Another Saturday: Conversation Snippets

“You know, you can over-think things until the cows come home…” a slightly nasally voice said, a hint of frustration bleeding through.

“I’m not Hindu,” I said, with attempted humor.

“What?” snapped the frazzled marketer.

“I said, I’m not Hindu.” The smile slipped slowly off my face.


Saturdays have become a wonderful hideaway representing freedom and adventure. I finally know what to do with myself when I’m not busy working myself into an early grave.

Mostly I spend the morning lazing away beneath covers, luxuriating in the fact that I don’t have to jump up at 0700 to prep for work. Then, when I do get up, I head over to poetry group and tap into my emotions in a productive and apparently well written way.

I wrote poetry every day for the month of April and it was a delightful exercise. In a google group of like-minded overachievers, we wrote almost daily and cranked out the 30 poems.

On the weekends I can breath and sing. I have been singing lately, and it wasn’t until I started again that I realized I had stopped. My weekends are devoid of my week days pressures – no more noise, just quiet and calm.


“So, what’s your name?” the charismatic author grins at me, pouring on the charm that pairs well with his jaunty bow tie.

“Cole,” I reply, the challenge in my eye softened by the smile on my lips.

“Cole?”

“C-O-L-E.” I spell glibly.

He peers up at me, then glances at my contradictory work name-tag. “That’s not your name.” he says with a chuckle.

“Cole is my name.” I state calmly and firmly.

Something must have clicked. He turned back to the book he authored, signed my copy with a flourish and handed it back.

“Thanks!” I grin, picking it up to read the inscription.

‘Cole, let’s do this!’ ~ M


While I am pronoun apathetic, my name is always my name. And I hadn’t realized how meaningful it is to have people call you by your rightful name.

Of course, people only hear what they want to hear sometimes.


“Hi guys! This is Cole, we met at poetry group!”

“Hey, how’s it going?” I grin, pouring on the charm as I smile at the five players already seated. “Where do I… do I just grab a chair or…?

“You can sit here,” the gentleman in the middle says, rising from his seat so I can take his place. Too kind.

“Thanks!” I reply, setting down my stuff and stripping off my rain-swept hoodie. Our group of five-plus-me has assembled around 6 mini tables pushed together into one long surface, completely cornering a section of the restaurant with our meet-up. Glancing across the surface at the papers and 2-D pieces, I spot at least 10 sets of dice spilled across the table top.

I have never seen so many dice at a single game: 4 sided dice, 6 sided dice, 12 sided dice, 20 sided dice.

“So…Cole, is that short for Nicole?” another player asks, his whiskers fluttering gently on his upper lip.

“Nope, just Cole.” I glance at him with a smile.

“She’s just Cole,” my friend chimes in emphatically. “It’s not short for anything.”

In the lull, I examine my stat page and dice. “So… what are the rules for this game?”

Have you played a MRPG* before?

I shake my head. “First time.”

And thus I was initiated into one of the funnest games I’ve ever played.

*Feel free to shout out if I wrote the wrong acronym. I’m still a newb, learning this stuff. But I will have you know that my awesome dice rolling skills contributed massively to our successful campaign.

Or so the players told me.

But really, what am I getting at?

Last week, after poetry workshop, one of the attendees pitched going to grab coffee for a bit and hanging out between workshops.

It was six of us – huh, another group of six – who gathered in a jaunty coffee shop down the block, within a shop that seemed a cramped and uneven slice at the end of the enjoined building. Inside, the white walls and soft grain-wood tables gave the bright and cheery vibe, as sunlight streamed from the large picture-window next to the entrance. Quaint pictures of roosters hung on the wall above the cashier, and their coffee and food menus were minimal and hearty in their offerings.

I ordered a mocha for the first time in a while. The caffeine hit reminded me why I usually abstained.

The dialogue was… pleasant I think. I felt I spoke a lot, spent a lot of time inhabiting my extroverted facade that I knew would exhaust me for the rest of the day. I wished to emulate my counterpart at the opposite side of the table, who sat quietly with a small smile on his lips, watching through black-edged glasses, his impossibly smooth and straight hair framing a studious face. Although he played no instruments, he looked like a musician with his thoughtful gaze and the slender elegant fingers a pianist would envy.

I have not yet heard his poems, I hope I will one day.

We all write differently, started at different points of life, and have varying education based on writing. Unlike many in our poetry group, I did not go to school for fine arts or communications or writing. I wonder sometimes whether I could have been even better had I bucked tradition and familial pressure and done the typical foolish stereotypical thing that would have horrified my parents.

Major in art?!! NEVER!

You can write at any time, you don’t have to get a degree in it!

I admire my colleagues, my writing family, who went and did that thing. They are braver than I was, I think.

Sometimes I think about whether I should officially change my name. I wonder if I’m being disrespectful to reject the name given me by my parents. Not that they’d ever call me by my name, even if it were legal.

Is wanting it a good enough reason to push forward with changing everything? Even though my legal name never resonates with me? Even though at work I am constantly called by a co-worker’s name interchangeably even though our names are different by all but the first letter?

Am I just overly sensitive to the fact that I can only be Cole on weekends? Like the cheating spouse who can only meet with his mistress on holiday, is this brief reprieve only forestalling the inevitable disjointedness of my existence?

I know not.

What I do know is that sitting at that table, listening and meeting and getting to know the folks behind their poems, I felt a rare slice of peace.

Siting there was lovely.

Sitting there, I was Cole.

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Saturday #1

Last week, I swore I would get out of my fucking house and meet some people. For god’s sake, I was merging with my couch!

Which led to yesterday. Yesterday was Poetry Workshop day

Poetry Workshop Day

What better way to know if I am actually good at poetry or not? I asked myself, clicking the RSVP link and adding the event to my calendar.

I woke up bright and early that morning, rolled out of bed, showered and dressed. I chose the hyperlink blue top, black tights, and black & gray sorrel pdx wedges. Why I’m so enraptured by these clothes, I don’t know…

I got into my car and set on the audio-book to play, using GPS to navigate me to the nearby city. Remembering I needed to stop at the bank, I found my way winding through the metropolitan area, sprinkled with areas of construction along the main highway. I soon reached my exit and began winding up and down streets lined with shops, laundry mats, ethnic shops, restaurants, drugstores, and lottery booths.

It reminded me a bit of downtown Birmingham, AL, when I’d visited almost 3 years ago now… The same hip vibe, ethnic people, eclectic shops.

They must have a bunch of coffee shops here, I thought to myself.

When I arrived at my destination, I ran into a familiar problem, where to park. After circling the nearby blocks, I found a spot, small and tight, between a BMW and a Jeep. There I went, squeezing in my Honda Civic with a prayer on my lips, and my foot mashed on the brake. Thank god I knew how to parallel park (practice practice practice). After much reversing and care, I incrementally fit my small car into the space without tapping the neighboring cars.

I’m 18 minutes late.

I locked the doors, grabbed my backpack, and struck off down the sidewalk, counting down to the building number -201- then took the stairs to the second floor. I was pointed down a long hallway, to the last door on the left, where the meetup was held.

I opened the door.

And the vibe was warm, the auras were welcoming, and I didn’t feel uncomfortable.

I will come back, I thought, even before I’d sat down.

I was introduced to everyone, and I was Cole, nice to meet you. It felt like a comfortable cloak I’d never removed. I was Cole again.

Actually, I don’t think I’d stopped being Cole. Cole was always there, I realized as I grabbed a seat at the table. I am Cole.

I’m always Cole. No matter what they call me.

We responded to three writing prompts, taking ten minutes to write, then having the option to share what we read. I shared my poems each time.

I’ll share them here, with you…

____________________________________

Prompt: Break a rule – write about something we are told not to write about (i.e. fatherhood and death by cancer).

I stood there, in trepidation and silence,
A sorrow, stale and worn;
I could not seem to grasp the sounds.
They stood in white before me,
A flock of heartless birds to steal my soul away
With a word, a look, a halfhearted turn-of-phrase.

Wringing out, the eeking keen of disbelief tinged the air green,
A sickly soft syrup slushed through my veins;
I cannot even gesture acquiescence or rejection.
Captured, sliced, and mute.

The room I awake in is white
– Fuck the white.
I HATE the white that had woven the lies that sowed
Hope in my heart.
Why was there no black?

Spiraling down, I land on my knees
In the gravel driveway;
Choking, heaving, listing,
Clutching the last memory that
Slowly sifted away into sand.

Dirt trickles from my frozen fingers,
I find no comfort in the cloying scent
Of jasmines and sunflowers adorning
The gaping hole where my heart lies.
There is nothing I wouldn’t do
To destroy the world, to erase the limits of time,
To turn back those harsh and unsympathetic hands.
To return to her loving arms
Riddled with central lines, pumping
Poison into collapsing veins,
Destroying the smile on her lips.
The shattered glass of her eyes
When she asked when daddy would take her home.
Would he come now? She had been
So good, right mommy?

And I stared at the dirt mounded,
Covering my shame and guilt;
Laying down beside her, I finally —
Break.

Daddy is home.

____________________________________

I felt so wrung after reading. The silence in the room made me shy and embarrassed. The complements thereafter were warm. Slightly uncomfortable, I accepted the complements with a smile and thanks in the way I had been taught to do.

Would it kill you to accept a fucking complement, Cole?

The next prompt was tougher, harder for me to write. I started two different sets, thoughts akimbo, until in the last 5 minutes I realized what I was afraid of writing the most.

I didn’t want to write about W.

____________________________________

Prompt: Write about what you are afraid to write about

What he did
Was cruel.
I never understood
How a smile could hide
Such a devious mind.

Destroying more that year
Than I knew to be precious.
The truth is,
The cracks within,
Were my own.

The words were never there,
The emotion obliterated.
The past continues to return,
A demon never exorcised.
He planted the seeds,

And I can’t seem to halt the growth.

____________________________________

A muffled silence. I felt raw, thoughts racing. I realized, in hindsight, that the words sounded like the words one would write about an ex.

There were no words to explain I was writing not about an old flame, but an older, pathetic man who once called himself my boss. Ascribing words of another time into the present, where I finally had words to define and describe that which had been sealed behind my lips for so long.

On the page, I looked down on the words, written with anger, large and angular. Cross-outs throughout the page, blots scribbled out angrily. I could feel that anger now, in the silence. I realized my emotion caused me to read the words too fast, out of pace for absorbing the words by the listener…

I took deep breaths. This was turning into a spot of therapy…

After a 15 minute break, the last prompt was more… thoughtful. Approaching another, less harmful memory, I went back to childhood.

____________________________________

Prompt: Address an Entity in Rebellion

Hello. I wonder if you remember me
Please sit down, sir, you’ve spoken quite enough.
Let the oxygen in,
Let us breath for a damn minute
Before you drown us in pontification.
Opinion and bluster to erase
Every independent thought, as you spoke
With the arrogance of the morning star.

Did you ever stop to think about
The impact of your words?
Or were you so drunk on power
– Inebriated by greed and jealousy –
That you couldn’t spare a single thought for your victims?

The innocent wide brown eyes,
Disregarded by prying words.
Crowbars clattering against the locks.
Did you see me standing there?
Watching your desperation and triumphal
Entry? No, for all that you could see
Were earthly treasures.

Stacks of green paper mark you
A liar, sir, for heaven was not
To be found in the darkened
Maw of the safe.

Machinations, silver tongued
And multilingual, I watched you
Sway the multitude like
Wheat bowing to the wind
Waves of majesty before you
Could you see me standing there?

When the votes were tallied
Thy will, not my will, be done
In church as it may never be done
Above. The steeple mocked
Us all.

In the shadow of the cross
Judas put forth his hand for
Coin.
Did you know, sir, that the
Value of all you covet that day
Was not even worth fifteen cents?

Did you see me standing there
Watching you froth at the lips
The only words chanting from your lips
“Where is the money?”

____________________________________

I dropped my book with a thud of finality. Again, silence.

“This actually happened,” I said, shying from looking anyone in the eye, bouncing my eyeballs at the empty spaces just beyond eye level.

“I’m sorry,” my neighbor said softly.

“It’s okay,” I said. “I was just a kid.”

I don’t know why I said that. I felt stupid for saying that.

The members shared what they wrote as they had done for each prompt. I closed my eyes to listen, grounding in the moment away from my turbulent thoughts to focus on their spoken words in the moment.

Stay in the moment, Cole.

Talent was in that room. I know it. Beauty woven in those words, I felt the peace descend. I was where I was supposed to be.

At the end, as I packed up and headed out the door, a member said, “I liked what you wrote.”

“Thank you.” I smiled into his eyes. “I liked your poems too, you have a beautiful sense of humor.”

We smiled at each other, and I continued out the doorway

Put the Pieces Back Together

I sat in my car. I just wanted… a break.

I felt flimsy, like a stiff breeze would blow me away and I’d cease to exist.

Wiggling out of the parking spot I’d wedged into, I pulled away into traffic, GPS charted for the 2nd Coffee shop I’d found almost 2 months ago that I hadn’t yet visited. I left the city and entered the suburbs, winding down more familiar roads until I arrived at the Maywood Pancake House.

Again, parking was hard to find. I ended up far away, but the sunshine was beautiful on my face, the air fresh and clean, I strutted up the sidewalk with a smile and entered in through the door into a

Bustling

Busy

Restaurant.

Mouth agape, I looked around in amazement. Did they actually serve vegan food here? And this many people came to eat?

“Sorry for the wait, how many?” the hostess asked, pulling me from my blatant staring.

“One,” I replied.

“Would you like to sit in the booth or at the counter?” She asked. I followed her gesture at the booth parked in the far corner. It looked dark and claustrophobic. The counter was open, well lit and inviting.

“The counter please.”

“This way.”

I followed her to the counter facing the coffee machines, the presses, and the sorcery where baristas flitted like busy bees, assembling all kinds of breakfast beverages. The hostess placed a menu and a napkin wrapped fork and knife on the table in front of the last chair at the end of the counter. “Here okay?”

“That’s fine.” I smiled reflexively.

She smiled in return, and left me to awkwardly perch on the chair, wiggling out of my coat and backpack which I stubbornly refused to leave behind in the car. I put the coat over the back of my stool, and perched the backpack under the counter lip to rest on the brass foot railing my legs couldn’t reach. I hooked my heels over the stool rungs and opened the menu.

“Hi, can I get you anything?”

I looked up at the waiter, whose words were spoken in an accent that reminded me of western Europe. Was it Russian? No, maybe Polish? Czech? It was lovely, all the same.

“Mmm,” I scanned the menu, “can I get a glass of soy milk?”

“A glass of soy milk?” I nodded. “Coming right up.”

He grabbed a glass and a straw, poured the milk up to the rim, and set the glass down before me without spilling a drop. I was impressed.

“Thanks!” I said, then sucked it down, surprising myself with my thirst.

I eventually ordered vegan pancakes -duh, right? -with chocolate chips and coconut shavings on top. I wondered if they served chai tea, but didn’t see it on the menu. Oh well…

As I waited for the food, I wrote in my notebook:

Such an onslaught of emotion. Both tired and shell-shocked, I await my vegan pancakes w/chocolate chips and coconut atop.

Emotionally wrung dry… I feel weary with eyelids heavy w/ sleep. Suddenly exhausted. The hot air balloon collapses upon itself and my facade is no more.

Weary, almost fragile. At the counter I alternate between writing and glancing at the cc of the TV spewing news reports. I can’t keep up. I remember why I hate the news.

After 4 pancakes and 2 milk glasses, I feel finally human. Shell intact.

I wonder what to do next. It’s only 2:30ish, perhaps travel to B&N? No… somewhere peaceful and quiet.

Or, maybe, just drive…

I wanted to ask Leo, my waiter, where his accent was from, but the opportunity did not arise.

Stuffed and craving a spot of exercise – shocking, I know – I decided walking was next on the menu. But not outside… inside would be preferable -ah-hah! The mall!

Parking again was illusive. I circled for 15 minutes with fellow cars, wheeling circles like birds of prey in the sky. I finally found a spot at the Target parking lot.

I walked for over an hour before my feet screamed their exhaustion. I turned my car home.

Thus ended my day..

Thanks and Reflection

Thanks for the Traditions

Thanksgiving is always a delicious affair. I bring a dish and the family receives my humble offerings with delicious mains, salads, desserts, and appetizing foods I have no idea how to track in my macros tracker. Homemade food is the most decedent, delicious, drool-worthy affair.

And the food coma is REAL folks. I knock after dinner every time. And, if you’re like me, you skip breakfast and lunch and save all that calorie loading for that dinner. Oooooo Mama!! Nothing tastes so good as the Thanksgiving dinner.

Tomorrow is a spot of shopping – okay, I’ve been shopping the past few days – but tomorrow/today, our family will complete our annual clothes shopping tradition. No, you will not see us in a mall or major chain store, in fact, we avoid such places during this shopping mania like the plague. No, we will be heading to a lovely store with the best variety where hardly any violence will occur aside from a toddler or two hauling down some hangers in a fit of impotent rage.

We go early in the morning and finish when most folks are devouring a rushed brunch. We spend the drive talking, catching up on our lives while apart -even though we talk/call each other every day. Oh how we laugh and chat and smile, the soul rejuvenated by the love from each other to one another.

Then spend time with friends: meeting, talking, eating, catching up on each other’s lives and updates after being so long and far apart. As adults we are spread across the country, so the few within range meet up and spend time together. I’m wondering if in the future we can skype our far away friends in -some of us have moved too far to visit. I imagine we will go to meet them sometime – if they can host, or we can host. We’ll see what we shall see.

Then spend time with friends: meeting, talking, eating, catching up on each other’s lives and updates after being so long and far apart. As adults we are spread across the country, so the few within range meet up and spend time together. I’m wondering if in the future we can Skype our far away friends in -some of us have moved too far to visit. I imagine we will go to meet them sometime – if they can host, or we can host. We’ll see what we shall see.

I am grateful for this opportunity to spend time with family and friends and engage in meaningful dialogue.

Reflection

For me, Thanksgiving harks as a period for reflection. I wake up this morning a few hours after midnight and find myself thinking about the past year, the past five years, and the present.

If I plotted my journey as a line graph or trend line, I think a year ago from today would have been the start of an uptick, a bend in the curve. Not immediately but gradually, I’ve turned things around. It took a lot of reflection on who I am as a person, who I want to be, and the gap between. Then identifying tools and strategies to help me close that gap and be the person I know I can be.

Today I am closer. It’s been a year of this new direction, and while I’ve whined a lot on this blog –LORD Have I whined!!– it was to a purpose.

Silence gives something power. At least, this is what I have come to believe. Holding it in, silent and stewing, brews a poison in the heart and soul. Talking it out, to yourself, to trusted friends and family, and to strangers helps. Gain perspective, purpose, and best practices for the future by talking and getting feedback/advice.

It is strange  how time changes things. Time and healing.

While I do not wish my bad experiences on anyone, least of all myself, it has helped me to grow because I was able to turn my pain into something positive and beautiful. The process was ugly; the outcome, astoundingly positive.

I went from ignoring my reflection and thinking badly of myself, to looking proudly every morning thinking how sexy and hot I look. That I’m beautiful – believing it and not just saying it!- and that I’m smart and capable. That I can be athletic and strong in body, that the gym isn’t a scary place to avoid, and that I can be and do all the things I set my mind to.

That I don’t have to be alone. That I have friends and family, and while they aren’t a hop and skip down the road, they are always with me, in my corner.

I am blessed.

Thanks for the lessons, no thanks for the negative experiences.

From the muck of the pond, a lotus blossoms.

I Realize You Weren’t There After All

Because of the orange, I can stay.

I can feel myself unfolding from the tightened, origami confinement of the past. In a way, I’ve never felt this free, this controlled, so much myself. Exploding into color, rejecting the black and gray for purples, oranges, reds, blues, greens; the colors of the life of a rainbow.

I smile and dance, the air is anticipation and I’m captive to my burgeoning joy. Never let me go…

The pieces are finally coming together, I feel them click into place, like a puzzle of one thousand pieces, a glass masterpiece, shattered, only to re-converge into the most tear-inducing stained glass artwork.

It’s been five years.

Five years since standing on the bridge at the rushing water of the waterfall, the sign warning of danger and a gentle nudge to “Dial ###-####” if I was feeling the sweet caress of death in my shadow. She was closer than a lover, her dry fingers massaging my skull, fitting into my ears as she whispered to me of the eternal beyond.

One moment then nothing.

Five years since turning away, again, and again, and again. The pain of turning away like parting from one’s beloved, sour-tinged panic and nutmeg hope an odd drink to pass my lips.

Away from my eyes…

Five years of unspeakable pain, of cruel words and hidden veins of deception. Of being forced to see and hear and bear witness to a most foul subset of humanity, the envious and the proud.

The rocks venomously tossed into my soul, shattering the clear prism above to ripple the waters below and sink and thud at the bottom, stoning my heart into bloody pulp, searing words into my cerebral matter like a burning brand to claim my very soul and chain it to a special, unique hell of human design.

And that was the past.

2018 I awoke and swore I would not be a victim. That the chains would not hold me, that those words would not break me. That I would stand on my own two shaking feet and know that I am whole, that I am strong, that I am better than the shit.

We are in, but not of…

And it is now, here, after much work, that I can finally see a the corner turn, the bend of the arch, the bow of the rain in the sky, casting magic and lighting a way forward.

Shedding this skin, I flutter to life. And no prince was near to kiss these lips, so I licked them myself. Hauled myself out of that glass coffin and put on my stomping bitching shoes, with the heels and the studs, and strutted through the forest, weapon in hand, to slay my own fucking dragon.

I knew deep down, that I had to stand on my own. Mind over matter. Mind over desire. Mind over all.

A sacred blood oath, to be no one’s victim. A Valkyrie can kick ass all on her own. I just needed to fly with my own wings this time.

The fire of autumn ignites my flames, the red beckons to me and I embrace his hold, a mastery all my own. Sweeping up the forgotten mantle, I am my own master and my dominion remains.

Thanks to you, I have reached the threshold.

And stepped beyond.

Nothing can hold me. You failed to stop me. I am transcended.

It’s over.

My Muse

I’m humming a tune that I can finally remember. I write it down. The words float to me easily, the melody plays in my ears, I am immersed in the sound of beauty. A few tweaks and I’m onto a masterpiece.

The ideas come freely, I am a-gaggle and a-goggle with giddy delight. I laugh and smile, a little less hollow now. I’m wrapped in words and the plot rolls before me like a river to chart my course to the path I had struggled to achieve and yet never quite approached.

I am watching romance films and I don’t know why but I find them charming rather than nauseating.

It’s like the bubbling in my chest, the joy of life, the crisp of autumn, all combine to make me alive. I want to be alive again, and my fingers and heart and soul are dancing a melody of something genuine and new, something unfolding from inside like a sheltered flower that finally bloomed.

This didn’t happen before and I don’t know what it means now that it is.

I just am.

I exist and for once, that’s okay.

Are you the one who unlocked my creative side? The side so still and cold I thought it maybe had died from neglect or… sadness.

With all this, I am feeling again, and that means that pain is on the way. Time to slaughter and slay and to forget all my names.

And yet I cradle it close, like a long lost lover. Captivated by it’s light and beauty. I am subdued by its power and it rules me. For a time, for a season. Will it fade away and leave me again with the gray?

Is this a love? Or is this pain disguised as pleasure?

When will you hurt me. Again.

Metal and edge, the beauty of a katana is not just in how it gleams in the light. But in its slash and cape of blood. Likewise, something this beautiful starts with joy and cuts to the quick in a sharp and incisive way. Needlepoint my heart. Cover my eyes, and make me love again.

It hurts, it’s love, it hurts.

It’s love.

It hurts.

It is raw and untethered, like grated nerves stretched for piano wire.

It cuts yet the sound is piercing.

Mocha #4: Snapshot of Yesterday

Written 6 months ago… through the lens of teenage angst…

Come.

I want to show you something.

Let’s go back -I want to take you back many years ago. We can travel together.

We stumbled on an old journal that I filled while I was in high school. I’d forgotten what that time was all about.

I was fighting the parents on a regular basis while -vainly- killing feelings on a first crush who -if I remember correctly- promptly started dating an acquaintance.

Ha! I haven’t thought about him in a minute…

He was a senior while I was a sophomore, we were both imprisoned in a christian private school with a racist, religion-ist principal, namely if you weren’t of his religion (or color), you were to be despised, hated, and expelled. He kept getting sued for his treatment of people from other religions and had a sign saying he’d shoot Jehovah Witnesses if they set foot on his property. And don’t get him started on non-Causasians! Long story of a pathetic man...

Don’t worry, fate is punishing him as we speak…. I have nothing to do with it, don’t look at me like that!! He ate himself into 2 quadruple bypasses-

I call that karma.

Anyway, that was a sidebar.

The guy I had a thing for was the “bad boy”, but honestly he wasn’t that bad. Yes, he rode a motorcycle, had the darkest eyes and raven hair to his shoulders, and was built like… okay, he had muscles. He played guitar and had a beautiful singing voice, with a slight southern twang when he said certain words.

He also had a tough home life. I don’t think his mom was in the picture, and his dad was a tough love, threatening type (skewed perspective, obviously, I don’t know much about his father).

He was the type to speak his mind, and he wasn’t intimidated by the religious faction that ruled our school. Which meant that the Principal delighted in making him a target for discipline and teachers would mark him for pink slips on the daily. No lie, I don’t think a day went by when he didn’t get a pink slip/detention for stuff that, in hindsight, was quite trifling.

Collar not straight? DETENTION!!!

No kidding.

I had a massive crush plus I had a deep admiration for him since he seemed very powerful and assertive during a time of my life when I was feeling angry, powerless, and attacked constantly at my home life.

School was my weird refuge -I could escape the house and my parents with their crazy pressure to make me a better christian (yeah that worked out SOOO well). #noreligion #agnosticAtheist (I don’t care if this isn’t a thing, I question sarcastically and believe nothing that demands that proof is stated by a book via referencing that book).

Ironically, back in high school, I was already over religion. But it was like I didn’t have a will of my own, I was constantly backed into corners due to my lack of will to seize power and control. And I was sorely tempted to kill myself but I realized that killing myself meant that they would win and that it wouldn’t save me. I would need to save myself.

And I did.

But that’s another story…

So, with the darkness closing in on my life, it was a lifeline to see someone who was rising above it all, despite all the shit and flack being thrown at him.

There were moments, when I was present and tongue-tied (yeah, I was very shy back then), that he would chat with a teacher who was the only nice and sweet one around and she would try to encourage him to see it through when it got so hard he’d be angry and in tears with fists clenched with that impotent rage that frequently visits the teenage soul.

Yeah, he got angry a lot.

He got in trouble -as defined by christians who would find fault with the sun in the sky- but he survived.

And graduated.

And walked away to a better life, last I heard.

I hope he’s still kicking ass and taking names.

Anyway, I had to put my journal down, because it was quite visceral and brought back a lot of anger and memories. Now, I understand why I’m still mad at my parents -not so much, but as I reread what I went through with them….

Yes, they changed, they changed very much for the better.

But at that time, during those years, they made my life HELL.

So, no, I will no longer feel guilty that I don’t really talk to my father, or that I have a simmering resentment towards my mother. Because they earned it.

I’m not inviting back that rage or hate. But I am acknowledging that when you sow the seed, you reap the whirlwind.

Lucky for them, it’s more like a dust bowl.

They did crack my soul, but it didn’t break.

Thankfully, that didn’t poison my life. I am very happy now, I am a completely different person that who I was back then.

Back then I was miserable, angry and just making it one day at a time, hovering on the knife’s edge separating hope and death.

I’m glad I made it. To a different type of misery.

It’s so much better now.

It’s true that you forget what hasn’t been written.

P.S. Not stalking but curious, I googled him, and it looks like he got married earlier this year. Looks like he did make it. 🙂

 


Picture source

Among yet not With People

I pick up on that “among people” even if I am not “with people” vibe too, especially when I’m at Barnes & Nobles curled up with a comic or book or just writing in the knock-off Starbucks cafe section, watching people.

Some people are obviously on a date, others are doing homework in group study. Some are just chilling by themselves. In such an environment, one can just be, without being overwhelmed by maintaining conversation or putting up a front with someone else. In such moments, we are all aware of each other and accepting through our silence and lack of verbal interaction -aside from asking to share the power outlet or to watch someone’s stuff for them on a quick bathroom break.

The hum of dialogue is a soft and melodic bass, the excited voices of children a punctuation and the steadfast and plodding steps of the grandparents a slow, reliable rhythm anchoring the symphony as the coffee pot gurgles its steamy melody.

In the fall, the pumpkin spice latte accents the air, flitting around the sent of coffee and baked goods. The barista chuckles with her coworker as they argue the merits of one band’s lead singer over another. A familiar banter I hope to someday emulate with someone, someday, somewhere…

A sense of hopelessness washes over me, I turn back to the straightforward world of heroes, misunderstood and yet never alone, even when the knife of betrayal plunges into their soul over and over, they are never alone.

A sidekick, a partner, a lover, a brother, a friend, a colleague, an ally, enemy-of-my-enemy-

There is always someone…

I pull my hoodie around me, burrowing deeper into the slightly uncomfortable wooden chair perched in the window. Cars go by, there is something so hypnotic about the zoom of the vehicles from one side of the window to the other.

-Zip.

-Zap

-Zop.

We played the zip-zap-zop game in drama class, to prompt swift reaction time and to practice reacting off each others’ “energy” I guess. It was a rapid game, accompanied with a clap and slide of one palm over the other in the direction of someone else who caught the “Zip” and sent off a “Zap” to another who received and slided a “Zop” on to someone else.

Hesitate or delay, and you’re out of the game.

“Zip”     “Zap  “Zop”

“-Zip!” “-Zap!” “-Zop!”

Zip

Zap

Zop

Catch a turn of life, quickly return it to someone, somewhere else. Quickly move on before you sink and become bogged down by the intensity of the here and now.

Zip

Zap

Don’t fail to move along-

“-Zop”

Winner is all alone.

The king at the pinnacle of his throne desired a queen to sit with him. So he sent his brave knight to search the land for a woman worthy to become his queen. He waited for 30 days and 30 nights, and on the morning of the 31st day, word is brought that a queen of most noble carriage and unmatched beauty is on her way, accompanied by the king’s most courageous and loyal knight, to meet and wed the king.

How his heart burst to hear the news! His majesty could hardly contain himself. What to wear? What to do? How should he prepare to meet his most beloved queen?

The king was besides himself with joy. He commanded that the entire palace be cleaned from top to bottom, that the finest foods in the kingdom be brought and the most lauded chefs cook a banquet to honor his queen on their wedding day. All the nobles of the land were summoned to the wedding, and all the common folk brought gifts and homage to the palace, in honor of his queen.

When finally the queen-to-be arrives, the king raced forward to greet her. He noticed her delicate hands and melodic voice, her laughter and sparkling eyes. In all her raven haired beauty, none else in the kingdom could match her in beauty.

If he wasn’t in love before, his majesty was smitten by the mere sight of her.

Three days later, the wedding bells rung, and the King married his lawfully wedded Queen. The king was delighted, he achieved the pinnacle, and had at his side, the most divine of all feminine creatures. What more could he ask for?

…Loyalty

…Faithfulness

Devotion…

A month later, the king found himself in the smoldering ashes of his ambition. His most loyal knight, whom he had trusted above all others, held his blade to the King’s throat.

His queen stood by the knight’s side, her delicate hands clasped over her belly, almost 3 months pregnant.

Forced away from his kingdom, with neither queen nor support, the King of one turned to the forest with a broken heart. His army stolen, his love betrayed, he had nothing left but a hollow crown and empty arms.

Show… don’t tell…

Right.

Sometimes less is more.


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Winter is Coming Here

It still feels surreal, these gray skies and salt crusted roads.

Veer off this beaten path and land into a hidden dell, deserted by nature, oppressed by the wintery fist of iron and ice.

The fallen snow, mostly melted, flank the barren trees huddled in shame at their seasonal nudity. The celebration of gold, bronze, and copper festival scarves has faded into the barren starkness of whip-like branches combing the frigid wind with the desperate clutch of a frantic person as their partner leaves them for the last time.

Only the prickly pines retain their clothed dignity, Continue reading Winter is Coming Here

We aren’t who we think we are

I enjoy singing. When I was a child, I could easily hit the high soprano notes. Okay, maybe not that easily, but it was achievable.

I am soo not a soprano post-puberty.

I can hit soprano -if I don’t want to talk for awhile. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, who knows.

Who knows.

At that point, it was a big deal for me. Sopranos got leads, sopranos got attention, sopranos cause awe and marvel in the listener. What do altos do? They are the most ignored section (in my opinion at the time) of the choir, a glut slated for reduction. Soprano is elite, altos are commoners.

And I was not meant to be a commoner!

Helllloooooo bias…

Of course, my opinion changed when my choir director noted that my range extended down into the tenor range. Apparently, that was special  (not really) and that rectified, in my mind, my own self-importance.

My, I was a pompous little shit…

Now, all I care about is butchering JPOP, growling to metal, and occasionally crooning to Usher’s pre-Bieber hits [90’s mostly].

Priorities… they change.

Amazing, often necessary, to allow adaptability.

I’m not an alto, or soprano or whatever. I’m just a happy, go-lucky singer slash butcherer of music.

All that stuff, those extra labels, don’t matter. Having fun matters. 🙂

Coffee 24: Looking back…

Prompt: Memories

When I was at a university notorious for its rigor and prestige, I felt the weight of failure crushing the life out of me. I couldn’t seem to do well on exams, I couldn’t understand the classes no matter how many nights I stayed up late, reading and rereading the materials every day. The gray skies melded into a gray world with white walls, chalkboards, and lecture halls one after the other.

Continue reading Coffee 24: Looking back…