Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Sometimes I wish I were that part of myself, that other self who never really was. The one who is 22 and sitting on my front porch listening to the waves of cars. Sitting there I'm agitated for probably plenty or no reasons at all. Smoking cigarettes and crushing them out into the cold cement steps until all the shining orange embers disappear. Save for one, because there is always at least one that remains.

I never actually smoked, hate the smell and taste, but I want for that feel of the cool summer's breeze opposite a stick of burning paper and poison placed between my lips. Not romantically like a 1960s French film--not living my life by the direction of Godard. Not with an air of beautiful crazy. No. Just the gritty, real. Just a bare bones girl in a messed up world existing in close proximity to other messed up people.

Now in my grown up life where I work my 12 hour days in a job that does not lack in meaning rather in a realistic amount of work for one to do. In that "grown up" office I have a framed quote about how there are no perfect people but essentially only deeply flawed ones who are still worth loving.

Back on my pre-grown up front porch with rushing traffic on the 5, I spend my nights working in a bookstore, my days (in the somewhat fictionalized self) playing guitar. I'm happy in a bitter, surreal sort of way. I'm the haunting echo of Moon River in the night. Just a little too broken.

And like the real me, she (me/we) took and take life for granted. Too many meaningless relationships simply to avoid the real ones. Too much philosophy and poetry and abstract art. Too in love to love and illogical to make sensible choices. But she felt. The me who never smoked or had that porch, within that version there's the girl with the reds and the shattering and all the feelings a raging river could ever hold. She felt big. She felt broken and out of place. But she felt. She was the Skin Horse.

But now I wonder, was sensible best or better?
Would it matter? Now or then?

Here I sit on this small ledge in my bathroom, feet propped up on the sink, and I see her there. Behind wrinkling skin and tired eyes, the bittersweet girl with an always broken heart, painting, writing, thinking, laughing and crying. And though afraid, she was always a little bit fearless.

There on that porch or in the small one room apartment with the borax lined walls, she was dreaming of a world she would never find. Not often appreciating what she had. But sometimes. Sometimes she did as she lived in her spectcular moments.

Work has sucked in many ways, save for lovely moments. But I'm behind. Bullying has started, calls need to be made, everyone needs something now and everything is a top priority. The list goes on, and I'm so I overwhelmed that I want to scream or throw things.

Then I come home after 12 hours to resume my work here and I talk to my mom, which I never get to enough. And only then do I  remember real life.

Sure what I do is "important" and is way more responsibility than I want to carry. But that work, that is not all there is in my life, or in the other lives in my small corner of the world, and so very far beyond.

I forget the "now". In the way that we can forget there is a now, time limited, present and finite. Always thinking memories are just happening, but when I am not really living, then I have a sort of snapchat life, it exists momentarily and then it fades. I forget. I forget what I didn't know was even there to remember.

And I fear the truth, fear the reality of our finite humanity. I fear and I cower. And so I work.

I find myself thinking of the ever so wise (and allegedly final) words of  Simon Bolivar: Damn it! How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?

Where, or what, ever your labyrinth may be, I think we either need to embrace it as our portion and our lot, or find a way out and maybe just keep going.

They say, "it's hard to leave--until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world."

I don't know. I have been a runner (metaphorically) all my life. But as far as I have run, I have wanted to run home for so long, and it is the hardest goddamned thing to do.

Perhaps I got lost in these words. Perhaps I will close my eyes and become my black and white self. Maybe play some imaginary records, and maybe feel so fearless, and so big that when I wake up in the morning that 22 year old will just take over. But without the cigarettes.

About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am a daughter, sister, friend, wife, counselor and colleague. I am a work in progress. There may be some pieces out of place and things might be messy, but it's okay. I would rather accept that I am still unfinished than think that this is it. You can find my comments on faith and spirituality on my blog: And my comments and anecdotes on life at:

Books That Matter. Well, some of the many that matter.

  • Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder, Chris Wells
  • Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • An Abudance of Katherines, John Green
  • Dave Pelzer
  • Franny & Zooey, J.D. Salinger
  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley
  • The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris
  • The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are, Daniel J. Siegel