The Midnight Sun

The cathedral was gently lit by the glow of the midnight sun. Not quite dawn, not quite dusk.  It is a glow of timelessness and of magic.  I looked out across the courtyard and there he was.  I had not met him before, but my eyes didn’t need to tell me it was him, I just knew.  He moved towards me, like a mythical creature in the night.  His walk was strong and purposeful, his long hair flowing in the gentle breeze.  When we met, I was greeted with a smile and a big hug, a softness I wasn’t expecting.  The warmth of his smile put me at ease, but I could feel the strength of his presence.

We walked down the streets of Reykjavik headed to a bar for a drink.  His English was almost terrible and my French was nonexistent, but we both had Google, so anything was possible.  He was not quite what I was expecting – just as handsome, but kinder and certainly more funny.  When we arrived at the bar, he led me in.  I felt both strong and feminine in his presence, like a beautiful warrior from a place of myth.  We were meant for each other, at least for this night.  We ordered drinks and took a seat at a corner table.  We sat close, not quite touching, looking at each other with curiosity and an air of a mischievous inner knowing.

We spoke, we laughed, we drank, we gave each other confused glances when our spoken languages failed us, and then we laughed some more, sharing the imperfect moments for all their honest perfection.  And as we relaxed into the moment together, a world formed between us; a world where we were the only two in existence.  His hand touched mine and our fingers began to explore the other’s as if they were the entire body.  Fingers interlaced, I could feel the texture and the strength of his hands.  They told a story of a life I did not know but wanted to explore.  Each time his thumb passed over mine, we dove deeper into intimacy.  From the outside it looked like timid strangers testing boundaries, but in the space between us it was sensual and passionate.  We were telling the tales of our souls with gentle touch.  No words were needed as our bodies understood far more than our minds were capable of.  He leaned in and kissed me. Breath and breathlessness collided.

His kiss was passionate and strong, but with a touch of gentleness his hair slipped down onto my face as if to caress it. He raised his hands to my jaw, gently exploring its contours, and as our kiss grew deeper, he slid his hands along my face and into my hair.  With the most subtle tightening he pulled me in and pushed me away all in the same movement, creating a tension that both satisfied me and created insatiable desire.  Breathlessness took over as I was captured by his grasp.  My neck relaxed to one side, surrendering my head into the cradle of his hands.  His lips moved gently from mine, and never quite leaving my skin, they made their way down my elongated neck.  Breath returned as I inhaled deeply with anticipation.  

It was time to leave the bar, because this was a moment for another place, but where?  We had nowhere to go this night.  Hand in hand we walked down the street, the air was cold but there was warmth between us.  Just a few minutes away, we came across a playground.  There’s something about a playground at night that is both eerie and romantic.  It was perfect.  Gleefully, we jumped on the swings, laughing,  swinging and eventually coming back together, embracing both each other and the night. 

He wrapped his arms around me and I looked into his eyes. They looked back at me, dark and deep like staring into the ocean at night.  I knew there was a lot there, but I had no idea what.  Was it good?  Was it bad?  It was a secret I didn’t need to know, not now, not ever.  He leaned in, brushed past my lips and began kissing my neck.  I melted into his arms as he nibbled through my defenses, releasing desire.  His body began to sway, moving mine to the rhythm in his mind.  Arms around bodies, lips against lips, we moved as one.  And there, on that playground, we danced.  We danced under the midnight sun.  Whether for an eternity or just one night, none of it mattered.  We were there together, existing in a beautiful moment.  A moment, but also a lifetime.

Canada Geese

I have a tarot deck – the Wild Unknown deck. There was something about the imagery that I loved, so even though I’m not sure I believe in tarot, I bought it, I use it, and I generally have no idea what I’m doing or what any of the cards mean. When I first started exploring this deck there was something that struck me – the lovers card. Instead of the usual guy and girl standing naked side by side, there are two Canada geese, flying beautifully in the skies. It was perfect. I have a history of geese meddling in my love life. This deck was definitely for me! So here’s a little story about love and geese…

Once upon a time, I got married. Yep, it’s true. It wasn’t exactly a great decision, but sometimes two people do stupid things in an attempt to further deny the fact that the relationship just isn’t right. I got married in Lake Tahoe on a beautiful day in June. The sun was out and the lake was sparkling its magnificent deep blue. I had my hair and make-up done and was wearing a pretty white dress, feeling completely not like myself. I walked down the path towards my soon to be husband not feeling any of the things I imagine a person is supposed to feel when they are about to get married.

The ceremony began, my fiance and I were standing there, awkwardly about 5 feet apart as our hired fake Elvis said something about love and commitment. Then, off in the distance, I saw a lone Canada goose playing in the lake, and for the first time that morning I felt excited! Instead of listening to what Elvis was saying, I watched the goose intently. I tried to share my excitement with my soon-to-be husband by not so subtlety whispering and pointing. There I was in the middle of what is supposed to be the “best day of my life” and all I cared about was this damn goose. I managed to stay focused on the actual wedding long enough to say “I do”, but still, all I was really interested in was that goose.

The goose stayed for the reception. Through toasts and cake cutting, it watched. It watched as I posed for photos, as I hugged my family, as I kissed my new husband. It was there through all of it, standing in the water relaxed and happy. It’s unusual to see a goose all alone like that. Normally, they are with their friends, relaxing in the grass somewhere or begging tourists for pieces of sandwiches. But this goose was happy to be alone. He was completely content. I should have been like that goose. Alone, doing my thing. And less than a year later, I was. Just me, alone, just like that goose.

Many years later I had my second lone goose encounter. I was on date with a guy who was trying really hard to make me his girlfriend. I wasn’t so sure about him, but was giving him a chance because friends of mine had mentioned that I never let anyone get past a second date. I always had good reasons, but decided it wouldn’t hurt to try something new. Third date, here I come…

We went hiking and in the middle of the hike we stopped by a lake for some snacks and wine. While we were sitting there enjoying the view a goose swam right up to me and just looked me in the eye. I looked back. “I hear you,” I thought to myself, “He is not for me.” And the goose was right, he wasn’t for me. I already knew it, but again, sometimes people do stupid things even when they know it isn’t right.

Now, my tarot deck tells me I have found my second goose. It says – “Two Canadian geese are mates for life.” Reality has yet to align, but the cards are adamant. So I wait, patiently, for my goose to come to me. Maybe that’s what my two lone geese were doing on those days – waiting. Happily enjoying their lives, knowing someday they would take flight with their perfect mate, and in the meantime, all they needed to do was hang out, enjoy themselves and meddle with the hearts of unsuspecting humans.

Under the Northern Lights

We were strangers, parked in a truck miles outside of the city, completely alone in the darkness. Having only met this man once before, I had done what any heartbroken and reckless girl would have done – hopped into his truck and went riding off into the night. I wanted to see the northern lights and he said it was a good night to spot them. He was probably the last thing that my heart needed, but in that moment I didn’t care. I just wanted to feel something, anything.

I once had two heartbreaks in one year. Two bad heartbreaks. The kind of heartbreak that doesn’t just leave you broken, but shattered. Unable to make sense of the fragments that once comprised my hopes and dreams, for months I desperately tried to outrun and outswim my racing mind and aching heart. I refused to stop to think, feel, or even breathe. But no matter how fast or far I went, my pain was always faster, stronger and more determined. It always caught up with me and when it did it took me down like a lineman trying to stop the final play at the Super Bowl. One day, I just couldn’t run anymore, I couldn’t swim, and I couldn’t hide. I was trapped with my anger and sadness staring me in the face. The clock ran out, the game was over, there was no way to win.

Still unwilling to actually face my feelings, I booked a vacation. I’m not sure if I was trying to run or hide, or just buy some time so I wouldn’t be caught crying at work. I just knew I needed to be alone. Just me, wandering the wilderness, searching for peace. I left for Iceland. It was one of the only places I knew I could hike alone without fear of being eaten by snakes, bears, mountain lions or tigers. A place where the only thing I had to fear was the weather and myself. As it turns out, I was much scarier than the weather. The weather in Iceland in October isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. There was lots of rain, a little snow and winds that can rip the doors off of cars if you park the wrong direction. I loved it. I watched the Icelandic horses standing in open fields bearing the force of the wind. I watched the calm in their eyes as the rain fell around them, they just stood there unflinching in the cold. They knew how to weather a storm. I tried to learn from them, but lacked their grace and beauty in the face of a storm I wasn’t sure would ever pass, but somehow, when I watched them, I felt understood.

On my search for peace, I had planned to avoid men on my trip. They were, after all, the source of all my troubles. But, I have an iPhone, and it’s trusty battery left me with a choice upon arrival, get really fucking lost or hang out in my hotel for a few hours tethered to an outlet. I chose to be tethered and to pass the time went happily swiping away on Tinder. Before I was even at 50% battery life, I had matched with the most beautiful man I had ever seen. Ever. Icy blue eyes, beautiful bone structure, just the right amount of scruff to bring attention to the contours of his lips, and a photo of him with a horse that showed off both his strong body and his adventurous spirit. It was trouble and I have an unquenchable thirst for trouble, especially as a distraction to pain.

We met the next night in the middle of nowhere. Having asked him directly if he was either a rapist or a murderer, I had determined it was safe to invite him to my hotel to meet for the first time. I gave him my room number and waited, watching the night from my window. There was nothing out there but the wind and the stars. Then, a knock on my door. This was it – was he lying about being a murderer? I was about to find out. The night went well. We talked, he taught me some Icelandic, he didn’t murder me. Time passed quickly and I had to send him away as I had important hiking plans in the morning. I never expected to see him again, but on the last night of my trip we met again, this time to chase the northern lights. It was the only thing left on my trip wish list and the weather was clear and cold, good conditions despite the nearly full moon. He picked me up and off we went, driving away from the lights of the city, to a spot where it was just him, me, the truck and the sky.

As I watched the sky, I could feel his eyes on me. He was a native and the lights display that evening was not nearly as interesting as the crazy American girl sitting beside him. I watched the colors dance across the sky. They were faint against the moonlight, but clear enough to see. I was in awe. I never knew how much they moved. How different each moment would be. It was beautiful. I could have been satisfied with just the lights show, but that was not all this night had planned for me. My eyes met the eyes that had been watching me. They were beautiful, he was beautiful. I wanted to get lost in those eyes, just as I had the sky, I wanted to free myself to the moment, and I did.

As we made love, I gazed through the window at the northern lights still dancing across the sky. It sounds romantic, but it wasn’t. This wasn’t about romance or love, it was just a moment. It was two strangers in the night, giving in to passion and desire. One searching for escape, for feeling, for hope, for peace. The other, well you’d have to ask him. Maybe he just liked a bit of fun, or maybe he was just as broken as me, desperately searching for a glimpse of warmth in the frozen landscape of a broken heart.

The Greatest Heartbreak of All

Last spring, I tried to be a proper adult. I had it all: a great job, a beautiful condo in one of those snobby communities with a tennis court and a pool, the perfect yoga studio and a standing Sunday morning walk and gossip date followed by overpriced lattes at one of those places with sixteen different kinds of milk. In fact, I think they even served air milk. It’s the keto approved, gluten free, allergen safe, vegan friendly, environmentally sustainable, and consciously harvested alternative to actually wanting a latte. But, of course, ordering a one hundred and eighty degree latte with double air milk, extra foam, in small circular mug that has been warmed for five hours in a bath of 40% natural sunlight and 60% fluorescent lighting sounds so much better than saying “A coffee, please.”

I was so committed to this adulting thing that I even tried adding a boyfriend to the mix. You know, a good one, the kind my friends wanted me to date. The kind that I could take to brunch and introduce to my friends because, well, I actually knew his name. I managed to find myself the perfect man for my new adulting lifestyle. He was good looking, with beautiful blue eyes and a nice smile. He adored me, definitely wanted to get married someday, loved his family, went to church and was even building a house, by hand. He wasn’t quite my type, lacking the usual commitment phobic bad-boy criteria, but I thought I would give it a shot. If I can do yoga, I can do anything! Or so I thought…

Mr. Adulting was really trying. He cooked for me, he took me bowling but didn’t let me win, we went hiking and he brought a bottle of the wine that I had loved from our second date, he even hand carved a cute little gift for me. Things were going well, so well that in only a few months I had met his family, he had been to my best friend’s summer BBQ and I even let him spend the night. Everything was perfect. Everything except that fact that I secretly wanted to murder him every time he laughed. But, I understand from my married friends that this is normal. Adulting, yes!

Everything was great, that is, until we went on vacation. It was my mistake to invite him. In fact, that was never my intention. I had my vacation planned before we met, but in a moment of wine-drunkness (surprise, surprise), I sent him a picture of a waterfall and said “Isn’t it amazing! Don’t you want to come?” Big. Fucking. Mistake….. He came! I didn’t think it was possible for a person to book two weeks off and fly across the world from one text message, but these guys who are looking for marriage be crazy! They’ll do anything.

So off we went to Iceland – my favorite place in the whole wide world, the land that fills my heart and feeds my soul. We arrived and I was beyond excited. I practically jumped off the plane and ran out of the airport to take a deep breath of the fresh, cold, Icelandic air. I was in heaven. Everywhere I looked, I saw perfection. The rocks, the clouds, the moss, the lakes, the rivers, the waterfalls, and the mountains. Oh those mountains, the only thing in this world that is so overwhelmingly beautiful that sometimes when I look at them, I mean really look, I can’t help but cry. And that’s without even being wine drunk!

I tried to share my excitement and joy with Mr. Adulting, but he just wasn’t having it. Day 1 of the trip, I tried to understand. It was a long journey, maybe he was tired. Day 2 we went for a hike. If you haven’t been to Iceland, first of all GO!, and second, there is something about the air that even my best writing could not describe. It is cold, clean, wet and alive. When you breathe in you don’t just smell the surroundings, you take in the essence of the land. On my hike with Mr. Adulting, I stopped and I looked at the mountains, took a deep breath, and in utter amazement, joy and peace said, “Isn’t this the most beautiful place you have ever been?” To which Mr. Adulting replied, “Not really.” The fuck?!!!! And so, I dumped him. Not right in that moment, but the next morning. There was no way I could ever love someone who couldn’t feel the land that we were standing on; someone who couldn’t appreciate the beauty and mystery of this Earth.

The trip went on, awkwardly to say the least. But, despite my travel companion, I managed to soak in every ounce of Iceland I could get. Breathing the air, drinking from the waterfalls, kissing the rocks and of course gazing longingly at the mountains at every possible moment. But it was a long trip and while I was off sniffing moss and taking selfies with waterfalls, Mr. Adulting was getting broody. One day he decided he had had enough and would hitchhike home. I casually mentioned that there were buses, wished him luck and got on Tinder, because well, there’s more to ride in Iceland than horses. But this time, Tinder didn’t take me on any rides, instead it changed my life. Now how does a shitty dating app change a girl’s life? Well, the short version goes: I met a guy, who was in a band who sent me a song that I listened to. The ever so slightly longer version goes something like this…

It was the last day of my trip and I had just gotten a text from a guy I met two nights before. He said that he was in a band and would send me a song, and surprisingly he did. I waited until I was at the airport to listen to it, since I wouldn’t have anything better to do but sit and wait. Not wanting to leave, I decided to wait outside until the last possible second. There is a small grassy area outside of the Reykjavik airport where you can just barely see the mountains in the distance. I sat in the grass, looked towards the mountains and put on the song, not having any idea what I was about to be listening to.

The first notes of the song played and I was instantly blown away. It sounded like cool fog rolling over a dry and barren land. And then the singing started. It was as if I could hear the pain of a land that had been transformed by “progress.” I kept listening, thinking for sure this guy had sent me someone else’s song. There was no way some rando from Tinder was this talented. I listened and I listened, and with each note I felt transported to deep undiscovered places, it was like Iceland to the Nth degree. I listened as waves and waves of sound crashed against me, filling my heart and soul with images and feelings from places I had never been. I listened and I felt and I stared at the mountains and then something surprising happened…I cried. Not a big cry, because I know how to keep my shit together in public, but I had discovered something else in this world as beautiful as the mountains of Iceland, something else that could touch my soul and make me feel the things that I run from and try to deny.

So there I was, sitting in the grass outside of Reykjavik airport with a gentle tear running down my cheek, listening to the sound of lands I didn’t know. And it was in that moment that my life changed, because it was in that moment I knew, with 100% certainty, I could never really go home again. Not that I couldn’t get on the plane, because I did, but that home would never be home. California, my condo, my Sunday coffee dates, my perfect job, my yoga classes, my stupid attempts at an adulting lifestyle, they would never make me happy, because all of it was just a distraction from the world I wanted to live in. The world I hope we can all live in. A world that isn’t motivated by consumption, greed and the latest iPhone. A world that understands that nature is the ultimate beauty, power, heart and soul of everything worth fighting for.

I don’t know if I will ever get to live in a world that understands this, but at least now I know what that world sounds like. And while there is a part of me that believes that if everyone could hear what I heard the world would change, sadly, I think too many of us are like Mr. Adulting, blind to the beauty and mystery that surrounds us. Too many of us could look at the mountains and say, “Not really.” And that, my friends, is the greatest heartbreak of all. The heartbreak of a dying world.

Dating in France

As fate would have it, I have recently found myself in France. Not just for vacation, but for the next two years. And, in true Tina style, I threw myself into this with as little preparation as possible. No French? No problem. I got this… I had a grand plan. I would move to France, take 5 or 6 lovers, and learn all the essential phrases while making passionate love in a foreign land. My plan was perfect, except for one detail that I failed to take into account: I don’t like French men.

Now, as an American, I have long heard the stories of French men. They are passionate, romantic, and will sweep you off your feet with grand gestures, poetry and incredible sex. Personally, poetry makes me want to gag, but so does deep throating and I’ll do that for the right man. I got this…

But, I didn’t “Got this.” I still don’t have this. I’ve been here for almost three months now, and while my French is improving my taste for French men is not. I was hoping it would be like the white wine from Jura – a bit peculiar at first, but quite enjoyable once you get used to the nutty flavor. Sadly, this is not the case. In my limited research, I have found the men here fall into the following categories:

  1. Stale White Bread: Boring to begin with and only gets worse with time. Absolutely zero flavor or nutritional value, but you’ll eat it at 3am when you’ve had 10 G&Ts and forgot to ask the Uber driver to stop by McDonald’s on the way home.
  2. Shower Drain Hair: Just the thought of it makes you cringe. Looking at it makes you feel dirty all over. If you have to touch it, it’s best to use gloves, but even then the memory will haunt you for months.
  3. Mr. Moody: Always dramatic, everything is the end of the world. This guy makes man babies look like pro adulters. Actually, this guy might be closest to the stereotype, but only because he vehemently expresses how miserable life is with his poetry about catching colds, losing socks in the dryer and traffic jams.
  4. The Tour Guide: Possibly also quite French, this guy knows everything about the city, the region, the history and the culture, and he likes to talk about it… a lot. It’s not actually possible to connect with this guy because he’s too busy trying to impress you with his infinite knowledge of everything. Like the wine? He doesn’t care why, he just seizes the opportunity to tell you the longitude and latitude of where each grape was picked and what the winemaker was wearing during harvest. Like the cheese? He’ll tell you the story about how his great-aunt’s cousin’s wife’s sister had a cow that was neighbors with the horse that was owned by the farmer that sold a goat to the couple whose daughter’s sheep grazed on the property next to where this cheese was produced.
  5. Mr. Casual: I’m pretty sure these guys are universal. They’re in it for one thing and one thing only. This is totally ok with me as long as the expectations are clear and it’s good for both of us. What surprised me about Mr. Casual French Edition was he was offended when I said “No problem, but can we skip dinner and keep it to weeknights?” Oh, and he forgot that last bit about good for both of us.

So there you have it. Dating in France. Actually, the first thing in two years that has managed to get me off Tinder. I never thought it would be contempt rather than love that would finally pull me away from swipe life, but here I am, swipe-free for almost three weeks now.

I will confess, I’m not being 100% fair to French men with this description.  There was, in fact, one French man who doesn’t fall into any of the above categories. He was an anomaly.  He was able to not only stir my desires but crack open the locks on my bitter heart.  I’m inclined to say he probably isn’t French, but apparently his Frenchness dates back to the Cretaceous period.  Of course, having felt something potentially real for the first time since my disastrous heartbreak, I dramatically threw a scarf over my eyes and ran from his apartment at 6am only to go home to cuddle a baguette in regret.    But, that’s a story for another day.

Broken Hearts or Broken Legs

I sprained my calf this week while running. It’s painful. I have to walk down stairs sideways and I won’t be able to run for several weeks. I hate getting injured. It’s frustrating and prevents me from doing some of the things that I love most. But as interesting as running injuries are, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about heartbreak.

I was talking to one of my colleagues today about my injury and she looked at me and said, “Wow, you’ve had a hard year!” I was kind of stunned by this comment. Had I? I told her it was just an injury and she said, “Well, yeah, but you were sick all that time and you had that car accident and now this.” Oooooh…she was totally right. I was having a hard year. My car, that I loved so very very much, had been totaled. Shortly after I came down with a death-cold that had me sick for about two months, followed immediately by further months of unexplained fatigue and now my calf is sprained and I can’t run. That’s kind of a shitty year. But, it hadn’t even occurred to me because this year has been so much easier than last year.

Let’s rewind to September, 2017. I was in a long distance relationship with a man that I thought was going to be my husband. We had been engaged since 2016 and, due to the distance, I was ready to just get on with it so we could live in the same country. My fiancé, Gaylord (names have been changed to protect the guilty), had been dragging his feet. Perhaps he is also a reluctant adult. I thought things were fine. We had just spent two weeks together in France and Germany enjoying wine tasting, music festivals and the company of friends and family. Life seemed good.

September 3rd, I received a text from Gaylord “I have to tell you something, can we talk?” “Sure,” I said. I was worried by his tone. I thought something had happened to one of his grandparents. He had most of them left and they were all very very old. I answer the phone and he starts to tell me this story of how he went out, had drinks, doesn’t know how it happened but somehow went home with a girl and spent the night with her – but they didn’t have sex, of course. HA! My first reaction was relief. I was so grateful that he had been the one to cheat first. My second reaction was anger, because he had always made me feel like I wasn’t quite good enough for him and his family. My third reaction was sadness, hurt and a sense of betrayal. I didn’t know what to do, so I went and bought some shoes.

When I returned from my shopping excursion, I called him back and I did what any woman in my position would do – I asked him the same questions over and over and over and over and over and over again, trying to make some sense of what had happened and why. He swore he still loved me. He said he was drunk and lonely. He said he realized now that he had taken me granted. He said that he now understood that the distance was too hard and he was ready to get married. He wanted to get married and he wanted it soon. Not wanting to accept failure, I agreed. We planned to get married in October. Ladies, gentlemen, readers…this was a stupid choice. Let me explain.

October arrived. Planning had been slow to barely existent. It was obvious we were not getting married, but he said that we were, so I bought a dress just in case he was telling the truth. I didn’t want to be that girl. You know, the one who has nothing to wear on her wedding day because she thinks her fiancé is full of shit. One week before our wedding, Gaylord called me to tell me he wasn’t coming. It’s funny how even when you know something is going to happen, it can still be surprising, it can still knock you on your ass and can still hurt just as much as if you had been totally naive. I froze, I cried, I accepted it for 12 hours and then I called him back. Surprisingly, he ended up coming to California, but it was unclear why. Was it to get married? To break up in person? Or, was it just to drag me through a few more weeks of hell? Well, it was Gaylord, so let’s go with option number three.

The week of his visit went by, we talked, we laughed, we talked some more, we had sex. I cried, he was cold. His mom called and the two of them joked about whether or not he would end up married before coming home. The humor was lost on me. I was hurting, I was bitter, I was angry, I was sad, and these two people who I loved and had been through some very deep life moments with were laughing together about the uncertainty of the rest of my life. And still, I was stupid enough to want to be a part of that family. Fortunately, the choice wasn’t mine and Gaylord and I didn’t get married. Definitely a blessing, but I was pissed at the time. When I dropped Gaylord off for his flight home, I didn’t fully realize I was saying goodbye. Not just to him, but to the part of myself that wanted that life with him. I hadn’t let go. It wasn’t until he told me not to come visit for Christmas that I realized it was over. And when that happened, I went and kissed a bunch of hot dudes, as you do when your heart is broken and you just don’t have any fucks left to give. One of those hot dudes turned into my next big mistake.

Brutus, oh Brutus (again, names changed)…. He was beautiful. Tall, strong, a god in the bedroom and he knew it. He knew just what to tell a girl to get her hooked. I’m not sure if it was intentional or if he’s just as screwed up as the rest of us, but he rode the coattails of my ex- fiancé’s empty promises and filled my heart and soul with hope that somehow every hurt, every heartbreak and every tear had been purposefully guiding me to the person I would actually spend my life with. Within a matter of months he told me he wanted to have children with me, he bought a gym-proof wedding band just to see how it felt, he went to meet my family and took me to meet his, and he even told his mom that he was seriously considering marrying me. My heart had not had time since my last relationship to harden and close, so there I was, gooshy and full of hope. I opened myself to total destruction of the heart.

It didn’t take long for us to break up, and to be honest, I didn’t take it all that well. When things fell apart, I did too. One year, two epic failures and the painful death of my vision of the future. It sounds a little dramatic – and it is. I no longer felt as if I would ever be able to see another person as a permanent part of my life. I felt that everything I had dreamed of and hoped for only caused me pain and I didn’t want to try anymore. I didn’t want to open myself to the opportunity of being at the mercy of another. Again, that sounds a little dramatic – and it is. So what does a girl do when life takes a royal shit on her face? Well, she signs up for yoga, learns to swim and books a solo vacation to Iceland. Because, I may be a little dramatic, but I’m also one determined little bitch.

So yeah, it’s been a hard year. I don’t like running injuries, but I trust in my body’s ability to heal and know that there are many miles in my future. I don’t like being sick, but there are worse things than staying home from work with chicken noodle soup, Netflix and fuzzy blankets. It’s possible my body is just compensating for the lack emotional stress in my life. Maybe when it realizes that stress-free is the new normal, I’ll stop getting injured and stop getting sick. Maybe after a little more time, I’ll just be me. Healthy, happy and doing my thing, one day and one mile at a time.

Your author, with that good-run feeling!