Archive | May, 2015

Home Is Where The Nachos Are

31 May


Friday afternoon I found myself in a yin yoga class with Hilary.

Yin yoga is my favorite kind of yoga, mainly because I know I can do it.  I know I can stretch and grow and leave feeling refreshed.  Sometimes I go to these 1.5 hour hot yoga classes in Malibu, and all I can think is I’ll never be able to do this, I must give up yoga and probably everything else.

But yin yoga at noon at Pepperdine is one of my favorite things in the world.

Hilary smiles throughout the whole class.  You should really try working out with that girl.  Her eyes are closed, she’s in shavasana, and she’s got a big, broad grin across her whole face.

Hilary has many of the things I do not have.  It’s what makes us good friends, my eagerness to soak some of it up.

After yoga I told Hilary I wanted fries.  I saw an Instagram shot of fries and I needed fries and so to Duke’s we went because I know about their fries.

(And their nachos.)

(And their hula pies.)

We’ve been here nearly three years, Hilary and I.  I got a notification that the blog I started in London–a very sad, very small, desperate thing of a blog–just turned four.

FOUR YEARS OLD!  My London times are in preschool.  They no longer just happened.

I remember moving here, fresh back from London and everything was London this and London that and it’s not anymore. I hardly mention it.  It’s part of my history, and certainly not the most important part right now.

Not even close.

The boys Cait and I dated that first year we were here, the ones we gave nicknames and who were topics of conversation–they have grown older, grown out of their nicknames.  The other day I found out one of them is expecting a child with his now wife.

I texted Cait.

She responded with a picture of a burrito.

Three years.

Not quite.

Almost three years.

It’s enough to make a place a home, I think.  Or it’s getting close.

I get sad, sometimes, about my life here.  I have friends, and good ones.  But not that many of them.  And none who knew me before.  These are all “new” friends, people who met me when London was fresh.  People who have never met the boys who broke my heart or the friends and family who healed it.

My friends here feel so separate from the rest of my life, sometimes.

Rob has two friends from other areas of his life, a childhood friend and a college friend, who are both here in Southern California.

I envy that.

What I would do to have a childhood friend out here!  A high school friend!  My sole college friend! (Hi Laura!)

There are times when my life in California feels so separate from my life elsewhere.  My life in Utah, I suppose.

All of my siblings are back in Utah now, did you know?

You wouldn’t know.

For a stretch there it was only 1/5 Denning children in the Beehive State, all of us spread out, doing our own thing, likely never to return, and then without warning everyone is coming back but me.

It’s enough to make a girl think.  What am I doing here?  How long will I be here?  What do I want of my life?

I think these things anyway, but the prospect of all the people I love regularly gathering without me, I think them harder.

I have a life here.  I’m no longer at the stage where I wonder when my real life will begin.  I am living my real life, right now, this very moment, with the dregs of my cold tea and my California cherries and the four books I have open on my bed because nothing is really holding my attention reading-wise these days.

This is my life.  A life of yin yoga and french fries, of sea salt and foggy skies.

I don’t want to ever leave Malibu.

I think this fairly regularly.

Every time I drive up the PCH, past the stilted houses and the dots of surfers and the overpriced restaurants–I feel the air come back into my lungs and I think, “How could I ever leave this?”

Malibu feels like home.

I have my places.  A magazine stand, a burrito stop, my favorite scoop of ice cream.

Places take time.

So do people.

Rob reminds me of this when I’m feeling sad about being here.  “Jill,” he says.  “Your people in Utah have 15 years with you.  It’s natural that it’s different here.”

It’s natural and it’s hard.

It’s my real life, right now, this very moment.

Give Yourself Time

27 May


I recently had dinner with a friend who is in the midst of heartbreak.

She’s at that point where tears might come at any moment, where nothing seems like it will be OK ever again.  Where you make bold, dramatic statements about your life and the relationship and where you see your life without the relationship.

“I’m always going to want him,” she told me.  “I will always, always regret that it ended like this.”

I paused for a moment.  Those words are familiar to me, I’ve spoken them.  I’ve taken them further than she did.

“You say that now,” I tell her.  “You say that now and you feel that now, but that is not your final feeling.  No feeling is final.  Give yourself time.”

Give yourself time.

That’s my only breakup advice.

I feel like I should have more, that when people come to me shattered and manic, I should have something profound to say on the topic.

All I have is give yourself time.

A lot of time.

Maybe years and years of time.

Also, be kind to yourself for what you did when you were heartbroken.

There’s a part in Grey’s Anatomy where Meredith looks McDreamy in the eyes and says I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke.

I’ve had a similar conversation with myself.

I will learn from how I tried to fix what was broken.  But I don’t apologize for it. I don’t think I could have done better than I did when I did it.

Heartbreak is so hard.

There are no easy answers.  There is only time.

And eventually confidence.

Heartbreak does that to you, I suppose.

Total heartbreak turns you inside out.  It makes you about as insecure as you can be–in yourself, your life, your choices.  And then, once you’re on the other side, when you’ve finally, finally made it to the place you were sure didn’t exist–you love yourself a lot more.

There should be a better way to put that, a less cheesy way, maybe, but that’s all I keep thinking of.

I love myself a whole lot more now.

“Would you go back?” she asked me.

“No,” I said.  “My life is so much better now.”

“Wow,” she said.

“I can’t imagine,” she said.

Time does that.  It heals wounds, just like everyone always claimed it did.

Suddenly the person who was everything, the person who you needed to tell the details of your life to, who was your sun, moon, stars and every single grain of sand–suddenly it’s different.  And not so suddenly, actually.

Over time.  You build your new life.

That’s what you do post breakup.

You build a world in which they do not exist, except as a reminder of what kind of love to accept or the type of person you will be.

And one day they are not the first person on your list to call.

One day they are not the second.

One day they don’t make the list.

And you fill your life with new people, with new happiness.

You find yourself, build yourself, make yourself a new life.

That takes time.

Give yourself time.

That’s my heartbreak advice.

Give yourself time.

Growing Up Isn’t What I Thought It Was

19 May


Last week, on a rainy Malibu morning, I made 20 jars of homemade jam.

I didn’t set out to make so much jam.  I simply had no idea how many strawberries were required and so I bought two bursting crates.  Two red, juicy crates from a fruit stand in Ventura I found driving off a dirt road.

I made jam.

There was a time in my life where I would have completely rejected making jam, making anything, really.  I had some idea that if I didn’t develop any domestic skills you couldn’t put me in the kitchen.

If I had to microwave my grilled cheese you would accept my abilities as a human being.

Whoever you is.

I’ve had to give myself permission to like domestic things.  If I make jam I do not turn into a 1950s housewife.  If I make fresh bread with that jam I do not lose my career.

But I think about it.

Do all women think about it?

Growing up is, in a sentence, learning who we are.

I do not cook well, for instance, nor do I enjoy it.

I do make jam well.  I like having good jam.

That’s that.

I’ve been learning how I exercise this past year.  That’s been an adventure.  I would say a fun adventure, but really one of the things I’ve learned is exercise is not fun in the traditional sense for me.  I used to say I didn’t get endorphins from exercising, but maybe the truth is when I do get endorphins it isn’t fun, just as eating vegetables isn’t fun for me.  It’s good for me.  I appreciate the benefits in the long term.

But I do not find exercising fun.

Many things that give me long-term happiness are not fun.

I really hate the gym.

I gave up the gym for good this year.  It used to be when I wanted to get in shape I would go to the nearest local gym, fork out a large amount of money for a membership, and then go twice.

I would get on some elliptical looking machine and tell myself I could read a book or maybe–yes.  I was bored already.  All right then, how about doing an ab–right.  And then the weights–OK.

And then I would continue paying the fee for a few months, telling myself I would renew my interest shortly.

Probably tomorrow.

I do not like the gym.

I do not like to run.

I love yoga.

I love to hike.

Growing up.

California was the place I grew up.

My childhood was spent in Las Vegas.  My angst took place in Utah.  My breaking happened in London, but it wasn’t until California that my growing up occurred.

I was 24 when I moved here, a little old for growing up, or so I thought.

I come from a place where there is constant talk about how young people grow up, or marry I suppose.  I guess they aren’t the same thing.  Sometimes they feel like the same thing.

Sometimes my mom says, “I was messy like you until I got married.”

Marriage seems like a growing up.  It forces you to, in some ways, and to some extent.

And yet I know married people who haven’t grown up.

I know unmarried people who have.

Growing up is learning who we are, rejecting the ideas told to us by our parents or our culture or whoever.  Piecing them back together.  Deciding which parts you still like.  Which parts you need to let go of.

Learning to love yoga, or not love yoga.  It’s OK if your growing up is different than mine.

We are all complicated, shades of gray.  I am extremely undomestic and yet I make homemade jam.

As people we are simply not all or nothing.

I am an all-or-nothing person.

Growing up.

Happiness is a habit.  This is something I’m learning, slowly, in my growing up years.

I am someone who likes to feed into every emotion I have.  All of my feelings are valid.

If I feel something it is real.  If I feel something I must act on it.

I feel sad.  I wallow and cry.  I listen to the saddest possible music, I linger on my most devastating thoughts, letting them pierce and puncture me until I can’t breathe.

I feel worried.  I stress and pick.  I dig into my deepest fears, the things I can’t even whisper out loud.  I let myself become a pile of nerves for feeling is living and all of my feelings are valid.

Except when they are not.

There is a power in standing up to yourself and your feelings.

In saying, I reject you.

Elizabeth Gilbert says it best, “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day.”

You get to pick out the thoughts you have, parse through them, reject or accept them.  You get to choose.

I am not a slave to my emotions.

And so I practice.

I have a bad day and I do not complain about it.  I work on things I love.

I’m not great at this.  Practice has only begun.

I think of it as I think of yoga.

I’m fairly terrible at yoga.  I haven’t logged enough hours to really get good.  Maybe I never will.

But I feel myself improving.  I did crow pose the other day!

I was so excited I demonstrated to several friends, while wearing a dress.

Growing up.

It’s not what I thought it was.

Not in the way of my life didn’t go as planned.  That’s obvious to anyone who knows me.

It’s my 10 year high school reunion and I am a writer/nanny.

No, growing up isn’t what I thought it was in a literal sense.

Growing up is practicing happiness.  It’s not buying the gym pass.  It’s making jam and enjoying a morning routine and having deep, spiritual conversations over lunch.

It’s being confident in the things I say and believe, confident not that I’m right–please never get me to the point where I am not open to the possibility of being wrong, where I can’t see different sides to an argument–but just confident in who I am.  Confident in how I am trying to live.

Trying being key.

We are always trying.

I am so far away.

I made jam the other morning.

I made jam and listened to Joni Mitchell and rain poured against my windows, tapping and dancing, creating a rhythm, a background music to my background music.

It was good.