Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019 @ 11:35 pm
I cycle over to where I used to live to meet Robyn at a yoga class.
We lay on the floor near each other, sweat falling from our bodies in the light dim. A woman plays guitar in the corner of the room, soft acoustic songs, and people in the room sing along. A man’s voice, low and resonant. A woman’s voice rises up above the rest, sweet and clear.
After, we run across four lanes of traffic and drink margaritas and talk. This is probably such an ordinary thing, but for me it’s a big moment. I need to stop questioning myself, questioning my abilities, questioning my worth.
I sat at a dinner meeting after work with other junior leaders. I looked around the table and wondered why I was invited. Imposter syndrome on overdrive. Eventually I have the courage to speak, and everyone turns to listen. When I am done talking, the room is quiet, contemplating my point, which was on the mark and exposed a major blind spot.
Take up space. Speak up. We want to hear from you. This was the feedback on my leadership review. I have spent my life trying to be smaller, to take up less space. To be seen but not heard. Dieting myself to skin and bones. Blending myself into the background. Allowing others to have opinions and do all of the talking.
Robyn hugs me goodbye, and I cycle the six miles home in the cold, clear night. The cycling paths empty save for the rats that dart across intermittently.
As I’m cycling, I call Russell.
I stayed at his place last night, and I slept with my arms above my head like a starfish. A year ago, and for the majority of the last decade, I’ve slept on my stomach, my hands tucked beneath me. Protecting myself, tucking in all of the loose parts so that they are safe. But now, I yearn to have my heart open to breathe all night. Allowing all of the love to flow in.
I call him and stop my bike where I can see up in to his apartment across the park and through the trees. He answers. He walks to the patio door. I see him silhouetted and waving at me, my bike all lit up with lights. The only cyclist on the seawall. He is in a good mood and dances and takes off his shirt, and I’m laughing and watching and am so goddamn happy with where things are at. This playful friendship.
My Robyn. My Russell. My city all quiet and crisp and piles of leaves turning into soft mulch. The ocean lapping behind me. The way that I’m stretching myself at work. My sister and mother and father so much more a part of my life than ever before. Climbing and dancing and yoga. Laying in bed reading with Russell on Sunday mornings, him passing me a warm mug of coffee. Melissa messaging me from the Netherlands. My mother’s cousin emailing me kind words of encouragement about this new phase of my life. Long talks with Mike about everything and nothing.
I lay falling asleep with my face pressed into his chest, and I wanted to tell him. To tell him this:
You are my favourite place.