Tuesday, August 12

Who's walking next to you?

When you find someone who's walking next to you - not behind you or in front of you, but next to you - you'll know. 

That was Mrs. Van Wyk's advice. It made sense then, and it makes sense now.

But I didn't realize until three years later that it doesn't just apply to love. What was meant as post-breakup advice was life advice - and damn good one at that.

See, three years later, this defines my relationships. My best friends, my colleagues, my sisters -- we walk next to each other.

We're a team.
We're dynamic duos and terrible trios.
We're the Boden familia.
We're the blondie to each other's brownie.
We're the partners in crime.
We're the day ones.
We're the Asoreys.

We know we're stronger together. We're better together. So we walk side by side and support each other.

But that doesn't mean we're complacent. It doesn't mean we're the same. It doesn't mean we don't push each other. Hell, sometimes it's more of a sprint than a walk.

But it does mean that we value each other. We're proud of each other.

And Mrs. Van Wyk was right: you'll just know.

Sunday, July 20

Just stopping by

Heyyyy. Hi there. Hope everything's going well!

I'm just stopping by to say a quick hello. It's been a while and I missed seeing your name pop up on my screen. I kinda miss hearing your voice, too, and seeing your face. But I'll keep it easy. Just wanted to say hey. Hope everything's going well. [Smiley face.]

Hey... you're living in New York now, right? I saw it somewhere on Instagram. Or maybe it was Facebook. Either way, now you're hundreds of miles away and I don't want you to forget I'm here. You can find me back home when you come visit. 

So I heard you landed that job. Congrats! Seems like everything's working out for you. But I want you to know everything's working out for me, too. I won't pick up the phone - no. I'll send you an essay (and halfway through I won't know if it's even worth it) just to show you I've grown. I'm the person you always wanted me to be. 

There's no one home, so, you can come over if you want... But only if you want, because I don't want you to think I want you to come. Plus, it's been a while. And it could be kinda weird. But come over, yeah, come over. 

;) It's 3 ammm. I want you. Fuck it, I miss you. Okay, maybe I've had a little too much to drink but I'm serious. What's that saying about drunk words are sober thoughts. Maybe I shouldn't be doing this. I really shouldn't be doing this. 

Hey! Just saw that friend of yours. Literally randomly bumped into him. This will be my excuse to say hey, because he'll probably tell you anyway. And I want to be on your mind when he does. 

I'm just stopping by here. To say a quick hello, to tell you that I care because something reminded me of you. It was that song and the stranger's cologne. 

I'm just stopping by here and I don't expect you to answer. It might be easier if you don't. I wanted to tell you that I miss you. Life's great, but I do miss you. Not all the time, but sometimes. And sometimes is enough...

To just stop by and say hello. 

Sunday, July 13

Hey there!

Hey all! It's been a while since I've stopped by here.

I've been a bit busy this past month. I even went on vacation -- say whatttt?!?!?! Hella good time. And I started cooking a lot more often.

I have a new blog, too. And I've also been MIA from that one.

Either my creative juices are at a standstill or I'm having trouble figuring out what's going on with my life. I'd say it's a little bit of both.

Sometimes I forget to take that step back and reflect. It's been a while and I owe it to myself. Heck, I owe it to y'all, too.

Thanks for keeping those pageviews comin' even when I'm not actively blogging. I see you ;) And I appreciate every minute of your time and ounce of support.

Y'all are the best! And - promise - something will come this week.

Los quiero,

Sunday, June 1

Perfection is bullshit

Growing up I wanted to be perfect. The perfect student with the perfect grades in the perfect home with a life that would turn out, well, perfectly.

I was rummaging through old photos this week when I came across some pre-divorce photos of my family circa the late 90s. Those days feel like an eternity ago, and sometimes most of the time, it's all a blur.

I was always the strong one. Just ask either of my parents. But you know, it felt like my life was crumbling just before my eyes. It may have been the over-dramatization of a teenage girl, but even now I think I don't give myself enough credit. I think it was then - but mostly now - that I began to understand that perfection didn't exist. Everything I knew as right was going wrong, and to some degree, it actually felt right.

I learned the beauty in vulnerability. It was a beauty that also existed in making your own mistakes. One that shined brightest when I spoke from my heart, even when I wasn't proud of what I'd said.

I wrote this piece during freshman year of high school. It was one giant metaphor about being the director of my own life -- very "I am the Captain of my soul"-esque for a 14-year-old. And I read it aloud to my class. It was the first time I'd "gone public" about the divorce.

Most of them had no idea what I was going through, because little Miss Natalie did a helluva job at playing the perfect role. But that day, I called it quits.

I've struggled since. I haven't always been so easy on myself. I still hold back tears and beat myself up for my mistakes. But I've also come a really long way.

An 18-year-old me would have cracked at the workload I now manage daily.

Even the girl I was a year ago would have second guessed herself more. She wouldn't be baking cupcakes or making homemade guac, that's for sure. Why? Because she didn't want to fail. (You should know I've burned 3 batches of cookies back to back + multiple bags of popcorn.)

But at 22, I'm proud to say I've cut myself some slack. I accept my vulnerabilities. I push myself out of my comfort zone, and I don't torture myself when, naturally, I feel uncomfortable.

Because perfection is bullshit, and I prefer to make mistakes than stroll through life. As one of my favorite quotes says,

"We're all just in here because we took a wrong turn going to church."

I think those wrong turns make life exciting.

With love & cupcakes,

Sunday, April 20

Fearless at yoga

We start every yoga class with an intention and a dedication. Its purpose is to ground you in your practice, give you something to work toward and keep you in the present.

Usually, my intention is something (difficult but) safe. Focus on your breathing, find balance, do this for your munchkin. But this morning was different. 

As I found my lotus pose and closed my eyes, I thought, "Be fearless." 


It's not usually a word I associate with yoga, but I gave it a try.

Wednesday's Practice

I sought balance on Wednesday. After an incredibly hectic couple of weeks - and two weeks of no yoga - it's what I needed most. 

I hit my first real crow that night. I held it for about two seconds, but I nearly shrieked of joy. 

Then everyone went into inversions (aka headstands), and I reveled in my crow. Baby steps. 

Then today

I took every move and listened to my body. And when our instructor lead us into crow, I was fearless.

I held it four times longer and I lifted my toes off the ground with more confidence. I tried it again and chuckled when I nearly fell forward on my face. 

I hit my Warrior 3s and eagle poses. I even stretched further down in my downward dog. 

I held wheel with strength.

Being fearless wasn't about hitting every pose. My legs shook and I moved out of some. I modified positions. But it did encourage me to approach each vinyasa with a bit more oomph - to give it a shot. 

See, when I started yoga semi consistently four months ago, I was scared to let go and listen to my body. Now I'm doing that and more. I can see and feel the progress. 

Looking at the yogi next to me flow into a tripod pose this morning, I knew I would hit it one day. The practice evolves with you. 

And that's so exciting. 


(If you haven't tried yoga, please do. BEST THING EVER.)
And happy Easter!

Sunday, April 13

It's OK

I want you to know it's OK.

It's OK to smile and grieve.

To let it out and let it go.

To [build up walls.] And break them down.

It's OK to laugh at the top of your lungs. Smile wide with shining eyes. Be carefree.

It's OK to be mad. To be frustrated. To hurt. To let the tears roll down your cheeks.

To fear, even if it's fear itself.

To blame yourself and to shift the blame.

To react strongly or not at all. To pick your battles.

To move on. To stay put.

To look in the past. To dream of your future. 

It's OK to put you first. Or not.

To be expressive. To hold it in.

To run away. To care.

To believe. To second guess.

To love and hate.

To feel.

It's OK to let yourself feel, and to let yourself act on it, too.
Just be real with yourself.
It's OK.

Monday, March 31

I'm not in love with you

I’ve been tiptoeing around this.

I didn’t want to say this, but I’m not in love with you anymore.

I’m in love with the man who sat down next to me at the bus stop and apologized for forgetting my name.  

I’m in love with the man whose hands were shaking when he first asked for my number.

I’m in love with the man who told me his life story – and didn’t judge me for mine – on day one. The one who came to Zumba and played basketball with me at night.

I’m in love with the man who took me to the doctor and picked up my prescriptions.

And I’m in love with the man who walked me to class every day and held my hand as we walked across the graduation stage.

I’m in love with the man who, despite a raging temper, would apologize when he was wrong. The one who needed time to cool down.

I'm in love with the man who paraded me in front of his bros – not because I was a piece of meat but because he was proud of me and of being with me.

And I’m also in love with the man who admired my intelligence, wasn’t intimidated by my ambition and stood by my success.

I’m in love with the man who couldn’t resist grabbing my ass in public. Or kissing me.

I’m in love with the man who would always make or order pizza for us, because what was a good night without pizza?

I’m in love with the man who could whip up an article in 30 minutes while I napped. The one whose intelligence often goes unnoticed because some think brawn > brain.

And I’m in love with the man who would hold me and kiss me. The one who was more observant and a better listener than me.

And I'm in love with the man who would give me butterflies – every single day.

But you’re not that man anymore.

And I’m not in love with you.