We Used to be Small

Everything about this is inspired by my sister, ’cause she is awesome!

We used to fit inside that old faded hammock held up by laundry lines. We would spin ourselves around until diamonds embedded themselves upon our skin, reminding us of the figures we were growing into.

We used to sit on tree branches, side by side, lilacs growing around us, thinking we were tall, thinking we had climbed high, when we were only a reach off the ground. When we returned to earth, we would feed birds and pick still blind babies out of their nests, never considering the consequences.

We used to stain our hands with purple berries, our feet with thistles, and our clothes with burs. Bees would follow us as childhood sweets lingered on our skin. And we would catch them with smashed pears in glass bottles that we would forget to bring in, only to be reminded of them as soon as our father surprisingly discovered them with the lawn mower’s dulling edges in their burial ground under green blades.

We used to run from giant yellow and black spiders as we tried to grab the hose for summer fun. We watched in terror as our mother killed wolf spiders with her own bare feet, against the dining room’s wooden floor, but we would never shy away from a snapping turtle, shovel in hand to antagonize her.

We used to make mud pies and play in the water hole that we created in our driveway, farmer waving as his tractor slowly passed by. When this grew old, we would fish in pesticide infested ponds through fields or maybe try our hand at crawdads under dirt roads, always getting questioned for our absence from school.

We used to occupy movie theaters completely, homeschooled freedom only freeing us from interaction with others, but, mostly, we occupied silos and raspberry bushes, cattails and mud, chicken coops and trellises lined with white stones.

We used to fit inside a hole for chickens, scratching our skin on rusty nails, with no fear of lock jaw because we had already had our shots and medicine for our previous cuts and scrapes.

We used to run from our short hose to our back yard with friends and buckets of water, thinking the distance was so far, to quench the effects of too much lighter fluid and matches on a dry day.

We used to stretch our legs across van benches, comfortable for long road trips and inside jokes about cow grinders and pot infested soda pop.

We used to skip across stones and through creaking barns held up by aged trucks, our feet always bare, but our weight never enough to pierce through our calluses.

We used to be small as we ran through the corn fields, the leaves marking our tender skin and reaching above us twice our height. We ran until we found train tracks and city lights: a human connection and coin laundry in place of childhood days lying on yellow stripes, no fear of approaching cars. We ran until we could no longer climb amongst the dead lilacs: the growing maple drowning out their sunlight. We ran until running was no longer play; it was the perilous journey to fit into the next size down. We ran until we grew out of our matching outfits that I loved and you hated. We ran until we were no longer small.

The Ups

That moment when you get out of a valley of depression and you see the light of day again and you are just like “I’M BACK!!!!”

And you feel like Tobey Maguire.

Yeah! Spidey’s back! I just did laundry for the first time in like a month or two. And dusted the cobwebs off my bedroom walls.

In analyzing this more, I realize that freewriting is really what got me out of that funk. I just had so much jumbled in my head that I could not properly put down a single sentence. So I put down some letters. Then words (mostly “turd” and any other curse or complaint scampering around my head). Then I found some interesting words that I don’t use very often, like unabashedly, and started using those unabashedly. Then I was off and walking. I’m no runner with my words… maybe someday. Let me tell you though. There was this one moment that I can pinpoint where I saw the other side and got myself to stop getting down on myself for not saying the right thing, not doing enough, and turning in late assignments. It was when I wrote this:

It is nothing to be ashamed of. It would be something to be ashamed of if I would not get back up and try again. If I would let it defeat me. If I would not seek help. If I would not recognize it as a legitimate problem and consume my prescribed dose of medicine everyday.
I recall going to the hospital. The day I woke up with my planned death. The despair of my changing life: the loss I felt made me inadequate. Psalms on repeat. The complete inability to understand… to communicate… to study… to do.
But I did. I did get back up. I did go to the hospital. I did get help. I am not a failure. I have yet to fail. I am only turning in a few assignments late. Just a few. I will still succeed. I will still shine. And, most importantly, I will still write.
Ugh. I hate depression. And I hate winter.

And that was it. A piece of a journal I would normally forget existed within hours I am posting here, because… I’m not sure why. I suppose it is because it is meaningful to me and I want to share it. Most days I spend beating myself up for one thing or another. I won’t accept compliments. I cannot recognize my accomplishments. I will not even dare to hope on a dream. But… I have to remind myself of that simple fact: I have yet to fail. We all have yet to fail until we stop getting back up.

The Fallacy of Honesty II

People claim to want honesty in relationships, but all they actually want is flattery and sugar cookies.

We shared what we deemed applicable and people entered with questions and observations. A moment we held and released and it dispersed into nothing, never to be seen or mentioned again.

I love… more than anything the friendships I share… if only we all shared equal parts.

At the end of the day there are only dead light bulbs and low batteries. Maybe someday we’ll stop using so much power, but, for right now, I will occupy my time and heart and mind with the words I type on back-lit touchscreens.

Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack in Paris: A Writer’s Response

What is the appropriate amount of time to remember those who died for our freedom? #WriteAgainstViolence

From ABC News
From ABC News

What is the appropriate amount of time to remember those who died for our freedom? We can pause for a moment, pen behind the ear, and count to 12, 24, 48, 108. One second, two seconds, four seconds, nine seconds: what is the cost for the memory of a human life?

From the safety of my computer–away from those standing, away from those who have passed on–there is little merit to my words, but words are all I have. This is the truth: if our words our taken, our very souls are lost. Writers will criticize, but we will also accept criticism–most of us will accept it gladly, because we want to improve. Why wouldst thou desireth to remain within thine past? I can only speculate the vast amount of insecurity and violence that al-Qaeda must exhort in order to enable anyone to be so moved by someone’s words concerning their beliefs as to murder them. It is truly devastating. I pray that the families are able to find solace in this time.

Many around the world will say this same thing: the pen will not stay behind our ear for long as we consider our fallen friends. Writing exemplifies our freedom and giving into a terror such as this would mean accepting defeat. We will never stop writing. We will never stop our satires: the magazines like Charlie Hebdo will continue, movies like The Interview will still be released. A little honesty, a little satire, a little poetry, and a few vocabulary words and grammar points are what we are made of–not fear.