Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This is the Life

I keep wanting to post something but I'm not sure what I want it to be about exactly...

Often times I don't really plan what I say, it just stems from some place in my mind or my heart and somehow works its way into a vague poem that cohesively makes sense, or a short story that somehow has a moral.

That's kind of how I live my life. What happens happens; I don't really....try.

Take the piano for instance: I had a natural knack for it. My fingers were crafted to tickle the ivories, and they generally were good at it. My mind's connection to the muscle memory of playing a piece was very strong, and once I nailed it down I could whip it out at any moment at any speed.

I was good.

So I didn't practice.

Take my GPA for instance: I was kicked out of Honors English my ninth grade year because, being naturally gifted with words, I focused my energies on my weaknesses like science and math. So I didn't maintain the B grade level to stay in the class.

So they kicked me out. And other than one terrible science grade my ninth grade year, my lowest grades--college included--are in English courses.

Because I don't try.

I fell for the system of blogging because when it comes to writing I'm not one for revision. With few exceptions, when I write something I consider it completed and publishable in that exact moment. With a blog I can do that. I can write something and send it into the world seconds later. I don't have to think about it. I don't have to try.

Even now I don't know what exactly it is I'm getting at. I'm just writing.

That's why I hated literary criticism and analyzing poetry and what not. Because to me, people wrote the way they read, people wrote the way I wrote, which was the way I read. It's late so let me repeat that sentence in another way: I always imagined the author took as much thought to write as it took me to read. I don't know what's coming, I discover it the farther down the page I go. So, obviously, must the writer upon penning it.

I viewed writing as more of an archaeological work, slowly dusting off evidence by degrees, never truly aware of what was being uncovered until at last there lay a skeleton of sorts. And in that moment every little aspect prior to would make ultimate sense. The work would be completed, understood, and beautiful.

And for me, quite often, it works that way. Spoiler alert, the prose piece that was published in Weber's undergraduate literary book Metaphor was one of those instances where I sat and wrote, and as the end came I realized all the symbolism with the cold hands and a reserved, almost cold life, and the bright vivacious man warming my hands both metaphorically and literally.

That's one reason it's one of my favorite things I've written lately. Because it somehow resulted in so much meaning.

I don't plan my writing. Which is why it hurt when the words went away last year. For so long the one thing that had always been near effortless was suddenly a barren wasteland I couldn't cross. And I kept wanting to talk about it, write about it, but the words weren't there. There were never enough words, and they wouldn't file into place the way they used to, gathering together at the close to mean something more than the stammerings of a young adult.

I'm tired and sick of this post.

I keep coming back to the diner. I guess I'll write it. maybe the words know something I don't.

I watched her from my seat at the bar, feet dangling, one hand holding my chin up in the way I keep assuming is sexy; I don't know how I'd fare if someone told me it was otherwise. She didn't seem to notice me, and I didn't seem to mind. Not everyone you recognize needs to be verbally acknowledged. Sometimes it's enough to stare from a distance for a moment or so and then calmly return to the life you developed in their absence, knowing full well they would do the same. Some bridges don't burn, they just get overgrown, and you wonder what the trouble would be in moving the foliage and crossing once more. Sometimes you think to take the risk.

And sometimes you make it halfway and change your mind, allowing the underbrush to envelop the faded wood boards again, sucking that piece of your past back into the recesses of the forest of your mind where you now fail to tread.

But I didn't need that with her. I didn't need to contemplate the bridge. I knew her well enough, remembered her well enough, even with a bridge left dilapidated and forgone. I hadn't even realized I'd crossed the bridge, really. It had taken until seeing her to realize how far we'd come, my feet and I, how much distance lay between us and that once field of green. I had an image of myself, back then. A vision of perfection, what "adult" me would entail, and it took seeing her, across the greasy diner in the booth that should be hosed down, to realize I'd reached that moment. I'd become that vision, else why would I see myself as such a distant figure? Else why would I see what used to be me sitting in an awkward solitude by the window?

It hit me this weekend, and today, but so expediently on Friday, when suddenly every thread was cut. Suddenly all the safety nets that tethered me to that frightened chubby girl hiding in a Jason Mraz tee shirt were broken and dangling as memories from the four gray walls that suspended me. Suddenly my limitations were nothing. Suddenly the expanse before me was more vast and beautiful than it had ever been.

Suddenly I...was alive.

I forgot until this moment: there's a scene in Home Alone where Kevin yells out "I'm not afraid anymore! Do you hear me? I'm not afraid anymore!" (and then he sees the creepy shovel dragging neighbor and runs away screaming).

But my life has reached that moment. The Macaulay Culkin in my mind keeps yelling "I'm not afraid anymore! Do you hear me? I'm not afraid anymore!" and I can't help but feel it with each breath. It's invigorating, this concept of being alive. This ability to share what's on my mind with anyone nearby, not questioning how they'll interpret what I'm saying, but simply saying it as though they've known me for ages. It's not caring if my odd dancing scares boys away, but embracing that this is how I'm happy in a movement setting. It's not chickening out when the attractive mid-twenties man from corporate talks to you briefly and not shying away from asking if he's single. It's taking the moment you have and making the best of it. It's not waiting for the "next time" that won't happen or won't happen the same way. It's being grateful for all my big mistakes as much as I am for all the little blessings, because each makes me what I am. It's knowing there's someone out there who will accept all of me, and that hiding it won't keep hurt from happening. It's understanding that hurt happens, that love isn't right the first time, that people can say things they possibly mean and everything can look good on paper, but when it comes down to it it just doesn't work.

It's believing that something will work. It's hoping that I can have all I want and deserve in this lifetime, that God won't let me be the crazy rat lady because I think varmints are adorable and I'm allergic to cats. It's throwing caution to the wind. It's living the way he does, maybe not exactly, but enough to feel the breeze. It's accepting what I am and embracing what I want, and greeting the universe with this understanding, and paying it forward and keeping from bottling it up. It's about being present and in the now and ready for destiny, even if it's just so I can make another mistake.

It's making mistakes and taking truths from the ashes of my expectations. It's moving forward, living up, making mountains.

Sometimes songs don't directly apply unless you're me. But I love this song so I'm embedding it anyway.


  1. Very....profound. I guess my mind doesn't stretch as far as yours into the symbols and metaphors you write, but I sense the passion behind them and that alone inspires me to read on and let sink in what I think you are trying to convey. I'm curious as to what happened on that friday that set you free?

    1. It's not so much anything in particular that happened, I just suddenly felt like I was filling up my skin for the first time. That whatever had kept me holding back my whole life had given up and gone and I just....I finally fit. Who I thought I was finally connected with who I physically was. I was just unbelievably comfortable just being. And it was a new sensation. That's it, really. And thanks for reading :) I always appreciate readers :)

  2. Cameron, please tell me I'm not the only one who immediately thought of Weird Al's "This Is the Life" upon reading the title of this post.