Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Valley Before the Climb

There is something truly beautiful and truly human about waking up in the morning.

I love the three-to-five-second moment of confusion where no matter how fast you blink, you simply do not know what is real and what is not. It is like unmarked territory, that unique transition between sleep and wakefulness, like the valley before the climb.

Waking up into a new day can be like binge drinking on a gulp of air after a deep dive.

You are here.
You are present.
You are awake.

You are here.
You are… human.

You are… awake.

You wiggle your fingers, you pop your toes and then you finally announce to yourself, 
I have arrived.

A new day.
A new beginning.
A new mountain.

Like Feathers in the Wind.

My heart goes out to the soldiers.

The soldiers who live within me, my soldiers.
The soldiers who fight to be heard, seen, known.
When I think of them, I think of sacred breath, sacred being.

Their collective stomp gives way to stillness and awe as their march vibrates the earth, awakening all insects and root systems underground.

Left foot, right foot.
Perfectly, flawlessly in sync.
The heels of their boots split the soil like the first crack in a block of ice.
The crease between their eyebrows arch down, forming two sides of a triangle.
Their movement is sharp.
Their faces, determined.

My soldiers fight to be known, to be visible.
And their opponents try and take them down the second they emerge.

Yet, my soldiers are my sanity.

Their opponents move out of instinct.
They fall like bricks from a ten-foot window.
Seeking to destroy, to block, to kill.

In a world that tries to shun their existence, my soldiers stand firm.
Giving voice to their being and texture to their surface.

Here in this battlefield we call life, our emotions are never enough. They are weak distractions that no one has time for. They are feathers floating in the wind, meant to be captured and never seen again, meant to be silenced, rejected, ignored. They never make sense, they never explain anything, opponents argue. They are a waste of breath, a waste of a true soldier.

Yet my soldiers are fighting for me, always emerging at the perfect moment.
They are my feathers in the wind.

My heart goes out to the soldiers.
For as the bricks fall, they refuse to shatter.

My Guardian Angel.

I live in the water and she lives in me.
She glides, I glide.
She grows, I grow.
Her waves form footprints along the shoreline as my blood forms rivers through my veins.

Her splash is her play.
I laugh and join in.

My tongue becomes salt.
My limbs become weak.

The ocean, she holds me.
I spread out my arms like a seagull flying and floating in blue.

The sun, she warms me.

I feel my shoulders burn, brown, freckle.
Her love is thick; she refuses to let go.
She is like a mother sending her firstborn off to college.
Hoping for the best in every breath, every extended hug.
Hope as deep as the ocean.
Hugs as warm as the sun.

The sun’s kiss is so gentle, like the brush of an angel’s wing.
She always watches over me.
She never leaves.
Just welcomes and warms.
My guardian angel.

My finger tips wither and wrinkle.
Yet all I can do is smile.

Everything is still when I am in the water.
Everything is right.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bullied By Life

Today I caught up with a dear friend of mine from five years back. (FIVE YEARS BACK, WHAT?! Here’s to five years FORWARD).

We were connected on Skype and I must admit, I completely forgot how beautiful her smile is. It literally brings all things good back into the world the second it arrives, like the first breath of air as you rise from water.

We originally met in the mountains of Colorado and have since moved all around the country and the world creating mountains in our stories, mountains in our hearts, bodies and minds.

When I think of my time in Colorado during my final semester of college, I think of the colors red, blue and yellow.

Getting lost in Garden of the Gods.
Backdrop of the sky.
Warmth of the sun.

I also think of setting my keyboard up across from this same friend’s keyboard in her dorm room and playing music while playing life.

Wooden, creaky floors.
Colorado College.
Melodies and harmonies on end.

Life was unfolding, yet time was still.

In these moments where our imaginations were allowed to run as free as sand in the wind, we were escaping homework. We were escaping calls back home and necessary, grade-saving conversations with classmates and professors. We were escaping tasks off of our never-ending To-Do lists along with that deep, unforgotten fulfillment of actually drawing a line through those threatening tasks and calling it “done”.

Here we were: ignoring that familiar puddle of water slipping out of our palms and escaping this treadmill of life which always seems to speed up faster than I can handle. College was ending. I would be moving back to Alabama. We would get Big Girl Jobs and forever cherish the days with our keyboards in the dorm room.

But why on earth would that ever have to end? Why should we ever have to sacrifice the core of who we are in order to please and pretend, in order to officially “move on” in the world and become adults?

If this is becoming an adult, I don’t want any part of it.

Repeatedly in this world we live in, we allow ourselves to get bullied by life. Bullied by expectations and timelines. Go to college. Graduate in four years or less. Get married. Have a kid. Have more kids. Get a job.. a real job. A high-paying job. Make sure your kids are smart.

This timeline shrinks me. It stands over me with its hands on its hips, its eyebrows bent down in disapproval as I cradle my body on the ground out of fear.

This timeline makes my heart beat faster, my breath run shorter, my thoughts explode, my words shudder and slip, when suddenly I am no longer the owner of my story or the voice behind the Record button.

When did I let someone else become my storyteller?

Here is the truth: I feel most alive when I am creating things… stories, music, friendships. I feel most alive when I am in the dormroom with the wooden floors playing keyboard for hours on end.

I never want to sacrifice who I am for the sake of growing up.
I never want to become someone else out of fear or approval.

I am me.
I am real.
I am a creator.

A Return to Oz

Stories keep us alive, in more ways than one. They bring us back to ourselves, our desires, our needs and possibilities as humans living in this strange yet significant world.

As I continue the journey of self-discovery in 2015, I continue to ask questions about what it means to be a 20-something on this earth, here in the southeastern corner of the United States. And in all honesty, I am finding that it means something different for everyone, for each unique beating heart and thriving mind.

In the bottomless basement of my thoughts, I sense a fusion of culture, of beginnings and ends, of chaos and beauty. I sense a merging of stories.

I remember a conversation I had with my mother over a year ago when she stated how curious, hopeful, and imaginative I was during my college years. She mentioned it as a longing, as though she was secretly asking, Where did that person go?

I am pretty sure this exchange occurred when I was job-searching and getting increasingly discouraged with the cards I had been dealt. The game of life was not working in my favor and I felt belittled and wronged because of it.

While I had not rejected my inner Dorothy entirely, adulthood had somewhat stained me. I was letting it rob me of my creativity and charm like the tornado that captured Dorothy on her way to Oz.

I do not know what it looks like, completely, for my stories to merge but I must ask, What if we, what if I took the time to settle into my own narrative without shame or abandon? What if I refused to be troubled by my asymmetric detours and simply sat and observed?

Our stories collide together like waves in the ocean. We must celebrate the chaos and turmoil of our stories. They do not always make sense but they always require our attention.

This year, in 2015, I commit to this collision. I commit to becoming an observer and learner of myself, a listener to my stories no matter what agenda or assumptions the world throws at me.

Let the waves speak.
Let the stories emerge.

And It Roars Like a Lion

My imagination took hold of me in a strange way as a kid and has never left, like a neighbor who never quits knocking. It was heavy like the breath of a Higher Being looking down from above.

Without my imagination, I would be like the forgotten, smelly hitchhiker trying to find a ride but now knowing where to go.


My imagination is a being of its own, a second existence inside of me. Sometimes it roars like a lion when a creative craving comes, like an empty stomach announcing its hunger to a room of staring strangers.

My imagination is a dark, wild forest. There is no structure, no written maze inside. Just trees of wonder to climb and trails to get lost in. Exploring this forest is crucial to my sanity.

Without my imagination, I am silent. I am standing alone at a party. My head down, hands awkwardly pinned to my side.

No interaction.
No clarity.
Just lost.