from our pockets, and listening to the sounds they make as they clink on the counter.

 “One ticket please,” I say. “Matter of fact, make it ten.”

Here’s to finding Point A together, no matter how opposite our directions are from one another.

Here’s to kicking Struggle & Rejection, Doubt & Animosity, out from the cradle that our dreams slumber in at night.

Here’s to picking back up that piece of chunky purple chalk and writing our dreams out to the world. Fine Handwriting Practice or None.

Here’s to placing Point A down on the map and finding one way today to make a sudden movement.

A Baby Step.

A Crawl.

Even just a shoulder shrug.

On our way.

To Point B.

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Filed under Big Dreams, For a Better World, Love Yourself, Reality, Uncategorized

“I want to be my person” The real story behind the quotation

“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.” Elizabeth Gilbert,  Eat, Pray, Love

I was once comfortably comfortable with being alone.

I used to play hide-and-seek only to be hidden and never to be sought. I would stay holed up in my bedroom for hours creating, drawing and conjuring characters and story lines. I never wanted to play with the other neighborhood kids. My mom nearly had to force me to call my boyfriends to let them know that I was alive and well and that I just preferred doing my own thing to sharing my day with them.

When we say, “I want to be by myself,” someone always thinks there is something wrong. Instantly. It’s as if it is not acceptable to want to be alone in today’s world. With all the routes of communication that surround us, why be alone when we can be connected? Constantly. Twenty. Four. Seven.

The post “I want to be my person,” was never intended to be that way. It ended up becoming a tale of validation instead of its true purpose to reflect a conversation with a good friend a few weeks back. Knees Tucked Under Themselves. In Her Car. Sharing Life Like A Juicy Secret At A Slumber Party. We were discussing how we all just want someone to talk to. We are never content with loneliness. We seek someone to receive our good days, our bad days and our mediocre to-do lists throughout the day. Usually someone of the opposite sex.

Her response was, “I want to be my person.” That person that we can each rely on. That person that is comfortable with going about the day by herself. Not Needing To Dole Out Her Day To Other People. For Some Kind Of Validation. Pat On The Back. Support.

But that is far from easy. It is no piece of cake, for lack of a better cliché, to just be alone. For a week. A Day. Or Even An Hour. It seems like the days that I try I end up becoming bored and seeking out that conversation. I simply need to throw out a quick message into the world and receive an instant friend back. Someone To Talk To. Someone To Show Me I Am Not Alone.

I find myself crying out to be lonely. In The Way That I Once Was. I want to take “loneliness” and twist and tweak it into a good word, an acceptable word, a word we want on our team. I want to make it o.k. to say, “I am lonely today,” and people will nod their head and say “Oh yes, I had one of those days on Monday.” And it would o.k.

Because I wonder what it would mean to be lonely for a little while. To not seek out those conversations and lines of instant communication. To go about a few days by myself. What would I find if I forced myself to be my best friend? If I did not have to text my friends to help with decision-making? To ask someone for their opinion. Would I embrace a new kind of independence? Would I make more time for the right conversations, the meaningful ones, the ones I don’t carry on while I am doing ten thousand other tasks?

And I am learning the hard way that even if we surround ourselves with people and bombard our screens with several dialogues, that Loneliness will still arrive and seep into the conversations and be loud and boisterous and gawk in our faces. Because my loneliness wants to be acknowledged, it wants to be questioned and it wants to say, “How would you like to replace me? Be Real. Be True. Be Honest. Figure out how you want to replace me for something else. But here is the catch: You need to be alone first to figure it out.”

And who knows what we would find if we allowed ourselves that loneliness in each day as if it were just as essential as our multivitamins. If we shut ourselves off from the rest of the world to be our own person. To Be Independent. To Be Comfortably Comfortable With Being Alone.

Any tips from those who understand loneliness enough to let it in?


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Filed under Live with intention, Loneliness, Simply Living, The Tough Stuff