a letter to me at fifteen

November 22, 2011

you will want to quit swimming at the conclusion of your junior year. i'm okay with you doing this, because you will have been coached by a lardass geek rather than your current guru. but when the guru coach from mccullough high school comes to you after having heard of your retirement and asks that you join his masters team, say yes. without hesitation. and thank him for thinking so much of your abilities.

your knees will give out on you. it will hurt. you will not know physical pain as great as this. but you won't remember the extent of that pain a decade after they've cut. just that it was godawful. so take advantage of the fact that your knees work well enough right now. run. run lots. because there will come a time you won't be able to do this.

your mother is going to insist that you go look at stephen f. austin and cottey college. she is going to do this because she believes that you will get lost at a&m, that you only want to go there because your brother is there. i don't know about the lost bit ... i can't tell you what will happen should you go there. but i damned well know your wanting to go has nothing to do with his presence there and everything to do with the fact that you love that university more than life itself.

i know you're tired. i know you're angry. and ashamed. and disgusted with yourself. you've a right to be. you're entitled to it. but you're entitled to be happy, too. i need you to not rely so much on attaining goals that are the norm, like marriage and family. if you continue on this current path of yours, this trajectory, if you choose this adventure, it will not end the way you'd like. you will be single and childless. because that exhaustion and anger and revulsion will slowly, slowly erode all that which makes you good.

you are not normal. stop trying to be.

your brother, by the way, is not perfect. stop treating him as though he is a god, an ideal. he is flawed, just like you. there will come a time where you will feel inclined to tell him not to call you. you will regret doing this. let him know how much you appreciate him. every day, if possible. he will piss you off, moreso than anyone else. don't give up on him. you will regret doing this, too.

contrary to what your peers have told you, there will come a time in which men will find you attractive. it will not be soon. you will have to wait a long, long time for this. but someday, a man's gonna want to get his hands on you. i know. it's hard to imagine. when that time comes, don't be so hasty. yes, i know. patience is not your strong suit. at all. wait. just wait. you're gonna be so excited that it's happening that you'll rush things. and nobody likes to be rushed. least of all you ... so ... just ... wait.



money is not your friend.

you don't have a lot of friends, by the way. people don't necessarily outgrow their adolescent selves. stop expecting them to do so. it won't happen. you have such a high moral ground, most of the time. i know you doubt that right now. i know you've made some choices lately that have inspired you to question just how good a person you are. don't let these experiences cause you to think differently.

stop praying for death. it's not gonna happen any time soon. you're mostly depressed lately. it will be significantly worse in your twenties. significantly. it will be terrifying at times. but you will get through it. every time.

it doesn't mean you're weak. you're not. stop letting others opinions of you cause you to feel this way.

focus on your gifts.

draw. write. sing.

you're gonna be curious about smoking, too. don't be. it'll take you a really long to time to kick the habit. and quitting sucks. also, quit drinking all that goddamned coke. your teeth are gonna turn out like dad's. you're welsh and english, idiot! what do you think's gonna happen when you guzzle as much of that crap as you do. crowns? and root canals? they're not cheap. imagine what you could buy with seven hundred bucks! brush. and floss. every freaking day.

oh! and that cabin in basalt? they're gonna build a fucking apartment complex or some such crap across the river, right in front of yall's cabins, and screw up that lovely view. (it's been a while since i've seen it, but it looks a helluva lot like the hideous thing in the photo above), and they're gonna start developing a significant number of commercial properties in the area. so it won't be supremely-small-town, colorado anymore. it'll be an annex of aspen, sort of. and it's gonna lose all its charm. so take tons of pictures. there'll come a point you won't even be able to go there anymore. fight like hell to see that doesn't happen.

your aunt marge and mema jo have set aside a nice chunk of change for you to edumacate yourself. you can do a helluva lot better than a two point three grade point average. and every time i utter those words, i feel like i'm spitting on their graves. it's a damned fine gift they've given you. cherish it.

it doesn't matter what you do. it only matters that you do it well.

there are stories inside you. don't be afraid to share them.

you are brilliant. you are.

hang in there.

. . .

and in other news, i found this neato-bandito christmas project today.

the twenty-eighth question

November 17, 2011

a few months ago, my blogging friend lacie over at creative attempts was kind enough to pose a question for me for the griffin inquisition, a creative memoir project that began in college.

the thing lacie most wanted to know about me is thus:

are you inspired by anyone that you would be embarrassed to admit? 

for my answer, click here.

instead of my showing you samples of old posts from her site, like i usually do, i've invited her to post on picky. here she will tell you about oula, a nifty new way to shed some of those dreaded pounds.

so, welcome, lacie, and thanks for guest posting.  

If you really knew me you would know ...

Hello to my friends that have followed me here and my new friends via picky. I am so excited to be guest posting here today!!

So I have been wanting to blog about this for a really long time, but I think it’s the hardest to write about something personal that you love because you expose a part of yourself, but here it goes ...

Let me preface this by saying loud and clear that I have never done anything like this, and I am quite possibly one of the most uncoordinated people on the planet. That being said, if you really knew me you would know that I have become absolutely obsessed with something called Oula. If you haven’t heard about this, it is a cardio dance class that is literally one of the most fun things (especially exercise-related) that I have ever done. It is filled with top 40s music, and I feel like it is somewhere that I can let everything else go and rock out and let the music move me. I leave the classes feeling energized, happy and excited. How many times can you say that after you have been sweating like crazy at the gym for an hour?

Yes, this is me. Ugh. I am so not photogenic, but I was part of a project where we were photographed doing some of the Oula movements, and it was actually a blast.

In my head when I am dancing I look like this ... (p.s. this is not me. it is the founder and creative director of the program, and she is AMAZING)

But I am pretty sure I look more like Elaine from Seinfeld (if you saw that episode you will know what I mean) ...

The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to be a great dancer to go to this class and have it change something inside of you. It is amazing stress relief and great cardio, obviously, but more than that I feel like it is just plain good for my energy. How cheesy, I know, and I sound like an infomercial, but there it is, friends. I couldn’t imagine my week without this as part of my routine.

something wicked this way comes

November 6, 2011

one of my blogging friends posted on her page the other day that she basically kept the dark and twisty stuff to herself. that her blog was not a place for that. she wanted her page to be fun and friendly.

there are days where i wish like hell i could be one of those girls.

but unfortunately, i am not. i have been battling a pretty nasty bout of depression the past month or so. it isn't letting up. or i'm not strong enough to combat it. or both.

i don't have a social life to distract me. i don't have that luxury because i am pathetically socially inept. i am not like her. or any other woman, for that matter, who can contain the ugly under a lovely mask of sunny.

so the world would assume, anyway.

there are things i see in my head that i've never seen in person. horrifying things. tormenting things. things i don't want to know so well. i don't want to know if what i've imagined is better or worse. i don't want the visions to become realities. when that happens, the images stay with me forever. they don't become so clouded by and, therefore, insignificant with time. they are as vibrant in memory as they are at the time of their occurrence.

the trouble with having a mind that is affected by mental instability is that you're constantly battling those visions. doing your damnedest to see that they remain things imagined. and the more you struggle, the harder it is to protect yourself, your world.

i see horrible, horrible things.

it is for this reason that being home alone very nearly paralyzes me with fear. it is for this reason that i am so cognizant of suffering. i am incredibly, acutely aware of trauma and its effects.

most people believe me to be too nice. i lent a friend who had just delivered twins some movies while she was cooped up in a hospital bed.

i've lain on those beds six times, four that i can recall. the first two happened before my second birthday. and every time it was to correct a flaw. and every time my only visitors were my immediate family and my doctor(s). it sucks to be stuck in a sterile, white room with monitors and wires and that stench of hospital with so few distractions.

i had a majority of my movies stored in a portable case. i'd meant to give her that. it should've been a quick thing. run home, run upstairs, snatch it from the floor at the foot of my bed, and run back. but no. my room was trashed, like always. and i'd moved it, but couldn't remember where i'd put it, like always.

so a twenty minute trip became an hour as i filled a large, brown paper bag with dvds.

when i got there with my bag full of plastic cases, she called me crazy and said i was too nice.

there are times when i feel as though niceness is an insult.

but it's important to me that i be nice. because there is such violence in me. i am capable of doing some godawful things. in my mind, i've hurt people i love. and the more i love them, the more pain i've imagined causing them.

so i cling to kindness like a lifeline, a fragile tether tying me to a dingy rocked by a hurricane.

there are things in this world i no longer want to understand. i used to wonder how someone could abuse a child. how a man or woman could harm a toddler for being a toddler, especially one who idolizes that adult.

i wondered and wondered and wondered. and then, one day, as i was caring for my niece and nephew, i got one of those terrifying visions.

and thanks to the demons in me, i no longer need to wonder. i've a very good idea of what would compel an adult to hurl a helpless three-month-old against a far wall.

not that i've done it. i would never. i would commit myself if such a thing ever came so close to becoming a reality.

and i'm careful not to be in a room alone with those babies. and i'm not going to teach, because i'm confident that i am not strong enough to handle a roomful of children by myself. i don't trust me in there. so all that waffling i'd been doing? i shouldn't have wasted my time with it.

still, when i see someone drag a child across a floor so fast and with such force that his head is whacked harshly against a wall ... when that person laughs at his cries and assigns the blame for his injury to him, it's damned near impossible for me to sit silently.

but sit i must. because god forbid a childless woman comment on the care another does or does not provide for a child.

and i've yet another painful memory crowding my all-too-troubled noggin.

someone asked me once what i was most proud of accomplishing.

masking the violence in my soul.

i've been told my smile is amazing. i've been told i am too kind. so i can't shove the sadness down far enough. but the other ... no one will know just how bad that shit is. this is the best glimpse of that you'll ever get.

so this is my prayer today:

this week's wisdom

November 4, 2011

psalm twenty-seven
1 the lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall i fear? the lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall i be afraid?

2 when the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3 though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will i be confident.

4 one thing have i desired of the lord, that will i seek after; that i may dwell in the house of the lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the lord, and to enquire in his temple.

5 for in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6 and now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will i offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; i will sing, yea, i will sing praises unto the Lord.

7 hear, o lord, when i cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8 When thou saidst, seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, thy face, lord, will i seek.

9 hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, o god of my salvation.

10 when my father and my mother forsake me, then the lord will take me up.

11 teach me thy way, o lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

12 deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

13 i had fainted, unless i had believed to see the goodness of the lord in the land of the living.

14 wait on the lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, i say, on the lord.