You Yell In Your Head A Lot

That day at work, the one that is so mind numbingly boring where you can’t even remember what you talk about. You sit and stare, you cross and un-cross your legs to keep your ankles from going numb. That day where you know you’re not going to want to go home right away so you make plans with an old friend, you find a new bar and you plant your ass on a stool for a few beers and talk.

You talk and the shit that comes out of your mouth sometimes makes you realize that, in this moment, your voice is unrecognizable. You’re half way through your first 8% beer and you realize the bar now looks blurry, only because you’re looking through saltwater and your friend pats your right shoulder.

Looking down, your left knee is supported by the bar while your right ankle crosses over it, you look over and your bearded friend, a friend from years ago, that is only ten years younger that your father, and his legs are crossed the same way.

For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been like a strong, proud, black woman. He says, lifting his hand off your shoulder, complimenting you. He begins to share his stories about his relationship, because you decide to get another beer and change the subject to him. You want to stop looking through saltwater and getting the focus off you will help that.

The bar fills up as you realize the coffee stout you ordered is actually good. After years of loving coffee and loving beer and hating the two combined, this brewery does it–it goes down easy, lights you up with a buzz and mellows you out with a different buzz. The conversation continues onto beers, breweries, brewers and bars.

He compartmentalizes your life by drawing circles and squares on the bar top with his fingers, connecting them with imaginary lines and arrows, showing how they all really are connected–see, if things are good here, they have the potential to be better HERE, he taps hard on the upper right circle,

Meanwhile, you use your thumbnail to pick the coaster and to avoid eye contact, you’ve been refused coaster use in bars you regulared at in the past but the tender doesn’t notice you tonight. You blink back, close your eyes a moment and return to making scraps that he’ll later have to clean up and throw away–you’ve worked at bars and know how annoying it is to clean up other peoples messes.

The four compartments are all different, yet work together, if you create balance, you equal a happy, healthy life. Who can juggle balance? Where does this come from? WHERE, HOW?! You yell in your head, you yell in your head a lot.


Breathe in the Sun

Each time I water my garden it is hot. The plants are thirsty and the soil is dry, they drink in the waterfall and beg me for more, I am a bad plant Mom but I try harder to be better each day–each day I give them more and each day I look forward to putting my hand under the cascading flow, closing my eyes and wishing that the stream was flowing over me. I think, What a lovely shower this would be, let’s go jump into a river and float away for a few days, and then each shower I take in my small Chicago apartment I try to recreate the refreshing chill I pour out of the watering pal. Sometimes a success, sometimes it’s not quite right. When I leave the garden it is beautiful, full and happy. I whisper loving words and tell each plant they are special.

My soap smells like citrus petals, I think, what are citrus petals? I question. As I shave my legs dirt falls from my skin, the dirt from the city accumulates on my body as I ride my bike miles each day. The citrus petals clean my skin, the razor makes it smooth and the refreshing waterfall rinses me off. I suppose the citrus petals clean me of other dirt too. The dirt of a long day, the dirt of hours and hours of trying and working and thinking and feeling, of self talk and continuous motivation that seemingly goes nowhere –the moment under my waterfall clears me of everything. Time transcends and responsibility falls to the wayside. Shaving my legs I notice my amber skin to my ankles, a tan line and white feet, amber to mid thigh and then a harsh line where cloth falls when I am in the sun. I notice scars that will not go away and curves that I have not quite come to accept yet. The waterfall’s magical effects wash down with the drain as I wrap myself in a towel.

In my garden I dig my hands in the dirt to pull weeds and plant new vegetables. The spade is broken but I don’t mind–the Earth, she speaks to me through my hands and in my body, the soil harbors life, sustains it and, well, it makes me dirty. A different dirty than the dirt on my legs from the city. This is a dirty of life, of energy, of sunshine and of love. The dirt gets stuck under my finger nails and stays there as a reminder that beauty is there in the middle of a dirty city. A reminder that working with my hands brings me joy and fills a passion I didn’t know I had.

Another stream I let fall from the pal brings another whoosh of refreshment to my hands as I breathe in the sun.

Get Moving!

My mornings have changed. The warm weather. The sun up with the crows. People outside my window shouting at each other at 5:30, ya know, things that just make it easier to get up at 6 am. I like it, I enjoy the mornings alone, with my computer or a book but more recently I’ve been talking the time to walk. More or less coming off a running injury I walk/run but I enjoy both equally and try really hard to get a couple miles in before I hop on my bike and head to school.

I have always stated that morning time is my most productive time. Right now it’s 6:49 am and I have cooked breakfast, made coffee, cleaned the kitchen, read up on a few articles and will head out for a walk as soon as I finish typing this though. Some wouldn’t consider ‘a walk’ productive. But for me it’s my morning meditation, it gives me a head start on my goal of 10,000 steps for the day (though when I walk or run I tend to get closer to 14,000!) I kick my metabolism up right away. I clear my mind and set an intention. Sometimes I listen to a podcast to get ideas to be more productive through out the ENTIRE day–I tend to hit a slump around 3:30 and just want to lounge around after that.

So I walk. And I think. And I shut the brain off. And I observe–lord knows there’s a lot to observe in Humboldt Park at 7 in the morning.

How do you start your day? What can you do before life gets to busy to get moving and get yourself closer to those 10,000 steps? It’s recommended that each adult gets at least 30 minutes of activity a day, which is easy for some of us and a challenge for other–how can we get closer to achieving that minimum and maybe going beyond it? (Some people post on social media to get some motivation.. hence this blog post, I was feeling lazy but now I feel motivated!)

I’ll post a picture from my walk this morning, check it out on InstaGram @sloanderr and let me know what you think. #thesolesearch #goodmorning