Wednesday, June 20, 2012

memory of dreams.

As soon as you wake up, grab the pen and notebook on the little table next to your bed and write down everything you can recall easily about the dream you just had. Nobody has dreams like you; remember this.

Sometimes they are bright and circus-like, featuring the usual suspects from your waking life, people you know or have known, wherein you are all running away from, or running to rooms in large dilapidated houses, while talking to them about things you can only seem to discuss at night in the safety of your mind. 

Others are patchy and dark, ones you try too hard to remember so you end up losing what little grasp you had on them at all. and there are dreams that are like sad memories. you're chasing a small and smiling version of yourself in an open field in the sunlight, or the people you have lost are living again. 

But the dreams where you take a running start outside the house you grew up in and leap into the air feeling your weight carried by the breeze alone, or where you are playing instruments you have only heard in songs you love with the greatest of ease, flawlessly creating ribbons of sound, those are the ones that make it hard to wake up when the alarm next to your bed starts ringing in the beginning of another day.

Write them down, because nothing is more important than the memory of those visions and feelings and thoughts that emerge when your eyes are closed. Nobody has dreams like yours.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

ask away

never stop asking questions.

especially the ones you're afraid to let slip out of your mouth and into the laps of the people who brought you into this world, who have seen you since day one, who have taught you right from wrong and how to look at every angle of every situation.

ask them what they think of their of their children now; did they think you would end up like this? did they think you would be so independent and stubborn, or laid back and good-natured? do they see what they hoped for you?

and when these people, who you are the sum of, squint their eyes into the distance behind you, past the restaurant's large window, past the parking lot, back to when you all very young and happy, when they raise an eyebrow and say, "well, you're all definitely different people," appreciate the honesty and diplomacy of that statement. don't think about how sad they may be that you do not all get along. that you all have vastly different ideas about how to live your lives. that the way you treat each other is not how they had hoped. that you're not as close as you were as children.

instead, think of how it was always going to be this way. that they raised you to give each other miles of space and privacy. they wanted independent children who would grow to be decent people, but not sheep or cattle running with the rest of the flock. remember that you all had locks on your doors and were taught to always knock and wait for a response to enter, and if they said you weren't allowed, so be it. closed doors, closed lives. think about how you all still have these traits in common and laugh.

and these two people who made you, they do see it too, but there's nothing to be done. but they do see how you treat the people you've chosen as friends and partners. they see how loving and kind and generous and considerate, thoughtful and patient you are with them. how you respect their ideas and opinions, even if they aren't your own. they see that they have raised people who are good to others, even if they are not good to each other.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

we want to know.

one foot in front of the other. focus on this movement, focus on your steady breath.

be aware of the path, but don't move so fast to let your surroundings become blurs on either side of you. the need to see the trees, their branches and the flowers in the bushes is important. are you walking on wet cement, or dry earth? can you feel the bumps and groves in the ground beneath the soles of your shoes? and how many houses and apartment buildings and shops have you just passed by? you will need to know these things because people will ask. we all want to know how you got here and what happened to you on your merry way.

tell us about the joyfully screeching children crisscrossing each other through the sprinklers in their front yard, and how one little boy with bright green swimming trunks shot a long stream of water at you. tell us how you smiled at him as he ran around behind the old white house and the gardenia bushes, laughing.

tell us about the cars that nearly wrecked at the intersection in front of you. how the red dodge neon with the pavement bumper sticker was going north through the green light as the all black ford f-150 with tinted windows rattling with the beat of a heavy bass nearly clipped the neon's back bumper speeding east through the red light. could you see the drivers' faces? was your heart pounding, feeling the bass from the truck shake your knees and your chest?

tell us how you walked all the way here, twenty blocks, because you woke up this morning and just wanted to see us and talk to us and sit on our porch in the sun and breeze. you could have ridden your bike or taken a bus, but you miss so much when your speed accelerates. tell us how you'd never noticed all of the azalea and camellia bushes in your neighborhood, or the little run-down looking laundry mat two blocks from our house. tell us about the house that made you stop and stare - the big brick castle looking one halfway between our own homes, fenced in completely with japanese red maples next to the porch, the corners of the fence. how bar harbor juniper lined the walkway to wrap-around porch hugged by magnolia bushes and creeping ivy. tell us how us suspect it's three stories with a finished basement, oak floors and woodwork throughout. how there may be a screened in sun porch out back on the second floor overlooking a large backyard with more flowering bushes, trees and a garden.

tell us how this house that's been there for years, before your parents were even born, that you'd never noticed before in your twenty-odd years of life in this neighborhood, this house made you stop on your way over and dream of a future and a family to fill it.

we want to know how you then inhaled deeply, took in the scents and sounds of the future you want, and started again. one foot in front of the other.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

let them.

sit back and stop talking.

they need to figure out how to put this puzzle together without your form looming over their unsure shoulders. they want to try this alone, work it out in their head with their mouths pursed and pushed off to the left of their faces. they want their curious and driven brain to push and turn the pieces into one empty shape or another over and over. they want to take their time and think it through, the process you explained and showed to them for so many years. let them try.

let their neurons shoot off firework sized sparks of intense joy and accomplishment when everything finally, quietly clicks into place because you sat back beside them, behind them or in front of them and let them use the resources you provided the way they needed to to make all of those pieces, out of order and confused, make sense to them. alone.

you held their hands for so long and explained to them which colors and sizes to look for, how to divide all of those tiny and intimidating pieces in order to conquer the whole. and they listened. they listened to you and watched you and let the words and ideas sink into their skin right down to their bones until it was time to try it alone.

and you sat back and stopped talking and let them grow up beside you, in front of you. alone.

Monday, May 28, 2012

everyone is watching you.

wear something nice today. something you've been saving for a "special occasion". and wear it all day, no matter what you do.

wear it even if you walk a mile to work because you can always wear comfortable walking shoes to your job and take a pair those nice shoes with you. it's not about the compliments you'll get at work, because you will most definitely get many compliments from your coworkers, or the prisoners who do lawn maintenance at the state capitol building that you have to pass on your way to and from work, or the baristas at the coffee shop where you get your morning and afternoon iced teas. it's not about the second glances with soft smiles that strangers will give you, or the way the fabric of your clothing seduces your skin, giving you the all-over glow of a person who loves their life. it's not about any of that.

change your routine. switch it up on people. everyone is watching you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

stop reading this and go outside.

go outside today and get some sun on your pale skin, after you apply sun block so that you won't burn. spread a blanket out, lay on your back. wear your sunglasses, take a magazine to read when you're done watching the birds fly overhead or the ever-changing clouds rapidly pass by, and a large bottle of water because it's pretty hot out today and i worry about you not drinking enough water as it is.

just lay there. feel the wind rush over the hair on your arms, over your kneecaps, your toes. close your eyes. listen to every little thing around you - the sound of that wind shaking the leaves of the privacy hedge next door, the song of the birds in the branches of the tall oak tree to your left, engines and tires, kids on their bikes across the street. if your water bottle blows over, leave it. if the corners of the blanket beneath you get tossed up and over you, leave it. you are busy. you are describing to yourself the sounds of your neighborhood.

stay outside. listen to life happening outside.