Something inside, that was always denied, for so many years

My soul is heavy this morning on my beach. I leave home in ten days. I’ve known for a long time that this was necessary to my continued growth and exploration of my artistic voice. I know it will be hard, but I am moving on with innumerable lessons learned on many fronts and have healed in more ways than ever expected. Four and a half years ago I was sitting outside of boundary hall, brainstorming on Wilmington projects. I had felt its potential and wanted to tap in. Over the next couple months, a huge idea would bring me back home. I tried, I “failed”, God prevailed. He showed me through a series of divine events that He knew what was up. I was let down by my failure to open a gallery, but because of the setback and since, have had full time jobs in 3 very different industries that showed me my true strengths and passions. I’ve learned more lessons than I thought possible for myself. Being here has afforded me time and confidence to confront my fears and invest in my intentions. I’ve developed a deep relationship with the artist of my spirit. It is this tapping of the well that allows me to go forth with my thirst of five years ago quenched - and then some - with supplies on lock for any pit of desperation to come. I know I have a lot to learn, and it’s possible that I would have reached this point no matter what path I chose until now. But I wouldn’t trade these experiences with anything, I am blessed. 

Often times I’ve contemptuously begged “What am I doing here?” And I know my family has seen the worst of my cynicism. In some ways, my career has been on hold. I could have gone anywhere, done anything out of college. My parents and I fought about my decision to come home “just to teach dance”. The conviction I had in that moment has rung true and still stands - I will be better because of this. On a deeper level, I can see now that I was also lead home to heal old and deep wounds resulting and remaining from tragedy. Wounds that never scarred and continued to ache. The unanticipated deepness of understanding I have for the complexities and dynamics of family interaction is the most significant part of my previous journey. We have something special that I too often took for granted. Not everyone gets to see nearly half of all their relatives on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis. This closeness has ignited difficult conversations and experiences that I would have otherwise most likely continued to ignore, and is thus the most important to my recent growth. We have learned that healing takes time, it takes each other, and it takes hard shit standing in your way to decide to fight or retreat back, again. It has also shown me love like I’ve never known. My brother, cousin, nana, aunts, uncles, new sister, mom and Pop have become my best friends over the last 4 years. I take with me their best qualities to guide me on my way:

Pop’s disciplined work ethic and reflection, Mom's selfless compassion and reverence, Eric’s devotion to foundation, family, love and loyalty, Alison’s grace and discernment, Nana’s wit and vigor and determination, Megan’s humility and sense of justice, Uncle Rick's patience and wisdom, Aunt Linda’s focus and service, Aunt Diane’s charm and positivity.. 

I have all I need because of you. I am happy, full, and ready to take on my next challenge. 

Now start planning your trips to Portland ASAP. I love you, see you on the West Coast.

 

The Cure

For some reason I’ve retained an obscure memory where I’m swinging on a tire swing on a late afternoon, after school hours, on the playground at my elementary school in 3rd or 4th grade. I don’t even remember how I got there. It was the first time I ever lost track of where I was. Faces pass, is this motion sickness? Life flies by, undisputed like a memoryscape of dreams. At a point, I give in, for just a moment relinquishing any hope of finding solid ground or a familiar sound. Just for a moment or two of anonymity, without perjury. And then, for the first time in my life, pure and utter nausea.

I’ve never gotten off of that swing.

If i jump now I’ll fall to my death, break some bonds to home. What’s worse, the fight or the flight? Tap out or break my wrist? No - I’ve made a vow to endure this suffering, this death has given me something to live for. Ah, what’s it worth, for better or for worse, I’m losing faith in this routine,

a tricked-out narrative to cure a first world soul.

so just make yourself smell pretty, make yourself look brave

don’t worry darling, its your time, we’re fighting for your sake,

all you have to do is everything we say

the wolf in shepherd’s clothing

leads us to the edge before they cut the cord

a lifetime herded, coddled, and prodded 

to make you believe that they believe you 

as long as you follow the rules

so just be strong, don’t say a word,

and we’ll finally be okay. 

so whats your story dear? what brings you here?

an escape from treason 

is that the reason for your abandonment of everything you’ve ever known?

they must have hurt you, led you astray

sent you away

its okay - your blood, body, and brain are safe in this foreign place.

don’t think too much, 

don’t cry for fun, 

don’t try to run, 

you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to get back home

3000 miles to who I used to be

I’ve never been much for running

its okay - your blood, body, and brain are safe in this foreign place

don’t say a word, just be brave

‘it works, sometimes’ they say.

Beaming, Becoming

To be a breath, to be your dream –

one you don’t quite understand beneath the burden of your REM sleep

You wake and search for meaning, apply it to your life and feel absolved from the indecency you’ve seen.

Until we beam, I’ll meet you there

where we’ll roam through poppy-covered life rafts afloat a gold-leafed old oak sea

in search of youth and mystic truth 

we tumble through heavy hearts some other hopefuls left behind

 

A Metaphor

To you I am the sea. Distant, mystic, ceaseless in its ebb and flow

Existing in a memory of that time I made you float. 

Like the ocean she is full of creatures, arriving at your shore with hesitation, 

a ripple away from the magnificent heights that brought her to you. 

Too far and wide her waters reach, too much to hold, too soon

like the way they rest beside her strength, you take comfort in knowing she surrounds. 

She locks you in, 

You step inside, 

salt cleanses and wrinkles your skin, 

evidence that you felt it too. 

Preface

It’s like the end of a storm. An image of you peeking through the glass door, just to be sure that it’s really over. A hand extends into the eery unknown. Its pale goose-bumped limb behind it. Through humid windless cold it reaches, then signals an all clear as a hand grasps the paint-chipped door frame that reveals the "Big Top Red" hue underneath. A memory flashes. Painting with your father on a Saturday in April when you were 11, before the circus turned into a sideshow. A bare toe makes hesitant contact with damp unsettled soil. The roots from an old oak - whose branches stretch dangerously close overhead - have been surfacing for years, but they seem especially exposed lately. You were always barefoot, playing outside with your brothers and the neighborhood treehouse gang until the warts had to be frozen off by another one of your mother’s home-made potions. In perfect choreographed form, a thigh follows, then the other knock-kneed leg, unshaven and full of bruises from another night you don’t remember. The air is crisp but heavy, coupled with a fading charcoal sky. It hangs and haunts silent and melancholy - like the end of an anticipated performance wrapped after months of preparation - demanding inspiration or depression. Nothing in between these two opposing intensities exists. Doesn’t it though? You’ve been trapped in that abyss until this very moment. Caught in the pickle between passionate purpose and a vacuum of self-doubt, triggered by the world’s accomplishments that have swirled, taunted, and deafened your motivation. Like a cloaked knight descending from a sphere of darkness, the storm’s remnants embraces you with a sly grey kiss and your body begins to unravel and unfold, melting into the tantalizing fog that surrounds.

For a decade you’ve been staring out of that glass, bracing for shattered impact. You’ve imagined blood mixing with water and dirt as they relentlessly rush in from sideways rain, accompanied with hail and memories you abandoned somewhere in the depths of your wild mind. For some time, in spite of your own suffering, you've fought against the elements, but nothing of human capacity could ever keep you dry or wash away the pain that is now inked permanently into sore skin. The moment at which you release clenched fists, the cold washes over you and a wheezy, desperate inhale cuts through the air. Then it’s all over, leaving nothing but soaked walls and a life-dependent choice; to drown or to float to dry land. You have been floating ever since. But it’s felt like drowning most of the time, and you’ve never known the difference. Not until now. You take another careful breath, one that actually refills lungs with something clean instead of more suffocating sharpness. Tingles from your scalp to the depth of your chest awaken life that once existed in your soul. My soul. Yes, it remains. Eyes turn outward from the narcosis that has paralyzed for 10 years. Out here, in the vastness of the storm's end, what should feel empty and lifeless is the only thing that makes any sense. For the first time in a long time, flesh is hydrated by sun instead of rain. Finally, out here in this wilderness, lost memories hold less weight and inspiration abounds; a new season awaits, it is time.