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Bed Before Midnight?

In keeping with my strong desire to get some sleep tonight, I am going to make this quick.

Mondays usually suck.  Today, however, did not suck at all.  Instead, it turned out rather lovely.  Some highlights were:  getting my knee played like a guitar along with the music, a lovely strawberry cheesecake milkshake, MacGruber, Great Falls at the Potomac, and Dogfish Head for dinner.  Much better than the average Monday.

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You Say Financially Questionable, I Say Necessary

Just a quick update to say that I am going to Scotland this summer! It was kind of a snap decision on account of me finding a good fare a solid $400 cheaper than anything else I had found, getting to see Julia, and taking a solid retreat into my favorite place in the world.

I cannot wait.  It’s been three and a half years since I was last there, at Christmas 2006.  So much has changed since then, but one thing’s for certain:  this is exactly what I need.

holidays

holidays.  high holy days.  whatever that happens to mean to you.

sorry i’ve been absent.  i’ve been busy being in love.

yes, i meant to write that.  it happens, i suppose.  love is an easy thing to be caught up in.  especially when you never expected to find it for real or be allowed to touch it.  it all started a year and a half ago.  to make a long story a wee bit shorter, i (and he) knew from the beginning where we should go when we met.  but we couldn’t then, and we couldn’t for a very long time.  i couldn’t help waiting though.  i had to know what would happen.

so for the past six months, we’ve been finding out the “what next” after we got our chance.  and for the past two months, we’ve been together, in the official sense of things.

i never thought i’d have this chance again…and i certainly didn’t expect to ever find love that wasn’t the unrequited variety.  and yet.  here i am.  how lovely and odd.

needless to say, i’m really very happy.  i wrote something a couple posts back about how it’s one thing to be tolerated and something else entirely to be enjoyed.  appreciated.  i’ve never had a relationship where my quirks and idiosyncrasies were valued rather than merely put up with.  and it’s not as if we’re in the realm of rose colored glasses — this is also new territory for me because we’ve known each other for a year and a half.  and i’m finding that i simply enjoy him.

i’m finding that after a year and a half of wondering, hoping, waiting, nail-biting, pacing, laughing, soaring, head-scratching — i’m finding that after all that, his cogs and my cogs fit together still and simply turn.  clockwork.

when i’m with him, i’m more me than i’ve ever been able to be with anyone.  no pretentiousness or hiding.  and he’s who he is.  and that’s what i love about us.  that we’re two whole people building something more.

i was talking to a friend today who is also very happily ensconced in love.  we decided that there are few better feelings than falling for a good, good man.  especially when there have been so many bad ones before.

so this holiday season i am celebrating life.  i’m celebrating the changes that have brought me to dc and teaching my children to the best of my ability.  celebrating love and good friends and the changing of the seasons.  being grateful for what i have and the ability to share.  wishing i could do more for this world.

2009 is winding to a close.  when it began, i looked it in the face and said, “you’re going to be a fantastic year to put 2008 to shame.”  i wasn’t wrong.  i’ve found so many things this year.  a place in this country i can call home, which i never thought would happen.  a job i can do well that makes a difference.  one of my students called me on thanksgiving to say hello — made my night.  said job also gives me approximately 3 months per year of time i can write and pursue those things close to my heart.  by the end of this i will be financially stable for the first time ever.  i’ve found love, in more ways than one.  i may be busy and stressed, but i’m building a good life for myself here.  and i cannot wait to see where it goes.

happy holidays, whatever you celebrate.

may your days this winter be full of warmth, joy, and peace.

love.
emmie

calm

the chamomile tea burns my tongue as i sip gingerly from my cardboard cup.  calm. that’s the name of this magical herbal elixer.  so far, it’s not working.  the scents evoke memories in my mind.  plucking the little green herbs as a child, picking apart the yellow heads as the scent of fresh chamomile rose from the scraps.  the tea bag* now is filled with those little dried bits, sodden now in scorching water, combined with the tang of mint and some unidentified red specks that remind me, rather inappropriately, of pimentos.

as sweet and comforting as the scent and taste is on a normal day, today it may as well be listerine for all the good it’s doing for my nerves.

our brains are such fickle things.  greatest ally and archnemesis at the same time.  how sad.

this week has been a bit of a rollercoaster.  i have been surprised at a few moments, mostly pertaining to my job.  here they are in hodge-podge format.

our broker and i share a love for hardcore rock.  i always loved rob zombie and marilyn manson when i was a teenager.  this woman does not strike me as someone who would like that kind of music…and it just goes to show how much working in a corporate environment can do to strip people of their identities and hobbies.  we had a great conversation about music with lots of screaming.  it was pretty awesome.

i’ve realized writing this that a lot of people don’t know that about me, either.  welp, now you do.

i shouldn’t have gotten groceries for this week.  i’ve been treated to lunch so many times.

my boss’s dad took me out for a two hour lunch on wednesday.  it was honestly one of the most pleasant times i have had.  he is such a genuine, caring man, and i truly enjoyed talking to him the whole time.  he told me over and over this week how sad he is that i’m leaving.  and told me that his wife and friends (many of whom have come into the office) are really quite dejected as well.  he said they all had nothing but the best things to say about me, and that they really will miss me.  i was touched.  as i stood there smiling awkwardly, he told one of his guests that i would go out and do great things for the world.  his guest,  expressed a hope that he would see me again and echoed mr. andrews’s statement that i would go on to impact wider reaches.

my boss, the owner of this company, came up yesterday afternoon to say goodbye, even though he’s around today.  he told me this place was too small of a pond for me, and…as i write this, he just now came up to me again on his way out the door, handed me a check for $100, and told me he hoped i would come back to visit.  i’m truly blown away.

melanie, our office manager, gave me one of the sweetest and most touching cards i think i’ve ever received.  suffice it to say that i’ll miss her.  a lot.  she also printed out the recommendation she wrote for me to teach for america.  after reading that, i’m more than shocked.  i don’t think anyone has ever written anything so glowing about me.

two of our agents, a mother and daughter team, gave me a card with $50 in it.  they left before i could thank them.

one of our other agents (who recently transferred his license to another firm)  is taking me to lunch today.  he’s been one of the most friendly people i’ve met here, and a genuinely good guy.  his son is a great reader, and i’ve really enjoyed knowing them both.

another agent who also transferred her license is taking me to coffee on tuesday afternoon.  she and i really bonded over lunch breaks in the kitchen and talking about all sorts of stuff.

a good friend (not from work) has been driving me to work and back for the last week.  seventy miles of driving a day.  words can’t even describe how grateful i am.  it means so much to me.

another friend gave me $140 to help me out. others have helped pack and move boxes and given me tremendous amounts of moral support.

basically, i feel beyond lucky right now.  about work…even though this job isn’t something that i really aspire to, the people here have been absolutely priceless.  i don’t even know what to do with myself.

i’ve gone through a lot of my life being rather cynical.  but i have to say, more and more this year, i’m finding that people are surprising me…for the better.  and that’s something i’m going to hold onto through the next 5 days.  maybe that chamomile tea worked after all.

*i can’t think about “tea bag” without my brain going to a gutter place.  thanks, republican party and all your tea parties that spawned relentless jabs of tea-bagging.  yep.  thanks.

or maybe we could go somewhere and eat a bunch of caramels

after the post-modernist revelation that was my blog from last night, i figured i would maybe write something ever-so-slightly more concrete.

i have a lot of friends expressing various degrees of angst about the dating world lately.  i have my own general gripes as well, but in recent days, i’ve had a lot of people coming to me, teeth gritted, slightly growly, going off on how they don’t understand this, that, or the other,  so i thought i would maybe try to boil some of that down into word soup.  better yet, a nice, reduced stock word demi-glace.   some of this is my own confusion, but most of that is just barely sprinkled in amongst the recent traumas of my social circle.  so on that lovely note, chew on some parsley, and bon apetit.

oddly enough, the main complaint i’ve heard recently (sometimes from my own mouth) is that no one seems to have a clue what it all means.  are we alone in this confusion?  is there some dating handbook that explains all this ridiculous terminology to the uneducated masses?  if so, i think a lot of us missed the sign-up sheet for the mailing list.  what does it mean to be dating someone versus seeing someone?  when does that magically transform into coupledom?  if the point of dating is to get to know someone, what do you do if you already know that person?

it’s all very confusing.

another major gripe i’ve heard recently has been about games.  and not the tiddlywinks sorts of games, either.   a friend told me earlier today that the guy she likes has been “claimed” by a girl at church.  that word alone made me perk up my ears and twitch an eyebrow.   last weekend, this girl (who is actually a 27-year-old woman, for shame) turned around and informed my friend that she was going to the upcoming dance, and this guy was “taken” — and that my friend would have to “find her own date.”  (the irony of the locale of this exchange shouldn’t escape you)

i sat there in startled shock for a moment before composing my elegant reaction of “?!?!?!?!?!”  followed by  “WHAT.”

really?  she said that?  who says that?  i mean, who beyond the hordes or hormone-induced cattiness that are made up of pubescent pre-teens.  but a 27-year-old woman?  really?  my head is reeling.  are human beings musical chairs now?  “sorry, this one’s taken.”  *smug smile*  it’s about as emotionally mature as saying, “i got there first,” with a “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” thrown in for good measure.

it’s a game.  a nasty game, at that.  she obviously went out of her way to try to get my friend to back off — something rather funny, considering my friend is hardly the type to throw herself at someone.  in addition to this one incident, apparently this girl has also “fake-married” this guy to stake her claim (again, musical chairs…apparently).  to use an internet meme…wtf.  actually, all that merits having it spelled out.  what.  the.  fuck.

maybe the subtleties of the female species elude me.  odd, because, you know.  i am one.  maybe i’m just more direct than most.  i personally think it’s better to just lay my cards on the table rather than slip poison into someone’s martini or bare my claws at the slightest sign of competition.  a lot of my friends are the same way as i am.

are the women who act like that really that insecure?   because to me, that’s what it says.  they see a threat, so they bare their claws and try to make the threat go away, hoping to get a rise out of the competition.  i think it’s probably because they know, on some deeper level, that they’re not going to get what they want.  i suppose sometimes they do get it, but even if the men in question are spared the barbs of these little exchanges, they’re not stupid, and they’ll probably see glimpses of cattiness through the facade.

i think it says an awful lot about the women willing to say something like that to someone, beyond insecurity even.  they obviously don’t feel confident.  but beyond that, they need to win.  farther, it seems to me that they need to put someone else down to feel better about themselves.  no one could tell me words like that wouldn’t sting — so they have to know damn well what they’re doing.

personally, if you have to resort to telling someone to back off like that for absolutely no reason, completely out of the blue, it shows you think the other person is a threat — probably because they sense the other person isn’t that into them.  for me, i don’t want to date anyone who doesn’t want to date me.  which is a mind-bending concept, i know.  but really.  when it becomes only about “winning,” people really start missing the point.  the point being finding someone you connect with who you want to have as a part of your life and be a part of theirs as well.

i’ll be the first to admit i’m not perfect.  i have my hang-ups like everyone else does.  i might be too blunt.  i tend to just blurt things out and then feel really awkward half the time.  but in my memory, i’ve never done anything like that to someone else.  and i wouldn’t.  it’s rather beyond catty and into mean-spirited, i think.  and in my book, that’s just really not okay.

i think it all boils down to communication.  a while back, i wrote a long post on honesty.  i think people are afraid to say what they think, because they’re afraid of getting hurt.  there’s a certain vague comfort in the agony of not knowing.  if you take that step out there on that limb and actually ask for what you want (god forbid) or say how you feel (the horror!), you risk rejection.  which is painful.  and scary.  but ask yourself this — if you like this person that much, first of all, one would hope that they’re worth the risk; second, if they don’t feel the same way, don’t you want to know so you can move on?

all of that said, i just don’t get it. the whole dating world is full of mysterious games and odd rituals.  you go out five times and you’re a couple — or something — at some point it’s “exclusive,” there’s probably sex in there somewhere, and you spend more time asking your friends what the hell is happening or how it’s gonna go than you do talking to the person you’re trying to smush your life together with.  it’s that pesky communication thing again.  no wonder we’re all messy.  there’s a reason we euphemize talking things out as “clearing the air.”

the people who have been coming to me with these stories lately are pretty straightforward people themselves — they’re doing their best to communicate and are running into brick walls right and left.  or, in one case, just minding her own business only to have someone stab her with a salad fork.  like i said, it’s all very confusing.  and apparently violent.  and, as will says in good will hunting, really pretty arbitrary.  it might be a necessary sort of arbitrary; i don’t know.  but to me, all the bizarre and inane dating concepts rather elude my grasp.

so that kind of brings me to say fuck it.  i just want somebody i can go somewhere and eat a bunch of caramels with.

Skylar: Maybe we could go out for coffee sometime?
Will: Great, or maybe we could go somewhere and just eat a bunch of caramels.
Skylar: What?
Will: When you think about it, it’s just as arbitrary as drinking coffee.
Skylar: [laughs] Okay, sounds good.

(quotes from good will hunting)

EDIT:  apparently my friends and i are not alone in our confusion due to dating nomenclature — a quick google search comes up with several confused forums trying to suss it out.  it seems like most people have their own ideas of what the hell everything means.  makes my caramel idea sound pretty good, doesn’t it?  screw the terminology.  i’m just along for the ride.

and just for all of your giggling pleasure, here’s some dating terminology humor.

let’s get awesome.

that sounds like the perfect beginning for a blog about absolutely nothing in particular.  i want to write, but i don’t really have a topic in mind, so let’s just see what comes out, shall we?

i saw a sweet movie tonight.  it’s an independent film co-written by the brother of one of my good college friends.  it’s called make out with violence, and you can check out their website here.

essentially, the movie is a coming of age film — with a zombie.  the basic premise is that wendy, the protagonists’ friend, has disappeared and turned up mysteriously reanimated, but very much dead.  take that and weave in threads of unrequited love, the cycles of grief, loss, and uncertainty, and you have a thoroughly intriguing film right from the get-go.  there is a lot of tension in the plot throughout the film, and it’s really done well.  the pacing is fantastic, and all the plot threads weave together exceptionally well.

movie poster image:  photo by aaron irons

movie poster image: photo by aaron irons

the writing is great — there are some amazing one-liners, such as the title of this post.  it’s full of a lot of wit, irony, and sarcasm.  there’s a lot going on underneath the surface.  fundamentally, this movie does something that i always strive to do when i write urban fantasy — to convey very real-life situations through a supernatural medium.  the presence of a zombie doesn’t make anything they try to say in this movie any less real.  and there’s a lot to be said.

about the zombie herself — absolutely excellent.  the film is truly creepy.  wendy’s every move made me twitch.  without explaining any of the context of her existence, they leave a pervading sense of palpable malice.  there is definitely a fair amount of gore, as well — and well done gore at that.

this is a fantastic movie.  if you get a chance to catch it at a screening, do so.  tonight, it was granted two awards — the regal cinemas dreammaker award and the award for best use of music.  the music is something to go on about as well — all of it was written specifically for the movie, and it was executed excellently.  the cinematography in this film is fucking spectacular.  the lighting in particular is incredibly impressive, and for people who claim to have made this film without any money, the production, editing, and finishing have the look of a much higher budget than they had.  it all looks awesome.

i also got to thinking tonight about friends.  i have made a few really good friends here in nashville, and i really appreciate them being a part of my life.  i think it’s really important to let people know when they are important to you.  human beings aren’t really mind readers, so they often don’t know what you’re thinking about them until you tell them.  and usually, it means a lot to them to know they are appreciated.  i know it does to me.  i’ve gotten a few random emails, texts, etc. from people in the last few months.  and it always means a lot to me to find out that someone is thinking of me or that at some point, they feel i affected their lives for the better.  it’s really nice to hear.  sometimes it’s people you least expect to hear such a thing from.

i’m fortunate to have the people i have in my life.  they’re really extraordinary human beings in a lot of ways.  i think it’s important to make those little gestures, let people know they’re on our minds.  they won’t know unless we do.  most of the time i think people sort of careen through life just doing their own thing, never really knowing how they affect those who cross their paths.  hearing from others that they were touched by this, that, or the other thing we did or said or just happened to be — that can really be priceless.  i’ve been on both sides of it.  i try to let people know when something about them inspires me or touches me or makes me think in some way.  i’ve been shocked to hear from people who i didn’t really think knew i existed that they had been somehow affected by me.  i really value those moments, whether giving or receiving.

i have so much going on in these last three and a half weeks.  i can’t believe it’s coming up so quickly.  i know i’m doing the right thing.  parts might be rough, and i’ll probably have some serious stress, but it’s right.  it’s where i have to go.  so…on that note of certainty, let’s get awesome.

fumbling toward ecstasy

i 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 feet.

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 afternoon sun.

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 beautiful.

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.

fumbling toward ecstasy

fumbling toward ecstasy

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.

a little worse for wear

i maybe have some bruises and scrapes.  maybe a little gravel stuck somewhere uncomfortable.  i’ll probably keep falling down some more.

but there are always hands to help me up, and i’m lucky to have good friends who can (and will) tell me when my head’s not level and things are starting to roll off of it.  it’s hard to see things objectively a lot of the time.

but that’s what friends are for.  they’re there to cheer you on, support you, and let you know when you’re being nuts.

and that’s that.  so i’m grateful my life is full of people who fit that description.

a note for the naysayers

EDIT:  I kinda hate that I feel the need to include this caveat.  This blog is not directed at the sweeping mass of humanity.  It is me upset after having been repeatedly put down and insulted by someone–only the most recent in a semi-regular stream of people lining up telling me how to live.  This blog is directed only at the people, though faceless to you, who have specifically ripped my life choices apart and belittled me, as well as those who have done the same to people I love.  It’s in defense of myself and my loved ones that I wrote this blog.  I was hurt and upset and insulted when I wrote it–I had just been called names and put down for an hour straight by someone who made a snap judgment.  It wasn’t the first time something like that has happened, and it won’t be the last.  I am a writer.  I get my feelings out by vomiting them into my fingertips and tapping them on keys.  Know all that when you read what’s to follow.  And know it’s not directed at you.

Let’s get one thing straight.

I am not now, nor have I never been, prone to insanity.  In recent days, acquaintances–not friends; “friend” is a word I reserve for those who truly are–have lined up to express their opinions on my move and the reasons behind it.  Specifically, that moving to be closer to my best friend is “nuts,” and that moving at all is “crazy.”  Those close to me–those happy few–are ecstatic and supportive.

But this one’s for the naysayers.  So if that’s you, perk up your ears.

I have led an extraordinary life.  There are two key words in that sentence.  Led is one; extraordinary is the other.  I have put myself through a private university, traveled the country and the world.  And I have done none of that through being timid, nor have I done any of it through being reckless.

I am one of those rare types who sees the world through eyes wide open.  I see the world in a panorama, not through a straw.  I am one who sees the evident potential in my surroundings, both immediate and far-flung.  I am a realist and an idealist.

There aren’t many of us.  We’re the ones you call crazy for moving halfway across the country or the world in pursuit of happiness or a dream that exists outside the canvas of your perception.  We’re the ones you ridicule and jibe–“What, here’s not good enough for you?  Is that it?”  For us, the world is at once a great, shining place in its vastness whilst resting easily in the palm of our hands.  We go where we feel led, to better ourselves and widen our panorama of sight.  We are in a constant state of striving flux–always a paradox that resists puzzling out.  We’re dreamers and doers.  We do because we dream.  We’re rarities, oddities.  We see the world as it is, but we live as if the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.*

Our lives are our Art.

We may seem abstract; our motivations may elude you.  We don’t fit in your box, and we’ll fight you tooth and nail if you try to rope us and tether us down.

You want to keep us in your box because you fear our success.  Our seeming flightiness intimidates you.  We weave foreign tapestries with the shimmering places and gleaming people we find on our ways.  We traverse our countries and the globe, and that threatens you.  Because we do what you will not admit you can.  We react to our feelings and the inexplicable tugs upon our psyches.  We live an uncomfortable existence, but we live, and we do it the best way we know how.

We understand with perfect, crystalline clarity that nothing worth having or experiencing in life comes easily.  We are not easy people to know.  We understand that great gain comes from taking risks.  We see the potential for growth and movement, and we calculate our paths with careful fluency.  We listen to our intuition, and we do what must be done to be true to it.

We gather to us people like ourselves.  We lead by example.  We inspire.  We create.  We often start–often purposely–with nothing and build with our every day.  We thrive when we beget beauty ex nihilo, when our very existence conceives wonders in its vibrancy, and when we enrich our own lives and the lives of others through how we live.

We move in and out of others’ paths like fish darting in the sea.  And we leave legacies when we go.

So don’t mock us or put us down.  We may fall on our faces.  We may have to wade through the mud before we reach where we’re going.  But to us, life is a journey, and we will get there.  And you will never see us slinking away with tails between our legs.

We are dreamers who do.  We change the world around us.  We may change our course, and things may not work out exactly the way we hope, but we are never guilty of failing to try.  Our success is born from our struggles, like a phoenix sired from fiery ash.

We are writers, musicians, poets, artists.  We are activists and movers.  We are the people you can’t quite grasp.  We follow our hearts and our ideals, and we live in relentless pursuit of the extraordinary.  We respond to the call of the wild.

So don’t try to hold us back.  Don’t label us insane or reckless–rest assured, we know exactly what we’re doing and why.  We do it because we must.  And we must and shall go free.  We are who we are, and your approval is neither desired nor required.

i walk.  i talk.  i shop.  i sneeze.  i’m gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back.  there’s trees in the desert since you moved out, and i don’t sleep on a bed of bones.**

*Joss Whedon, Angel
**Joss Whedon, Buffy

‘Tis the Season…

…to be utterly thankful.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Between the fall colors that are the last flaming burst of life before the earth goes dormant in winter and the gathering of family home to hearths and living rooms after being scattered for the year, it just holds a warm place in my heart.  There’s nothing I love more than taking the opportunity to get together with loved ones over Thanksgiving without the pressure of buying, buying, buying.  It’s one of the few American holidays that hasn’t been overtly commercialized–as evidenced by the fact that stores often put out their Christmas displays immediately following Halloween nowadays.  Thanksgiving gets rather lost in the fold–how do you commercialize a family dinner?  Oh, granted sales of sparkling cider and turkey go up, but it’s a far cry from the raging consumerism of Christmas.

I love it.

I love everything about it.  I like getting up early to put the turkey in the oven, covering it with herbs and stuffing it full of toast and veggies.  I like spending the day running around the kitchen, peeling potatoes, laughing with family, getting frustrated at pies and people, and preparing for the biggest feast of the year.  I love looking around that table and seeing faces of people I love dearly looking back at me.  All with the knowledge that today is a day to be thankful, to take nothing for granted, to love fully and be loved and to set aside the frantic busy-ness that makes up the other days of the year and pour our energy into people and life.

I love taking some time to reflect on what I’m thankful for.  There’s never a bad time to count your blessings, but Thanksgiving is really quite a good time to do it–because everyone else is doing it, and it makes these few weeks of the year a time of openness, of friendship and family and love.

Of course it’s shiny happy people stuff–that’s what the holidays should be about.

I don’t really have anyone to spend my holidays with, in terms of a romantic sense.  I am single.  But it’s more than okay–there will, most likely, be any number of holidays in my future in which I am flying to and fro, trying to coordinate plans with a significant other.  When I look at my family members doing this, I have to add the unlikely blessing to my list that I am the sole person in charge of figuring out what the hell I’m doing for the holidays.  I can go where I please and see who I want.  Woot.

I’m really quite thankful for any number of things, singleness notwithstanding.  I quite like the weather–though I’m in a lonely camp there.  I’m thankful for the many people who are new in my life this year–they’ve all been rather extraordinary, and I feel really very special.  I have a nice home, a steady job, and I’ve finished my first novel.  I will, in the future, finish the others as well.  Just a matter of time.  I have a lovely writing group filled with other odd souls such as myself.  I’ve had a large number of wonderful experiences in the past few years, and I really feel quite lucky about that, too.  On a very basic level, all my needs are taken care of.  I don’t have anything to complain about, not really.

I’m thankful that I’m pretty healthy.  I have the occasional sniffle, but I’ve thus far escaped any serious malady this year, and I fully intend to round out 2008 with my lungs intact.

I am thankful for the chance to see my mom’s sister and family after nearly ten years of absence.  I leave for ten years, come back, and 2/3 of them are bigger than me.  Who’d’ve thunk?  My cousins are all grown up now.  It will be quite the party this weekend.  I’m also thankful to get the chance to see a good friend again on Friday.  It’s a bit of a trek up north, but worth it.  I’m very excited.

I am thankful that my car will (will, I say) make it all the way to Columbus, then on to Toledo, then back to Nashville in one piece without major incident (or minor incident, for that matter.)

Yes.  It will be a lovely Thanksgiving.