Writing

I am falling.

My professors have asked me to form a world view and synthesize who I am, how I tackle projects, and how I persevere through difficulties. I do it for them, but find it hard to really apply it to my everyday, pretty boring, life. I mean sometimes the most exciting thing that happens to me in a day is that someone I don’t know well tries to talk to me and I find a new way to avoid a long conversation with them. I have had all hell let loose in my life before, but thankfully in the recent months my biggest decisions in day are if I should drink another cup of coffee although I’ve had three today already.

I’m making my life sound really boring, but doesn’t everyone think that their lives are bland? I’m way less prepared for life than I sound on my resume. I’m not anti-social media, but just saying, my Facebook profile makes me sound sooooo much cooler than I really am. Meeting me in person I am not the professional, pretty girl that is in my pictures. You wouldn’t know on sight what my degree is in or what my job is or how intelligent I am. Heck, I have like over 200 friends on Facebook. How many do I have in real life? I’m “friendly” with lots of people, but I am not really friends with them. So honestly? Like 3. I mean like 3 good ones that I talk to more than once a month and actually hang out for a few hours a week. One of those friends is my eleven-year-old brother. Another is my boyfriend’s cat.

But, despite what I think is a boring life, I do have goals. I have thousands of tiny goals and a few huge life goals. I have a goal to read a book series by the end of the year, a goal to clean my room by the end of the day, a goal to make a new friend this month, a goal to finish an anime series…etc., etc…

So when my professors ask me to articulate my world view or write my philosophy I do have a lot of ideas even though they do not feel as real and concrete as my coffee-drinking, book-reading, cat-playing real life.

Honestly at first when I imagined a goal it was sittin’ at the top of a giant mountain. Out of reach. Out of sight. It’s up there on the peak, teetering maybe, covered by snow and ice. Goals just have always seemed that unattainable. I’m on the ground. The flat ground below sea level in the mountain’s shadow. I can’t even see if there is a path. Maybe my feet are in quick sand too so I can’t even begin the journey. Maybe there’s a vicious human-eating vine reaching around me and ninja hiding behind each tree…okay I’ll stop. Oh yea, one more thing about me is I have a huge imagination.

Back to the image of the unattainable goal…man, I sound like a huge downer, don’t I? Truth is that I have spent most of my life depressed. Every time I would dream up a new life goal, I’d spend hours being anxious about how to actually make the dream a reality. So many hours I would not even begin working on making it happen. I started censoring my own thoughts to not dream when I was less than ten years old. I started convincing myself that there are goals like that for the big people, the talented people, the rich people, the smart people, the gifted people…not me, duh.

Unfortunately I’m really really convincing.

But in the midst of years of therapy (not joking) and many crazy life experiences, I had this realization during one of my more optimistic bursts: that I don’t have to think of myself at the bottom of the mountain.

In fact, I think I started life at the top of a mountain.

I was born at the top and flung over the slope, left to tumble until I land at the bottom and die. If I don’t dodge trees and rocks I’ll get hurt, and scarred and maybe even die early. No matter what I do, I can’t fight the momentum from that first throw. I can’t stop myself and stay on a certain part of the cliff if I want.

So when I set goals they aren’t at the top of the mountain. I’m not climbing but I’m rolling and falling. The goals are laid out in the valley below the mountain and I have to somehow steer my path towards them. I can fall short, miss, and (hopefully) overshoot. Time is the momentum of the throw and gravity keeps me moving towards the bottom. I can’t be lazy or I’ll miss an opportunity. But I can’t speed up the process either.

Life is constantly in motion. Even though my slow-moving, uneventful life seems stagnant I’m still being propelled to my death. But not just my death, I’m being propelled towards achieving my goals.

About only a few feet down that mountain when I was six years old I had a thought that maybe I could someday – if I work hard enough and am good enough – be a professional pianist. I immediately censored myself, of course, but the thought kept coming back year after year as I rolled and rolled down the slope. I was told again and again that I couldn’t make it. But life isn’t climbing, it’s dodging. So everyday I returned to that little goal that is now a big goal and I did and do something to put me in the right direction and avoid something that could throw me off track. I somehow kept with piano and keep returning to piano. And guess what….I’m now a professional pianist. Despite all the flack and negativity that came from within myself and was echoed back to me by terribly nonsupporting people along the way.

So as negative as my world view sounds, it is really freeing.

I’m falling and all I gotta do is dodge.

I want to ride a motorcycle

“Let’s go!” I yelled to my dad as I tied my shoes on the porch step next to my mom. He replied something, but it was muffled. He was in the garage bent over a pile of tools thrown under the work bench.

When my shoes were tied I ran into the garage over to the white shelving unit that held all of our sports equipment, sand toys, and frisbees. Behind it my pink helmet with a “AAA” insurance sticker dangled on the wall.  I grabbed at the helmet but couldn’t reach it.

Today I’m going to ride a motorcycle, I thought.

My dad stood up, exclaiming, “I found just what we need.” He was holding a tool of some kind, something silver. I didn’t know what it was but I didn’t need to know – all that mattered was that it was going to get the job done.

My giant dad towered over me. He was my favorite person. Still is. He has brown hair like mine. And skin like mine. And eyes like mine. He placed and buckled my helmet as I smiled up at him. The snap of the plastic pinched my skin under my chin a little but it didn’t hurt much.

Then he turned to do the surgery. One screw loosened and so did the shame I felt yesterday. A wheel off and fear of going without it started grew in my chest. Another wheel off and fear mixed with a nervous excitement. My blonde-haired siblings were already riding in circles on the drive way and up and down the sidewalk on two wheels.

If they can do it, I can do it too, I thought.

My dad right behind me, I led my little pink bike down the driveway to the sidewalk near the street.

He held the bike while I climbed on. He talked me through the game plan. He told me what to do. He let go. I was pedaling. I was doing it!

Five feet later I was falling! My stomach jumped up and my head lurched back. The world tilted and the sky became grass. The foam in my helmet creaked when my head hit the grass. I was shocked. My bike laid over me so I couldn’t get up.

I felt the bike lift and my dad pulled me up with his hands under my arm pits. My mom knelt in front of me to wipe the fresh dirt stuck to my face. Pads protected my knees but my hands were red. The heels of my palms glowed with a sore red pain where I caught my fall on concrete. I was jolted but not discouraged.

I tried again. And again.

My mom cheered from the porch where she sipped her iced tea. She likes to call, “Woo woo!” when she is excited for us.

I kept the bike steady for longer and longer periods. First ten seconds, then half a minute, a minute, then a few minutes.

Then I was no longer trying. I could just do it. I made it to the stop sign at the end of our road. I could steer and turn. I could pedal fast too.

The wind pushed my dark brown bangs against my forehead. My ears were filled with a whistle and boom. I squinted into the sun. I was a bird slicing through the atmosphere. I felt tall as giraffe. I felt powerful as an elephant. I felt unstoppable as a lion.

The sidewalk in front of me disappeared behind me again and again. I followed behind my siblings like a straggling baby duckling. I watched my brother’s blue New Balance sneakers move up and down in front of me then hold. I tried to match the exact way he pumped his legs and glide when he did.  He crossed big bumps in the sidewalk fearlessly, so I did too. My sister Megan’s blonde pony tail whipped around as she checked to make sure I was close behind. Corinne, her twin, turned off the sidewalk and circled through the street back behind me to ask how I was doing.

I felt great. I felt something new that was different than just the pride and exhilaration of trying a new thing. Whatever feeling this was, it was a good one. It was like a secret that was so good it was easy to let slip out. I gave it away with the smile on my face and the way I held my head high.

Now, I’m a real motorcycle rider, I thought.

I biked all around the block, which was shaped like an Indie 500 circuit. I imagined all the kids watching me from their bedroom windows and pointing with awe at my speed.

The next day I still felt different. My kindergarten friends from the block were gathered on my driveway, the neighborhood bus stop. I confidently rolled down the pavement on two wheels, ready to race. I was now a member of the “gang.”

Can and Cannot

I’m waiting for you to write the rules. 

What are your conditions? Tell me, I feel a fool.

Can and cannot. 

I can, I can’t. I start then stop. 

Do you really like me?

Must be. Because your eyes do look deep into mine. 

But I’m nervous. Because never again… please, please don’t hurt me…I won’t get hurt this time. 

Is it true that true love trusts

That the skies aren’t lying about being blue

And that the air isn’t an intoxicating poison from you?

Tell me, is it true?

Don’t start if we’ll have to stop. 

Because I can love, but I also cannot. 

One year ago

A year ago I was in a very different place. Since nine months have passed since the end of my abusive relationship and I have progressed tremendously through the healing process, it was really interesting for me to come across some thoughts scribbled in my scketchbook from a year ago. Each of these statements are me processing a different aspect of abuse and are a window into a soul trying to just endure. 

We are the products of our minds. 

Mental energy. Mental discipline. 

Self-image should be created by the self, not the words of others. 

Intelligence is unquantifiable. But, it is achieved through different paths and perceived by others. 

Self-love is necessary before one can allow others to love yourself. 

Treasure each smile. 

True love is unspoken of; it’s an understanding, choice, and bond between two people. 

Words have the power to define a beautiful truth, or tread upon and trample that which is held sacred to another. 

The world is blind. The world is controlled by fear, power, and greed. BUT the inner confines of my mind are an oasis. 

Pain. It hurts if you allow it to hurt. 

Sadness. A necessary emotion. Do not let it control you.