Posted at 10:00 am
I’m sitting here now, struggling to re-acquaint myself with my keyboard. Not in the way like I’ve forgotten where the keys are placed – I’ve spent nearly every day of my life in front of a computer in one place or another, for one reason or another. But in the way that old friends who fell away are suddenly face to face with each other again, poised to reunite with tears and excitement, held back by that string that runs through the soul – that tiny little vein of doubt. “What if we can’t, anymore?” “What if the magic is gone and we can start hanging out again but there will always be this bitter and sharp edge, and the resentment will grow and then one day…one day where there was only the dull ache of bittersweet nostalgia there is now open hate?”
So here I sit. My fingers work across unfamiliar keys, tentatively, whispering how I still want to be friends. My muse may have left a long time ago, but I never stopped thinking, stopped dreaming, and at some point I realize that every relationship takes work, and if we fell away then I’m at least partially to blame. But I’m here now and I don’t want to be afraid of the what if’s – I want to explore them. Forgive me for going away, for not trying; forgive me for my heart’s awkward beats as I try again – I watch too much slam poetry.
I’m here now. And I know that we can never get back to the way we were – dancing effortlessly over the language of every great story. But this can still be my life’s love letter, if you’re willing to try – I am willing to try.
Posted at 9:00 am
Such a big question, if you really ponder it. We all know that failure is how we grow, how we test ourselves and become stronger, but knowing how necessary failing is doesn’t make it any less intimidating. No one likes knowing they’ve been unsuccessful – it’s unattractive, feels ridiculously inefficient and throws up mental barriers like nobody’s business. Against such foes, “You need failure to grow!” feels like a really rusty sword.
It takes some time, to reach a point where you can ask this question and allow yourself the time and mental space to actually answer it. At first it feels like a cheap attempt to bolster dying dreams, at least until you reach the actionable point – the moment when you transition from mere pondering into the leap.
In the end, this question is really about two things: conquering fear and stripping away the procrastination. So ask yourself what you would do if failure were not even a possibility? Then find the right cliff to leap off of.
Posted at 9:00 am
This year is getting away from me, and somehow despite that I’m always keenly aware of April. My year does not run January to December, it runs April to April – the closing and beginning of new cycles. There are days quickly approaching that I count down to all year, caught in pointless thoughts and memories that I couldn’t let go of even if I wanted to.
There’s already so much about to happen in the next 30 days, and here I am adding more. But this is my year. That’s something I’ve been promising myself since 12:01am January 1st. 2014 I was broken. 2015 I was a little less broken. 2016 I recovered. 2017 is where I’m going to discover a new me.
So here’s to the new year, still rotating around the days that have shaped me the most – the ones that happened to me and the ones that I make happen.
Let’s write. ❤
Posted at 2:03 pm
Royal purple morning glory, late summer 2016
Do you guys know what today is? It’s the end of a life chapter. I’ve known it was coming for almost two weeks now, and up until a couple of hours ago, I was approaching it with a mix of excitement and trepidation, trying to enjoy my suddenly finite free time. I was sure that when I got to today, I’d be nervous and jittery and scared, but now that I’m here… everything is okay. Today isn’t my last day of freedom. It’s the final deep breath before a new adventure starts.
Don’t laugh at me, but the reason for my whimsical mood is that I’ve gotten a new job. Without having actually worked it yet, I can’t say with certainty that it will be everything I hope it will be, but from this side looking it, I’m super excited. Finding, accepting and actually wanting this position is more than a career redirect. This is my next step to finding myself again after Eevee. It’s the newest way that I’m going to remind myself daily that I’m not just waiting anymore, I’m living. This job represents a new Whitney, still scarred and bruised, but pushing back to her feet.
I’m not going to change the world. Just my corner of it. But isn’t that how every one of our stories starts? With someone leaving home or coming to town? Don’t ever forget that we’re penning our own stories, every day. ❤
Posted at 11:11 am
A mini sunflower about to bloom. Spring 2016
One of the more challenging things I’ve dealt with since losing my daughter has been maintaining motivation. Motivation to get up in the morning, to be productive, to be worthy of the love and dedication my husband gives to me every single day. It’s a continual struggle that requires constant vigilance. I have to be hard on myself a lot – one bad day can spiral into a bad week or two, and then getting back to my feet is even harder than it was before. And every time the exhaustion and lack of will are compounded.
A couple of weeks ago, I fell into another slow, depression addled slump. I explained it away, rationalizing that I just needed a few days and then I’d be okay again. My energy would come back, the headaches would stop. But none of that happened, and I finally decided that I can’t be like that anymore.
Every morning now, I write on a new notebook page: WHAT DO I WANT? And then I fill the page with things that I want – big dreams, long-term goals and little, largely unimportant things. These are my motivation, I tell myself every morning. These are my reason to keep breathing.
What do you want?
Posted at 9:00 am
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. -Marcus Tullius Cicero
Gardening is an almost spiritual experience for me. The sun reddening my skin is my hymnal; my fingers in the dirt is my prayer; every carefully placed plant is a dream I leave in Mother Nature’s hands. To garden to believe in tomorrow. Continue reading
Posted at 9:00 am
Don’t ever think you’re alone here,
We’re just trapped in different hells,
And people aren’t against you dear,
They’re just all for themselves.
There’s a scene in Shakespeare in Love (1998) when Viola (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) is sitting in her room reading through the newly completed, hand written script of Romeo and Juliet. There are tears in her eyes and she’s so engrossed in the story that she doesn’t notice her nurse coming and going or her dinner tray arriving or leaving. Granted, within the context of the movie, that script was more than a story. It was her life, written out in poetry.
That scene is me with almost any book of poems. The physical world around me falls away while beautifully arranged words lull me into a place within myself that I can’t reach any other way. A place that’s a little bit calm, a little bit sad, full of knowing smiles, reawakened memories and a quiet understanding that there, in that moment, everything is okay. I read novels to live lives I would never otherwise be able to. I read short stories and essays for different perspectives and to create a wider understanding of my own world. I read poetry for escape. Continue reading
Posted at 9:00 am
My stomach began to twist into knots as we tried to find parking. We live in the suburbs of a major city, and the often vicious hunt for parking is a mundane part of life. But the country girl in me always takes it as a bad omen for the coming event; what do these people have against parking lots? We had left with plenty of time to navigate the cramped little side streets without being late, but the hassle added to the quiet unease already bubbling under the surface.
I hate having to go to church.
We park a block away and walk. The sheer number of cars, and the fact that I don’t recognize any of the people making their way in the same direction tell me that this is not what we’ve been told it is. This is a normal mass (on Saturday?) and not a memorial service for Zio. I feel trapped and angry and I carry those emotions with me as we pass over the threshold. We loiter in the entryway, alternatively poking our heads around the ornate double doors that lead into the chapel proper and looking back outside, frantic for a familiar face to tell us that this is indeed what we were supposed to be expecting.
A cousin appears, ushering four kids from that side of the family into the chapel. He kisses me on the cheek in the very Italian gesture of greeting, and I smile, hiding my growing anger as my “This is normal” mask slides into place. “I go to mass all the time,” my dead eyes say. And inside I’m struggling not to laugh hysterically. There’s a witch in your congregation. Continue reading
Posted at 9:00 am
Last week I was browsing through my WordPress Reader and came across something interesting from a blog I’ve recently started following: a personal narrative in the form of a “resume”; a growing up piece broken down into jobs and the experiences there. I’ve really become a sucker for personal narratives, especially when they’re engaging or have a unique format. Check out the original article here. This prompted me to take my own go:
Student: What can I say about my early education that wouldn’t be universal to most kids? I was excluded from playing house in kindergarten one day because there were already 4 kids at that station. I had a boyfriend in the 2nd grade, and he did things like try to protect me from the wind whipping up sand on the playground and get upset when I was too embarrassed to dance at the “junior prom” with him. My family moved, and I had to teach myself cursive. My new teacher told me that my writing was pathetic and that I should be ashamed.
The girls in middle school called me a fat cow and a whore. They are the ones set me on the path of hating my body, but once I was aware that I was expected to hate my body, the rest of the world reinforced it. There was the teacher who separated me from my class and pressed me back against a wall, and reached out to touch me, jerking his hand away when someone came around the corner.
Then there was the homeschooling, arguably the most informative of my years because I was left alone to process things for myself. I was homeschooled when I lost my religion, when I realized that history is always written by the winner, when I discovered that I am a feminist and when I broke my mother’s heart by not turning out to be the perfect little picture she had in her mind. Continue reading