Saturday, December 19, 2009

You Can't Get There From Here

As I stood in the checkout line at Walmart, in Garner, North Carolina I felt like a very small universe imploding upon itself. The fact that I was even standing in a Walmart in the first place is evidence enough to finally prove the controversial Big Crunch theory.

I’ve been working on a dynamic mathematical equation to prove my point.  It looks a little something like this:
If a =You messed up
And b=You are screwed
And c= Now you’re stuck and moving backwards in time and next year instead of living in your parent’s home you will be living as a single undifferentiated cell in your mother’s left ovary.

Then…a+c=b.   It works even if you square it, which works out nicely for everyone.

Lest someone bring up the point that I sound like a thankless child who does not appreciate a good thing when she has it, I would like to go on the record by saying yes I do.  I appreciate every single thing my wonderful parents, sisters and friends have done in their valiant attempts to pull me out of the quagmire I’ve somehow fallen into by choosing to leave a truly great job in Los Angeles in order to pursue creative and idealistic endeavors.

The dream of becoming a published writer and photographer with a fabulously small but somehow ultimately efficient and spectacular apartment in New York City somehow morphed into the reality of me walking dogs through urine-stained snowdrifts in New Jersey, in leaky Target rain-boots and working at a yoga studio, struggling to make ends meet and pay rent on my tiny and remarkably draft-ridden basement apartment in Jersey City crippled with heating bills that rivaled the national debt. That somehow morphed into me moving in with my friend Sarah, her boyfriend and her beautiful daughter in Sarah’s lovely and, thanks to me, then-cramped and one-bathroomed home in Hoboken.  Which then spontaneously combusted into me leaving the Northeast altogether and moving to North Carolina to live in my parent’s extra bedroom while attempting to get into nursing school along with the other 600-thousand other applicants somehow trying to do the same thing in this country---all while secretly wondering if I really even want to be a nurse in the first place or if I’m just petrified that I am going to end up living beneath a crack-soaked  freeway overpass …eating someone’s leftover Carl’s Jr. ,  all because I watched too many medical shows like ER when I was younger and somehow never completely grasped that being a nurse doesn’t magically come with its own riveting and catchy theme song and sexy doctors like George Clooney.

All within a 17-month period.

But I digress.

During all of this running around and in the midst of all of this confusion, and self-ploding, I realize I have actually done some things.

 I’ve met a special medical instructor who survived breast cancer by fearlessly opting to take on some of the most terrifying anti-cancer drugs imaginable. That teacher now makes me laugh and challenges my ability to think on my feet on a weekly basis.  I’ve met individuals who came to the US knowing less English than I knew at age 2, who are now competing against me for spots in Bachelor’s of Science nursing programs.  I’ve come into contact with pet owners who would throw themselves in front of 12 lanes of 18-wheelers in order to save their dogs from harm. I have dressed those same dogs up for Halloween parades in costumes far more extravagant than anything my own mother ever concocted for me in my youth.

And I have thumbs.

I’ve sprawled on my side on a mat, in the middle of rooms-full of prenatal mothers and silently shared poignant yoga experiences with them, as an un-mother interloper.

I’ve helped strangers eat when they could not feed themselves and helped them unwind themselves from IV tubing and critical and annoying THIS IS HERE TO SAVE YOU wiring that neither of us truly understands. I’ve walked around after more than nine 15-week old puppies and scraped their watery bowel movements from the pavement…and hugged and praised them for going outside.

(I hugged and praised them even when they didn’t.)

I was bitten by a dog when I did not have health insurance that covered the cost of a rabies vaccine.


This week I donned a medical suit made  of lead and peered over the shoulder of a surgeon in an operating room as he performed a heart- catheterization on a man, wondering if the lead would ultimately protect my as-of- yet, unneeded ovaries,  and if the catheterization would save this one man’s very much needed, life.

I watched as someone had a pacemaker installed.

I took my own mom’s blood -pressure while practicing vital signs for a class and realized it was potentially high enough to cause a stroke.

My mom has since visited her doctor who put her on new medication.

 She hasn’t had a stroke.

I watched my little sister learn how to play the guitar and learned that she has a beautiful voice to go with her beautiful soul.

I cart-wheeled on a North Carolina beach with my niece and was there the week she discovered books. Real books. And how much fun they are to read. Out loud. With inflection.

I have waited tables. Stood on tables. Picked up shit. Wanted to throw shit. Hosted restaurants. Walked dogs. Dated dogs. Taken names.  Taken temps. Taken photos. Held hands. Taken notes. Taken a few deep and cleansing breaths. Shaken paws. Written it down. Sucked it up. Documented the record. Covered my ass. Cried my eyes out. Laughed myself silly. Wondered what happened.  And more than once, I’ve been mad enough to spit nails.

But when I think about how I can’t wait to get back to Los Angeles, which I will, soon---I do not regret what I have done, where I have gone, or the direction I went.

Really, there was only the one direction to march towards.

The one I chose.

-Tara Callahan


  1. Okay, so here I am. Back from dinner with my family, where my brother and I drank to many margharitas. But here I am, reading your blog. All I can so is that I agree, every moment you have had is because you were suppose to have it. As a yogini, I believe you are on the path, whatever that my look like, even though it isn't the one you imagined. I quite my 12 year corporate job to open a yoga studio, move back in with my dad the age of 35 after losing my mom, with no money to pay my mortgage and more concern with making other poeple happy. We do the best we can do with the situation at hand. We seek. We search. We do the best we can do. That is what one does to find their Dharma. You my friend are on that path. Celebrate it. It is the journey that counts, not the destination. Keep focusing on your dreams cause they WILL HAPPEN! I miss you and love you. ~ Liza

  2. I spent Friday night in Jail. What a story that could be written. I love you girl. You inspire me. xoxooxxoxo