Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31st: The Year I Went Rogue

2017, what about it.  It was a strange, wonderous, bizarre, glowing, perspective-changing year where I took the opportunity to go rogue on my own writing project.  It felt like the right thing to do -- you might even say I felt inspired to do so.  Hardy har.  What I mean is I diverted from my annual goal to involve all of you in each day's writing by asking you to participate and, instead, left the whole darn thing up to me.  The fact that I managed to eek out 364 (and soon to be one more) pieces of writing about what has inspired me this year is some kind of wonderful in my book.  I hope you've enjoyed reading -- I've certainly gotten a lot of generous and kind feedback from many of you and I appreciate that so.  I've tackled lots of topics, some deeply personal, some political, some silly, some nostalgic, some off-the-cuff, that I haven't necessarily tackled before.  I guess I could say I've been experimenting with my voice and doing my best to be as articulate, kind, straightforward, and honest as I can be.  I've written about things I haven't even told very many people, especially in regard to damaging relationships in my life, and I made that choice because I no longer wanted to be haunted by those memories.  As I told many of you in my everyday life, my goal was to make those painful memories into a paper boat and push them out to sea -- bye boy bye.  It's been a liberating experience.

2017 has been a very hard year for many people, especially (or not helped by) the current administration's utter failure to represent the progress we saw built under Obama.  As the political climate (and its policies) seemed insistent upon dragging us all backwards, it's been remarkable to see the pushback -- especially from women and minority cultures, demanding to be seen and heard and respected.  We may not win all the battles but you bet yer ass we'll be fighting in them, tooth and nail.  

When Trump won the presidency in November 2016 and was officially sworn in a year ago January, I experienced that shock by being consumed with how unfair it felt.  How could this happen to Hillary Clinton, the single most qualified presidential candidate we've ever had?  How could this happen to us, as a nation?  But ya know what?  It's not about fair or unfair:  it's about action and reaction.  And our reaction as a people has been to stomp, to shout, to demand, to push, to climb, to get involved.  I'm still in shock that this is what we, as a nation, have to do in order to maintain our basic civil liberties and rights, but, well, if this is what it takes...

But on a personal level, watching Trump defeat Secretary Clinton was like watching a bully be validated -- an aggressive, manipulative, game-playing, scared-shitless individual get rewarded for fear-mongering, for lying, for "winning at any cost."  Hillary did so many things right -- she had facts and figures and stalwart professionalism on her side but she still lost, she still had to concede her dream to be her nation's leader, and for what?  So a failed businessman with zero experience and zero reliability could promote racist, homophobic, backwards thinking people to positions of power and authority.  Night.mare.

And maybe it's not a direct line from A to B, but part of my mourning was linked to my own experiences with bullies, specifically Tom, who my lizard-brain sees as having "won" in our final battle before total breakdown.  He kept his life intact -- he didn't have to change -- and I had to give up everything and everyone and start over.  Seeing Donald Trump win the presidency over Hillary Clinton stepped on my toes in a similar, guttural way.  Trump is predatory -- so is Tom.  Trump is a master manipulator -- so is Tom.  Trump lied and lied and lied to everyone -- so did Tom.  And so my brain equated these two males in a powerful way.  It's no wonder every time I see Kate McKinnon as Hillary singing "Hallelujah" on SNL, I literally weep.

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth -- I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong, 
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
with nothing on my tongue by Hallelujah

These relationships and people are different, but not that different.  Especially in the last few months when the hashtag "Me, Too" became a national conversation and so many powerful men were brought down by accusations of sexual misconduct.  There will be more.  And while it feels like progress to see this being taken seriously, it's also a shame it happened at all, ever.  It's a shame women have been carrying these stories, these secrets, these terrifying, numbing experiences with them for so many years.  It's a shame it's had to come to this.

But I also think of Sarah Silverman talking about her long time friend Louie C.K. who was one of the accused men, who said, "Is it possible to love someone who's done bad things?"  All of it makes me think of Tom, who was abusive to women before he was abusive to me and even though I didn't like it and encouraged him to make different choices, I still loved him and was his friend.  It's not knowable to me exactly why he turned on me, but I felt the hammer of his cruel nature and having once been on the other side -- the side where it was eternal, protected love from a person who would have done anything in the world to put a smile on my face -- only made the darkness that much darker.  But, then, maybe it was because I no longer was willing to tolerate his bad behavior with women that got me cast aside.  Who knows?  But I do understand Sarah's pain -- loving someone who makes horrendous choices that are damaging and cruel to other people is hard to rationalize and to process.  I chose to rationalize it and process it by asking more of my friend -- by setting a high bar for positive change -- not that it ever made a difference.  Does it even matter that I tried?  More than a few times this year when I wrote about my relationship with him during the "good times," I'd lean into cringe-worthy moments where I let his bad behavior slide by.  Maturity, experience, and distance are all good teachers too, it seems.

So, yes, I spent 2017 getting inspired by the world around me, by my inner world, by memories, and by a desire to learn and grow.  Thanks for indulging my decision to flip this project on its head.  I'm excited that you'll be back in the game for next year, writing titles for me as I get going with the What's It Called in 2018 blog.

And with that, I declare the Inspired in 2017 blog a wrap.  See ya, '17.  I'm officially folding you into a paper boat and floating you out to sea...

Inspired by: this project!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 30th: God

Yesterday, I took my first yoga class in awhile.  I'd been away for Christmas and had come down with a stomach bug while I was traveling and so it'd been nearly two weeks since I got on my mat.  That's basically an eternity if you're me, who practices typically six out of seven days a week.  It was a giddy delight to roll out my mat in a pretty crowded classes lead by the lovely Jill who opted to play some wordless music while she cued.  At some point about three-quarters of the way through class, the Samuel Barber piece "Adagio for Strings" came on.  It hit me right in my gut when it came on and nearly brought me to tears.

What that song reminds me of is church.

But it's more than that:  it reminds of a specific service I used to attend as a choir girl at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio.  It was for Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.  It's in honor and remembrance of the the Last Supper before Jesus was taken away for execution on the cross.  After communion is presented at the Maundy Thursday service, there is a ritual of stripping the alter of everything -- flowers, adornment of all kind, everything.  And when George Ross was the minister at St. Paul's, the organ played Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" in the dimmed lights of the chancel as alcohlytes, deacons, and ministers removed the items one by one.  I still have such vivid memories of this rite.  It was haunting, mournful, and beautiful all at once.

There is something about this very specific piece of music coupled with this very specific ritual that makes me know that God (or god) is real, is present, is part of everything I experience in my life.

So when "Adagio for Strings" came on during yoga yesterday, it took me back to that communion with god, that communion with powerful love, and even though my body kept moving as Jill instructed, my heart and my mind ached with the memory of what this piece of music means to me.

I'm listening to it now as I write and it's reminding me of the power of our minds once they're fused to a specific speck of dust on the wind.  This will mean something forever and that faith serves as my ultimate foundation.

Hi.  It's time for the God Talk in honor of You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes.

Interestingly enough, I was listening to the most recent YMIW yesterday where Pete talked to his guest, comedian Myk Kaplan, about a host of spiritual things, and Pete quoted Richard Rohr for about the nine hundredth time about how adults in their "second phase of life" no longer "need" church -- that they have gotten everything they can out of the teachings and can sort of graduate to being "one with god" by simply existing in the world.  I stopped going to church long, long ago -- after George Ross passed away and St. Paul's was run by a more by-the-book minister who replaced the beautiful Maundy Thursday ritual with the prayer that you're supposed to read as the alter is stripped.  Under the harsh, bright lights of the church, this ceremony completely lost its power over me and for that and many other reasons, asked my mother if it was OK if I stopped attending services.  I don't know why she agreed, but she did and I so I became a "Christmas & Easter" Episcopalian from something like eighth grade on.  I'm not sure my mother understood why I didn't want to attend church anymore -- I often think she thinks I went the route of heathen -- but I feel, in my heart, quite the opposite.  While I don't feel a specific loyalty to the Episcopal Church -- or any church, for that matter -- I do feel part of god's love, however it can be defined.  I believe deeply in spiritual unity and grace and I experience the divine power of something greater than me influence and shepherd me along my way.  It's hard for me to define it in a concrete way, so I simplify my thoughts on it to reflect that I believe in god and it's OK with me if you don't.  Life presents these intangible truths to each of us in different ways and I know this notion of god or religion can make many uncomfortable.  It doesn't make me uncomfortable at all.  I experience god in tiny moments and in big ones.  It's a feeling deep in my gut.  It's the truest love.

Sometimes Pete asks his guests what they think happens when we die.  This is a tricky question and I don't entirely have my answer in any kind of concrete form.  But I don't think when we die that it's the end of anything but this.  Our energy, our being, our sheer force of will carries on, maybe in a different form, maybe in an evolving way.  I believe in Karma and how it impacts us on our "rebirth" -- that some souls are older than others.  A psychic once told me I was one of the "original" souls -- like back from Pangea-old -- and I found that startling and curious.  Maybe it's true and maybe it's not.  It doesn't really matter to me in this form, one way or the other.  You can't explain the internet to a dog, nor does it really have any cause or effect if the dog learns about surfing the web or not.  Either or.  Who cares?  It doesn't change the outcome in any way, so sometimes it's best to let information come into your consciousness in a way that is natural and unprovoked.  We don't need to push for the truth -- it'll come to us when and how it should.

In many ways, that's how I feel about god.  Organized religion of any kind doesn't speak to me now -- but maybe another George Ross will come into my life and show me the unrestrained majesty of church and if that happens, I'll re-learn all the hymns and sing along.  But I am also confident in the presence of a higher power and have found countless ways to pay homage and respect to the comfort, love, and lessons I have learned by being open to them in the first place.

Pete never tires of talking to his guests about their religious and spiritual beliefs and I never get tired of hearing the myriad interpretations and ideas of where the discussions lead.  I could certainly talk about it quite a bit longer, but it's, oh, 10:10pm and I can feel my eyes starting to close, so I'll let the rest play out in my dreams tonight.

I'm just happy to have Pete in my life to make me think about this stuff at all.

You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes is one of my favorite things of all time and I hope you can experience it sometime soon.  It's changed my life in magical ways and it's been fun to do this little hat tip to Pete's central topics of discussion these past couple of days.  Hit me up if you want some episode recommendations...  I've got a host for you to try out.

In the meantime, keep it crispy.

Inspired by: You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes and the "god talk" portion of the show.

Friday, December 29, 2017

December 29th: Sex (aka Relationships)

Today I continue on to the second major topic or theme in Pete Holmes' podcast You Made It Weird:  Sex.  What he means here is anything related to relationships: romantic, committed, poly, queer, platonic, friends-with-benefits, breakups, healing, mending, what we look for in a partner, how we know someone is the one, what kinds of people are attracted to each other, love languages, and so on and so on...  This is usually my favorite part of the podcast and one that Pete spends very little time on nowadays.  It's because he's happy:  he recently married his live-in girlfriend, Val, and so he seems to have lost his curiosity about love and why it works or doesn't.  He's too in it, this honeymoon phase of life.  When we're content in an area, we often don't spend a lot of time examining it, after all, so it makes sense.  But when Pete was a seeker of this sort, I got a ton out of those conversations.  

One of the most influential for me was a conversation he had with his long-time pal Kumail Nanjiani who's been married for many years to Emily Gordon.  It seems Kumail and Emily were the "it" couple in the comedy world I was exposed to via Nerdist-network podcasts, at the very least, so Pete would always talk about how he was in search of "his Emily."  On the "Kumail Nanjiani Returns" episode of YMIW, the two friends talk about breakups and what Kumail said was that relationships never fail -- some just come to an end.  Think of it like school:  this semester, I'm taking Spanish I but maybe I don't go on to take Spanish II.  And that's OK.  Maybe I do go on to take Spanish II.  That's OK, too.  Sometimes you've learned all you can on a subject and you need to move on and sometimes you're really enjoying it and want to dive even deeper.  Sometimes you're taking a subject because you feel obligated and sometimes you keep taking it because it never occurred to you that you could just stop. 

When I heard Kumail and Pete have this conversation, it was like a lifesaver being thrown out to me as I struggled to stay afloat.  It was late winter/early spring 2015 and I was still reeling from my breakup with Tom, feeling a lot of guilt and shame for "failing" at my relationship with him.  I can't tell you how many times he said to me, "You'll be in my life forever.  I will love you forever" -- or how many times I had said that to him.  I can't speak for him, but I felt it in my bones, too.  Tom was a kindred spirit, a soulmate, a pure form of love, however oddly it might be defined.  So for him to slam the door so conclusively in my face -- and for my response to be to deadbolt all the locks in return -- pushed me into a tailspin.  How could this sure-thing, "forever" relationship have ended so miserably?  I thought it was my fault -- I thought I hadn't tried hard enough or done the right things -- and Tom blamed me for so many of our problems, as if they were solely mine, and I was totally worn down from it.  Now it's three years in the future and I have had time to process and can see far more clearly the role his drinking played in our relationship and it's eventual demise.  I can better see the gas-lighting and game playing that went on.  I can see how I matured and changed while he stagnated and stubbornly clung to his personas that had made him "popular."  It's like we were both in Spanish III, but he still brought his Spanish I notebook with him to class and traced over everything in it while the rest of us learned something new.  It can be scary to change and grow, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally...  It can be unnerving to display that vulnerability where you don't already know all the answers.  

There were lots of paths and reasons and ah-ha moments were I could articulate how and why Tom and my "forever" relationship proved less-than, but I think it was me wanting to keep going with my life and my growth and him being afraid to do the same thing that lead to a lot of our disagreements and misunderstandings about our relationship.  

But it took actually getting out of the relationship to see how emotionally abusive, controlling, and degrading it was for me.  I had no idea how dependent I was on him and his approval until I broke out of that mold and had to fend for myself.  But realizing those things was a big step for me and I've put in a lot of time understanding who I was in that era with Tom and who I was coming out of it.  It's a long and tedious process when you've been in an abusive relationship for as long as I was, but I hope the work I'm putting in is showing.  And on the days I feel weak about how things ended with him, on the days I feel like I shoulda-coulda-woulda, I hear Kumail's voice in my head, reminding me that relationships don't fail -- they come to an end sometimes and that's totally normal and nobody's fault.

So that's where I am on the relationship front right now -- rebuilding my self-esteem in order to be a good partner for someone else.  Exciting sex talk, eh??

I've never really been a huge believer in the fairy tale of love and finding "the one."  I mean, my parents had a good marriage, as far as I know, but my dad got cancer and died when I was six and my mom never remarried, so that's my example:  even if it's good, one of you might die.  So what's the point?  Earlier in my life, I was certainly open to love, despite this fatalistic view.  I can't tell you how many crushes I had in my K-12 educational years.  Countless.  I could juggle multiple crushes at once.  But I never really dated until college and even then, not a ton -- just two guys, really, of note -- and they came back to back in my junior and senior year.  I dated someone almost right away when I moved to Boston but after my year with him, there wasn't anyone serious for a long time, besides a long-distance thing that, in retrospect, might have been more me than him.  I was in my 20's, though, and having fun.  I met Tom when I was 26 -- which means I also met Chris when I was 26 -- and the two of them occupied my heartstrings for many years, manipulating them, teasing them, tangling them.  With Chris, I wanted very concrete things:  a romantic relationship, a sex life, a public declaration that we were together.  But that never quite worked out.  And then, as the story goes, when I got out of that mess, my hell years with Tom got underway.  Throughout all that time, the frequency of my dating life outside of either of them dwindled to nothing, air supply choked off.

Scintillating conversation, no?

To say I've been unlucky in love would be both true and false.  I haven't had a great time with this aspect of life -- and it can be so frustrating to see how easily it appears to happen for others -- but I think my own mindset of "partnership isn't my #1 Goal in life" plays heavily into what chances I've been willing to take along the way.  I'm a big believer that things happen how they should, so I try to be patient with it all and wait for it to play out.  Will I ever find great love from a committed partner?  I have no idea.  But I'd like that, so let's hope for it, shall we?  If it never happens, that's OK, too.  

So that's the sex talk, folks.  Tomorrow, it'll be Topic #3:  god.  Let's get into it...

Inspired by: The "sex" portion of You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28th: Comedy (Which, for Me Means 'Writing')

I wanted to do a little homage to my favorite podcast You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes here in the last few days of my Inspired in 2017 blog.  Because if there was one huge external inspiration in my life over the last few years, it's been Pete and his silly-serious-supernatural-super necessary conversations with his guests that, over time, morphed into three main topics:  Comedy, Sex, and God.  For many of the 400-ish episodes, Pete corrals his conversations into these spaces, for awhile declaring them official -- like, "This is the comedy part, now let's talk about relationships, and now let's talk about the meaning of life."  But as his relationship with his now-wife Valerie unfolded, Pete's strict hold on his loose format eased up so while he almost always "ends with god" (as he says), he's less likely to start anywhere in particular, though he does usually talk about career-stuff, and almost never talks about relationship stuff anymore, which is a bummer because that was always my favorite part.  But, nevertheless, YMIW is a podcast that I stumbled upon when I really needed it in my life and I am forever thankful for the many hours I spent in Pete's world and continue to spend every Wednesday when a new episode comes out.

So now, without further adieu, this is what I have to say about "comedy" (aka the art that brought me to this moment):

I can't remember a time when I wasn't a writer.  Even as a very small child, I used to make up elaborate stories that went along with the picture books we had -- or sometimes even books that had stories with them.  I'd just imagine and imagine and imagine what the characters were doing and saying and why.  I had a host of figurines I used to tote around with me who had complicated soap-opera-esque dramas and families and backstories.  As soon as I could write, I tried my hand at transporting some of those fantastical tales from my brain onto the page and from a very early age, maybe eight or nine, I started writing short stories as presents for people.  I'd make them characters or write about something related to them.  In middle school, I assumed the persona of a fortune teller and write out long, detailed fortunes for my friends, "predicting their futures."  I wonder if any of them still have them....  I just did it for fun and got a lot of requests for the fortunes in particular.  Writing short stories came naturally for me and so I'd dash off one or two a week and present them to people, whether they wanted one or not.  

And when I learned about poetry,  I started writing that, too.

But fiction was my jam, it was my zone, it was my happy place.  I wrote very surreal things and very practical things and funny things and serious things.  I'd try to write scary things, but those were hard.  I just loved writing and so I did it all the time.  Many of my English teachers encouraged me in my craft, too, so I was even further motivated to create and create.

When I went to college at Kent State, I thought I'd major in Journalism because it was a field for writers.  In my very first class, though, the professor told us we didn't need a college degree to get a job writing for a newspaper and then proceeded to strip away all the things I liked about writing, like, ya know, adjectives, creativity, suspense.  We were being taught to write facts-only, dry this-happened-then-that-happened copy and I thought to myself, "This isn't the type of writing for me."  So I switched my major to English so I could read and write things that would nourish my creative gut.  I even ended up doing a writing minor and writing an Honors College thesis that was all short stories based on Counting Crows songs.  And you may think that sounds corny, but I am very proud of those stories -- pick up a copy of Black Ohio Skies and check 'em out.

And when I graduated from Kent, I went to Emerson College to get an MFA in Creative Writing.  I chose this route for a few reasons:

1.  It got me out of Ohio.
2.  It brought me to a great city (Boston).
3.  It put me in a spot to be surrounded by other writing nerds like myself -- community!!

I loved my time at Emerson and got to dive deep in the writers' world there.  I still swap poems with my friend grad school friend Max to this day.  After graduation, though, many of those friends scattered to the winds, but I decided to hold steady in Boston as I moved on to make friends with a whole new group of people deeply involved in the music scene.  Now, that was a whole new brand of art and many of the cats I met were also supportive of my writing and so I continued on with my writing, though I shifted more to poetry and less short stories/nonfiction stuff over time.  

Eventually, I realized I was barely writing at all -- and I was going through a really awful breakup, so I decided to recommit myself to my creativity and started a New Year's Resolution to write every single day.  That promise to myself to kickstart my writing again has turned into a yearly project -- about to start Year #8 -- which has helped me reconnect with my passion for writing while also getting friends and family involved, both as readers and participators in what I'm writing about each day.  But my writing has also helped evolve me by helping me understand my feelings or see where I need to do some work for personal growth.  It's become an essential part of my identity once more -- this need to write and create and share with others. I plan to keep on goin' with alla this as long as I possibly can.  Who knows where it will evolve next??

So that's comedy/aka my craft in a nutshell.  If I had three hours to talk to Pete, we'd go into more detail, but this is what you get for now.  

Check back tomorrow for YMIW Topic #2:  Sex/aka Relationships.  Should be good.

Inspired by: the "comedy" section of You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 27th: The Heart of the Matter

"Pay attention to what angers you.
Question if what's setting you off is really at the heart of it or a decoy.
Be patient and thorough."
~ Emily Gordon

If there is one thing this life has taught me over and over again, it's how readily we, as human beings, desire to point the finger of blame at anyone but ourselves.  It's never our fault.  It's never a result of our actions or behaviors.  It's never us, it's always them and boy is it unfair.  

Here's a truth bomb, y'all:  sometimes it is your fault.  Sometimes you are to blame.  That has nothing to do with fair or unfair but simple cause and effect.  

The other day, a friend of mine was telling me about an intense family drama that got sparked because she saw her boyfriend's brother's new fiancee at a gym class and didn't really have time to say hello.  Well, that set off a chain reaction that, at last update, had family members disinviting each other to Christmas events and sending choicely worded emails to everyone.  "All I did was unintentionally snub the girl," my friend said with a pained smile.  "I had no idea it would cause all of this."

Reactions to other's behavior, though, is really the cornerstone of our humanity.  Some days, I'm super tired and can't really appreciate the shenanigans of the world -- other days I not only find them delightful, I yes, and them.  Catch me in the right mood and I will interpret this interaction one way -- catch me in an insecure or sleepy or grouchy mood, and I will interpret it completely differently.  And sometimes, yes, I fly off the handle, just like anyone else does.  But I love Emily Gordon's advice because it asks you to take a beat and think about how you feel.  If there's been a theme in my blog this year, I'd say this is a strong contender.  When you understand why you feel a certain way, it will help you move forward with a relationship or a decision or making amends with a circumstance gone awry.  When you spend time doing this internally, it strengthens you in ways that better prepare you for when others snap at you in ways that feel unfair.  It gives you the tools to look at their reaction (or overreaction) and understand better where they're coming from.  In all of the challenging relationships I have had in my life -- be they deeply entrenched like my relationship with Tom or a blip on the radar like a customer service issue -- when I am at my best, I am able to examine a person's aggressive response (be it passive or not) and understand where their insecurities or misunderstanding might be and so I can return with something compassionate or clarifying.  When I'm not at my best, I feel just as wounded as they do and so my response is a ping pong of oops-I-shouldn't-have-said-that.  I stick with it until I understand it the best I can.  It's how I find forgiveness and comprehension for people in my life like Tom who have treated me in inhumane ways.  I don't like it -- but I do understand it.  And that's how I can be productive with my choices as I decide if and when and how to interact with those negative influences in my life.  It's like the Counting Crows song says:  "Get to the heart of the matter -- it's the heart that matters most."  Dig in and see what you find.

Anger is a hard one to process.  It's a hard one to deal with.  And it's very hard to keep your composure and not mirror anger back when it's directed at you.  But try your best to take a beat before lashing out.  Try your best to count to ten and respond with love.  Nothing diffuses anger or tension more readily than unexpected calm, so do your best to rise above the negative trigger words and ask yourself instead why those words upset you in the first place.  That's where you begin again.

Inspired by: Emily Gordon

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26th: I Think A Lot About Memories

"There's no such thing as a long time ago.
There's just memories that mean something
and memories that don't."
~ This is Us

I think a lot
about memories
and why some stand
out in great clarity
while others vanish
all together and what
I have learned 
by looking at that
trend in my life
is the moments 
that matter -- the ones
that taught a lesson
or changed a perception --
those ring clear
as a bell.  So maybe
I remember all that
will keep me
from repeating mistakes
or aid me in completing
a task -- that memories
are stories that stand in
like super heroes, ready
to save me from stumbles
of the literal and figurative kind.
It's the way I keep myself
afloat in good times the same
as bad, a way to set pace
with this road I am on.
Where are the red flags,
where are the call backs,
where are the plaques
commemorating the remember-
when's?  Where am I
reflected most fairly --
it's there that I start 
my quest to understand
this life as it unfolds,
random in its entirety
until my memories and I
can give it shape and meaning --

Inspired by: This is Us

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25th: Merry Christmas

Sleepy-eyed wonder
draws you from bed
as you patter your way
to the glow of the tree,
lit with delicate white lights
shining against red bulbs
and plastic reindeer,
snowmen hanging
by gold string.
Tomorrow this will all
be a dream
but for now, it's the only
truth you know:
presents are piled
and coffee is poured
while cinnamon buns
rise in the oven
while the children wriggle
like puppies, ready to rip
into the ribbons tying
all of this together,
this split second
before chaos ensues,
this peace on earth
that cozies you in --

Inspired by: Christmas morning