Rainy, Reflection

When the truth is, I’m just getting started.

The potential for a Texas snow day when I was a kiddo was a sacred thing. Everyone knew about even the slightest possibility of wintry weather the night before, and I went to sleep with my fingers crossed, hoping my parents would wake me in the morning and tell me school was cancelled. And when morning inevitably came, I ate my cereal staring at the scrolling list of school closures, willing mine to appear in true Matilda mind-control form. I remember watching every name of the entire list multiple times, just to be sure I didn’t blink for a moment too long. And once or twice a year, the roads would freeze just enough to scare all of us into staying in for the day, or at least until ten when it would warm up enough to melt the ice, but leave the sloshy, frozen mess for us to have snowy/dirt-ball fights and build, let’s be honest, some very, very pathetic snowmen. But to me, those days were perfection.

My freshman year of college, we had an entire week cancelled due to what we melodramatically referred to as Snowpocalypse, a winter storm that covered the roads with ice and didn’t unfreeze for the entire week. I was living in the dorms at the time and we all spent the week watching day-long movie marathons and eating Ramen noodles. My roommate and I made a treacherous afternoon hike across the icy roads and sidewalks to a grocery store nearby, and I learned how to make snow ice-cream with condensed milk and vanilla extract.

I’m particularly clumsy in the rain, let alone the frozen kind. So when I pushed my front door open this morning, fumbling to balance my bicycle and the backpack full of books falling off my shoulder, and saw that my little stoop was covered with a thin layer of snow, I turned around and thought nah, better not. I traded my barely-warm-enough-to-be-considered-gloves for the real deal and spent an extra twenty minutes walking to work, breathing in the quiet morning.

As you may have learned from my post last week, winter and I aren’t exactly closely acquainted. I would happily live in parts of the world where winter is a season that passes  quickly and shows little sign of its presence. Wintertime in Texas means the formerly green and living world blends to a dull beige, which is a lot like summer, but everything feels a little heavier. Like Oskar and his heavy boots. And I feel a little lonelier, which I hate to talk about but maybe you feel the same.  And I say this because we only speak of loneliness when we’re laughing about our Netflix-watching habits, ice cream over-consumption, and late-night cigarettes. But winter is a little lonelier, and maybe Spring is like “the end of missing someone,” or if nothing else, a little more alive.

In any case, we’re not friends, winter and I. And while it was far earlier than I wanted to be awake and out of my cosy (and warm) sanctuary, the beautiful morning felt like a personal peace offering from Mr. Winter himself to this grumpy cold-weather-hating twenty-one-year-old. It felt like my own, however selfish and frivolous, and the snowy morning mostly melted away early before most of this little town was awake.

It was beautiful, and maybe even a bit magical, cliché and all. I was thankful to be reminded that while my love of winter is more of a one-morning stand with snow, it’s something that makes the tiny speck of life I get to call my own feel a little less heavy.

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Rainy, Reflection

Has time driven our season away? Cause that’s the way it seems.

I think this is the longest blogging break I’ve taken in quite some time. It was certainly not a planned hiatus. I suppose I’ve been recovering from all the writing I did for the end of the semester and the first wave of grad school applications (wave two unfortunately comes in a few days). I have a handful of beginnings of posts I jotted down in my notes when I didn’t have time to write during finals week. I’ll sift through those and hopefully find some substantial things to say here soon. We’ll see, I suppose. For the first time in a very long time, I haven’t been writing at all. I have been doing lots of other lovely things though.

I woke up Christmas morning to loud thunder of an early storm. The dreary morning was met by a crazy cold wind that blew in mid day and turned the heavy rain to snow and we had the afternoon to enjoy a beautiful white Christmas, an extremely rare thing in Denton, TX. And because of how rarely it snows, of course, we’re not exactly prepared to drive in it. I made a treacherous trip as the leftover puddles from the morning and the newly fallen snow began sticking to the roads to go take care of a couple pupsters I’m babysitting right now. I was moderately terrified. I mean, when in the five years I’ve been old enough to drive would I have had any practice driving in snow/on ice? The answer is never. Luckily, I survived and took a few pictures along the way. I hope you and your families/friends have enjoyed and continue to enjoy whatever holidays you celebrate! Life is pretty grand, guys.

This is as good a time as any to mention the links on the right. If you like seeing little bits of my life including a few of the hand-lettered doodles I spend far too much of my time making, you should check out le instagram. It’s fun and sometimes I take pictures of pretty things like making Christmas cookies or sweet animals. I almost never tweet, but my sister and I took a bus to Houston last week and I live-tweeted things I overheard on the bus. So if any of that sounds mildly fascinating to you, the options are yours!

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Rainy

Sunsetday

I have my first big story of the semester due tomorrow, but i’m coming out of the writing cave just long enough to write this post.

I wish I carried my big camera with me at all times. Fortunately my iPhone usually does the job pretty well. After a cool, rainy weekend, the sky greeted us for a few moments this evening with the most beautiful of rainbows and an incredible sunset to end this week and begin another.

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Rainy, Reflection

Summer Storms

Some of my favorite things I’ve ever written were the result of late storms and my inability to sleep through the rumbles of thunder and the lightning flashing through my closed eyelids. I’ve spent many hours trying to be poetic, to find eloquent ways to describe moments just like this one. I try to make sense of the things that scare me, the things that make me anxious in the absence of understanding. I think about the things that make me sad, the memories that I hold onto as tightly as I can without actually having to feel them, without having to see faces and replay conversations, and without having to remember what never happened, the apologies and hugs and honest words that were never spoken, without having to confront regret. I can hide from all of these things most nights when sleep comes, but the rumbles and the lightning and the inability to rest tired eyes render me defenseless.
Well, not completely. I come here. People often ask me why I write, what the goal is each time I sit down to put pen to page (or hands to the keyboard), and I have a difficult time explaining how it’s the only way I know how to even begin making sense of a life full of things that don’t make sense. I don’t want to run away from the things that scare me, I want to understand. Or at the very least, I want to understand that I can’t understand. That’s why I come here. And if I can’t do so myself, maybe you’ll show me something essential about this incredibly messy and brilliantly precious life. You can accept that as a challenge.

If you’re a writer or a maker or a human being of any kind, how do you make sense of things that don’t make sense?

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Rainy

Not sleeping, but writing.

My room is transformed. Outside my window a strobe light flashes slightly out of sync with a booming bass. Sound surrounds me with quick rhythms, a tap-dance party at two a.m. with thousands of little feet tapping on my roof (shu-ffle, shu-ffle, shu-ffle, ball, change). No sleep for tired eyes, so I dance along in dreams of dreaming dreams I won’t recall when the alarm clock wakes me a little too early for these tired eyes to want to see the morning sun after a night of summer storms. I remember how terrifying nights like these were when I was a kiddo. I’d work myself into a frenzy counting the seconds between the lightning and the sound of thunder that trailed behind as the space between the two became smaller and smaller until I was sure the next one was going to fly through the roof, through the attic, through the ceiling, to my little fingertips holding my covers over my eyelids. One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi. I remember the first time I decided not to be afraid of lightning. I was twelve at a birthday party in May. There was a trampoline and summer thunderstorm and a little girl who felt perfectly safe in the world, in her world. I don’t remember when everything changed.

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‘Til I reach you

I’ve sat with my eyes to this screen for quite some time trying to string words together for this post, and all I can find that feels even remotely close to right are lyrics to the Head and the Heart song playing behing me. Hauntingly superb harmonies. I have so little to say. Or maybe it’s that words are distant in this moment. And the rain of late storms spills off the roof of my apartment and on to the sidewalk and words don’t feel right. Nothing is as it has been and I miss your face like hell.

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Young girl

Young girl, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Sleeves aren’t for hearts, I’m sorry to say. They’re too close to the hands that yours hold. And if your hands don’t ever hold any other’s than your own when you pray, at least you’ll have an empty sleeve to wipe your eyes.

Young girl, don’t forget to wear your bullet-proof smile. Their hurtful, passive-aggressiveness can make you feel like a stationary target and you knowingly volunteered to stand in front of them, with their loaded words to your forehead, the minute you stood up for yourself with the only kind of honesty you know. So be prepared, young girl. You’re the one that’s strong.

Young girl, don’t hide behind cups of coffee. I know I’m not the first one to tell you that, and that he was, but please remember. Remember all of it. Remember that you’re kind of like those coffee cups you so often hide behind. But it’s okay to be chipped, for it means you have a story to tell. And it’s okay that you’re nothing like you used to be, because people change too. And hey, someone someday might mistake you for some vintage bauble and you’ll be next to them as they sit by the window sill when they’re reading. But they didn’t make a mistake in reminding you that young girl, you’re valuable.

Young girl, don’t forget to keep breathing. I know that’s been difficult lately. Keep breathing anyway.

Young girl, don’t write your secrets down on a windy day. They’ll tear apart and scatter among the branches of trees, under bicycle wheels and black-soled shoes and fall into puddles of remains of stormy nights when your secrets were safe and sound in the pocket of the flannel button-up you sleep in. They may feel free, away from the hands that scribbled them with loopy l’s and v’s, but young girl, you’ll never be able to gather them again. So if you must write your secrets down on a windy day, make sure you have someone who won’t run away by your side, young girl, to help you let them go.

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