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Thursday, August 27, 2015

What do you want for your life


I lace up my shoes and begin jogging on tired legs.

Ben Howard plays through my headphones and I think of how blessed my life has been. How the recent struggles, no matter how difficult, have been necessary.

Lake George is a small, vacation town, and I know no one. I don’t recognize faces as I run, but instead shops I’ve driven past, little landmarks like ice creams shops, and colored flowers decorating the tops of railings.

I pay little attention to all of this but instead of where I am heading to.

Yesterday I found a small, fenced off opening that leads to a paved trail in the middle of a forest for bikers and runners.

I find the fence after a few minutes and feel welcomed.

The trees tower above me, providing shelter as I go.

It’s early and there’s no one around me on the trail. Chipmunks dart up trees and broken leaves roll in front of me on the pavement. I move forward, feeling my strength and embracing my solitude.

I realize that that is the difference between when I am in nature and when I am surrounded by people or distraction.

Here, in the center of the forest, I am entirely alone but my solitude is not fought.

Instead I run deeper into it, trying to understand why I have fought the fear of loneliness before. Why I always pull out my phone at some point while eating at a restaurant by myself, or walking around a new town, or simply being in my own bedroom.

“I am just myself lately”, a teacher once had me write at the top of a paper as part of an entry assignment.

My self lately has been slightly rushed, worried, and fearful. I am often searching for a person, a place, an escape. Here, I embrace those insecurities with a grand welcome. I open my arms as I run now, facing my palms towards the sky, I am just myself lately, I say under the trees’ shade.

My breath falls in rhythm with it all, the music in my headphones seems to be orchestrated by the leaves’ swaying, the sun peeking. I notice how the leaves fall, almost deliberately, like small offerings. I notice the way the insects have chewed small holes in the ones still upon the trees’ branches, the light makes its way through easier that way.

Part of the trail goes over a bridge to a busy street. I see cars passing underneath and this part I dislike. Cars of reds, blues, and blacks rushing and honking. I don’t feel part of that world as I run but I know that I still am. I am a car-owning, often rushing, in search of somewhere, person.

I don’t have to be, I think sometimes. How much of my complications and worries are made up in my head? How much of my boundaries are set by me? How much do I really need?

What do you want for your life? The question lingers in the air in front of me, I reach for it, answering with certainty.


I don’t want a life of complication, but simplicity. I want to run through the trees and be able to appreciate how gracious they are. I want to run softly on their floor knowing that it has been lent to me to explore. I want to not pluck flowers, or toss rocks, but notice where they are, grown and placed on their own. I want to do the same with my life. Show up and gaze in amazement. Recognize what already is, only changing my thoughts, perspective, and ideas I imagine.

I want to show up for my life. I want to care for it with a sense of freedom and confidence, knowing that it belongs to me.

That it begs me to live it fully.
Wishing you all a beautiful day. 

Xo,
Katie 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Home: a post for my sister




This post has been edited and cut and reread and then put aside for a while. It’s been cried over and re-pieced back together. I started writing sentences and erased them and then typed with no breaths or breaks, leaving typos and grammatical errors in the dust. Despite the multiple approaches to writing about my sister, none of it felt right.

So instead, I’m going to start fresh. Not because all the other stuff sucked, but because that’s what I realize I am going to have to do for this next journey of mine that doesn’t include her by my side.
________________


People don’t usually understand Lizzie and I and our sisterhood. I don’t expect people to fully understand it and I often just wish people had someone like Lizzie. Someone who is effortlessly kind, supportive, loving, and so carefree. I often wish people could witness and feel the love and joy that being her sister brings me.

I left Las Vegas just before midnight on Lizzie’s birthday, July 28th. I flew straight to New York with a big, heavy heart knowing after New York I would go straight to France, and that I wouldn’t see her till the end of December. And after just four days of us being apart, we were calling each other and spilling out every detail of how different things felt and how hard it was to not be near each other.

After ten days, I begged Lizzie to find a way to visit me. And because sometimes things just work out, Lizzie flew out less than a week later.

I spent this last week relishing in every single second I got to spend with Lizzie. We laughed endlessly and talked about nothing for hours and recalled all of our best childhood memories and made some new ones. We took a train to the city and explored the streets of Soho and walked dozen of miles on blistered feet just to get cupcakes (Georgetown Cupcakes, may I add).

We linked arms and faced new things together. We stopped to talk about what our lives look like and how much we love each other. We danced terribly, and made jokes that we laughed way too hard at.

For Lizzie and I, it was like a week of just pure love and appreciation for each other. It was the best temporary goodbye I could ask for.

As hard as it will be to be away from her, I realized just how special our bond is.  

I think we all get an insane, great blessing in our life. Most of us realize it when we are older, at a time of deep desperation, or sometimes after it is already gone, but I realized mine this week.  

Lizzie is my greatest blessing. I have had a constant source of inspiration, love, support, and trust my entire life. Because of Lizzie, I have this confidence and bravery to face new things and challenge myself because she is constantly in my corner. I think we all search for that in our lives- the person who makes us better without ever making us feel like there is room for improvement. Every step of the way I have been loved, and for that I am so, so grateful.

I was just six weeks old when my mom got pregnant with Liz (yup, not kidding), and 11 months old when I got a baby sister. We grew up having the same dreams that lead us to each other’s rooms to exchange the details only we knew. My favorite stories were the ones she told and I would gladly give up anything if it would make her happy and safe. Because that's how I would be happy and safe.

We’ve mapped our lives to ensure that we end up as neighbors. She was my confidant when our parents divorced and I was her caretaker when she was diagnosed with cancer and then a ganglioneuroma tumor at 16. The really low low's have been beat by some ridiculously high high's, like being each other's roommates in our own cute apartment, going to school together, and mundane things, like making dinner and eating it on our living room floor every night before we had a dining room table.

She’s the person I vent to, run to, and annoyingly beg when I need help cleaning my room. She tucks me in at night when I'm sad, and always buys me Valentine's Day cards. It’s the kind of love that makes me realize so much of me is because of her.


And although we are both individuals, I have grown as a person because of who she is. We become what those closest to us need us to be. I have loved and cherished each part of the process of becoming her sister, and ultimately, the person I have always aimed to be.


Last night I said goodbye to her till Christmas time as we hugged outside the airport crying into each other arms. Her tears vibrated into my shoulder and she said, “come home, remember to come home.”
With those words, I'm starting fresh, not dwelling, and just loving that I get carry around my best memories with me.

I’m starting fresh and trying to remember that home is what we build inside ourselves. My walls built from a sister’s love that is unparalleled to whatever may come next.
Here are some pictures from our past week together:




 











Love you to the moon and back, Liz. You are my favorite part of home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Old Westbury Gardens

Get ready for a whole lotta photos. I got to tour the Old Westbury manor and gardens and the entire time I was in absolute awe. Beyond it's physical beauty, there is such a rich history behind the home. It was built in 1906 by English designer George A. Crawley for the Phipps family. The architecture and details of the home took my breath away. The molding alone was carved with such careful detail, I could have stared for hours. There's antiques and art that hasn't even been affected over all the years. There is 70 acres of gardens, and 160 acres of additions fields and woods. I kept picturing what life must have been like, with tea rooms and bathrooms big enough to house a family of six. I walked through the gardens and imagined the kids playing, inventing a whole other world in their yard. It was one of the most mesmerizing places I have seen. Here's just a few dozen pictures I took.













































































































Beautiful, right?! For those of you who have been to NY, what are some of your favorite spots? Wishing you all a great day! xo



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