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Posts Tagged ‘life’

the blindsiding moments

November 4, 2015 4 comments

I don’t believe in coincidences. There’s too much that goes into a moment—too many factors—to pretend that something means nothing. It’s not random. It’s not happenstance. There are a handful of things, at the very least, that aligned, which results in a Thing Happening.

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I drove past—literally—someone I haven’t spoken to in a while, someone I have been thinking about. Someone who I miss, for a million reasons. The person was in the lane next to me, and there was this shock of recognition, as I leaned forward, “Is that…? It is.” But then, I drove through the intersection, and that was that.

This person isn’t someone I ordinarily run across. But things like this have happened in the past, in instances where it should’ve been impossible. Or, at the very least, highly unlikely. And yet. And still.

That happened. This small moment, literally at a crossroads. And it really got me thinking, more so than usual. Because so much has happened lately, and some of it isn’t mine to tell, but they’re the blindsiding moments that take your breath away. Sucker punches to the soul, the kind of things that make you stop, force you to stop and think about your life.

Are you doing what you want? Are you doing what you love? Are you with the person you love? Are you allowing yourself to be loved? Are you open to it? Are you open, period? (If the answer to any of these is “no,” then that’s something to think about.)

There are no guarantees. There is right now. And right now, whether or not we know or acknowledge it, we’re all at a crossroads. Every moment is a choice point. Every second is an opportunity. Seize it.

Because everyone has that person, right? That person you can’t stop thinking about. Maybe your reminders are less literal, less in-your-face than mine. But when it’s quiet, when the world stops demanding things of you, when it’s just you and your thoughts: what’s occupying them? Who’s occupying them? That thing your heart and your head on settle on?

Make the choice to bring it into your life. Because there’s just this moment, there’s only right now.

Go Searching for Sunshine

June 12, 2014 4 comments

            This week, for me, seems to have a theme. Maybe two. It’s been all about perception and honesty. Sometimes, the smallest thing – a conversation, an offhand comment – can shift everything. It’s like someone turned on a lightbulb, and you didn’t realize you’d been sitting in the dark. Except, you were. And now everything is different.

            Don’t get me wrong: illumination can be difficult. But nothing worth having/being/doing is ever easy. Anyone who tells you differently is a lying liar, whose pants are aflame. My point is that an honest conversation can change the way you see a situation. And sometimes, you pick up a clue you didn’t know you were missing in some unrelated event. This has happened to me several times this week. A few minutes ago, I stumbled across a quote from, of all things, Winnie the Pooh: Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.

            That small, simple sentence just shifted a whole heap of things for me. Some things, I already kinda/sorta knew. Others, maybe not. But the funny thing is that I’m able to see something more clearly, which has been a constant development this week. It’s the emotional equivalent of finding money that you forgot about in a coat pocket. Surprise! Here’s the thing that’s yours; it’s been here all along, but you just now found it. Or rediscovered it.

            And that can lead to a new reality. Finding things. Allowing yourself to accept that kind of happy, unexpected gift. Sure, it might’ve been there all along – but you can now embrace it. It’s yours. Do something with it.

            It’s funny, too, the things you sometimes discover about yourself when someone shines a light in your direction. I realized, this week, that if I have one gift, it’s probably complete faith. If I am certain about something or someone (and I’m damn good at assessing people), nothing can shake that faith. If I believe in something, nothing can shake that. I have, I suppose, passionate conviction. There’s no “maybe” in my heart. There’s no room for it, anyway, because I’m basically chockfull of love and sunlight. All of this can surprise people. Especially since I am also the person who takes every kind of risk based on that faith. There’s no higher place to make a decision from than that. Decisions made from habit or fear are never healthy. Decisions made from a place of love and faith? Those are always inspired things.

            That’s what I know. That is, perhaps, what I’ve rediscovered in my emotional pocket, tucked away. I know how to believe. And I know how to believe in the impossible. And god help anyone who dares to question that. Because…no. I come from a long line of stubborn, strong women. And faith is a strange thing when it’s unshakeable: it can move mountains, no matter how painful or difficult. It can also save you when, maybe, you didn’t even realize you needed saving.

            If I were to give you advice based on what I’ve been lucky to learn this week, it’d be this: find whatever, or whoever, makes you feel like sunlight. It might be scary. It might mean radical change. It might cause you pain the process. But life is too short to sit in darkness. Find what lights you up and makes you feel happy and safe. In the end, it’s the light that matters. After all, it’s what chases away the dark, no matter how impossible that might seem.

 

“Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch.” 
― Walt Whitman

 

“We must leave this terrifying place tomorrow and go searching for sunshine.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

the year behind and the year ahead

December 31, 2012 3 comments

 

Today, I am an unexpected swirl of emotions I wasn’t prepared for. As if one can prepare for emotions. But I am thinking about this year, specifically how it started. There’s a symmetry in that, I suppose, as it comes to an end. There have been a lot of ups and downs. There has been a lot of change, some expected, some always probable, and some impossible to brace against.

This has been a year of getting closer to things, even as they feel far away. This has been a year of loss, of reaching out, of feelings, of love, of heartbreak, and moments. Some I wish I could erase. Some I wish I could capture in a bottle.

Looking back on everything I did and I said, I would not change a thing. I would live or love any differently. Knowing what I know, I would not walk away. I would not back away. I would not choose to run, if going back in time was an option. As tangled as they are, my choices are a knot I would not undo.

This year has taught me that I am strong. That it’s okay to lean on people. And that I can be braver than I thought possible. Hands shaking. Pulse racing. Words fumbling – sometimes, blurting out haha at the strangest moment possible. Because, hey, nerves make a person do odd things. I said I was brave, not perfectly articulate.

Right now, my head is spinning, because 2013 is just a breath away, and with it comes all the expectations and hopes that a new, clean slate can offer. Perhaps it’s silly, but 13 has always been a lucky number for me. Taylor Swift came late to that party.

I do not know what 2013 will bring. I have wishes, like anyone else. I could tick them off on one hand, with fingers to spare. I’m not greedy. I’m not uncertain. I am oddly, impossibly hopeful. That is my default. That is my starting place, my foundation – even in the face of total calamity. I may be an idiot, but we are nothing with hopes or heart. Nothing.

2012 brought out the worst and best of me, sometimes at the same time. I wrote more short stories than ever. I sent my novel out on submission. (I am currently tearing it apart for what feels like the 900th time. Once more into the breach, dear friends!) I watched life ebb. I watched a last breath. I took chances. And I put myself out there. I realize that not everyone can do that, and by hurling myself into the fray, I did the right thing. Not the easy thing. The right one. That’s all anyone can hope for, because some truths do not come with expectation or ulterior motives. They are simply truth. They are simply real. And that is what matters most – saying things that need to be said, even when it’s fucking hard. Especially then. It’s not about what happens. It’s not about what doesn’t happen.

It’s about how you feel. Sometimes, that is really all we have.

You cannot teach a heart to love. You cannot tell it who to love. You cannot control your heart at all. Your heart controls you. And if you keep that locked up, silent, you are also locked up and silent. There are a lot of things that a person can fix. You can be kinder, more understanding etc. You can fake a smile, wanting it to be real. But cannot command your heart to love or not love, not for all the right reasons in all the world.

At this moment, things are a mess. Life is messy. Life is rarely neat and clear cut. If it isn’t messy, it isn’t real. There’s probably something you’re ignoring. There’s probably something, or someone, you are avoiding. Maybe you’re settling. Maybe you’re gritting your teeth. Maybe you’re lying back and thinking of England. But when we are trapped, it is often by our own hand. It is most often a choice we make, because it’s the easier one. It’s familiar. It’s safer. Maybe, on paper, it’s the right thing. And yet, if this year has taught me ONE thing it’s that life is short. Too short. It is too short to spend time on something or someone that doesn’t thrill you down to your marrow. Consider the options, all of them. Things are rarely as clear cut as we want them to be. I tend to believe that there’s always a way if you want something badly enough. If you care enough. If you love enough.

And the end of the day, we all want two things: happiness and love. It’s that complicated and that simple. And for 2013, what I wish for you is both those things in excess. Wherever you find them, however they arrive. Be braver than you think you are. Be vulnerable. Give in, even just a little, to some kind of madness. Kiss someone you love beyond words. Also: love beyond words. Say the one thing you’ve been holding back, even if it means you’re crossing a line. Say it, because it’s true. Make a wish. Make a promise. Remember that things worth having are not easily obtained. Trust your feelings. Write your own story. Do not stay inside the lines. Do not think of how things are supposed to be. Instead, see them as they are. Be honest with yourself. Lying to yourself, even for the best reasons, is a disservice graver than any lie said by anyone else.

You deserve to be happy. You deserve more than just getting by. You deserve good things. You deserve to be loved for exactly who you are. Sometimes, we forget that.

And if you find someone who loves you for you? Hold on to that. Because that, my dears and darlings, is everything.

Put Your Heart In It: When It’s Okay to Be Stubborn

May 16, 2011 5 comments

 

Today has been a weird day. It’s raining. My dog is laying on his back, with all four legs in the air. I’m drinking Tazo‘s Passion tea. Like I said, it’s been a weird day.

After a series of events and oddities, I started thinking about my life. Specifically, I’ve been considering the decisions I’ve made and how I’ve made them.

The last bit’s important. I realized that I cannot do something if my heart’s not in it. I cannot say yes if I mean no. So much boils down to knowing myself, I suppose. Knowing my heart and my limits. Knowing when something feels right — or when it doesn’t.

It’s taken me a long time to uderstand that little voice that squeaks, NO! or YES! That’s what I follow. Sometimes, it’s difficult to explain why something isn’t right. Or why it is, even when it sounds crazy. To borrow from Playing by Heart, it’s like dancing about architecture. That isn’t going to stop me from trying.

This morning, I passed on an opportunity. My heart wasn’t in it. It wasn’t something I could get behind. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense. To a lot of people, it might appear to be a chump move. It might seem stupid. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt it was wrong. So, to me and for me, it was.

Then again, other things in my life that seem wrong…aren’t. What’s right for me isn’t what’s right for you. There’s no one size fits all approach to existing in this world. That would be, among other things, boring. So, I do things a little bit sideways. I’m okay with that. It’s part of what makes me ME.

Every thing I’ve ever done, my heart’s been in it. Work, friends, relationships, writing. All there. All heart. The thing is, I don’t think I realized that until just now.

I dive in. Sometimes, it’s like jumping into a volcano with my eyes closed. Sometimes, it’s one of those bouncy castles. (Why don’t they make those for adults!??!) You don’t know, until you do.

I’ve seen so many people get into situations (bad ones) because they felt it was something they HAD to do. Now, I’m not talking about the everyday stuff — like taking out the garbage or doing the dishes. Or cleaning the bathroom. I mean marriages, career choices, and friendships.

Too many people settle — and then settle in. Sometimes, I think it’s routine that kills us. The inability to fight for something more, the tendency to just accept things as they are. I’m not speaking as a writer (although, that’s applicable, too); I’m speaking as a person. You know the people who are most apt to succeed? Those who don’t give up. Who fall off the bucking bronco, break a rib or two, and try it again.

Sure, broken ribs (metaphorical and real) hurt like a bitch. There’s only so much you can do to help them heal, too. A little tape. Some tequila. And…time. That’s it. But time’s the easy part. The hard part’s not letting the fear eat you alive. It’s not letting the memory of what happened get the best of you. It’s not giving up.

I’m stubborn. It’s genetic. Really. My family (on both sides) boasts a lot of stubborn. Especially the women. For good or ill, I’m also all heart. I think that there are worse things for a person to be.

Can, Can’t, and Limitations

March 14, 2011 2 comments

 

There are things I know how to do.

Change a tire. Sew a button. Write a complete sentence. I can bake a cake, too. And I have been known to ride a horse backward. (Don’t try that at home, kids.)

But there are some things I just cannot do. There are some skills I can’t develop, let alone master. I do not have it in me to learn how to speak in Pig Latin. I am horrible at remembering road names. I give excellent directions, if you can follow something like, “When you get to the blinky light, turn left.” (I’m not always that bad.)

Everyone has a skill set. Sometimes, we excel. Other times, we’re able to amble along in mediocrity. I don’t think anyone wants to sit there, toiling in the middle ground of Passable and Comfortable, but it happens.

But look at what I said: there are some things I just cannot do.

I’ve doomed myself before I’ve even started. I’ve begun with I can’t. In which case, pack it in and go home. Or whatever tired metaphor fits there.

You can’t do something if you say that you can’t. It’s impossible, unless life creates some kind of Happy Accident Vortex. Once that happens, we’ll also find Godot. And the reason why Nicholas Cage keeps making movies where his hair should get a film credit. (DUDE, it’s ALIVE.)

I don’t know why I just used the word ‘dude.’ Hmm. Moving on.

You can’t succeed if you don’t try. This applies to everything. Life. Art. Work. Relationships.

Especially relationships. How often do we exclaim things like, I can’t handle this, I’m never going to find someone, or I don’t know what to say, or I can’t talk to her/him.

Can’t, in those instances, might as well be won’t. It’s a cop out. An excuse. When things are tough, or scary, or unexpected – that is when you find out who you are. Who other people are. Where you stand, and if it’s on solid ground or you’ve wandered into the fireswamp. AGAIN.

To a certain degree, I think a lot of things can be learned. You can learn how to love. You can learn how to speak Mandarin. You can learn to forgive. You can try to understand. You can build something. You can create something. You can cook. You can bake.

Yes, mistakes might be made. You might burn your fingers. Or worse, your heart. You might feel completely wretched and panicked. You might forget your lines. You might make a fool out of yourself.

That’s nothing. These are things that you can control. These are choices you can make. What’s scarier, scariest perhaps, are the things you cannot chose. What you cannot hope to ever change.

Yes, there are things I cannot do. I cannot walk on water. I will never fly. There’s a reasonably safe bet that I will not cure a disease or turn water into wine.

But I can change a tire. I can sew a button. And I can write a complete sentence. I know that I will never stop learning, and it will never be enough.