There was something about you, 2013. You were rough and tumbly, full of ups and downs. You were about falling apart, putting yourself back together, with strategy, vision and confidence. You were about realizing love—all of its powers, dimensions and forms.
You were about this series of moments—my third trip to Barcelona, where Karl and I decided to take in Gaudi’s most famous, yet my most reluctant place to visit, the Sagrada Familia. Churches, you see, tend to make me very uneasy. I was the last one into the tower’s elevator, hence the first one who would have to step out. The elevator could only take folks so far, there’d be more steps to climb once we got out. And so, we climbed the rest of the way. To the top. 75 meters. 246 feet. About 25 stories. No big deal. I’m not afraid of heights. But one look out onto the microscopic normalcy below, one click, maybe two, of the camera’s shutter and I was done. Panic. I must get down from here. Now. Now. Now. NOW. I knew, with certainty, if I stayed up there any longer, I would die. I could see my body buried in the rubble, splintered and screaming in chaotic silence. I would be one of the faceless numbers in the paper, some unfortunate reporter cobbling together my life story from online bits and pieces. I would be gone and that would be it.
That couldn’t be it.
I quickly told Karl I’d meet him at the bottom. And then I flew down all 400 steps, bracing myself with each trembling hand pushing against the walls for support. There wasn’t any sane way this thing was going to crumble, but this wasn’t about sanity. It may have been the timing. I had learned earlier in the day about the Boston Marathan bombing. I guess that’s what made me see limbs and pieces, horror and madness. It may have been the church-y-ness of everything. It may have been that Gaudi worked so long and passionately with such an unfinished project only to be hit by a streetcar near the church site.
Whatever it was, I wasn’t ready to leave things unfinished. There were more people, successes and views to live for than the scenes from up there. Once my body caught up with my soul on the ground, I found what I didn’t realize I needed: a school. Gaudi originally built the school for the workers’ children, but now it stood as an exhibition space with a classroom and a replica of Gaudi’s desk the day he died, including a lonely, knotted sack lunch.
Something shifted, I know now in retrospect. More than a year ago, when I left IKEA to freelance, I channeled a fighter’s brave stance to shield the reality that I was supremely and entirely shattered. In summation, I was a hot mess in a desperate search for meaning and discovering the wanted. I didn’t recognize myself, didn’t know what I wanted in life and surely didn’t realize what the hell was happening to me. Most of all, I was too selfish and sad to see the pain I was causing my favorite love.
But when you’re at the bottom, rocking like a lost child, eventually you become aware of the fact that you’re already grabbing your feet. Marvelous feet! Feet can take you places! Feet can take you up! Up is the only way to go! You’re alive! And so on. And so forth.
My feet knew they wanted to go home, to Louisiana. They wanted to log new miles, forge new paths in the company of Karl and his feet. They wanted to work for people, not other people’s money. When teaching popped out my subconscious to join the cards on the table, I felt sublime relief. After acceptance into TeachNOLA for my alternative certification program, doing a sample lesson several weeks ago and being hired on as an associate teacher in my No. 1 choice of charter network, I feel in my bones that this is right. And to be making this move, literally and figuratively, with Karl, is the stuff of dreams. Lately I’ve been a privately weeping mess, except these waterworks are filled with joy. It’s a weird sensation, but I’m getting used to it.
So here’s to you, me and the unfinished of what will be.
And, ahem, I know I promised you a lighthearted year in review, but the blog does what it wants. Maybe next time. Maybe.