on what really matters.


my brain is swimming with things like registries and dates and schedules and logistics. i am a mild control freak (which is an understatement), so the idea of my entire life being thrown upside down by some small creature i can only for now abstractly imagine kind of throws me for a loop some days. 

but then nic says things like this and it tugs me out of the tornado of my mind into reality. we are growing a small human and my only real hope is to help cultivate a loving, honest, reflective human to populate the world with good.

on pearl, and saying goodbye.


i never thought i'd be a person, who cared about cars. and, in fact, i'm not. they are all the same to me. i couldn't tell a corolla from a camry or a lexus from lamborghini (seriously).


but over the course of the last 16 years, i did fall in love with one particular car.


her name is pearl. pearl was a 2001 toyota tacoma my dad came home with one random weekday during my junior year of high school. my dad, ever the bmw advocate and owner, had brought home this little toy of a car with hand crank windows, a tape deck, and a hysterically oversimplified dashboard. she went and she stopped, and that was about it.


at some point during my san francisco times, pearl became mine. my dad, ever the advocate and owner, also, of relentless generosity, gifted me pearl. 


and boy did we have times together. we went to work, to the mountains, to santa barbara again and again, to the beach. we went on dates, we went on emotional roller coasters and those of the san francisco hills.  we went on road trips and camping trips. we went everywhere. on those rare warm san francisco nights, i'd sit in pearl's bed and eat popsicles. once, i woke up and she had a giant stuffed blue dog just sitting in her bed.


everyone loved pearl. not just because she would move that abandoned san francisco street couch or haul a bunch of groceries, not just because she played amy grant and tlc tapes straight from the 90s, not just because she was a ride for most people who didn't have their own cars, but because she was just everything. she was bare bones, trusty, scrappy, slow and steady. she went and she went. she deteriorated in looks over the years-- paint scraped off, dents multiplied like acne scars on a teenager, her speakers all but gave up. but her engine was strong and that was all that mattered.


i began to feel that pearl was reflection of me. she was kind of mess, not overly impressive in skill, but she was solid. she was reliable. she was a quiet beast. she was everything, despite herself. something about her just made people love her.


in 2014, we made the big trip across the country from california to kentucky. no one thought pearl would make it. sometimes we only went 30 miles an hour up those hills, but she kept on plugging along. she was the little engine that could, carrying my thrilled and terrified body across mountains, across states, across chasms of fear, to a new life. 

3 years later, 2 and a partial winters later, after pearl got her kentucky footing, her first exposure to inclement weather and midwest/ southern living, on january 5th of this year, we set out for school during the first real snow of the year. 


i was talking to my mom on the phone at the time, commenting on how the snow looked like tiny rivers, snaking and winding across the highway. it hadn't quite settled yet, but it also wasn't ready to dissipate. i was going slow and steady, and then, in a millisecond, i lost traction. i spun into a semi truck to my left, and then circled across three lanes of traffic to the railing against a hill on the other side of the highway.


at first i was in shock.

then i cried hysterically for a moment.

and then i went into a deep, eerie stillness.

i was fine.


i was fine and not fine. 

i have some minor injuries. i am stiff and slow and anxious. my left shoulder isn't quite right, and my head feels heavy on my neck. but this is not about that. this is about pearl and my feeling that, somehow, weirdly, truly, she has been my guardian angel since i met her.

the accident was incredible in two ways:


1.  in hitting something as huge as a semi, i did not injure anyone else.

2. while crossing three lanes of traffic during rush hour, no one else hit me as i spun across the highway.


and that, i believe, is a miracle. it is divine protection. it is the grace of pearl or fate or god or buddha or whatever you believe in.


i was in my cocoon. i was safe. those manual windows and silly dashboard and tape deck were my armor.


pearl is totaled. 


after all the adrenaline wore off, after the stiffness settled in, i cried and cried, hysterical, reckless, heaving tears. i cried because it was scary in so many ways, because i am profoundly grateful to be okay, and so much, so much because i am saying goodbye to my girl.


i never thought i'd be a person, who cared about cars. and in fact, i'm not. but one little car, named pearl, worked her way into my heart, carried me through so much, and, ultimately, saved my life.


she has been my own traveling, metal giving tree.

and now she is gone.


i will miss her more than i can ever express.

thank you pearl, for saving me and

for the journey of a lifetime together. 

on compromise.


today we were graced with a magical dose of fall. it's chilly and blustery and the light is slanted and just a bit golden. so I decided nic and I and our best friends should go on cozy date to Huber's orchard tomorrow for cider and hay rides and pumpkins/ apple picking. 


nic apparently had other plans with a friend, but conceded that we could do whatever I want.


this was our conversation/ dating me in a nutshell.  


nic is sweet to me and I am a thinly-veiled asshole.  


also I got bangs, and nic rarely wears clothes.  



on slowing down.


i have been going and going. furiously. almost obsessively.  


the details aren't important except to say, i'm trying to get more done than i feel i have time to do. i recognize that a large part of that is perception. 

last night i sat down and had stale corn chips and a tiny glass of old ass red wine for dinner, while i churned out progress reports for school. i feel an impassable chasm between my brain and my body, from my life as i feel it's meant to be and how i'm living. it's not terrible, but i feel this lingering sadness, like i am missing my own life.


this morning i was texting my mama, as i do each morning, just to share tiny life moments and a serving of love for the day. and she said,  


"elizabeth allison, you have 10 minutes to stop and buy a decent salad or an apple and some nuts. if you were uncovering bodies from the rubble, you would keep going, but you know, sweet girl, when you have to push and when it's really okay to not try to do it all."

i am not uncovering bodies.  

my work is deeply important, but it doesn't have to be perfect. it doesn't have to all be done at once. it doesn't have to mean i lose my soul.

i have ten minutes. i will take it to love and nourish myself.


thank you, sweet mama, for the reminder. 

on problem solving.


i posted this drawing a year ago today and still think I'm terribly funny, because it's so true.  


there is just something about being in a relationship that sometimes makes me act like a petulant child, incapable of even the most fundamental acts of adulthood.


luckily, nic sticks around and that, i believe, is either masochism or abiding love.