21

The water was choppy and colder than I was used to, but on this triple-digit day there was no debate.

“It’s too hot”

“Right!?” He was faced-down on his towel, but the beads of sweat on his back agreed.

“I’m going in.”

I stood up, brushed the sand from my palms and pranced my completely naked, out-of-shape ass in front of everyone on the nude beach and walked.

As my body floated with the current, my belly and me had a moment. I laced my fingertips across my navel and exhaled with determination to get back into stripper shape. Fine – as close to stripper shape as a middle-aged broad can get.

“You just have to get all the way in, then it’s awesome!” I was thirteen again, bragging about how I had the balls to brave the cold (it only took the afternoon to submerge myself completely).

Once I was swimming, my eyes surveyed the people along the shore. It didn’t matter that my body wasn’t perfect. That a crowd of strangers saw my cellulite and buddha belly in motion. I was comfortable in my skin. I wasn’t happy with my body at the moment – but holy fuck – I was happy.

A swell lifted my body – and the water mirrored my breath – sighing with me in the realization of just how far I’ve come.

Christine Macdonald

Soon

When your lashes unlace to greet the light. Your body uncoils, unwrapping your flesh from her thread-count comfort. You discover reassurance. It’s close to normal, this sacred breadth you’ve reclaimed as your own. You stretch, allowing your lungs to expand and release within the space of familiar. What’s old is slowly new again.

You are singular but not small.

When brushing past a stranger in a crowded room, their fragrance leaves a familiar trace – something happens. You inhale detailed Technicolor memories – setting the dragon free from slaughter. There’s no use in sleighing the visions of who you were with them. You unleash the reality, welcoming their face, their hands on your body, their taste on your tongue. Falling among the trace of tears that struggle to emerge are fragments of your smile.

You are longing, but embrace living.

When driving home isn’t met with worry. Anxiety falls into the lap of acceptance. There is no one on the other side of the door. Your phone is silent. You curl up to the empty space, making peace with alone.

And a song is just a song.

Soon.

Soon you will find the familiar reflection. Your smile, unorchestrated without agenda. Free-falling within the space of your heart, you find yourself. Your laugh laces her fingers with acceptance and time.

When you slip under the covers. Your eyes slowly drift. Your thoughts aren’t far behind. They whisper. Soon. Soon. Soon.

Christine Macdonald

Letting go, holding on

One of my girlfriends posted a question on her Facebook page asking about favorite quotes. Call it the bloggy-writer-poet-romantic-dreamer in me, but I do love me some killer dialogue – especially ones that leave an indelible mark.

I don’t remember when I first came across the one I shared  – one of my all time faves – but there was no question this quote was my choice:

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Henry Ellis

If you follow my Twitter feed, you’ve heard my running joke – the devil and angel on my shoulders always have three-ways with my voice of reason. What usually breaks up these tumultuous trysts are moments when I come up for air, realizing I’m once again, making the same choices that cause me to take two steps behind when I should be trying to evolve in a forward, positive motion. Breaking rules instead of blazing my trail and writing my own. So I dust off my ass, kick experience and memory to the curb and press ahead.

The good thing about tomorrow – it’s always a clean slate.

I don’t care if the blood pumping through your veins is the oil straight from a Normal Rockwell painting – living inside every one of us is our very own saboteur – and they’re always down to party.

Careers, relationships, even emotional baggage that weighs us down; we know we should be letting go, but our fear of the unknown serve as cinderblocks, pulling us deeper into a sea of regret and longing.

So what do we let go of, hang on to, and how the hell do we know when to turn the page? It’s easy to look at anyone else’s world and offer up the typical advice. Let go of the bad, hang on to the good; but reality isn’t a twenty-two minute sit-com where resolutions are made and all is tied up in a bow as the credits roll.

Sometimes shit is so simple, we try to find ways to fuck them up.

We stay in relationships we know are toxic. We talk ourselves out of a career move because we listen to our fear. We hold back – hanging on – even with bloody fingers, because the only thing scarier than staying with the darkness, is free-falling into the unknown.

If only we had a guarantee that what we’re falling into is better than where we are now; but when has life ever been easy?

What I’ve come to realize lately is that even if what lies ahead isn’t what I hoped for and takes me farther away from my dreams – it’s always better than holding on to something that keeps me from going after them.

Moving forward into the unknown will always trump staying where you aren’t happy. Yes, there are no guarantees that what lies ahead will serve our soul – but the fact we have the courage to keep trying is a helluva great start.

Christine Macdonald