Highway at Night

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If you asked me why I write, I would ask you not to ask me that. You already know the answer. But if I must tell you, I am searching. And you already know what for. In a world that moves too fast, that moves too slowly, that never seems to move in a way that makes sense to me, I am searching.

The answer lies by the oceanside, of course. It floats around me in the salty, sea air. It ebbs and flows towards and away from me on the crest of each frothy, cerulean wave. When I’m ready to find the answers, the ocean is where I’ll be. The ocean is where I’ll be, if you’re ever looking to find me.

I write because too often my lips trip and stumble over words that are too inadequate for the tumbling thoughts in my mind. I write because there aren’t many souls in my life who would understand what I meant, and also what I didn’t. I write because sometimes the words build up on my clumsy tongue and I begin to feel as though I may scream. I write to find release.

If you ask me why I write, I would tell you it’s because I love you. I love so many You’s. So many like You. So many who aren’t like You. I want to share with you the things I cannot share with those I hold so close to me. You could say I hold you closer. I write to not feel so alone even though I don’t too much mind being lonely.

I write because the night hours stretch ahead of me like a damned, black highway, leading to something that leaves me feeling unsure, a highway that leads nowhere. I write to fill the silence. I write to quiet the noise. I write to fill the emptiness. I write when I need to be alone.

I write because I am searching. Like so many others like me, I write to find what I am missing. I already know what it is I am looking for. I just don’t know when I’ll find it.

Make Believe

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Memories of playing dress-up and tea party, just a young thing in a world of wonderment, an imagination without boundaries, escaping reality at every chance. But no, that’s not how life was. I was young once, and I had a vivid imagination, but nothing ever as innocent as princess tea parties and fairy godmothers. I dreamt of being beautiful, of belonging to a family that I resembled instead of the one that I wasn’t born into. A mother with the same tawny shaded skin as me, the same full lips and thick, dark, wavy hair.

I lived inside of fictional worlds, scrawling my soul onto pages as early as I can remember. Spiral notebook after notebook, stacked in neat piles until I reached the age where I needed something more, sturdy, fancy books whose pages I tore with my pens, hiding them on the top of closet shelves and under mattresses, underneath wardrobe dressers, wherever I could find some privacy.

The feeling of exposure when my privately written words were read by eyes they weren’t meant for. My soul being ridiculed and dreams being degraded and destroyed. Yet still I wrote. I never gave it up. Writing is what I do. It’s all I have.

I never dreamt of love, it was always a fairytale, a fable, fiction that was beyond my comprehension. I couldn’t even write a love story if my life depended on it. What is love? A mythical creature, the things nightmares are made of.

As an adult I continued to try to play pretend. I tried to be a wife and mother like those I read of so often in my beloved novels. One that is domestic and caring and dutiful and beautiful and all it got me was pain and pain and more pain. A madness so deep and dark that I prayed for it to end but it never did.

I pretended to be okay, I pretended to be alive. I pretended that I wasn’t pretending. I made myself into who I thought I was supposed to be, so many different sides of me, it was what I imagine being schitzophrenic must be like. While I was trying to find myself, it seems that I lost myself. And after I was done pretending, after I had run out of imaginary plotlines, after I had hit rock bottom, a brick wall, what I thought was the end, only then did I begin to live.

Truth

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Did I say too much? Did my vulnerability and temporary moment of madness make you uncomfortable? I tried to hold it in, but it had to be let loose or I would’ve begun to slowly crumble like a cliffside weathered away by the ocean waters I love so much. I almost regretted letting you see that side of me, but it is who I am.

I lay in bed for so long, wishing for sleep to overcome me, for me to forget about the chaos that was bubbling inside, slowly taking over every part of me. And eventually, it did. After my tears had dried up and my heart calmed a bit, I was drug into the peaceful depths of sleep where the nightmares didn’t come and for that, I was thankful.

But then this morning I was worried. Maybe I shouldn’t have spoken those words. Maybe I should’ve tried harder to find a way out of that dark place. Sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes it feels like drowning. Like drowning while sailing through the air, waiting to hit rock bottom.

I tried to occupy my mind with videos and words and sleep. I tried to will myself to be at peace. And then I worried that I said too much. Did I say too much?

But those words were the most real. They were my truth. They were painful and dark but beautiful in their own way because they were my truth.

 

Imprisoned

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When it gets like this it frightens me how quickly the illness takes over, but really, can I even call it an “illness”? True, there’s a pill I can take to help diminish this sickness which I’ve only just swallowed down before I started writing this, but the illness, I don’t think I will ever fully recover from it. My teeth feel numb and the underside of my tongue tingles which has always been a warning sign of an oncoming episode. I keep thinking of those people in that waiting room, the one I always feel so out of place in, the people that I can’t decide whether or not I’m not as sick as because I cannot express my insanity as well as they do or that I’m sicker than for the same reason. I need to be held right now and told that I’m loved and safe but if this were to actually happen I wouldn’t believe the words anyhow. There’s a black sadness building inside of me that I know will turn into rage tomorrow and I’ll hate nearly everything that I know I truly love. My bed will be my sanctuary and my mind will be my prison and I’ll spend the next few weeks replaying every single moment between the last time and this time, trying to remember the offense I committed to deserve such a cruel punishment.

Ordinary Woman, Extraordinary Love

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I’m just an ordinary woman, but with an extraordinary amount of love. I get told often, by men and women alike, that I am beautiful, but I hope it is what I hold inside of me that is what they see. I hope that my love brightens everything about me. I hope it reaches out and shines a light in the darkest times of need for those around me. I hope that it helps, even if only one person. I’m just an ordinary woman, but with an extraordinary amount of love.

I’ve been hurt a lot in the past, sometimes I know the sadness shows in my eyes. I know that I seem weary and others cannot understand that it isn’t so much a physical pain as it is an emotional and mental burden that I have carried for so long. I’ve tried and tried to let it go, through counseling and through written words, through acts of kindness and meaningful friendships. Many people think that they would have broken beyond repair in situations in which I had no other choice but to pick up my shattered pieces, hold them together as best I could and continue on- for myself, for those I love, for the future, for my sanity. Maybe I was wrong for searching inside myself for forgiveness towards those who hurt me tremendously, but I’m just an ordinary woman with an extraordinary amount of love.

Sometimes people will get to know me and tell me that I’m a better person than they are because I don’t handle unpleasant situations with resentment and retaliation, because I take a breath and say a prayer and let it roll over me. I don’t deny that I sometimes wish for karma, but in these times I pray even harder, for forgiveness for me for having wished ill on another human, forgiveness for who has hurt me. I’ve been called a pushover more times in my life than I’ve probably been called by my actual name. Sometimes it’s used as an insult, sometimes it’s said in pity. It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore because I know I am an ordinary woman with an extraordinary amount of love.

I listen to people’s stories, their stories of pain and love lost, of regrets and fears and loss of hope for the future, and I try to help them see the silver lining, I try to help them see all that they have and can be grateful for now, even though oftentimes people don’t want to hear this. The human spirit is not easily broken, but once it is, it can be difficult to repair. I do what I can and say the prayers that I hold close and believe that one day, things will be better. I try and keep the faith. I’m just an ordinary woman but with an extraordinary amount of love.

Sometimes all my heart desires is to believe I am as beautiful on the inside as I am told I am on the outside. Sometimes it’s hard. Most times it’s hard. Sometimes I see it. Sometimes I try very hard to see it. I look around me and try to find the beauty in everything and everyone around me. Sometimes this is also hard. Sometimes it’s very hard. I am just an ordinary woman, but with an extraordinary amount of love.

đź’–

 

 

Sunrise

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Searching to find beauty in times that can be so dark, finding joy wherever I can get it. I used to hate taking pictures, especially pictures of myself because I used to feel as though I were being fake somehow, deceiving, only showing parts of my life that were filled with light and happiness instead of all of the moments in between in which I struggled and hurt and felt as though a part of me were dying a little bit. I told myself no one cared about those moments, that no one wanted to see and hear about these moments when everywhere in the world there are far too many moments like these already. But these moments of darkness are just as important as my moments of light. They are a part of what has made me Me. They are what have taken part in shaping me, molding me into who I am and so I only find it fair to share those moments as well. Something beautiful can be born out of something ugly and while at the time it can seem this will never happen, sometimes the sun rises on the horizon even when I think it has been snuffed out.

This Is How I Love You

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Have I told you lately that I love you? Because I do. I love it that we share the passion for words. Words and mental images that only we can see but that we try our best to share with those we care for, those we’ve never met, with the world. Words that touch hearts, make minds ponder, inspire and comfort.

I love that we kind of favor each other, how my daughters giggle and ask me if you are my brother or my sister or my mother or my father, maybe a cousin? I love it how our eyes are the exact same shade of brown. I love it how your eyes are as green as a freshly mowed lawn in spring, shimmering with tears as bright as glistening dew in the early morning hours- tears from laughing so hard, from hurting so badly, from curiosity and wonder. I love the freckles that sprinkle your nose and cheeks- angel kisses is what I’ve been told they are sometimes called. I love how your hair falls in waves around your shoulders, down the curve of your back, to your waist. I adore how brave you are to keep it cut in such a trendy pixie style. If my face weren’t so round and my forehead quite so broad, I would want to attempt such a beautiful haircut. But on You, it looks as though you designed it, you were meant for it, this is Your style. It’s tailor-made for you.

I love how you’re so full of wonderment, always wanting to know more, never quite satisfied with the obvious, tried and true answers. I love your curiosity. I love that you are spontaneous, you live life moment to moment, not bothering to plan, going with the flow, going where the winds will take you. Your consistency is soothing. I love it that I don’t have to guess what you will do next. Patterns and routine are important for me and you always fulfill my expectations.

I love it that we share the same views. It’s nice to not have to argue my point in every conversation. It makes me feel not so alone. I admire how you research what you believe in. How you don’t back down and change your mind, even though we don’t share the same opinion. I love how you are passionate about your beliefs. I love how you don’t try to pressure me to agree with everything you say.

I love it that we listen to the same music and that I never feel pressured to change the station when we are riding in the car together. I love it that you share your different tastes in music with me. I’ve discovered some beautiful songs that I never thought I would enjoy, but you told me what they meant to you and I let the melody carry me away to the world you described.

I love it that you have your life so together. I love it that you allow me to see you fall apart. I love it that you know exactly where you are going in life and where you want to be. I love it that you are a Wandering Spirit, allowing the cosmos to take you where they may. I love it that you always have a Plan. I love it that you live Life moment to moment.

I love it that we are so much the same. I love it that we are so very different. I love You because you are a person, just like Me. I love you for who you are. I love you for who you aren’t. I love you unconditionally.

đź’–

Dress Up

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Don’t tell me that I can be whatever I want to be, because what I want to be is innocent. I want to not have experienced firsthand the darkness that can live and thrive deep inside a person, darkness so great that sometimes it cannot even be hidden. Darkness so terrible that it’s stronger than any goodness I might possess. I want to be a person who wouldn’t be able to tell you what a heart broken from mental anguish and physical pain feels like. I want to be a person who couldn’t tell you what lonely, sleepless nights feel like when you have already promised yourself to another only to find out promises mean nothing in the world you’ve built together, a world you never truly belonged in. I want to not have nightmares of reality so much more terrible than anything the imagination could ever conjure up, even after a million horror movies, scary stories, well, nightmares in my world at least.

Don’t tell me I can be anything I want to be, because what I want to be is beautiful. I want to be able to look at myself every day in the mirror and have more days than not when I am not shamed by the past. I want to be able to meet my reflection’s eyes and see brightness and confidence and excitement more often than dullness and brokenness and yearning. I want to be the type of person who can always easily believe that all of the negativity about myself that’s been instilled in me for so long is not true. Not even close. I want to be proud of those almond-shaped eyes and full lips and naturally tanned skin speckled with freckles that so many find exotic but I find just wrong somehow. I want to feel comfortable in my skin.

Don’t tell me I can be anything I want to be, when what I want to be is hopeful. I want to believe that the future holds things greater than anything I’ve experienced in my life so far. I want to believe in forever-love and knights in shining armor who kiss me to life. I want to believe in happy endings. I want to believe in justice and I want to believe in karma. It may be wrong but some wrongdoings deserve retribution. At the same time, I want to be the type of person who believes in forgiveness. I want to be the type of person who believes that everything wonderful is right around the corner, just a little bit farther, is happening right now.

Don’t tell me I can be anything I want to be because what I want to be is at peace. I want to awaken joyous from beautiful dreams more often than I awaken from nightmares so terrible and violent that they leave me sobbing and affect my state of mind for weeks afterwards. I want to be able to regulate and maintain my chemical imbalances without the aid of medication. I want to be able to maintain a healthy state of mind without weekly therapy. I want to be able to walk into public without feeling as though I am looking over my shoulder. I want to let go of the resentment and hate and sadness that have held me in it’s grips for so long, diminished extremely, but still there nonetheless.

Don’t tell me I can be anything I want to be because all I know how to be is Me. An often paranoid, manic, anxious mess. Sometimes confident, sometimes joyous, sometimes thankful, other times resentful Me. Don’t tell me I can be anything I want to be, please just see Me and accept me.

 

Csilla

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Your face reminds me of a woman I worked with many, many years ago. She was from Romania and her name was Csilla Csu. Csilla was pronounced “Chee-lah” like “Sheila,” only not. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Tall and curvy with long, dark hair and magnificent, blue eyes, her voice reminded me of the ocean’s waves lapping at the shore on a calm, summer morning.

Csilla didn’t speak much, her voice was soft and reminded me of wind chimes, but when she did speak, every word was beautiful. She told me often of how her son and husband were back in Romania and how much she missed them. She told me about life back home and how much she missed that as well. Sometimes I could see the sadness in her eyes, I couldn’t ever really hear it in her voice, her voice was like a symphony, a very soft symphony.

I somehow got into the habit of taking Csilla home after work. She was living with an older couple who were sponsoring her visit. She always said they were nice. I couldn’t imagine what she and this couple could have had in common. I wondered if it made Csilla feel even more lonely.

This story really has no point. Csilla didn’t change my life in some unimaginable way. We didn’t speak again after she went back home to Romania. For awhile, I searched for her on social media. I never found her. But your face, it reminds me of her.

Misunderstood

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Sometimes I lay in bed and think of all the grudges I harbor and tell myself I’ll never make it into Heaven if I don’t let these go. Most times I could care less, sometimes I feel resentment. I’ve never been very good at forgiving and forgetting and while I’ve never claimed to be a saint, I also don’t expect forgiveness when I know I didn’t deserve it.

There was a woman I used to work with at a daycare who used to treat the children rather roughly. She wasn’t particularly educated yet claimed to be in the process of obtaining a degree to teach. I couldn’t count on both hands and both feet how many times I saw her plop her fat legs over a child between the ages of three and five to force them to go to sleep during naptime. I voiced my concern about this woman several times and instead had the daycare director’s attention and criticism turned in my direction instead. This was six years ago and maybe two years ago I heard in the news that an infant died at this daycare. He was only a few months old and choked on a small piece of fingerfood while under the supervision of two children. By the time his situation was noticed it was too late and he was declared braindead at the hospital. He passed away a few days later.

The woman I mentioned wasn’t involved but it didn’t really matter because the family didn’t press charges or sue the daycare and I can’t be sure but I felt it might be due to the fact that the daycare paid for all of the funeral expenses. That poor sweet life taken far too soon.

There were two many times when I worked at that daycare when I suffered the consequences for other workers incompetence- mostly because it was easy to blame sweet, quiet Angie for the incidents. I can’t even count on both hands how many times I was suspended without pay for situations that weren’t my fault but I never spoke up for myself. I just took it, just like I always just took everything that was happening at home.

I tried my best to make friends with the other workers when I first started there but everyone thought I held myself above them, because I was the “Pastor’s daughter-in-law.” In reality, I was far too shy and much too depressed to speak to anyone, to take the time to get to know anyone. Looking back now it surprises me that despite my mental state all those years that I was still allowed to work there. I will say though that a baby never died in my care.

Every now and then I run into those women and while most of them try to make conversation with me and find out where I work and where I live, I remind myself that they weren’t ever there for me when I needed them to be. All the times I suffered through teaching a classroom full of preschoolers while I nursed my own broken bones, broken heart, broken spirit- those women couldn’t ever see past what they wanted to see.