who i am at 26.

i woke this morning exhausted and not feeling terribly well. something about too much bubbly and too much cake last night.

and not enough sleep.

but the incessant call of the buzzer roused me from my warm bed--me cursing whoever thought it appropriate to make deliveries at seven-thirty in the morning.


flowers at the door. a beautiful fall bouquet. 

a birthday.

i tried to climb back into bed, reappropriate sleep for myself, but there is something so holy about the quiet and early morning hours in new york (anywhere for that matter) that once up i am helpless against its pull, tired as i may be.

and so i made my way to the kitchen, surveying the empty wine bottles and glasses along the way, brewed a pot of coffee, and pulled from the cabinet a green mug--the plant-potter mug. 

morning ritual.

bare feet on wood. cool tin of coffee grounds. the hiss and spit of the coffeemaker. the selection of the mug. the settling into my chair just in front of the window. and all the moments between. the connect-the-dots.

i am both the ritual and the departure from it. 

that's what i came to this morning, thinking about who i am now, at 26. 

i am the product of 25 and 24 and all the years before. i am the rituals i have made my own. and i am the departures. 

the air is getting cooler now. brisk and breezy. and i have this suspicion it won't be long before  the people across the street who take their morning coffee on the fire escape disappear inside for the long winter months. already i am wistful for that image, sorry for the loss of their presence. but this weather--oh how this weather heralds a hope like no other. how the cool air carries on its back a sense of possibility and precipice and great joy--old joy.

today i am the girl who is better than okay. the girl with a flirting, passing love-affair with happiness.

sometimes i can feel the thing--that joy, that happiness--just beneath my tongue, or behind my eyes. sometimes it's right there where my ear meets my neck and every once in a while, when i least expect it, it is everywhere all at once. it is profound and all-encompassing--swaddling and lifting.

i am the girl who is just now realizing some things must be fought for. happiness, yes, and courage yes, and people, too. and that pride isn't too tremendously helpful. 

i'm pretty good at giving up. at giving in. at letting fear dictate. but i'm working on that. i'm learning to fight for myself. learning to fight for the chance to suss out who i love and what i love and what i'm meant to do. learning to fight for the right words in this world. and the courage to say them, aloud. not to write them, but to form my lips around them and feel them as they move up and out of me, physically. this is the world of light and speech. right? isn't that what george elliot said? this is the world of light and speech--i'm just now coming into that, owning that. 

just the other night my father told me that when i was a wee of a thing he'd arrive home from work and my brother would run hollering at the door, daddy, daddy! and as he did so, i'd run to the furthest room in the house, silently, and wait for my father to come find me. 

only now at 26 am i learning one can't always wait to be found. endearing as that hunt was, my brother kind of had it right. sometimes you have to run headlong and fearless into the arms of the thing.

so here i am attempting to make my way down. coming from that back room, down the staircase. welcoming myself. my arrival. my decision to finally show up--to become an active participant in creating a life in this world of light and speech and the space between. 

coffee photo
found via