There are points in your life when decisions seem like individual mountains to climb. But it all works out if you just trust in your purpose — even if you don’t fully understand what that is yet. Always be honest. Think and write often. Question your ideals; it will make you wiser and your arguments stronger. Trust in the lessons that struggles inevitably bring. Stay in touch with people who have ever made you laugh. And always fall back on love. When all else fails, love — God, your spirit, the universe — will guide you.
My first open mic, June 2016.
Years of depressed, anxious, and resentful energy was released in these two minutes. This reminds me how powerful it is to speak intentionally. A reminder of how challenging and rewarding it is to invite the transformation of negative energy into positive creativity and action. A reminder of why I – we – do this.
A temporary loss of reason,
the permeating sound of treason
echoes from souls, slithers from pores
Out of reckless, stressless tombs it grows
They know, it shows.
They say I’m strong to still be okay
after all the time that’s passed, after all of that
they call me brave?
Embarking on a new scene, chasing a new dream
maybe this one will stick
maybe it will reinvent me
Come back anew, refreshed
I told you I’d be fine,
I’ll be okay.
I’m leaving home, for good - we’ll see
I’m praying they’ll remember me
In a day or week I’ll wake up,
find what’s real amidst this REM sleep
I’ll find a way, I’ll be okay
After all of this, they call me brave?
Well just be strong, don’t say a word, fight for a cause, don’t be too misunderstood
and when it all comes crashing down and you’re standing naked in the Crown
you’ll be okay, just be strong, don’t say a word.
Today was a day like any other
that’s the problem, this spin.
I remember a tire swing on a sandy third grade playground set
It was the first time I ever lost track of where I was
faces pass, motion sickness
Distorted views fly by like a memoryscape of dreams
Sink in, relinquish any hope of finding solid ground or a familiar sound
just for a moment or two of anonymity, without perjury, accepting any chance of injury -
Been spinning ever since
if I jump now I’ll fall to my death
or break some bonds to home.
What’s worse, to fight or fly -
tap out or break my wrist?
I’ve made a vow to endure this suffering,
as if this death gives me something to live for,
for better or 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, it’s your time, we’re fighting for your sake
all you have to do is everything we say”
a wolf in shepherd’s clothing guides us to the edge before they cut the cord
from a lifetime herded, coddled, and prodded
to make you believe that they believe you
and trust, they do 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 trauma brings you here?
the reason for your abandonment of everything you’ve ever known?
They must have hurt you, led you astray
sent you away
It’s 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.
It’s okay - your blood, body, and brain are safe in this foreign place
don’t say a word, just be brave
it works, sometimes
so they say.
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.
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
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.
Just remember, it won't last forever.
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.