Speak Clearly

Ever ponder what the “human condition” is when another person brings it up or says it casually in conversation? I find myself wondering what they mean half the time. We have so many different definitions of it. I find myself always questioning what they mean by it in perspective of their world view. Is it a lack of basic morality and if so, what do they mean by that? How do they define morality? Is it sin? Is it a disconnection from enlightenment? 

So many questions go through my head. Especially now since the Internet has blown up with rainbows. What does everyone mean by terms like “morality” or “human condition” and why does everyone want to throw those terms around when it is so ambiguous to define in a society so divided by so many things? 

Furthermore I wonder, why are we so afraid to define them? I theorize that in our deep desire to seek truth (if one believes there is such a thing), that we also fear to define truth in fear of offense. We upset a balance of things, if anyone can even define what that balance is at all, if we offend others. To think differently is to think dangerously. How very 1984.

“Political correctness” became a means of organizing our world one step more. By “being polite” as one individual who fancied herself a philosopher referred to political correctness, once told me. I found myself shaking my head. Another phrase that I found ambiguous to define. As far as I could recall “being polite” was merely “being polite.” Which I also thought was not synonymous with “respecting” an individual, but rather offered a kind of facade for respect you did not want to actually offer. Then again, was that just the kind of definition that social construct handed to me, or was that the reality of things?

I question all this because we have found ourselves throwing around these terms more frequently. As controversial subjects are legislated and perspectives are brought to light, I find myself confused by terms. I struggle to know what others mean, and often start to wonder if most of the time, people are arguing for the same thing, but using the wrong terms. All I have left is my ability to question, which has become the only stability I have in this mortal life. Other than the values I hold onto as a Christian female, I have an inquiring mind that provides the consistency of wonder and questions. When others say “truth is a perception” I often wonder what it is they have precieved and wonder why that perception is the true perception? Then I wonder why that all sounds so absurd to my own perception? Why so circular and foolish? How can one claim absolutely that there are no absolutes? 

In summary I only know what I ask, and I I not have answers. What I see is clarity that no one is willing to offer, because I fear we have lost the honest art of communicating clearly. In striving for truth based off perception, we have found ourselves unable to speak to one another correctly, to listen to hear and not necessarily respond, and a full out inability to understand one another.

I offer one request: When you speak, do not do it for the sake of boldness, but do it for the sake of speaking clearly. 

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Summer Lives 

I did see light come back at dawn

The dew did gather on blades of lawn

As bright did shine that dusty sky

The touch of light did tear my eye

For cold had winter been for me

When skeletal branches of the tree

Did stretch its claws to the sky

In fearful prayer as it did die

Now warmth does come into life now 

In thankful relief my head does bow 

For without the death of winter slain 

Could not my summer live again

Wedding

Today I’m recovering. Recovering from the blessed union of my best friend to her husband. It was a very short dating relationship, and an even shorter engagement. A whirlwind love that could only happen as mysteriously as God intended it to. 

As the day progressed, we all were pretty chill. Things were happening on schedule and nothing was rushed. We talked and enjoyed each other in the preparation room. All of us Bridesmaids feeling lovely with our hair, nails, and makeup complete. It was precious. Joys and laughter shared. Lots of hugs. Tons of hydration prior to the heat of stage lights. Things went perfectly. 

My introverted self was crumbling away by the time pictures began. Too many people. Too much stimulation. I was tired. So tired that I placed myself in the couch in the preparation room with a plate piled as much as I could pile it of BBQ weenies. I ate my feelings that afternoon. Even polished off the last doughnut from breakfast. By the time we finished taking pictures at the beach I was ready to crawl out of my own skin. I was tired. Overwhelmingly tired. Like I was tearing apart at the seams. Unraveling and poured out. 

After my speech at the reception hall I bummed a cigarette off one of the Bridesmaids and went out to have a smoke. I don’t even smoke, but I was desperate for the excuse to leave. As I puffed away at the menthol I contemplated my day. I processed every emotion, relived all the laughter, and dashed away every fear I had for their marriage. They would be fine. 

As I puffed away, I watched them sneak out and into the car to drive off. Twenty plus years being virgins and now they could give that away to each other. I chuckled and smiled. How cute and sweet it would be for them. To finally have the intimacy they long waited for with the human being they were searching for all their lives. How glad I was that I too would wait as they did. 
When I got back to my apartment, I sent my boyfriend the messages I couldn’t send because of lack of service at the venue. I climbed painfully up the steps to the third floor, peeled off my clothes once inside, and collapsed into bed. 

Resonate

“The hardest part of being a woman? Being too much and not enough all at once.”
Oh how those words did and do cause my heart to resonate with such a painful understanding. Tears well up in my eyes at the thought even now. Yes. That was the sentiment. That was the descriptor of my soul. That was desperately the very phrase I felt with every ounce of my being and every cell in my physical body. I felt as though I was too much and not enough.

I’m an odd personality. I stretch between overwhelming and underwhelming. Some days, when stress and anxiety rule my soul, my intensity takes over to make me terror. The kind that even those who love me would find hard to love. It’s like some deeply seeded survival skill takes over, trying to keep me alive. Trying desperately to keep me sane while lashing out to keep me defended. A whirlwind of emotions that can’t be held in, but everyone can’t handle and thus rejects.

Simultaneously, I am not enough. Not beautiful enough. Not good enough. Not strong enough or healthy enough. It’s as though every terrible ounce of my intensity has lashed out and then fled. I’ve crumbled beneath the weight into a useless bag of skin. Weeping within and discouraged so deeply that I have become the very ground others tread upon.
Where is that balance? How do I get it? When is there a point that I can be just the right amount? Just enough. Isn’t that all anyone ever wants to be? I do. I desire that. To be all things to all people. But at the same time, I am so great full for my imperfections. Grateful for the mess that is my life, because it allows me to connect to others who feel similar to myself. Why is it that pain draws others together so much better than happiness? No matter the answer, I am grateful for it.

In 24 Hours

I found my heart beating fast. I hadn’t seen him in a very long time. What maybe 5 years or more? I couldn’t remember exactly. All I knew us we had reconnected and been talking a lot. Things had gotten deeply emotional and we found ourselves wanting to talk in person. Wanting to see each other again. Actually missing one another. 
So when he pulled into my aunts driveway at 10 pm I found myself heart pounding and palms sweating. When he stepped out of the car my face hurt from smiling. When he went in for the hug…I got butterflies. 
“What movie were we even watching that night?” I could remember the night we met. It was at a mutual friends house, which was the first and last time we had gotten the chance to speak. Movie night. We were both involved with other people at the time.  “It was Equilibrium.” He said, and proceeded to recount that night as if it was yesterday. Which was impressive, because it was about 2 am when we began recounting it and we had only managed to close our eyes as we sat on the couch for about an hour.
At 5:30 am we were sitting in the poolside chairs , talking about “being a thing” as the sky turned from evening black to a beautiful blue. Hands clasped tightly as the blades of grass began to collect dew and sparkle like starlight. The discussion continued as coffee was brewed in the French press. Things were ironed out. Affections expressed. Boundaries established. Sweet words whispered. 
“This is happening so fast. It’s crazy!” I commented, cheeks hot and blushing. “Good thing or bad thing?” He asked with a look of deep concern and empathy flashing across his face. Those blue eyes searching for indicators to analyze and adjust to. Anticipating needs. Reading emotions.  “I sure hope it’s a good thing.” I said laughing as he swept me into a waltz on the kitchen floor. No music but the beating of our hearts. No sound but breathing and the patter of our feet on the stone floor. He whispered in my ear: “You are the most wonderful and beautiful woman I know.” 

At 2pm we found ourselves at his parents house sitting cross legged on the floor. We had just finished watching the 2010 film “The Tempest.” Our minds full of Shakespeare, deep feelings from a night of deep discussions, and exhaustion. Running only on caffeine and the drive to know everything we could about one another before the weekend came to an end and I had to drive 5 hours to head back home.

Forehead to forehead. Eyes closed and hand in hand we sat. Partially dreaming and whispering to one another. “Where were you hiding?” I asked. Heart overwhelmed with emotions. “I wasn’t hiding. I was looking for you.” He pulled away and looked into my eyes. His own blinking back tears and voice in an agonizing whisper “I was so afraid I’d never find you.” He tipped my head downward and kissed my forehead. 

A few phone calls later we found ourselves surrounded by friends and food. Conversations directed themselves to us and asking how long we had been talking. “Almost two month now, since he decided to randomly message me a friendly “hello” on Facebook. We’ve spoken every night since.”  Taking my hand in his, he quickly interjected “The best decision I have ever made.” 

When he and a friend of ours drove away together I found my eyes sting with tears for a moment. The next morning I would be driving back home. Away from there. Away from him. Heaven knew when we’d see each other in person again.

I quickly regained my composure as I entered my aunts house. My parents, my grandparents, and my aunts were all present. I stepped into the room and they all fell silent. Smiles on their faces. I rolled my eyes and blushed 

“Yes we are a thing.” 

My mother hopped upfront her chair to hug me as the rest of the family hooted and applauded. Stunned by the sudden reaction I took my mothers kisses on the cheek with disbelief. “We all really like him.” She said sitting down. “I knew it when I met him this afternoon that this was going to happen.” My aunt said taking a swig of her wine and laughing to herself. 

Before bed my mother asked a million questions. All answered truthfully and to her satisfaction as well as my own. 

“He just…makes me feel like a princess.” 

“That’s how it should feel.” 

“Yeah, it’s awesome.” I said laying in bed and closing my eyes to sleep for the first time in 24 hours. 

Done With Happiness

Happiness is not the meaning of life. I am convinced beyond every conviction. If it was, then doing the right thing wouldn’t come at such high costs. 

If happiness was the goal, how many broken happinesses would trail behind us in our pursuit of our own happiness? If happiness was the reason for all things, then why does the human heart find it to be such a fleeting commodity? Why is something so temporary so precious to us, when things that sustain demand so little of our time or notice? 

I’m so over being happy. Over striving for it. I want something deeper. More meaningful and sustaining than that. I want conviction and discernment. I want a steady hand and heart. I want a peaceful grace to a broken spirit. I don’t want a “fast-track” life. I want the beauty of a struggle. 

A Little More Than Friends

Right now

It’s the perfect amount of conversation

The right amount of simple questions

A touch of awkward and silliness

A heaping helping of adoration and respect

Not an ounce of judgment

Not a trace of doubt 

Just those little things adding up

To make them bigger things

Like putting whipped cream in coffee

Instead of trying to figure out 

How much cream and sugar to mix in

Just the perfect amount of everything

To effortlessly make it just right

Like warming your hands on the cup

Before taking your first sip
It’s just the right amount 

Of a little more than friends

It’s Called Clarity

Do you ever feel like ambiguity in a relationship is really annoying? It’s like people who yell to you as you’re about to go to the bathroom: “Oh and be careful how you flush the toilet. It’s a little weird.” 

What does that even mean? Should I flush quickly? Hold down the lever? Have a plunger on stand by? Do they even have a plunger? What kind of people don’t have a freaking plunger? 

Recently a lady friend of mine went through a break up. The relationship was approximately two weeks long. By day two they were saying they loved each other. By day three they had eight fights under their belt from what I counted. The day it ended she felt her world was crumbling to a bitter dark pit of nothingness. Six hours later she had another date with another guy. 

From the fights she expressed to me, it had sounded like the relationship was kind of undefined. Neither he nor she had really asked the other if they were going steady. Things were just kind of assumed. She was upset because she falls hard and fast without realizing it, and he was upset because he didn’t know what the hell was going on because she was acting like they were ready to move in together by the end of day three! 

I have a neighbor down stairs who is kind of the same. An older guy, retired but with a good amount of spunk in him. Charming to the point of fault. I feel like he talks about a new woman every time I see him. Then he complains about how they’re at the end of marriages but still married, or they’re going through a break up but keep rebounding with the last guy. 

“I don’t know why they do that.” He complained to me as he took another drag of his cigarette. I shook my head as I poured he and myself a cup of coffee and brought it to him on the couch. 

“Can I ask if they’re actually aware you’re seeing them?” 

“How could they not? I made out with every one of them!” 

“Doesn’t mean anything man. Not in this day and age unfortunately. If you don’t say the words, they aren’t going to know.” 

When did people forget to tell each other that? When did people stop asking each other out on dates or if they were willing to go steady? When did permission become optional? When did clarity become unacceptable? 

I’m so pissed off.

The First Born

“He just doesn’t want you to dye your hair purple for the wedding. What’s the big deal?”
What’s the big deal? The big deal is that my brother has been running this family using the powers of his OCD and anxiety disorder since the dawn of time to manipulate and get his way. 
It’s been happening for years.
I remember the days I couldn’t leave a room without throwing my brother into a panic attack. I remember the fights over it. Fighting with him and throwing punches. Fighting with my parents because I had left him unattended. I remember giving up having sleep overs because Paul didn’t want me to go and would have severe panic attacks. 
I recall him leaving for a weekend once and just laying on the couch because I didn’t have my own brother to boss me around. My mother thought it was funny. Every time she brings it up I want to explode at her. Why didn’t she see so much of my childhood was blind obedience to my brother? Why didn’t she stop it? 
Eventually my brother became suicidal. So my mom finally got him into therapy and got him medicated. His personality became less intense after that. I started to become my own person. I liked it. High school was my new found freedom. I had friends! My own friends. 
But still he manipulated. He still is manipulating. 
Days after the conversation my mother called. 
“If we decided to move closer to your brother would you move with us?” 
No. No. No. Fuck no. 
I wanted to scream and slam down the phone. To tear into her a new one. Why were they so enthralled by everything he did? They wouldn’t move to be close to me if I got married and had kids! Why him? 
Because he’s got money and the gift of gab. I’m the introvert living her quiet life. Alone with her cat. No boyfriend to speak of. No children or promise of one. Just her low income job and her skidish cat locked up in that tiny one bedroom apartment. Like I’m going nowhere if I stay here. 

“I don’t know. We’ll see.” I replied passively.