I started writing something about the new year and then just deleted it because in all honesty, I’m not very inspired right now. I hate writing when I am uninspired, and I even dislike reading any of my previous entries on this blog when I am feeling this way. I was so excited about the new decade we were entering last year, but after the year actually commenced, I am so uncertain as to what to expect anymore.
Anyway, I was looking back on the year in my photos and videos and put together a little collage of the things I liked best about the year. That’s about as creative as I can be right now, so for the time being, I’ll just continue to enjoy all of your creativity.
In any case, happy new year my friends.
If I could write to you of sorrow, if I could explain this devastation,
I’d use words like utterly, and calamity, and grief.
But the words refuse my bidding, choosing to cloak themselves in darkness and half formed thoughts instead.
They shuffle off their course like drunken sailors, lose their way somewhere between half-hearted and dejected.
With quivering chins and sagging limbs, I’ve not the strength to make them dance
to fool a broken heart into being
prettier than it ever is.
One of the most beautiful and relevant poems I have read.
For the woman gangraped by the tribe of Benjamin.
Silent you were. You were
silenced. Not a word given you
in the whole merciless narrative.
Not a movement credited you
except one: prelude to the tale,
you returned to your father’s house
for four months. And one more
movement: footnote at the end,
you reach forward a hand.
Between that you are moved
as a pawn by primary players.
Nameless you are. You were
unnamed, called “concubine” and
“slave-woman” . Your “master”
was honoured as a “son-in-law”
yet you were no wife.
The whole story you travel between and with
the men meant to protect you. Father. Master (husband). Host.
They brutally betray you.
Father and son-in-law dine nightly
feast again and again, the two of them
then he takes you and “his other servant”
departs. Arrive in Gibeah.
Dialogue between master and servant.
Dialogue between master…
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I awake this morning feeling nothing out of the ordinary except for the stream of messages pinging on my phone. They are sweet and warm my heart like no other. Birthdays are a way to remind people in your life that they do, indeed, love you. Anyway, here’s a note I wrote in my phone several years ago and still continue to feel this way about December.
What is it about December that makes it such an enchanting time of the year? Perhaps it’s the promise of joy, and snow, and cozy nights by the fire sipping decadent hot chocolate out of your favorite orange mug. Maybe it is the promise of stolen kisses under fragrant boughs of holly, or the excitement of bulging stockings hung in a haphazard row on the fireplace mantle. Whatever the case, December allows for young and old children alike to bring out their inner sparkle and bathe in the golden glow of love, and good, and kindness. Although I must admit that I may be a little biased considering that December also happens to be my birthday month 👸🏻✨🌨🎄🌬✨❄️
A trellis of verdant roses
up the knobby ridges of my spine
Clinging fast to empty spaces
where the heart’s grandeur, like brilliant stars, would shine
Every night I traverse this Rorschach devastation
To die of grief in the light of day
Leaving fodder for the wild roses
plucked at will by all who pass this way
*One of my favorite poets is Robert Frost, and to this day I still love to recite his Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening poem every time we get the first snow of the winter. I was reading his Desert Places poem and was inspired to write something similar to his style of poetry (even though I actually dislike rhyming poems if they’re written by anyone other than Robert Frost.) I drew on my own experiences for this poem, as I’m sure Robert drew on his for his poems.
I haven’t checked in in a while and I’ve missed you. I’ve had multiple people reach out to me and ask how I am doing since I have been very touch and go with my online presence lately and I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me.
There are so many things I miss now that the pandemic has robbed me of them. Little, odd things, like the Northwest Sound Men’s choir who rented out space at the place I work to be able to gather and rehearse every Wednesday evening. I miss shutting down my office at the end of the work day and hearing them practice their songs in perfect and jovial harmony down the hall. I miss putting together my powerpoint presentations for people who would pass by and stop for a few minutes, attention snagged, to view them. Something about knowing that people are going to be present to appreciate your work makes it so fulfilling.
I could go on and on, and so could you because we have all lost something. There are days that are incredibly rough still, and others where I feel that I have made so much progress and growth as a person. Recently, I had to have a tough conversation with someone where I had to lay down my boundaries. Always such a pleasant conversation, sigh. But I resolved to myself to be fully present and not give an inch even in the inevitable face of their hurt feelings/pride. It’s always that much more tough when the offending party encroaches on your boundaries and into your personal space from a place of overeagerness and wanting to insert themselves into spaces in your life that you never asked them to. Giving advice that was never sought after, sharing too much personal information out of nowhere, unburdening themselves to you without asking if you’re even okay with it. Finally I had to tell them they were making me uncomfortable. I wrestled with all of the feelings that came along with the whole scenario, but the relief in my soul was absolutely worth it in the end. The art of saying no to people, not maliciously, but out of self care, is a powerful tool in our arsenal. Sometimes it takes years of courage to learn how to wield it properly.
There are moments that I cherish that are made even brighter in the face of all the tragedies that keep unfolding on the world stage. One of my best friends at work sent me and our other best friend (yep, at work) a Charlie’s Angels mug as a celebration of our friendship. That made our day. It’s gestures like these that keep me going when I just want to lay down and give up sometimes.
Not all has been difficult and I would be remiss if I weren’t going to touch on the parts that remain shiny, faceted gems in the caverns of my mind. Before the pandemic hit us in full force, the start of this year brought with it unexpected adventures and little surprises that were cool to experience. The University of Washington had found my blog and contacted me to see if they could interview me about it. I had agreed, of course, and had a lovely interview at a coffee shop on a rainy, February evening. I had also auditioned for and won a part in a show that I flew out to California to film. (Don’t ask what show, I will never reveal it 😉) I was also scheduled to go on a vacation to Scotland in May, but that’s when all the borders had shut down and I was never able to go. But sometimes, just remembering the track record of neat things I was on the path of experiencing this year helps me to get through the parts that are lonely and remind me of how fragile we are.
Anyway, with all of that being said, I’m going to have to wind down and head out for my massage but I can’t help but be wildly curious to know what things have you unexpectedly missed during this pandemic that you never thought you might miss? What has been helping you to stay sane and grounded when it seems that all else keeps failing?
Is this who we are, then,
choreographed echoes of moments
long since faded,
like the photographs in the stack of
albums hidden in the bottom drawer
of the china cupboard,
where we still remembered how to smile
in the way only a child can.
Before disappointment came and
leached the glittering hues of innocence
from the years wrought with failing
and flying, and the terrible sepia
that stole in with the loss of childhood.
A chorus of repetition greets the day,
where mimicry is mistaken for flattery
and empty words fall like spent
bullet casings. I string them together
and loop them around my neck,
try to remember how it felt to embrace
a kaleidoscope of living color.