Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the fear

Two more days. Two more days and I turn 32 years old.

I type this and then I shake my head to clear the static. But yeah, 32. Here we are.

I didn't see it coming. Not once, not ever. I can remember random days of cafeteria sitting in school, the strange agony of time and how she seemed utterly unmoving. I recall going to bed or walking through my grandmother's backyard while trying to move it all mentally. I agonized over the snail pace in most of my journals. I listened to radio hits and imagined the mythical day when I would be driving, or going out dancing or kissing someone without threat of curfew. The magical unrealness of the future. I pined for it.

I said yes to many things, and sometimes I said nothing and just went with it. The experience. I decided early on to experience everything I could because I knew I wanted to write, and I knew that I required a deep well to draw from. I fell for the misunderstood, musicians with tempers and criminals with hearts as soft as new mud. I swooned over new cities, dragging my hand along an unfamiliar wall as if to leave some sort of mark, or to let the place mark me. I professed things at terrible hours. Held on in a tangle. There is so much, this history. We all have them. And they are all strange and crooked and beautiful. I'm taking another step into my third decade, and I am proud to call this life mine. All the heartache and missteps, all the things that took my breath away. I desire this next year to be inspiring, for the wheel to stay firmly in my hands.

Recently I read something along the lines of "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." My goal for the 32nd year is to cross the bridge and tug the ends together to meet. To blow fear out of the water.

In June I have the privilege of attending The Pink Door Retreat, a three day writing retreat for women writers. I was, honestly, incredibly scared to pony up and register for this. There is this funny, ridiculous aspect to fear...I can point to it and say the word. I can identify what it does to my sympathetic system. But to explain why? To state exactly what I am afraid of? Can't do it. There is no worst case scenario to cause my is just the self standing in the way of self. It's a wall made of tissue. Yet still I agonized over my decision to register for the retreat.

Much love to my inksister Renee who listened patiently as I went back and forth over why I should or shouldn't embark on this particular adventure. She is always gentle and wonderful enough to point out that the fear isn't me. This is, after all, what I love the most. This is what I do; this is the ink that keeps my veins blue. This is beautiful, exquisite opportunity.

So I signed up and sent in my money. I did this officially at 12:03am, 3 minutes after registration officially opened. I was not going to let fear get the best of me--I wasn't going to miss this. I felt my heart start racing when I saw my name in the list of participants. Done deal. I'll be there with my tent and notebooks with 43 other women. How startling, the calm that came over me when I faced it.

This year there will be no tea or turned down beds for the ghosts that like to stay with me. They are no longer welcome. They are exhaled into a dissipating tendril that travels up and up and out of the room for good. I'm done. I'm done rocking the past in my arms, done reapplying bandages to skin that would heal if I just left it alone. I am not a quick decision or yellowed page. I am a person. I am a universe. I am not what happened to me, though I know those lessons. History is not a dagger in my back and I am not scar tissue around it. I've made it this far and I have nothing to lose.

Dear self: Honey, listen. No fear this year. And if there is, you're going to walk right through. You're gonna turn yourself machete and slice that fucker in two.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This song came on the radio tonight while I was driving. I had the window down, breeze just right. Spot on.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

writing exercise

Another writing exercise courtesy Rachel McKibbens. This is just an off-the-cuff draft of a thing. The exercise is here: exercise94


You left, you left, you always left
We should’ve matched our kerchiefs, stayed in the sun
A bird with whitegold wings, wishboned beak

The lies came like sharp wind, lungs unready.
Back turns with pinwheeled arms, audible no.
Cake pan of the universe, a rise in forgiveness.

An imagined violence, telephone to bridges—
I should’ve kept right on kissing you.
Turned to stone on pause in street, a plot, line disappearing in grass.

The bags were packed and dragged west.
These roots grasp like ghost limbs—I should’ve stayed.
A veil involved, we twin our ink—your muse married handgun, grew a beard.

Thursday, May 16, 2013



Two young, once bruised, stand around in the same room. Mended. Cells have lived and died since then. Hair that boasts no split ends. Socks that match, a newly acquired freckle.

Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter” is playing on the receptionist’s tiny radio, whose antennae is capped with a corner of foil and a Starburst wrapper. The dentist is two rooms down the hall, drilling. The patient’s skin is green under all of her jewelry.

Root canal rolls out ballet-like.

Your dried flowers were crushed in the move. There was nothing we could do. Mass of blooms the color of rust, husk of stems arranged like broken fingers. They went right to sand.

My love sealed the windows, took on a bitterness. Aorta of aspirin.

Stop it with the licorice gum. Your breath is a headache.

In the lineage of heartbeats per minute there is a valley, a mountain, a million open mouths in paper floors. A floor crowded by the medicine balls that punched through them. A stick, some glue, last rites--I cannot mend it. Call upon the cadavers; we need everyone.

Sam Cooke sings darling youuuuuuu send me and the girls melt like cheddar in a microwave. The regret is a dinosaur ducking through trees, wearing wrinkles in orbit on knees and neck. It is fossilized, studied. It might be wild life and needs protecting. In the post cards on the bookshelf. Distance turns it make believe.

eve approaching

Side note: I just listened to a bunch of Heavy D and The Boyz and it was absolutely wonderful.

Last night I went to spin class and burned both legs to giggly rubber, al dente noodles I wobbled around on for hours afterward. I couldn't help it. Call it inspiration. I felt like feeling it. I pushed myself to the breaking point, until there was no choice but to leave the body. Carried away by all that exertion, pushing against tough bubble of resistance. I tried not to check out mentally. I was thankful for the burn, for the miracle of muscles working together. I love making myself strong. Thankful for my limbs and normal harmony of organs. Thankful for the opportunity to do something physical, to seek out those limits and ever so slowly turn them into rungs underfoot.

I guess, in a paragraph, that's what I love about being and staying physical. That feeling one gets from busting through old limitations. Of being slick with sweat and pushing onward. To hear that stupid little voice somewhere sputtering out another "I can't do this," and then promptly squashing that stupid little voice with my ability to keep going. Even at their most tired, my legs kept rotating the pedals on the bike. Mind shut off, trusted the body. That to me feels like living. When your heart beat is in your ears and you can feel every inch of lung with each breath. It is my sanity. My truest form of meditation is to get lost in the physical. And when I'm not in pain and confined to bed with a migraine, I choose to push my body's limits because I feel blessed for my well moments, and I know those moments are so damn important to live to their fullest.

In 15 days I will be 32 years old. My new year, the real one. 6:40am, boom--thirty-two years. I may have daydreamed about my thirties once. It's hard to say. In youth, three decades was like the unconvincing other universe that might be out there. It seemed risky to believe in.

Yet here we are. Planets away.

What's in store for my 32nd year? That's the question I'm concentrating on currently. I know that the focus will be steadfast on what I love and believe in. I aim to trust myself more, to fill my quiver with as many sturdy arrows as I can. To walk right into what I fear. Some things:

- I faced a giant fear in favor of what I love and registered for The Pink Door Retreat, hosted by one of my favorite writers Rachel McKibbens. Three days of writing and workshopping with other women writers. This is what I want to do. This is what I love the most. I am so excited to continue nurturing myself as a writer. The retreat is in June.

- I would love to do a sprint triathalon(the categories for a sprint are still swimming, biking, and running but all are shorter distances...kind of your beginners triathalon). I'm looking at 8 week and 12 week programs for triathalon the meantime I've been bulking up my time on the bike this week and next week I start a new running program. There's gonna be lots of lap swimming this summer, which is awesome.

- Doing what feels good. What feels best for me is taking care of this big heart of mine. To halt the bitterness in its tracks by doing something much more proactive and positive. I do not want to be a person that only reacts to what happens. I want to explore solutions. I am fortunate enough to have a roof over my head, all my limbs attached, a loving family, and much time & many resources. Instead of for granted, I desire to take advantage. It's amazing...volunteer opportunities are everywhere. My free time is of much better use if I give it to those that need help. This Saturday I start volunteering with WQED and I'm beyond thrilled.

- Movement. This is open to interpretation. Whether it be out of this city or more miles on my tennis shoes...I have a desire to keep going. To love and nurture and create. To be close to my family and loved ones. To be inspired. More art and less boredom. More space and less clutter. To read more books, to get lost in the woods more, to unplug more. To keep going. To be my own greatest source of inspiration.

More soon. Getting older is still two weeks away and I'm sure I'll have more to say on the subject before then.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Somehow a week has passed since my last post. I've been wrestling a gnarly head cold for about two weeks. The extended duration of it is partially my fault--I cannot sit still these days. If I'm not riding the trainer then I'm riding to work or playing soccer or hiking in Frick or dancing like a maniac to spotify while my cat watches(I'd like to think her expression is "slightly amused" on these occasions).

Yesterday I had one of those stupid migraines where I'm instantly nauseous beyond belief. I left work early and went right to bed. The cat curled herself around the top of my head on the pillow, no kidding. She always lays with me when I'm sick but this time she singled out my noggin and purred against it until I fell asleep. I woke up at 8pm confused and still achy. Today I'm left with the aftermath, a fogged lens. I feel out of sorts but can't put my finger on it. A threat of panic humming somewhere just below the collarbone. It's there. I'm trying to ignore it.

I have a couple shows coming up and I conjured up all my bravery and sent in my registration fee for the Pink Door Retreat. The idea of attending a three day writing retreat at the home of one of my favorite writers scared the hell out of me. Scared me more than anything, actually. But that fear is the reason I had to do it. I'd never forgive myself if I passed up the opportunity. This is, after all, what I love to do. I'm hoping the retreat will provide me with more direction on my manuscript.

Living, loving, creating, refusing to sit still. That's life these days. More soon, when I'm not so fuzzy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

soc poem on the subject of chronic migraines...

breath wrapped around fist
pulled taut, stolen, yanked clean out
behind drag a lake of blood,
two flutters of mud trailing by
thin ropes still swollen or sighing
body mine and body empty

wherever it is that I go
when i go
completely away
when i sit
below sea level
barnacle-kneed and believing that
emergence involves limb losing
this lake of drill bits
i cuddle up to old bread
i come back a little livid
out of focus
bits of hell still
locked in lash

Friday, May 3, 2013

the vulnerables

Laying on the couch in my little sick bed nest, blanket and pillows and tissues and a cat cuddled up in my bread basket. Just thought about how I used to love it when my grandma would braid my hair. Two braids that I would leave in as long as I could, the crimped bends they created like aftershocks when loosened. I miss her so much. Right now all I want is that moment.