Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Start of Something (as Yet Untitled), A Story Perhaps?

It’s not quite dawn. The smoky dark is thick and there is a lightening crawling up from the cracks in the corners of the sky. The crickets and cicadas are croaking at full boom; they are so noisy that it surprises me. Early birds timidly call out and wait for a response that is slow or maybe not to come at all. It is the last days of summer, still humid but cooler in the mornings. I am running—not fast, but measured, paced.  The street lights are evenly spaced animating my shadow into a loop all of its own; close to me and dark black, then stretching 8, 10, 20 feet long across the pavement and fading into the bright of the next bulb; then again my black shadow, small and close, then it grays as it stretches and disappears into the light.  The rhythmic rebirth of my shadow self, like a trance, keeps my mind quiet. I don’t see the hawk before I hear it. The screech, bright through the thrum of crickets, calls to me. I see the outline of the hawk circling above and I follow.

Once I followed a hawk in my car with my window down and radio off so I could hear the caw as it flew in and out of the tree-line. I lost it after 60 miles, but I found a solitary diner instead. In the diner, I met Garnet and Garnet saved my life. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dj, Please Pick Up the Phone, I'm on the Request Line

When I moved to New York I was still entangled with a boyfriend who was not moving to New York. We both knew how the inevitable scenario would play out but we decided to stay in-frame together for a little while longer. I suppose that bit of dishonesty was an honest effort to smooth our transition. It meant lots of phone calls and a handful of sweet visits with long goodbyes. It meant keeping half of my life from him (the parts that I knew he wouldn’t approve of, like making out with that dj at Maria’s party or dancing with J.T. on the table at the hiphop club.)

There was something false about us, about me—I wanted him to see me the way that he always had and not see me that way that I really was. We were uncomfortably straddling two lives, in two cities, with a different face in each place. The reward of our lie was equal to a pound of pain for a mere ounce of comfort. In our last communion, I was listening to a new CD that I’d purchased after hearing a single on Hot 107.5.  He made fun of that song and told me to turn it off.  “You don’t like crap like that,” he said. I laughed and remember telling him that I was tired of being inauthentic—that I was tired of faking it for him (or for anyone.)  I couldn’t fake it anymore. Not the music, not the dancing or kissing, and not me. Our relationship was over.

Folks I grew up with always thought of me as authentic and honest and strong willed and I was all of those things, but I also looked to others for approval (just like every wallflower and jock and nerd and betty and rocker and pot-head loser—we are all the same.)  I haven’t stopped looking to others to see what they think, but I have stopped letting that look change me.

After all this time, that moment, however small, was a moment that defined me.  It was a moment of pure self and raw selfishness, a moment of inequity and fearlessness. I let go of someone good to become someone greater, someone more real.  And in that becoming, I became less sorry and more myself.  And shit, that song became my anthem for freedom and trusting myself.

I am not a closet fan of anything. I am an outright fan. I don’t have “guilty pleasures” just pleasures. I’m not ashamed that I like stupid tv shows (vampire diaries, dawson’s creek, nashville) and hot hip hop and r&b (missy elliott, rihanna, beyonce, ludacris, wakkaflokkaflame).  This is just part of who I am. It is good to be me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This is the house that I drew as a kid.

I never drew the house that I wanted to live in, just drew the representation of a house—drew an icon of house, a house for position only (FPO). This is the house that all kids draw. Or rather it could be a house than any kid drew.

And in this FPO house there lived a mom and a dad and a dog and a cat and me. There were comfortable couches and coffee tables covered in books and legos and coffee cups.  It was bright and cheery and smelled like pies baking and soup on the stove. And the dog had a dog house out back that matched the style, color, and design of our house (generic box house with a roof and windows.) In the house we ate in the kitchen and had a rumpus room in the basement full of toys and a giant tv and trophies. Upstairs there were 3 bedrooms, one for my parents, one for me, and some kind of “office” for my dad—in my dream he would work there and it would be overflowing with books and smell of leather, paper, dust, and Old Spice cologne. This was the dream. Is this the dream that all kids have?

And what happens to a dream deferred, does it shrivel up like a raisin in the sun?

Nah, just changes and shifts—not the dream of the FPO me, but the grown-up me. The me that knows what a house is and what a home should be. The office is mine now and not my husband’s. I need a place to write and it will not smell like Old Spice. I am no longer the child but the mom now. Our house will be full of logos and comfortable couches. And honestly, I could live without a dog (I do love dogs, just also love living without pets.)  But the rest is pretty much right on—not sure where the trophies will come from but my money’s on S.

And in real life I am way older than I thought I would be before I lived in a house. When I was a kid crayoning out my vision, the mom was 24 if she was a day. 36-year-olds were grandparents with AARP subscriptions living in retirement villages.  I had no concept of age, didn’t know that 36 was very early middle age and not minutes away from soft food and the death rattle.

I will be 37 in December. Thirty-fucking-seven. Middle life, here I come. (And as I was reminded recently, turning 37 is better than the alternative….)