The Blooming Heather

The first time that my parents visited Scotland, they brought me home a necklace. It is a very special kind of necklace. It’s called a heather gem. It is made from heather, that beautiful, purple plant that grows all over in that magical part of the world, and as such, each piece of jewelry is completely unique and individual.

all gems.jpgI was 14 years old.

It also happened that at that time in my life I was also in a very, very dark place. It was the first time I can remember feeling completely and utterly broken.

To make a long story short, my best friend decided one day that I wasn’t worth it. One day she was my best friend in the world. More of a sister to me than my own sisters. Closer to me than anybody in the world. In a way, she was my entire life. And then very quickly it was over. She was gone.

The story is long and not very complicated, but honestly, it was just hard. Plain and simple, it was so hard. I had to rethink my whole life in so many ways. We had been friends for so long and our lives were so tied together that I didn’t really know how to exist without her. To add to it, I didn’t really get any explanation. I didn’t get any discussion. She just turned off.

I remember my parents taking this trip to Scotland, and how excited our whole family was. Many of you will remember that my family is Scottish. It is something we’re very proud of. So when my parents finally took this trip, it was almost like the completion of something for our entire family. Even though we didn’t all get to go, we were all so happy about it.

I remember holding the necklace in it’s purple and white box. I looked at the shiny stone that had once been a plant. It was beautiful.

I wore that necklace every single day for years. It came to symbolize a lot of things for me. Mostly it helped me remember that I was more than the black moments. It helped me remember that there is something inside me that reaches further back and further forward than so many shattered pieces. It helped me remember every day that I didn’t need to be a different version of myself than I was. I only had to be me. And that was enough. heather in highlands

Years later, I got the amazing opportunity to visit England. Sadly, I wasn’t able to go to Scotland on my visit. But it was beautiful. If it were a poem, I’d say that my soul recognized the land.

And for some reason, I’ve had all of these thoughts on my mind tonight. I remembered the first time I learned what it feels like to be completely broken by the one person you thought you could trust. I remembered when I first got that necklace and the way it was somehow able to bring me back to life with all it symbolized.

Even though that time in my life was hard, I honestly don’t remember much of the hurt.

I just remember this incredible feeling of emerging. Of becoming somebody I could be proud of. I found dreams and let myself bask in the hope of them. I think that was the moment when I really started to become who I truly am.

And it was beautiful.

 

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Religion, Macklemore, & Wine

Today I did something completely insane.

I scrolled all the way to the end of my blog. All the way to the very first post. Published on November 12, 2013, and titled “Fear No More” this post was about how it’s okay to love Shakespeare. To embrace the wonderful things he gave us and not shy away from his work, even in this day and age.

shakespeare loveWhy did I do this, you may ask?

Because I have been thinking about this blog incessantly lately. If I posted for the very first time in November of 2013, that means that we hit our five year anniversary this year.

What?

And I’ll be the very first to say it: this blog has been through SO many ups and downs. One of the great things about reaching my very first post, which took a lot longer than I’ll here record, is that I got to see how I’ve evolved in my writing in the last four and a half years. I got to see the things that I used to blog about. The things that used to excite me.

I used to be a very exuberant writer.

The number of exclamation marks. The language. Oh, glory. What a ride we’ve been through to develop the writing style that I know pose on this blog of mine. If you think it’s a little crazy now, scroll back a few years. I dare you.

My blog has been struggling recently.

I won’t deny that. In fact, I’ll be even more honest and admit that my blog has been dead for about a year now. I have blogging friends that I haven’t heard from in a million years. Do you suppose they’re still alive? hello neon

The reasons behind the death of the vitality of my blog are probably many and various, and to be honest I’m not sure if this post is the correct way to go about fixing it. I’ve admitted before how dead this blog has been for a while, and none of that seemed to do much.

Not that I’m complaining.

I love blogging and I always have. My blog has often been a great place for me to go to in order to create and express myself. It’s been invaluable to me for so many reasons.

When I first started blogging, one thing that I loved to do was write posts about specific things about myself. I’d tell people fun facts about me, or overall just try to be funny, in order to attract more followers and feel a little bit more validated.

So I thought I’d do that again today. Just for old time’s sake.

  1. I love God. I love Him so much. It’s not enough to say that my religion is important to me. It’s everything to me. It influences most of my decisions, if not all. My relationship with God is central to my life. I’d be completely lost without it. I love it that I know He is always there. That He loves me unconditionally and knows me perfectly. There is no greater comfort than that. I know that He has a plan for my life. And when I am following Him and doing the things I know I need to be doing to very best of my abilities, there is such a safety and comfort to life. God is so good. He is so, so good.
  2. I am a huge Macklemore fan. I am. Most people would never, ever guess that about geminime in a million years. But Macklemore is one of my most favorite people who has ever lived on this planet. I not only love his music, but I think he’s a great person. If you don’t follow him on Instagram, you should. It’s a treat. I love Macklemore.
  3. I love wine. I have never had wine. In fact, I’ve never drunk at all. No joke. Not a lie. 100% honesty. For religious reasons, I have never drank and I never will. It’s a belief that I hold very close to me, no matter how ridiculous it might sound to the outside world. But all of that being said, you will have a very hard time finding anybody in this world who loves wine more than me. I’m absolutely fascinated by it. If it were in any way possible, I’d be a key figure in the wine industry. I’m fairly certain it’s impossible to do that and also keep my religious standards, so that will have to remain a dream. But I think wine is totally amazing and incredible. I study it whenever I can. I have books about wine that I’ve read a million times. I study every wine menu I ever come in contact with. I love wine. I think it’s beautiful.

Don’t See Me! I’m Sneaking!

In the days when my family was very young, my parents lived in a double-wide trailer on the family farm. I have vague memories of this house, which we now refer to lovingly as The Blue House. It was situated at the bottom of a hill which held two massive rock piles we aptly named The Big Rock Chuck and The Little Rock Chuck. Back then I thought they were completely massive. (Age and perspective, as well as later visits, have assured me that The Big Rock Chuck is, in fact, quite massive. The Little Rock Chuck, not so much.)

mountainsMy mother had a rule that we were never supposed to play on The Big Rock Chuck, which was a rule we obeyed most of the time. When I was that age I imagined that these huge rock piles had once been a medieval castle. The home of a great king who ruled the land with power and influence. I even imagined once, when I found a formation of rocks that looked rather like a chair, that I had found the ancient location of the throne room.

And this was the playground of my youth. In front of the house was a stunning view of the mountains and a wheat field that was brilliantly gold in July and August. It was absolutely stunning. A very rare place to have a very rare childhood, I now realize. But as beautiful as it could get in the summer, it was equally beautiful in the winter. The entire land is covered in a thick blanket of snow until you can’t really remember where one field ends and another starts, and every here and there telephone poles jut out of the blank canvas. It’s lovely.

But there were dangers.

In the summer, the biggest danger was always rattle snakes. Oh, we got super good and hearing them and running away really fast to get help. If they were far from the house we would leave them be, but if they were close to the house my dad would come home from work long enough to kill the snake and dispose of the head. (It’s still very venomous and dangerous even after being separated from the body.) It was something he’d been trained to do his whole life, as shown by the little green jar of rattles he now keeps on a shelf behind his desk.

But in the winter, the danger was the ice and snow. On the farm, the winter can get exceedingly brutal. Very high winds, unheard of low temperatures. You name it. Winter as epitomized in every “I’m-lost-on-a-mountain” movie ever made. Winter is kind of scary at the farm.

It is in this context that one of our very favorite family stories occurred. The characters of this narrative are my mother, angel that she is, and my older brother Jud. He was about two years old at the time, which means that I was not a being who yet lived upon the earth. However, this is one of my favorite stories that we bring up as a family.

One snowy day, my brother Jud wanted to go outside and play. However, my mother wouldn’t allow it for one reason or another. Probably because we lived in the North Pole, or close to it, anyway. I think the weather was particularly harsh that day, and so for obvious reasons my mother didn’t see fit to let her two-year-old go outside and play.

This, however, did not stop Jud.

One thing it is necessary to know about Jud is this: he gained the nickname Mowgli. mowgliSome of you may immediately recognize this name for the character in The Jungle Book. Jud became Mowgli early on in life, and to this day he still responds to it occasionally. Why was he named Mowgli, you may ask? Because he never, ever, ever kept his clothes on. He ran around in a diaper or his underwear until he was fairly old, but I’ll keep those details private for the sake of his modesty.

So, on this very snowy day when my mother informed Jud he wouldn’t be able to go outside and play in the snow, she discovered him only moments later at the back door trying to open it. Wearing a diaper, boots, scarf, and hat. At seeing this sight, my mother asked, “Honey, what are you doing?” Jud turned around, facing her with wild eyes as he responded:

“Mom! Don’t see me! I’m sneaking!”

When I was three years old my family built a house in town. We now lovingly refer to this residence as The Town House, even though it was not, in fact, a townhouse. Merely a house that was located in town. For many years we moved back and forth between The Blue House and The Town House. Blue House during summer and potato harvest, Town House during the school year.

When I was probably about eight years old we began living permanently in town, as we’d given the use of The Blue House to my aunt and uncle. That was hard for us, but a few years later we moved back to the farm permanently to a different house and have been very happy with that choice.

Now, in this time of life when we lived permanently at The Town House, I was what you might call a daddy’s girl. I spent as much time as possible with my dad. We were the very best of friends. Which also consequently means that I probably got away with more things than I should have.

One night I remember very clearly. My older siblings, rebellious teens that they were at the time, had all been banished to their rooms. For reasons I do not know and can only attribute to my status as the favorite daughter, I was not forced to go to bed. I was sitting by my dad’s chair watching a movie with him and my mom. When very suddenly, a major rule was broken.

audreyOne of the bedroom doors opened. And one of my siblings emerged.

Completely unheard of under the present circumstances of: go to your room and go to bed. Do not come out until morning.

It was my sister Jessie. Ever the bold one.

She emerged from her room wearing a huge, poofy blue parka with fur around the hood and a large pair of sunglasses (very Audrey Hepburn). In this disguise, she walked through the living room and into the kitchen, got a glass of water, and then went back to her room.

We. Laughed. So. Hard.

My dad literally could not be mad at her. Her disguise was everything she needed to gain access to the kitchen and a drink of cold water. Mission accomplished.

What I absolutely love about both of these stories is how blatantly obvious, and quite hilarious, the “rebellion” is. Jud was very clearly not going to last out in the snow in his diaper, boots, and hat, and Jessie was obviously recognizable despite the parka and sunglasses.

But they tried anyway. One successful, the other not. Both equally funny.

I’ve been thinking about these stories today, and what they mean in several different contexts. And interestingly enough, I have found a parallel between these stories and something else. Something that makes so much sense to me.

God knows us perfectly. Completely and perfectly.

It is like the story of Jonah and the whale in the Bible. Jonah legitimately thought he could hide from God. And while Jessie didn’t legitimately think she was fooling anyone in her disguise, but she knew she had humor on her side. In Jud’s case, he was just fiercely hoping he wouldn’t get caught.

I know that I have done similar things a million times.

Sometimes it can be so hard to understand that God knows and loves us perfectly. Sometimes we try to hide away from Him, disguise our lives, or sneak away. Sometimes we have experiences where we just want to move in our own direction, in our own way, and throw behind our shoulder, “Don’t see me! I’m sneaking!”

But even though we are intelligent beings with our own minds, our own plans for cherishedourselves are never as amazing or perfect as God’s plan for us. Surprisingly, though, it takes a fair amount of humility and courage to admit that we shouldn’t be sneaking into the snow storm.

I love that these stories brought me to this spiritual parallel because both of them are some of the funniest stories in the family repertoire. And when compared to our relationship with God, it helps me remember that He loves me completely and perfectly. And yes, He can see through my disguises and see me sneaking, but He always loves me.

He knows.

Perhaps that can be ominous, but for me, it is the biggest comfort in the world. I don’t have to hide anything from God. Because He knows me. I can be completely honest and transparent with Him because He understands. He gets it.

So while the world may be confusing at times, or even a place of turmoil, I never have to be afraid.

10 of the Songs…

Even though I played the flute for four years, it’s been forever since I’ve picked it up. I don’t really consider myself as being musically talented. But I could never overstate how important and influential music is in my life. I don’t really understand why, but music is really a lifeline for me.

Because my parents are quite wonderful, I grew up listening to all kinds of different music. Pretty much every genre has a few memories in my past. As I’ve gotten older there are several genres that have stuck out as my favorites, but as a whole, I really enjoy every kind of music with very few exceptions.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and about some of the songs that have influenced me. Now, it would be absolutely impossible for me to make a list of all of the songs that have had an influence on me.

But there are some songs that can only be described as soul-touching. There are some songs that you hear and they just strike something inside of you that nothing else does. If I were to make a list of these songs it would be much easier, but still an incredibly long list. So I decided to narrow it down as best I could and blog about each one because these songs all hold a very special place in my heart and mean something very important to me. So, in no particular order, here are only 10 of the soul-touching songs:

heat of the moment1.”Heat of the Moment” – Asia

This song is everything good. Oh, what can I say? I went through an incredibly powerful 1980’s phase my senior year of high school and this song fulfilled every single need posed by said phase. It is a very powerful song because while delivering that unforgettably wonderful 80’s guitar that rocks everything, the lyrics are also very powerful. That’s going to be a common theme among all of these songs: the music itself says what words can’t, and the words somehow say what words normally could never touch. This song is about how sometimes we do things in the heat of the moment that may take us in places we never planned, but how it’s wonderful because the heat of the moment is a beautiful thing.

2. “One for My Baby” – Frank Sinatra

I have written countless posts about Frank Sinatra, so obviously this isn’t a surprise to anybody. There aren’t many words that I can use to accurately describe that whole situation. But if you’re curious you can visit my tag cloud and click on “Frank Sinatra”. It’ll be a good time. This is one of my favorite Frank Sinatra songs because I love how simple it is. There is that simple, lonesome piano playing and just the natural richness of his voice. And that’s really all you need for a song like this. This song is about a man whoone for my baby has just lost a great love, probably the love of his life. He’s telling a bartender about all of it, and about how the road before him is incredibly long and lonely without her. It’s completely heartbreaking, really, but something about it is also very beautiful. I love it so much.

3.”Two Steps Behind” – Def Leppard

I bet you weren’t expecting Def Leppard!! Okay, but seriously, Def Leppard was a childhood staple for me. When I was a little girl I used to drive around the farm with my dad. On summer nights he liked to drive around and check on all of the fields, just make sure everything was going well or the irrigation was doing what it needed to be doing. I loved going with him. I’d sit in the front seat of his pickup, legs barely reaching past the edge of the seat. I’d have a Pepsi in my lap, and we’d drive around together. On these excursions, we would always listen to his 80’s music and Def Leppard featured prominently. This song (particularly the acoustic version) always touched my heart. It’s actually a pretty sad love song, just about a person who will stand in the background and let their love do whatever it is they need to do. But when they are needed, they’ll be right here to help.

4.“A.M” – One Direction

I have blogged about this song before. (If you are curious click here.) But I just…wow. I honestly don’t have the words to explain this song. I honestly never thought that this would be a thing ever, ever in my life. But not only is this my favorite One Direction song, it is my favorite song. Period. My favorite song in the whole world. Out of the thousands of songs that have made me who I am, out of the thousands of songs whose lyrics I’ll never forget, this is my favorite song in the entire world. Now you can think what you want about One Direction (I personally didn’t become a fan until this last year and it’s a sad regret, but that’s a post for another time) but this song is pure gold. I really a.mdon’t understand it, but something about this song strikes a chord within me that no other song ever has. I hear this song and suddenly feel like my soul is just displayed before me in musical notes. It is about love and the uncertainties of life. It is about two people who have grown up together – which can be taken in many ways I think. It could mean that they literally grew up together, or that the experiences they have shared have made it so that they have grown older and wiser together. Either one is equally beautiful. The chorus then says, “Won’t you stay ’til the a.m? All my favorite conversation’s always made in the a.m. ‘Cause we don’t know what we’re saying.” I love these lines because I think “a.m” is a bigger metaphor. I think they are asking their love to stay until the morning, to stay with them through the darkness. To stay with them and love them even though there are things they don’t understand. Because together they are able to make it there. I could honestly write novels about this song. It’s beautiful.

5.”Caledonia” – Celtic Woman

If I’m being completely honest, sometimes I forget about this song. And then every now and again it pops back into my mind and I remember how influential it was for me. It is a traditional song, sung by many different people and groups. But the Celtic Woman version is the one that changed my life. For those of you who don’t know, “Caledonia” is the traditional name for Scotland. And this song is about somebody who is from Scotland and who has been away from it. And they are finally ready to go home. It is about how important home is, and how it often makes us who we are. And that no matter what we experience or where we go home is constant. It was interesting for me because my family history is heavily Scottish, and for reasons I couldn’t explain I’ve always felt the tie to that. A sort of pull. And the first time I heard this song and really listened to it I felt such a feeling of comfort or understanding. That the land of my ancestors is still very important to me and still very much a part of me. It was beautiful.

6.”Faithfully” – Journey

This is another one of those “driving with my dad” songs. I have countless memories of driving places together as a family and listening to this song and many others by Def Leppard and Journey. This song is a classic love song: about being faithfully in love with somebody despite the challenges that often arise. If I’m being honest there is nothing spectacular musically about this song or even the lyrics, really. It’s just a classic. It’s beautiful in its classic simplicity.

7.”Perfect” – Ed Sheeranperfect lyrics 2

I debated heavily about whether or not to include this song in this list. If I am being completely and totally transparent, I can’t even listen to this song. But there was a time in my life when it described everything flawlessly. It was like Ed somehow knew and wrote me a song. So, I actually don’t listen to this song anymore. But to deny its impact in my life would be dishonest and horrible. Because it is truly one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. If you haven’t heard it, go listen to it. There’s no way to explain it, you just have to hear it for yourself.

8.”Knock Three Times” – Tony Orlando & Dawn

Okay, I decided to put this song in because its just plain and simple fun. I grew up on this song – again, lots of driving in the car memories. But interestingly enough these ones aren’t tied to my dad but my mom. She has always loved this song and we listened to it all the time when we were driving with her. It is about a man who is in love with the woman who lives in the apartment beneath him. They don’t know each other, but he’s convinced he loves her. The chorus says, “Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me. Twice on the pipe – if the answer is no. Oh, my sweetness (knock, knock, knock) means you’ll meet me in the hallway. Hhmm twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show.” It’s just a fun, lighthearted song that always made life a little bit better.

9.”Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” – Il Divo

This song was originally composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the musical Evita. But the version by the band Il Divo was the first time I’d ever heard the song. Again I encourage you to go listen to it if you have never heard the song before. It’s incredibly beautiful. It’s about how when we go out and experience life to the fullest and do all the wonderful things we wanted to do, sometimes it can be a sad thing if we forget where we came from or the people that got us there. It can be sad if we forget who we are in the process of our accomplishments.

10.”Long Live” – Taylor Swift

long liveSimply put: I love this song. I love this song with everything in my heart. It has such a special place for me. Ever since the first time I heard this song, I’ve never been able to hear it without getting goosebumps. Honestly, I almost cry every time I hear it. I’ve heard a lot of different interpretations of the song: that she wrote it for her band, that she wrote it for her fans, for her friends. But whatever the case it is an amazing tribute to the people that you go through life with. The lines, “Long live the walls we crashed through, I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you,” always punched me right in the heart. Because there really are those people who stick with you through everything, you go through the night with you and fight all your dragons with you. And they are incredible. This song pays tribute to them.

So, there you have it. Only 10 of the songs that have touched my soul and largely made me who I am today. If you haven’t heard any of them I urge you to go and listen for yourself. Or to sit and think about what things (it could be music, movies, books) have impacted your life in a similar way. You’d be surprised by the things you remember and how you suddenly realize they made a difference.

“Don’t Even Get Me Started”

This phrase – don’t even get me started – is a very well known and well-used member of my vocabulary. Call it the veteran if you will.

Now the reason behind this is pretty self-explanatory.  You see when you first meet me it’s pretty easy to mistake me for a shy person. I’m an introvert, and as such, I hate meeting new people. My biggest thought when it comes to meeting new people is usually, “But wait. I already know people. My people capacity has been reached.” Unfortunately, the universe has consistently seen fit to ignore my people capacity.

So if you’re persistent enough to actually get to know me, you’ll come to understand a few things.

  1. I’m really not shy. Like…at all.
  2. I actually have quite a bit to say about life in general.
  3. And as a general rule, it’s best not to ask me what any of those things are because I will tell you. And it will be rather emphatic.

So here’s how it normally goes: some kind of topic will somehow come up in the natural flow of a conversation. And I will immediately say, “Don’t even get me started.” Now the fact that I have developed this self-regulating mechanism is actually a source of pride for me. Truly.

However.

It hasn’t gotten to the point where it continues to be self-regulating. Let me explain: after I say this phrase it is totally up to whoever I am talking to to decide whether or not I actually get started.

Those closest to me generally respond in one of two ways:

  1. They think it’s hilarious when I “get started” so they sit there very patiently in silence, waiting for the topic to begin bubbling under my skin so as to drive me crazy until I explode. And therefore “get started” anyway.
  2. They change the subject as quickly as they can, saving themselves from the very passionate rant that will surely follow if they don’t act immediately.

I’m telling you all of this because today I’ve got the blogging itch. I’ve got this itch to blog and it’s been driving me nuts ALL DAY LONG. I’ve had at least 47 topics all vying for attention in my head today. If I were a better writer, I’d think of some very clever way to connect all of these topics into a glorious blog post that would existential your mind to pieces.

But that’s not going to happen because I’ve gotten started and this is where it ends people.

  1. I have a friend who pushes herself too hard. Plain and simple, she pushes herself too hard. She holds herself to an impossibly high standard because in her head if she isn’t working so hard that she nearly dies then she isn’t doing her best. If she isn’t working so hard that she can’t see straight then she’s a failure. If she doesn’t spend at least 10 hours studying for the test that we both have to take this week then she’s not doing all she can do. And as much as I love her, and I do with all my heart, I can’t tell her enough times how absolutely absurd this is. Nobody can live life on 150% all the time. Nobody can and nobody should. We have to give ourselves some grace and decide what is and is not worth our time. And not be so hard on ourselves.
  2. Do you ever have those days when you are just drowning in memories? Every now and again this happens to me, and it usually isn’t the same memories or the same times. Some days I feel like I’m reliving my religious mission all over again. Other times it is memories from my time at my previous university. And no matter how hard I try I just can’t escape them. I spend the entire day in a memory field. Honestly, it doesn’t happen that often. But I’m not the only one this happens to, right?
  3. The Prince in Snow White. OH. MY. GOODNESS. There are very, very, very few things on this earth that I have such passionate negative feelings about. But this character is one of them. And I’ll tell you why: he is the most WORTHLESS character that was EVER created in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD. He shows up for five minutes, sings a song, leaves, and then at the end, he shows up and is all, “Oh, I sorta remember her. She looks dead. Maybe I’ll kiss her and see what happens.” Then he gets the girl – because he did absolutely nothing except smooch her – like he is the hero of the day. He is worthless and stupid and stupid. He got way better than he deserved. He is worthless and stupid. The dwarves were totally the heroes of that story. The prince is worthless and stupid.

So I know that I said there were about 47 topics in my head, and that – though a slight exaggeration – was quite true. Has been true, in fact, all day. But now that I’ve written this out, I think those were the most important.

As far as all the other ones go, though, don’t even get me started.

Immortalizing The Good

Immortalizing the Good

I’ve written poems about my heartbreak
Of the things that have happened since
Sleepless nights and tragic days
Feelings I didn’t know could exist

At first I could write nothing
I forgot everything but the hurt
Then one day the door opened
My mind was drowning in words

I wrote essays that were like poems
My words so harsh with the truth
But only in the process of writing
Could the pieces begin to fuse

I’ve never been in a place like that
Where I truly no longer cared
I’ve never felt so hurt and empty
The reminders were everywhere

And now some time has passed
It doesn’t hurt the same way now
Things have changed these days
I am not exactly sure how

I never thought we would talk again
And yet somehow we are here
I get to hear your voice and laugh
And I’m no longer fighting tears

But it isn’t really you, is it?
And it isn’t really me
Sometimes we almost reach each other
But then one of us goes running

And I know that some is my fault
I’m very good at closing the door
Opening it again is a bit hard
I have fears of what may be in store

The problem is that I know you so well
And you know me just the same
It’s funny beyond the frustration
We’re much too good at this game

There are so many things I want to say
So many things that are still hidden
And yet I’m not sure what they are
I wouldn’t know where to begin

So I spend my time remembering
And waiting for the breakthrough
Writing things you’ll never read
Maybe this will be one, too

My memory is usually a gift
Lately it’s more of a curse
Memories creep in all the time
Memories of kisses and words

I have written so many things
About the ways in which you hurt me
I haven’t written nearly enough
Of all of the beautiful things

You made me so incredibly happy
My heart was always overflowing
I couldn’t wrap my thoughts around it
But my head was full of knowing

This isn’t a poem to lament a loss
I’ve done that a lot, it’s true
I simply want to immortalize the good
Of how it felt to belong to you

You often said it felt so right
I couldn’t have agreed more
Everything was falling into place
As it never had before

On the night of our first kiss
I tried to hide my shaking knees
By my ear your heart was pounding
And I couldn’t help but tease

Some weeks later, on a starry night
You told me that you loved me
I couldn’t wait to say it back
I’d never been that happy

I often prayed so many times
That I’d discover it was true
That love could heal the brokenness
And then God sent me you

With you I was always safe
You became the feeling of home
I can’t explain how wonderful it was
To know I’d never be alone

I’m not sure how you’re feeling now
Or what’s going on inside of you
I only know what I’ve been told
And what I’m supposed to do

Many words have been written of love
Words too beautiful to say
And then they all described you
In ways I can’t explain

The more that I look back now
I regret some things in the memories
On the last morning, before breakfast
I should’ve asked you to kiss me

And the evening before that
When you hinted at being upset
I shouldn’t have brushed it aside
I should’ve talked it out right then

I regret all the times I didn’t kiss you
Like that night at all of the reds
Or sitting on the couch at your apartment
When you held my hand to your chest

I’ll never forget the moment I felt it
When I felt you run away
We were in the car holding hands
And you pulled your hand away

On that last day by the church
I should’ve talked, just stayed
But I thought that you needed time
So I quickly drove away

So many voices yelled at me
And kept begging me to turn back
But I stubbornly pushed them away
And oh, how I regret that

I try not to dwell on these regrets
They only hurt in hindsight
Instead I try remembering the happiness
The moments that were so right

I needed you in a frightening way
I never wanted to need anyone
You were both a luxury and necessity
You were everything all at once

I wish I could remember the moment
When I realized that I loved you
But it happened so long ago
That it’s just a piece of my truth

In the kitchen when you asked for a kiss
My resolve was gone without a trace
We were standing beside the oven
My mind went absolutely blank

You were all at once my weakness
And all at once my strength
You made me blush like crazy
But encouraged me to create

The first time that you held my hand
Happiness made my heart glow
You kissed the top of my head
The chills went clear to my toes

Those weeks were full to bursting
The weeks when you were mine
I keep the memories close to me
Praying you’ll remember it was right

I told you that I wanted to help
And it’s never been more true
But these days it isn’t really me
These days it isn’t really you

There is something about us
And the way we fit together
I always felt utterly understood
You made me want to be better

There is something you do to me
And something I do to you
We share a bond, a connection
I know you know it’s true

I really can’t understand it
How I look at you and see your soul
And no matter what I find there
I always leave feeling whole

That weekend with my family
It felt so natural to have you there
They all told me that for days
I felt happiness beyond compare

They weren’t the only ones who said it
Who knew how perfect we were
I think we both knew it, too
Somehow it all got blurred

But despite how hard it’s been
And the pain inside my heart
I’ve grown so much; you have, too
That’s the important part

This isn’t a poem to lament a loss
I’ve done that a lot, it’s true
I simply want to immortalize the good
Of how it felt to belong to you

One True Sentence

Hemingway once said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

As I no doubt have told you before, I’m not actually a Hemingway fan. But that’s a conversation for another time. I’m bringing this quote up because I think it’s completely beautiful. And because I’ve been doing a lot of that lately in my writing. So, just in case you’re reading this, I’ve got a few true sentences for you.

First of all, I’m just going to throw an apology out there. As much as it feels like I’ve been thrown in front of a train with no warning for no reason, I’m sure there are things I’ve done that have hurt you. And I’m sorry. I hope you can forgive me.

There are a lot of people who are really, really angry with you. And they’re telling me all kinds of things. But I just want you to know that I’m not one of them. I was for a while. I was really, really angry. I want to address some of those things that made me angry.

I was angry because this entire situation has consisted of what you wanted, and your timing. It never seemed to matter how I felt, what I wanted, or the answers that I had received. When it came down to it, it seemed like I didn’t really matter at all. It seemed like you were being incredibly selfish. That’s been hard to deal with. I think you need to know that, just in case you’re reading this.

I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Nobody does. When you’re as close as we were, and planning the things we were planning, you don’t act that way. You don’t walk away with no explanation and no warning. You don’t cut ties that fast. You don’t shut down, slam the door, and make a decision that drastically changes both of your lives because of some vague thing. What you do is communicate and try and work through it. You trust the other person and their feelings and thoughts. And if, after some time of working together and trusting God, things still aren’t working, then you make decisions. Together.

Love is messy, okay? Life is messy. Dumb things happen and people make mistakes. But it’s worth it. It is all worth it.

I’m not angry now, though. I guess that’s just a blessing. I was praying one night, and got told pretty forcefully that it was time to forgive you. That both of us needed that. So I hope that when I was finally able to forgive you that you felt it.

You called the other day. The only reason I didn’t answer is because I was in line at the grocery store. I saw your name on the screen of my phone and nearly had a heart attack. It was something I never thought I’d see again. I was hoping you’d call back, but you didn’t. You just sent me a text. I tried to be really honest when I responded, but as gentle as I could.

But the truth is that God has been telling me a lot of things in the last few weeks. One of the impressions I’ve been getting is that you’re really going through a lot. Like a lot. You’re really struggling, I think. You feel lost. You’re trying to figure out a lot of things, and you don’t know how. Now, I could be completely and totally wrong. Maybe I am. But I don’t think I am.

And if I’m not wrong, then that brings me to why I said what I said in the texts. If you really are struggling, I’m sorry. I wish you didn’t have to. If you really are trying to figure things out, I hope it happens for you soon. I wish you’d have let me be there for you, but you didn’t. This was your choice, not mine.

None of this is what I wanted. None of this is what I think was or is right. But because this is what is happening and what has happened, and because of the choices you’ve made, I can’t be there for you. Heavenly Father has told me that this is something you’ve got to do by yourself.

The thing that is the most frustrating is that I’m still in love with you. I don’t know why. There have been a million moments when I wished that wasn’t the case, but it is. I guess I just can’t help it. I’ve been in love with you for too long. I know you too well. You’re too much a part of me. I see you everywhere. The loss of you is something that I carry around with me everywhere, all the time, even in the moments when I finally feel happy again. Even in the moments when I can laugh again.

No matter what happens, you’re going to need a new copy of Les Mis. I threw it away. In the dumpster. Along with a host of other things. My day planner that had all sorts of things in it about you. The playbill from our first date. Your cup. And your wedding present. Yeah, I was already working on it. It was going to be really great. I gathered them all up and threw them into the dumpster as hard as I could.

You called the other day because you miss me. Because despite everything, for a moment you were right where I am, feeling what I’m feeling. And you wish it didn’t have to be this way. You read my poem. As far as poems go, it’s a masterpiece. If I do say so myself, it’s a really, really great poem. It just flowed out of me like a waterfall, honestly. I didn’t even really have to think about it, all of the words were just there. And I meant every single one of them.

I’m still here. Kind of in a state of limbo, to be honest. Heavenly Father keeps telling me things like “be patient” and “I’ve got a plan”. Which could literally mean anything, honestly, but right now I’m just supposed to take life one day at a time and enjoy every moment. I’m working really hard to do those things.

I’m still here. Praying for you. Hoping that you’re okay. Sometimes wishing I could smack you upside the head and shake you into realizing what is so completely obvious, but mostly just going day to day and listening to a lot of music. And writing a lot.

So, there are my true sentences. My really, really true sentences. Whatever you’re thinking or feeling or going through, I hope that you get it all figured out. I pray that I’ll hear from you again. I’ll answer the phone.

In the meantime I’ve got a novel to write. I’ve been working on it a lot, actually. It’s going well. And just so you know, I haven’t changed anything. It’s going to end the way it was always going to end.