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this week's wisdom

December 29, 2009

wait on the lord,
and keep his way,
and he shall exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
i have seen the wicked in great power,
and spreading himself like a native green tree.
yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
indeed i sought him, but he could not be found.

mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
for the future of that man is peace.

but the salvation of the righteous is from the lord;
and the lord shall help them and deliver them;
he shall deliver them from the wicked,
and save them,
because they trust him (psalm 37:34-37, 39-40).

and last week's

but no man can tame the tongue. it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

with it we bless our god and father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of god. out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. my brethren, these things ought not to be so. does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom (james 3:8-13).

this week's wisdom

December 15, 2009

i've been racking my brain's trying to figure out what to get my father for christmas. every year he tells me the same thing--books. this year he wanted me to use the money i would spend on him to buy something for the wonder twins, but i don't like that idea, because he should have things under the tree, too. he's my daddy. i want to get him something, because he's always getting me something.

a week or so ago, i asked my mother for ideas. she said to write him a poem and frame it. she also suggested putting a little book together of photos of he and i.

i don't want to do the first thing. i already did that.

the second idea, though, had merit.

so tonight, after an ugly day at work, i play with the boxes of photos mom has stored in my brothers' closet.

at first it's fun, this little scavenger hunt. at first, when i find photos of myself in which i'm obviously happy, i'm glad. in addition to any photos i might find of my daddy and me, i'm setting aside those photos of a happier me, so that when i get sad or when i think my childhood was completely miserable, i can look at those photos and be reminded that it didn't all suck.

the trouble with photos is thus: they can lie just as well as a writer can.

take the one of my younger brother, his wife, their mutual friends and i standing on the porch of the colorado cabin our family once owned. we all look like we're having a good time. everybody's grinning and seemingly happy.

i was eager to get home. i was irritated that they weren't helping me clean up the place. i was irritated with him for rushing me. but you wouldn't know this by looking.

so there's all these photos of me with the shy, but supremely bright smile on my face. i wonder in how many of those photos i actually was happy to have had the picture taken.

anyway. by the end of it, i was depressed, and crying, because i wasn't pretty and poised like mama. and i only found three pictures of only my father and i.

so, i'm a little bummed.

today's wisdom is thus:

therefore we do not lose heart. even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things for which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 corinthians 4:16-18).

ain't i a woman?

December 14, 2009


mom wanted to watch that people speak thing on the history channel. we tuned in just in time to hear this fine speech.

ain't i a woman?
by sojourner truth
delivered 1851 at the women's convention in akron, ohio

well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. i think that 'twixt the negroes of the south and the women at the north, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. but what's all this here talking about?

that man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! and ain't i a woman? look at me! look at my arm! i have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! and ain't i a woman? i could work as much and eat as much as a man - when i could get it - and bear the lash as well! and ain't i a woman?
i have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when i cried out with my mother's grief, none but jesus heard me! and ain't i a woman?

then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers intellect] that's it, honey. what's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? if my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, cause christ wasn't a woman! where did your christ come from? where did your christ come from? from god and a woman! man had nothing to do with him.
if the first woman god ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! and now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

obliged to you for hearing me, and now old sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

(i feel compelled to mention that my diatribe earlier about how a person shouldn't be elected just because she's a woman, there's a part of me that's concerned i might sound like a hypocrite, saying that and digging this, but it's because of this that i can say that.)

hiking in hay

December 13, 2009

this was a good afternoon. this was me hiking up a fairly steep hill to get to this spot on the way to hay's bluff which is near the town of hay-on-wye in wales. this was me traipsing about in a field covered in sheep shit to get to this spot. those little brown specks you see near the bottom? yeah, that. this was me in the chilly, windy, welsh afternoon underneath a fabulous sky overlooking a fabulous countryside.

the first picture gets bigger if you click on it. the second one doesn't. sorry for that.

that scene in the 2005 version of pride and prejudice during which elizabeth bennett is standing on the cliff reveling in the warmth and the wind, this was my version of that moment.

yeah, i know. i'm not on a cliff. i did mention the hill was steep, right? i was almost there, and i could've gone on, but i had to pee. i wasn't sure if i went on that i would make it back without certain events transpiring.

the help and the hindrance

December 8, 2009


the benefit of carrying around all this baggage is that sometimes i find things inside that i'd neglected to notice i'd packed for the journey.

today, i woke up at ten, shoved the ugly memories of yesterday's unpleasantness aside, texted my stylist to see what time my pedicure appointment was, texted my trainer to see if could come in today for a refresher course which i badly need (he didn't reply, and i'm thinking it's because i stood him up a couple of weeks ago), snuggled back in bed and watched an episode of law and order: special victims unit, played on the computer, got my pedicure, got lunch, filled the prescriptions for the sinus infection diagnosed last thursday.

spent an hour and a half at my younger brother's house. my nephew's walking. short journeys. you park the boy on his feet near your knees and he runs headlong into your chest with his arms outstretched. we're working on balance and control.

my niece is still perfectly content to crawl.

most of the time when i'm in my younger brother's presence, i feel small. spinsterly. here's my baby brother, gainfully employed, making twice as much money as i do, well-respected by his coworkers and management team, residing in his own home, happily married with two beautiful babies and a close, comfortable circle of friends who enjoy his company. he is thriving. he is the epitome of this. to top it all off, he's as intelligent as i am, but he's also emotionally and socially stable.

he has everything i wanted for myself. and i constantly feel as though i'm a disappointment to him. he used to be proud of me. he used to marvel at my strength.

i was driving home from his place to have dinner with my mother when i had another epiphany.

a decade or so ago, in my last year of college and the year or two that followed, my older brother was living in houston. my parents would travel a lot more because their children had become adults and they trusted us to fend for ourselves.

on top of all the baggage i carry, i'm phobic of several things. one of them, typically, is being home alone. if i'm lucky enough to sleep at night, it's with all the lights in the house burning. my older brother had some idea of this fear i had, though he couldn't understand it.

he had this uncanny knack for showing up at my parents' house almost immediately after their departure. i came to dread this because bad things happened every time he would show. he also had an uncanny knack for disappearing immediately before their arrival.

i used to think he did this because he wanted his own home, but couldn't afford it, so he borrowed my parents' in their absence.

today, as i was driving home, it occurred to me that maybe he had that uncanny knack because he didn't want me to be home alone.

when i spoke of this to my mother, when i mentioned how irritated he was with me and my reaction when bad things happened at the house, that i'd thought of his visits as more of a hindrance and made my opinion obvious to him, she thought maybe his irritation was because he'd failed to help, to support me.

and i see now how he might've felt as though he was a disappointment to me.

i used to be proud of him. i used to marvel at his strength.

i can't fix that. but it's nice to think that maybe he'd meant well.

this week's wisdom

we are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed--always carrying about in the body the dying of the lord jesus, that the life of jesus also may be manifested in our body (2 corinthians 4:8-10).

last night i dreamt that stupid boy from earlier this year and i were still talking, still friends. i didn't remember it right away when i woke. i've had dreams like this before. not about stupid boy, but about other people i'd like to call friends who weren't actually friends. some of them are people i've known since i was ten. some of them have looked me in the eyes and said they loved me. yeah, i can see that you do. one of the dreams upset me so much upon remembering it that i curled up in my bed, on my side and cried. i'd been up for five minutes, max.

dreams like this leave me feeling hungover.

my inability to be punctual is supremely close to getting me unemployed, as if i can afford that. okay. fine. i am supremely close to getting me unemployed.

my fat ass is supremely close to weighing a hundred-fifty pounds, which i know doesn't sound so bad, except my scrawny, tissue-filled bones and screwed-up ligaments can't handle that weight very well.

i am alone and lonely.

and angry. i'm angry today. and most of this anger is directed toward myself.

i think of all the others out there whose lives are far more challenging than mine. i've friends who are in severe physical pain. i've friends who are dying. i've friends who have family members who are dying. there are children out there who don't believe in the goodness of christmas. there are children out there who don't believe they'll get a warm meal. there are children out there who are being beaten or worse. babies. there are...

this doesn't make me feel any better. it only makes me angrier, actually. angry because then i tell myself i've no right to feel the way i do.

here is where i close my eyes and take a deep breath.

let me love...

seven for santa

December 4, 2009





i would like for it to stop snowing. i live in southeast texas because it's not supposed to snow here. and today, it's snowing. it snowed last year, too. i did not like it then. i do not like it now. make it stop. please. and the stuff you see above, i want those things, too.

i put a new playlist up for you. that should grease the chimney bricks a bit, don't you think?

random acts

December 2, 2009

so there's this woman who comes into our store fairly frequently. i didn't like her that much when i first met her. my impression of her was similar to that of the one i had for most of our regular customers--i thought she was demanding and difficult.

but over the past three years, i've learned that impression is really, really wrong.

she's this really sweet lady. she's got these mannerisms, this tone of voice and facial expressions that calm in seconds. she genuinely cares about people. she's the epitome of good. she's also a really interesting lady. i spent my lunch break one evening discussing costa rica and her travels there.

she's had a rough few months, though, lately. earlier she had her knee replaced. recently, she'd had cortizone injections in her hip. today, she went in for another cortizone injection, but this one was in her back.

last night, she came through my line and bought a few books. one of them was god's wisdom for your every need. i'd commented on it, asked if we had anymore. we didn't, so i took a second to jot down the isbn, then finished ringing her purchase and sent her off to meet her daughter for dinner.

a few minutes later, she came back, smiled at me, said merry christmas and that she'd been wondering what to get me. i told her she didn't have to get me anything. the pleasure of her company was enough, and i meant it. but she insisted that she had to get me something, so she set one of our small plastic bags on the counter. it's folded in half, and i can tell there's a book in there, and she pushed it a little my way and said that it was for me. i told her again that she really didn't have to get me anything. she told me again that she did. that she'd gone an ordered a copy of the book for herself, and she wanted me to have this one.

this one being the book of wisdom.

so touched by her generosity was i that i had to remind myself i was on the sales floor and my other customers could give a rat's ass about me. they just wanted to pay for their books.

so i suck it up and go back to my spiel.

this week's wisdom is thus:

my son, if your heart is wise,
my heart will rejoice--indeed, i myself;
yes, my inmost being will rejoice
when your lips speak the right things

do not let your heart envy sinners,
but be zealous for the fear of the lord all the day;
for surely there is a hereafter,
and your hope will not be cut off. (proverbs 23:15-18)

do not love the world or the things in the world. if anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. for all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the father but is of the world. and the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he woh does the will of god abides forever. (john 2:15-17)

calvin!

November 20, 2009












these are a few of my favorite calvin comics. my heart giggles every time i see them. i hope they make yours giggle, too.

hate hates hating


nine times out of ten, when i'm tanking, at least once i will think let me die. since i was eight i've done this.

yesterday, i was trying to find a happy memory of my childhood. that's a difficult thing for me to do.

this morning, i was watching sunday's episode of brothers and sisters. kevin and scotty were on a quest for the perfect surrogate. kevin was quick to dismiss one because she was a genius but socially inept. how easy it is to brush people like me aside. how hurtful.

all my life this happened. because i'm not capable of being easy, breezy, beautiful cover girl.

i don't remember much of my childhood, except that i was miserable. i can't give you many specifics of the frequent, merciless cruelty i faced everyday. but i can tell you that somewhere in my subconscious there's a catolog...a thick book filled with glossy, colored photos and quick, well-coined descriptions of every slight.

it's impossible to let go of something you can't get your hands on. but when i tank, and i'm asking for death, it's because my subconscious has reminded my conscious of the existence of that book.

not too long ago i began a practice that when i think let me die instead i say let me live. because i haven't, really. i've been lots of places. i've seen lots of things. i've withstood a lot of mental and emotional onslaughts. but there's never really been a spring in my step. i've never felt light or free. the kind of passion i've known has generally been associated with anger and rage. that's not the kind of passion i want to know.

this morning, i made myself think that over and over. let me live. and suddenly, i thought let me love.

let me.

if the world were perfect

November 7, 2009

in addition to these:


my home would also be filled with these:












the notebook

October 31, 2009


so, last sunday, i went to church again because i figured since i was interviewing for a job i'd really like to have, i should probably do some serious praying.

i've a hard time praying during a mass. it feels rude to me to be sending a prayer up to the heavens while one of the deacons or whomever is going down the list of all the things for which or the people for whom the parishioners should pray. you know...for those serving in the military, may they be safe and return home soon...for those who are ill may they recover quickly...for those who have died may they be welcomed in heaven and may their families be at peace. and then they let the parishioners have that second or two to send up their prayers. i never get mine finished in time. so as i'm forming it, the deacon or whomever it is says lord and the people join in with hear our prayer. and i'm thinking but i'm not done with it yet, so how can he hear it?

so i try to finish it, but the priest is blessing the bread and wine, and, again, i feel like it's rude to be talking to god while that's going on.

anyway. last sunday's mass was about asking for what you want. that god knows it, but you have to say it. you have to ask him for it or he won't give it to you.

maybe i've not been as specific as he would like.

maybe i'm asking for the wrong things.

who knows?

i was driving home, and that scene from the notebook where ryan gosling's character, noah, is expressing frustration with rachel mcadams' character, ali, because she can't stand up for herself, can't follow her heart, can't break things off with her fiance because her family approves of him and because she holds him in esteem. he is a good man, after all. she would have a good life with him. but she's in love with noah.

he's so frustrated with her that he throws his hands in the air and asks, repeatedly, what do you want?

i felt like god was doing that to me.

what do i want?

a good man. not a great one. he doesn't have to be great. i want him to have imperfections. i don't care if he treats the hamper like a basketball hoop. i don't care if he spends most of a sunday afternoon on the sofa watching football. chances are really good i'd do the same thing. the more sensitive he is to others, the more my skin crawls. i grew up with two brothers, both of whom have healthy egos. they got those from my father. so i'm used to arrogance. i find it amusing.

what makes a man good? he's interesting. he makes me laugh. he makes me shiver. most of the time, he listens to what i have to say. he tells me when i'm being a pain in the ass. he lets me tell him when he's being an arrogant son of a bitch. he holds me when i need to be reminded that my emotions aren't as big or bigger than me. he lets me sulk and wallow when i need to do so. he understands the necessity of that. he forces me to think of other things when i've been thinking too much. he's somewhat patient--not too much. i don't like being placated. he knows me well enough that i can be myself without any of the filters. and the same goes for him. he's fun, funny, smart, not afraid to work, values his friends, is obsessed with sports. he's spontaneous. i can be comfortable and excited around him at the same time.

i should throw in the physical as well. taller than me. fit. no bald spots. no paunches. no clammy hands. no badly bitten fingernails. i don't care that much what color hair he has, or what color eyes. i do care that he not looked washed out or boring. there's gotta be something striking about his face. i dig color. he should have some.

he doesn't smoke. he drinks responsibly. i don't care what his religion is, so long as it's not fanatical or twisted. he can use language well. not as well as i, no...that'd be pretty hard to do. but he can hold a decent conversation. and when he writes stuff down, most of it's spelled right and is grammatically correct. and he doesn't use things like u for you. i really, really hate that.

he makes more money than me, which isn't hard to do at the present time, but it might not always be that way. hell, i might finish a stupid novel before i turn fifty, which might make my bank account a lot happier, by turn making me a helluva lot happier. but still...i don't want to be the breadwinner. i grew up in old-fashioned household. i like old-fashioned.

i'm not sure i want kids. he'd be okay with that. that's a really hard thing to ask, though. when i was younger, before i knew myself, i wanted four. i still have their names picked out. but i'm thirty-six now. and i know myself. and it's hard to rationalize wanting to care for mini-mes when i can't always care for myself and i'm well-past childbearing years.

mostly, i need laughter and distraction.

i want someone who's not intimidated by intelligence and intensity. i'm not sure a man like that exists.

which brings me to the second thing on the list, just in case the first one isn't possible.

i want a career that best utilizes my talents and traits. one that pays more than thirty-six thousand a year, so that i can support myself. so that i can have my own place.

i can't be more specific on this, because really, i don't have a clue what job that might be. i just know i want something that pays better, with better hours and better benefits. i want my nights and my weekends to myself. i want less social interaction in the workplace, but not so little that i don't see anyone. i used to work at a printing company. i spent my day tucked in the back corner of a warehouse, staring at a computer screen. boring. crazy. pathetic. so i went to another job where i had no desk, no place to hide and too much interaction with others.

you want me to give you a job title, though. you want me to be specific. editor, communications specialist, literary agent...teacher, interior designer, architect. i could give you dozens of jobs that interest me. the trouble is, i could give you dozens of reasons why each of them would be bad for me.

and i really don't care what i'm doing. i care that i enjoy the work, i respect my employer and can support myself doing that work. that's it.

i want an apartment. not a house. because i'm terrified to be alone sometimes. and living in an apartment makes me feel less alone. i want it filled with things from restoration hardware, pottery barn and williams sonoma and the odds and ends i find from other stores here and there.

but again, you want specifics. so...everything in restoration hardware's mission group, which i would have to do some major digging for, because they've now discontinued it. rh's buster chair and its lancaster leather sofa. pottery barn's suede sectional sofa. the entirety of pb's celery sausalito stoneware. its moss green sausalito, again which i'd have to go hunting for. waterford's kells platinum china -- ditto. waterford's araglin platinum crystal. waterford's powerscourt matte silver.

two french mastiff puppies, named george and henry.

a sixty-five shelby and a ten shelby, both black, and an army green jeep wrangler.

a handful of girlfriends...like those i read about in stupid romance novels or see in movies like the women, which was on today.

this is the problem with dreaming...you start thinking of what you want and you get carried away, so you force yourself back to reality and you settle.

right now, i'd settle for the job that pays me well enough so that i could move out of my parents' house and some semblance of a social life.

grief happens

October 2, 2009


i saw love happens tonight. i like this movie. i like it a lot.

it's a story about a man who seems to have overcome his own grief and now preaches to others about the tools he used to do so. but he hasn't overcome it. his grief has made him bitter; he masks that as well, in front of strangers, especially when he's standing in front of those who've traveled from far and wide to get help from him.

he's forced to go to seattle to give one of his seminars. he's really unhappy about being there, and all he wants to do is get the show over with and make the deal that would rocket him into mad crazy success...the type that means national television shows and dvd releases and products that tie-in to the bullshit he preaches.

he's miserable. and then he meets eloise (aniston), a florist who's got really bad luck with men.

the only bad things i've to say about it are that there's one scene out of a whole bunch that's a tad bit cheesy and that i wish they'd used music that's not been used in movies before. i realize that sometimes there's a song that really fits a scene and not using it because someone else already did would be wrong, but with the exception of john hiatt's have a little faith in me, the songs they picked aren't that great. and even then, they used that song in the wrong place.

it's heavy. the writers found the biggest dump truck they could and loaded it up with burke's bullshit and his baggage and that of the people who've sought his assistance. it's a pretty good story, though. those writers gave it humor, too. and despite that heaviness, it's a cute movie.

love happens is rated pg-13 for some language including sexual references. its running time is one hundred-nine minutes.

having said all that...

i miss my brother. grief's a sneaky bastard.

. . .

and if missing him last night wasn't enough, i dreamt i was at a&m, back when he was in the corp, only in this dream he would've been a senior (he got kicked out before that happened, but ... it's my dream, and in it, my brother was good). he was going to be giving some class for his unit on some corp thing, and i, longing to see my brother being good, snuck into his building, to the classroom and started chatting up his fellow cadets (this never would've happened ... back then i was too shy to talk to anyone outside of my family, but hey, it's my dream, and in it, i'm being good, so ...). he hasn't gotten there yet. i chat with a lot of guys. they all say good things about him. i chat with one of his best buddies, one with whom he'd gone to high school (one who now has three children). it's sunny outside. pleasantly warm. a perfect day. and i'm gonna get to see my brother in action. i'm gonna get to see him be the badass i know he can be. but he didn't show, and i woke up before i could figure out why.

of course. why would he be there? he's not here.

. . .

(you gotta love how i go back and forth from one tense to the other. and i never have any idea i'm doing it until i read it weeks later. my mother would not be pleased.)

cardiff bay

September 11, 2009


the boat in the bay made me think of the boats in van gogh's painting.

i liked the way my vacation started with happy boats and finished with them.

amsterdam

September 2, 2009






i spent a day in amsterdam. i hadn't slept on the plane. i got there at eight a.m. and my room wasn't ready. wouldn't be until three. so i went sightseeing on vapors, basically. i walked around a while, had lunch at the hard rock cafe, then went to the van gogh museum and anne frank's house.

i should've done these last two things first. partly because they're both really, really crowded. but more because i was beyond exhausted by the time i got to them.

i took the audio tour at the van gogh museum. part of me was really glad to have done so.

and part of me wasn't.

they say he had epilepsy. my younger brother said he'd thought there'd been talk about him having syphilis.

i say he had an extreme case of bipolar disorder. but i don't know.

more often than not, people will say their favorite works of his are starry, starry night, or ones of the sunflowers or the irises. and they're great paintings.

but they don't move me.

these three, though...

i love their colors. i love their emotions.

the first two make me cry.

the almond blossoms...he painted those for his brother and his wife when he learned they were expecting a child. there's such care in it. such love. but he was in an asylum while he painted it, in more serious throes of agony than he'd experienced. this was done in the last year or two of his life. that he could pull such beauty from him when his mind was being so ravaged...

and then the wheatfields...if memory serves (and i was really, really tired, so it's entirely possible that i've got it wrong, for this and the other), he painted this two days before he died. how bleak. how hopeless.

the narrators of the audio tour said he'd felt he was a burden to everyone.

and here's me, struck by similarity, standing in a too-crowded room, trying to keep the others from seeing me crying.

the boats, though, they're a little better. they make me think of my older brother. let me believe he's in heaven, in a beatifully crafted, brightly colored fishing boat on some grand lake somewhere, with his dog, enjoying the day. this one makes me smile.

a truth universally acknowledged

August 31, 2009


my favorite sweatshirt is one i purchased last year at aggie outfitters at the mall in college station. it's too big for me, but that's one of the reasons i love it. it falls to the middle of my thigh, and the sleeves are long enough that my hands are hidden by the fabric. and it's hooded.

i can get lost in this sweatshirt.

i ain't that scarred when i'm covered up (beth hart -- leave the light on).

and it's thick, good, strong, warm cotton. wearing it is like being wrapped up in a thick, flannel blanket.

but the best thing is the giant 12 imprinted on the front in worn white numbers, trimmed in gold. big, bold blocks of twelfth man.

i wear it when my soul is at its weakest.

i was walking the streets of cardiff at three in the morning, back to the hotel after a quest to find a debit machine so i could get the cash i needed to pay the cab fare for transit from the hotel to the airport.

like any other city, the streets of cardiff at three a.m. look nothing like the streets at three p.m. i marveled at the city's ability to clean up the excessive debris from a drunken night of debauchery in such a short time. if one were to be on those streets at ten a.m., all evidence of the previous night's party would have been swept up and tossed in the garbage. but on this night, as i was walking, i think there might have been two hundred plastic cups broken and crushed on the concrete in front of one bar. i passed a lot of bars.

at three a.m., just like at three p.m., a lot of people are milling about, but the early morning's crowd is dressed dramatically different than the afternoon's, and, instead of anticipating the fine time to come as the afternoon's crowd does, the early morning's bunch are coming down from the high of having that fine time.

and here's me, who's been up for maybe ninety minutes, who's exhausted from a mediocre vacation and a mild depressive episode. i'm shoving my way back to the surface. at least, i'm trying to do so. i've had a good day's rest, and i'm bound for the airport, for family, for home, so i'm a little better.

but better is a fragile thing.

here's me, in my comfort clothes, making my way through the crowds as quickly, as unobtrusively as possible. i'm a little scared, so i don't look at anyone directly. i try not to call too much attention to myself.

but there's that giant, white twelve, and quite a few notice it.

no one says anything. not until i'm a couple of blocks away from the hotel, just around the corner. and i'm thinking almost there, almost there. i'm reveling in the knowledge that i've made it unharmed.

three men walk by me. after they've passed, one of them calls out, hey, twelve! you're not a number! you're a female!

i'm considering saying something when i hear another say, and ugly!

mentally, everything stops. in my head, i just stand there, frozen, shocked, humiliated, hurt, and horrified that my day has begun this way. in my head, i cry. i can almost feel the breath freeze in my lungs and my heart stop, just for a second.

but outside, i appear as though i am unfazed. there's not a hitch in my step that betrays me. there's not a shift in my posture so that my shoulders seem slumped. i keep walking.

it's not normally a shocking sentiment. i've heard this more times, so many more times than i care to recall. it's not new. it's not something i've not told myself more times than i've heard it, in hopes that hearing it would hurt less.

it's that i've not heard it in a while. that i liked my face well enough when i got dressed that morning. that it's been said by someone on the other side of the world.

it's that the sentiment is now universal.

and the sweatshirt, the thing that once provided some small bit of solace, i'll have to get a different one, a new one, for that because this one is now tainted by the taunts of three men i met on the streets of cardiff at three in the morning, and every time i look at it, i'll think of them, of that day, of that ugliness.

poetry

August 10, 2009

lightning
i hate that tingle
the one that comes just before tears fall
hate how it moves like lightning
up, through the body
down the arms to the tips of fingers
back up again, coming to rest in the skull
pounding, like thunder’s rumble
i hate its chill
the one that seems to freeze everything
everything but my heart and the ocean my eyes become
no one can hold me
or whisper words of comfort
the chill strengthening with each strike of that tingle
like the current of a rapid river
then the tears come
an angry rush of waves
falling endlessly to some unseen shore
no one’s here to hold me
to soothe my soul
my arms bring no warmth
no words i could whisper would comfort
for it’s my voice, my soul that aches
no one would hold me
i’m alone
i hate that, too



drain
the structure outside in the park reminds me of a whirlpool, of that night with you, lying on your sofa with your arms around me, your legs entwined with mine, your words beating on, then breaking my happy, idyllic bubble, sinking me, of drowning, my tears leaking onto your shirt, mopped up with your tissue.
a boy whizzes past on his skateboard. the wheels over the concrete sound like water down the drain. there i go. there we go. but everything goes on around me, just as it had
seconds before, reminding me that this was years ago and not yesterday, that i have resurfaced. memories of you pull me
back under, but not as deeply as before, and not nearly as long
there’s laughter, squeals, joy in almost everything. a
girl hangs upside down and
grins. i watch
from inside
and
wish.


night terrors
half past midnight
his body fails him, falls, breaks
his spirit flees
miles away, my parents sleep
more miles, my pain begins
stomach cramps and surliness

two
a stranger finds him
fifty feet from the entrance
broken, face-down, dead on concrete
they sleep
the pain is fierce
i leave my friends for my apartment
the streets are slick with mist
i worry i won’t make it
it won’t rain, but it can’t be dry

three
another stranger, an officer
bound to protect and serve
wakes my parents
they lie in bed holding each other, crying together
i weed my musical garden
stop for a second to admire one of its blooms
a song of loss, of grief, of forced solitude
not even the trees

six
i step outside
smoke a cigarette
white smoke rises and fades into white sky
it won’t rain, but it can’t be dry
i sleep on the sofa

nine
the phone
my father wakes me
my brother’s gone

have another cookie

August 8, 2009

a friend gave me this one. it tastes much better.

we should always remember that we are special and have been called to be a voice of encouragement and affirmation to this generation. many times we hear a word of discouragement, and it keeps us stagnant because we believe the lie that we are not able. what we must remember is that god says all things are possible to those who believe. we must put aside every word that comes our way trying to keep us down and believe what god says about us. the bible says we are victors and not victims, the head and not the tail, we are above only and not beneath. (matthew 17:20) (deuteronomy 28:13)

the lord sees us as a can-do people, but many times we believe what others say about us rather than believing the truth of what god says. be encouraged to take part in the mission that god has for you. let your light shine, your voice be heard, your talents be displayed, and simply follow the path that god has prepared for you. believe in yourself as god believes in you and all things will be possible. (matthew 5:16)

fortune cookies

August 7, 2009


god wants me to know that i can only give away what i already have inside myself. true giving happens when i am overflowing from the inside and cannot help but share, when there is so much love within me that it has to flow to others or i would burst open. there is no thinking involved, no willpower in such sharing. it just flows out. if i have to force myself to be kind, to love, to feel compassion, i've missed the first step of filling in myself with these emotions.

hm.

once upon a time there was a verizon kiosk at the top of the escalator at the talbot's entrance of the mall. this is where i would go to pay my bills and fix the glitches of my cellular. i'd kind of become decent acquaintances with two of the men who worked there.

one of those men and i would discuss, quite frequently, the different ways in which men and women handle relationship complications. more often than not, the things he would share with me about how men think wouldn't be that much of a shock. for example, guys think that having sex fixes everything. no. really?

we'd been talking about a woman's fix. i've mentioned it before, i think. if i've had a bad day or i'm not feeling well, the best remedy is to be held. women like that sort of thing.

which he knew, and he shrugged it off.

so i explained it a little better.

sometimes, my emotions become so intense, so overpowering, that i'm more aware of them than i am my physical presence. it's as though they numb every physical sensation i might have, so i can't feel anything but that emotion. and being held reminds me that however big that emotion might be, it's not bigger than me.

he got this awed look on his face. and then he said, wow. that's deep.

i hadn't planned on writing anything today. well, i never plan on writing anything, to be honest. but i'd told myself i'm not blogging today. i've done a lot of blogging lately, and it kind of wears me out, this thinking, so i try not to do it so often. plus, i was feeling like i'd been a little too serious lately.

but today, i logged onto facebook, and i saw that one of my friends had done this thing -- i'm not really sure what to call it...it's not a quiz, because it doesn't ask any questions...it's more like opening a fortune cookie. i was interested, so i clicked a link and then another, and i got my fortune.

but, i'm pretty sure god knew i knew this already.

generosity and compassion, even kindness sometimes, these are not aspects of my character that require improvement.

but then, maybe that's the point. maybe i'm supposed to make the level of kindness i offer as strong as generosity and compassion.

. . .

this was where it was going to stop, and in so doing, this particular blog, i think, would've been a little lighter, but...then came this:

oh. i forgot. i took some quizzie a while back that said i came across as restrained. i remember thinking it a laughable result at the time. but i've thought about it fairly frequently since then...

my management team thinks i need to work harder on masking my personal thoughts and feelings and focusing on the work at hand. like the moment i walk in the door, all the personal shit should be left outside.

what they don't understand is i do a pretty impressive job of masking it already. i do.

i remember being twenty minutes late to work once because i'd had a really nasty bout with wrath an hour before i was supposed to be there. i scared the crap out of myself. that's how ugly it was. me and wrath, we go round pretty regularly, and it's never, never pleasant. but this time...this time, i laid in bed, raging, and there was this part of me that felt like i was floating above and looking down on my rabid self, and that part of me cried. quiet, slow, slippery tears. it took some time to recover.

so...i can only give away what i have within myself...

generosity, compassion, a decent amount of kindness, sadness, anxiety, fear...wrath.

dammit.

today had been a pretty okay day.