I logged onto MySpace just now.
I know. Whoa. Yeah, it still exists. I didn’t really know either. I went on looking for a poem I posted in my blog there a long while back. I felt like dredging it up and seeing if I still thought it was shiny and whimsical. I wrote it sort of in the style of Lewis Carroll — nonsense and bounce and yes, whimsy.
The first thing that caught my eye was this entry. I feel the need to post it here, to share it. I think it deserves that. So I give you the me of two and a half years ago; do enjoy. Some of it’s lyrical. I don’t know if the formatting was intentional or not or if it just happened as a by-product of MySpace re-imagining itself in a vain attempt to stay relevant against the Facebook behemoth, but regardless, I kept it.
stretch, feeling the tug of my muscles, a pleasurable ache remaining.
it’s a reminder of how much has changed this year. 2009, it seems, is
setting out to prove that spring of 2008 was a crucible — the
smoldering coals i had to walk over to feel the cool wet grass under my
the first crickets sing outside my window, their tunes riding on the
fresh breeze of the evening. my breath is measured, even. my fingers
and hands are warm as i type, the muted light from the paper-covered
lamp filling the room with a soft glow. and here i am.
something leaps in my chest when that thought enters my mind. the
breath in my lungs hitches for a moment, and my heart quickens. here i am.
the air is cool, and the sun has begun its downward path,
setting the budding trees and leafy bushes to dusty gold. i am alone
on the greenway path. for once, no passers-by break the silence with
their footsteps and words. no joggers with ipods, no walkers with dogs
and leashes. just me. i pause at the first curve, looking out over
the field. a smile tugs at my lips — something that is happening more
and more lately. a few puffy dandelions grow in the grass. on
impulse, i step off the path and pluck one from its resting place.
there’s a difference in the air this year. a softer note in the
sound of the wind. as i let my mind drift over the events of last
spring, it touches on snapshots. my heart stopping as i read a
one-line email from my cousin matt. “please give me a call the first
chance you get.” dark brown eyes under a shock of shaggy black hair,
darting nervously as my boss informs me my hours have been cut by 40%.
coming home again to find my roommate doesn’t have the rent money or
the bills at all. mocking words. maniacal howling from the other side
of my apartment. walking into my bedroom and feeling someone else’s
uninvited presence. things missing. weariness. driving. driving.
mansions and mansions filled with people, hard faces. suspicious
glances. smiling children and dilapidated buildings playing among cut
gravel and broken glass. a boy’s florid bow as he moves aside to let
my car pass. spanish filters through my open window from neighbors
laughing on lawn chairs, easy banter on a summer evening as my car
moves through their world. the quiet of the office, eight hours of
nothing. from sprawling villas to shoebox dwellings — an invisible
line is crossed, and i drive into another world. the rocky mountains
in the distance. tired. always tired. six o’clock i drive to work in
the morning sun. eight hours of nothing. the sun sets as i drive, the
numbers on my meter move, move. hours and hours. at midnight, i drive
home. i fall into bed. i sleep. six o’clock comes too soon. tears.
the harsh scent of vodka. the sharp sting of lies. snapshots — just
snapshots — that world is no more.
mom always used to tell me not to spread the dandelion seeds. i
pause as i lift the fluffy ball to my lips, my fingertips sticking
lightly to the thin, moist stem. for a moment i feel a gleeful
rebellion as i purse my lips and blow. tiny tufted dancers spin into
space. freed from their resting place, they float through the
air. one lodges itself between my breasts, perhaps afraid to take that
step onto the current of the breeze. i pluck it out and it soars away,
trailing behind the cloud of others that flicker in the light of the
last year’s world is no more. only this year is real. only now. here i am.
again my heart quickens as i glance forward in time. the clock seems
to speed in its place on the wall. soon and very soon. no more
running away. this time i’m moving forward, grasping at newness, at
vibrance. everything about now tickles my awareness of the immediacy
of the present. the pull of my muscles as i stretch, the comfortable
space in my clothing. the smile that tugs at my lips. newness.
i’m alone on the path. i glance around, but no one is there.
my heart leaps in pleasure. the creek burbles over rocks as i cross
the bridge, the soft pat-pat of my flip-flops still audible over the
water. the path seems smoother, more even than i remember, even though
i was there not long ago. i feel the urge to run. what happens is
more of a scamper, borderline bounce. my legs tense, my pulse jumps.
something in me sparkles. without a thought, my shoes are off, left
behind on the pavement. i pad a few steps forward, then i’m running.
2009 is a new year. i felt it with the ticking of the clock as
december became january. it’s new in every way. the gentle ache in my
muscles gives me a moment of triumph. my body is newer, smoother, yes
— slimmer. i feel good. i feel healthy, energetic. when i look in
the mirror, i grin. i think of what i’ve done this year, in the months
that have passed since the sorrow of last spring. focus,
determination. effort. i’ve fallen down, but there have been hands to
help me up. and here i sit. i am ready.
i come to a halt where the path turns to grass. i look out over
the field beyond where it ends, see the rolling, tamed grass of the
golf course and purposely turn the other way. a small meadow is
nestled in the crook of a curving slope. a few insects flit across the
path in the sun. the breaths i take as i turn back toward home feel
like a drug. the smile wins, and i feel my face light up. when i
reach my shoes, i pick them up. the plastic, warmed from the sun,
dangles from my fingertips. my arms swing at my sides, and i revel in
the cool air that passes over my skin. my earrings jingle as i walk
silently on my bare feet. right now, at this moment, i am utterly
carbonation bubbles in my veins as a thrill passes through me. my
skin hums in anticipation. soon. an electric edge is on the air,
seems to hover around me like an aura. this time there is no
trepidation, only certainty. clear, crystalline certainty.no running away this time. no desperation, no stumbles and sobs. only
an abiding quietness and a tugging smile. a sparkle, a glimmer.
raindrops patter on the ground outside, and a fresh-washed scent floats
in on the evening breeze. the crickets have been put on mute, gone for
cover from the rain. inside in the glow, the world is spread out
before me. i’m the tiny dandelion seed, and i’m finally ready to
launch myself off that cliff, to take the plunge. till then, i’ll
smile to myself, i’ll keep these sweet secrets dancing at the corners
of my lips. till then, i’ll look out over the world spread before me.
till then, i’m her. i am ready.
I can’t help but love that.
i honestly have no idea why i opened this blog. hm. possibly to open the floodgates of my current stream of consciousness? could be. could be.
aha. i remember the first little spark i wanted to fan into a blazing flame (i’m cooooold, goddamn it). i feel lucky. it was something rather simple that triggered it, something that, to many people, might seem a bit odd. “i love that you love zombie movies.”
but really, that simple statement was really quite touching. to know and be known. not just accepted, but enjoyed. i’ve had it before in other senses. friendish senses. but not this way, and for that i feel as though i’m holding something rather shiny and pretty in my hands, and i can’t stop staring at it and marveling at how it got there.
so there’s that. i also feel rather…odd. not-quite-gone-with-the-grain. i feel like that little whorl in a bit of wood that has a small eddy around it.
i keep thinking i know what to write tonight, but then i realize i really don’t.
what i’m thinking about right now is starlight. it’s this soft silvery color, like strands of webbing that pulse with a quiet glow. when i was younger, i got on this kick where i had to find out everything i could about astral projection. all i wanted was to be able to leave my body so i could go explore the stars. see the colors in the nebulae. all of that. i don’t know if astral projection is actually possible or not; all i know is that my goal was way out in space.
even though i don’t have a set path, i do know that i want to write something.
i truly love fall. every year about this time, i seem to get a new lease on life. the wiccan calendar ends at halloween. samhain is the pagan new year. in a lot of ways, that has always rather made sense to me. it’s the death of all the growth of the year; trees turn, plants go dormant, animals hibernate, i wear fuzzy sweaters and drink excessive amounts of tea. maybe that’s why halloween is one of my favorite holidays. the new year is reborn from the old, sort of like a phoenix rising from the ashes of a fiery death.
but really. fall is awesome. sweaters. cuddles. jackets. leaves. crisp air. halloween. pumpkins. candles. warm smells.
so tonight i feel thankful. i feel lucky for having all of the above. what a glorious thing. couple thoughts for tonight:
we accept the love we think we deserve.
everyone is trying to be more or less than who they are, and it’s a violation either way.
i’m not much of a fatalist. the movie serendipity is one of the most noxious fairy tales i’ve ever seen — due in part to the fact that i’ve known people to base their lives on the epistomology of this movie. which, for whatever odd reason, seems to somehow fall spectacularly to bits when held up to any kind of scrutiny, or when put into practice — causing tears, recriminations, and binge eating/drinking. if you haven’t seen it, allow me to sum up:
if you meet someone special, and a seemingly insignificant obstacle gets in your way (ie: the piece of paper she wrote her number on blows away when a street sweeper goes by), you should just assume that you’re not supposed to be with her right then.
instead, devise a series of concocted ideas and tell each other that if they all come together in exactly the right way, you’re meant to be together, so there. then, a few years later, you will find each other again and live happily ever after when fate brings you back together after you found her mysterious toenail clipping in your lasagna at maggiano’s. works every time.
or, in the real world, you’ll never see this person again, and you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering what could have happened if you’d just written the damn number down again.
here’s why it’s dangerous — when taken to the extreme (as, of course, they do in the movie), you will start seeing “signs” everywhere. like a dude named peter? every other person you meet is peter. or married to a peter. or is watching peter pan. or says something petered out. or invokes saint peter to kick you out of heaven. or summons a wolf and stalks around to prokofiev. whatever. but these things don’t actually mean anything at all. you notice them precisely because you have peter on the brain — that they occur is merely coincidence. if you liked someone named…mark, perhaps, you would never notice all the peters floating around the world.
the human brain is a spectacular mechanism. complex, intricate, and fascinating, the brain is capable of doing things we haven’t even discovered yet. people tend to like to categorize things. if we don’t understand something, there’s a decent chance it will be put in the box with “unexplainable,” “miraculous,” “god,” “mystery,” etc. the fact is, however, that just because something is heretofore unexplained, it doesn’t follow that said thing is henceforth unexplainable. get it?
the unexplained is something i like to ponder. and today, my contemplatory musings ran away with me and led in an odd sort of direction.
i was trying to think of plausible explanations for a situation in my life. i thought carefully about the circumstances of the last ten months, wondering to myself how on earth so much time has passed. and a thought came into my head. what if the event that started all this hadn’t happened? june 17, 2008. what if that day had been different in one arbitrary way? what would have occured then? what would this year have looked like? without…i’m at a loss. without so much of what made it good.
2008 was a right shite year for me. the situation in question — we’ll call it the purple blanket* — lent me strength. gave me courage. made me smile, and gave me some of the highlights of that horrible year. without it, i would probably still have gotten to where i am now, but i would have fallen down a lot more on the way.
and i realized something. if that seemingly arbitrary event had robbed me of the purple blanket, i would still be on the path i am on right now. the main factors that influenced my choices remain unchanged without the purple blanket. in fact, without the purple blanket, i may have been even more resolved to the path i have chosen.
i say this because the purple blanket unwittingly gave me strength to walk away from something bad. reminded me gently that no, my chances for happiness are not over. they didn’t end in august of 2007 after all. that i am, in all my me-ness, okay. i’m okay just as i am, with all my baggage and mess, my foibles and quirks. just as i am. this gave me strength, gave me power back that had been stripped from me.
without that, others would have filled in that gap, but not before i got a lot more hurt. not before i got wounded more. and maybe not before something worse happened.
in essentials, however, the main factors would have remained the same. i’d have still met ana and my friends who worked so tirelessly to see obama elected. we connected on an entirely different level. and in the end, it may have been they who moved me forward. but i would have moved forward.
when i realized that, i had a startling moment of discovery. if june 17, 2008 had played out differently, if the purple blanket had been shunted away in a moving van and gone before my feet touched nashville soil, it would still be waiting for me in dc this summer.
when that thought flitted through my mind, i felt as though the world moved around me, as if i were falling through the air, feeling the wind raise the hairs on my arms in gooseflesh, or the charge of electricity that precedes a spring thunderstorm.
i would still find the purple blanket. because now, as it stands, i’m not moving to dc to get to it. not at all. but somehow knowing that if i hadn’t found it in june 2008, i would find it in june of 2009 makes me wonder. fills me with awe, really. while i certainly can’t say what would transpire if this parallel version of the last ten months had happened, i do know that i’d at least find the purple blanket.
and that leaves me to wonder about this thing called fate. i don’t know if i’d step out on a limb and say that certain things are meant to be. a billion times a billion different things could have happened in the past ten months, could have moved me in a different way entirely, but they didn’t. and had they hinged on who i found in the living room on june 17, 2008, i’d still be here, counting down.
and maybe weeks from now, i’d ask a different question. what would have happened if i’d found the purple blanket in 2008? i’d wonder then what it would have changed. and i might laugh at the whole thing. think to myself, “no way would we be here right now — it’s impossible.”
but i’m here. i exist here, april 3, 2009. thinking about the purple blanket. and it’s not impossible. however improbable, however unexplained, it happened.
maybe it’s serendipity after all. maybe it’s a miracle of life. or maybe, just maybe, in all the prosaic nature of finding something unexpected when you least expect it, the real miracle is a simple as looking at the odds, and seeing them beaten. maybe that’s all the explanation i need.
*if spinal tap may be your thing, please excuse the color scheme. i chose it for the memories, november days and halloween. some stranger things upon reflection still move us in the same direction. i can’t tell where it goes from here. we’ll soon find out — it’s been a year.
life is so many things. so many crazy things. right now, it’s just funny.
i was talking to my best friend this evening, and we began chatting about the most important aspects of our lives. big changes. possible moves and careers, school changes, relationships. without going into too much detail, she’s smack in the middle of a muddy puddle, one hand poised to either help her out or push her back down. another hand holding her free one, sitting beside her and splashing with her.
i’m at a fork in my road, pulled in two different directions–or so it seems. i could go one way, or another. it’s the choice between the interstate and the cul-de-sac. the only thing is, i’m not sure which one is which. and three weeks from now, i’m going to get shoved past the fork in one direction or another by some oblivious, aloof, arbitrary wind. i feel like i’m being tugged one way, then another. and then back. and then the other way again. and the odd thing is that i’m not actually sure if anything is tugging on me whatsoever. it might be all in my head.
i’m alice standing at the bottom of the rabbit hole, and i’ve gone and shrunk down to the size of a doll. i’ve a bit of mushroom in one hand and a bottle of syrup in the other. one might make me big; the other might make me smaller still. or they both might make me big. or the other way round entirely. the caterpillar is just sitting there blowing smoke rings seven ways till sunday, and the cheshire cat’s off chasing his tail while the mad hatter laughs and the dormouse is reciting the tales of the snarks and boojums. mushroom or potion? how am i supposed to know which will make me big again? tweedle dee and tweedle dum might well snatch my mushroom or syrup away from me, leaving only one choice, and i’ve absolutely no bloody idea if they’ll leave me the right option or not. i wish i could trust them, but they are just being themselves…and i’m just being myself. i’m just alice, feeling rather small.
somewhere in the middle of talking (much more specifically, i might add) about all of this, julia said something funny. it was about her sister, but it simply took the plug out of the dam. all of the sudden, we were laughing. stomach hurting, eyes squinched up, tears rolling down our faces laughing. why? none of the situations in our lives are that funny. not really. we’re being flipped topsy-turvy every time we turn round. there is absolutely no idea of what to expect next. no one does what we expect them to do, and the ones who do do it at entirely the wrong moments, in the wrong settings, with all the right words that they may or may not mean, and it all serves to catapult us to here. tuesday, february 17, at around 11 pm central, 12 am eastern. when you list everything that’s going on in our lives, it’s so laughably absurd that it seems like we’re both just a class A…joke. after about ten minutes of dual-nationality hilarity, i began to wonder if i would suddenly start to cry. we kept laughing at ourselves and the people around us, the situations we are in right now, and how completely unprepared we are for whatever might befall us next. i could win the lottery or lose everything tomorrow, and i can’t say i would be surprised either way.
i almost wish i knew what would come next, what to expect in this cosmic joke that is my life. but then i suppose that would ruin the punchline.