Monday, February 28, 2011

Tears

I read once that all my tears are collected and recorded, counted and kept safe. If that’s the case my jar is probably close to empty, a thin salty layer evaporating into nothing. I haven’t added to it in what seems like forever and to me that feels normal but to others not so much. I tell people that it’s not the way I function; that my sorrows are expressed differently and that’s true for the most part. It’s also true that on the occasions when my chin begins to quiver and the lump rises in my throat, I fight to hold it in. I’m afraid to let a few loose, knowing that if I do it would take a small army to pull me back together and I hate that feeling of not being in control, weakness. And, to be quite honest, I’ve never felt like my tears were important enough. The majority of the ones I’ve cried have been over held back anger and my bruised ego, certainly not something to be cherished.

However, the ones that fell swiftly from my eyes last night were different. Instead of being accompanied by short breaths and sniffles their only companion was silence. They made hot streams along my cheeks and eventually pooled on the red Egyptian cotton of my pillowcase as I tried to find my sleep. Normally I would have mulled it over, dissecting all the reasons causing me to feel this way but I didn’t need to.  I knew these were tears of deep sorrow and repentance; born out of a tired heart.  I didn’t fight it and the minutes accumulated quickly, however, I knew that they were serving as a lullaby of sorts. I don’t know which came first the ceasing of my tears or my dreamless slumber but as I awoke this morning a single tear escaped each eye and then they were gone with as little fanfare as when they arrived.

Those tears, the hot silent variety, are the ones worth cherishing. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lyrics

Prompt 13


I’m a sucker for one-liners. I like to hear people zing witty banter back and forth and I love hearing short, profound sentiments. I think that’s why I love music so much. Every day I listen to music, all day. I’d like to think I have a healthy appreciation for most genres, and consider myself a music aficionado. However, the reality is I just latch onto musicians that other people like and based on their lyrics and sound, love them or leave them.  That has been the case for my most recent musical obsessions. For example I found my love for Mumford and Sons and The Civil Wars based on (cower in shame) episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and my love for Sara Bareilles based on this blog post.

I find so much satisfaction in listening to these artists sing sweet melodies and spill out poetic verses, hooks and bridges that seem to explain where I’m at so perfectly. It’s as if they stepped right into my mind and plucked out how I feel about Jesus, my relationships, and the direction of my life. Often the actual subject matter of the song has nothing to do with what I’m experiencing but somehow these artists use a few lines to sum up the pages and pages of my Moleskine that I’ve filled trying to decipher what I feel.


I know that she is singing about a man and pleading to get over him. She calls herself a basket case and gives examples of why she loves him. That couldn’t be farther from MY situation except for maybe the basket case part. I have a loving and faithful husband, but those lines are closer to home than I’d like to admit. I NEED to be moved out of the state I’m in; I’m pleading in a similar way to be pushed, pulled or dragged into a better state of mind. Truth is for months I’ve been struggling to mutter a prayer for myself other than, Please, Father be patient with me.

I’m balancing between a desire to dive deeper and thinly veiled apathy. I want to be robbed of fear and insecurity. I want shameful and painful memories to be stolen.


I’d rather stop worrying and move forward in freedom. I want what I should believe to be what I really believe instead of cluttered with questions and doubt. I realize it’s all a bit dramatic but I’m okay with that. For now, I’ll sing along to popular songs and plead their melodic prayers until I feel closer to where I need to be. I'll rely on poetic verses and concise lyrics to say it better than I can because something is better than nothing. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Letter Pressed Love

I spent a good chunk of time on Saturday afternoon searching for the right thing to say. As I fed the paper through the old machine I ran my fingers over the rusting keys. I briefly pondered the rest of the people that stood here today expressing their sentiments with these iron keys attached to this archaic instrument. Did they send love to significant others, or parents? Did they choose words of their own or romantic poems? Is it real? Is, it ever real? Are our hearts really capable of genuine love?

I think so.

It took me a couple tries to get it just right. I started over twice after missing keys and misspelling important words, but after a couple tries I finally found a good rhythm, a click-click cadence. I matched the not so graceful sound of the keys striking the paper ever so intentionally and I began my note with a poem, one of my favorites. It seems like it expresses what I feel much better than I could ever articulate. …to the depth and breadth and height… No one talks like that anymore but I wish they did. Those words deeply resonate with how I love Him and how I’m learning to love you. I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life!

You’ll get the note today, this love on the run. Someone from my favorite little homemade paper shop will deliver it to your desk and you’ll read the words and be moved because you’re the romantic type. You’ll unquestionably like the poem because you know what it means to me but I reckon you’ll like the last line the best.  After I finished typing the poem I only had one line left. One line to sum up how I feel in my own letter pressed love.  Thankful to be yours… Yeah, that’s about right.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daydream Dancing

This piece began from this prompt, but I don't know that I actually accomplished the objective.


I shouldn’t have listened to that song when it came on the radio. Normally I would turn the station but today I allowed myself to linger.  I was surprised at how quickly I slipped into the routine, the one we perfected on Sunday nights between sweaty bodies on the smoky dance floor. It was as if I could feel your right hand lock into mine and your left one slide around the small of my back. We’d made friends with the band and they would always play our song. When we got good, everyone would clear a circle in the center and watch our choreographed intimacy. They'd clap and whistle when we got to the extra spins and steps we’d added for flair.

I didn’t feel guilty until it got close to the finale; the part where you moved in close and locked your hips to mine, your hands slipping down the front of my thighs as we swayed back and forth to the rise and fall of the melody. Then as the last few bars of the song expired you would dip me low towards the floor and each time we would pause longer than the last, all caught up in each other, the heaviness of the moment. It was always slow motion for me, the rise and fall of my chest as I tried to find my breath and beads of sweat rolling down my collar bone towards the nape of my neck.  You’d pull me up laughing and we would retire to our corner booth, all our energy spent.

It didn’t get much better than that for us. We couldn’t seem to communicate anywhere but the dance floor and our love didn’t last. Maybe it wasn’t even love, but I’m not sure. I shrugged off all my uncertainties as I made my way back to reality. I tried not to feel guilty as I tucked away all the little memories that found their way into my daydream. After all, it was just a dance, just 4 minutes of cha-cha-ing through our yesterdays. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Chronicles of ....

Prompt

I am convinced that the greatest relationships in life are the unexpected ones, the ones that metaphorically sweep you off your feet. In fact, the majority of the intimate relationships of my current state were quite unexpected. Take for example one of my closest friends. She and I met under the most random circumstances. It was a high school soccer game for one of our mutual friends. I came to watch on a whim (kind of). In hindsight it wasn’t nearly as whimsy as I thought. After all, I did drive four hours to watch a two hour soccer match. It was a big game and I had wanted to surprise my friend playing and another friend spectating. As I tip-toed through the bleachers I noticed a semi-familiar face, one I’d seen in pictures and heard countless stories about. As I got closer and prepared to surprise her companion, she glanced back…. Busted. Or at least I thought so until I put my finger on my lips and mouthed shhhhh. My new found co-conspirator played it perfect. She pursed her lips, crossed her arms and nodded confidently. Surprise success! I’ve never been a believer in “love at first sight” but that encounter comes pretty close. All it took after that to blossom our friendship was a common denominator and a two hour Anchorman quoting session.

I cannot count how many inside jokes we have compiled or how many times we’ve laughed until we almost puked. We even joke about the sustainability of our friendship and how it’s a good thing we live 6 hours apart. After all, the world might implode upon itself if we spent more than a few days in the same place. (Sometimes I don’t doubt the validity of that statement) Truth be told, aside from our extensive fits of laughter, our interactions can be quite volatile at times. For example we aren’t allowed to have serious conversations via Skype anymore. Believe it or not, sarcasm can be seriously misread over typed characters. There have been several times we’ve seriously hurt each other’s feelings, usually unintentionally, but hurt nevertheless. It’s bound to happen in close relationship. When you get real with someone, sometimes you say things you don’t mean, or things you do mean that just come out poorly. Sometimes you can’t help but step on each other’s toes.

One of the things I hate, and love most about her is her desire to step on my toes. She rarely tells me what I want to hear, which pisses me off to no end. I almost always take it personally, until I realize that she’s right, which pisses me off to no end. It’s a collision of the best kind, a beautiful impact if you will. She rubs the wrong way on purpose and pushes me into the uncomfortable. She’s forever altered the way I view friendship. She helps show me what it’s like to bear the banner of Christ in relationships. It’s beautiful and awfully messy; forceful and gentle.

We’ve made plans. Plans hashed out over the phone, 6 hours apart, each with Woodchuck in hand. Plans to run a coffee shop in a college town, with lots of books, and good tea, and ridiculousness. That plan might never happen but I’ve no doubt we’ll be making mischief for many years to come. It won’t be because we know how to sustain our friendship. It will be because the sustainability doesn’t rely upon our ability to make each other happy or walk on eggshells. If that were the case we’d have jumped ship long ago. She’s taught me that it has nothing to do with us, which makes it even sweeter. 


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

9 Across


I’ve never been a huge fan of reading the newspaper. It’s full of depressing material, deaths, murders, abuse and articles about benefits for sick and dying children. I can’t help but put it down and walk away with my stomach twisted in knots and my mind troubled with helplessness. I want to fix all the problems I read about, and I didn’t even make it past the Local section. Even though I know this familiar feeling I can’t help but pick one up and read it nearly every day, maybe I’m a glutton for punishment? Yesterday was no different. I picked up a couple sections of the LA Times as the lunch table conversation turned to daycare horror stories and general “kid talk.”

As I browsed over the headlines I couldn’t stop the sick feeling as it began to churn in my insides. It was loud and clear on every page, “You’re not good enough!” (And neither is anyone else) I retreated to find some solace in the crossword. I only got 3 clues in before the knot in my stomach twisted a little tighter. 9 Across: Drug Addict – 4 letters. Easy, USER. I didn’t even think twice about the answer. I’m all too familiar with this terminology. It’s what everyone called my brother for about 3 years. They referred to his habits as “using” and I suppose they were in the simplest version of the word. He was using whole bottles of Jack Daniels and homemade tourniquets; dirty needles and street side remedies to cure his afflictions. I was na├»ve to the severity of his habits. In fact I thought it was cool that he got me into dirty pubs and ordered me Red Bull and vodka so I could stay awake while he partied late into the night. I lived in my underage fantasy world until the night he called me at 3 a.m. tripping off an unknown combination of whiskey and amphetamines. He was enraged and depressed, fighting sobs between lines of expletives; flirting with the barrel of his shotgun. I tried to stay calm and told him stories of our childhood. I talked and talked until he fell asleep. I listened and wept for another hour making sure I could hear the deep breathing on the other end of the phone. That night raw and youthful went out the window and until he got clean I was scared ____less every time I saw mom’s number on my caller ID.

All things considered, it didn’t stop me from becoming a user, but not the hard drug variety. I was the copious volumes of alcohol and random sexual encounters type. I went to an AA meeting with my brother as his “support.” He got his 12 steps and I secretly got a hefty dose of guilt. We stopped using, my brother and I, at least in regards to those addictions. However, it hasn’t stopped us from becoming addicted to other things just like everybody else in the newspaper. We’re all users, addicted to working out, dieting, conflict, violence, fear, recognition, image, ambiance, attention, fantasy, knowledge, entitlement, money, sex, power, justice, guilt etc. It’s obvious in our headlines, each one reeking of addiction, good and bad. Maybe that’s why I can’t stop reading the newspaper, I’m addicted to that guilty feeling; maybe everyone else’s addictions make me feel better about mine. Regardless of the reason, one thing is obvious, I’m still a user.