Good Stuff

View From 9th Street

“Do you like it?” She asks.

“It’s good,” I say,  “It’s really good.  And definitely the best I’ve eaten since I’ve lived here.”

And it is good, worlds better than the Walmart pizza that I had begun to accept as passable, crisp yet chewy crust, flavorful cheese, tangy sauce.  I’ll definitely go back there for more.

Tomorrow, even, knowing me.

“Have you been running,” L. asks as we eat.

“A lot,” I say.  “Probably more than I should be.  I ordered a case of vanilla Cliff shots from Amazon.  Have you ever eaten those things?  They’re like vanilla cupcake frosting.”  I lean in. “I more or less run so I can eat them.”

After my third day of hard core running in a row, a ten miler Tuesday, A six on Wednesday, and a five that morning, my quads are screaming for a break in the same manner that my stomach screams for pizza.

L. and I discuss her marathon training.  She’ll be running her first in November.

“You’re a different person once you cross that finish line,” I say.  “It changes you forever.  You realize you’re invincible.”

Running a marathon made me brave in ways I never imagined I could be because it was brave of me to run it to begin with.  There was once a time in my life that running 26 miles felt so out of the realm of the possible for me, that doing it was life changing.

Talking to L. about the marathon had me pondering Dana’s post on the topic of bravery.  What’s brave for me may not be brave for someone else and what’s brave for someone else may not be brave for me.  People called me brave for relocating to North Carolina with my three kids.  But honestly, that wasn’t a big deal for me.  I knew if I could make friends here and make money, I’d be fine, and I had the confidence that I’d be able to do both. Whereas, running a marathon was hugely brave for me, because I was overcoming the “impossible.”

I’ve found that bravery begets bravery.  The more I take risks, the more risks I’m willing to take, and the more I’m willing to jump into the realm of the unknown and try.  I’ve spent the past two weeks in the “unknown,” as I’m in the process of launching a “legitimate” version of a business that I ran out of the trunk of my car back in New Jersey.  The unknowns are many, as I navigate the world of business licenses and zoning permits and liability insurance and building e-commerce sites.  I held Justine’s post on not knowing close to my heart this week, too.  Because saying “I don’t know” instead of needing to know or pretending to know when I don’t know something opens doors.  I have found so much support within this tiny community of people who want to help me to succeed.

When I part with L., I think about how we are all more connected than we realize. L. is a woman I knew over Twitter who, over a few direct messages a month ago, realized that we both lived one town away from each other in South Brunswick County.

I mean, really, people, what are the chances of that?

A pretty darn good chance, apparently, and at least a good a chance as my finishing a marathon or L. finishing hers, or my business succeeding, or any of those other things that from the surface may seem far-fetched.

9th Street Bridge

That evening, I walk to the ninth street bridge with my son and youngest daughter to watch the sun set and to get some fresh air.  As we head down, one of my neighbors passes me on his bicycle.

“I guess you’re staying a while,” He hollers as he rides by.”  “I see you took the New Jersey plates off your car.”

“Can’t get rid of me that easily,” I shout after him.

Originally, I had said I’d give it until December to decide whether I’d stay or head back north, but this place felt like home pretty quickly. Call it instinct, I guess.

I’m learning as I get older to honor those instincts.  They’ve never led me wrong. I’ve landed on my feet after some of the more radical decisions I’ve made when I listen to that inner voice.

It’s amazing what happens when we learn to trust ourselves.



Good Stuff — 57 Comments

  1. It’s funny how things that seem brave to one person, are pretty standard for someone else. I am phobic about diving into a pool. I am sure many divers are phobic to pick up and run to California to be with a guy who had already broken their heart.
    Who knows?
    The pizza is the real telltale sign, though. Finding decent enough pizza is home. And there are probably a zillion pizzerias in NC, still leaving their lights on for you to find.
    Tamara recently posted…This Is Big, People! Big!My Profile

    • And I vow to find every single one of those pizzerias still waiting for me in Coastal North Carolina – I will try them all! And yes, moving cross country for someone who already broke your heart once, braver than I think I could ever be, but you clearly knew what you were doing, didn’t you?

  2. I love this… as I love you. I love your bravery- and your incredible self sufficiency in any foreign place, as you discover the unknown is filled with practicing your invincibility. I marvel at your spirit, and I am constantly amazed at your relentless pursuit of life- in all places. And your undying love to find light everywhere you go, and in everyone you know.

    And I am so FREAKING glad you finally found pizza worth eating. 😉
    Chris Carter recently posted…The Mother Of All MeltdownsMy Profile

  3. That inner voice knows what it is talking about. It not only knows you better than you know yourself, it knows the rest of the universe in a way your conscious mind just does not computer.

    The few times I failed to listen to mine were pure tragic catastrophe. Now I refuse to ignore it, no matter what.
    tammigirl recently posted…Wadsworth Blue-Sky Drive In MoviesMy Profile

    • I can so relate to not listening to the inner voice and the results being catastrophic. I am so glad you and I have learned to pay heed to it. And yes, that voice knows us better than we know ourselves. Love that.

  4. Oh, Ilene! This post is just so lovely and lyrical. It’s like poetry.
    When you said “bravery begets bravery” you cannot be more right. It is just so true in a fundamental way.
    So glad you feel at home in NC. That makes me so happy. –Lisa

    • I love it here! Feel right at home. And it’s so true about bravery begetting bravery. It has a domino effect in the most awesome way possible.

    • Bravery is so personal. There are really basic things that are so hard for me and other things that are simple yet others would find hard. I think when we get this about each other, it helps us understand each other better as well.

    • This year has been managed well by my instincts and any mismanagement to this year has been solely at the hands of my “thinking brain.” I’m learning. One day at a time. And thank God for the decent pizza. I mean…really…thank God!

    • Bella Cucina in Southport, NC! Really good stuff! Led to it by my Twitter friend who is now an IRL friend. And seriously, hot diggity damn on the Twitter friend – living one town over from me in what is more or less the middle of nowhere, NC. Crazy, right?

    • I feel like life is complete now that I have a good pizza place to go to – seriously! Whatever other kinks are left, will work itself out!

  5. Sometimes it’s so important to trust your instinct. It seems like you have friendly and observant neighbors. It’s great that you can offer your friend marathon perspective. That’s huge. I’m one and done. It was one of the most life-changing things I’ve done and I don’t think I ever want to do it again. It’s also pretty amazing that you could connect with a cyber friend in real life. amazing.
    Hope recently posted…Summer in Review: Hectic + Unstructured = ChaosMy Profile

    • Oh, Hope, was that marathon not one of THE most LIFE CHANGING things you’ve ever done or what? I wish everyone could run one, at least once – just to see what they are *really* capable of doing. And yes, my cyber turned real life friend? Such a gift.

    • *Gasp* I’m so excited for you! You will kick butt! And you will feel SO GOOD once you’ve finished. Like you’re invincible. Not that you’re not invincible already, my friend!

  6. Jersey Girl- I love this post & I <3 you!!! I promise road trip soon to see you!!! I am SO glad to hear you are settling so well in here, now, when it comes to ACC basketball time don't let any of those Dookies try to tell you that Duke is who you pull for, be sure to tell 'em the team you pull for is UNC Tar Heels, babe, LOL! 🙂 XOXO!
    Amber Day Hicks recently posted…Mother of All Meltdowns!My Profile

    • I agree that trusting our instincts is always the path for peace and happiness. I love what Tammi said above. That inner voice knows us better than we know ourselves.

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  8. You are so right…we need to trust our instincts more! We are always afraid to, but I think if we listened more to that voice then we would make better choices. So glad you found a decent slice of pizza…another great post my friend!
    Natalie recently posted…When Are We Enough?My Profile

    • It has never led me wrong – but it’s still so hard to believe sometimes, right? I have a feeling it will lead both of us in the right places. I’m sure of it actually. xo

  9. I so wish you lived closer to me. And we’d meets for pizza and I’d remember more often to not be scared and to take on the impossible because nothing is impossible. And hopefully I’d help you somehow too.
    In the meantime I cannot wait to hear more about this business!
    Tricia recently posted…Torn: on weaning my babyMy Profile

    • I can’t wait to spill more about this business! At this point though – it might be months before I launch. Making me want to live closer to you and meet for pizza even more!

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