I wrote this before I woke up

I glare at the computer through my prescription Rayban glasses, you know, like all the cool little hipster girls- except in no universe could I ever be pinned for one. The individual who types at this laptop, smoking her cigarette and hoping she remembers to ash in the tray and not accidentally in her morning coffee feels like 100% undiluted dork. All those pretty self-portraits? (thanks to the work of some very nice filters) are me after I’ve had time to wake up.

I’m still waking up, and I look like a homeless person.

Just wanted to write. This past week was exhausting in some wonderful and hard ways, each taking their turn on a little roller coaster. If I sound like a drama queen, maybe that’s because I am. In my defense, when you face things alone more often than not, things can feel a lot more tumultuous than if you had someone holding your hand through it. Yes it’s self-inflicted, no this is not some desperate plea across the web for someone to “please love me”. God no I’m fine.

Probably the hardest part about this past week is a realization I keep slamming my head against- that though your best intentions may inform your decisions, the people on the other end will not necessarily understand where you’re coming from. People are going to interpret things however they wish or best suits their worldview. Even as I try to express my heart for someone, it doesn’t mean they’re going to get the message.

This has been the case most often with (gulp) my family. Every relationship has an element of this that takes its turn going one way or the other, but when you can work it out that’s when you know you have a treasure in someone. In a perfect world everyone loves each other and gets along, in a perfect world your family is the one who has your back no matter what kind of shit is going down or around. But we all know the world isn’t perfect.

I saw my dad for the first time in two years this past weekend, and lord was I freaked out. I was the perfect picture of someone trying to sabotage themselves- projecting every unpleasant outcome as if to beat my heart to the punch so I wouldn’t have to be disappointed. Instead, I saw a quiet old man who barely spoke over a whisper. We went off and had coffee- just the two of us and somehow what I thought was lost forever quietly entered my world again stilling a storm in me I’ve felt for a long time. The questions, the way things weren’t right before, they all faded away as we talked (okay, I talked, and he listened) and by the time we said goodbye I hugged him several times before I had the strength to drive away.

As I drove away I was filled to the brim with gratitude, but be damned if I could manage any more than silence. That’s how things feel when the wind and waves no longer roar and a setting sun turns the water into an image of golden glass, you just want to enjoy the silence.

reflections

In the last twenty four hours I’ve smoked more than my share of cigarettes, drank too much coffee, got out of bed several times because I had an idea I couldn’t pass up, felt the warmth of my cat sitting on my lap only to move on to the next thing that piques his interest. Pouring over design resources, getting my ass kicked in Adobe Illustrator and finding my feet in that way can be trying and rewarding all at once. Valentines day was spent in solitude with my computer yet I didn’t feel lonely because I was doing something I loved, and that’s more than I can say for the other years I spent that holiday I love to loathe.

This year a strange thought occurred to me though, I think I’ll actually really like that holiday once I have kids. I can spoil them with horrible things I’d never want to feed them on a regular basis and we’ll have hay day with it. But real romance? Best done in a spirit of spontaneity. Dear future husband, please don’t ever do anything for me on valentines day. Save the roses for when I’m begging for a glass of wine or my baby has puked on me the tenth time that day.

There’s much to be said for cultivating joy in the private realm, the place that doesn’t initially have much to do with other people. There are times that hit everyone where they feel like they are alone, like they’ve irrevocably lost what was most dear to them. Whether they did in fact or not is beside the point, fighting despair is all about maintaining you still have something to live and fight for, gifts to put forth, and things that you need to do that wouldn’t make you feel good if you left the earth before you’ve done them. There’s much to be said for maintaining the belief that you are a good enough reason to keep pushing forward, and what you love may come back to you or something else could come along.

The nature of art has shape shifted. I used to look at it as a means to gain the recognition I was starving for as a child, the sense I had something to offer and that people valued me for it. Now art has very little to do with other people. Inevitably it eventually will, but it’s become a private practice to rediscover the gifts that have lain dormant for so long. To me, creativity is a dialogue between myself and the divine, and since it has taken that form it has brought so much beauty in my life. It has revived the natural curiosity I silenced long ago. It’s no longer a thing through which I am constantly trying to measure up, instead it’s a place where I simultaneously know I am enough and I can always do better. A sweet spot to be in really.

There are things that are not okay in my life, looming questions with no ready answers, broken relationships which I’m not sure how to repair. Life is far from perfect in my corner of the world and there’s no way I can sugar coat it in positivity or just smile and say “everything is going to be alright”, because there have been many times that they simply weren’t. They sucked ass. Yet what I know to be true is I will smile again, I’ll laugh until I cry and see things that stop my heart, be it like the ocean a dear friend brought me to last spring or the fragile substance of another soul. My eyes will behold the wonder of the colors of the sky the same way they did when I was a little girl, tenderness restored.

In this season I may have more time on my hands than I’m used to, but this time I want to make it count. I may be alone, but I don’t want to succumb to the seductive sentiment that I’m lonely. Looking back on my loneliest times, I find they were far sweeter than I could’ve grasped. It’s going to be similar this time around, except I want to see the sweetness in the moment. Ironically when my life is again filled with people and places I’ve been dying to go to, I’ll miss the times I’ve spent learning a new craft and rediscovering old passions.

the innocence I miss

Bring me back to the days
When boring intersected effortlessly
with inspiration
When the brooding storm clouds above
electrified my imagination
On the outside
I appeared sad and lonely
But my brain and heart
had the wings of young hope
In a hesitant state of rebellion
Against an oppressive religious system
Innocence still intact
Unknowingly I dreamt
As if tomorrow could never come
Misery and joy
Loneliness and love
Freedom and bondage
They danced
They did not collide within my psyche
They coexisted
I did not think they need be
An indication of cognitive dissonance
Rather you can’t have one without the other
I saw enough ugly things
I wished I could unsee
But beauty still unfolded
before curious, frightened eyes
before I embraced the fabric of my being
To have that
But to be back to innocence
once more
Bring me back
if not to those days
To that state of mind