Thursday, December 19, 2013

Like Beating Wings, How Time Does Fly

I am home now, in this tiny town covered in snow and slush and rain and fog.  I have returned, for the holidays, to spend nearly two weeks with family and friends, good food and longs naps, bookstore visits and trips to the movies.

At this time, a year ago, I was saying my goodbyes.  Now that I am back, I am saying my hellos.  I dance with delight every time I see a familiar face, I am eating too many meals out, and not caring that I haven't gone to the gym (it's the holidays after all).  I am marveling at how much has changed, and how little.  They have changed the streets - I found myself redirected from a path I once drove daily into a curvier, more logical route, but different and foreign.  My dear friend's daughter, who was but a head-bobbling infant when I left, is now walking and talking and smiling at me melting my heart.

My mother is the same, the face, always grinning at me, the soft hug, always embracing and soaking up and draining out all confusion, fear, sadness, and doubt.  The holiday traffic is the same - the temper-raising snail's pace of cars snaking their way into the mall to dump their savings and increase their credit card debt.  There are still only a handful of bars and restaurants to visit.  My grandfather is still tall and strong.  My grandmother is still here, with her silver hair and eye-crinkle smile.

And being away, from family especially, you realize just how significant it is to a relationship to be near someone, to have daily communication, to see their face and read their bodies and hear their voices.  And it's important for them to get the same from you.  Because when you don't, when you're reduced to texts and a random phone call - things change, people change, sometimes without even noticing until it is too late, until you can't go back and find the path that led them there, that led you there supposing things about them that might not have ever been true and certainly are not true now.  For my assumptions, I would like to extend my sincerest apology.  You know who you are.

Everyday, I am asked how I have been, what have I done, who have I met, where have I gone.  Most of my journey, if you have been reading, you already know this year has been a rocky one - full of growing pains, disappointment, change and a constant re-calibrating of expectations.  But there have been the good days too.  There have been small victories.

And as this year closes, as I return to my new southern home before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, I will consider this year a good one.  I will consider myself changed, not perfect, perhaps not even better, but more aware.  I now know what has not worked, what I want to make work, and how to maneuver my way through rush hour traffic - by avoiding it at all costs.  I have a great many resolutions, too many to list, and they should be saved for my New Year's post anyhow.

Homecomings are hard - they are joyous - but they are hard.  They force you to look back, reexamine where you have been and what you have done with your time, and most importantly, who you have spent that time with.  Next year, I hope to spend more time with better people - not only those that I hope to meet, but those that I hope to create and develop here, on this screen.

Farewell for now, and hello.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How Do You Do It?

Have you come to the realization that you have been living your life based on myths that were created for you, and sometimes by you?  

Have you heard that crack in your skull?  

Have you felt that tear in your chest?

Have you ever figured it all out and instantly hoped, prayed, wished and pleaded desperately that you hadn't?

How do you act around the people that played a part in that myth?  

How do you treat those familiar strangers?

What do you do with a warehouse of memories, that catalog of experiences, those files of your life that feel suddenly irrelevant?

How do you do it?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

These Are The Stories That We Tell

These are the stories that we tell.

I used to worry about my sister.  I used to worry that she would get lost or taken or hurt or die.  I used to follow her everywhere she went.  I used to annoy her.  I used to keep an eye on her when she played on the playground.  And I used to lose my breath and feel my heart beating through my chest when I couldn't see her.

These are the stories that we tell.

I used to look up lawyers in the phone book and call to ask how much divorces cost.  Their secretaries never told me.  I think they thought I was joking.  Or they felt very very badly for me and because they didn't know what to say, they hung up.  I would try the next one listed.

These are the stories that we tell.

I used to sleep on our porch when it rained.  I used to make a bed out of the long pillows that only my mother used and wrapped myself up in spite of the heat and would rock, my too-short legs stretching down until my toes could hit the green-peeling-paint floor to push the swing enough to swing for a while.

These are the stories that we tell.

My first boyfriend told me that I was the first person he could see himself marrying.  We were sitting on the trunk of his car.  It was a perfect night.  But I couldn't understand the words he was saying.  I think I said "Thank you."

These are the stories that we tell.

When people ask me how I'm doing, I respond with "You know, living the dream."  But I'm not so sure.

These are the stories that we tell.

I used to have everything figured out.  I used to know who I wanted to be, where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and who I wanted to do it with.  I wanted to get my Ph.D. in English.  I wanted to teach at a university.  I wanted to have an office with four walls full of books.  I wanted to get married.  I wanted to live in the suburbs.  I wanted to bake scones.  I wanted to have children.  I want none of that now.  I don't think I do.  I have no idea anymore.

These are the stories that we tell.

Most of the time, a lot of time, almost the entire time, I feel like I am right.  I feel like I am good.  I feel like I am the best possible version of myself (minus a few pounds).

These are the stories that we tell.

I never fought with any of my boyfriends.  Not really.

These are the stories that we tell.

I am terrified of being a server/bartender/shift manager for the rest of my life.  I tell people and tell myself that I would be fine supporting myself by serving food while I write during my time off.  But again, I'm not so sure.  But I keep doing it.  I feel stuck.  And inexperienced.  And too experienced in the wrong kinds of things.

These are the stories that we tell.

I want to be supported creatively.  I wish all the time that people like "patrons" still exist like they do in Little Women and Dorian Gray.

These are the stories that we tell.

I feel young every day.

These are the stories that we tell.

I feel old every day.

These are the stories that we tell.