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 I have been replaced by December.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.