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Identity poems today.

I wear knee-length jean shorts.
I wear jorts.
I cut my old jeans off at the knees,
and roll them once or twice,
to make my jorts.
I wear knee-length jorts even though my thighs
pudge out a little at the bottom,
Because I am Mormon,
and it is dang hot this summer.

I read things on my Kindle.
They are electronic books.
Like the paper version,
Only you swipe instead of turn the page.
Having a Kindle makes me feel Official.
Because I own a tablet
Not made of stone.

I argue with my husband.
Useless banter.
Sometimes for fun
And sometimes by accident
And a few times,
on purpose.
Because I just have a lot of emotions,
And that is a weird thing to handle.
I’m sorry.

I live in Texas.
Austin, Texas.
That has been true
For exactly seven days.
I live in Texas
And I embrace that.
But I need a job
And a friend
Please.

jorts

Rounding the Corner of Conviction

It was midnight.
Past time for bed.
We brushed our teeth together.
We prayed.
I said:
“I have a writing itch. Would it hurt your feelings if I didn’t come to bed right now?”
I meant:
You may not know this, but your wife is coming alive.
Something in me is waking up.
I think he knows. He usually knows these things.
But this time, so do I.
My words are coming to me just a little easier than they have in a long time.
And oh man it feels good to skip out on sleeping so I can type type type them out.
I am here.
I know what is happening in my heart, because I am paying attention.
And here on this couch with the glowing laptop light, I belong.

I am writing.

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I think tonight I will try to work through this thing I’m feeling…
I have named it: My Career Identity Crisis.
Welcome to graduating from college.
Here it comes.

I think I have been re-visiting my ten-year-old self so often lately because:
That is when I started writing.
That is when I began to find a place for all this love and desire in my heart.
In my emotional, I’m-moving-back-as-soon-as-I’m-eighteen stage,
My poor Mom just didn’t know how to handle me.
Anyone could see that I needed an outlet.
She suggested I get a journal. Way to go Mom.
It was the summer after fourth grade. I found it at TJ Maxx for $3 and it was my refuge.
My safe place to figure out what the heck was going on with me.
There was no career crisis then, just little me saying:
“When I grow up, I’m going to be a writer.”
Fast forward to 2013. The world says: time to grow up.
This is the part where I actually get a real person job but…

I do not know how to become a professional writer.
Still, I fear that if I do not pursue this future,
I will ignore a huge part of myself, and eventually,
lose that part of me entirely.

At the same time, I fear that if I do figure out this whole game of
networking/promotional branding/social media…
I will end up writing for the wrong reasons.
I will lose the truth in the pursuit of validation, popularity…
in the pursuit of “likes” and “followers.”
And here’s the deal: I could never live with that.
Though that is what the social networking world often uses writing for,
that is not writing for me.

For me, writing is about telling the truth.
Finding it. Questioning it. Admitting it.
Whatever it takes.
Through writing, I’ve faced immense monsters: depression, self-doubt, scary memories.
Through writing, I’ve found out who I am over and over again.
I have found the liberation of knowing HOW TO SAY what’s IN MY HEART.
So what’s the problem?

Let me try to explain how this has become so complicated…

When I think about professional blog writing,
I do not think of these revelations I was just expressing.
I think about product reviews.
 i.e. photos of a new shirt you bought and all your rave opinions about it.
I think about recipes w/ polished food photos, complete with witty back-story.
   i.e. the kind of thing that has so many women striving for a false perfection of “womanhood.”
I think about neatly ordered lists that promise to solve your life.
   i.e. Ten ways to be a better you. Five DIY crafts to ring in the season.
     i.e. Gross–I want to barf.

There are bloggers out there that rock that kind of stuff, and people love it!
I do not look down on these writers or these people.
(I admit I’ve got a whole pinterest board full of them recipes.)
But I will never stay up at night, itching to type out recipes and reviews.
I just don’t wanna write that stuff. I can’t. I won’t.
For me, as far as a career goes, as far as a lifelong-goal goes, that would be a deception and a waste of words.

But then again, in not writing that stuff, I have landed myself 13 followers.
Woo hoo me!
Therein lies the big question:
How can I engage the world in a conversation that tells the truth?
This is hard when it seems the world is more interested in sparkly promo posts.
But I just know it’s got to be possible.

People need real life more than they need another show-off, flashy deception.
For example, when you face doubt and instead proclaim surety, no one feels anything.
No one moves forward through those words.
Though admitting your doubts is terrifying, there is truth in the expression of doubt.
Transparency. Honesty. Clarity.
That kind of communication is real enough to be strong.
People need that.
And further, if you can then express belief regardless,
you can offer evidence of real, human faith.
People respond to that because they know it.
They know that that is what it’s like to live here in the world.
There, in those words, is a refuge for anyone that’s listening.
It’s just better that way.
There is nothing inspiring about pretending, even if you’re pretending to be inspiring.
In doing so, you forfeit your capacity to connect with others and therefore influence/be influenced by them.
You forfeit your capacity to experience with them, what it’s like to be alive.

As I sift through all of the blogs and articles out there, I am so much more interested in WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE, than what they’re buying.
Or what they’re selling.
Or what they’re advising me to do with my kitchen.
AHHH— how do I say what I’m saying here?
It’s not that I think I have something particularly inspiring and ethereal and wise to say.
It’s that I’m trying to have the guts to actually SAY SOMETHING that matters.
I just want to be out there, encouraging that type of communication.
That type of thought and connection.
The type of relief that comes with telling the truth.
That’s what words are for.

So when I look at the wide world of successful writers out there,
and see what so many of them are doing,
it terrifies me.
I want to reach the people they are reaching,
and yet I cannot reach them by the means they are using.
If I do, I will divorce myself from the original intent of reaching anyone at all.

Now, I realize that if I want to do this I have to get up off the grass and play the game.
I have to network and learn the system. I think I can do that.
But I just can’t give up my conviction.
I can’t betray my experience with words that got me here in the first place,
And I can’t ignore my late night itches that keep me up trying to say something about it.

Status

Thursday.

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There is a band called Fun.
Their words blare through my radio:
“WHAT DO I STAND FOR? WHAT DO I STAND FOR?”

Sometimes this question is exciting to me.
Sometimes this question is exhausting to me.

I stand for: Stop whining and just go love people. Everything will be okay.
I stand for: Eat butter.
I stand for: Make a choice. Be accountable.
I stand for being sincere.

Those are my first raw responses.
Notice that most of those are commands. I boss myself around a lot.
Notice that most of those have a hint of hurry. Go! Do! Be! Now!
In other words, they are both exciting and exhausting.

I would say the only one that doesn’t sound hurried or commanding is the last.
I stand for being sincere.
Sometimes I feel that’s the best I’ve got going for me.
I may not know what the answers are, but I sure won’t be fake about it.
I may not do the right thing, but you can safely assume I’m trying.

Lately I feel like there is so much clutter. Clutter in my schedule. Clutter in my living room. Clutter in my mind. Clutter in my kitchen sink. Cluttered-up closet. Cluttered-up heart. Cluttered-up conversations. I have this immense need to CLEAR OUT THE JUNK. I want to come home and feel fulfilled, regardless of whether or not my day was filled. I want to pursue things that matter to me.

Here some things that help me:
Talking with people helps me love.
Riding my bike helps me let go and see.
Yoga helps me balance and listen.
Writing helps me face myself.

Here are some songs that feel good:
The Stable Song; Gregory Alan Isokov
The House of God, Forever; Jon Foreman
Farmer Chords; Ben Gibbard

Here is some Thursday night free-verse:

All these things leak out of me. A slow drip backwards step by step.
No bucket to catch them and I don’t hear the splash.
They crowd together and come chasing me back.
Avalanche.
And I run for the hills.

On the back of a train to the horizontal clouds,
Like a woman ashamed of her own hands, I hold on.
If my body were a text it would say hold on hold on.
In my muscle’s memory there are tight tight grips.
They won’t forget.

Audio

Macy Gray triggers a freak-out.

Today I read a review of Macy Gray’s album called “Oh How Life Is.”
The title intrigued me, because it’s just what I’m always trying to write about.
The critic described Macy as a few things I’m always trying to be:
assured, original, adventurous.

But this was the statement that got my heart:

“At times, Gray attempts more than she can achieve — but it’s always captivating, even during its stumbles. And when it works, it soars higher than most contemporary R&B.”

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Thanks Macy Gray.
I wanna be like that.

Because I don’t know if you noticed up there, but I said one of the things I am trying to be is assured. And what do I even mean by that? How can you try to be assured? Seems like that’s something you just choose to be. Otherwise it’s like you’re saying, I know those flowers are dying, but I’m trying to water them! No you’re not. That’s ridiculous. Just water them. Or don’t. There’s not much in between there, right? I’m not sure there’s much in between for me when it comes to being assured. Or confident. Or secure. (Choose your favorite word.) I recognize that sometimes these things take time or therapy or something. But I’ve had time. (And hey, I’ve had therapy!) I don’t think I need anything more than to just make up my mind. I never had problems with being confident before my mission or on my mission– so what’s the deal now? I know it’s in me. I just need to pour some water in the vase and give those little babies a good sniff. This is my life! And frankly, I’m tired of writing about who I was. I’m tired of having little mini identity issues on my little mini blog.

“At times, she attempts more than she can achieve — but it’s always captivating, even during its stumbles. And when it works, it soars.”

That statement reminds me of who I was.
I think it’s time I stop feeling so relieved when I find things that remind me of who I was, and start looking for things that remind me of who I am. And maybe just stop obsessing over the difference between those two people. So friends, if you’re out there reading, that’s what I’m doing for a few posts. Just writing about who I am. And not deceiving myself that there is a right or wrong answer to that.

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Until then, do your thing Macy Gray.
I’ll just be here writing about mine.

Say What You Mean.

Sometimes I am afraid to write the truth.
And doesn’t that somehow equate to: “I am afraid to face the truth.”
…Am I afraid to face the truth?

And if so, why now?
I have done many scary things. Many hard things.
Mainly, what I’m referring to is: I went on a misson.
Before that, at least in my memory, I was rarely afraid to write the truth.
Regardless, I always found a way.
What has changed?
And why I am not better at writing the truth now, instead of the other way around?

.     See? There it is.
.     I was afraid to say “worse”
.     I dodged it with a common phrase–
.     “the other way around”
.     That way I didn’t have to actually say I am now worse at what I love SO MUCH.
.     Or maybe I avoid the word “worse” because:
.     I don’t really believe it.
.     I believe the me that writes the truth, is still in there.
.     I’m not ready to say she is gone. I’m not sure that is the truth.

S0 why am I not writing the truth now?

One answer at least: I don’t practice.
I get worse at things I’m not regularly practicing.
I used to have shelves and shelves of living notebooks.
Always a pen and a journ in my bag.
Part of learning to write the truth back then, was that I was always trying to.
And so, I was always learning to.

Since then, since I’ve stopped trying to write the truth,
I’ve found that I see much less of it.
When I’m walking home or waiting at a stoplight,
I don’t see my life and feel my heart like I used to.
I don’t churn my language
I don’t mold my phrases
I don’t listen to what I feel so I can
later sit down and scrawl it out until I say:
That. That is what my life is like. I found it and I found how to say it.

I don’t articulate. express. ask. edit. speak. listen.

Instead, I continually come to that moment where I need my words and
…they are not there.
Because I have not sought them
cultivated them
spent time with them
asked for them
trusted them.

Writing was like praying then.
Writing was like revelation. In my handwriting.
That’s why, on pages, I found the truth.

People do not know me as the girl with the notebook anymore.
But I know me:
I know.

Aside

A Blabbering.

Did you know I used to be full of words? FULL.
I know they are still in me but they are way down deep, maybe even a little lost in there.
Because I don’t call out to them and conjure them together and USE them like I did before.
I don’t group them into identities or clarities or the nominative indicative infinitive diminutive.
Did you know that’s why I’m writing here?
I am writing here to practice my words. To practice Speaking. Shouting. Feeling. Again.
With words.

Almost no one knows I am writing here.
Because so far I don’t necessarily have much to say.
So far I’m still getting my voice out.
That’s a wimpy way to avoid admitting that I just don’t think my writing is very good right now so I’m too prideful to advertise it out in the void. It doesn’t feel completely ME yet.
But with my words I’m telling the truth! I am. I just want to tell more of it.
I’ll need to tell more of it before I am satisfied.
Before my soul is at rest with its level and quality of expression.
Until then, my soul is kinda bunched-up and wrinkly in there.
It’s still happy, but it won’t be still.
It’s tryin’ to wriggle itself free.
I wriggle in words.
Here are some for today.

Sometimes I get very sad. I find myself taking naps and not talking very much. I feel heavy and sleepy, even when I want to feel alive. I know this pattern. It scares me. I pray and go for walks by the river with Ken. Things get better.

I love the moment at the pool when I realize the sun has melted my crayon. I know because instead highlighting a line in my book, it squishes a victorious spludge of green wax across the page. Oozing youth and summer.

I love when the doctor’s office wants an emergency contact and after I write Ken’s name it asks: Relationship?
And I write: Husband.

I love when I’m at J-dawgs with my little brother sayin “Get the secret sauce! Get the secret sauuuuuuuuce!” He’s a first-timer and I’m way more excited than he is. Let’s sit in the grass with our chips and drink. (I never buy the chips but this was a special occasion.)

I love that as soon as I get home from work I can pick up whatever book I want.

Books Just Finished:

The Help (Writing truth frees the southern women of Post-slavery America.)
The Five Love Languages (Find out how to love your favorite people the way they want you to love them.)

Just began:

The Dance (From my friend Brooke. I think this book is about how to quit obsessing over your flaws and just love your life.)
One True Thing (This one’s from my Mom. It reminds her of me.)

I love that reading other people’s words is generally promised to spark your own.
I am reading reading reading.

I love that my friends are growing up too. They are wrapped-up in various corporate/creative/therapeutic endeavors that help them to further unfold. I know some fantastic people. They just keep unfolding. There is no end to them.

Status

I. Will. Write….

I. Will. Write.
I. Love. Write.
I. Speak. Write.
I. Soul. Write.
I. Think. Speak. Soul. Love. Will. Write.

Take it home brothas and sistas.
This woman is back to the scribbles…back to the notebook pages.

This post inspired by Brooke Schultz.
(As well as the phrase ‘brothas and sistas’)

It is not really me to say that phrase, but I’m tryin it out today.

I remember shoppin with my best friend Katie.
We were looking at pretty underwear. (Gasp! Scandal on the blog!)
I decided against this one pair…
“They’re not really me,” I explained.
“You can be whoever you wanna be,” she reminded me.
“Yeah, but I wanna be me.”

It’s a really good feeling to wanna be your own self. I love that feeling.
But she’s right.
Sometimes you can just buy the thing or wear the thing or say the thing that isn’t quite you…
Because maybe it’s like the person you want to be.
Or maybe you just want to try it out… to see if it’s a part of you that you haven’t found yet.
And that’s okay.
We encourage that.
Who am I referring to when I say we?
Me and the general supporters of expanding yourself, that’s who.

Speaking of expanding yourself, this blog thing is very brave.
I forgot how liberating and scary the rush is when you put your raw thoughts out into a public void.
Like hey, here’s what I’m sayin.
Open for criticism. Maybe it’s vain. Maybe it’s ignorant.
Maybe it’s not grammatically correct.
(And now ya’ll we can’t be havin none of that.)

Hey and guess what else?
I’M MARRIED.

TO KEN! 
Ken ken ken ken ken ken!

And the pictures are comin soon, from that lovely lady Brooke up there.
In the mean time, read her words. See her photos.
Perceive her genius.