Friday, July 27, 2007

don't forget your umbrella

it is raining here again. heavy, looping drops that hang onto the edge of the clouds ... eventually making a sleepy downward dash to the pavement. maybe, like me, they're afraid to fly. even as they've braved the take-off, they are terrified of a crash landing.

in between errands and chores, i've been rereading my posts and letters from friends. we paint some beautiful pictures, you and i. we also ask a lot of questions - some directly, some not so. i have a gift for avoidance...but it's not one i wish to indulge with you, so if you have a few spare moments, allow me to answer a few...

you asked about my favorite chair. i guess, i'd have to say this old desk chair is it. it's uncomfortable. and pink (a color i quite like, actually, though not for furniture). it serves as sophie's favourite sleeping spot and together, they guard all my secrets. i sit down, it pulls me close and brings me to you. how could i not count it among my favorite things?

my music and my books are a lot like me...all over the place and big on words. i like a good story. and an unusual melody. i prefer my music acoustic and my books electric. the stack nearest my keyboard: jason mraz-james taylor-annie lennox-the soundtrack to "spring awakening"-two plays by neil labute-a book by anita shreve and my red clown nose (neither a book nor music, but sitting there nonetheless and worthy of inclusion).

my art? photos of my family, my friends and my favorite york, the beach, cinderella's castle. also, two of my "poetry in motion" bus cards. (when i lived in dallas, i worked for the transit system and brought that program to the city. we did beautiful work, won lots of awards and praise, and it warms my heart to know that it has continued long after i left for greener pastures.) i had the first two poems framed, en la sangre and an exerpt from flower wreath hill. the latter is still one of my favorite poems of all time: " ask me what i thought about before we were lovers. the answer is easy. before i met you, i didn't have anything to think about..."

my favorite words? felicity. fundamental. unencumbered. oblongitude. discursivity. overjoyed. and kiss.

how did i celebrate my milestone birthday? i had breakfast in neverland and dinner in paris. and in between, i went on safari in the serengeti and jungles of asia; took a trip into space and an expedition to everest - twice. i twirled in teacups, pillaged with pirates and ended the day with fireworks and a glass of champagne.

in case you didn't already guess - i went to disney world. it not what you might expect for a milestone such as this, nor what you might choose for yourself, but for me it was ... perfect. it was a joy to reconnect with my family, to leave behind the 'whys' of getting older and to surrender to the childlike wonder i most surely still possess.

so, then ... happiest of fridays to you. i hope it's one of those days where happiness foams up over the top of you and down your sides, spilling over onto everyone in the vicinity. and if it's raining where you are, don't forget your umbrella.

Friday, July 20, 2007

no regrets

i was reading the post from the other day. the one about 'before' and the tale of marcie and 'the devil' and it sounds so much sadder than i meant for it to, and full of regret. but that's not what i intended, nor what i want. it's true, that if i'd have acted differently, said something, stood a couple of inches to the left, maybe - everything might have changed.

but i didn't.

and if i had, maybe i wouldn't be here right now, wouldn't be this person that i am, that i - finally - like a whole lot. and maybe i wouldn't know you guys. and i like knowing you.

there was a time when i can remember feeling sharply miserable, beyond hoping that things would change, but that time isn't now. i wouldn't change anything about the way i ended up here - except maybe i'd be nicer to people. and floss more.

if i could go back and visit myself then, that girl made of knock knees and quiet hope, i am afraid she might not be inclined to waste her time with the likes of me. (but she would secretly like my red toenails very much. that much i know.)

still, i would find a way to make her listen and i would tell her it's o.k. to be afraid and to feel unimportant ... because it will happen a lot and will never last. i would tell her she will experience a certain wild joy that comes from simply not going under. i would tell her that once the soul begins to awaken, there is no stopping it. it can be resisted. it can be denied. for a while. but that 'awake' holds so much potential and delicious possibility - even as it can be a fearsome sort of thing, i think. it means taking responsibility instead of letting things happen. it means letting things happen when there is nothing that can be done.

and now that i'm saying this aloud, it's becoming clear that it is she who is visiting me. and it doesn't make me sad at all. a little loony, perhaps...and lucky.

so let's have no regrets, you and i. only forgiveness. and potential. and delicious possibility. lots and lots of that, please.

Friday, July 13, 2007

elle a senti peur se dissiper.*

it's friday the 13th and i'm wondering ... what are you afraid of?

for me, it's snakes and lizards and salamanders; drowning; the return of the 'boy band;' losing my childlike enthusiasm; flying - well, crashing, actually; never learning to say 'i like you' without frightening people away; wanting something too much.

which, of course, is what i've just gone and done. stupid girl. i won't tell you what it is, so don't ask me ... because for me, the simple act of 'wanting' something 'too much' will guarantee its distance, so i don't.

it's a gift, really. i can talk myself into anything, including this elevated state of aloofness. i can choose not to care ... but if i've learned anything in these last months, then that would be a bad idea. possibly the worst of all ... flames don't flicker forever and moths are born to be burned.

so today, i'll fight hard against my willful anaesthesia, cross my fingers and jump right into the middle of this 'want.' after all, when you've been drowning, the first breath is always the most painful.

*translation - 'she felt the fear disappear.'

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

spilling myself messily at your feet

i am here in my chair. and outside, the air is still. hot. heavy with the coming rain. there is lightning in the summer sky. and i am stalling.

not long ago, i was looking for something, i don't remember what, and instead, i found my high school yearbooks, packed away in a box i had forgotten about. i laughed. i flipped through them a minute and set them aside. it's what i usually do with painful memories ... laugh, flip through them a minute and set them aside ... not this time, though.

i've returned to that time again. and again. turned it over and around and i find i can't escape it. the memories. thoughts of time with friends. love letters. the sad and awkward end. something has stirred something way back and far down; pulling me back, no matter which way i turn, towards 'before.' and there are things i want to say, but i reach for words and find myself turning without them. and i become sad in a way i can't quite grasp.

how does it all begin? and why? is it something primal? something whispering deep in the bones or genes, 'that one.' maybe the old darwinian shuffle has a few steps we haven't heard about before. the physical attraction somehow melded with deeper and quieter feelings of a higher order.

still...i am impossibly grateful for that particular brand of evolutionary i imagine where they all might be now. reaching out and finding them again.

i loved colorado. being close to the park. the odd stairs in our house. and i loved my room - with the big window, the old rocking chair and the unusually tall bed. i loved high school - most of it. i loved the speech tournaments and band practice and baseball games and ap english and boys who practiced cx debate and cherry creek and and even chuck fleener's relentless pursuit. and i loved my friends.

(looking back, i probably could have been popular if i'd tried. but, i didn't. probably because i couldn't see myself very well. even now, i couldn't tell you what i was like ... if i was strong or funny or interesting. my mother used to tell me all the time how selfish i was. i remember that. but, i think she was wrong. i didn't think much about myself at all. maybe i haven't changed that much, after all.)

i look through the photos ... with the frozen grins, the bangs that defy gravity and i can see the hallways, feel the cool metal of my locker against my back, smell the scent of love's baby soft and aqua net in the air. beav. steve. gayle. scott. lara. kevin. erik. kelli. aimee. dawn. mutt. jeff. and marcie.

all roads lead to marcie.

she and i became friends because she told me we would. i was shy and she was on the fringe and we each needed a hand to hold and she decided mine would be hers - it was a friday, early in the 9th grade, and she had come to school in her pom pom uniform with a large bandage on the back of her thigh because she'd sat on her curling iron that morning and was mortified, as any fourteen year old girl would be, at the thought of people staring at the bandage all day. she was ranting in the locker room and being slightly taller, and more than a little afraid of her, i came up with an idea to help her hide the wound (even now, i'm always coming up with ideas to hide the wounds) and she declared we would be best friends forever. or until she 'didn't like me anymore.' and not having any other offers, i accepted.

and for a long time, it was good. we were silly, happy girls. one of our favorite things was to write letters to each other. she'd pass me the evening's topics as we left for the day and at night, we'd write and trade letters in the morning. i loved to make her laugh. i didn't even mind when my words would come out of her mouth. it hadn't occurred to me, yet, that i had a gift for writing - even as it had already become apparent to marcie.

it should come as no surprise that marcie did not like my boyfriends. she was jealous and angry and frequently miserable to be around. she thought one was gay and the other - the devil. she hated him with a furor that shocks me still.

the day he and i broke up, she was giddy - still full of venom, but genuinely happy. and constantly devising ways to 'get back' at him. i thought it was her way of trying to cheer me up. (her incredibly fucked up way, but still...) but no matter how much she wanted me to, i wasn't ready to let him go. mutual friends tried to get us back together, thought it might be a good idea to call and see how he was doing, ask him to our prom, but marcie made it known that it would be the end of our friendship and i knew that i couldn't survive that loss, too.

a few days after that conversation, i remember marcie being called to the principal's office. she never said why. all i know, even to this day, is that she wrote a letter about 'the devil' and sent it to someone. i don't know what it said. i know that she was suspended for a few days and lost her slot as editor of the paper for our senior year. (i don't know what i was thinking when i agreed to take her place.) and i know that a few weeks later, my high school ring arrived in the mail with note from the boy about the short supply of common decency.

i had no choice but to let him go. so i did. sort of. (the first time you fall in love, it changes your life forever. no matter how hard you try, that feeling never goes away.) and marcie and i were never the same after that. oh, we were still 'best' friends, but once you've see the edge of someone you love, it's difficult to return to 'before.'

we still did silly, girly things. hung out at rocky mountain records&tapes, ate steve's ice cream on the mall, danced wildly to depeche mode, daydreamed about the boys from steamboat ... eventually, i found another boy, 'the gay one.' and one day, not long into our senior year, marcie decided she was done with me. one day, she moved out of our locker, stopped speaking to me - except to tell me that i was 'dull. unoriginal. and unworthy of any more of her time.'

and with that, we were done. i know where the first crack occurred, but, to this day, i don't know what triggered the final break. maybe it was the new boy. or memories of the old. new friends. her parents' divorce. success. taking what she felt she was her due. it's the one mystery i'll never be able to solve.

still, i figure i got exactly what i deserved.

i should have stood up for myself long before it came to that. i should have told her every day that she was beautiful and smart and talented. and maybe then, she would've have been able to see that i could be in love with a boy and still be friends with her.

looking back, she had to feel that seemingly imperceptible shift - may have known the truth of 'the devil and i,' even before we did. she had to know that the closer he and i became, the further i might move away from her - into the one place she couldn't follow.

to watch someone you love move away from you, even if she's headed toward the thing you want most for her, is to walk the tightrope of your own happiness. we were both too young to understand that or maybe we did understand it, we just didn't know what to do about it.

so i did what i always do. i shut up. and i shut down. (hard to believe i can 'shut up' i know, but i can.) what i should have done was stand up. to see that things between us were closed in a way that befit our relationship - with kindness, and bravery, and honesty.

woulda. coulda. shoulda.

what did i say earlier? it's not at all that i fail to forgive others for the hurts i have received - it's that i cannot forgive myself ...

still, i know now that every wrong turn eventually equals a right because there is always a lesson to be learned or a gift to be had. i am stronger now than i was then. smarter. kinder. i still dance with 'the devil' now and then. (and 'the gay one' is a good friend to this day.) but i miss the silly, girly ways and the memory of a time before i knew that i could be spilled so messily and painfully at someone else's feet.

but then, don't we all?

Friday, July 6, 2007

a beautiful mess

is it the end again, already?

the end of the month. the end of the sale. the end of things that never really began. although they did. crept up on me, with velvet paws. today is the beginning of a turn-around; a time of letting go of the old and making way for the new; a time of new beginnings, and it starts with rest. or at least it should.

i got up before the rain and went to yoga. i know. it sounds so trite, doesn't it? isn't everybody going to yoga? i am woefully behind the times, though, as i just started. and not in some celebrity-worshipping kinda way. (although, it's true, i have been known to temporarily devolve and surrender to the power of the people magazine. i need to be able to contribute to the lunchroom dialog on occasion and there is only one other person at the store who is interested in discussing camus ... and our lunches rarely coincide.)

where was i? (i am a master of 'discursivity,' am i not?) ahh, yes. yoga. i love it. it kicks my ass, but i love it. i feel so tall and graceful when i'm done - which is nice because those are two things i will never be mistaken for in real life. and it gives me a chance to focus on nothing but the sound of my own breathing ... and i need a little bit of peace right now.

i'll never be the kind of person who fails to forgive others for the hurts i've received - it's that i cannot forgive myself for the hurts i have meted. i act so strong - and most days i am, but other days, i'm just this little girl, shivering under the armour. don't tell anyone, okay? it's a secret i'd like to keep for a little longer, if you don't mind.

what can i say? i'm a mess. but i'm beautiful.

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