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Time & Transcendence – A Story About Time Travel

Katherine Krowe is a former Trauma Counselor and survivor. Today, she provides spiritual services to fellow survivors seeking a life of truth and authenticity.

 
Executive Contributor Katherine Krowe

I used to hate getting my nails done. The old me would say, “Spending money to sit completely still while someone paints my fingers with a color I have to commit to staring at for two weeks? Pass.” Part of my resistance to the ritual felt like I was rebelling against a standard that was placed on me because I’m a woman or the dues I had to pay to enter some strange club I didn’t want to be a member of. You know, fighting the good fight. Those were the types of stories I told myself before I met Tracy, a gifted manicurist who quickly became a dear friend. Now, I’m having a hard time finding reasons not to get my nails done. But this isn’t a story about self-defense. This is a story about time travel.

 

Woman standing in the middle of crowd walking on street

Tracy is so incredible that just one hour in her chair changed my life forever. I’d love to tell you how.

 

Once she finished perfectly manicuring my two hands, she leaned back in her seat and stared at me ever so sweetly. I stared back without breaking eye contact or a smile. Time stood still. And I’m glad it did because if given the choice... I might’ve stayed in that moment forever.


She breaks the silence, and the clock of life resumes, reminding me how its perfectly manicured hands move even faster than mine do. “I’m going to guess your age... 24,”. I laugh, both surprised and amused. “24?! I’m 29!”. She says she doesn’t believe me. I’m mostly laughing at myself because there I was in what felt like the most “mature” outfit I owned after very intentionally getting a French manicure because “I’m a grown woman, and it’s about time I started acting like one!” something that sounds especially silly now considering I’m typing this story with these adorable little cobwebs on my nails. I respond, almost compulsively, with a small joke to deflect what I believe was intended to be a compliment, “Well, I eat a lot of vegetables!”. Knowing good and well that whatever vitality she’s seeing in me has nothing to do with my diet.

 

I leave the salon deeply immersed in thought because I’d been getting comments like this often, and whenever I see a pattern... I analyze it. By this point, the sweetness and amusement have been replaced with frustration and bewilderment. Frustrated because my hair, clothing, and nail polish choices weren’t translating to “grown woman.” More proof that I don’t have any control over how I’m perceived. Confused because I felt like I had aged ten years over the past 6 months. I was running on very little sleep, and if I were able to quantify the amount of stress I was living with... I’d say it was at least twice as much as what I consider to be homeostasis, considering I was buying twice the amount of stress-relief Yogi Tea.

 

“24?” I think as I’m catapulted back into my 24-year-old body in a New York City high rise, sitting across from a nurse reviewing the intake paperwork for my well-woman exam. “You’re 24? You look much older than 24.” I responded with a joke there, too, “Well, I guess this city has finally started to age me then.” I was tired and stressed at that appointment as well, but a different kind of tired and stressed. Going to the doctor for a checkup felt like a waste of time. I had papers to write and multiple jobs to work.


I didn’t care about looking older back then, and I’ve never been too concerned about the physical signs of aging. But I’ve always been concerned about time. The way it moves, where it goes, the time I’ve lost, and how the sands of it are constantly slipping right through our fingers no matter how tight of a death grip we have on them. I’ve been this way since I was a child. My answer to the very fun question, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” was always “Time travel,” and I spent a lot of time fantasizing about rewinding it, stopping it, and speeding it up. I would sit in my classes and daydream about what I would do with that power. During my younger years, those daydreams looked like stopping time so I could head to the playground for some alone time on the swings or walk to the grocery store to get a snack. And as a teenager... well, all my little boyfriends joined me on my time-traveling escapades, if you know what I mean.

 

I’ve found myself wishing for that power in adulthood too. Speeding up time would come in handy when I’m waiting for something I desperately want but know I’m not ready for. Being able to stop time would mean worrying less about running out of it. And rewinding it, of course, would allow me to travel back in time. Not necessarily to go back and change things, but to go back and feel things or remember them. To be in periods I was never really “there” for, physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, because I was too in my head, more concerned about what was next, and moving at the speed of light, trying to get there faster. I’m one of those “go-go-go” types. This part of my identity strains my relationship with time because time tends to see our pace and match it. So, when I’m moving too quickly... so is time. I’ve lost far more than just time because of this.

 

Quality time has always been my last love language. I wonder if other “go-go-go” types share this with me. Someone told me I was “selfish with my time” once. I said, “What do you mean selfish? I give people my time for a living and do good, meaningful work. What could possibly be selfish about that?” I was offended, so I threw up my vocation like a shield of armor to protect my then fragile, emotional body. And I’m glad I did because I wasn’t being selfish. I was being manipulated.

 

Whoops! It looks like I went on a bit of a tangent there. I sure hope the person who called me selfish isn’t reading this because they would take a quick, disapproving breath and say, “Ok get to the point!” I’m so sorry to have wasted your time with those sentences! It won’t happen again! Wait... no... that paragraph was important. That was an important part of the story! Or was it? Is any of this important? It can’t be if it’s coming from me, right? Hold on, let me just text a few people to make sure this story is even worth telling. I’m all turned around now. Oh, never mind, because I just remembered that I don’t need validation from anyone in this world. This story is important because it is mine, and there is nothing selfish about not wanting to spend your time with people who don’t want to listen to you. My goodness. It’s terrifying the way your brain can tie itself in knots after a lifetime of trauma and manipulation. But nothing is scarier than the stories you can tell yourself to try and explain why the people who say they care about you only like you when you are staying very quiet or making yourself very, very small.


Anyway, where were we? Right, the time-space continuum.

 

After examining my relationship with time and presence, I decided to make changes and find balance. So, I set out to buy a timepiece. “I’ve never heard anyone actually call a watch a timepiece before,” said my sister-in-law. Well, sister-in-law, maybe you should consider spending your time with some more dignified people (ha ha ha, mostly kidding). To her benefit and my disappointment, I bought a watch. A timepiece is something I’ll be saving up for. There were good reasons behind this purchase. I wanted to start being on time instead of way too early or a little late too late. I like being aware of the time and prefer to check my phone as little as possible. Something visible to serve as a reminder of every second’s preciousness. And lastly, to force me to slow down. Reading it is very unfamiliar to me, so whenever I want to check the time, I have to stand still, take a breath, and count the dots and dashes to decode the message that silly little wrist gadget is trying to relay to me.

 

The watch has helped me slow down and being present is a practice. Making it a habit is a process, but it has already taught me more than I learned in graduate school. I’ve learned that when I engage in this practice, time doesn’t just slow down, but I get what I need to push through my to-do list or to finish a project, whether that be joy, connection, love, a new piece of information, a lesson, help. Anything. So, when I “give” someone my presence, I get so much more in return. Even when I’m sure there is nothing or nobody else I need. I’ve also figured out how to define presence in a way that I understand on a soul level, a way that further motivates me to change. To me, being present with others means looking for the source in people and loving them for it. The most important thing I’ve learned so far is when I move through the world in this way, by looking for the source all around me, the world infallibly responds by looking for and finding the source in me, too, even on my worst days.

 

That’s what happened with my dear Tracy and why that exchange was so sweet to me. I spent that hour in her chair, asking about her life and learning about her craft, but what I was really doing was recognizing the source in her and loving the heck out of her for it. And by the time the appointment ended, she saw the source in me, too. And the comment about my age and that sweet smile on her face were her ways of telling me. It didn’t matter what I was wearing, that I was far too tired to speak articulately, or that my hair was doing that flippy thing that I just hate. All that mattered was that I was there with her, giving her my presence.

 

So, what did I get in return for giving her my presence? Other than a flawless manicure? The very thing I’ve spent most of my life wishing for. Time travel. My ability to be present in that nail salon enabled me to pause time long enough to create and retain a magnificent memory. One so vivid that I can time travel with Tracy by returning to it in my mind whenever and wherever I please. And when I do, I get to feel the same sweetness and joy and love she gave me that day.


What a beautiful gift from Tracy. What a beautiful gift from the Universe.


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Read more from Katherine Krowe

 

Katherine Krowe, Writer/Intuitive Medium

Katherine Krowe is a former Trauma Counselor and survivor. After over 5 years in the mental health field, she chose to to continue her quest for truth and authentic living by answering her soul's calling and pursuing a career focused solely on the facilitation of spiritual growth. Today, she works as a Writer and Intituitive Medium guiding fellow C-PTSD survivors and others dealing with similar symptoms as they create and maintain the lives and relationships they deserve. She provides spiritual services such as readings and coaching sessions while encouraging others to write their stories too.

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