Be Brave

I’ve been rather nomadic most of my 29 years and that loosely translates to some people know me, but few know me well. The irony is that I wish people knew me better, but I very rarely give anyone the opportunity to.

Here’s the rub of it:

Humans are social animals. Survival instincts have instilled within us the absolute necessity of requiring community so that we can thrive. As we’ve become more and more intelligent and more aware, some of us have gone about our lives thinking that we don’t need anyone else to survive. Ego has really done a number on us.

But, I think we can all agree that isn’t true.

Like many of us, I’ve built within me defense mechanisms to keep out perceived intruders – which are any human thing with a pulse and functioning brain. I have impossible standards for myself that I often never meet and those standards are then translated to how I deal with people and what I expect from them. The moment I fail will be the moment others will also be allowed to fail, to disappoint me and to inflict pain – and that just won’t do. I’ve dealt with enough pain in 29 years that I sometimes feel one more battle wound will be the death of me. Dramatic, I know. But emotionally, I’m just spent.

I haven’t had close friends because people aren’t perfect. We will hurt each other. We will let each other down. We will fall. And sometimes, that pain can feel overwhelming. It’s hard to know who will help pick you up in the aftermath. Life is hard. But I think it’s fair to say we’re all doing the best we can.

If you’re finding that this world is particularly cold, isolating, and harsh, I invite you to open a door in that wall you’ve built around yourself. I can promise you that it will hurt; I can promise that for a while you won’t understand why you ever did such a crazy thing.

But I also promise you won’t be alone doing this really scary task. I am trying too; my charge to myself is to let a few more trusted people see me fall, and maybe help me. There are two who have watched me spin out over the past two years, who have seen the dirty, broken pieces of my inner self and that is scary business. It’s incredibly terrifying to be so vulnerable and raw and honest – to trust them to not judge, begrudge, or cast me out because of my humanity. They have loved me and guided me in my nastiest moments, when maybe I thought that I would have left, too.

Dear

It wasn’t easy

Every step was heavy

Dragging myself from you

Denying your pleas

It wasn’t easy

 

I wish I hadn’t thought

That I could ever know what’s best for you

You were strong enough for me

I wish I hadn’t thought

That you deserved easy

 

I deleted every email

I tried to erase you

But within me,  lives every memory

Your fingers in my hair

Your even timbre, delectable eloquence

 

I reasoned that I was undeserving

The guilt too weighty to bear

I thought she would love you better

I wish I’d listened to you

You were strong enough for me

 

 

 

 

 

Praying for Us All

The cold lately has had a way of pulling from me the most apathetic of moods. The past two years I’ve noticed a listlessness, a disinterest in almost everything. It’s as if the moment the first frost strikes, a switch has been flipped and the light I strive to keep on is temporarily broken – until spring springs again.

The first frost here was Thursday evening, November 12. I took Friday off from work and spent the day tending to chores – I think I was mostly happy. Mostly busy.

Perusing Facebook before bed is a nighttime ritual (a poor one, I know), and as I was scrolling, doing a final check and finishing up bits and pieces of conversations, I see one or two status updates mentioning “Praying for Paris.” I’m a curious person, naturally, but a few more scrolls and a quick Google search and the story unfolds before my eyes.

Terrorists attack Bataclan, a venue hosting a band, Eagles of Death Metal, and by the end of the weekend, the total dead comes to 129, 352 injured.

129 innocents. Not military members. Not Yazidi. Not Christians. Just people, enjoying live music, eating dinner, savoring life.

129 people who do not get to enjoy the holidays or ring in 2016. They will never know if the world was able to unite and take down Daesh (ISIS/ISIL).

I have friends who have vacationed or studied abroad in the City of Light, but I myself have not had the good fortune of crossing that particular city off of my Bucket List. But my soul cried for Paris.

For Beirut, Lebanon – another Daesh target –  where 43 lives were lost on November 12th.

For Garissa University in Kenya, who lost 147 Christians, attacked in April by al-Shabaab, another Islamist terror group.

I know that this is bigger than just Daesh, al-Shabaab, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. I know that I want to fix it all, to save all the children from the pain and suffering of the cruel actions and decisions of men who do not know their names, let alone their pain.

Part of my sadness comes from knowing I cannot save them, that for all the good I want to do, I’m not a superhero and I’m not a politician or the leader of an army. I have a voice, but it is but one in a sea of many.

France has responded swiftly to the attacks, having already launched an attack on Daesh strongholds in Syria. I wish that there was some other way – America has been at war since 2001. But it isn’t just us, and it never was just us.

I’m afraid that the only language terrorists speak is violence, war, pain, suffering.

I know I spent most of my Saturday watching one daughter play basketball and another daughter cheer and I know I spent most of my weekend in a foggy haze, unable to comprehend the atrocity of Daesh, and their unceasing proliferation of hate, fear, pain, and destruction. For the whole of Saturday, I was here but not here because my thoughts were with how blessed and fortunate I am, we are, to live where we live, to be able to do what we do on a day to day basis, and how all that we worry about is so trivial compared the Syrian child who sleeps in the dust, unsure of where his next meal is coming from or the Afghani girl who may not get an education.

I’m still praying for the world.

Hello again

Oh, it’s been awhile since I’ve written – here or anywhere. I’ve finally finished River Boys and it will be submitted some time in the next few days for a short short story contest. Though I am proud of the Wolf and I –  she is unfinished and requires more time to coalesce – I am fully in love with River Boys because it feels complete. It is the first story that I’ve ever felt was whole just as it is, every word sings with meaning and purpose. To me, it is perfect.

Life has been interesting this past month and I’ve relished the busy-ness of it. My kids are all doing something to cultivate personal growth and community involvement and by proxy, I am becoming more involved in a town I wasn’t so sure I belonged. I, too, have been afforded the opportunity to grow into myself – due to the grace and openness of friends and family and a new yoga home. I am making my place.

More than anything lately, I’m gaining a sense of clarity around who I really am and what I really want and the lengths I’m willing to go to get it.  I’m finding validity in who I am – this creative, sometimes spastic, multi-directional, emotional entity – and coming to peace with being imperfect and human. I know that’s probably a strange statement but so many of us feel that way without being able to formulate the words to express just that.

I’m excited.

Are you?

If not, find that which excites you and go after it. You deserve as much.