Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Healing Found Me in a Public Library

The movies teach us that life changing moments are predictable. On a mountain, in a grand city, crossing a finish line. That our souls can be fed and filled and renewed only in those grandiose moments that are a clearly defined experience that says, "This is amazing. Look at what I've accomplished."

It doesn't teach you that you will find all of yourself while sitting in a library with florescent lighting at 2:00pm on a Tuesday afternoon. I didn't know that healing could happen so allofthesudden that I wouldn't have a moment to pause for breath. There was no indicator that every wounded and self-conscious portion of my soul would stretch and swell open with life sitting in public, right out in the open. That I would silently weep as sight and sound enveloped all of my fears and told me do not be afraid. For I am with you, always.

I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love again (Elizabeth Gilbert's amazing breakout non-fic piece). It opened its arms wide for me three years ago and swallowed all of my heartbreak and depression while I flew across the country and found myself bayside and spitting my soul off of the Golden Gate Bridge, becoming a bride to the sky and giving away every ounce of control that told me I don't care if I live or die. It was in those tearfilled and broken December days that I found life in the possibilities of suddenly wanting to live while inside a tiny 10 person propeller plane above SanFran that was running out of gas and lighting struck all around us. I clutched Elizabeth's novel to my fluttering heart and whispered to myself, full of doubt in god, full of shame that a New York Times bestseller taught me how to pray, Om Namah Shivaya. I am the divinity that resides within me.

The past thousand days or so I have learned and forgotten and reclaimed those words and ideals on a nearly daily basis.

(God is near me.)

There are a select few sweet souls who know what I'm about to tell you. I might have cancer.
The chances are slim. In fact, since they found the mass within my belly just around a month ago, all blood tests and CT scans have pointed towards the fact that I am probably alright. On Thursday I will go under the knife for the first time in my life. Although the odds are in my favor, I am terrified.

Later this week, I will either breathe a deep, trembling gulp of relieving and holy breath when I am told, you are so lucky.
Or I will clutch for a strong hand somewhere next to me and cling to it, hoping the hells of sorrow do not swallow me entirely in that panic-stricken moment that I learn this was not the last of your hospital days.

The wait. The uncertainty. The lack of control.

I am bewildered by the need to grasp everything around me and clutch it mightily. Please, please, please, I find myself begging, please, please, please. As a panic attack and insomnia swirled into my bedroom last night, I found my tired and anxious heart suddenly the object of a vicious warfare that I didn't know how to fight, much less win. I shook, I coughed, I gagged, I whimpered, I pleaded. I could not shake the fear that consumed me from my toes to my soul.

The fears and concerns and stresses are unnameable in their innummerability.

I am asked every few days, or daily now as the surgery looms across two sunsets from this moment: how are you doing? At first I could list out my struggles with names and bullet points. Today even over lunch I found myself yearning, aching for something concrete. I shoveled one of my last meals before this procedure desperately into my body, feeling each bite soothe my frazzled nerves and calm my quaking mind. I felt thankful for god and food and the gutbrain.

Post lunch I came here to the local public library and finished a school assignment. I opened a few tabs on my laptop to destress and distract myself. I tried opening a link that I've been trying to watch for weeks. It's this time-lapse video on Vimeo that for whatever reason (maybe the high quality of the film?) would not load no matter where I pulled up the video. Or I forgot about it, or didn't have my headphones around. For weeks this video sat in my bookmarks. Until today.

The video isn't much more than time-lapses of nature and the sky. But the combination of the sights and sounds of this movie unraveled me. It didn't require words or people or a narrative. It was enough simply to partake.

What I experienced immediately after the short film began was a voice like what Elizabeth Gilbert describes in Eat, Pray, Love.
"I heard a voice... It wasn't an Old Testament Hollywood Charlton Heston voice... It was merely my own voice, speaking from within my own self. But this was my voice as I had never heard it before. This was my voice, but perfectly wise, calm and compassionate. This was what my voice would sound like if I'd only ever experienced love and certainty  in my life."
Although, and this might make absolutely no sense, I didn't hear that voice speak to me. It was like that voice was just present. I watched the beauty of the infinite unfold before me and I was home. I feared suddenly and without warning absolutely nothing. Even death opened up right in front of me and I met it's gaze, calm and transcendent. I understood something of existence that perpetually evades me: the truth that death is not the enemy, and that life is not the prize. There was a oneness that permeated my veins that whispered throughout every sick part and every well part inside my body, Om Namah Shivaya.

You can bet I wept. It was a silent, joyous, tear-filled moment when I realized that though I felt sort of nervous to cry in public, probably not a soul around me would even take notice.

I saw god, I felt god, in that moment I was god. We just sat here, god and me, and watched this video about the stars and galaxies and wind and light and clouds and I felt everything leap from me, furiously abandoning me. It was as if, rather than something being taken or ripped from me, like a burden being lifted, it was more like when you turn on the lightswitch in a pitch black room. It doesn't require any work to remove the darkness, there is no process of gathering the shadows and displacing them. It simply vanishes.

That's how the darkness fled from me. A swift and abrupt kind of extraordinary abscondence.

The beauty of this healing is that it didn't just cause my demons to flee, but something glorious replaced the void that would have been left. In that sudden, I found my empty parts filled--I believed in myself again. The past few weeks I began to live as if a conscious enemy had found every insecurity that burrowed deep within my decrepit heart and began declaring every insult to be truth, every cobweb of abuse I remembered of my past to be my prized possessions. According to this adversary, my only precious parts were my broken bits, and that they were all that lay within me that was of any worth. It was a voice that demanded it was time I claimed my flaws as my biography, that I accept my worthlessness as fact. (I'm still trying to unscramble and decode how exactly fears of pain and suffering turned into an opportunity for such darkness to invade me so thoroughly.)

But in watching that video, I remembered myself. I saw the girl who ran 10k races in the Summer, who faced depression daily with ferocious optimism, who fought infinite doubt to seek god against every warring inner voice.   And I saw that god, who gave me sleep when insomnia plagued my frustrated mind; who spoke through the mouths of loved ones and even myself, sometimes, against our wills and best ideas. I saw the two merge at the turning point of dammit, I will be an Ironman one day, and love is for me regardless of religion or government or what my abusers made me believe. The finish line that declared, you are not weird and broken--you are strange and lovely and boundlessly lovable.

Thursday I go under the knife, anesthesia will course through my being, and I will face life, death, pain, and healing. My doctors will wheel me into an operating room, and I may leave with one less ovary. I may have five tiny scars, or one long, alien incision and six weeks of bedrest. But those possibilities are simply worlds to me now. They are not the universe, they are not god. They are finite and tiny and surmountable.

But my god is insurmountable. She reaches for eons into the past and pulls me joyously like swing-dancing into the future beyond. They fill my pinkies and toes and brain with life-giving blood and pour through novellas and lightning and birthday cake bearing truths infused with love. My god is in the twirling leaves that will fall and hustle across parking lots and buildings all around my hospital. He is in my boyfriend's hands as he holds them across a silent moment perfused delicately with an oak-tree kind of love

Sunday, November 10, 2013

And Yet: an Exploration of Self-Worth

A chilly November morning broadens to a sunshine-filled afternoon, cornbread in the oven and a 'rustic retreat' candle flickering beside a cup of sweetened earl grey. This day in its infancy is imbued with home, a full house of pets and kids and energy. City and Colour fills the air, and fingers all across our home flicker across keyboards and pages--studying, learning, writing, coding. We are a family of curious ones, finding adventure lying just beyond a bottle of glue and a pile of one-man's-trash, inspiration in a book of Japanese characters. We are a learning, yearning bunch. Quality time is chopping and bubbling in the kitchen while our hearts stir and simmer with conversation. I can't wait to one day share a name with these lovelies, the souls of my three favorite friends, daughters and their father.

There is so much beauty in the embrace of our human capacity and potential. Personal growth is the mission statement of this little brick house on Benson Street.

And yet.

This morning, like every morning, I find myself staring with disappointment at my reflection. Turning and posing, pulling my shoulders back, standing taller. Sucking in my belly, pushing out my curves in varying angles until I convince my disapproving inner voices that "I guess I look okay." Catching myself reaching for a different sweater to wear to the kitchen (that will be covered with an apron anyway), preparing to switch into something a little less form fitting. It doesn't matter that the only people who are going to see me in these clothes know all of me, physically, emotionally. It matters even less that they love all of me--especially the parts of me that have nothing to do with how tight my sweater is.

So I slap my wrist and force myself to wear the sweater that's a little too short. Too short to cover the belly-bulge that these striped pajama pants seem to over-accentuate. It doesn't matter that this outfit is perfectly comfortable, or that my grandmother mailed me these pants as a little gift before my surgery in 11 days. What takes precedence is my appearance. How thin I look and feel.

This is daily. Daily my hair is not the right shade of blonde-in-a-bottle, everyday my chin is too broad, my nose is too round, my scars are too red, my breasts hang too low, my teeth are yellowed, my hips are too round, my calves are too thick, my eyebrows are too straight, my skin is too flaky, my bangs are too thin. 

But I'm a feminist! I tell myself. I should be able to dismiss all of this. How I wish it were so easy. I don't want to be a walking example of society's complaints about media and consumerism. I want my peers and children and partner to be inspired by my radical self-confidence, to be in awe of my ability to be beautiful and not care about my beauty. I want to be a walking contradiction, in all the right ways and in none of the hard ones.

So I declare every day, with urgency and anger: You are more than your body. 

My looks do not define me. The number on my pant size has no correlation to my capabilities. How my tummy protrudes from my body does. not. matter. Even still, as I write this, there are angry and self-righteous voices in my head telling me I am wrong.

These negative voices are not of society, they are members of my own family. I read often about girls with self-confidence issues who say something like, "I know it is ridiculous that I feel this way. Nobody has ever actually told me I was fat or unattractive, or not worth as much because of my body-weight/shape/appearance." But I have. It echoes like demonic cries in endless caverns within me. I am plagued by the negative voices who have literally told me how to look in order to be better. I still love the people who have spoken these things to me, but it has forever severed my ability to trust them--and forever severed my ability to believe that my talents, dreams, and compassion define me less than how many miles I can run, or how many pounds heavier I am than someone else's ideal.
It is for these reasons that I do not speak the words, you are more than your body with a gentle kindness, or patience and sensitivity. That's not how I was torn down, so that's not how I'll build myself back up--up into a sane, self-aware woman who doesn't have to feel masculine to feel strong. 
So often I find myself saying that I was born into the wrong body. Some days that means I "should" have been smaller, thinner, darker. More exotic. Other days that means I feel like I should have been born a man. My whole life I've found myself thinking, I wish I were a boy. Nowadays I still hear a voice within saying, I don't feel entirely like a woman. I wish I were a man. 

The reasons for these notions lie deeper than media or gender roles, closer to my own self-awareness. I can't refute the fact that my entire life I've been more acutely aware of the sexual nature of existence and that it has always made me feel a little off-kilter from societal norms (particularly in my sheltered and religious upbringing, where most of my beliefs and ideas were knocked down for being sinful, or at least unbiblical).

I won't delve into the intricacies of my sexuality today. That conversation will come in its own time. For now, I'm still staring at the complex hardware that lies spewed across the table, each little trinket a broken-apart mess that did not come with an instruction manual.

I want to feel beautiful and I want to feel strong. Though that beauty isn't for me, it's for the men in my world; I am desperately seeking the approval of my father for the times he commented on my weight, telling me how uncomfortable I looked on stage in my high school musicals, or how much better I'd look 20, 40, 60 pounds less than I am; for my partner, in his grace and affection, trying needlessly to prove that my body is as worthy as my heart (not for his benefit, but my own. How complex our own enlightenment becomes). And the strength I desire is for the women in my life; I long to appear brave, fortitudinous, and bold for my mother and the trials of mental health we both face, for my daughters whose bodies are rapidly becoming unfamiliarly womanly to their own eyes, for my best friends who face the same pains and frustrations of modern feminism alongside me.
I find myself relentlessly questioning, what does it mean to feel like less of a woman? What are my perceptions of femininity and masculinity? What about my upbringing or my present understanding of gender roles causes these conflicts with me?
How genuinely I wish could find those answers. How freed it seems I would be if only I could understand. I seek these answers and share with you my questions. It isn't with certainty or confidence I open myself to you, dear reader. Earnestly and again I unfold myself to you, the world, leaving the wounded parts searing and raw.

Hoping tirelessly for enlightenment and praying cautiously for wisdom.

*For another radical read about beauty, check out my girl Hannah Brencher and why she's not gonna tell you that you're beautiful.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Today is November 1st, and we woke up to a darkened sky made heavier by the chilly drain dripping from thick clouds hanging low. It was a skip-coffee-and-breakfast and sit-in-traffic-for-an-hour and 15-minutes-late-for-class kind of morning. With my impending surgery in 20 days, I have a lot on my mind: the workload for school hogging my plate, all of the fears and worries that are associated with health problems, burdonsome finances, and managing the emotions of those who love me and worry for me. All of that on top of the regular life things.

With all of that in mind, in oversized snuggly clothes I wandered from astronomy lab to the aderhold learning center to use the microwave for lunch. Apparently, it’s also a can’t-find-the-fork-I-could-have-sworn-I-packed, guess-I-will-be-eating-this-pasta-dish-with-my-fingers kind of day too. (Yes, theoretically I could have walked to a restuarant and gotten a plastic fork. But I was already unpacked and food cooked. Fingers it was.

The Aderhold building is deserted. Mixing the mishaps of the day with the dreariness of outside, sprinkling on the haunting empty feeling an empty campus brings you (on the Day of the Dead, no less), it leads to a sour and thin soul-feeling. I don’t like it, I don’t approve.

My day will go from strange to lovely as the day goes on: I will be riding a soothing bus down to Athens, and tonight will be a candle-and-prayer-and-coffee sort of night. 

It makes me feel thankful. Which brings me back to the origin of this muse. 

A friend posted a blog article today about how statistically November is the most depressing month. As I look at how it’s begun, I can’t help but agree. The article went on to encourage thankfulness and gratitude to ward off the depression and gloom. Three things a day, according to research, leaves one 25% happier. How in the hell these are measurable things I really can’t understand. But it is worth exploration. 

  1. I am thankful for friends who open their homes. Doors swung wide, couches soft, wine and tea and coffee poured lavishly. That friendship includes shared space. Home being made whole by community. Sleeping vulnerably under the roof of a loved one.
  2. I am grateful for my roof. When I woke up this morning, the rain pattered against the window, and I thought to myself how safe and warm I felt as the Earth was replenished with water and I got to lie comfortably in my home and rest. When I had to leave home, I simply put an umbrella over my head for the freakin’ 10 foot walk from my porch to the car port. I could comfortably get into my vehicle because of the overhead cover, and once inside the car, I felt grateful again. Warm and dry. Sheltered and safe. Fortunate beyond comprehension.
  3. Going back to the last thing, I also felt grateful for my bed today. And for my couches, and all the chairs in my house. Places to rest, plush and soft and warm. I am grateful for the pillows and comforters and sheets. I get to climb peacefully into a soft, clean, dry place where I never have to think about dirt or bugs or rain or strangers. I’ll never forget the night Chris and I walked past a man sleeping huddled beneath an awning a few weeks ago during a downpour. I don’t know his circumstances, but I feel selfishly lucky to not sleep there, tonight or ever. I am lucky, I don’t know why.
I don’t want this month to be marked like a scar with the looming incisions and IV tubes and recovery pains. I don’t want to remember November 2013 with a cringe or a sigh. As the countdown to my surgery began as the first thought in my mind when I awoke, I choose to change the rhythm of this month and turn it a little louder, and dance along. I will sing gratitude choirs this month, hoping an attitude readjustment can sweep like echoes into the coming months as well.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Self-Worth, Birthdays, and the Voice of God

I want to talk to you today about birthdays.

Last night I was blessed with a simple nugget of wisdom from my sweet partner in life, Chris. He was simply repeating words that seem to be old as words themselves, it will get worse before it gets better.

And whether that means we're referring to the battle or the war I believe it applies both ways. Last night he and I laid on the bed and just talked about the internal lives we all live and the continuous dialogue that takes place within our minds. How strange or small events, comments, instances in our lives can shape everything we think about ourselves. Opinions muttered passively can ordain every thought we have when we look in the mirror. I believe nearly every woman who reads this can agree to that in some way, and even many (if not all) men as well.

It is incredible how much someone who has (according to outside opinion) always seemed to come across as extraordinarily confident and bold is, underneath it all, frail and vulnerable. A delicate soul as manipulable by words as tissue by water, flame by breeze. I am that soul; For years I've been frustrated by my internal dialogue that tells me to PERFORM. Be a certain way. Use your words carefully. Write, write well, because that is what others expect of you. Don't swear. Be honest, but not so open that people think you're "needy" or "weird." Avoid tattoos. Be "pure" (don't even get me started there). Look pretty. Don't be fat. Don't care what others think. Live unique. Orders that were fed by society, media, religion, or some sordid blend of each.

The truth has come to my attention that these ideas are not just rules that should or should not be broken. They are binding laws that feel like gravity they are so impossible to defy.

Like clockwork, whenever I boldly confront the skeletons I carry within my closets (abuse, neglect, hate, fear, addiction, weakness, worry, doubt), my entire psyche devolves into a revolting mess of instability, anger and hurt. This inevitably leads to tears--constant bouts of unpredictable mourning--that consume random moments of peace, turning calm to calamity, rest to terror. It is in these blessed, horrible moments (some alone, though often shared with dear Chris, tenderly) that the worst of the lies I believe come to haunt me.

You are horrid.
Who could love you.
You're a fake. You're not loving--you're needy. You're not encouraging--you're manipulative. You're not giving--you're desperate for attention. You're not a mother--you're just some guy-with-kids' girlfriend, how could you possibly think you were worthy to lead and love and care for those girls? You're not pretty--you're fat (and you know that fat can't be pretty, right? Don't kid yourself). You're not interesting--you're a parody. You're not intelligent--you're a snob.

It's those replacement thoughts that are the most damaging to me. They get even more ridiculous.

You're not edgy--your blonde hair is too flat (flat, straight hair is lame). You're not a real feminist--you care about how flat your hair is. You're not totally open-minded--open-minded people know that feminists can also care about their hair.

It's a dialogue that SPIRALS, deep into a black-hole-abyss of self-loathing that is endless. There is a quiet voice that fights desperately to convince me that those words that hack away at my self-worth are lies, but the voice is timid, often hard to hear at all, though I can sense its presence.

When I confront the lies they only get louder, stronger, and more convincing. I feel weaker and lose the strength to continue the work it takes to undo the opinions others have said to me (or I believed they were insinuating).

Last night was one of those nights. All day, for the past few days, I'd been asking the questions like "Why was I abused or neglected in that way," "Why did that person feel led to treat me that way," "What is wrong with being fat, why can't I accept weight loss simply as a health issue," "Why must I be addicted to this thing," and other nearly unanswerable pleas. Because of this questioning, the tears came to me rapidly, interrupting dinner, conversations, trains of thought. Chris so warmly and readily pulled my heart to his and patiently sorted through these twisted webs of my history with me. Not fixing me, but guiding me. Reminding me of the work he cannot do, and how greatly he encouraged the practice and work of a true therapist, though still doing so much with what he could help me sort out.

What does all of this have to do with birthdays?

Chris told me two things last night that truly stood out:
1. It will get worse before it gets better, and
2. "It's time to reject any voice that isn't god's."

About the first, he was right. From the darkness of last night's pain came the lightness that came to my soul in this morning, and then throughout the day... over... and over... and over...

I often make a big deal leading up to my birthday because I fear how rejected and sad I would feel if I got no recognition. (Hear this: I don't make a big deal of it because I feel that I'm awesome/amazing/someone that should be worshiped. It's the exact opposite.) If I make a big deal and host my own interesting celebrations, I won't notice if nobody else says or does anything. And who cares anyway, right? After all, it's just a birthday. Everyone gets one, every year, once a year, their whole lives.

But the thing is that I truly believe part of why birthdays are so special is that it isn't just a celebration of the day you were born. It is the celebration of life itself. It reminds you that before-22-years-ago-today, the world existed without me; It reminds you that one day you won't have any more birthdays. Life means that you once didn't exist, and that someday, you will not once again. It is sobering. It is strange.

I think left without the reminder from people--family, friends, and strangers--that you matter and that "Happy Birthday," that strange and sobering reality of your finite existence can lead to an particular kind of loneliness that is especially filled with despair and disappointment.

Today, however, that was not my reality.

Two simple texts that I received today--notes that were free to the senders and probably took them each less than 1-2 minutes to come up with and send--encompass the feeling overall that I've been covered with and filled by all day:

"I'm very glad you're alive and in my life.  You're a blessing. Happy for another year with you!"

"I hope that you had the most amazing birthday today. :) You are an incredible woman, friend, mother, girlfriend, and person. You are creative, intelligent, compassionate, and beautiful in every imaginable way. You have change me and my life for the better, and I am constantly thankful that I get to know you!!"

I will say that both of these girls are particularly good with both language and encouragement (and are both English majors, so they know how to use language to hit the spot!), but those two messages (in conjunction with the countless other texts, calls, cards, gifts, hugs, etc. I received today) lifted my spirit and affirmed my soul in ways that I could not have ever believed just last night.

It took the thick, sap-like depression-muck that I traversed last night to come out on the other side to be so ripped open that I may be receptive to such billboard-sized expressions of love and support.

Those words in my head are truly lies, and I am stunned that I may be surrounded by such a troop of humans who are willing to speak god's words to me. Please note: I'm not religious, and maybe you aren't either. But the god I mean here is this (and this is also what Chris was referring to):

I think birthdays, though sort of a silly cultural thing when looked at with a quick glance, are a great gift. I don't think it is wrong to want to be reminded that you matter. Many people don't have a troop of people to speak god's voice to them--but I think if you believe in god in some way or form, and especially if you admire the actions and ideas of Jesus Christ (a man I'm getting to know), it is our call to speak these words to one another. Often and frequently and daily and always would be ideal.

I am not here to preach. Only to share what incredible, beautiful truths have been realized within me on this day I turned 22.

Chris told me last night to learn to strengthen that timid voice (that I do believe is the god-voice) and let it grow louder over the lies I've learned to believe about my self-worth. And as my heart took the chance at opening wide a chasm that could have been filled with disappointment (or even just left there, gaping), I was instead stunned to find god's loving words poured into me everywhere I turned today.

In the end, it is not so much birthdays that I wanted to talk with you about today, but my own birthday experience that reminded me of the power of words and the importance of living community.

I leave you with a quote. Today my friend gave me one of the coolest gifts I personally could be given: a bag of old, filled out and scribbled in journals from 4-5 years back that I'd left at her parents house back in high school. I was thrilled! When I opened one of them, here's what I found written on the back page:

"I can taste it:

Healing is on the horizon

it is on the horizon.
& it's for


A final thought: I believe in honesty. Being raw and open is something that I challenge myself to do and be in every instance possible. I have written candidly about my struggles with depression, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, and addictions for some time, though each time it is a struggle and takes courage. Seeking help from friends is even harder, and taking the steps to get professional help to healing is the most challenging and terrifying. I still have demons that are un-uttered that I am still gathering courage to release into the world of therapy and seek after healing. If you have ever even considered looking into talking to somebody about any fears/doubts/weird thoughts/anything, do it. If you want to talk to me, I am here for you and I will aid you in finding the help you want and need.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

i love the Mess of life

Most people that know me I think would say that my home is almost always completely neat, clean, tidy, and organized. Usually when I have guests over, they comment on this about me and my home.

However, that is not always the natural state of 97 Benson. In fact, the Hamilton-Rockhill residence is full of Mess, scattered pieces of life that are full of stories.

I love this mess that fills my home for what it reminds me of;
I am the luckiest girl to be so blessed with a roof covering warmth and safety, 
a family that has welcome me as one of their own, 
endless opportunity for any life I so choose to design.

I love the Mess of life:

I love the unmade beds where nightly I may lie in comfort and peace beside bodies of humans who love me endlessly. It reminds me of late night heart-conversations, tickle wars, watching Netflix huddled around my laptop.

I love the chaos of art projects (this one of my own): paper scraps and fake jewels, kitties destroying whatever they can get their paws on, glue and paint and canvases. Creativity spewing across entire rooms of my sweet little house.

I love the piles of Little Girl and Preteen filled with hairbrushes and dolls with homemade clothes and books and little game pieces and every other tiny thing you could imagine.

Speaking of books, I love the smattering of pages-bound that seem to fill several spots in every room. Besides the 3 book cases and multiple shelves and drawers dedicated to housing these books, there are always enough books currently being read and explored that won't be put away to fill every flat surface in my home. I am reminded of the opportunities we're given by the gift of literacy. I am grateful for excellent local libraries. I am blessed that my sweet girls love to read and are learning to love it more and more every day, and that I have a life partner who considers my "2 books a month" 2013 resolution to be a challenge worth competing over.

I love the hairs that are all over my home--gathering on my hardwood floor, standing out brightly against our couches, balling up underneath the furniture. The pet hairs of our three loyal friends who share their warmth and company selflessly every day.

I absolutely love this mess in all honesty. It is the daily mess of creativity, comfort, and coming together. As my 2013 resolution to cook more and improve my skills grows in success each week, so it seems to the pots and bowls and spoons alongside. Every meal shared around a table or scattered lazily in our living space telling stories about our lives over yet another new recipe.  Teaching my girls to cook (as I teach myself, too) has been one of the greatest experiences of having children in my life.

I love the piles of recycling and donations sitting by the door, a family that believes alongside me in doing what we can to try and honor our planet and maintain a minimalist lifestyle. Old textbooks alluding to ideas and goals and projects-past, clothes that served us well in beauty and in comfort, moving on to grand new adventures.

Finally, I love the mess of pushed-out chairs. To me, it is the energy of moving from a coming-together to follow after a sudden explosion of Idea or Inspiration that each of us in this home seems to be spewing over with. The excitement to move into the next project or prospect or game and forgetting to even push the chair in reminds me of why I don't mind cleaning up the messes in my home: it is the glory of family and creativity paired together and coming alive in every part of our lives.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


this is how i remember August being:
soft light
lush greenery wet
with the dew of morning and
thick with the songs of cicadas
every hour through the day--
drizzly late morning gray
warm and endless

this is what i did not Remember;
this is what is new:
i have created days
yoga on duck lake docks
palms brown with dirty pollen planks
and a mat i need to replace

it is chipmunk swamps on my walk home
fluttering ivy five stories above
a train track that throttles with iron wheels distant
and a how-did-that-get-there (probably-a-squirrel) fish
on a back "country" road

that leads to my home

the last month that i swam inside the womb
pushing against the otherside of my mother's skin
pleading the world be ready for me)

it is the BOOM of the industrial age
just across the street from my home
the THWACK of wooden beams that bend and break
in the lumber yard next to an abandoned propane tank shop
where i used to wonder why the flame was always lit

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Without Fanfare

I cannot believe how much sadness the soul can hold. In this modern world of skydiving and movie screens, the Modern People of sights unseen, I am aware of a depression unique. It is of the modern boys and gals who drive their cars down paved roads in first worlds and dream along to their favorite tunes of the possible worlds beyond their reach. Worlds that exist, it does seem, primarily, if not solely, on the other side of bigger paychecks--bigger than their student loan debt accounts and credit cards that were meant only for emergencies, and car payments like that somehow makes them grownups.

I always thought being eighteen and beyond meant so much joy in ones freedom. I was convinced the grownups in my life were all Crazy for not being outrageously spontaneous and wild and full-of-wonder with every sky-opening of the morn that marks a brand new day un-lived by a single soul before. Now I think I see that they were just grown up kids with murky dreams that turned imperceptibly from goals and plans to ideas. To thoughts. To daydreams in their cars on their commute back home, to the life that isn't enough, never enough.

I was never supposed to be that girl. I was the Convinced One, the Determination Girl. I was the black sheep of the family that was going to change everything (isn't everyone?). Maybe I already have been that person. Some of the truth of the blackness and sheepishness of my life is the very root to the sadness which leaves me in awe, bitterly, weakly. Just the sight of a name, or hearing a recording of someone's voice, from years past, when things were still painful--but in a hopeful, life is only going to get better from here, kinda way--leaves me Hollow. I can't believe how horribly empty I can feel while the richness of my life is so Real. I cannot say that I lack friends, though my heart becomes dreadfully heavy, at the least, frequently.

I decided tonight on my drive home in the randomly-70-degree March evening air, windows down and rain drizzles splatting on my car and arm-out-the-window, that I would make film one day. I get images in my head all the time--my significant other and I talked about this on one of our first dates, the kinds of films we want to make. Gritty, pointed, without fanfare. I was listening to this good song, and I decided I wanted to use it as an opening to a film that I will make that will be a "silent film" that will consist only of music to tell the story. A glimpse into a story already begun, and a tale that will end too soon to get any satisfying answers. A lot like life.

I decided friendships are much like movie trailers. A dramatic glimpse into a world so absurdly unlike your own bookend of morning-til-night life. All the angles are different, the sounds are both clearer and muddier, somehow at once. And, as soon as you become invested in the story, it's ended already, without denouement.