February Art Challenge: Take A Picture Outside Your Home

This past week has been interesting weatherwise. Sunday through Monday it snowed. It didn’t snow on and off. It didn’t snow a little. It snowed consistently for at least 24hrs.
Those in the northeast will mock me. Those is the deep south will be horrified. Here in my little part of eastern Kentucky, we got between 15-20 inches of snow.
Thankfully, it was light snow. If it was the heavy stuff, a collapse in society may have taken place. More on that shortly.
The light snow came, then the below freezing temps, then some more snow (the heavy kind), then the sleet, then just ice, then the temps went up above freezing, and finally the rain.
The light snow from earlier in the week had melted and refrozen where the salt trucks had scraped and have created barriers to the water causing it to sit in the roads. Water that does make it to the creeks, along with ice chunks, have caused some flooding. To add to the water misery, our water utilities have been shut off.
I could go on a tirade about the water, or how people seem to believe that it is OK to put your truck’s front bumper right on my back bumper. Yeah, I’m looking at you large pickup truck obviously bought to compensate for SOMETHING…ass…but I’m not.
As much as I hate being stuck, it has been nice to just read a book, do a sketch, play the ukulele, see my parents, and not feel like I need to run anywhere. The snow was beautiful…the ice, not so much. I got to spend my birthday with my parents just enjoying the day. I was able to help my Dad shovel his road and I’m really thankful I could do that on a couple of levels.
So, while I probably will gripe about certain aspects of this last week, particularly that douchebag in the pickup, there are a lot of things I am truly thankful for.
I’m going to try to remember that while I boil water for my sponge bath.

Oh! Here’s my pic from outside.

image

This was taken while on a break from shoveling my parent’s driveway. My Uncle Preston and my Papaw built a treehouse for me and my brother. Since our home burnt down in ’04, it has served as a storage place for items we are still too bound up to look through.
We always say we’ll go through it, but we don’t. Maybe it’s easier to forget what you have than remember what you lost?
Still, it’s one of my favorite places and seeing it reminds me of games played, times with friends, and, most importantly my uncle, grandfather, and brother – my first friend.

Sharing A Memory, Remembering A Promise

The adage, “you don’t know what you have until it is gone,” is probably the biggest understatement one can make.

It isn’t until something, or, more importantly, someone is gone that we truly see the impact they have had on our lives. That’s when the questioning begins. Did I tell them how much they meant to me? Did they know that I loved them? Were they scared? Could I have done more?

Then the promises come. I promise I won’t let another person not know that I care for them. I promise not to assume people know that I love them – I will tell them. I promise not to forget how empty I feel with this new hole ripped in my heart. I promise to keep filling it with love. I promise to hug more, kiss more, share more, live more….
I promise not to forget.

That’s the beauty of the human brain, though. It doesn’t really forget, but time dulls that hurt. You can’t live constantly trying to be there for everyone. You can’t live with the fresh hurt replaying over and over again. So, as time passes, the bad is replaced by the good, crying gives way to laughter, and sooner than you ever imagined – or promised yourself it would – life settles back into its rhythm.

That boldness you promised yourself to let those you care for know your feelings, fades back to complacency.
It’s not that you care if they say it back to you or not, you just want them to know how loved they are. Hugs, kisses, pokes, prods, all those small signs of affection, all those clues that tells others that they mean something to you, become reserved for those that don’t tense at the overt showing of affection. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to be a cause for their unease. So, we quit doing the things we promised. We stop ourselves short and walk away a little less fulfilled because our brain starts to tell us – well….and the excuses begin.

I have to admit, the happiest times in my life have been when I didn’t think beyond that “moment.” The older I become, the more I think on a feeling than act on it. Of all the things age is bringing me – aches, pains, the need to be in bed before 2am – this is what I fight against the most.

Which is why I try, and many times fail, to remember those moments when the hurt of loss, or the thrill of trying, made me promise.

Matthew and the Church Van
One of my happiest memories came sometime in 1997. My church youth group had been somewhere – pretty sure it was Chief Logan. The whole gang was there, but what I remember was coming back and Matt sitting beside me. It was chilly as he scooted closer and took my hand. I had liked him for a while and thought he may like me, but I could never allow myself to believe that. Claiming he was cold, we held hands all the way home.
It was the only time we held hands. He died soon after that, and my first wave of promises began.

Maybe it’s because his birthday is coming up, or maybe it’s because after all these years I can remember those promises, and how I have failed time and time again to honor them. It may be due to the fact that I’ll be 34 in a couple of weeks and there is nothing like a birthday to make you look back and remember the good and the bad.

I will fail, people tend to do that, but I am going to do my best to remember those promises and keep to them. I want to hug more, kiss more, share more, laugh more, cuddle more – I just want more. I don’t want to be afraid of what may happen and just enjoy what is happening.

Matt helps me remember that. So does Chris, Papaw, Jeff, Granny, the many others gone….but let’s not leave out the living: Johnsey, Tracie, Mom, Dad, Bobby, Dō, Mernie, Mari, Max, Maddie, Cam, Justin, Jami, Dez, Sara, Mike, the Duncans, Brandi, Ramin, Patty, Tommy, Sherri, Matt, Aunt Pat, Peggy, Kam, Joe, JP, Kelli, Nick, Daniel, Brad, Adam……to be honest the list could take pages and pages because I am actually very fortunate and have many people I truly love and care for – even if they aren’t fully aware of it, which is on me. It is something I plan on correcting as well.
It is because of them all I will be better to remember how full life is and how much better mine has been because of the love I have for them.

So, it with tears flowing that I will end my rambling thoughts on my memory.

Go out and let those you care for know it. For me, I will remind myself that even if they don’t say it back, it’s OK. The point is that they know YOU care for/love them.

Just A Letter For You

At least that’s how I’m starting it. You know by now my mind makes great leaps between ideas that, to most, don’t make much sense. To me, I don’t understand how you cannot see the threads that tie them together. That’s not what I’m writing to you about though.
I want you to know that I think you are amazing. You are smart, funny, kind, sweet, tender, and potentially loving. You are also a coward in some regards. It’s OK, so am I.
I truly believe if you gave it, us, a chance you would be happy. But you won’t. Sometimes I feel this rejection is some kind of payback for my own lack luster response to those interested in me – with whom I have justified my lack of interest as having more to do with distance and circumstance than through an honest “I just don’t feel that way,” but this is for you, not me. I beat myself up enough. I destroy myself, if we want to be honest, but, again, this is for you, not me.
I want you to be happy. Sure, I want you to be happy with me, but that doesn’t seem like it will happen. I know, you care for me, you want to help me, hold me, but that just makes it worse. You love me but you don’t. Some of that is on me. I understand that distance sucks. I have made some choices – choices that I do not regret one bit – but those choices are holding me in a standby pattern with regards to my personal life.
Do you think I like being alone? Away from the opportunities a city brings?! No, honestly I don’t. I feel like I’m missing out on things – you, for example – and I’m unsure what to do about it. I love my family. I love being with them and being in their lives and having them in mine, but I want you too.
Have you given me a reason to give up my absolute love and my desire to be around them? No….not really. You gave me hope and then you promptly dashed it once I was here. Sometimes being closer doesn’t help…at least not in my case…so it seems…anyways…
If I can’t make you see that, there isn’t much I can do.
I understand that you have stuff going on. We all do. I guess I just put my heart out there so quickly. It’s easily torn asunder, only to be patched back in some hurried, unfixed way, and then torn up again.
Sadly, I’m accepting that as my lot in life. I shouldn’t, but I am.
That isn’t your fault.
Your fault is in not taking the time to call me and tell me hello. Or asking me to walk around the Riverfront and swing in a giant swing facing the Rhine. Or inviting me over to watch a movie. You could have done any of those things – or a thousand other small gestures – and I would have moved Heaven and Earth because I like you.
All I wanted was a real chance, an opportunity. I haven’t even fallen in love yet, but I really like you.
See, it’s not in the past tense. I honestly like you.
I have meant every word. You are smart, funny, sweet, kind – you make me laugh and make my day – and in some way I do that for you, but it’s not enough. I get it.
It doesn’t change the fact that talking to you puts a smile on my face. That it will hurt putting all the pieces back in place and smiling while you tell me about how well you are doing with her, but I’ll do it because I’m strong enough to go on. I won’t wallow. Well, I won’t wallow more than a few hours. Sometimes a little wallow helps…at least for me it does.
Now, you shouldn’t feel bad. That’s not my intention here. I genuinely want you to be happy. Recently I read an article about how accommodating people (ahem, right here) are the most destructive and I KNOW it’s true – why else would I accept a role so far from what I hoped for just to be there?!
That, again, is for me. This letter is for you.
So, text if you want….call if you can. I’ll still get excited to hear about your day and what your plans are. I’ll move on with my patchwork heart, and, believe me, I’ll tell you about it because you are my friend and I like you. I’ll need your support on a few things here and there, so, heads up.
It would have been pretty great, though, you and I. It would have been something for the ages. It could have made it if we both wanted it badly enough, but logistics, my friend, logistics.
Time and place…they don’t always line up.
They didn’t for us, but for you and her – whoever she is – it may.
Good luck. Much love.
Take care….my friend.

This Has Potential To Get Dark

I do believe it’s only fair to warn you, hence the title of this, the first blog post in a while. I believe it brightens up quite a bit at the end, but…just be prepared.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write. I have two, maybe three drafts that are incomplete or, really, just garbage.
Forced attempts when there really was nothing to say.

Today…today I find myself full of things to say and, with any luck, these words will work their magic – taking thoughts plaguing me and expelling them; making sense of of the jumble that is how my brain works.
To understand the process, let’s start at the root of the issue: a date.
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33 Years

I am now embarking on my 33rd year on this great blue marble we call Earth. During that time, I have made friends, lost loved ones, traveled, worked on my education, entered adulthood, been engaged – became unengaged, failed, found success, made a small difference (more good than bad), randomly met Chris Hardwick – yes, he is amazing! and, overall, have had a pretty good run.

This last week celebrating the big 3-3, I have realized that while there are, as always, things I need to work on it is easier to acknowledge that I’m more like how I want to be than not.

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Memories….I Have Them

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how memory works. As I get older, I am intrigued by what I – and others – remember.  I want to hold on to those memories and keep them safe.
I am terrified of losing them.

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Classic Rock Thoughts

‘A love struck Romeo…”

This has been the first real winter some of the kiddos have ever had.  Snow falls in large, fluffy, flakes, covering the ground with the promise of adventure.

I am inside cleaning, fighting an internal battle between what makes sense (finishing projects, including laundry) and the absurd (running outside with a camera or driving out into the mess just to do it).  Through the cable box, the classic rock station plays.  Songs that I skip on my iPod because of the memories they encapsulate are allowed the freedom to be heard.  Why don’t I delete them from the playlists?  Well, it’s not like I dislike the song.  Its the memory that becomes the problem.

“Play your love songs all night long for me…”

It’s a haze of white outside.  The pull is stronger now.  I would love to call my friends and see who else wants to be ridiculous.  The voice in the back of my mind, the worried looks from loved ones, stops me.  You dislocate one kneecap….you almost dehydrate and have to be put in the hospital…. you are involved in a car accident….when you live too far for those loved ones to help, and their fear seeps into your thought process.  It’s not just their fear though.  It’s also the fear of the pain you felt, the worry of the possible result that you so narrowly missed, that keeps you in as you get older.

I just couldn’t bear providing any more pain to them. 

Still, you have to take a risk sometimes.  It gets to a point where the itch is too strong and a reaction is needed.  Newton had it down pat – you can only pull back for so long before it has to flip the other way.

The nice thing is, if you are lucky (and I am lucky) you have the support system that just wants you to be. 

“Gimme three steps…”

Here I am, being me….now, where are my boots?

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