Bottom of the ship
descending to the
Bottom of the ocean.
Where and why we flip,
ceiling becoming the floor.
all around me,
all I can see;
When does the feeling that
I haven’t lost you
Begin to sink in?
the world doesn’t need more supermodels.
it needs more role models.
I don’t participate in social media, aside from this blog I suppose, if you want to call it that. But I am adept enough to have picked up on a popular phenomenon known as ‘Throwback Thursday’ which is apparently when people post old photos of themselves or of friends and loved ones.
Well, yesterday I decided to start sorting through old journals and writings from way back when. The oldest piece dates back to 1996, 20 years ago when I was just in high school. (!!!) I’m not promising perfection in any of what follows. But it’s always good to know where you came from. So, let’s start near the beginning:
Looking under things;
searching wherever I go.
I don’t know what to feel anymore,
so I look.
Every corner I turn
I peek to see if it’s there.
Every step I take
I check to see if it’s anywhere near,
Retracing my steps
I look again.
Unsuccessful at my attempts,
Maybe it’s not under something,
but rather in.
I turn to look at you and I see,
I spy what I’ve been searching for.
When I look into your eyes
I see what’s in your heart;
you’ve had it all this time.
Is this why I feel so empty
when you’re not around?
January 1996 (14 years old)
I never noticed how beautiful the music was
Until I listened.
I never knew how beautiful you were
Until I opened my eyes.
There’s something magical about your eyes;
they shimmer and shine like the stars in the sky.
It’s always been there–
It’s just been waiting to be discovered.
August 1997 (16 years old)
You’re a little piece of heaven sent from above;
someone god intended for me to love.
I took you and held you and made you mine;
life is sweet, but love is divine.
August 1997 (16 years old)
No one can sit you down and teach you life’s lessons-
You must learn to paint your life;
fill it with the colors you possess.
No one can steal your portraits away,
so take them and make them wherever you go each day.
I had a dream I met a stranger who already knew my name.
He took my hand, a love affair began.
How affirming it is to be all that someone was waiting for.
within the trees
birds find a home
proving even wings
need to feel rooted.
Why do you imprison yourself so?
Look- you are already free.
Why do you desire more than you already have?
Nothing can be guaranteed.
Why insist you’re not as pure as
you ought to be?
Everything about you, as you are, is worthy.
We choose the life we live-
It’s not a matter of destiny but of volition.
We choose whether to remain a victim.
We choose whether to overcome.
We choose whether to be a hero.
We choose whether to stay or
whether to run.
One thing he doesn’t understand:
Those images traumatized me.
It’s like they triggered my PTSD-
At any moment my instincts
could tell me to go into battle.
But I guess it doesn’t matter
Because you see,
they’re such good friends.
And so it seems,
I’ve been making
love to the enemy.
“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” -Chinese proverb
How frustrating it is to have good intentions only to be misunderstood in the end. But sometimes the way we act, the things we do convey meanings we didn’t aim to project. Through our behavior we communicate an unspokenness; a hidden truth to us; something buried so deep within that it often remains impenetrable even to ourselves. And so it becomes easy to do things that are out of line with our true nature as long as there remains this part of ourselves longing to be named.
But it’s not enough to label a behavior as ‘good’ or ‘bad’; in fact, this is inimical. As long as we carry on simply accepting certain conduct as acceptable or not acceptable, we cannot get to the nitty gritty of what our actions say about us in order to give a voice to all that we’ve been stifling throughout the course of our lives. This state of reticence creates drama and problems for us. It interferes with our ability to ask ourselves whether our behavior is in line with our core values. In fact, it can even prevent us from being able to identify what our values are.
We all know the importance of naming. There is a name for nearly everything under the sun. Expectant parents can have discussions that go on for hours regarding nothing more than what to call their child who is about to enter the world. Just think what would happen to that child’s sense of self if their parents simply chose not to name them. I imagine it would be confusing, disparaging, and lead to a host of insecurities and personal dilemmas for that person.
It is equally important to give name to the motivations behind our actions, avoiding judgement in labels like ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. We must really delve into the dark waters of our kaleidoscopic beings and ask ourselves those tough questions, such as: What or who does my behavior remind me of? What was I feeling when I chose to do this or that? Did my behavior feel like a choice? What are my biggest fears, where did those fears stem from, and how might my behavior be simulating those fears? What has brought me the most pain and suffering? Have I recreated that pain and suffering in someone else’s life? Forget right or wrong. Forget good or bad. This is you getting real with yourself. This is you giving a name unto yourself, one that you have chosen for yourself. Because once you can name the root of your pain, you can set yourself and those around you free from it.
So, moments ago something brilliant happened: I knocked over a glass of water. At first, I did not think it was very brilliant, in fact, I cursed at what had occurred. Because now I had to get up, grab a towel, ya da ya da, so much effort, right? I was really enjoying just sitting there.
But then my brain went back to the split second before this incident occurred. And what my brain was telling my body not to do was knock over that glass of water, spilling it all over me and the couch. But guess what? It fuckin’ didn’t matter because my body didn’t listen, or perhaps gravity wasn’t paying attention, or maybe… I willed it to happen.
By merely entertaining the thought, perhaps I invited that situation into my life. And if that’s the case, how often do we do this? We create things all the time that begin as nothing more than a mere inkling, the very vaguest of ideas, which could have the power to transform the whole world, or at least our own lives. The fact that I can write these words onto a page (because originally I wrote this out on paper!) that started out blank is just an example. Other artists do it all the time: turning nothing into something; bringing their ideas to fruition and watching them grow as they begin to inspire others to develop their own theories and abstractions.
But then I think: don’t we all do this? Our life is a work of art if that’s how we choose to see it. But first, we must will it to be. Do we choose to labor with love, commitment, passion, and drive? Or do we choose to confront our lives like I did when I spilled that glass of water? “Fuckin A! I don’t want to get off the couch!“