Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Instead of Sheep

It's that time of year. And I won't be unique in posting things I'm grateful for, but sometimes being unique is overrated in the first damn place. 

Thing is, this year started out hard. I was not in a fun place, and I remained in a not-fun place for a long time. Now looking back at it though, once I stopped feeling sorry for myself and curling up on the couch in my pajamas to watch all the tornado shows ever made (yes, really.) I started to figure out what I wanted and what I needed to do. 

I think the basic goal was to start doing the things I "always wanted to do" but never did. 
If that show looked interesting, then I'd watch it. If I felt like a day in the city, I didn't need to wait around until someone else was interested too, I just went and did it.  If I wanted to participate in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen...well...I would, and I did.  And it really, really took me places. 

It took me away from this blog a bit, and I'm hoping to start writing here again more often.  But it got me a writing gig at Chicagoist where I'm covering Arts and Entertainment- which I am still crazy about.  If you'd have told me that as a result of a scavenger hunt I'd have gotten a writing job I'd have slapped you silly.  Or at least threatened to. And the thing is?  I'm getting to do even more amazing things as a result. Even though my pay has gone way down due to a layoff, I'm out at all kinds of events that I'd always wanted to go to but didn't have a chance/money/time to.  I'm at Symphony Center, the historic Pullman site, seeing Josh Groban, interviewing Sergio Vega from the Deftones (There's one I thought would never happen. I was SO nervous) and basically what I have to do is write about it.  You bet your ass I'd have done that anyway,  y'know? My pictures have been used as well, and even though I still need to get my main camera's all the things I love rolled into one.  Music and art, writing and photography. I get to combine all that into something I do. 

Then, a little more recently...I finally got a car again.  I have always been and will always be a driver. Road trips are part of what makes life worthwhile to me.  The very beginning of this blog was about the biggest road trip I've taken to date, and I'd do that again in a heartbeat if I could.  For a while there though, I had to ask people for a ride to go get shampoo. I felt like my wings were clipped.  Sure, there's trains and buses and things...but I missed my sanctuary. My music and my rolled-down windows and too-cold air and late night cruises to nowhere.  That's part of me I got back. I think people thought I'd gripe having my first ever car payment.  Maybe once in a while I'll wish I had more money, but whenever I pay towards my car, I know what I'm getting out of it. 

Even more recently...I got the chance to bring something- someone, really...back into my life. I wasn't sure about it at first, but now that it's happening...I'm so happy about it. It's got a new shine on it, and I'm crazy happy about it.  I'm able to be free about it too- I can openly honestly care.  I get to enjoy someone else on a new level.  The main thing is...all the time I spend there brings so much happiness. I laugh til my sides hurt half the time.  There's good, serious conversation. There's absolute peace and quiet that makes me feel completely at rest. Those are the things that this has brought, and I'm immensely grateful for them. 

I guess this year, ups and downs both, have shown me the people in my life who are always there. The ones who rescued me from my couch and my tornado shows, and the ones who got to know me better, and the ones who came back. 

I'm just grateful. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pine and Sap

I'm alone, and it's quiet. It's dark and I should be in bed. And the corners of my mouth are curled into a smile. The kind of smile that you can't actually produce if there's not something genuinely making you happy.

I've been talking with a friend about feeling things at Level 11.  And how it's inconvenient and how sometimes, you get carried away with everything going on in your head. Sometimes it causes problems. Sometimes it makes you crazy (and the people in your life, too, go figure.)

But sometimes, it's nice.

I can picture better scenarios than this couch alone.  This couch not alone, this blanket and nowhere to go, maybe.

But I'm ok with it.

My phone buzzed and it said "I miss you."
Out of the blue.

We all know (whoever "we" are) that the image in my head is the stoplight with all red lights, and the sign on the door is "People always leave."

It's from this silly tv show I used to watch.  The character who painted it was actually someone I related to in a lot of ways, even though it was nothing more than a silly soap opera of a thing I got hooked into due to my sister.  Someone in that character's life showed her otherwise at one point, and then there was a new picture. The lights were all green and it said "Sometimes they come back."

Maybe I don't really believe the second part very easily.  I'm a doubter. I'm stuck at yellow lights sometimes. Sometimes I don't feel like more than a footnote in people's stories.  But you don't miss footnotes. Maybe people are always looking for big declarations of love. The three little words everyone wants to hear are always "I love you." And I'm not going to say I'm an exception. I've got a whole big handful or two of people I love dearly, and I never get tired of hearing that I am loved.  But y'know...maybe something heals a little every time someone says that they miss me.  It's a sigh of relief. It reminds me that I'm being thought of when I'm not there with someone.  It's having a place in someone's life that makes you important even when you're not there in front of them, and it's special to me.

And maybe I was a whirlwind of different emotions tonight, not the least of which was fear.
And that made the difference. And that's why I'm smiling.

Monday, October 14, 2013


For posterity and my own good, I'm going to put this here. 
Just because you don't think something's going to happen, doesn't mean it won't. For better or worse, we can't control life.  Things will be lost and things will be found. Sometimes that all takes place in a small space in time.  

I'm trying to remind myself right now that there are people out there who can be believed and trusted. I'm trying to let my heart remember the good and move on from the bad.  I'm trying to make sure that my head doesn't completely get out of the picture but that it also doesn't get in there and cast doubts. 

Because when it boils down to it...
I heard some words that I've been wanting to hear for a long time.  Maybe some words that I've not ever heard.  I've felt some things, too, that I haven't felt. 
I like that feeling.  I like plural nouns.  I like laughter in hospital rooms and new growth after a fire.

Maybe the simplest thing I like is meeting eyes with someone and smiling when smiling doesn't make sense, and when no one else knows exactly what you mean.

Sometimes I think I have a harder time with the good things in life than the bad.  I can logic myself out of hard times, I can out-think it.  But that same strategy doesn't work for the good things.  Overthink it and you've missed the whole point. So maybe it's time to enjoy it a step at a time and find a new way. Maybe it's time for more doors and less lonesome roads.

Here's to going places.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

To Carly Simon's Subject: It is.

My flesh tore wide open, and I didn't know.  Or maybe I didn't want to.  Because the road was long, and I was tired, and that suffering was enough for the day. 
But when your flesh tears open that way, nothing will stop the blood from flowing, at least for a while, with every pulse of a tired heart. 

But I didn't feel it then. I didn't see it.  Someone else raised the alarm.  Then the unsettling warmth. 
Then I had to function again.  Stop the bleeding.  You must stop the bleeding. You can't ignore the bleeding. 
Pressure. Apply pressure. Force it to stop. Will it to end.

It's not stopping.
Why won't it stop?

Now your pulse is rising, now the blood flows faster because you're scared.
It figures. 

Go. Fast. Do something. Now.

But then it stops. Just...stops. 

You step out into the summer sun, white and unfettered. 
Every day you walk a little farther.
Look down, and you see.  One little filament, one tiny crystal web.
From one side of that carved canyon to the other. 
Then another.  A lattice forms. A bridge of new flesh.
Time heals. This is good.

But wait.
Now it burns again.  Now when your blood boils, it itches and nags.
It begs you to claw it wide open again.
After all, it didn't feel like anything.

Now fight it. Try to ignore it. Stay in the sun.
So I wait.
Now a sun-baked clay crust forms.
It's sealed. 
Safe. Nothing can get inside.

And one day, you give in just a little.
You scratch at it.
It falls away, revealing a fresh scar and raw flesh.
Relief rushes in, hot and sticky. 

But you can't fight that force forever.
New filaments.
New clay hardens. Sometimes you scratch it off, sometimes you let it stay.
Sometimes you give in to the bleeding and raw flesh just to feel anything at all.
Sometimes you hide in hard earth. 

This is healing. 
This is bleeding.
I hope you understand why my hand trembles when I reach for your hand.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

When you GISH upon a star...


This is about a time when the bologna wouldn't stick to the trash bag without threatening the integrity of the mustard slogan scrawled on it.  
It's also about the time I was too tired from all the mayhem to spell the slogan right, because it should say GISHWHES, not GISHWES.

You read that right.  That's really what I'm here to talk about. 

It's an international scavenger hunt that's organized by Misha Collins, an actor on the show Supernatural, which I confess right here and now to having only seen once or twice. I heard about the scavenger hunt on a Nerdist podcast where Misha was being interviewed.  My first thought was "That sounds like"

Then I heard Chloe Dykstra, Chris Hardwick's girlfriend, talk more about the hunt, and she sounded so personally touched by her experiences with it, and it intrigued me. I'm pretty sure she said it was life-changing. I'm a skeptic, but Chloe always struck me as a genuine, sweet person in anything I happened to hear her in, and she seemed really emphatic about it.  

Many of you know that this year has not been easy on me, and if you didn't, then...let's just keep it short and say: Trust me on this. 

Anyway, I signed up.  I forgot about it for a while, then when it started to get close I started to worry, and to feel alone, because one of the things that made this year hard was not having as many friends around anymore.  I didn't know how I would do or what I would do or if I'd even click with my team.  So I thought "If nothing else, I can make things.  Maybe I'll just make things."

When the list came out, the very first thing I did was build a Sears Tower out of books. Every book in my bookcase and some that were stowed elsewhere til bigger bookcases can be used.  And it was fun, and it was not supposed to be built on carpet, and I jumped around excitedly when I realized it was done, and then realized again that it shouldn't be on carpet, and tiptoed to my camera to take pictures. Thing 1 was down.  That wasn't as hard as I'd thought. But it was as ridiculous and fun as I'd hoped. 

Part of what GISHWHES is about, a lot of what it's about, is random acts of kindness. These were blueberry muffins I made for my coworkers with a special GISHWHES message.  It was supposed to be a covert act of kindness.  I had to catch my coworkers on film discovering it.  

What you discover when you see someone walk to their desk first thing in the morning and notice a note saying that they're awesome, and a big ol' muffin, is genuine smiles.  And they're sweeter when you're not supposed to see them.  I got to watch people read the note, and watch the corners of their mouths curl up into a smile.  I could have been more covert, because people figured out it was me from use of neon sharpies and the fact that I bake things for work a lot, but this was something different. Not telling them in advance, getting to see their reactions BEFORE they realized it was's something different. 

That's where I got the enthusiasm.  I started to do research on the big stuff on the list- skywriting, and one nobody thought they'd get- to get someone on the International Space Station to hold up a sign for your team, with GISHWHES on it. 

So I found out two of them were on Twitter.  And I asked nicely.  And they let me know it's against International Space Station regulations.  So I politely thanked them.  

And at first, I didn't realize what I'd just done. Took me a little bit to figure it out. 

You guys. I *talked* to someone on the International Space Station. space. IN SPAAAACE. (I couldn't avoid the Portal moment, sue me.)  
And crazier than that?  Crazier than just having talked to someone in space?  They talked back.  FROM SPACE.  From a space station.  In space.  (that time it wasn't intentional. but space!)

That's when it got life-changing.

That's when I started asking people crazy questions, and burning holes in shirts, and wearing beans on my head, and writing a letter to the CEO of Groupon to ask him to dance to Single Ladies in a suit because it was for a good cause and they were down.   No answer yet on that one...but I asked.  And my team, MY TEAM...encouraged me, laughed with me, shared their silly crazy experiences with me...and yeah, they were in Madison and I was in IL, but they were MY.TEAM. and the alone thing was out the window...

And me, who HATES being the center of attention, especially when in public with people I don't know, wore charred clothing, a tiara, black eyeshadow all over my face to look like soot, and sat at Red Top Plaza panhandling with an ACTUAL PAN and a not-so-actual dragon, with a sign that said "A dragon burned down my castle!"

That's half the story of this picture. The crown on my head is from a coworker I have become friends with who I asked for help.  The donor is my friend Juli who I roped into this prior to dinner plans I'd made with her.  The photographer is my new friend Kelly, who has met me all of 3 times as of the staging of this picture, but has been a kayaking buddy and a really fun friend.  My friend who owns the camera shop let us stage it in front of her store and her business partner took pics of the silly trio after.  We laughed til we nearly died.

My boss offered advice on how to duct tape toast together to make toast boxers.
One of my new friends at work tried to help me set up with a semi truck. 

I helped hug the world, including hugging an awesome awesome bicycling friend from New Mexico who I was SO happy to hug.

I got my whole department hugging each other, and the photo team watching in amusement.

One of the big goods I still can't mention, but letters were sent to soldiers and superhero capes were made for people in wheelchairs. Our team changed lives, and so did every team.

Annnd I made a safari animal out of...well...out of..feminine hygiene products.  

Life is fun, and weird, and crazy, you guys.  It's about doing good and connecting with people and making things.   "Stop pretending art is hard."
(let's not pretend that that' it's something!)

Stop pretending doing good is hard. You don't have to cure cancer, y'know?
Maybe just reach out to someone you know is hurting.  
Or hell, reach out to someone in general.
Tell someone why you like 'em.
Learn to like someone new.

Here's the best part. The epilogue here will blow you away.
Because shortly after GISHWHES ended...
I read some twitter.
And that tweet said that a Fine Arts/Gallery writer was needed for this publication I read

And before I'd have passed it up. I don't have a Bachelor's in Journalism or Creative Writing or...anything, you guys. I just love to write. I'd have convinced myself that doing the blog was good enough.
But I thought...what can it hurt to send an email?
I was just talking to the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION!

And I did.

And here's the results:

Check the byline. 

That's me. 
It's mine. Even one of the pictures is mine.
That's...a dream come true.
Because I went after it.
Because I talked to space. What's hard after that?
Because GISHWHES really, really did change my life.

This weekend I went to the city alone to go see the Jazz Festival.  Because I'm on byline 3 and 4 already, guys.  Pinch me. 

And thank you, GISHWHES.

Stop pretending art is hard.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Unsent Letters, #999

The truth is I can't
I haven't got words
I can't fly back in time
I can't convince you that I would, just to erase this, if I could.

I can't let you in to see why I can't,
Because I can't make our t's cross or our eyes meet.

I can't because life is big, and it'll take us both down. It's taken me down in 7 days.
I can't because I can't unfold your hand and take the burning coal out.
I can't because there's no way in, and I can't because that's just not how things work.

And if I could I wouldn't, because that's not how things should work.
So still in my funeral attire, still in ragged breaths of loss, still I wait. And I hope.
And I know that I can't.
And you can.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Supporting Cast...

It's pretty human to tell a story from your own perspective. It's how we see the world. It makes sense. We're the main character, then there's a few other big roles, and a supporting cast.   There's nothing wrong with that but it's not the only thing.  It's always important to remember that everyone that's supporting cast to us is a main character in their own story and they hold a big role in several other people's stories.  Sometimes the stories of people we know and love, our main cast. 

I spent the last six days with Lewis, a close friend I made through another close friend.  He wasn't important to me until he was.  He grew more and more important and he's more than supporting cast now. He's a close friend, a trusted confidante, and someone I always have great adventures with.   He lives in NM and travels extensively, so being able to spend 6 days with him was amazing.  I used to see him every few days, and I missed that so much, so getting to have him here for so long and seeing him every day, and long talks and walks and bike trips just reinforced how great it is to have people like him in my life. 

When he packed up and got on his bike and left this morning after giving me a big hug, I was sad to see him go, enough that it tinged my morning blue. 

I have this circle of friends, and as cheesy as it sounds to say, we forged some major bonds at bonfires held in a backyard in Round Lake.  We were young and figuring things out but the fires were a given, and the main group was always the same, with supporting cast making appearances here and there, adding fresh conversation, laughter, and new stories.  

Tonight I unexpectedly found out that a friend from some of those fires passed away unexpectedly yesterday.  I can't say he had a big role in my story, but for more than one of my close friends from the "fire circle" he did, at least at one point or another. I'm still in shock and since I'm not finding the spoken word very...coherent or easy to speak, I'm here, writing.  

It's not my place to tell the story of my friend who passed away.  What I can say though, is that although he may not have been someone I talked with recently or whose story I knew very well, he was a kind person.  A quiet, funny, sweet guy who I only have fond memories of, from laughing around the fire, to the occasional one on one conversations and beyond.   When I think of him, it's a highlight reel, because his addition to the group was always positive.  And that's something that I don't want to overlook. 

We're bicoastal now, my fire friends and I.  All I really want right now is everyone in one place, like my friend Ben's basement.  We'd probably still be in shock, and maybe no one would have anything to say. Maybe we'd all hug or maybe we'd sit there in silence.  But the distance seems a little too far tonight.  The sadness has been spreading like a pond ripple and no one seems to know what to say.  There's really no words that make anything better.  

My thoughts are still everywhere right now.   
I didn't know I'd feel the absence so strongly.  I knew I'd hurt for my friends whose lives he played a much bigger role in, but I guess I didn't realize the memories that would spring to mind and play back so readily. Maybe I didn't realize just how much supporting cast matters. 

Of course, like anyone else does, I started thinking about some of the people who hold the big roles, and people who things aren't right with right now, and what was important. Some part of me wants to scream "it's not worth it to hold on to this stuff- anything could happen. Life is short. I'm afraid, and I don't want to lose you." 

Like anyone else, I want to hug the hell out of all the people I love.  
Tonight I'm thinking of "the supporting cast" though.  
I'm thinking of a friend who I lost.  
I'm thinking that if anyone plays any role in your life, if you can honestly say that they've made your life better or happier, then it's worth it to let them know.

We don't know who's going to come in and out of our lives, and what kind of role they're really going to play.  Maybe it starts small and becomes giant.  Maybe it's a big role and it gets a bit smaller with time. 
But our friends and family shape us.  They make memories with us and we carry that with us forever. 
So really, there are no small roles. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Spirit Al-minal: The Importance of Being Weird.


This past weekend, I took a day off and spent it at the Wisconsin State Fair.  While the cream puffs alone are a reason to be there, the entire reason I took the day off and went back after having not gone since I was a child was to see Weird Al.  I was super psyched about it, and after the show I realized it was more than just a fun, silly thing to do.  It was important to me.  Here's the kicker:  Weird Al is important to me. 

Lest you think I'm some kind of stalker fan, lemme splain.  Or at least let me sum up. 

I've got a weird name.  While I'm proud of that now, sometimes it made me stick out when I wasn't keen on sticking out.  For the record, I'm not *often* keen on sticking out, even now.  On top of that, I was an only child who was around adults more than I was other kids.  On top of *that*, I had one very close friend and we kinda stayed in our own world.  So I was weird. 

And I was called weird.  And when I was little, I remember how much it hurt when people would call me weird.  I think even as a kid we have a pressure to be like everyone else. Maybe especially when we're kids. We don't really have a sense of how ridiculous the argument "But everyone ELSE has L.A. Lights sneakers Mommmmm"  really sounds. 

Going to a very small private school didn't really help me much.  There's only one clique and as Heidi Klum tells us, "You're either in...or you're out."  

It's innocuous enough when she says it in her cute German accent, but when you're living it, it's a different story. 

Once my best friend left my school and I wasn't in...well that was the worst of times. 

But then came high school at a public school.  Hundreds more kids, tons of classes, tons of "types" of people.  Jock, stoner, band nerd (hey that's me!), drama kids, choir kids, student government...gaming club...standard nerds...just a lot of different types.  

I found a tribe, or a tribe was thrust upon me when I attended band camp.  Make any American Pie reference you wish to here, but what that gave me was confidence, because I had a skill.  It gave me a place where I already had something in common with everyone else.  As it happens, the high school I went to, band wasn't as "uncool" as people make it out to be.  In the week or so of camp, I met people, I worked hard with people, I sat around in the sun with people.  I talked about Star Wars with people (because I was TOTALLY obsessed at the time) and whipped out Cantina Band on my clarinet.    And on the first day of actual school, me, the little freshman...already knew 84 people.  I already had a table to sit at with people I knew.  Not only people, some of them were upper classmen.   

That was when I started to feel ok about being weird.  It didn't seem like such a bad thing all of the sudden. 
I'm not going to claim to be the kind of Weird Al fan who knew every song by the time I was 10. I wasn't. I knew of him, and I'd heard some things, but I wasn't this lifelong, die-hard, sing every word fan. 

Even in high school, though I'd have said I was a fan, I wasn't someone who had all the cds or knew all the songs.  I knew of him, and I enjoyed him.  I knew he was the guy who parodied everyone else's songs, and I thought he was hilarious.  As I got older, I got more and more "educated" on Weird Al.  In recent years I've heard lots of interviews with him that made me like him more and more, as a person and a performer.  By the time I got to the concert Friday night, I was a very big fan. 

See...the reason why Weird Al is my spirit animal is BECAUSE he's Weird.  
Hearing him in concert it's evident how talented he is.  The man can sing, and he can play instruments, and at 56 he can high kick above his head in leather pants (seriously? seriously.)

And he's unapologetic.  And he's NICE.  The man is genuinely nice, and you rarely hear him speak a bad word about anyone else.  

He's made a living doing something he loves to do.  He's silly and he's irreverent and he has insane long curly hair, and he likes intensely obnoxious Hawaiian shirts.  He plays accordion.  And instead of letting weird hurt him, he took it and made an amazingly successful career out of it. When Weird Al parodies your song, it's an honor.   Bands like Nirvana loved him.  And speaking of.... 

He does a pretty great Kobain.  I think Kurt would be just as happy with it now as he was originally. 

Al does costume changes after every song, and his Weird Al TV segments play in the interim.  Really, who else can wear things like this?  Ten guesses what song this was for...

Sometimes during the show, it struck me that he didn't have to *be* Weird Al.  He's talented enough to have pulled off a "normal" music career.  And he definitely has the rocker hair.

What I admire most is that he IS Weird Al though.  This is what he does. And he does it unapologetically. Whether it looks like this...

Or more like this.  It's hard to explain til you're there, but the concert vibe is so different than any other show I've been to.  I think you go in knowing the people around you have a sense of humor, and you go in knowing they might've caught some flak from their friends for going to see Weird Al in concert.  But they're there anyway, and they're loving it.  Everyone's laughing and singing along and it feels more like a living room situation than an arena situation. 

He's a chameleon but he's always still HIM. 

And on top of it all, he's a nerd.  A nerd who loves Star Wars. And plays accordion.  And dresses like a peacock.  And has a massively succesful and incredibly long-lasting music career. 

Weird Al reminds me that you *can* "dare to be stupid" and not take yourself so damn seriously. 
He reminds me that you can be successful without being a jerk, and that you can do your own thing, be your own person, and make it. 

So...if I have kids some day, and when I'm around my nephews (including my newest Caleb, who arrived today!! Happy birthday kiddo!!), they'll be life-long Weird Al fans if I have anything to say about it. 
I was joking on the way back to the car that I should put on an online dating profile that I was looking for a guy who was "Just like Weird Al" but maybe that's not that funny. 

I guess what I wanted to say with all this is just that this past weekend, with that concert and being with a really good friend...I remembered how good it feels to just be you.  Silly or serious.  Silly AND serious. 
Be weird.
Go forth, and be weird. 
Because weird is better than ok, it's good. 
And I'm not afraid of it anymore.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Write Here, Write Now - Shut Up and Dance

Eighteen days doesn't seem like a lot, but I've been gone since before then.  I talked to a really good friend tonight, and out of frustration I just asked him WHY, if I had so many things swirling around in my head and my heart to put on "paper"...why couldn't I do it?  Why am I feeling choked.

As sometimes happens with questions like that, I actually ended up getting to the answer right as I finished typing the question. only friends can do...he tough loved me a little.   Go do it.  Talk is cheap.  Shut up and dance.  (Ok, so he didn't quote Aerosmith, but the idea is the same.)

That I had a close friend to confide in about this who understood and encouraged/tough loved me is reason enough to realize all my reasons are...crap.

See...I've been gone from here, and I've been hoarding.  Hoarding all my words and all my feelings.  I've been taking up other challenges, and that's good- I'm going on a kayaking trip tomorrow to cross THAT off the bucket list because a few years ago I got injured 2 days before I was supposed to go on a trip down the Des Plaines and I always wanted to kayak down a river all day.   I'm very excited about that and proud of the fact that I didn't let time convince me not to go.  I'm proud that I spoke up and just went for it and I'm proud that when I first got in a kayak to practice and it felt insanely unstable and tippy right off the bat, that I didn't let fear win and just write it off as too dangerous because I hadn't done enough of it recently.   I realized I can swim, and my body remembered the motions, and when I just took a deep breath and calmed down, the boat steadied.


Even though I'm actually *doing* more things I had meant to do...I'm still hoarding.  I'm still hiding.  I have NEVER gone on a trip full of so many wonderful adventures like I did in April and not come home just brimming with stories and thoughts and feelings to share.   But look back at that last post here.  That's half of a trip, and I just stopped writing it.  I was face to face with mountains and the sun was on my shoulders and hummingbirds danced outside the window at our dinner table, and it was incredible, and I felt just a little bit healed.  Maybe a lot bit.  But I couldn't even put that much out there.

There's so much since then and some of that story still floating around in here.  There's stories I want to tell and ones I don't yet, but will.  But hurt people build walls, and I was going Cheyenne Mountain base style. The thing is, it doesn't make me happy to hide.  I love to let words breathe and live and maybe mean something to someone else.  I want to share my life and in sharing mine get to know more about other people's lives.  I'm sick of the fort. I've got cabin fever. I've gotta get out of here.

Maybe I'm afraid to get hurt more.  Maybe I'm afraid to talk about being hurt still, because so many other people are hurting, even the ones who hurt me.  Maybe I'm afraid people are thinking
 "Aren't you over that yet?"
 "Why is that still important?"
"Who cares?"
Maybe I'm afraid that I don't have full control of my emotions still, and while some days are really awesome, some days suck hard.

I've been overly cautious around most of my friends and overly cautious in new friendships.  And I don't like it.

"I'm tired of meeeting people who define themselves by what they don't like. I don't like that" -Mike McGee

Maybe...if I don't like something, I should do something about it.
Maybe that's why I wrote this.

Thanks, Trev.
You reminded me to shut up and dance, and you reminded me what the walls keep out.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Butterflies and Blooms- Chicago Botanic Gardens 2013


I decided a picture's worth a thousand words so this will count as 40k words! In other words, I have no words. Just look at pretty butterflies. :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Call and Response

I read this yesterday: .

In the middle of the day, at work, when I maybe shouldn't have.  And it made me want to read Ocean at the End of the Lane, but it also made me want to say things I hadn't said.  I'm not promoting this post- if you find it you do.  I'm not explaining this post- you'll understand it or you won't.  I need the words to come, and I need to release it like one of those paper lanterns and let it fade out into the night sky. 

It's quiet, my door is closed, the fan's blowing on me and drowning out the traffic noise, and it's time to speak.

"it all started to make sense. i cried a lot.
and even THEN, i didn’t get it.
it wasn’t until we were at TED, taking a walk up a little hill in long beach a day or two before my talk, that i finally understood.
we were chatting about the book, i asked him a question about some of the symbolism in the story….and he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and looked at me.
you twit,
he said.
and he filled in the blanks, and connected the dots for me.
i’d missed it completely.
i loved him so much in that moment.
and for a second, a split second, i was a neil gaiman fan.
and i was a fan because he’d tricked me, and he’d tricked me without me knowing, and i’d heard rumors that he does that, but i thought i was immune."
(Amanda Palmer)

These were the words that stuck out to me. It might never make sense to anyone but me, but I'm ok with it. 
The thing is, sometimes I miss the forest for the trees.  Sometimes I'm so deep into it that I've forgotten the big picture. 

Sometimes things overwhelm me. Too much interaction and I want to get somewhere like I am now- closed doors, blackout curtains, a cool breeze and nothing (and no one) else. As much as I love my friends and family, social interaction doesn't revive me.  I feel bad about it sometimes, because I don't want to ever sound ungrateful for the interaction or make people think I'd rather be alone, but I really value the time at the end of the day when it's dark, it's quiet, and I'm alone with my thoughts. 

Sometimes I wander off with my own thoughts and don't say what I intended to say, and that's what the last two paragraphs were.  

The thing is, there's exceptions.  There aren't many, but there's exceptions.  What claws at my guts from inside my rib-cage is that I'm missing an exception.  What makes my eyes well up with angry tears is that I can't seem to fight off the feeling.   

See, the exception for me was someone.  It's mayflies in a jar though, these exceptions, and there's only ever been two.  This last one though...maybe I thought it was a firefly, and it'd be in the field for more than a night casting a soft glow on the grass.  It occurs to me maybe the firefly was too dumb to know it was him lighting up the night because he couldn't see behind him.

I didn't know before this that a person could be a refuge.  I always assumed people would leave, and that's not the kind of place you could build your house.  I didn't know that as much as I gave could be given back in big and little things.  I didn't know that beautiful bright flowers grew out of hot sand, and that fire was a proving ground.  I didn't know a scarred hand and a heavy heart could hold ME and take away pain.  

I never thought there'd be a time when I'd be ok with not having that wind-down time by myself, to turn on some show, or surf through some sites, or write.  Better than ok, I would start to feel the sigh of relief I felt flopping onto the couch by myself in opening someone else's door.  I didn't know what it was like to laugh when the whole world is nothing but fucked up and pain.  

But the exception.  The exception turned back and said "you twit."
And I understood, FINALLY.
And yes, I did love him in that moment. 
And yes, that moment's gone, and it's possible it passed by unnoticed by anyone but me. 
And I'm a fan.  
I'm a fan waiting in line for five hours with a book to say "You changed my life, did you know that?"
And if I could just get that message into those hands...
I thought I was immune too, but I wasn't.  I didn't know about those exceptions, but there they are, and here they aren't.  I've learned so much but nothing at all.  I've been waiting in line to say "you're the exception. If nothing else, I need you to know that. I need you to know that you changed my life." and I could maybe walk away a little better.  But the truth is, sometimes the store closes, and your idols go home, and you have to move along to something else, and your heart will break, but you'll still be better.  And that's still love.