Eight Years

Eight Years | Freckled Italian

March is so close that I feel it every day in the chilly morning air, as dew drops settle on the cherry blossom branches right outside my bedroom window, whispering brr brr brr but promising a warm afternoon that always forces me to slip out of the sweater I wear over my tank top and let my bare arms soak up the rays of sunlight on my drive home from the barre studio.

No matter where I am, this time of year always brings me right back to spring in Farmville, Virginia; where I was a junior in college, spending more and more time with a guy named Rob Peterson. My roommates and I shared clothes and sometimes fought over stupid shit but we loved each other and listened to a healthy mix of Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift; and Fearless was the soundtrack to any drive. I'd hop in my car and drive with the windows down from my apartment, across High Street and onto Back Hampden-Sydney road with the windows down. Once or twice a week I'd actually run those 6 miles, Love Story blaring in my headphones even though ol' Taylor obviously never very closely read Romeo and Juliet

My roommates and I were super young and never wore enough sunscreen and got burnt at baseball games; we drank too much almost every weekend and got tattoos in Richmond and sometimes drove 45 minutes to eat burritos from Chipotle. We read and studied and watched movies in bed together and never wore pants in our apartment; and we had our boyfriends over for weekend sleepovers where we'd make big, family-style breakfasts of pancakes and scrambled eggs to sustain multiple hours of Guitar Hero. 

It's crazy to me that Rob and I have been together for eight years now. Crazy in part because it's so significant--almost a decade!--but also because before he was in my life, he wasn't. One day I was getting ready for a Halloween party with the girls and without even knowing it, my life would never be the same. Just a few months later he's bringing me coffee in the library as I'm finishing up a poetry paper before spring break because he's my boyfriend and that's the kind of thing your college boyfriend does; and then a few years later he's standing in front of all our friends and family as I'm walking toward him in a wedding dress.

Time flies, so when spring comes around I like to slow down and really savor my nostalgia. I drink iced coffee and read poems from my Norton Anthology of American Literature and play the same four or five songs on repeat. I never want to forget that magical time--being only 20 years old, living with my best friends, reading non-stop, running really fast, wearing sundresses every weekend, and first getting to know the guy who ended up being my husband.

It's a love story, baby just say yes.

On The Equals Record | Seasons Change

In Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Liberty University and just an hour away from my own alma mater, there are always Paneras and Starbucks full of Baptists fresh from Bible Study...zipped snugly into their North Face jackets and so surely into their faith. The leaves have changed color and the air is crisp and chilly and smells like campfires in that grey morning fog and when I am home for Thanksgiving, I pass through on my way to the J.Crew Factory store and even now, I will feel just a little bit jealous of them.

I wrote this short essay about fall and faith for The Equals Record three years ago and I just came across it again this weekend. I'm so thankful for blogging--it's strange and wonderful to have this little snapshot of me in Minneapolis, still thinking about the things I thought about in Charlotte and now California.

And I needed this reminder from my past self: I feel overwhelmed with the possibilities, and grateful that, even when it's hard, I didn't stay in one place forever.

Read the full piece here.

New Jeans and Holiday Weekends

If Memorial Day is the beginning of summer and Labor Day is the end of it, then the 4th of July is the point at which I start thinking about autumn. I daydream about hot lattes in warm mugs, about new jeans and smart, structured jackets and that crisp smell of a cool morning.

I didn't know I didn't like summer until a few years ago--probably when we moved back to the Southeast from Minnesota. Growing up in Virginia, I understood and even felt the magic of summer every year--the muggy mornings, cicadas chirping away in the distance, fireflies flickering in the early evening. My brother and I used to set off into the streets of our suburban neighborhood for giant games of flashlight tag with our summer friends--the kids who we didn't go to school with but were inseparable from every summer vacation. No school, no worries, just pools and sprinklers and popsicles all day. I get it.

But this weekend Rob was home and we did something we don't usually do--we went clothes shopping. He and I will occasionally buy ourselves a new shirt or pair of shoes here and there, but it was a holiday weekend and there were sales and we're moving to California, so we basically bought ourselves a new wardrobe for the Bay Area. 

I've been feeling so up and down about the prospect of moving across the country, but this weekend made me feel even more hopeful than I have before. Maybe it was sweating through upper 90-degree afternoons, or maybe it was coming to the realization that I'm going to need more jeans and a new jacket for fall in California. A lot of it was just being reunited with Rob for a long weekend. But I think most of it is that part of me that always comes around this time of year--the one who doesn't want to wish the summer away, but can't seem to help it.

I am learning, a little bit more every day, to just be. That it's okay to be excited for the future, and sometimes it's okay to dread it a little bit too. Summer is here. There are friends to laugh with and rosé to drink. The mosquitos will bite. But fireflies will flicker; and big, fat, pink peonies will gloriously open up in the vase you place by the kitchen sink. 

And autumn will come around eventually.