Sunday, December 5, 2010

Post-War Clarity & The Terms and Conditions of Playing Pretend.

It was a Friday night. The weather reports promised snow.

It was a snow-less, Friday night and I found myself kneeling in the aisles of various self-help sections. I handled almost every book that pertained to the problems at hand, and some that were blatantly off the subject. “How to Get Your Life Back!”, “I Love Me!” , “You Can Do it!: Eight Steps to Finding AND Loving Yourself!” All of the titles seemed to be screaming with their obligatory explanation marks and insistent, assuring positive declarations of self-worth and of a life worth living.

At 22 years old, it’s hard to look back and not learn something along the way.
At 22 years old, it’s easy to forget who I was, who I am and who I want to be.

To honor the changing of the seasons, hot to cold, light to dark, I am actively rediscovering the things that I once deemed important. This is the first of those things. As an uninsured, low income individual who considers herself to have a “screw loose” or to be, at times, a bit “off her rocker” writing has and will continue to act as a completely selfish, self-serving form of therapy for me. Even more than the words themselves, or the meanings behind them, it is the mere process of draining my perpetual inner floods that fulfills my interminable thirst for catharsis. I’ve neglected to put forth the effort in repairing the damage of aforementioned floods, nor have I mustered the energy to rebuild the poorly constructed system of levees that have forced these floods upon me.

At any rate, this will be a very slow, very mundane reinvention (of sorts.) I don’t plan on cutting off all of my hair and I don’t plan on selling my life here for one in India or what have you. To put it simply, my goal is to free myself from unnecessary and harmful thoughts, feelings and actions that have knowingly taken control of what should be the most exciting juncture in my life. Now, this is not to say that any of this reinvention bullshit is going to be easy. It feels impossible and might very well be. And I guarantee you that I’m going to kick and scream the entire way through. This abundance of defiance could easily be compared to how a child must feel when their mother yanks them from the playground with the piss poor, ambiguous explanation of “It’s time to go.”

The last time I wrote anything that wasn’t work related (yes, I am a published writer now. Hold your applause until the end, please.) snow covered the ground and I had killer, rockstar bangs (RIP, lovelies.)
Since then, my world has made an unfortunate habit of dipping in and out of its usual orbit, occasionally leaving me without gravity.

It only seems fitting to start where I left off, or somewhere close to it.

A heaping portion of my summers favorite moments were spent floating down river, hazy eyed and laughing. Smelling of campfire is an underrated pleasure, as is letting damp skin dry in the summer sun. Dirt beneath our feet, mid-day hangovers, unzipping the morning; we celebrated the season to its fullest and embraced our unbarred youth.

Other moments were more spontaneous. Laying on the beach at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon is a perfect example of our freelance, freedom. We attend matinee movies and eat brunch, too. We did as we pleased; putting all control in the hands of time.

A moment of weakness. A singular indiscretion. It took time but we started over and haven’t looked back; recovery is still in progress.

One year.

I remember our first kiss, awkward and unplanned. I remember the moment I realized that I loved him. I remember each surprise, each fight. I remember crying into his chest and when he promised to change my life.

One year. We traveled through the night only to find ourselves sleep deprived on the most beautiful beach cascading with the most breathtaking sunrise either of us had ever seen all while being viciously attacked by a plague of biting black flies. We slept in the rain, hiked through the forest, drank copious glasses of wine, indulged in plant-provided happiness, hunger and laughter all while weaving through the endless sea of tourists on our tandem bicycle. We marveled at waterfalls, cement statuettes, sweeping valleys and vineyards, old stories and new growth. But above all else, we celebrated all the hard work that brought us to this point; biting black flies, waterfalls and all.

It’s a difficult transition to make. The once lively and exciting relationship that I shared with the camera is becoming more and more distant. I’m getting older and things have become comfortable. The hurt that comes with receiving a rejection letter and the consuming disgust that comes from not feeling desirable is, for me, heartbreaking. Compare, contrast, destruct; a daily cycle that can only be described as debilitating. The battle forges on. 120, 124.5, 118, 121.5. For someone who has strategically avoided a mathematical life, numbers hold the reigns and call the shots; unwillingly, unstoppable. Food makes me cry, hunger makes me smile and the scale makes me want to disappear. For anyone that knows me or thinks that they might have a slight grasp on who I am, I’m not exactly someone who has their shit together. My ducks are not in a row.

Surprisingly enough, I'm not completely delusional. Despite wanting to be everyone and everything and desperately wanting to change myself every morning upon waking, I realize that I cannot be anything than what I am. I realize that I will never be the most beautiful. I will never be the sexiest or the prettiest. I will never be perfect. I will never be entirely imperfect, either. I know that, I do. And I know that wishing I was different, or better or whatever, will not change anything…ever. So, what’s the problem? What is my problem? I can’t even hear that he thinks Katy Perry is hot, or that model so and so is pretty, blah, blah (you get the picture. ) Usually this is the point where I would try to write some pseudo-eloquent, elusive description of how I feel, using poetry and prose to paint me as a character worth sympathizing. I’ll cut the shit. I am a jealous person. So jealous, in fact, that my mind, body and speech shut down and I am reduced to a vegetative state using only “yes”, “no” and “I don’t care” as my main vessels of communication. I don’t need people telling me that “it’s okay.” and I certainly don’t need people telling me that I’m beautiful. All I want is to have someone convince me that I am not crazy. I need to really, truly believe it before I can get better.

Finding out that you don’t have cancer feels, for the lack of better words, pretty fucking amazing. An exam lead to an ultrasound which lead to a biopsy which then lead to a surgery. We spent a month on edge, nurturing the possibility that something could be wrong with me. Thanks to an out pour of well wishes, I managed to survive one of the most difficult ordeals of my life. I firmly believe that if it weren’t for him, I would have lost my mind somewhere along the way.

I heard a radio show once where the topic was about those living their “Plan A” versus those living their Plan B, C or D. “There's the thing you plan to do, and then there's the thing you end up doing. Most of us start off our lives with some Plan A which we abandon...switching to a Plan B, which becomes our life. “ explained Ira. Never did I think I would be living my Plan A with someone equally committed to living his Plan A, resulting in two people unwilling to compromise to the constraints of mediocrity and unhappiness. This isn’t to say we sometimes bite the proverbial bullet and do things we aren’t 100% excited to do, nor does that mean we are 100% happy 100% of the time. But how lucky we are to be able to at least say we are living our Plan A. I won’t go back. Ever.

Written by Jerilyn Cook. Model: Jerilyn Jordan. Styled by Jerilyn Cook. Over the past 9 months, I have seen all of these bylines in print. Pictures and words; redefining myself with every page. It wasn’t easy, and each avenue of my passion continues to present it’s own list of seemingly impossible demands. I won’t go back. Ever.

The well-worn wood floors squeak and moan with each step, and the bedroom windows are shrouded with ivy. There’s a fireplace, a garden window and a just enough space to hide all the things I want to keep hidden. All but one wall is painted a soft shade of Grey and sometimes our front door opens without an invitation to do so. Motherless children, unrelated; Two cat’s curled in laps, claws and paws making the most delicate sound upon the previously described, worn wood floors; they continually drape us in a supreme sense of joy. The warmth provided by this house and the life inside of it, is not comparable to anything I have ever felt before (despite the actual furnace failing to produce our desired amount of heat.) This was the real start of all things real.

So, this is where I am now.

Snow has finally come, although has decided not to stay.

Comforted by revved engine purrs and the still of my new home, I realize that this is all I’ve ever wanted; Filled with the excitement that can only come from not knowing what’s going to happen next, we have a place to call our own complete with tidy stacks of books upon the shelve, music flowing room to room, the smell of homemade food floating about and the undeniable and constant sensation of finally feeling at home. All of my mistakes, struggles and hardships have somehow, someway miraculously provided me with love, happiness and a life that holds great promise.

I can’t be expected to recall, retell and rewrite the past ten months. I can only be reminded to look ahead.
This is all for the greater goal of living free from the restraints of self-loathing, jealousy and anxiety. I’ve always been this way. So to say that I want my life back doesn’t fully make sense. Instead, I am pleading with myself to do the impossible;

I will befriend mirrors and other equally daunting reflective surfaces. I will realize that he has chosen me above all else. I will run to, not from. I will not be my mother or my father. I will fail with humility and grace. I will care about the things worth caring about and will dismiss all else. I will learn to adopt healthy selfishness and become more appropriately selfless. I will only say sorry when I am really, truly sorry. I will open up the closed corridors, gates and thresholds of my heart, etc. I will fall together, not apart.

…and then New Order: Age of Consent began to play.

Here I am.

The world in full motion blur as I stand still.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm the hero of the story
Don't need to be saved
I'm the hero of the story
Don't need to be saved
I'm the hero of the story
Don't need to be saved

Expiration dates and escape routes.
Breathing into metaphorical brown paper bags.
Digging holes and falling in.
My good enough is never quite good enough for me.
Not being alone fills me with more panic than loneliness.

The first real snow where love played a part.
Glittering blankets and embankments of white.
This isn’t the first of winter, but it’s the one I’ll remember.
When it falls in heaping amounts as it did, clarity
and I become temporary bedfellows.
The temporary presence of clarity and the like
always precedes an onslaught of confusion and doubt.
That's where I am now.
This is where I've started
to dig myself out.

I waited on the porch and let him in.
“So, this is it?” he said in a sideways manner.
He traced the maps with his fingers and shot disconcerting glances at
the cluttered coffee table,the kitchen sink stock piled with dirty dishes
and the empty liquor bottles lining the counter.
With knowing nothing of my life, I could see him painting careless
images of how I must be living and how neglected I must be.
We drove to where chickens walk the streets,
sipping water from puddles, darting under stationary tires.
The restaurant was still.
We did our best to keep our mouths full as to avoid the small talk
We hoped to never encounter.
Wild World by Cat Stevens
A song that has always successfully provoked
feelings of nostalgia and lament from within me, came onto the overhead stereo.
The sound of our forks scraping the bottom of our plates, the ice rattling in our glasses;

“Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world

and I'll always remember you like a child, girl”

I looked to the window for comfort. I knew that if we were to make eye contact,
the things I was beginning to fear would internalize with a single, damp glaze.
“Beautiful song.” he said.
I agreed, quietly.

Handing me a wrinkled wad of money, walked me to the door and
with a biting tongue and coldness that burned,
he inadvertently showed me his feelings.
I cannot change his mind. I will not change my life.
But I can convince him that
I am safe,
I am happy
I am loved.
If he has even the slightest bit of faith and trust in me
then he will see that who I am is who I have built.

I'm not sure what the true definition of what a friend is,
but I most certainly know it has nothing
to do with ruining something great.
It's one thing to confront the situation.
It's the right thing.
It's another to confront the situation
in whispered tones and sneaky secrets.
I appreciate the willingness to help me realize what it is I deserve
but I can't justify the dishonest, malicious nature
of what is happening behind my back.
I never asked for help. I never asked to be saved.

I am not skilled in the art of feeling secure in myself.
However, I am fluent in the language of being inadequate.
Only recently have I come to see what a jealous,
easily overawed, sensitive person I am.
These unfortunate qualities that have made
themselves exponentially more apparent
over the past few months are tearing me apart,
threatening to dismantle the progress I've made.

His livelihood triggers nerves I never knew I had.
Looking for girls; girls that are easy to fix.
I don't fit into that category, or so I imagine.
There are things I can try to help control
the bitterness and the jealousy.
But these efforts barely numb the fact that I will
never love myself the way he does.
And although he assures me of this
overwhelming affluence
of love every moment of every day,
the world will always win.
The compliments make it worse, sometimes.
The countless guarantees make it hurt, sometimes.
Above all, I feel guilty for not believing him.
Loving me is most certainly an exasperating juncture...
or so I imagine.

Every morning, when my eyes peel themselves
awake and I am draped in his warmth,
I can’t believe how lucky I am to be in love.
It’s unfair of me to compare what I have to those around me.
If this were to end, I don’t know where I would begin.
I try and imagine other relationships I know and
how they could never satisfy me
after having been in a love like this.
Every morning, I’m scared to see where I am
when my eyes peel themselves awake
because there’s no reason as to why my wish
should constantly come true.

It's frightening how love can change.
She was in love with someone
and now she's in love, but alone.
How to you pick yourself up?
How do you find the will to
try it all over again?
Her tale of heartbreak and strife
inspired me to do whatever it takes,
to make our love work.
I'm not strong enough to start over.
I just want to be in love forever.

It’s the discouragement that comes from the success of others that
I use to justify why it is I don’t have a chance.
This attitude and personality flaw is completely destructive.
I am positive that it is this very attitude that will ruin the chances I do have.

I’m doing what I set out to do and
what I’ve said I would do since I held pen to paper.
But because I am writing and turning a
few mislaid words into sentences, into paragraphs,
I’m beginning to see how much further I have to go.
My imagery is repetitive.
My adjectives are elementary.
My sentences are too long.
I make everything sound epically important and special,
even though the mundane truth is just as much.
I'm searching between the lines to find
whether or not this is what I was want.

If only I could write myself as a beautiful hyperbole.

I'm coming back. Slowly, I'm coming back.
I promise.

photo by:

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Don't lose your faith in me
And I will try not to lose faith in you
Don't put your trust in walls
'Cause walls will only crush you when they fall

Be here now, here now
Be here now, here now"

I will never be a woman.
I will never stand upright.
I will never see straight.

There’s a point in every vacation where you realize that you sort of wish you were back to your normal life where you have responsibility and schedules. The kind of vacation where clocks are unnecessary, calendars are irrelevant and naps are primary devices for passing the time. Since my life has become a vacation, I’m beginning to feel as though the world and I have become distant acquaintances. I hope to be reunited soon; eased gently and welcomed with fervor.

Six months. Six months is one half of twelve months which is one year. I have waited approximately seven years (2,555 days, 61,320 hours) to be the person I have evolved into over the past six months. The person I have become can only be attributed to the love I have found and the supplier of the aforesaid love. It’s apparent that this relationship has taken a different road at a different speed than most relationships I’ve been privy to witness. Six months and we can already see the future; we already consider ourselves partners in all that we do. We care for and about each other as if we were one in the same. Looking back, it seems as though this is all I’ve ever known; as if this is where all of my fortunes and misfortunes alike have lead me to. I’ve been planted here, with him. My roots, for the first time feel solid and nurtured. I’ve forgotten what it is to be alone and have only retained the joy that comes with waking up in love.

I wish that it didn’t come to mind as often as it does. And even if that wish could not be granted I would demand to not have these thoughts fill me with panic; doubting myself and what we’ve built. But I just can’t escape it. I’ve been told that first love is the sweetest. This I’ve learned to be true. To be someone’s second, third or fourth love…well, it doesn’t feel as poetic or as electric. It’s insecurity, yes. But more than that it is a constant, aching notion that you (I) will never be good enough. You (I) dwell on the beautiful qualities that you’re (I‘m) convinced managed to hold the others before you (me) in your lovers orbit and you (I) feel as though you (I) will never make them as happy as the formers. When smiles creep upon their faces without traces, you (I) assume that it’s because of a past life and a love that was shared there. Or when that one song finds it’s way and you know that the sadness or happiness is not caused by you (me) but instead, one who loved them (him) first. It is selfish, I know, to want to erase the world leaving only the two of us. It is selfish to want his past, present and future. I wish I was strong enough to be here now. Trying with all of my power, I am learning to let what we have take us to wherever we are meant to be. I can wish on stars, pennies and dead dandelions all I want. All I can really do is love and graciously accept the love I’ve been given.

It fell through the cracks.
It was fiction.
I am just a pretty girl who had her picture taken once.
Period, no ellipsis.

A byline. A tiny byline in smeared black newspaper print.
I couldn’t ask for more but I will work for it.

I can’t imagine a violin sounding anything but sad.

Dancing to songs that can only be appreciated when intoxicated, I had assumed that the climax of my night was the twenty minute search for a missing member of our three person party; darting through smoke and pulsating lights. Or perhaps it was that drunken confidence that convinced me that I was the only girl on the dance floor and everyone was there to stand in awe of my beauty and revolutionary dance moves (i.e.; simultaneously tossing my hair around, swaying my hips, catching myself from falling all while sipping my vodka cranberry.)As life was winding down, becoming one of those nights you look back on a week later and think, “I should have more nights like that.” Laughing, foggy eyed and minded, I was dropped off to a congregation of inebriated familiars gathered on the porch. From the moment I returned home, the night took a sharp turn. Shot for shot, missing undergarments, secret meetings in the shower, sneaking cigarettes, teasing our others…seemingly normal for a party of drunken friends. We ventured outside (me being the only one to go sans shoes.) to show the world (our neighbors) the flesh colored gifts attached to our chest. Our uproarious, mischievous behavior was that of thirteen year old girls; Yes it was shameful, but our careless actions embodied the free spirit of when we were children. With complete disregard for our usually sound judgment, we squealed with delight.

With one clumsy misstep backwards, a bottle shattered from under my foot. I saw blood. More blood than I knew I was capable of spilling from my body. My mind was much too clouded to fully understand that it was I who broke the bottle and the blood belonged to me. I don’t remember much, except for a hysterical car ride where, in between dramatic sobs, I verbally rejected the idea of going to a hospital. “I don’t have insurance, please take me home.” They drove anyway. A wheelchair, automatic doors, several nurses. Yes, I was a clearly intoxicated girl on a Saturday night who was frantically rushed to the emergency with a ‘cut” foot. This is a hard situation for nurses who see real trauma and real tragedy on a daily basis to take seriously. They brushed it off until they unwrapped the makeshift bandage (a roll of medical gauze and a men’s tank top.) blood poured from me, catching them off guard. According to my elephant, I was overly calm, underplaying the severity of my condition as I was rushed to where a doctor with a thick Indian accent would eventually prick my foot with more shots than I could count and would haphazardly sew the gaping laceration; my little, glass filled accident. When offered an I.V of pain medication that would prepare me for the shots and the needlework, I refused, restating my “I don’t have insurance” speech because I assumed that it would cost more if they would have given it to me. Another lapse of darkness. I held his arm and cried. It was the worst pain I had felt, or remember feeling. I cried for my father, who was nowhere to be found. “Mam, please calm down these are just shots.” the doctor kept saying. It took what seemed to be hours until I was able to lie still without being prodded with needles and thread. I slept. My love stayed by my side, holding my hand, stroking my hair. In one of my moments of alertness, I heard a doctor in the curtained room to my right discuss the patients miscarriage, the cause for her emergency visit. It felt nightmarish to hear those words in real life. One of, what I imagine to be, the greatest tragedies one can experience. Elephant, who was also listening, assured me that she wasn‘t far along. Kissing my hand, he assured me that it was okay. After another period of sleep, his parents came and I felt an immediate flood of love and warmth, the very kinds that only family can ensure.

At some point, the hospital said I could leave. It was somewhere around seven am. I hobbled into a wheel chair, nausea overcame me. It was then that my head tipped back, my skin turned a shade of green, my vitals dropped and I urinated all over myself. They pulled me from the chair, stripped me of my soiled clothes, hooked me up to wires and monitors. When I came to, I was overcome with bright lights. When I came to, they had shut the curtains, surrounding me with discontent. I couldn’t translated the whirs and beeps of the surrounding machines, but I hoped with all my might that my last moments alive would not be set to the soundtrack of such artificial, ugly noises. And I certainly hoped that I would not spend my last moments without hearing the familiar jingle jangle of my fathers keys, or without a kiss on the forehead from my Elephant. “This is the bed people die in.” the attending nurse said to me. So there was a moment where I thought I was both dying and with child. It wasn’t until typing this that I realize how very suiting that situation would be for a made for t.v movie. But I was neither dying (although I felt otherwise) or with child (for which I had no evidence to believe this to be true in the first place.)

He thought I was going to die and I was more in love than ever. After hours of being pumped with hydrating fluids and hours of waiting, I was able to leave. My father never came, despite having talked to him. When I did get to hear his voice, he judged me. Instead of being comforted by his fatherly concern or his eagerness to see me, I was in shock that the one person I was conditioned to believe would always be there for me, not only failed to be by my side but showed complete disinterest in my well being.

It felt great to be home. The one home that, for the past six months, has never faltered in his love for me. It feels great to know that I am taken care of.

I can’t promise to deny myself of cynicism.
But I can promise to give all that I can
And love the best I know how.
Because I know in my heart that good does exist.
And as long as I believe that to be true, I think I’ll be okay.

The candy colored flowers are falling,
defenselessly over the vase
I've been them.
But then I found the sun.

photo by :

Thursday, December 31, 2009

"And I never thought this life was possible
You're the yellow bird that I've been waiting for"

"Life was different in my cage." said Little Yellow Bird.
"Life is still different." said Elephant.
"Yes, Elephant. But my heart feels as though it might burst"
said Little Yellow Bird.
"That's love, I think." said Elephant.
"What is love?" asked Little Yellow Bird.
"I'm not sure, exactly, Little Yellow Bird." Elephant said.
"But I think it might be everything."

In a few short hours this year will be a distant and pleasant memory.
In a few short hours, everything will be the same.

Looking back to the winding path that led me here,
I can finally say goodbye.

If I squint my eyes hard enough and focus long enough,
I can see blurred distortions of burdens and sadness,
with flecks of emotional martyrdom,

All of which are fading into yesterday.

Some people find God.
I didn’t find God.
You wouldn’t believe what I found, even if I told you.
What I found is beyond imagination and secrets.
I hid it deep underneath my bed, next to dust and old magazines.

I traveled alone and took off my clothes.
Slept in a strange bed.
Rode on subways to sidewalks until my feet gave way.
I flew to where everything claims to be bigger.
I drove to where the wind gave the city its name.
But even in places where people travel in herds it
was impossible to feel anything other than isolated.
I guess it started in New York.
I suppose I can attribute this life to that day in New York.

Heartbreak paid a visit and outstayed its welcome.
I had lost all value.
The weakness of my own heart confounded me and the
Carelessness of hearts belonging to others shattered me.
I wrote a love letter and fell into routine of endless cigarettes
And making lists of things I wanted to do but would never make an effort to.
It was at the peak of this cyclical, seemingly never ending pattern
of self loathing and deprecation that a promise was made to me.
We met by chance.

In the same way that a row of domino's can only fall if one falters,
that is how we came to be.

The inter connectivity of countless ostensibly
trivial occurrences somehow conceived this.

Had my domino's remained still,
who knows what might have happened.

After years and years of emulating that storybook duckling,

I, with great hesitance, shed my garish feathers for ones of white
As I found myself surrounded by flashbulbs.
It took a while, but I now can accept that
people see me differently than I see myself.

There are moments when we are unified
in our perceptions, but very rarely does that occur.

I know who I am, I know who I see. But I nod my head and say
“Thank you” like I am supposed to.

White feathers are harder to maintain.

I mended some patches, and burned a few holes.
Losing touch, gaining insight, growing up.

The little brick house under the sky where birds and
planes collide within reach is still there.

It’s still occupied by the people who
insist that the door is always open.

My room is undisturbed, although it
seems to be used to store spare chairs.

My visits never last more than an hour.
They point out what food is where and
what cupboards hide what dishes.

They say “Make yourself at home.”

I wake up everyday above an octopus.
I never wake up alone.
Morning beams and street lamp shadows fill the room.
Sometimes I can’t come to terms with the fact that others came before me.
The bed holds moments I will never know.
Memories I will never understand.
I am constantly reminded of how easy it is to be replaced.
It was just a t-shirt. But I’m just not there yet.
Regardless, that aforementioned promise stands true.
And within that promise, our love is constantly evolving.
We're happy.

Christmas trees, planted and sewn in perfect, linear rows.
Lovers calling out, darting in and out of branches.
Ice cream and cow kisses.
People singing in the street.
Drunken lucidity.
Driving away; driving away and burying deep.
Weighing the cost.

Apparently I changed.
I let myself get taken away and I was reduced to childlike excitement.
We tried to move forward, but we can’t seem to escape it.
It was nice to think about. It was oddly comforting to feel like it was a possibility.
China’s red enough, anyway.
It’s for the best.

We walked blindly into a church somewhere far from home.
Wind blown and tattered, we found a scrap of salvation.
Little girls ringing bells, fire burning blue.
A disjointed version of Silent Night by a girl no older than seven
Accompanied me down the aisle while I imagined a candle lit life.
Hymnals, empty pews, illuminated idols, shadows belonging to storybook angels.
The roses were still in bloom.
I asked them why they were still alive
and how they managed to survive.

I’m still waiting for a reply.

The twelfth month was unlike any other of
my previous twelfth month experiences.

My family grew twice its normal size.
I was never alone, nor did I ever once feel alone.
I was able to give.
This year was silver, not green,
despite the newness of this abounding flood of warmth.

Some days don’t go as we plan.
Sometimes buildings are lost and the city is a tundra.
Sometimes we get turned around and miss our turns.
Sometimes we don’t want to leave the house
And sometimes we don’t want to go home.
We can’t foresee what will come tomorrow.
We can only foresee that the love we have will continue
To be our saving grace…even when things don’t go as planned.

At this moment, I am watching the sky turn from blue to gray,
snowflakes swirling about in disjointed dance.
I am warmed by all that I learned and all that I felt.
My heart has finally reached its capacity.

Overwhelmed with possibility, this is what I’ve waited for.

A few short hours ago, this year became a distant and pleasant memory.
One that will remain to be a dream; distant and pleasant.

photo by Dan Lippitt

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If you're still free, start running away

Life for two.
Two plates, two servings. Two loads of laundry, two dryer sheets.
Two pillows for two heavy minds on one bed in the middle of one room in one house
underneath a solitary, shining streetlamp.

I never really played house when I was a child. Partially because playing house by myself proved itself to be too difficult for my lonely, only child imagination. Now, at 21, I find myself playing house almost everyday. In this life the food is edible and eaten from dishes not made of plastic. Appliances are plugged into walls surging with electricity provided by hungry pocketbooks. In this life there are consequences for being right and for being wrong about things that are no longer pretend. In this life time exists beyond the confines of recess.

The bruised sky obliged a disheveled flock of birds squawking boundlessly at the thought of escape. Feeling despondent within the barely noticeable breeze, I reconfirmed that I have settled for what I have been given. I’ve lost the will to fight for more. Not out of depression or sadness (both of which are usually responsible for such indifference.) This stems from pure contentment. This stems from feeling safe. Instead of letting myself remain immobilized by comfort, I know that I should trek forward in search of that place where happiness grows in grandiose amounts, so that I can ensure that these feelings will be a part of me for a while longer.

I shouldn’t say anything. Listening to commentary from people who are untouched and uninvolved is unhealthy. It’s puzzling to know that people only want the best for me; it’s what I want, too. The pieces don’t fit because what’s best to them and what’s best to me are not the same. It’s not a matter of who’s right. It’s a matter of what’s right for me within the paradox of “us” within the microcosm of life, love and trial and error.

It was bound to come to an end. I have been replaced by December.
And sooner than I would like, I will be at the bottom of some pile, somewhere.
At least I was at the top once. At least I’ll be able to look back.

Duct taping my window shut, he avoided eye contact.
I stood by, a bag of clothes in tow, admiring this seemingly inconsequential act.
"I wish you would come back home." His eyes were tired and damp.
"I...I wish I could, but I can't. I've been home before."
"It's just...I miss you so much. You're my world."
"I miss you, too. You know how much I love you, right?"
"I love you, more than anything."
We hugged. I drove away.
This isn't a choice that I've made, it is a choice I've been given,
thanks to my necessary and exhausting evolution.
Part of me wants to reclaim my territory
but if I were to stay I know that I would never go.
And I just know that I couldn't live with myself if I
knowingly locked my own cage.

The last Thursday of every November has always been the same.
I don’t have a significant memory from any of these Thursdays from my past.
Needless to say, approaching the holidays this time around is going to be different.
Because this time, I am different. The list of things I am thankful for reads too long
and if written on a scroll, it would surely wrap around the circumference
of the universe more than once. Within a years time, my life has become a
cornucopia full of all those things you wish for and never expect to receive.
Of course I am cursed with minor infractions of perfection,
all of which I am learning to paint as blessings.

There has been a lot of conversation swirling around infinity.
More specifically the permanence of all that is infinite
embedded on our skin.
This is a scary commitment.
I've seen the marks of others left upon familiar skin
only to become a faithful flood of all those things
you do your best to forget.
I'm not giving out expiration dates.
As far as I can see, there's no end in sight.
I just chose to tread carefully
because I know that if the end comes
I won't find a love like this.
People lie. People cheat. People manipulate.
I won't recover...
even if infinity says otherwise.

(photo by:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

“I never promised you a rose garden”

“You weren’t listening. I was talking.
And then I traced your fingers and said ‘gobble, gobble."

We went without jackets and we moved forward without intent. Squeezing through fences, tossing handfuls of autumns leftovers above our heads, posing as flesh colored statues. The crimson ivy climbing its way up the library walls housed flocks of playful sparrows, darting in and out of tangled vines and occasionally hiding behind the leaves. Eyes behind the lens, face to the sun; We were chained to ourselves and sheltered from what the day was supposed to be.

I don’t mean to. Paradoxically, I do it almost entirely on purpose. Often times I speak cinematically. It’s as though I collect and unknowingly rehearse lines in my head, all of which are organically grown from my seeds of thought. I then take these impulsively crafted lines and use them in such a way that unsuspecting strangers and non strangers alike would assume that a film crew were near by, recording my every breath. Most of the time I simply enjoy the way certain things sound when said in a certain way. There is no script.

I don’t know my place. Sometimes my words precede my sense of rationality and the sounds of “we” and “our” evade my mouth. But, to my defense, it’s very misleading to hear the same sounds from a different voice only to reiterate that I, in fact, do not live there. People express confusion when told of my current living situation. They usually all ask the same questions with the same baffled look on their face. I am constantly running back and forth between two houses both of which I am incapable of calling home. No matter where it is I chose to sleep, or where my belongings currently reside, I feel like an intruder. Everything I know has great potential to become impermenant. Perhaps it isn’t a matter of having a place to call home as much as it is to feel at home. I am thankful, however, that I have several beds that are forever inviting my dreams to rest.

A beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other, teetering on sturdy heels, I tossed my head back to release a plum of smoke. That’s when I caught them. A group of girls all of which I could only remember first names and whether or not we shared a class together in high school. They stared. They pointed. They tossed their heads back out of mockery to let out muted laughs; the music was too loud. An oversized branch of girls extending from the gossiping tree of origin, walked past, spitting my name far enough for me to hear it. And in an instant I resorted to my high school defenses. I cowered. And then I entered phase two (which I attribute to my alcohol use); I began to huddle amongst those I could trust and I shot disapproving glances in every direction, curse words flying. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized that perhaps I overreacted. It took me a cigarette and a quiet, solitary moment for me to feel sorry for those girls; Those girls who managed to have some sort of power over me in school and who will be 35 years old, going to the same bars, dressing the same way, drinking the same beer with the same crowd. I smiled at the thought of this because I don’t even have to try to avoid becoming them. Becoming them isn’t in this plan.

The weather was unusually beautiful for November and in this rare moment of seasonal sunshine and warmth, I found myself feeling completely unbarred and free. Steering the wheel with my legs, I drove over a cement hill, eyes closed. Spreading my arms, the autumn breeze lifted me to a place where all of the mismatched, mislaid pieces fit together. This may be considered unsafe verging on reckless but it was in some way life affirming. Half way through my decent, I peeled my eyes half open. But only because I wanted to see if I was going to survive this glimpse of clarity. To my surprise and delight, I did. My hands returned to their respective places upon the wheel and I regained control of the road before me. My newly found freedom has given me the strength to take on anything and everything, because I know that I have the control to do whatever I please. Overwhelming? Yes, it may appear to be so. Nevertheless, I much rather be overwhelmed with possibility that to be riddled with oppression.

We are innocently wired this way, but we are far from alone. It’s the instant where things show great promise of working out and going well that we habitually throw our progress to the wind, leaving us without words, without reason. It’s in my easily threatened nature to remain tight mouthed and walk away than to confront our wrongdoings and our missteps. If I don’t find a way to rewrite this character flaw, I might be granted my unconscious, unwanted wish. The life that has been treating me so preciously over the past few months could easily be taken from me. We would be foolish to not want to work towards patching holes and opening our mouths so that only the real truth can come out, all of the time.

It isn’t that I’m not listening, I simply can’t hear you. I strain my ears to meet your voice but no matter the volume, I only hear muted whispers. Sometimes I forfeit and I say what I’m expected to say depending on your facial expressions and body language. This is valid for everyone I verbally encounter. I’m frustrated by my own disregard. I now appreciate the quiet side of life.

Here I am, writing. Headphones muffing my ears providing a soundtrack to the poorly fused sentences in my head, rocking back and forth, side to side. I am, right now, a composer. Notes are evolving into scales and scales are developing into sentences and sentences are developing into paragraphs. This may not be music and I may not be a musician, but this fluidity of thought pressing itself against the tips of my fingers, spilling onto notebook pages and computer screens is the only time that I feel as though I am a creator. Very rarely do I feel worthy of having something to say and even less often do I feel as though I have the right words to speak with. Every once and a while it is crucial to remove yourself from your little white room; the one up the stairs, with two windows. Every once and a while the only push you need are the unassuming words of a stranger, convincing you that today, this day, is a beautiful one. That’s all it took, for me anyway. How can you be expected to inspired enough to create something from nothing when you can’t see the music?

I am confident that I want nothing more than to be in love forever.

"I never promised you a rose garden. I never promised you perfect justice . . .
and I never promised you peace of happiness. My help is so that you can
be free to fight for all of those things. The only reality I offer is challenge,
and being well is being free to accept it or not at whatever level you are capable.
I never promise lies, and the rose-garden world of perfection is a lie . . . and a bore, too!"
-Joanne Greenberg
From “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”
photo by

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The time changed
and the clocks hesitated.
You fell from a secret
and I whispered in the dark.

These thoughts belong to Wednesday.

A moment I had been waiting for; shrouded in rain and disbelief. The magazine shelves extended for what seemed to be miles, upon miles against the west end of the bookstore. My heels scraping against the floor, I paced slowly, scanning every glossy cover. Titles and painted faces swirling about, I eventually captured a glimpse of what I had been anticipating for two solid months. Holding it in my hands, my knees began to shake which made standing nearly impossible. So I sat. I turned each page as if they were made of some material that would dissolve if I didn’t handle them with care. Sooner than I expected, she appeared. Seven pages of someone I don’t fully recognize. After processing every element of the page, I ran my finger over her. I looked unlike anyone I had ever seen before. As discomforting as it may seem to see yourself in a new way, there is something to be said for feeling the way I did.

Contrary to what one might think, it’s relatively difficult to breathe inside a greenhouse. The air reflecting back and forth from paw print covered panes was stifling and at times, oppressing. Regardless of my struggle to breathe smooth and effortless breaths, I felt completely new as I marched the aisles of green, dodging branches and leaves, chasing the tail of a cat through potted plants.

As you get older, wedding dresses evolve into an emotional trigger. A team of people lifted the bottom of the gown from the ground as she sauntered within the confines of flashbulbs and the sunlight that fell through the glass ceiling. This was all pretend, but her smile was much too convincing. In a moment of weakness (of which there were many) I managed to slip a $75,000 ring on my left hand. I held my hand in front of me as I imagine many girls with wedding rings must hold their hand. To ease the jealousy that flooded my mind, I wandered off in search of the cat, who I often found curled inside a flower pot.

It was more than just quitting. I’ve given up on many things, without thought or care. This was bigger than my default gesture of throwing my hands in the air, shrugging my shoulders, sighing a regretful “Oh well.” He pushed me to move on, which is exactly what I did. Over a year of my life, clocking in, clocking out, hanging on a thread of hope that things would change. I would have stayed there forever if it weren’t for him. I would have continued to make excuses. I realize that it is, for the most part, natural to dislike your job. And I realize that I have no warrant to complain. But there comes a time where you have to accept your self worth and do everything in your power to find what it is you deserve. This isn’t to say that I am in any way worthy of anything more than this, but I now know that I am worth far beyond $7.83 an hour. Once I leave I don’t think I’ll go back.

Three months is merely a speck of dust. Yet, if you’ve learned to open your eyes, that same speck of dust can become an entire glistening universe upon entering the right moment; the right sliver of light. Within this dust we’ve created a life. A life where things don’t go as planned; where things aren’t always what they seem. But at the end of the day, in our secluded, dust filled universe, this life has meaning. I feel whole. That’s love, I think.

The record player is spinning some discarded record downstairs, someone is whistling, another someone is drawing muscles and bones at the kitchen table. And here I am, sprawled across an unmade bed, writing, eagerly waiting for another someone to climb the stairs only to fall somewhere into my arms. To most, this may seem mundane. But to me, in this moment, it is exactly where I want to be.

Purple flowers are something to behold.

Teenage school girls, in plaid skirts and white button up shirts are much too distracting so early in the morning.

These thoughts belong to Thursday.

Waking up before the sun, arriving home after dark, retaining enough energy to
desire nothing more than sleep is not only exhausting but slightly disappointing.

The things you think will make things easier often only complicates things more.
By sacrificing your happiness to avoid inconveniencing someone you love, paradoxically inconveniences the relationship because one of you is unhappy, while the other one is frustrated by your martyrdom.
This is just something I’ve learned to recognize in hopes of fixing this repetitive habit .

These thoughts belong to Friday.

It’s best to end a week full of troubled and confounded feelings with a bloody Mary.
It’ is truly the only way to forget everything and start over.

Exhaustion has become enjoyable.

I forgot to enjoy the fall.

These thoughts belong to Saturday.

It was nice to be back, even if it was only temporary.
I was laughing again. Making ridiculous jokes, smiling and singing.
I don’t know where I went or why I left but it’s exciting to feel like the best version of myself again.

Mauling a forgotten teddy bear, trimming and pinning ears,
piles of white stuffing on the floor,
pipe cleaner whiskers;He became a wolf.

Fake eyelashes, dirt colored blush, a red coat turned cape; I became a story book character.

Alcohol makes people needy.
People who are unable to drink become passive aggressive.

Sitting on the steps, face to face, he was drunk.
Confessing all the things I've wanted to hear
since I was old enough to know that love was
of the magical variety. His words, almost song like in nature,
were certainly nice to hear. Whether or not they
helped reaffirm my feelings, I do not know or care
because really I knew it all along.

The wolf got sick; red took care of it.

I'm not sure what prompted me to cut all ties, but I did.
I have found mothers in so many people far more worthy of the title than she.
I find no value in the fact that she gave birth to me.
Giving birth doesn't make you a mother.
And being born doesn't mean you have a mother, either.

This thought belongs to today.

This was the first day that life was real.