Anniversary

August 27th, 2010 § 51

One year ago today, my two duffel bags and I were flying to Canada.

To begin an adventure that would change me.

By this time in the day, I had already cried my way to the airport and through the security line. I was probably sipping ginger ale and munching on pretzels somewhere over North Dakota, staring ahead into the endless unknown.

Great is the reward for people brave enough to stare down the endless unknown.

So much has unraveled in this year.

People and places, flavors and images so strong they brand your memory forever, profound stories and many, many adventures have all spun themselves together and given shape to the most breathtaking year I’ve had yet.

I get butterflies in the belly thinking just thinking about it.

I did so much right this past year. I lived well. I got smarter. And more comfortable with myself. I did a whole bunch of things that scared me, I lived outside my comfort zone, and I wrestled a butt-load of demons along the way.

I hope from the very depths of my being that I live this next year as well as I have the last.

I know too well that it’s easy to live an existence comfortable and small. To tip-toe through an entire year of your life unsatisfied, clinging with white knuckles to all that’s frivolous, familiar, and safe.

But I’m convinced there’s a better way. I’m convinced there’s a better story waiting to be lived than my comfort-zone will ever allow for. I’m also convinced it doesn’t take a floating university to live this way.

So here’s to life outside the comfort zone.

For Maleesa, Brita, & Kayla:

August 25th, 2010 § 45

To my bold and beautiful friends on a jet to Italy:

Happy cliff jumping. Enjoy the free-fall.

Don’t you go forgetting that I love you to Florence and back.

Anna

Fact.

August 19th, 2010 § 55

I have a rule when taking long trips by train, plane, or car.

Only cotton knits allowed.

It’s a valid rule, people. Designed to avoid any smidgen of binding/tugging/discomfort when forced to sit in tight, enclosed spaces.

So…If I am traveling to you anytime in the near future: I love you. I think you’re wonderful. And I will change when I get there. But you’d do best expecting me in sweatpants.

Today

August 15th, 2010 § 51

I am starting my day eating greek yogurt topped with blackberries, pecans, and orange clover honey.

I am ending it with Kimberly Parker.

It is going to be a good one.

Life List: 2010

August 13th, 2010 § 63

My first annual life list was composed at Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters in January of our current year.

It stands as follows.

(1) Ride a Ferris wheel.

(2) Skinny dip.

(3) Attend a Jazzercize class at least one time.

(4) Go to the movies by myself.

(5) Make one article of clothing.

(6) Listen to live jazz.

(7) Bridge the gap. (A deliberately vague tagline encapsulating my quest to live as a less divided self)

Five items in four and a half months.

I intend to slay them.

Tony

August 7th, 2010 § 0

We love fish in the Wesley House. Fish are our favorite. We make fish cool.

The coolest of all was our fish Tony.

Tony was the classiest fish I ever saw.

He looked like a piece of smooth, jet-black velvet floating in the water.

The day we brought him home, we decided that Tony wore a fedora. And he most definitely talked with a Bronx-like swagger.

Tony was too cool for school. And too cool for our Wesley House fish tank apparently.

While I was gone presenting my paper, he left us for fish heaven, where  he is now hanging with other swanky fish who are working his same vibe.

I’ll bet he’s up there strutting two-toned shoes.

Reminiscence

August 3rd, 2010 § 48

I spent the summer before my junior year of high school listening to Fiona Apple’s “Waltz” on repeat and sitting under the shade of the liquid amber trees in my front yard.

I would set my Disney princess beach towel under the branches and sit there for hours tackling summer reading. Sometimes, my dearest friend in the whole wide world would come sit with me, and we would chat away about boys and families and futures, dreaming extravagant dreams about the day when we were post-college grads living together in a chic, well-lit apartment and throwing dinner parties for our beautiful, fabulous friends.

I have to smile at the sixteen-year-old version of myself feeling so luminous and free and classy reading Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises on the front lawn.

Today I plan on reliving that sweet and simple memory, wishing all the while that my dearest friend in the whole wide world happened to be proximate and toting a Disney princess towel.

Mess Making

August 2nd, 2010 § 62

We are born into this world a mess.

Crying and covered in a coat of glorious grime.

Seems about right, doesn’t it?

I’ve come to realize from that point on, life’s mostly about cleaning up–wiping, washing, disinfecting, getting our act together. We work endlessly to undo the mess, the mess of our bodies and our hearts and our lives, pushing always against the natural state of entropy that hovers heavily over our world.

This is why children are my absolute favorite.

They have no regard for our notions of neat and tidy.

Children love mess.

They create mess.

They are mess.

They are perhaps the most deeply frustrating and profoundly breathtaking creatures to ever crawl the earth.

They sit in their poop, and let drool hang from their chins. They smear dinner in their hair with unapologetic, toothless grins on their grimy little faces.

I think this is most hilarious.

We do our best to break them of this, don’t we?

Running tirelessly after them with a wet washcloth in tow. Scrubbing away at the smut and sludge and slime, lest it remind us too terribly much of what we would be without our p’s and q’s and antibacterial hand gel.

Eventually children learn though. Most of them anyway. We stop having to run after them with wet wipes. They realize all on their own that if they are to be normal and proper and good, then they will join the rest of us working to undo the chronic state of mess we find ourselves in.

We buy concealer and closet organizers and loads of therapy. We clean our hands and our houses and our hard-drives. And some days we actually manage pretty well to eliminate the practical messes that cloud our daily lives. This, I’m sure, is probably a good thing.

The problem, though, is that our hatred of mess has become dangerously rhetorical.

I was in the middle of a conversation with a dear friend the other day, and I told her I was afraid to do something because metaphorically-speaking, “things could get messy”.

I worry for myself. I worry that this notion of neat and tidy might be infiltrating areas it shouldn’t be. Because I believe firmly that the fullest, richest, and most profound of Life’s experiences are messy ones. Making meals. Messy. Speaking truth. Messy. Accepting grace. Messy. Living in relationship. Very, very messy.

My heart hungers so deeply for that mess. I don’t know a lot, but I know that I  want a life stretched at the seams with that kind of mess. I want meals made by familiar hands. I want to know truth and give grace and revel in intimate relationships.

This will require surrendering some degree of neat and clean. Generally, these things that aren’t easily categorized, compartmentalized,  or tidily packaged. And our attempts to make them so ultimately sterilize them of their joy and goodness and integrity.

I think about the Judeo-Christian God. How he created with dust. How he lived close to the ground. How he wrote in the dirt. How he healed with saliva and soil. How he invited people into mess-making. And I have to wonder.

While we busy ourselves, attempting to obliterate and generally avoid Life’s disarray, how much does our rhetorical tidiness cost?

I’m going to gnaw on that one for a bit while I snuggle any child I can get my hands on.

Where am I?

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