The Win

My hope for you today is that you recognise the win.

That when your continuous labour of love finally folds amidst your constant push – removes the occasional stumbling block and lets you stand a little straighter, you feel that relief;

My hope for you is that you breathe that moment, that the reprieve seeps in and reignites the hope within.

That the fear that barks around your ankles – urging you to venerate the strain we call the hustle, rolls over and plays dead to your victory lay.

That you take your moment when you have won;

do not bury the song.

Inspiration Prose et Poesie

Warrior, You Are

Do you know what a tough road it is?

Life,

I mean.

 

One truth is none of us do. In the manner that looking across a vast expanse cannot immediately tell us if the terrain will take a lot from us, or a little.

 

Sometimes, we grow by an oasis.

Sometimes, we are lost in a sea of sand.

The vehicles we all move through dictating

if we will crumble or stand strong.

 

We cannot know how tough this is.

Life,

I mean.

Not, surely, till we get to the end of the road.

 

What a warrior you are, Adventurer, facing the unknown.

Inspiration Prose et Poesie

Buried in the Weeds

“Say you had a tougher love to give, Maeve. Would you do it? Or would you never risk dancing that close to trauma’s border?”

“Hmmm” – Maeve

“Ah”, he said, pre-empting those non-verbal cues he thought he read so well. “But what if you didn’t?” He was in full steam now, having triggered that cognitive latch that it seemed only ever showed it’s key hole with Maeve in the cut.

But, no, he hadn’t pre-empted the non-verbals after all. She was… Tired.

What the fuck? “Baby? Are you even listening?”

“Yes, Eli. But I also popped 2 5s an hour ago. I don’t know that it matters that I am because I can’t engage.”

Eli, 25, disappointed. A real pull-yourself-up-by-the-ankle-tats sort. Dreamer. Finisher. Seed. All this tremendous potential buried in the weeds.

Maeve, 29, satiated. A life already well spent basking on the well-grazed lawns of epicurean tenets. Ethereal, rebel, stud. One stop shop for, “all of the above”.

“Say this is an elaborate ploy for me to get in your pants?”

“Then it would succeed on no fronts. It isn’t a ploy, it isn’t elaborate, and it most certainly will not end with you actually in my pants.

Besides, I never wear pants. I am not modeling an aesthetic that would portray me as sartorially challenged.

And what the fuck did I say about calling me baby?!”

And she was supposed to be having an off evening, Eli thought. This was not going as planned, not at all… ugh, retreat.

“Ayve, my bad, man. I was just in that sweet spot and you know how light I get when I let it carry me away.” He smiled. She relented. All was unwound.

Sort of.

She walked to the fridge and pulled out a PBR. He knew damn well that beer was warm. He’d put the whole 6 pack in the fridge not 12 minutes ago, several minutes after he’d walked in, only two after she’d asked if they were drinking urine for their nightcap.

“I’m really sleepy, Eli”, she said, stifling a yawn as she plopped herself back on to the couch. “We can dive into it another time. Right now, all I wanna do is stay awake long enough to drink this beer and stare comatose at a screen.”

She started up quickly, catching herself, “And before you go there, no, we aren’t diving into whatever you’re thinking. Your name isn’t Sean and your latest hit isn’t an ode to my amazing V.” Her eyes danced in the pale blue light emanating from the TV screen. She set those twinkling orbs on him.

“Alright then, so why am I here tonight if its not that and we’re not engaging in meaningful debate? What do you suggest we do to pass the time till we both fall asleep?”

Shrug.

“Settle in?”

“Eli.” She said his name like a punch. He could feel the dent.

“You came over so we could chill, drink a couple cold ones,” she eyed her PBR suspiciously, “eat a bunch of girl scout cookies, and waste away like two morons who have a deep appreciation and understanding for each other’s moronic tendencies.”

‘I was also hoping to get some of your witty banter, my bon mot tossing friend.” He wasn’t pleased with her plans, but he was mollified that she thought of him when she thought of base comfort. There were no layers she needed to keep on with him around. That was it’s own sort of reward. He guessed.

“Not tonight. It’s been a long week. Maybe tomorrow.” She put her feet on the ottoman and slid forward till she was at a weird 30 degree angle, neck wedged firmly on the couch’s backrest. “Besides, we’re all tiny balls of trauma anyway, just waiting to be triggered. That’s the saddest Friday night topic ever.”

He sighed, still disappointed.

“Alright, I’m picking the movie. And I am not sleeping on the floor. So you’re going to have to drag yourself…”

The doorbell rang, biting off what would have been a chunky yet unappetizing rant around his sleeping patterns and needs. Maeve glanced in the door’s general direction non-committally. He looked at her then followed her gaze. The doorbell rang again.

“Soooo, are you gonna get that?”

She shrugged.

What had she eaten anyway? Straight indica? Damn. Zombie.

“I’m gonna answer it.” He uncrossed his legs.

She was already back to her previous position; chin leaning on her sternum. She nodded. “But I’m not expecting anyone so you could also give it a rest and let whoever that is give us a rest too.”

But he was already up and moving *somewhat* purposefully towards the door.

The damn doorbell went off again.

“Ayy chill man, it’s been all of 14 seconds and you’re not Grubhub.”

Through the peephole was a man that couldn’t be much older than Eli was. Or maybe he could be 35. Age is such a trippy social construct anyway. He was looking a little sweaty (“she’s only three floors up and there’s an elevator, dumbass”), and he’d never seen the face before. He continued studying the face, unsure now.

“Hello? I can hear you breathing on the other side of the door. Maeve? Please. Open the door. Your dad gave me your address.”

Her dad? Maeve hadn’t spoken to her father for the better part of 15 years. And the man had been in jail for most of those years. Who was this dude? How did her dad know where she lived?

The apartment went quiet. She had hit the pause button on Netflix. Oh wait, she was also standing beside him. How had she got here so fast?

She looked through the peephole, familiar mask of studied indifference cloaking all her actions now. No look of recognition, no signs of surprise. He had moved out of her way, immediately, of course. She undid the lock and opened the door a crack, “You better not be a fucking reporter and he better have told you this address with his dying breath – What do you want?”

“My name is T. All other personal details are unimportant. But, when Marcus went to jail, we had an agreement. I’ve been playing mega millions everyday to fulfill that agreement.”

Sooo, not 35 either. Age, man.

“I had the winning numbers 2 weeks ago and I’ve been trying to find you ever since to give them to you.”

Maeve shut the door. Same mask on, no shock, no disbelief, nothing. She locked the door and walked back to the couch.

Eli staggered a step in her direction then turned back, taking a step towards the door. He was utterly flabbergasted. ” B-b-b-butt-t-t, hold up, Ayve. Hold up!” He ran in front of her, hands held out in front of him to slow her momentum, just in case she decided to keep moving and crashed into him. “Let’s think this through, now. There is a man – yes, a sketchy man with an initial for a name, but there is A MAN AT THE DOOR WHO IS TRYING TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”

What he did not say, and didn’t think he needed to, was that his life would change too, even if it was only through the happy coincidence of being her friend.

“Get out of my way, Eli. I already told you about my plans for this evening.”

Eli, surprisingly, did not budge. The possibilities for the millions ahead making him bold. “Just listen to what the nice, sketchy man has to say in full. That can’t hurt.”

Maeve was staring at him, unblinking. When she got this way, it was terrifying. You could never tell if she was planning your very detailed homicide, or if she was about to gift you a travel companion ticket to Kauai, like that one time last summer. #travelbestie.

She blinked, once. Slowly.

He moved out of her way. Quickly.

“Yep, you’re not in the mood right now. Totally get it. Plus the 2 5s, I haven’t forgotten. I’ll tell him to come back tomorrow, if he’s legit.” She shot him a sidelong look. “I’ll tell him to meet you … us”, another look, “at the coffee shop on the corner tomorrow morning.”

Netflix was already back on now and he was definitely talking to himself.

He half ran, half slid to the door, slowing down only enough to stop himself ramming into it. Only, now that he was here, he wasn’t sure he wanted T seeing his face or knowing his name. He said loudly, through the closed door, “thanks for stopping by! Please come by at 11 tomorrow morning. We’ll meet you at Cheaper by the Baker’s Dozen, then. It’s around the corner. Goodnight.”

He looked through the peephole to see if T had heard him. There was no one there. Could he have just dreamt up the last 10 minutes? Possibly. This was exactly the sort of thing that had his therapist telling him to lay off the recreational drugs.

He walked back to the couch in a daze. Maeve was staring half lidded at the latest episode of “Sex Education”. He dropped in a heap beside her, stretching his legs out on  the rug, eyes dead centre. He didn’t need any non-verbal cues telling him to STFU till the next morning. Damn, he should have picked up the PBRs from the fridge.

Prose et Poesie

A Shaky Breath

What is the sound of resolve?

A crackling

Fanned flames of frivolous hopes framing the doubt dressed in darkness?

The firewood of punctuated ululations severing ties that leave

you on your feet but do not feed you on your toes.

 

A scraping

Rubber licking asphalt one grain of hard-fought grey after the other?

Barren boots warring against the smattering of wet skin on

fiery hard packed ground

Toppling time and again because you knock yourself down as often as the world does.

 

Like nothing

Silence so absolute with a world not watching

Breath held, waiting interminably for the other shoe to drop

When you know you never intend to let go of the laces

you cling to; because you are in control.

 

Bet it looks like a shaky breath-

Arms crossing, folding into one’s chest

Mouth agape, teeth bared, eyes focused

Above the “insurmountable best”

 

And it feels like a reckoning

Like fear and faith, or fear alone

or an emptiness – a will wilted, but alive

Whispering secrets of your unmalleable core;

Bone to unshakeable bone.

Prose et Poesie

Strength

Hi you. Yes, you.

You’ve been telling yourself that you aren’t strong. A direct contradiction to the face you put out every morning; the one others filled with their own expectations and emotions judge you by. And that contradiction is killing you. Slowly.

You’re strong! You’re strong. Not every time, now. Not every hour of every day, and certainly not every day of every week.

It’s okay that you struggle with yourself and your mind, and the anxieties of work, which you can’t stop conflating with the anxieties of life. It’s okay when you feel like the people in your life with whom you can be vulnerable for their strength, no longer have their own secure foundation and so cannot carry you. It’s okay to want to take a break from them then, as you learn. It’s okay, too, to forgive them for being human, even as you forgive yourself for being the same. But then, remember, you are strong. You’ve just gotta pick yourself up.

 

Inspiration Journaling

Trust Me. Please?

My iPhone has had this little problem ever since I got it – it doesn’t sync with my laptop. It never has. Whenever I plug it in, it asks me if I would like to “trust” this computer. MY computer (Yes, damn it, I said yes the last plug in as well, and put in the passcode to prove it!). Now, I got it in my head almost immediately that I would not be able to retrieve my phone memory if I went to the apple store to have it looked into; that they would do a factory reset and that would be it for years of obsessively preserved (and sometimes stolen) photos and other random virtual memorabilia. Did I ever actually go to to the apple store and find out my options? Nope. But somehow, every time this point of frustration has come up over the past year, I’ve treated it like some given part of life; some fixture that will never change as long as I own this phone – like when I dropped the 1000 dollars for the purchase I had also signed some very small dotted line agreeing to a couple years of growing pains.

I say that last part like a joke but in the end I actually had. My brain had jumped and jumped from mental block to mental block; skipped one mental hurdle just to trip over another, only to arrive at this absurd conclusion. And now? I’m the individual in possession of some really stodgy alternative facts simply because I refused to do my research. More absurd than that was the ease with which I allowed my brain convince me that I did not have the 30 minutes of energy or time to stop by the apple store on my way home from work one day to ask the question and perhaps get it fixed. Even more absurd, if one could believe it, is the certainty with which I accepted this fact. The phone trust issue became a “known” precept, something around which I had to adjust myself if I intended to feel more at ease. All it did was increase my resting sense of discomfort. Yet I knowingly (most days really on this subconscious level) and willingly allowed this to continue for a year. And there are so many other things and areas of my life that have lain dormant and unquestioned for eons past their season simply because of this passive mindset I’ve kept.

I say passive because it has surely not been something I’ve actively thought about in this manner. If I had earlier, perhaps I might already be a few steps down the road to remediation. It is, however, never too late. It’s just still crazy to me how we sometimes let ourselves be our own biggest blocks in what are, sometimes, the seemingly most innocuous ways. All we can hope for is discernment and the spirit to tell your goddamn lazy ass to get the hell up and keep pushing for you. To come through for you. To love you enough to BE you, fully exploring and realizing all that potential, all those possibilities. 

The hope is that we do this always; that we manage this without wasting accumulating minutes repeatedly telling one inanimate object to display the very animated, human emotion of trust for another similarly inanimate and decidedly non-human object. Over and over again. My God. What a bloody waste of time.

Journaling

Vingt-VI

26 was a funny age. I’m glad I saw it, I’m glad I’m letting it go. No pro necessarily outweighing a con, just a centredness, which, I guess, summed up 26.

My girlfriends  and I were talking recently about regular millennial things – podcasts, tv shows, Mindy Kaling, partnerships, hip-hop hot yoga, when it dawned on us that 26 could be a more pivotal year sometimes than 25. And in more ways than the American loss of that comfort umbrella that we call a parent’s insurance plan (this particular group of girls were mostly immigrants anyway). Perhaps it is because 25 leads right up to it with all its expectation and promise; the expected quarter life crisis that always comes before or after that milestone age. Perhaps it’s the feeling of stepping away from something young, even if it is just your early twenties, and youth’s firm, unblemished hand is still firmly gripping your shoulder.

26 is perhaps the age, we decided, where you first realise you just might need to put your hand up in a yoga class when they ask about any pains or injuries. Because you suddenly realize you have some of those, and they might be lingering aches rather than fleeting injuries. And then there’s the second puberty – where did these hips come from??? 

It is for all accounts and purposes, supposed to be a filler year. Nothing of significant glamour is supposed to happen; nothing with significant weight is supposed to shift. And that is perhaps what makes it the most surprising – the continued realization that our calendars are arbitrary things and that wisdom and erosion can and do occur at any age. (But somehow these are aged concepts one doesn’t really linger on till after 25).

This last year I chased festivals and faffery, fortitude and fuel, fiercely. I asked new questions about old things – lineage, culture, status quo, and searched for peace, as the self-knowledge I had previously been seeking brought its fair share of turmoil.

In the end though, 26 came and left, just like I wanted. Cheers to 27.

Journaling

The Undertone

Mary stood on a stoop alone

Righteous and alone

Flawed and alone

Relying on precepts that wore her out

like stone on the more malleable stone

of her own resolve.

 

Mary stood on a stoop, tall

Soaring and tall

Flailing but tall

Afraid that her perch could not hold her weight

Afraid that she would fall

 

Mary stood on a stoop to shout

To clarify but shout

To defend and shout

No one else knew what Mary was about

Her perch was too tall –

“Why she yellin’ at us, for clout?”

 

Mary stood on a stoop to love

“How can you love from above?”

“How can you love from above?!”

You need to stand on your own two feet

to love.

How’s Mary gonna understand if she’s above?

 

Mary stood on a stoop to be heard

To be seen and heard

To be felt and heard

For years and years, she had cared so much

but couldn’t be heard

She’d whispered for love  but no one had cared

to whisper back

 

So Mary gave up her stoop forlorn

Aching at the scorn

Misunderstood and worn

Wondering why she’d ever been born if

it wasn’t to find a stoop of her own.

 

Prose et Poesie

Save.

Come, pour it all out to me. In a moment of true need.

 

Shiiiiiittt. You woke up hella late, slept through hella alarms, and cost yourself 20 bucks this morning. Best believe you’re broke enough right now that that makes a difference. A huge one.

You’re having a rough day – can’t you tell? Can’t you smell the doubt, anxiety and self derision – sulfur fumes rising from the well? You’re tempted to gather, to push through, to self-love, to pull loose of this infernal grip.

But today? No. Today, you could have maimed a man in a UPS outfit, if he’d turned out to be a burglar.

Save.

You don’t save. You haven’t yet managed to save yourself. It’s been years in this war that you’re fighting; Constantly engaged and projecting to the world so you don’t have to face yourself. So you can face another and hate the shell. It’s hollowed out – that hologram, because the mirror’s a hoax.

You can’t project your worst on to the world and then face the demons that stare back because you can’t slay a reflection of a problem when the problem is you.

Save.

How can you save others, how can you save yourself? Service. Full service pain. Full service problems. A continental strain.

Why you can’t win at this war? Why you’re always losing? You’re not being you. You’ve been hiding under years of rock and shield. Under years of cover from soul. Sometimes you can’t feel it anymore, what you would do. You see it sometimes in quiet bursts. In eclipses of fear-defying proclamations. You see it hide, retreating tactically as you backtrack your ‘lapses’ and pad over the cracks in the sculpted suit you present as yourself. You see it. Can you save it?

Can you save you from you?

Being honest to yourself is a war you have been losing. But the war, not the battles. You see the truth through the chinks in that armour. You will save yourself – piece by stone, hard, metallic, piece. Then you will save that armour. To remind yourself of what it is to live in the fear, in emotional squalor.

You’re having a bad day.

No one can save you but yourself.

Because no one else can save you from yourself.

Journaling Prose et Poesie