Once (that time i had alllll the feelings)

warning: this post is full of alllllll the emotions and heart ramblings and waxing poetic you could ever dream of. it’s not a review of the show — i don’t know how to review something so akin to magic. it’s just me, bleeding emotion all over the screen. don’t say i didn’t warn ya. 🙂

you know those inexplicable moments when time truly seems suspended, and you forget everything about your life and the outside world and all the things & people you’re supposed to know and all the responsibilities you have and all the ways you’ve loved and lost and rejoiced and been let down? how the world seems to pull a velvet curtain around you and encircle you in an infinite moment of such intense beauty and emotion that you wonder how you will ever again exist in the reality of your every day life? how you walk through a door and into a place that’s like every other and like none at all, and what happens in that room transforms you from a girl who dreams of city lights and champagne nights to one who suddenly needs so much more, more than anything this world can offer, it seems — love like an explosion of the heart, a riot inside that cannot be put on paper or spoken into words?

well, welcome to my world, today. population one, in the wake of Once.

there are feelings that we can name and understand; these things we expect. then there are things we experience that puncture deep to the very marrow of our beings and we involuntarily bleed forth every emotion we’ve ever known and a whole slew of others we cannot quite comprehend, and we have no choice but to capitulate to this thing which is so much bigger than us and yet the very truest part of us: that essence of what it means to be human, to be connected to all of humanity and the world at large, and to understand that things like love and loss and God and destiny and joy and pain and beauty are all so very, very real, and so much bigger than we allow them to be in the smallness of our own minds and lives.

this is how i felt last night, watching one of the loveliest, most heart-wrenching, gorgeous things i’ve ever experienced: Broadway’s acclaimed musical Once.

photo: broadwaybox.com

photo: broadwaybox.com

i will have all the trouble in the world trying to capture with words exactly how brilliant this experience was for me, so i’m just going to relay allllll the feelings and tell you that it was a life-changing piece of theater and art. truly beautiful, in every way.

i’ve been aching to see this since it came out, and have no excuses as to why i didn’t go before now. i live near the theater; i have plenty of free nights; i have it on my bucket list. now that it’s ending in just a few weeks, a girlfriend and i felt the urgency and knew we were running out of time. and i’m so, so glad we didn’t run out of time.

have you seen the movie? if not, well — see the movie. stat. a few years ago, when my brother was still living in Colorado and i’d just moved to NYC, i received a slim envelope from him in the mail containing an unceremonious burned CD in a generic sleeve, upon which he’d written just one sentence: “i have a feeling this will be your new favorite movie, too.”

i watched it on the train to Boston, where i was going to attend a girlfriend’s wedding — and i sat in my window seat with my Macbook and my headphones and a fresh glow from my new love affair with NYC — and was utterly, completely unprepared for what hit me. i remember how i felt in that moment, crying like a baby as it ended. i remember the first time i heard “Falling Softly” and how i saw love in an entirely new way — unplanned, unfettered, born entirely of a shared passion for something so much bigger than the two people it brought together, and so raw that it seemed unable to truly exist in everyday life. and yet, everything about it was everyday life.

i think i feared (felt? knew?) then that i’d never fall in love like that, and it broke my heart a bit to think that it was probably my own fault — and that the little hidden romantic in me stays hidden because she’s always waiting for that great big love that springs up right out of nowhere and everywhere and is quiet and explosive all at once, and that i believed in it the way you believe magic might spring out of thin air like a bouquet of flowers — you can’t imagine anything more beautiful, but you can’t imagine it truly exists like that, either. it’s the tension between the real and the ideal; between the dream of the fairytale and the half-knowledge that there isn’t one; between knowing things can change in a moment, and then remembering that they can change in every moment after that, too.

this all came flooding back to me last night as soon as the first actor opened his mouth and began to sing. i lost myself and found myself all at once, in the way the best forms of theater and music and poetry and art and all that is good and true and beautiful in the world can do to you — and it shatters me in the most gorgeous way possible, and creates me anew every time.

so today, i’m sitting here — back in the real world, where things like morning alarms and jobs with desks and people asking “how’s your morning?” out of habit and heels that click too loudly on these cold floors — i’m sitting here in the middle of all this but high above it, a bundle of synapses and skin, of felt emotions and raw edges, and i’m wrecked for it all — for love and loss and anything beautiful and genuine enough to make you feel the pangs of both — for all that reminds us what it means to be alive.

and all i can think of is how something like a show — people play acting out the very things we’re often too scared or unsure of putting into action in our real lives — can turn your world upside-down for a brief moment in time and remind you that nothing can compare with the wonder of knowing/realizing/remembering that love is real, in so many shapes and forms, and that any day not spent pursuing that as our truest reality is one in which we lose a tiny bit of what it means to really be alive.

that, my friends, is what this show did to me.

things like this should come with warning labels, i do believe. “come for a show. leave with your heart ripped out and held in front of you in your open palms.”

but oh, it feels so utterly glorious to really feel, doesn’t it?

i think it does.



Ups & (Sorta) Downs

this is still a WILW post, but with a twist: some of what i love, and some of what i don’t really love so much lately but am still powering through. work with me, mmmmkay?

i’m happy to report that i have refused to cave in and submit to the treadmill so far this year. apparently i’ve lived in NYC long enough to get over any fears (silly or warranted) of running the Hudson River path solo in the dark, because i’m feeling just fine about it these days. if i run before work, it’s dark; if i run after work, it’s dark. so, dark and cold are now my friends. ish. or at least, i’m beating them. boom.

some shots from last night’s chilllllllyyyy windy run:

Empire State from Chelsea Piers - always a view to be found

Empire State from Chelsea Piers – always a view to be found

lastnightruni can’t stop won’t stop with that headband. it’s so much fun and colorful and comfy and totally hides the fact that i don’t wash my hair very often if i straighten it (hi, if i’m putting in that much effort, it’s staying for dayyyyys). it was a short & sweet run that felt good (despite the wind on the way back) after a few longerish ones lately. oh, and it ended at the bar (how is this becoming a thing?!), where two of my girlfriends desperately needed my wit & charm & gym attire to round out their happy hour. (peach bubbly as post-run hydration, anyone?) and you know i made it home for The Voice, my fave show. i can’t stand my mom up for our running-text-commentary as we watch from two different cities. we’re both totally team Matt McAndrew all the way. and yes, i like to do allllll the things in one evening, thankyouverymuch.

Down: so, i found out this morning via email that i didn’t get chosen by lottery to run the 2015 NYC Half Marathon. i’m pretty bummed, because i had such a fantastic experience running it last year and i’ve been feeling so strong with the running lately, but i’m sort of not-tooooo-bummed, because the big annual gala i love to attend for Big Brothers Big Sisters happens to be the night before it this year, soooo…looks like the decision between dressing up and drinking champagne with thousands of people and going to bed early to run a long, fun race was made for me. even though i was trying to convince myself i could do both…kinda like that time i ran a full marathon and then went to a good friend’s wedding immediately after. that was fun.


October 2013: one of the best days of my life

so, i’m not super thrilled, but hey — there will be other races. and at least i get to buy a new party dress now.

Up: tonight, i’m fiiiiinallllyyyy doing something i’ve been wanting to do since it became a thing people could do in NYC. (get that?) a lovely girlfriend and i are going to see this spectacular wonder of a Broadway show:

eeeeeee i’m so excitedddddd! i’m not quite sure how i managed to not see it before now, but all that matters is that i will tonight. i adored the movie (and sobbed my eyes out), will never ever grow sick of “Falling Softly” (Taylor killed it on The Voice this week, too — so good!), and am a sucker for anything related to music & love & the love of music. i cannot wait for this.

Down: i’m having issues waking up to workout this week, even though i’m going to bed early enough. usually this isn’t a prob for me at all, but for some reason i just cannot get up when my phone sings to me at 5:30am (yep of course my alarm is a 1975 song) and need to go back to sleep til 7. at least my workouts aren’t suffering, as i’m still running or working out every evening, but still. it’s weird. maybe the night workouts are making me want to sleep in? anyway, let’s hope i break this soon.

Up: i’m doing great with the Christmas shopping and have most people done already! thank God for online shopping. some of my go-to sites this year, in case you’re still looking for ideas:

*for, like, anything: Amazon
*amazing stuff (and great deals) for your runner/fitness lover: Joe’s New Balance
*preppy/trendy/all-American & great quality, made affordable: J. Crew Factory
*designer quality & fab holiday sales (and the perks of an awesome friend offering me her discount): Ralph Lauren

these totally nailed it for me this year. shopping with my feet up and coffee/wine in hand is my idea of shopping.

& no more downs because i have to end on an UP, duh. because because.


Give me some ups & downs, or just ups, from your life lately!
How we all doing on Christmas shopping? Any sites saving you this year?
Who has seen Once? Thoughts?