I pull on a large soft light grey sweater and walk out the front door. The dog hops down my three front steps, leaving the porch's soft yellow ring of light. The dark road screams "don't." But I do. I run in front of her, yank her leash, and take off into the moonless night . My oversized sweater swallows my cold bare stomach, and my white keds cling to my toes as I jog down the drive. As I run my surroundings go numb and I fall into an almost protective rhythm. This is my lullaby.
Then I reach the hill. The hill is long and steep, with houses on either side. It is the end of my route, and therefore the part with the highest expectations. I stop at the top, look down at my dog, then out back into the chilly November air. Starring intensely ahead, as if to build up the moment past it's potential, I ask, "Are you ready?" She stands still. Then, giving up on a response, I pick up my feet and sprint. I run full blast down the hill, hands in the air, screaming "THE STREETS ARE OURS!" As adrenaline runs and my smile broadens, my dog aimlessly runs along, happy about the faster pace. But for me this is more. This is what ends today and starts tomorrow. Tomorrow- beige desks, analog clocks, and a heavy messenger bag.
And then we're home. I walk into the foyer and close the door behind me. Hearing my heavy breathing, my mom walks in from the kitchen and asks about my run. Sometimes she asks questions that I know I won't be able to answer in the way she wants me to. I'm not going to tell her about the hill, the hypnotic rhythm, and how when I run every other dog walker disappears (because they really do) and it's just me and the misty current of air. Probably because she feels the same way when she walks the dog. And I guess that's just awkward. And I guess that's what we do as humans. We keep moments to ourselves because if no one else knows they happened it is easier to pretend like they are only ours. They give us a sense of individuality. But in truth, everyone has the same kinds of moments. We all make something extraordinary out of something ordinary just so we can go to bed feeling like we've felt.
But I am realizing two things. One, we all want big wool sweaters and hot tea and running down dark streets. Maybe not those exact things, but we want the connotation that comes with them. And two, it's not what we feel that makes us unique. It's who we are. It's what we do, and how we do it. We all feel excitement, pain, and happiness. We all have moments in our lives that could be categorized with running through your neighborhood on a cold November night. And those moments are similar because they make us feel the same. But we shouldn't be afraid to feel the same. We all do, and we all know it.
I am not afraid. I'm not afraid to tell you who I am or what I live for. Because those are the things that make me me, not how I feel. We can have more than seats and clocks tomorrow. We can have relationships with one another. Because I don't want to just see faces I want to see hearts. Admitting we all feel the same doesn't result in a loss of individuality. We shouldn't have to do this alone. We weren't meant to. And we shouldn't even try to. I want a collective movement. I want honesty. I want transparency. I want to know the moments that you own.
Right now I also want the streets. Sometimes it starts to feel too safe in here. Unrealistically safe. As if I'm getting an inaccurate, biased taste of the world. I want to go back into the night. Back to grey sweaters that swallow your stomach and keds that squeeze your toes. We own the streets...