OK, a little meta-narrative, which I told myself I would avoid, but I think it’s necessary at this point for my own sanity. I over-think things. It’s my deal. Bear with me.
I never intended for this to be my BLOG blog. I didn’t really want to take to this thing to talk about my problems or gripe about work or whatever else you do in a general purpose blog (and I’ve done, extensively, in blogs of yore.) What was interesting to me was an in-depth exploration of fitness: how to get fit, why to get fit, what happens to you when you get fit, what demons get uncovered as you try to motivate yourself, etc etc. And things were going swimmingly, even as the writing here got more and more bleak. That was the point. I wanted to dig deep in my psyche to really get to what makes me want to do this, and I’ll continue with this mission until the project is done.
Obviously, there was an interruption.
I don’t want this to be my Death Blog, though. Or, rather, I don’t want to talk about it outside of the way it relates to this silly fitness journey. It will continue to be there; it has to. The truth is, even though we hadn’t spoken in years, I’ve thought about Nicole Matievic pretty much every day even before tragedy visited our door. I’m always seeing things that wistfully makes me think of her, the way you do when you have a lot of history with someone. Elvis Costello, but a ton more music, are directly linked with her in my mind. She was a vegetarian back in the day, so I think of her when I buy hummus and pita bread. Every time. It’s what we used to snack on. I also still buy the brand of rice pilaf we used to eat for dinner, and think of her when I reach for it in the store. I think of her when I’m cooking a healthy meal (I’m usually thinking of either her or Gwen, who gave me a nice vegetarian cookbook years ago.) Every time I look at a can of chili I think of her disdainfully yelling, “Ugh, go ahead and eat your MEAT SOUP!” Every time.
Or if I look at my thumbs for too long. God, she really cornered the market on talking about thumbs.
She’s everywhere in my head. And usually it’s in the middle of some busy day, with a million things to do, which is the way people drift apart, and all I have to offer is this little heart floating over my head as I think, “I hope she’s doing OK.” And the heart floats off into the ether, and whether or not it lands on her really isn’t up to me.
So, yeah. I’m glad this little project was here as a way to process what I’ve been going through, and now I’m gonna try to keep my grief offline as much as I can, the way normal people do it. I’ve probably said too much as it is. But I like to be honest when I write, whatever it is I’m writing, and I hope that whatever I’m saying can bring comfort to people who are going through the same thing so they know they’re not alone. That’s the only reason I do anything I do, really. That and making people laff. I like to do both.
And so, a horrible confession. Most of us found out about Nicole via a post on her Facebook page, which many of us took to be some sort of rotten prank her boyfriend was playing. We messaged back and forth. It was worded strange, didn’t seem real. I showed it to multiple people, who all said, “Oh yeah, that’s fake. Who does that?” I didn’t believe it for a second, and I spent most of the ensuing 24 hours joking angrily about, “goddammit OF COURSE Nicole and her boyfriend are doing this to prank us, fuck them.”
I usually make my workout playlists on Thursdays, before heading to the gym, so I can try them out before posting them. I take inspiration from wherever. So I made a playlist of songs that reminded me of Nicole, and I was gonna write this HILARIOUS post about how Nicole faked her death for lulz but I loved her anyway.
Then we found out the truth, and the songs were all still there. A bunch of Elvis Costello – her very favorite musician in the world. The Lauryn Hill album we burned up back in the day and she liked to dance to at parties. The Getaway People album I was weirdly into, and the song about a girl you love even though she’s a pain in the ass (“My song!”) A Dylan song from a mix she sent me once. The Velvet Underground song I listened to for the first time laying next to her and I rolled over and said, “This is how I feel about you.” It’s all there. And it’s a decent little running mix, too! But, also, it has been a companion of mine through the process (along with Ale’s album, because having family talk to you is important in times of need.)
So have at it. Raise a glass. I’ve listened to this a million times in the past two weeks and it hurts so, so good.
We march on, forever altered, our bodies and brains sculpted to new shapes. Impacts scarring our surfaces. Erosion. Evolution.
We march on, forever altered, and God only knows what’s coming up next. Whatever it is, we will be ready. Have fun out there, you guys.