Friday, December 28, 2012

Catch and Release

Good things come and pass.

I watched the stream flow by, my mind miles away, tossed in the gentle swirl of the current over rocks and minnows I used to pacify myself in catching.

They never let me keep the minnows, my parents. As dainty and petite a pet they made at time of capture, they were not meant to be captive long-term. I'd be obliged to return them to their life cycle, to grow and flow downstream to the lake and mate and eat and mate until death or a fisherman's rod brought them in.

But for two days they would be mine. For two days I'd keep them sustained in my empty juice bottle, adoring them and imagining what our future could be.

If our future could be.

Over and over I had to face that it couldn't, and release them back into the current.

It seems my life is nothing more than catch and release, catch and release, catch and release until I'm left crouched by the streamside wondering what point there is to it all. What waste of calorie to capture that which cannot stay, that which lives a better life without my grasp.

I was a fool to come again, I decided, leaning back on my haunches momentarily before shifting to Indian style, there on the bank. I was a fool to paint the illusion of reality along the trickle of the water swimming by. A fool to assume the minnows wanted me terrorizing them and restraining them from their allotted course, that somehow I was an exception to natural law. A fool to want what clearly cannot be mine.

For even though you say I'm worth it and worthwhile, I don't see you ushering me into an empty juice bottle.

I don't see you trying to keep me, when I want nothing more than to catch and keep you.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Please Don't Say You Love Me

I had an abundance of misfortune catacombed around my temples, lending my thoughts down narrow roads of empty cobwebs and distant lights I couldn't make out with the nightfall. I wrapped my arms about myself in that familiar way reminiscent of a home I don't remember; that second part of human nature that we spend our lives wandering in wait for.

I can't draw the emotion out of myself with my own arms.

I was washed over with an overbearing notion of freedom, lacerated by the tethering bindings that hold me where I stand. I am stuck, crystallized or bogged to this surrounding, but all the while liberated and alive. I retain an abundance of hope and patience previously alien to my mortal mind. The lights remain, visibly dancing away from my grasp, but they remain, and with them the idea that someday I will stand among them. Someday I shall know them.

That notion alone constitutes as enough.

I understand wandering in wait is necessary. Time will come. I'll have the lights one day.

I never understood this song. I enjoyed it, but didn't understand where she was coming from.

I think I do now. And everything vague thing I'm capable of penning here at this exact moment is breached in full in this song, and better and more vaguely than I could ever dream of scripting.

So I'll let it speak. You can close your eyes and ignore the multicolored hands. Or push play and scroll up to avoid seeing the video at all. I purposefully chose the lyric version and not the music video because I didn't want the song bogged down by the director's story.

Take the words for what they are.

Please don't say you love me.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I'm letting myself off the hook for things I've done. -Jason Mraz-

I cried all the time as a child; easily and often. A boy in sixth grade teased me endlessly because his first memory of me was from kindergarten when I had punched my yellow Capri Sun straw through the back of the pouch and cried.

As stagnant and constant as Dad's instructions on the proper way to greet an angel and how to deduce if the angel was of God or the devil (D&C 129), were Dad's herbal "drops," as we called them. Bach Flower Remedies, at least the ones we employed, are vials of liquid with a little dropper attached to the lid. You take two or three drops under the tongue or in water to help ease different ailments. If it burns when it sets in, that's the signal that you need help in that area--each vial remedies a different condition. (For instance I use Mimulus and Impatiens for stress and impatience. Rescue Remedy is a mix of various drops--it's the cure-all.)

Our primary use of these drops was/is for nerves.

I can't recall a single audition I've attended without having taken Rescue Remedy in a water bottle with me. They work. I 100% agree that they work. I've tried other herbal remedies and walked away none the better off, but I can say tenfold I'm always more calm and at ease after these.

But I'm not giving a product review.

It's backstory.

The day I was to meet Jason Mraz was one of the most stressful days of my life. As the morning wore on I grew more and more panicked, and I knew the only thing that would fix me would be drops.

Mom and I drove around Golden Colorado after eating breakfast at a quaint little bistro--seriously, side note, I love small towns--and happened to find an organic health shop. We went inside.

They were under new management, and all the Bach items they had were left over from the old owner; they were just clearing out stock. They had a Rescue Remedy for Pets, and several human remedies. I read all the labels, none having to do with the thing my mind primarily connected drops to--stress. I found one that wouldn't help me prior, but would save my life after, or so I thought.

I have this issue of being confident with myself until after the moment has passed, and suddenly everything I did/said/expressed on my face was the wrong course of action and I'm a failure and I suck.

Pine "allows you to accept yourself and your actions as they are rather than feel guilty or blame yourself for the mistakes of others."

With my track record, I knew after experiencing the most daydreamed moment of my young life, that anything I did would later be deconstructed as horribly wrong and pathetic.

We bought Pine.

I used it for the first time tonight; maybe because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and I'd never seen the point in curing the metaphorical heartburn after it had set in, maybe because I've learned to deal with my over-analytical mind. All night tonight I was cherry bombed with What If's. I was going mad, concocting different ways things could have gone, different paths I could have trod, different doorsteps to end up on, but immediately following came the frustrated voice that it doesn't matter. There are a hundred different ways each instant can go--there were three separate beginnings of this post I contemplated before diving in, and those are only the three I contemplated. There were many other ways to start this.

For once I had a voice of reason breaking through the hypothetical, drawing my eyes to sturdily acknowledge that it doesn't matter. What happened happened, it could have gone a separate way, but I didn't chose that way. I didn't even see that direction until hours later when I replayed the occurrence for the two hundredth time. Life is not a "choose your own ending" book with a series of scripted outcomes you eenie-meenie-miney-moe your way through to wind up with one of four outcomes. Life is walking in the woods. Life is heading off in one direction and weaving through the trees and over rocks as you see fit; maybe you could have gotten there from a different route. Maybe you could have gotten there sooner or taken your time to find a more beneficial path. Maybe you could have turned slightly more right and ended up at a different spot all together--it doesn't matter. You got there. You made it, you passed. That's it.

It doesn't matter "what if" I remembered Jason Mraz's favorite board game was Scrabble and used Scrabble letters instead of screenshots of his handwriting on the tee shirt I made. It doesn't matter "what if" I had him sign the CD case like I'd always imagined instead of the last-minute book decision. It doesn't matter "what if" I took another ten minutes plotting out all my courses before deciding what to send in that text. It doesn't matter "what if" I'm misunderstood or taken out of context or tossed aside. I did what I did. I didn't do what I didn't. It doesn't matter. I got around that tree, I passed that stump. There's no sense in going back and observing all the things I could have done. It's behind me.

It doesn't matter.

I used Pine to shut myself up, to accept myself and my actions as they are and move on.

There's nothing behind me but what was. There's nothing ahead but what will be.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"24 And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth--that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief."

-Moroni 10:24

I check up on myself every once in a while, see how I'm standing compared to where I was. It was November, and I checked the list to the right that shows my posts through year and months. It was depressing to see I was a long ways off from the 40's I'd been reaching with no qualms for the past two years.

I felt insufficient.

But suddenly I had so much to write about and so many ways to script it: the words came back.

It's because faith and application of it came back.

I realized this a few months ago, that I'd added some five pages to my manuscript during the summer purgatory, whereas the year before I'd jotted near sixty pages plus a notebook of extensive backstory and side details I'll probably never divulge. I realized, though the words may still be around, they aren't as free flowing as when I'm plowing a prosperous field and sowing spiritual oats. It takes me three times as long to locate them.

I acknowledged this, yes, and continued merrily on my stagnant way.

Which, as a side feature to mirror the slew of nonsense yesterday's post entailed, imagine a stagnant body of water. It could be beautiful; I'd assume most are at the beginnings. But add whether and algae and seasons and animal droppings--with nowhere to leach out to, it festers in itself. It's revolting. I hadn't really thought about it before, though I've used the term stagnant in my internal monologue for weeks. Its got quite the disturbing connotation. And denotation.

If we're being honest, I don't remember which is which.


The family had settled in for family scripture study, which isn't the most common of practice, and something that I partially don't see the point in because I never keep up with the reader. I always pause at some point to mark a verse in my specific, unique, meaningful way, and catch up some twenty verses later.

This was one such case, but it was worth it, because it clarified what I'd been musing for months and vocalizing on occasion.

"...if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief."

"...if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief."

Yes, I found many musable topics in November, but I also found Christ and rekindled my belief.

And the words came back.

The experience of losing the words and having them return taught me two things: 1) if one doesn't work for the Lord's purpose, one can lose one's gifts; 2) I'm not a writer. That isn't something innate bred in me like my eye color or that freckle on my ring finger. It's not something I'll carry and keep regardless where I tread. The Lord made me a writer. He opens the floodgates through which the words flow and frolic and dance and arrive.

What this means is I can't afford to lose the Lord in my life. I can't afford to dwell in unbelief. I can't survive if he takes away the words.

My favorite lyrical sentence of all time (and this is a drastic statement because there are many a Jason Mraz lyric that are utterly beautiful) is from the Hudson Taylor song "Wont' Back Down." It's my life wrapped up in one sentence. It hits so truly home that if I ever in a million years got a tattoo, that would be the one thing I could visualize myself scripting to my skin. You've probably read it before: it's the subtitle to my blog.

"Take my words, they're all I have."

Losing the words this year forced me to realize that I am nothing without them. I am nothing without the Lord. The only way I could carve a way through this life is through the pen and what it produces. I'm not an actor. I'm hardly a teacher. Everything I am stems from everything I write. I've constantly fallen back on my ability with words.

I can't afford to be idle, at least not with the gospel. If I ever place something below another, the gospel must be what stays afloat. If all I am is possible through the words, and He controls the words, without him I am nothing.

Perhaps this is redundant. Perhaps I didn't articulate it with the smoothness I had hoped. I'm just trying to say what I know now, what I had to learn to cease the circling. Words may be all I have, but that I won't have them if I have unbelief in Christ.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Patience does not suit me like a birthday suit.

She strips her clothes off when anxiety hits.
I rend my heart twain.
She rambles in the car,
I scribe words of self disdain.

I keep falling back on the analogy of stripping off clothes. Not in an erotic means; metaphor. Simile. Put on your literary caps, chaps. 

She strips her clothes off when anxiety hits.
I marvel at composure
Rent along the seams
Of patchwork stitches and
Needle-thing points,
Making mirrors of emotion
Echo back the heart.

I find a cigarette in the dumpster.
He'd been off the stuff for months, but
The sorrow of the human condition is the tendency
For relapse
Into something so divine.
Each man finds that sense
Of divinity,
Whether lasting or earthly,
And he consumes and usurps as much
As possible
Before the supply dries and he's
Abandoned by addiction to a realm
Of back-sided hands.

I apologize for this post. It's stream of consciousness. Usually I edit the floundering out, but Jason Mraz has done this on occasion and it really works. 

And I'm falling asleep but there is so much yet to say.

She strips her clothes off when anxiety hits.
I bite my lower lip and roll over,
Forgetting what I want
And what I was,
embedded in this bed
Partaking of the body of
That resides in the ludicrous
Pumping of my veins and ventricles;
Words I hate to express.
Notions I hate to remember.

She strips her clothes off when anxiety hits,
And I can't help but applaud the metaphor.
I want to remove this cup from me,
To shed the skin
That clings so forcefully
Against my blazing heart
And peel off tenderly
The fabric that contains me,
To set it aside and wade into the water.
Whether I drown or wash clean
I've yet to decide,
But this corset is too much,
These surroundings too full
Of all I yearn to forget,
Move past,
And wait for.

Patience does not suit me
Like a birthday suit.

I'm cleaning my room tomorrow. I'm unhappy with everything and anything so suddenly that it's the only solution I can conjure, aside for the fact that it desperately needs to be done. I have a 1940's hope chest to place at the foot of my bed, and a room to rearrange so it will fit.

Dad is good about sensing my unhappiness. Last we changed the room, it stemmed from unhappiness.

That was high school.

I can't change my scenery. I can't get Virginia or anything else because I'm meant to be here, right now. I'm meant to wait. I have to find newness somewhere else.

I gripped the collar of my jacket and felt my arms shaking. I wanted to do it. I wanted to give in to the horrible motion in my stomach, the bubbling and gurgling of nauseating anxiety that had plagued me for weeks, and rend my clothes. I wanted the angels scribing my life to place the phrase they penned for the bible. That I rent my clothes.

But more than that, it seemed necessary. I wanted to take each article bit by bit and discard it somewhere I could pick it up when needed, but be content to ignore and rediscover on a day in a year where it no longer matters.

I wanted to stop worrying, caring, wondering. I needed to be waiting.

I moved my arms and grabbed the hem. I pulled up.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back to Where I Was

I stayed up until three last night reading my great-grandma's history. She was a visionary and a saint; a blunt, religious woman who told it like it was. And you believed her.

Because she knew.

I've been frustrated of late, perhaps with my sense of limbality (an altered form of saying "in limbo" I just created of the Dr. Seuss-ness of it.) and lack of answers. Granted, I have no grounds on which to demand with flaming torches the Lord light my path, as my path has only begun to reunite with where He expects me to trod, but I felt this urgent need to read past all the fluff (interesting, but fluff) about life in the early twentieth century and get to the part where she started being visited. One defining factor of Ida Dial was that the veil didn't mind ruffling for her.

Once I reached that place in her memoir, they came in quick succession.

And aside for the peace and affirmation of fact that settled about my blanketed shoulders with each passing vision, I couldn't shake the notion that I'm not getting answers. She had visions and visitations and all manner interactions on a spiritual level, and my means of receptive communication is just a squeeze and a head pat and a positive, "just endure" phrase pressed into my mind.

I know I shouldn't compare. I'm not. I'm not in any way saying I deserve all she had and more.

I'm saying it's a shame I let a year slip by, and neglected this edification of myself, a year that could very well have launched me closer to the apparition of an angel, or at least magnified the squeeze to an embrace.

As a diligent youth I experienced a constant disconcerting emotion each time I spoke of spirituality in an appropriate setting, such as church meetings themselves. I would sit in my folding chair at the back of the chapel and feel the burn in my arms and heart that I needed to share what was swirling in my head. So I'd stand and make the trek through the pews of friendly faces, mount the steps and face the crowd.

It was a common, near constant occurrence to bear the spirit so forcefully in my heart that I could scarce contain it with my meager mortal frame, but upon ending my oratory I would descend the stairs and feel ashamed. People would smile or nod at me and I'd avert my eyes. I had been stupid to say that. How dumb of me to ever leave my folding chair. What a waste of two minutes of everyone's time.

This experience bothered me, and it came with such frequency that I began to question whether I should ever speak at all.

But it didn't seem right or fair, knowing that the Holy Ghost was bursting so forcefully within me that I couldn't keep myself from sharing. It wasn't fair that I should be so overbearingly compelled to speak, and not have something beneficial to say; only something so idiotic.

I don't remember exactly how it played out, but eventually I found myself facing Acts 9, which is a personal favorite chapter for many reasons--it begins the tale of Paul, one I never tire of. But it was Acts 9:15 that changed my perspective of the spiritual letdown post-testimony:

"15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."

Whether it hit me at once or arrived over months of musing, "a chosen vessel unto me" began to be the take-away point to the verse. And it was applicable to more than Paul.

I was constantly aware of all the times I failed at keeping the Spirit after vocalizing what the Spirit seemed so desirous I should declare. It came to my attention that the times people most often thanked me for my words or remarked how I'd really hit home or made sense where those times I left the pulpit or classroom feeling sufficiently sub-par and pathetic.

I came to the conclusion that, in those moments, the Spirit was not for me to keep. I did not need what the message contained. The Lord merely needed a vessel to deliver it to they who were in need.

I don't mean this to sound like I'm tooting my horn and saying I'm the bees knees. I'm worried that's how it's coming across because the driving spiritual force I experienced upon endeavoring to pen this post has now subsided.

I'm feeling stupid for ever bringing it up.

But I had to write it because it happened today, in Relief Society. A recollection kept spinning through my head, drawing my attentions, and suddenly the teacher said something that burst a dam inside of me, or rather the dam dividing me from heaven, and suddenly I was quivering and burning with a power not my own, and I knew I had to share. I knew I had to release that divine heat from my extremities or I would surely go up in flames.

So I spoke, and I spoke in a rush. It sounded a jumble to me, and suddenly irrelevant but it was coming out, it needed to come out.

And as I closed my statement I felt like an idiot. I felt suddenly empty and ashamed and under qualified.

It was in that moment I realized how long it had been since I felt incomplete and awkward after speaking in a church meeting. I couldn't remember the last time I'd burst with the Spirit and slunk, drained, into my folding chair.

I want to be her. Whether that means angels herald to my attentions the man I'm to marry, or a woman I did temple work for comes to tell me I am to do her daughter's work that night, or that I continue to have bursts of Aaron oratory capacities followed by Moses-like selfconsciousness. I don't know.

What I do know is whatever the Lord needs of me, that is what I want to be. I can only imagine how many times in the past year someone else served as vessel because my being was not fit to house His gospel. The Lord has pulled me from my rut by introducing people who have literally brought me to Christ in a way I never thought I'd need to be brought. I am beyond thankful they were what they needed to be to serve as vessels for the Lord's plan in my life, and hereby avow to never stray from becoming what He needs, that I may one day return the favor to a stranger or loved one. Whether by word or by deed, His vessel I'll be.

"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Talk Is Cheap

I've been beginning to drown. My lungs clench up and my heart falters and I can't breath. I sway for a moment, and have to talk myself out of drowning.

One route to not drowning has been this song by Eric Hutchinson:

I know what he's intended the song to mean: stop talking, let's do something. You want to make a change, stop complaining about the way things are and go make the change. Talk is cheap. I get it. But for me, right now, it's leaning more toward his other meaning: say what you mean.

"Some people don't know how they really feel, some people can't talk about what is real. And I could never chit-chat all day long...And everybody's talkin' while they're stringing me along. I'll go by what you do, 'cuz talk is cheap."

The whole chorus, really. It's sort of become my mantra of positivity, to evade the ever present possibility of drowning. In the past two days it's already been played 17 times on my iPod, and over a thousand in my idle mind. And in the course of typing this post I've listened to the above YouTube video three times.

I bought Eric's album in like, June. It was unfortunate for him to release his sophomore album the very same day Jason Mraz released Love Is A Four Letter Word, because, well... It's Jason Mraz. And even when Eric Hutchinson was numbered in the favorites lump (which he's wriggling his way back into), he was only ever Second Favorite.

I literally referred to him as that through sophomore year and most of junior year. Then I realized I had too many Second Favorites to individually label one specific Second Favorite. From there he fell from grace.

I tried listening to Moving Up Living Down on the bus one day sometime after meeting Jason Mraz, when my future and music taste suddenly slammed into a wall. I couldn't make it through.

I wasn't ready for this song. I didn't need it then.

I cannot stress enough how much I need it now, when everything else is reminding me of my innate need to seize up and drown, give up the ghost and float down the ravine and onward into the underworld. I need a reason to breath.

The Lord's told me patience. I need patience; a diligent patience in which I progress but still wait. That's what this song's given me. I mantra through which to accomplish patience.

"I don't want to wait for you 'cuz talk is cheap. I don't know how you spend your time; I'm done wasting all of mine. 'Cuz talk is cheap."

I'm not lending my life and happiness on other's shoulders anymore. I'm bottling up those parts of me that want to bleed and blend in with everyone unconditionally. I'm shutting down what tears me down. I've made my resolution: "From now on I'm listening and saving my breath."

Because talk is cheap.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The world was flaked with white that hadn't lasted the season until the night before.

The snow flecked around her shoulders, the hills spreading away from her stationary place caked in a sea of soft white, blurring at the edges under the solid grey clouded sky. She wanted to absorb it; to stand there all day, all night, as long as it took to be translated in the wind, disintegrated in the fog she exhaled, dissolved like the moisture from her lips. 

They chipped and broke with each motion of the breeze, each movement of her tongue in a subconscious attempt to revive what was long gone. What had long given up.

She spent years waiting for days like this, solitude peace of mind that ebbed and flowed along the brush of sparkling water against her rawing cheeks. She wanted the numbness that would come, that cold would bring. She wanted the absence of worry, lack of life, that attended dying nervous systems. She wanted ease, singularity. Happiness.

Her eyes focused to the horizon, where trees began to become their backdrop, the white overbearing and overcoming with each gust of snowfall, whitewashing everything she'd had to bother with hours before. Moments before. 

She was beginning to breath again, as the water seeped through her black boots. Her fingers were long too exposed to be useful to her. She was a body and one beating organ unified with the clean slate before her, and the world that opened up in its captivity under water. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

After The Storm

My mind is a tempest today.
A whirlwind of confusion forces fog
Against the rigging of my boat,
And in the clouded stupor
I am left with the constructs of my mind;
All the meager things I never dwell on in life
That climb out of darkness to twist the imagination
And insist I see them for what they are.
Shrouded in grey-scale I'm left to acknowledge
My horrors and concerns,
My nauseousness and grief,
And the possibility that I am wrong.

I am rocked across the sea,
Salt pricking my skin
As water lashes across my face.
I am trapped with my thoughts,
The jagged rhythm of the ship
And the clanging of pulleys
Prevent my eyes from focusing on the abstract idea
Of you.

From this angle you look like you prefer her,
And I am reverted to a sub-par state of being
I occupied most excusably in high school.
As the waves crash I see you
Ringleader of this game
You created against my heart
To tear down the fallen until they rise no more.
With my hair tangled about my face
From the roaring winds of angst
You become synonymous with him,
Him, him, and him.
You don the hat they all exchanged,
In possession of the knowledge which
Will tear me down
And break my bones.
I am pathetic and lowly
And none,
Above all you,
Would ever choose my hand.

The current drops and I am thrown
To the deck,
My knee bent near my chest,
Sprawled in a chalk outline-
A murder you committed.
Face-down I remember all you've been;
How ignorant and childish I am
To assume malicious action on your part.
You know as much as I do,
You're unsure as much as I am,
But comfort will not hold as the ship
Is rocked again, the fog clenching
Tighter, a reminder of my imagination
And subconscious tendency to pen outcomes
Before beginnings arise.
I've labeled you important,
I've crafted you as special;
The tempest and fog refuse to shed light
On which end of my mind
Is right.

As the tempest swells
I run and wake the master,
For in days past he
Rebuked such wind and
Calmed such seas and
Cast a humble eye on the weak.
I can no longer weather alone
This torrential torment of the mind,
The way my heart is failing
And falling to a
Despair-ridden deck.
I focus beyond the deluge
Of my mind, farther into
Perfection than my fears of drowning
And await his calming steady hand.

And as he aids me yet again,
He asks
Why are ye so fearful?
How is it that ye have no faith?
Have patience that the storm will pass.
I know thine pain,
But more so
Thine path.
Believe ye not this storm will last.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rusty Halo

I wanted to open the window, allowing the dust to rise from its slumber along the sill and floor. I wanted a breeze and tapered sunlight to come, coiffed  through the open pane and make a difference on the room I'd left so long alone.

But more than that. I wanted it the way it was. After the whimsical stirring of dust in the fresh air, I wanted order. I wanted the maintenance to be maintained. I wanted the life back in this dull cavern I had dug, in this dingy attic that used to play recluse.

I wanted atonement.

I scuffed my shoes along the densely abandoned floor, remembering in the peeling wood all my hopes for this place, all my hopes for the eternity this place would bring me kin to.

I had shut the door, bolted the lock, and descended the stairs, retaining the potential, the beauty, and the hope within, intent on keeping it forever.

Copper greens under elements, dust falls, decay takes hold. A conserving door does not conserve the condition. What once was clean grows dirty, especially when left alone.

I opened the door to a room I remembered, but in a condition I knew no more.