Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tell Them

This week the world is watching. We are on the verge of handing power over to a man that most of America's population doesn't trust. Instead of focusing on the negative, it is time to spread some hope. By combining some of my original thoughts from right after the election, with some of my more recent thoughts, I hope to illustrate that just by being kind and respectful, you can do your part.

Tell Them
Tell your family you're afraid. They are probably afraid too. Talk to them over dinner with full stomachs and happy hearts. Tell them you love them and you were raised right. You are going to do what is right. Tell your friends it's hard but you're glad you're on the same page. Tell them to stand up and come with you as you march in the streets. Tell your coworkers about it, invite them too.

Tell your kids you love them. Tell them you will love them no matter who they decide to love. Tell them you will be proud of them for being friends with a child who doesn't look, talk, or think the same, even if nobody else wants to be their friend. Tell them we have stumbled but that we will get back up. Show them the flaws we pretended this country did not have for so long and spend every day trying to show them the goodness as well. From the bottom up, we will change this.

Tell a stranger. Tell a stranger you are broken too but that you have hope. Scream from the mountaintops that you are not afraid. Protest so others know you will not let them spend four years in fear. Fight for them. Prove we are better than this. Stand with everyone for which our government won't. Fight for every person for which they won't. For each person the other side thinks is not worthy, say to them, I will love you. Say this: You. Are. Worth. It.

Tell yourself in the mornings that it will be a good day. When you turn on the news and see struggle, remind yourself you are trying to make the world a better place. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are strong. You are brave but it's okay that you're not quite as brave yet as the people who have fallen for us. You are trying. You are lucky, you are breathing and there is still beauty beyond the brokenness. You see hope. You are someone’s hope.

I say this and more, to you in the middle of my journey.  Yes, I have been humbled by mental health struggles and trauma but I have also been shown hope from seeing the world and knowing good people. I have walked my own road. It's been quite a road. I used to have these nightmares, these truly terrible, life-altering nightmares. They were fueled by trauma and felt as real as the air I breathed. 

In these nightmares, terrible things would happen to the people I loved and I would awake shaken, drenched in sweat, and afraid. Often, I would reach for my phone, to talk to someone, to make sure that the ones I loved were okay. There is a moment between the time you press send or call and the time you get an answer that is unlike any other. It's the feeling that what you are afraid of most, could have happened. It's the fear that the ones you love might not be okay. 

I often think of the feeling of loss as lingering in that suspense forever. It doesn't really feel real that somebody is gone. There's nothing tangible as proof but you press send and they don't answer. I don't wish that feeling on anybody. I'm lucky that thus far, for the most part, I have received the answers I wanted. 

If that was you, in that moment, waiting for your child to answer, would it matter who they loved? If it was your sister or brother, would it matter they just started dating someone with a different color on their skin? Could you really think so low of anybody that you feel they don't deserve the peace of mind that comes with having an answer? They deserve a safe place to live, health care, and the education to make their goals a reality. The single mother with three jobs deserves the same peace of mind that you do, even if that means a clinic that you don't agree with stays in her neighborhood.

Aren't we at a place now where we should be lifting people up? Forget understanding each other but how about living side by side complacently in the same country, like a husband and wife who no longer speak but go about their routine and benefit from a shared rent check. Can we at least be that? It's just easier not to fight. Can't we as a country say, let me be me and you be you and we'll all have some peace of mind and we can go back to sleep in different rooms.

How many phone calls will end in voicemails if we keep going down this road? How many children awaking from nightmares in the middle of the night? Look at the people around you and be the best you can be for them. Be someone’s hope because they are worth it and you are worth it. We all deserve to be a little less afraid.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Snowy Snow

It is hard to believe that today we were shoveling snow off a Brooklyn sidewalk and just a few weeks ago I was at the top of a glacier. There was glacial water and photos galore and dark skies behind us. For a few magical moments though, the sky started to part in front of us. The snow has such a different meaning when it's not a responsibility. The world seems so vast without buildings in the way. One of my many dreams is to travel the world with my loved ones, so we can all reach the places we want to reach. This was Iceland --->

I want to climb mountains with you.
I want our feet to play along
Foreign shores and when we leave,
We will have to shake sand out of our shoes.
I want to see your eyes light up,
The moment you fall, in love
With a new a city at night.
I want to memorize the way
Your face is carved into the night sky
Behind you, the waves lashing
Against the boat we are on.
I want to wake up just a little bit early,
While you still rest, and frame the moment
With the window behind you.
I will feel safe then, content knowing you are too,
And I will wish to stay there forever,
Though I know we have more mountains to climb.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Romantic or Just Real? A look at Writers

It is easy to admire writers who have said the words that we ourselves cannot say. We fall for writers who have given purpose to our struggle. To us, these writers have romanticized experiences we've been through that may be too painful for us to write about. Look at all the writers that suffered through addiction, mental health issues, and of course, the loss of love. Those moments have all been preserved in classic works.

Lately though, instead of looking it as an experience they took, romanticized, and made into a masterpiece, I've been looking at said pieces of work as just an experience they needed to write down. While some novels seem grand it is possible that in reality, the writer at the time (most of the time) probably sat down and just did as Hemingway suggested, bled onto the page. It wasn't necessarily their intention to make their work anything but a journal. They might have had no choice but to keep writing until their pain had given way into something greater. 

I came to this conclusion thinking of my own journey. If I was to sit down and write a really honest account of what I'd been through and write it from a hopeful place, my work too could be idolized. What we look at with rose colored glasses, such as finding love in a time of war or surviving a terrible tragedy, was for many writers, probably just life. Truth be told, for the first time I am trying to write away something inside of me that just won't go. The more I write, the more I need to write. The amount of words seem endless and I can see how easy it would to get lost in desire or pain. 

How hard would it be to have a drink and an adventure with friends and call it inspiration? Could writing that experience down become a story that years from now, somebody yearned to live? My point is that I truly believe that for some there is no other way to find their way unless it is through written word. This change of view I've had is also a way to make the "greats" more real and easier to relate to. Truthfully, some of us just have no choice but to bleed ink until we've run out of things to say.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, Same but Slightly Improved Me

I've been inspired a lot by love lately which is ironic since it is usually the last thing on my mind. I think love is what the world needs more of right now though and I'm not just talking about you and me love. I'm talking about the kind of we love that we all need; between friends, between family, between strangers. It's a new year and while I've managed to look on the bright side of things for the whole two days it's been 2017, I thought it would be nice to leave a marker to look back on when those feelings start to fade. A new year is not for a "new me". Life is not so black and white. Sure, we change but we change constantly. It's recently been pointed out to me that the you that was an hour ago isn't even the same you, you are in the present. The new year is for learning and yearning and achieving. It's for fitting into old jeans and listening to new songs. The new year is for meeting new people but making time for old friends. This year is for bringing the good ideas for good times and reflecting on the bad ones. This year is for building on a foundation you have already laid. 

I also don't believe a New Year is the only way to reflect on the passage of time. Perhaps your "New Year" starts two months from now or on your birthday or on the day the flowers bloom. Break through those labels! However, there was a lot of relief as we crossed over into 2017 and a lot of anticipation as to what is to come. We all woke up to start January and were hit with the unfortunate reality that much of the world is still broken. However, if we want to look back in a year and see how much we've risen, we have to start now. Forget competition, the world has plenty of space. Pour your love and good ideas, your happiness and your hope wherever you can, as much as you can. Lift others up and give yourself a break when you need one. DREAM BIG. The more of us that succeed, the more of us that turn around and bring others up with us, well then the more of us that can enjoy the view of a beautiful world.

Here's to working hard and getting farther.



There are a thousand ways to love someone.
So when I say I will love you the right way,
I mean in the way you need me to, in the moment.