A song…I was cleaning and listening to music. Not just any music. The kind that flows with the same rhythm as my blood. The kind that was written by a stranger who somehow knows me. I think you know what I mean.
I used to listen to music constantly. Driving, walking to class, cleaning, writing, working, falling asleep. At some point I stopped. I don’t know why. I thought for a long time it might be that I’d just grown out of some overly emotional phase of life. Or maybe I just couldn’t relate to newer artists. I don’t know. In any case, I stopped. I worked and walked and wrote in silence.
Kai loves music. Sometimes he dances, but oftentimes he just sits, entranced, listening. He doesn’t let me get away from music. If I’m not playing something for him (his favorites are Singing in the Rain, and Buddy Holly, by Weezer), he’s singing. Loudly.
Sometimes the things that are forgotten are parts of ourselves that we need, the parts that keep us truly alive.
I was cleaning. For the first time in longer than I can remember, I turned on some music while alone and a part of myself that I hadn’t seen in years woke up. Maybe it was sudden, maybe Kai’s constant music over the last two years has slowly brought me back to consciousness. Maybe it was the act of doing something I had done countless time, in the house where I grew up, listening to the same songs I would have listened to then. Whatever the cause, I woke up.
There are many parts of me I’ve forgotten in the course of life. Parts that don’t seem practical during some season and get left by the wayside. I used to draw. Sing. Dance. Daydream. But moving through time means forgetting. And sometimes the things that are forgotten are parts of ourselves that we need, the parts that keep us truly alive.
Ray and I were talking the other day about the importance of remembering. The trials, the redemption, the miraculous. There is something about looking back in gratitude at the times when we’ve come through hardship that gives us hope for the future. But there is also extreme value in looking back for parts of ourselves that got lost along the way during those trials. The simple, small, impractical pieces. Finding them is like looking through an old closet and discovering a forgotten gift. Or walking down the streets of your hometown and finding your best childhood friend.
I am sitting in my parked car on a cloudy day, listening to music that would now be considered old. How long has it been since I last did this? How long since I saw this passionate, feeling, dreaming girl? She might make a short appearance every now and then, but nothing wakes her, makes her alive, like music. It’s been too long since I last saw her.
What about you? What did you used to lose time on? What have you forgotten? What was your music?
A couple of Sundays later, just as I had started to forget my snarky friend’s comment, I had the opportunity to see Peter Rollins (Google him. Now.) speak at a local church. I can’t begin to explain everything that he spoke about—suffice it to say my mind was overwhelmed—but the thing that struck my heart was this: deus ex machina.
Ray and I had a date the other day—a rare occurrence lately. He asked, “If you could learn any skill, what would it be?” I mentioned a couple of things that I’ve always wanted to learn to do better, but..
Hoping to make sense of this home (of 32 years) that I couldn’t really call home, I took my camera and went out for a final sunset drive in an attempt to say my goodbyes to all my favorite places. But I had not expected what I was about to encounter.
If anyone had told me, as I boarded the plane from Abu Dhabi to Miami, that this was going to be a year of silence, of waiting for progress, of internal struggle with oh-so-little tangible payoff, I would have been furious. I didn’t come back to the States to sit around. I have goals and aspirations, damnit.
The past two weeks have been heavy. The specifics are too numerous, nuanced, and those involved—my family—are still working them out, so I won’t explain in detail now. Suffice it to say, after many years and through a difficult series of events, a long-lost family member has been found. We are overjoyed. But…
What does a day of rest look like? The glorious chance to do chores? See more people? See no one? Is it a day of catching up on what we haven't accomplished?
I became a beauty school drop out and then a wife and mother at the ripe old age of 21. Then spent the next 10 years trying different things to feel ok with that decision.
My father prefers a tactile world. A world where he can feel the trees and earth under his feet. He hunts and builds and works with his hands. I’ve learned a lot from him about work. I’ve learned honesty, integrity, and ethics, how to finish what I start and that my efforts can get me anywhere I want to go. Yes, from him I learned how to work well. But… I didn’t learn how to exist.
I did give love. But, as with money, I was kinda stingy with it. I hoarded it and I saved it. When I got it, I withheld it and protected it. I made sure it was well invested, and I would try to wait for the perfect opportunity to give big.
Let’s be honest. I think we’re all sick of Facebook right now. It’s become like an unhealthy relationship. You want to just break up, but instead you keep coming back to air your grievances, vent your frustration, remedy your boredom. But does that actually help?
I read this recently in an article for affair recovery. Why was I reading about affair recovery? Because I'm recovering from an affair. That's right. I did that. And I've beat myself up for it ever since. Years have past. My husband forgives me. My family and friends forgive me. But I didn't forgive me.
I couldn’t believe my counsellor friend asked me to repeat these words to myself, as we both stood in front of a mirror at the back of her office. “They’re just words,” I thought. “What’s so hard about repeating words?” Except, I couldn’t utter them.
Christmas took us away this year, to a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. Our first Christmas all together in the States.
The drive was beautiful. Appalachian mountains. Lakes. Quaint, quiet towns. Ray had never experienced this Americana before. Our road trips together have only ever been through deserts on the other side of the world.
I was cleaning. For the first time in longer than I can remember, I turned on some music while alone and a part of myself that I hadn’t seen in years woke up.
I asked my sister the other day if I was being ridiculous. Her exact words were: “Have you considered that maybe you are expecting everyone to completely rearrange their lives to accommodate your needs and it might be putting a lot of stress on them?”
It’s been an interesting experience for Ray, entering the US as a new immigrant. He’s witnessing the ugliness of presidential elections live for the first time. His observations are honest and innocent. While having one of our conversations the other day, I asked him, “If you could vote, would you?”
Some might say it’s impossible to improve upon nature itself, but if you ever get a chance to see Chihuly’s work in a garden, you’ll see that it is possible. It’s difficult to imagine anyone not being impressed by Chihuly. Oh…except Kai.
Sweat poured off of me faster than I could wipe it away. But still I sat, for an hour, in the 127 degree sauna. I purposely didn’t take anything in to entertain myself. No magazine, no phone, no music. Just myself and the heat and the silence.
I used to call myself a missionary...Quite simply, I thought I could save the world.
I am craving silence.
I hear the sound of the ceiling fan, cicadas outside, a school bus passing. TVs with incessant, manufactured drama, treadmills, cash registers, politicians. The needs and desires of my husband, my child, my friends, and even strangers.
I am overwhelmed.
I thought it would be simple. Just put the seeds in the ground, water them regularly, and eventually they’ll grow.
Our expectation was that we would live well, do a couple of high paid projects each year and retire the rest of the time. I woke up this morning with an email—a dream project proposal that was exactly what we’d hoped for. But it did not come through.
I was crushed.
Maybe a vacation right now would be a bad idea. But the truth that surfaced during our conversation was that neither of us felt deserving.
I am an expert of comparison. I can’t even count how many times a day I find flaws within myself and others, find ways in which I am better or worse than those around me.
My time at sea was trying. I was removed from everything familiar and forced to see parts of myself that I had not known existed. The girl that returned was not the same as the one that had left. I had seen monsters and God.
This morning, as I was remembering my failed jewelry business, a question came to me: What might my life have become if I had succeeded instead?
I yelled at my husband yesterday. I almost never do that. In the almost 10 years that we've known each other, I can count on one hand how many times either of us have ever raised our voices in anger. I actually have a hard time remembering any of those occurrences, when or why, because they've been so rare. Not that we don't argue. We do. But we don't shout.