A Heavy Week

Last week was heavy.

There was parenting stuff (questionable study habits and the discovery of copious Netflix watching); technology stuff (reading more about the effects on our brain, focus, and attention… and OMG, what is happening to our kids and THEIR still developing brains!!??); marital stuff (long-distance living can create tension and petty fights, and the need for extra large doses of presence); what’s happening in the world stuff (where to begin?).

So, basically, LIFE.

On Thursday, I intended to dance. But as I walked to the studio, my body felt like it was full of lead. I found myself taking a left and settling into a seat at a coffee shop instead. In that moment, my nervous system craved a chair, hot tea, and a pen and notebook.

Equilibrium returned as I emptied on the page.

Toward the end of writing, I remembered these words I read on Danielle Cohen’s photography website:

“The antidote to overwhelm, confusion, and disconnection is everyday beauty.”

The next morning, I went with Kep to his podiatrist appointment and did my free-flow writing in the waiting room.

I think again about the quote. Ok, Alyse. What beauty surrounds you, in this moment, at the podiatrist’s office?

I notice the receptionist’s voice as she answers the phone and talks to patients. I remember how sweet she was with me when I called a few days earlier to see if they could squeeze Kep in.

I look around the tiny waiting room and my eyes land on the display of corrective shoes: neon-colored sneakers, black patent Mary Janes, slippers with deep arches. I remember how much pain I felt in my feet when I was pregnant with Connor and Maddie – shifting my weight from foot to foot every few seconds in the final months. I imagine people walking out of this office with a new pair of shoes that relieve pain and put a spring in their step.

Then a tall man with a scruffy beard walks into the office. He’s wearing cowboy boots. He beams a wide smile at me, says “good morning,” and keeps walking through the doors to the exam rooms. Was that the doctor, waltzing in 20 minutes after Kep’s 9:00 appointment? Then again, Kep is a new patient with mountains of paperwork and intake with the assistant.

Moments later, I hear men laughing.

On the elevator, Kep tells me he likes the doctor and shares their initial conversation:

Kep: “You don’t look like the doctor.”

Doctor: “Yeah. I get that a lot.”

Kep: “You look like you just walked in after getting a hot dog at the food cart.”

Doctor: “Well, I did watch a couple YouTube videos on my way in this morning, so I feel I know what to do.”


Man, do I appreciate my husband’s humor.

And the doctor’s humor and realness.

And the receptionist’s kindness.

And pain-free walking.

And reminders to pay attention to everyday beauty.


Some days, I really need those reminders.

With love,

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