June 17, 2014
Life kind of lines up in these series of grids and lines and sections. The sections overlap and associate with each other, but everything you take into that new phase has changed. Colors and sounds change and grow and shift. Every time I move into a new section I feel it very keenly. Sometimes it feels good even if it’s hard, and sometimes it just feels very bad.
Right now it feels like I’m on the edge of something. I can feel that this time is very important and that I should take it very seriously, though I should never forget how to laugh, how to smile so wide your cheeks hurt. Time is teaching me how little I know about myself, about others, about the world, and time is making me want to discover and unearth those truths that lie all around and within and without.
To love with arms wide open, fists unclenched.
To value all life.
To listen so deeply that I hear things I’ve never heard before.
To understand my own heart, to listen to it and not be ruled by it.
I can’t say all the things I want to understand and want to know, there are so many. I am learning what to think about most everything and I want the ability to care about the process but not be consumed by it. I want to love differently than most of the love I see around me. I want to understand better what it actually means to go through life with someone else. How do you do that? How do you love, how do you let go? How do you understand another person as deeply as you possibly can and not corrupt or mangle them with how much you don’t understand them?
How not to be ruled by fear of making mistakes.
I guess you just go for it, asking and listening as much as you can.
April 25, 2014
Today I realized that all the time I spend worrying about becoming someone I don’t want to be or making the same mistakes my parents did is just making that person I don’t want to be. Someone who is so caught up in making the future absolutely perfect that they don’t enjoy what’s happening right now. They miss the moments completely because that’s not what they’re living for. They’re worried about tomorrow and the next day.
Most of the time when I start a sentence out with, “I was watching ‘The Office’…” people just groan. But I was watching The Office, and in the finale, Andy says, “I wish there was a way to know when you’re in ‘the good ol’ days’ before you leave them.” I heard another person say something similar recently, something to the effect that she didn’t know she was happy until she didn’t have those people in her life anymore, or that job. I’m not sure I want to feel like there is a specific time in my life that was better than the others. It’s mostly all been hard, because the people I want to be closest to more than anything, I can’t. And that’s all just cause relationship are messed up and crazy.
I just don’t want to feel like I’m comparing all the parts of my life with each other. I have changed so much, and it doesn’t seem fair to do that. There has been good and bad, old friends and new friends, new places, new songs, new words to say, new feelings. I don’t want to be afraid of losing what I have, because I know that I will lose it. I don’t want to be afraid of missing out on the good ol’ days, of not knowing that I’m even in them, because so much of life is good and rich, even though it changes and moves on. I don’t want to sit around trying to label the way life moves and affects me. Because once I start doing that, I’ll forget about the things that actually matter, and I feel like all of the things that matter most to me are hard to label anyways, because they’re much bigger and better than me.
March 15, 2014
Today, I found out that a friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. She was 52 and she had a heart attack and she meant a lot to me. I used to give her a hard time about not watering the plants on her desk, so I would water them for her. At that time in my life, I hadn’t met a lot of people like her. She was really interested in culture, music and literature and I was always really thankful for that. I grew up in a place where people did not really want to learn a lot of new things. Sonia wanted to learn new things and she wanted to talk about them.
One time, she asked me what I was listening to on my iPod, and I was listening to a song by Sufjan Stevens called ‘Casimir Pulaski Day’. It’s a song about a friend of his that died from cancer, someone he loved very deeply. I gave Sonia my iPod and she listened to the song and brought it back to me later. One thing stuck out in her mind from that song, and it was the line “and he takes, and he takes, and he takes.” and she said “He repeats that three times, why is that?”. I said, “Maybe because it just hurt too much. He gives and takes away, but in that moment he was just taking and it hurt a lot.”
I remember when I first read John Steinbeck’s ‘East of Eden’, I thought the whole time, Sonia needs to read this, she’ll understand it. She would be able to understand the ache, the longing, the glory. She read it, but I had already gone back to school and so she wrote me and said we needed to talk about it and I couldn’t wait to see her again and talk about it, but I never saw her again.
It feels like her life was not finished and this shouldn’t have happened. I’ve found myself thinking all day about where she is right now, what she’s seeing and what it feels like wherever she is. I hate wondering where she is or if I’ll ever see her again.
February 13, 2014
Today, I cried in my car. It was the kind of crying that is a relief. You surrender to something in the crying. You let go, you’re a little bit sad, but you’re also just really happy, and it’s simple and it just happens and you’ve realized something you never knew. The good things of life overwhelmed me, and I was happy to be overwhelmed.
I remember riding through that tall golden grass in the autumn at sunset. I was riding a chestnut horse as red as mars, the sun made everything be on fire, and nothing was more beautiful than that moment. I was alive and I felt every movement, and he started up in a trot because he could feel my excitement, he could smell the sharpness in the air and it was good.
Or when I was coming home real late from the opera, I was on that road, the one that follows the lake for about 10 miles, it hugs all the curves of the edges of the water, and the moon was glowing so big and soft, and Sam Beam was the theme of my summer, he sang so softly, so sweetly, about some woman who he had loved deeply, how she saw him exactly how he needed, he sang about the rain too and the song settled me in for the drive home.
That fight with Mom & Dad. In that moment, there was nothing more important than to be heard, to be understood. To feel like someone knew me deeply. I couldn’t have it. So I ran outside and stood at the river and cried, all angry and frustrated. That kind of crying hurts pretty badly, it feels unnatural, it feels wrong, it feels like one of those bad dreams, the unfair ones, and you can’t do anything about it. In those kinds of dreams, you feel the sense that you’re laying there asleep and helpless, within the dream, and it’s terrible. You can’t make yourself wake up and make everything be Okay. It’s just wrong and it will always be.
That time I stayed up all night talking to the first boy I ever loved. I remember knowing it was 2am and thinking Gosh, I better get off the phone, but then I forgot all about everything until I realized it was almost 5am and now I heard Dad stirring downstairs, waking up, getting ready for work. It was then that I felt exhilaration, a little bit crazy, and definitely in love. It was the first time I had stayed up all night talking to someone, and I didn’t want it to end either. We were just kids, but I think about it sometimes, and I remember that he’s why I love a lot of the things that are in my life today.
So today, it was this family, this family that just snuck their way into my life through piano lessons. Week after week, it’s the smiles from the kids, their precious hugs, and this morning, it was how many times I heard them saying “I love you!” – even the youngest, sweet little El. They’re some of the most honest children I know. They look at me and I feel like they understand more than I do, maybe more than they should. They do that thing that kids do when they trust you. You’re having a conversation with someone and they stand in front of you, their back to you, leaning against you and they play with your hands, or just stand there holding your arms or something. You know that everything belongs and that you are needed. It’s moments like those that all of the good things and all of the bad things in life come together and form something new that’s set apart. Maybe it’s the lack of extreme feelings that makes it so special. It’s just that you feel calm and warm, like any other magical summer day.
January 29, 2014
I walked over to the piano to straighten the books and the loose sheet music scattered around like I’m the brilliant composer I’m not. It was really just an excuse to get closer to the frame and read those words again. The ones that came not a moment too soon or too late, that shoved me into the present like someone shoving you forward in a line after you’ve been day dreaming.
The first time I read them some sort of feeling welled up inside me. It wasn’t love or hope or excitement. Maybe it was just that I felt beautiful. I hadn’t felt that way in a long time. I mean, deeply beautiful. Like I was radiant, and I glowed from some place deep that not a lot of people can get to.
When I woke up and read them again, I glowed again. And that feeling came back. One time, long ago, those words meant something different than they do now. Maybe if I had read them then, I would have awkwardly blushed, said the wrong thing, oh, but I don’t feel the same about you. I would have felt things were wrong and frustrated, I might have cried a little.
Not now. Because now they have come when I am not the same person I was then. They came when I needed to remember what life is. This crazy thing where most things don’t happen when they should, where the lines cross and tangle and make embarrassing messes of themselves and we sometimes find ourselves backed into dark corners. But then once in a while the lines cross right when they’re supposed to, right where they needed to, just like in Eden before she ate the apple.
Then we can walk boldly out into the world, our faces turned towards the wide expanse of everything alive and real and glowing.
January 18, 2014
I’m reading a book about these Norwegians that come to America and settle out west. It’s wild and unnerving, a little like Brideshead Revisited but I keep reading because it’s real and sharp, like cold wind in the winter.
For the first time, January has not trudged on, endless and hollow. It has made me feel like I am in some sort of vortex and time is being sucked up somewhere I can never get at it. Too fast and wildly unhinged, but there are good things in every corner.
I didn’t think I would be the person who hasn’t met someone yet. I didn’t think I would be unprepared or floundering, reaching around in the dark, a little confused, unsure, trying to find the light switch. I didn’t know that most of life is the deep dive Paul talked about last night, 70 feet down into that cave – it’s such a risk, such a wild beautiful stupid risk, holding your breath longer than you ever thought you possibly could, the terror and fear gripping your throat so that you couldn’t speak even if you wished. But then the rush of gasping air and the warm sun full in your face and eyes and you know that it’s worth it all for the unexpected moments of glory.
January is unexpected glory.
January 9, 2014
I woke up to the sun slowly climbing the window facing east, bold, but gentle, just like how I want to be when I grow up. Faithful, entirely belonging, unafraid.
When I look at my life so far, it is overflowing and overflowing. A million things that have happened and scarred and healed and really are deeply beautiful. Now and again, I forget and I make things complicated. But it’s simple really, I remember the details of my life, but mostly, it blurs together into something more and more precious every day.
Life before college was longing and contentment. Life after is the same, new flavors new colors new names.
December 12, 2013
A post from three years ago I never finished or just decided to never blog.
The days fly by without so much a sound. I remember long, lazy nights before this, kayaking or fishing with Mother & Dad, going for a run, early morning walks to the bus stop and the scent of summer, the stillness of the air, the rush of the under-current. I don’t feel any different now, I feel it’s all still there, waiting for me to come back and be doing those things again, like that was what was normal, school and happenings are not. Like my life is just on pause. I don’t feel disconnected from it, just temporarily kept from it all. That was who I was and what I did for three years without respite.
I think sometimes I miss the solitude, the quietness of life in my town. The stillness. The waiting for something to happen, longing for it, and then almost being glad when it didn’t happen. I’m twenty-three now. I don’t feel any different than I did when I was twenty-two. Time goes by so fast. Soon I will be old, needing care and rest.
I sometimes wonder what you’re doing these days
Then I wake up and I don’t want the same things.
September 23, 2012
It hit me when I was waiting for my flight to LaGuardia. What the heck are you doing? So I told myself to stop trying to figure out the reasons why I was doing it and then I turned on my iPod and listened to The National.
But as I hopped in the taxi to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I kept coming back to it. Two and a half weeks ago, I had purchased a really expensive plane ticket, I was skipping classes, going to Brooklyn for the weekend by myself and all to see an almost five hour long minimalistic opera, with no plot and no intermission.
Einstein on the Beach is an epic masterpiece. I have been obsessed with the opera for the past couple of years, so when I bought the tickets, it seemed reasonable, it seemed right. The concept of a unique, entirely new musical experience was attractive to me. As I’ve been researching the opera the past month, in preparation for writing my Senior music paper, it has been fascinating to read reviews, to see how people have interpreted the opera and the symbolism or meaning behind it. On the train ride back, my fellow passengers all carried programs from the show and discussed the deep, philosophical implications of the many portrayals of Einstein, the symbolism behind the train, the spaceship, the trial, the bed. The reviews I’ve read prepared me for the starkness and mechanical nature of the choreography. Those reviews prepared me to think that maybe this wouldn’t be my jam, but that it’s interesting nonetheless. The books I read let me into the minds of Glass and Wilson a little bit. I could see that they were brilliant artists, offering up Einstein as this postmodern epic, turning the innocent theatre-goers expectations upside down.
Somehow, all that seems valid, thought-provoking, interesting, even true. But Einstein meant more to me than any classic or modern opera I have ever seen. Maybe it’s because as I watched Helga Davis and Kate Moran deliver their exact, precise and intricate choreography, I was mesmerized by their ability, their skill, or maybe it was watching a blindingly bright bar of light slowly rotate 90 degrees and descend into the heavens while a soprano soloist sang a haunting, slow, mournful aria. It could easily have been the famous “Two Lovers on a Park Bench” speech, originally written by Samuel Johnson. I don’t think there were many dry eyes.
But truly, as the four and a half hours flew by, I couldn’t help but think that if I only searched for answers to deep questions, I would be missing out on something. Einstein was magical. It was the most unique musical experience I have ever had. I knew that I would probably never see anything like it again, and that I most likely would never see Einstein again. The experience was more to me than promptly buying another ticket, and here’s why.
Sometimes, we do things, listen to music, watch movies, several times over, just because we can. But sometimes I think that the more familiar something is, the less likely we are to appreciate it or value it in the ways we ought to. When you only have one chance, you’ll treat that one chance differently than if you had multiple chances.
What I took away from Einstein was the moment of a completely new experience, one that I will never forget. I saw and heard for the first time and treasured every minute of it. The movements the reviewers said were mechanical and robotic were so free and delicate, so beautiful. Everything was what I knew it was going to be, but meant so much more than I thought it was going to mean.
I left BAM thankful beyond measure for such an experience, thankful that I could share it with the people at BAM, and most importantly, remembering Professor Morty’s advice before I went to NY. “Submit to the art.” Because these are the days my friend, and these – these are the days, my friends.
October 17, 2011
an old post I found from February 10th that I never blogged.
Two-hour delay this morning. I wanted the extra time to sleep, but find that now that I have it, sleep is the furthest thing from my mind. I thought about the tendons and muscles in my hands and I held them up to the dim light coming in through the window. What a piece of work, how intricate, how fearfully and thoughtfully made.
I thought about the summer. Gliding through the inlet in my kayak. Tall grass and plants, undergrowth all around me, the inlet widens and I float underneath a fallen tree and into the wide, blue expanse of lake, the sun beating down. I close my eyes, put my feet out on top of the kayak and feel the warm sun, just floating, the rocking motion of the water puts me to sleep.
I thought about riding. The smell of the earth, the sky, and horse. It’s dirt, fresh cut grass, hay, leather, and the bitter, faint taste of fly spray. The sun warms you and you feel the movement and just ride, carried away by powerful strides and the slightest touch, the lightest pressure of your leg, the horse listens and responds, ears twitch back, listening.
Main street, the park, fourth of July, Flicka, her soft looks and warm eyes. Walking up to the cemetery and laying in the grass under the tree, escaping the heat of July. Those big bales of hay that you can lay on top of and get lost in the sky, the blue, true, dream of sky. Sitting on the front stoop, Flicka next to me, waiting for Mother and Dad to get home, the stone steps warmed by the sun, the aviary of birds around me, the little garter snakes, lazily sunning themselves on the sidewalk and Dad’s flowers, tall and brilliant, line the sidewalk, singing up to the sun.