jump…

I dreamt last night that I was living this carefree life…running across a college campus with some friends, grabbing seemingly free food from a tray that was placed before me as I ran and then following someone up a flight of stairs.

We were a joyful, freedom coalition, in pursuit of something intangible. I only knew that we were after something and it felt good to run.

We ran up the steps of a building and emerged on a second floor balcony. It was made of stone. I can almost feel the cold rough stone railing on my palms even now.

The woman in front of me was the leader. She told me that she was going next to get some coffee and climbed up on the railing. She said, “We have to jump” and then she did. She was catlike in her jump, landing with grace and without injury.

I looked down and was paralyzed. She stood below me and said, “Jump.” I began to climb up on the railing, knowing there were others behind me and I needed to make a decision but I did not want to jump.

I decided instead to climb down the tree next to the balcony. A man was sitting in that tree. He looked a lot like Carlos Santana. I think he was eating a sandwhich. He shook his head. “That’s not going to work” he said.

I reached the first branch and held the tree in a deathgrip. Below the first set of branches it was all smooth below, no knots, no branches, no footholds, no handnooks.

I was in a dilemma, you see. If I had stayed on the balcony I could have taken the stairs down. It was too late for that now. If I had jumped as my leader had jumped I might have had a chance at a good landing. It was not so certain now.

Now, instead of jumping I was more likely to fall.

I woke up before the fall. I’ve been unnerved all morning because I think dreams really do have something to tell us.

Where am I meant to jump?
What am I clinging to in an attempt to avoid pain?
Why am I so motivated by free food and coffee?

Points to ponder today, fellow travelers, points to ponder.

disclosure…

Writing shouldn’t feel like cleaning the bathroom. Today it feels a little like cleaning the bathroom, a task I ought to do because it’s time for it to be done but not one I feel like doing. It stinks sometimes.

So in light of that feeling I thought I’d write about writing today.

I am not a technical writer, I’m not a journalist, a copywriter or a ghost writer. I don’t write for money. I never have done. It’s not a daily practice, I don’t hone my skillz…I’m a fairly lazy writer truth be told.

Nobody has ever asked me why I write. I’d like to think though that if anyone ever did I’d be all dewey eyed and mystical while saying “I write….because….I MUST…” Ha! Nu-uh…I don’t have to write. I can keep it to myself quite easily.

I’d like to be able to say that I write because I have this feeling that there is a great unsaid thing out there and that it is my calling to articulate the great unsaid thing. Sadly, though…I’m pretty sure I write because I have something to say and I like the attention.

It’s not quite as noble or as lofty as believing I’m articulating an unheard or misunderstood global truth I suppose but it’s a start. I’ll get to the grout one day but for now I’m happy to at least get the toothpaste off the mirror so that I can see my own face again.

growing up catholic…

I’ve written about my forgetfulness issues and also my issues with keeping a hand hold on the creative “muse” haven’t I?

Yeah, so the other day while I was driving (because I’m always either driving, vacuuming or in the shower when it hits me) I had this idea for a poem. I cannot EVEN tell you what it was about…but it was awesome. I repeated it over and over in the car and then I dunno, I went through a Starbuck’s drivethru or something and it was gone, daddy, gone.

So when I got home I decided to write a poem about the poem I forgot…and this is what came to me. It’s amazing how a poem begins the way I intend for it to begin and then it’s as if it develops on it’s own, like a child…me guiding it as far as I can and then it chooses it’s own path. I had no idea this is where it would go…but I like it. I think it needs a little guidance yet, I’m not ready to let it live a life on paper somewhere but I thought I’d put it here today anyhow.

It feels like this is going to be something I write about a great deal in the coming year…on the heels of this, my prophetic little poem…

Growing up Catholic

i wrote a poem
in my head
on Friday

i admit
it was witty and stirring
cocoa on a cold day
time stopping
short
but powerful
soul restoring
a full blown
weekend festival
of wise strongman sideshow
and humorous anecdote
wrapped in fish and chips paper
the smell
still swimming in me
the feel
of grease on my fingers
the memory
flooding back to me
all a reminder
of lenten fridays
growing up Catholic

i wrote a poem
in my head
on Friday
and then it rained
i should’ve used
i think,
permanent ink.

uninvited…

It’s always going to be hard for me to know where I fit. You’d think after breathing air for nearly 43 years I’d take that to heart and really own that. Some of that “not fitting” is my own doing of course. I have the classic “I’m unique, there’s no one like ME…why am I so lonely?” thing going on. I like being different, awkward and out of the normal stream of things but I hate to be lonely. When I break that down though what really is happening isn’t that I don’t want to be lonely as much as I don’t want to be uninvited and I don’t want to be abandoned. I know this about me.

What moves me, what lifts me up and helps me to feel most loved and SEEN in the world is being invited in. I will never be the person who forces herself in. I am most afraid of bothering you, of taking up your valuable time, of taking time away from people you really really WANT to be around. I often doubt that I might be a person you actually want to carve out time to see. It’s hard for me to understand my worth. I don’t mean to sound like I’m beating myself up here or feeling sorry for myself, truly. It’s just that at some point in our lives I believe we become rooted and learn to trust people. I think I missed that point. I think I know where.

When I was really quite young, maybe 15 months old we were living in an apartment. We didn’t have the money for a washer and dryer but there were hookups for them in the apartment. One day I guess I was thirsty and my older brother (who was about 2 1/2 then) offered to give me a drink of water….from the hot water hook up for the washer. Scalding water issued from the tap and covered my head, face and half my body.

I spent about a week in the hospital I think. Thankfully, my burns didn’t require skin grafts or surgery of any kind but I was in the hospital and I don’t remember it at all but I imagine I must have been scared. At that time my mom was pregnant with my younger brother and the hospital sort of frowned upon parents sleeping there. So as my mom tells the story each night she’d leave and I’d cry. Whenever she picked up her purse I began to cry because this was a signal it was time for her to go. She tells me she had to bring 2 purses so that she could sneak out. I think it killed her to leave each night.

I don’t remember this, any of this in my head…but I know my body remembers it. Each time I think of it I am drawn to tears. No matter how I reason it or therapy it I am still left with this feeling of utter abandonment, fear, sadness, grief, mistrust.

There is a line of thinking which suggests that all of our “trust” mechanisms as a child are formed before we are 2 years old. This is about the time we start to see ourselves as separate from other people…not just a part of the “whole” around us. We feel confident enough to become an individual person. It’s essential, this trust.

I think I missed some wiring there. It’s no one’s fault really. I don’t blame my brother or my parents. I don’t blame God. When I consider it now, though, how I walk through life with this constant feeling of afraid of asking for connection I am struck by the reality that what my body remembers is that it is not safe to connect, that connections get severed, that things change, that we have absolutely no control. It may be the reason I break into a cold sweat when I am scheduled to meet a lot of new people, when I am getting deeper into friendships, when I am considering a new endeavor or partnership.

My body isn’t wrong.

All of these things are true. It’s not safe to connect, connections DO get severed, things DO change, we have absolutely NO control over outcomes of relationships…

and yet…

This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to try. We have to try. It’s what we’re made to do, to be in community.

This is where I’m working now, not on what happened to me as a kid, not on what I missed, not on what I’m afraid of…I know ALL of that. My body reminds me each time I have to make a phonecall to someone. My heart beats fast, I feel sick, I feel dizzy. I have a full on panic attack when I have to meet new people in person, even those who I’ve wanted to meet. I think everyone has this on some level, I don’t think that’s outside of the norm really. The problem is that I let it stop me where others press through. I need to press through.

I need to remember in those tense moments that we all risk our hearts when we come into a room together. I need to learn how to reassure my body that even though it may not be completely safe or sure we need to press through, that I will not always be hurt in the end, that I will not always be alone, that I will not always be uninvited.