Honest words and actions,
Time with a swift pen and blank paper,
Openness and acceptance from
myself and those around me,
Passionate yeses and decisive, liberating nos.
Moving on again, I long to l leave behind my patterns of volunteering for insignificance and working to calm
storms of superfluous drama. I crave simple focused time with my true loves: photography, children, nature, and writing.
*Coca Cola. 'Tis a southern sacrilege to say this, but my life would be just as good without it. And my enamel would thank me.
*Fear of Judgement. Oh, the amount of time I spend wondering what people are thinking. "Wait. Why is he looking at my shirt? What does it mean that she is squinting her eyes at me right now? Did that car just cut me off because they think I'm not driving fast enough? Why did she say that?!" So much wasted thought.
*One overpriced luxury apartment. We are moving. Again. Yay! At least we stayed here for two years. That's pretty close to a record for me. This will be the fifteenth move in 11 years. Something about that spells good luck, doesn't it?
*All my yearbooks. This is what scanners were made for!
*Blank canvases. There are entirely too many of these around my apartment. Getting rid of them will be a pleasure! My paints and brushes are just waiting for me.
*What Ifs. These pop up far too often in my conversations with myself. "What if I'd stayed on campus instead of taking that year off? What if I'd hit the snooze button one less time last Tuesday morning? What if I'd said no?" It doesn't matter. I am here now. I want to be in this moment and grateful for it.
*Wait/Weight. I have too much of both. I let both of these things hold me back from my goals and my adventures. I am not setting numerical goals, but I am going to put down excuses and lace up my walking shoes. I am going to forget the times that I was told I did not have an athletic bone in my body and I am going to celebrate the bones that I do have. No delays or self doubt, just action.
Getting rid of these things will free my life of more physical, spiritual, and mental clutter. Looking at the list that I wrote this time last year, there are many similarities. A year later, I am still heading in the same direction, still striving to leave many of the same things behind. I am glad to be here walking this path.
What do I wish that I had done more of in 2011?
Deep breathing. Settling into yoga poses. Kneading dough instead of just selling bread. Playing with children, with adults, with words, with paints. Taking risks. I’ve been reactive and safe. I’ve been distant and removed while grinding myself into a boring and work focused being. Instead of looking at the words tattooed on my wrist ("Live Now") and feeling taunted by them- I wish that I had used them as the reminder that I intended when I had them placed there.
This weekend my great uncle James was buried in Fayette, Alabama. The man who taught me to love college football and introduced me to the wonders of fried okra is now gone. He lived 96 full years. I last saw him the day of his 90th birthday party. I remember him breaking into song to entertain the huge group that had gathered to celebrate him. I am thankful that I was there that day. I love that I can close my eyes now and see him standing in the church rec room, spontaneously performing for us all. There are not words to describe how much I regret not being there for him in the years between then and now. The years when the pain in his knees increased, his ability to grow his once magical garden faded, and his body allowed him less independence and mobility. My heart breaks that my strong and beautiful aunt has lost her partner and that I’ve not made space or time to be there for her.
I didn’t go to his funeral. I worked a 10 hour day instead. I was afraid to go. Having not been around my family much, I worried that showing up would hurt some of my family members. I feared judgment for my absence and my distance. I realize now that the harshest judge of me and my choices is in my head.
What do I wish that I had done more of in 2011?
More living. Less hiding. Less grinding away at work that I don’t care about. More letting the people I love know how much I love and appreciate them.
In the most unexpected places,
During moments of chaos or crisis,
The gift of laughter has found me.
Appearing during late nights of work,
Long rides on traffic clogged roads,
and moments of doubt or despair
Belly shaking laughs have helped me recenter.
Sparked by children's words, sitcom scripts, my own mistakes, animal antics, surprising typos, tilted traffic signs, and countless other gifts from
I am grateful for every chuckle, snort, giggle and guffaw that this year brought my way.
Peering over people's shoulders in coffee shops. I love to sneak a glimpse into the lives of the people around me.
Cheese. Were it not for the deliciously addictive nature of this magical substance I could easily walk away from dairy.
Driving. Sometimes I reach my destination and just keep my foot pressed down on the gas pedal. Music blasting, tires turning... Bliss.
Watching sports on TV. I simply cannot get enough. Football, baseball, racing, bowling, tennis, golf... Sometimes if I haven't gotten my fill, I even watch poker (I still don't understand why ESPN calls this a sport). My heart wants to play along, my body insists that I use my passion to cheer.
I am channeling the Road Runner.
The universe is using its own Acme tools to slow me.
Coffee spilled on my fresh from the dryer jeans,
back ordered car replacement parts assuring that no ride is smooth.
Every moment seems to contain a metaphor,
a laugh, a bruise or a lesson.
I am have to admit that the extremes
are proving the quickest way to get my attention.
I need to slow down,
my driving, my thinking, my movements,
the beats of my heart, my reactions...
But off I go leaving a sandy cloud in my wake.
Through the moments of this summer,
I've raced, head down, scurrying from one to the next.
At the end of each day as my head hits the pillow
snapshots of the preceding hours flash in my mind.
A 4 year old boy dances in his sister's old nightgown,
Two young brothers splash each other in the tub,
A child, I once helped learn the ABCs, reads me a chapter.
Many of my mornings this summer have been spent
with my young, dandelion gathering friend.
On every walk I take with this newly two year old pal,
I steer us past the magical house pictured above.
Colorful beads strewn in the tree, symphonies of flowers
a sign that reads "It's a very rich and full imaginary life."
Just the reminder that I always seem to need.
The last time we stood there together
music poured out of an open door and window.
My friend tugged my hand and said
"Music! They're Dancing in There!!"
I love that he pictured this. I hope he was right.
With that, we were off to visit the chickens.
Lately, intersecting moments have filled my days.
Today was a discordant work of art.
The whys and hows have escaped my understanding.
I seldom have time to ponder them.
Looking at the pieces all I see is a kaleidoscope
of memories and experiences.
I stood in line to renew my driver's license
as a woman shouted to reclaim her pens and clipboards.
I laid on a straw mat in a jade igloo
and then on a jute mat in a charcoal dome.
I shivered in an ice room and baked in a clay sauna.
I sang made up songs with an enchanting four year old
who didn't care if we sang the same words.
My shoes went off and came back on at least half a dozen times.
I wore a pink uniform, dress pants, cargo shorts
and finally hole ridden jeans.
I wrote about preparing allergy free foods safely
and dabbled in web design.
I blared music from my car's speakers and danced.
I laughed while waiting at the DDS, oh how I laughed.
I inhaled paint fumes, jade, exhaust, gardenia petals,
my cat's belly, coffee and a child's bubble bath.
I watched people communicate despite language barriers
using hand gestures aplenty.
I made mistakes and then reassured a child that we all make them
and hope to learn from them.
I was razzed by a friend for showing up on his doorstep
as he was standing there in only underwear.
When the sun set, I felt drawn to the roof of my building.
There, I sipped a beer and watched the burning disc of the sun
sink behind the city as the glowing full moon rose.
A man parked his truck and changed his clothes in a lot below me.
Others trudged by on their evening journeys.
A transit bus drove by wearing the slogan "We will make you happy, guaranteed."
Traffic lights and honking horns pulled my attention away from myself.
I felt my shoulders loosen a bit and I laughed at the melodic angry honks from below.
I swallowed the last of my beer, said good night to the city lights.
I turned around to a sky where nothing was visible but the moon.
A moon so full and radiant that I felt tears in my eyes and on my cheeks.
It had been there all along and when I turned around it soothed me.
I disappear sometimes, friends. From life, from my work,
from the relationships that matter to me and, I see now,
also from this blog. I apologize to you and to myself for that.
I will work to reduce (with the dream of stopping) these disappearances.
I am a more whole person when I write, whether I do so in the perfect setting,
with my favorite pen and blissful silence or not.
Thanks for bearing with me as I learn this.
Thanks for calling me back and offering me community
whether I am here or not.
I am grateful to you all for that!