Smudging up your life?

When you erase something on paper, a mark is left. A smudge–remnants of a word or thought that used to be and no longer is worthy. We all have smudges. Some are more apparent than others. Some we are able to write over without notice. Smudges shows that we made a decision–a change. That decision put forth a word, that formed a sentence, that created an organized thought. What we erase directs us to what we write. Smudges do not dictate, but reinforce the fact that under the story that was written there was another.

Paper is what our public lives are. We write, draw, and erase. The finished product is presented in the way that we want. But, that does not mean we write or draw the truth of our reality. No, life is made up of highs and lows. And it’s true, the highs are high, and the lows are damn low. But when we look at our life as a whole, we calculate the overall happiness that we’ve felt. Then, we recalculate according to how we want to feel about it all. So, we erase what we want, and we accentuate what we want. The only person who knows the truth about the smudges is the writer. So, as a writer, an artist, any living person really, it is our duty to ourselves to understand the differences between the smudges and that which we replace them with. Understanding what we don’t want is just as important as knowing what we do want. They go hand in hand and without the other we are just acting and reacting to a feeling, or an emotion really, that has no basis–no foundation. This is where the lost stay lost. This is the rut that we can’t seem to get out of. This is the bad mood we can’t swing.

Being true to yourself is what could propel you into the direction of the person you want to be. Or, at least a better version of yourself. Because one version isn’t enough. We deserve to be the best, and we often hinder ourselves ignoring why we created the smudges in our life. Some smudges are necessary and crucial for development, and understanding these smudges may be more imperative to our well being. Undeniably, what we write is what the world sees. What we know about ourselves can not only tell the world a better story, but a more detailed one. And isn’t that what life is all about? The details.

It comes down to the same ‘ol thing. Say what you want to say. Mean what you say. Know why you are saying it. I think this is one of those lessons that we consistently relearn and adapt to as we change and grow. And, I think it’s harder than it seems.

It’s the ducks!

We’re all a bunch of phonies. As Holden Caulfield might say.

It’s about this time of year that I re-read my favorite book, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.

I can’t really tell you why it’s my favorite. Maybe it’s my copy of the book, which is older than me and the print looks like it’s been stamped on. Its spine is all cracked and the pages have turned a bit golden. The book is kind of about nothing, but then everything at the same time. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean, and for some reason I’m compelled to pick it up every year.

I think it’s because of Holden, the main character. I like the way he talks. He’s real, you know? Like he sees things as they are. No bullshit. Just people, life, and ducks— A conversation about ducks I think is the most interesting thing in the book. And I’ll let you in on something, it’s not that interesting. Like at all. BUT. It makes you think. About, ducks. About, why ducks? And then, usually, the next thought you have is something profound. It’s weird. It’s a weird book. Real though.

And let’s be real, people need to be more real. I see it everywhere all the time—people putting on faces that aren’t theirs. Cover ups that aren’t covering up shit, only making it more obvious. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Know what you’re saying. Original thought is often easily misplaced when having a conversation. We react how we think we should too often rather than how we really feel. We reply with “I’m good,” when asked how we are because, well hell, what else are we going to say? This is us. Phonies. Because we are never just “good.”

So, learn something from Holden. Go find out where the ducks go during the wintertime, maybe.

 

 

 

 

Hot Tamale

She sat there, staring at her newly painted wall. This color made her feel good, happy. The boldness of the color made her feel strong. Despite the murmurs from her mother about how it’s “too much,” she smiled, happy with her decision.

She got up from her bed, the wood floors were cool, the air heavy. Summer nights in this house were hot and humid. Old windows allowed little air flow. Only a breeze of chilled air whooshed out from her mother’s bedroom. The window air conditioning unit made the air smell cold.

Tired, she turned into the bathroom. It smelled of toothpaste and bathwater. The bath mat was damp on the ground. Her hair felt the humidity. She looked in the faded mirror, and splashed her face with cold water. It felt good, so she did it again. Eye closed, she grabbed for the towel hanging beside the sink—water dripped off her face onto the floor. She held the towel to her face for awhile, rubbed her eyes with it, and hung it back up. Her reflection showed a red spotty girl. Eyes puffy, skin shiny, she was ready for some sleep. Exhaling, she removed her contacts, a ritual that had become an annoying habitual bed time routine.

She walked back into her “hot tamale” red room. The room glowed like a quiet candle. Eyes blurry, she spotted the outline of her glasses on the dresser. Placing them on her dewy face, everything came into focus. Her room felt new. Now, opportunity is not a characteristic typically offered from a tiny cramped bedroom, but indeed, that is what she felt from it. The color. The god damn crazy hot tamale color—it was what she wanted. In that moment and in every moment after that she loved that color. 

She turned around and flicked the light switch off. She stood there for several seconds in the dark. Letting her eye adjust, she felt her way to her bed. Feeling the coolness of the sheets, she threw the covers to the floor. Throwing both legs onto the bed at once, she exhaled, laid her head back, and closed her eyes. For once, in a long time, she immediately drifted off into a dream. She could feel herself sinking into her bed, her pillow, as she drifted further. Darkness took over the colors of her awake mind. But soon new colors emerged as her reality slept.

Cutting Ties

Knot makers. This is what we are.

We loop and pull. We find ways to make sense of things. To feel like we’re not just flying in the air. We tie ourselves to people. To places. To things. Our knots ground us. Connect us. Secure us.

What we don’t realize is that these knots are made of string. They can be cut. Just because you twist yourself into something you don’t know how to untie doesn’t mean it’s permanent. Eventually this knot you created finds its ends in other hands. It gets pulled tighter and tighter by outside forces. So tight that it digs into your skin when you pinch it. It feels like it’s a part of you. But it’s not. It’s an extension of your life. A direction that’s been set. A choice.

One cut, one decision, can free you. You can leave that mess of a knot behind. Let yourself float in the wind a bit. Eventually you’ll catch onto something new. You can choose what to tie yourself to. You can choose what to cut yourself away from. You choose.

Finding the scissors, now that’s a whole other strength.

Lost in the clutter of your life, the desire for change can become misplaced. We find ourselves frustrated with what we have. We put blame on things we don’t understand. We become complacent in our own ignorance.

Until we look in the junk drawer. We stumble upon a tool, an idea, that can show us a craving we didn’t realize we had. The scissors you now hold in your hand empowers you. You see what it takes. One cut of a knot can change your view. Once you do, the world is below you. You can finally see what is around you––where you can tie a new knot. You have options.

 

 

The illusions we treasure.

People don’t say what they want to say.

People don’t say what they need to say.

People say what they think they should say, and people do what they think they should do.

So what does that make us?

Short answer. Delusional.

We live in a world where we are told we have total control, but do we really? Did you tell the person you just fell in love with, that you love them? No. Because who in their right mind could fall in love that fast? Better hide it wait for a more reasonable time to share your feelings. Saving face is what we live for. God forbid we respond to a text message in less than a minute. The person on the other end might actually think we care.

We’re all fucking crazy.

We live in a world where we feel more connected to–more empowered from– our phones than actual people. And even then, we use our phones as a crutch to lean on so we don’t have to expose our vulnerabilities.

This selfie says, “I’m doing great! Actually, I ‘m more than great. I’m doing better than you, and look how awesome my face looks today!” That’s what we want people to see–to think. That we are fine, when in fact, fine is the word keeping others at bay from us. Don’t get too close, under the bullshit is a whole lot of ugly that we don’t like looking at. So we give it a new face. One that shows only what we want others to see, what we think they want to see. And what’s really messed up about it is…it’s easy.

We keep our phones on the table during dinner. We stare at our screens when we are in a room full of people. We are sitting right across from each other, but we might as well be miles away because we can still ‘like’ each others pictures–each others lives. We look at our views through, a pretty decent, cell phone camera. Our phones have literally become the middle man of our life. When did we become complacent with shit like this? When did we find more enjoyment in posting on social media, than we actually do taking the goddamn picture.

I can’t preach like I’m any different though. I use Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat more than I should. I feel the connection to the world that exists in the imaginary cloud. I feel the urgency to share the good moments of my life. I contribute to the illusion. But that doesn’t mean I’m not sick of it all. Because really, who the fuck cares what I had for lunch? Short answer. Not even me.

It’s stupid the amount of pictures of food I have on my Instagram. It’s stupid the amount of selfies I have of myself–like just me, close up, blurry background.  Honestly, who the fuck cares about what I look like today. Short answer. Not even me.

So why do we do it? Why do we let this imaginary world be our reality?

Maybe because it is easier to face than the truths of our lives. Definitely.

It’s easier to click a share button than to actually go do the adventure written in the article. It’s easier to read about how your relationship might be fucked, than actually LOOKING at it. Hell, it’s easier to end a relationship because of what you read, than actually reading into the person you’re sharing the damn bed with.

People are real. The warmth from our bodies is real. The words we say are the result of our thoughts so why don’t we make them mean something. We are limited in the ways we are able to connect with this world, and express ourselves to others. What we say and do is all we have. But these days we don’t say or do anything.

Except click an imaginary button, that who really cares about? Short answer. Nobody.

 

Does it have to make sense?

Three months. It has taken me three months to feel like the bed I’m sleeping in, is in fact, mine. The realism of being away from my everything–my family, friends, and familiarity is sinking in like falling in quicksand. My foot got stuck in the mud–well, more purposefully than stuck–and sooner than I thought I was knee deep. Standing there, looking at my surroundings, I can see how I could call this new place my home. But, before I get myself to feel absolutely good about it, my head is under the dirt. Just in the moments before, I found myself questioning things–ok, everything. I am in the ground sucking for the air I once knew.

On the less dramatic side, you could say that moving to a different state hits ya surprisingly. Surely, I thought I would be a wreck being away from everything.  But, moving wasn’t the hard part. Getting a job wasn’t the hard part. Being on unfamiliar ground wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was finding out three months in, that I may not be in as good emotional shape as I thought. Sure, I’m a strong gal. And, life is great. I am blessed and I am grateful. But life is different. Life is tough, and sometimes life hurts. Being all on my own? Body and mind… It’s something. Something. Something. It’s something I know I wanted, and something I know I needed. Need.

Learning things about yourself, that’s where it happens. That’s where you realize that you may have done the right thing for yourself.

What really got me is realizing that every day doesn’t have to be a good day, and you don’t have to feel good all the time.

But uhhhh that’s all I’ve been trying to do!–making the most out of my days. Running away from the sadder feelings that are in me somewhere, and I run fast…

But all good must come to an end. I guess. Sometimes.

And you know what? When I did confront those flitterings of sad feelings, I felt sad. As I should. But what was surprising is that it also felt good.

Realizing how you really feel about things feels good. Embracing it, that feels even better. Running away from the inner workings of myself left me confused, about everything. And truth be told, I am still confused about the whole shit of it all. But it feels good to know that I am on the same page with myself. At least as much as I can be at the moment.

And isn’t that enough?

After I pull myself out of the quicksand called life, this new air feels…great.

 

The girl who wakes up

Once there was this girl. She sat up all night because her mind would not stop minding. Minding about what, she didn’t even know. But, she knew enough to know it felt good. Good to be there. Right there.

Zooming and looming, her thoughts laid across her face. Sprawled in carelessness. Who is to judge her, she didn’t care.

Wild, she felt. Uneasy, she felt. Electric, she felt.

Steadily, she will eventually fall into sleep. Content with her last thought; enough to let herself go. Just for the moments where she can lightly dance on top of her reality.

The morning chiming hums her to life. She gets up, and heavily walks to open her door. The outside breeze wraps around her. Her warm, safe, and lonely ebode gets wooshed up and twirled around.

 

The happenings of your mind

It’s the sound your mind makes. When you drift off into yourself, and reality gets pushed behind. It’s something you don’t notice until you are snapped back into realness.

Inspiration can be found in anything you find beautiful. Whether it be an ugly beauty, or the definition of it, it can stir something within you. Sometimes its effect is great. Sometimes it’s meant to stay in that moment. Wherever you find it, keep it close. Let it ignite your ambitions, and steer your flight.

Lights connecting in your brain, ideas begin to shine through the rest of it all. You get lost in the paths intertwining, creating a maze of thoughts–the kind where there’s no way out.

You know, it’s kind of like those drawings you would make as a kid–at least the kind I would make. Where you make lines and shapes on a page of paper without picking up your utensil, and you find a way to connect it all. Then, you fill in each shape made with different colors, creating a map of colors. That’s what I imagine creativity taking shape from inspiration looks like.

And my favorite part about it? No two drawings look the same. It’s like a snowflake but cooler. It’s created solely from your beautiful mind.

You have it in you. Everyone does. At different extents. Different pictures get painted. Some people use colors that others don’t. That’s what makes thought so interesting.

Embracing it is a whole ‘nother level of beauty. That’s the kind that inspires others. People living with this breadth are my favorite kind of people. Life seems better when you surround yourself with thinkers.

 

It happens in a moment

Life as we know it. What is it exactly? You think you know what it feels like to be in whatever life you have, then BOOM, it–oh so suddenly–is something different. How can time make life feel so different? How can something that was once so familiar become to feel so distant, and odd? Realizing it tho. That’s what’ll get ya. The feeling comes so quickly. You know, it’s kinda like the feeling you’d have trying to catch butterflies while running down an avalanche. Super unsettling. Super strange. Super unstoppable. No answers as to why or how. Just that feeling. And then, BOOM, you’re pulled back into your current reality…you look up from the picture the ground painted and move forward.

Something you thought you wanted, suddenly seems unworthy. Something you were so unsure about, suddenly has a distinct direction.

The kitchen floor your bare feet scuffle on is now different. Your daily routine starts to actually resemble a routine. Your waist is thinner. Your views are more colorful. People leave. People come.

 

Life gets different.

 

And you adapt to it; unaware of the smells and sights you used to know drifting further and further away from your consciousness. It’s only until a moment, a moment that the life you know dissipates, where something is catapulted back into your mind.

‘Hmm. That feels like something I used to know.’

But you can’t keep onto it. As quickly as it comes, it goes. All that’s left is that feeling of uneasiness because you know you just missed something. It’s like a dream that you know you vividly dreamt, but when you wake you suddenly can’t remember a lick of–only the lingering feeling of it. Floating in this awkward presence, your past life rubs with your current. Just enough to remind you that you lived once before.

From the Storyteller’s Daughter

You taught me to laugh with life. You taught me silliness. You taught me to have big goals. You taught me to live purposefully. You taught me that being me is exactly how I should be. You taught me that I deserve the best, and nothing less than a King.

You taught me all this with more than just your words, but with your actions–how you live your life.  I learned from watching you. Watching you be kind and helpful. Watching you take on projects bigger than yourself and thrive. Watching you make a positive impact on your community as well as everyone you meet. Watching you teach. Watching you be a father. Watching you is an inspiration.

You choose to live your life full of color. Not many people can truly say that for themselves. To me, you always go above and beyond. You are the best of the best in my eyes.

You are a storyteller. At home, in class, and on stage. Your stories are personal and told with awesome gusto. It’s always like the first time you’re telling it. Watching you speak is thoroughly enjoyable, but watching your audience is almost better. People want to hear you speak, I can tell. Eyes are full with excitement, and smiles are ear to ear. You touch people’s hearts and speak to them with a bigger message. All storytellers have something to say, but  you emanate a special aura in the room the way you do it. It’s hard to explain. It’s one of those things you understand when you witness it in person.

Your stories are so great because of where they come from–experience. You experience life at a much larger level than a lot of us, and your stories enable us to see life like you do for that moment. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s serious. It’s always beautiful in its own way. Your view of life is one of my favorites. Your view of what I am capable is what pushes me every day. You believing in me is something I cherish, and don’t take for granted. You make me want to be great–to do great.

Today is your birthday, and we get to celebrate your greatest story–your life. Along with everyone who feels they’re lucky to know you, I want to wish you the happiest and best birthday yet! Because every year gets better than the last, daddy.