Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Bid for Connection

"Pick one word to be your theme for 2016."

A couple weeks ago, I sat around the table at a local Korean joint with a few close friends, discussing our lives and hopes and dreams etc over steaming bowls of sticky rice and hot sauce. You know how it goes. Someone proposed the one-word theme idea, and we each took turns sharing what our word would be.

My mind delved quickly into the little pockets of my brain and rummaged about for an answer. My thoughts roved from work to relationships to my upcoming first quarter of school to finances to world travel to family to hobbies.

Do I write enough anymore? I used to spill my brain into a handwritten journal every night, in addition to blogging almost daily or weekly for a few solid years. Do I play ultimate frisbee like I used to, like my sanity depends on it and the feeling of the grass under my cleats is the literal substance of happiness and air in my lungs?

Do I need to be more organized? More purposeful? More intentional?

Do I need to meditate? Breathe more? Unwind more?

"Katie, what's your word?"

It's something like attachment, I said. But that word doesn't have quite the right feeling to it.

I think I've spent a long time priding myself on being good at forgiving easily, letting go of stuff and moving through life unscathed. But I'm starting to feel like maybe what I'd been doing this whole time would be better described as detachment. So I guess I'm looking for the opposite of that.

"Sounds like you're talking about connection."

Yes. Yes! Connection.

I want to learn to be angry without telling myself why I should let it go before I'm even done thinking the angry thought or saying the angry words. I want to be able to relax and be calm without my brain nagging at me. I want to move my body and fill my lungs just for the sake of the way it feels and the joy that it gives me. I want to sink into conversations with friends and family like it's the biggest possible priority in my life. I want to dive into school and learn and grow and stretch and engage in a way that accurately reflects how utterly hungry I am for it. I want to open my mouth and admit when something is hard for me instead of pulling away from it. I want to continue traveling to places that stick to my soul like a worn world map scotch-taped around my heart. I want to listen to music the way I used to -- with open ears and eager eyes grasping desperately on to pieces of lyrics with accompanying melodies that somehow explain parts of myself to me in ways that I couldn't.

I want to plug myself in to every individual part of my life, the good and the bad and the busy and the calm. Even the parts that hurt. I want to lean in. I want to feel it all the way to my fingers and toes for whatever it all is, without judgment or shame or expectation or thinking always ten steps ahead and in five directions at once.

I spent my Thursday evening, two nights ago, on a field with a plastic disc in my hand. The smell of the warm grass greeted me like an old friend and tugged at my throat like there was some kind of rapturous cry of joy that'd been waiting to come out for awhile. And for the next hour, I felt sweat on my body and pure joy in my veins that pulled me back to college and club teams and tournaments and a thousand sticky-sweet rushes of adrenaline. Later that night, I turned up the volume on a Jimmy Eat World album and stuck my hand out the window into the night air as I drove home.

And I reconnected.

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