Secrets

“Tell me what you want to hear, something that will light those ears. Sick of all the insincere. I’m gonna give all my secrets away.” ~OneRepublic

secretThey say that everyone wants to share them, that they’re more precious than gold, and in many ways they do fit the profile. I mean, secrets are a commodity to be bought and sold in this modern 21st century world of ours. With celebrities on every television station, in every magazine, on every website, and in every newsfeed, telling all their sordid stories, spilling all their secrets for the world to see.

Speaking of newsfeeds there are more than a few secrets pushing at those seams, from both true friends and true acquaintances alike. Apparently they believe everyone should know everything all the time, and they pride themselves on unburdening themselves liberally across newsfeeds and timelines alike, these substitute preachers on these digital street corners. They sit there, behind dusty screens, raging against the dying of the light.

Secrets aren’t what they used to be — things not meant to be shared, things kept in the corners of closets, collecting cobwebs. My mom used to always tell me that others didn’t always have to be privy to our secrets, that sharing everything with everyone wasn’t always the best policy. And I thought at the time it meant lying, but it just meant not to air your dirty laundry because people judge. And people haven’t stopped judging.

Now secrets are rich with backstories, and ripe for misunderstandings, so when they’re finally out there in the open they take wings and fly, but where they land might be far from where they were headed, and the natives won’t get the nuance of each one. You see, secrets should come with an instruction manual. A “friend” posts a rant about her husband, who she calls a deadbeat and a “waste of space,” and millions of minions jump on the bandwagon without knowing all the details. That’s how it goes anymore.

We give all of our secrets away these days, and you know that once they’re out there in the open anyone can interpret them any number of ways. You know that once they’re out of the cage they can’t be put back in again. They challenge us to accept them, to embrace them as another part of us, to press them into submission because there are no other alternatives. Airing dirty laundry is now the national pasttime, whether or not its our own dirty laundry we’re airing. And the smell is atrocious.

Sam

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Dear Journal: Come August

aug-13-handwritten-august-previewDear Journal,

August is in two days, and I honestly have no idea where July went, or if it even came at all. I looked up and it was the middle of June, put my head down and plugged ahead, and suddenly here it is almost August and I’m wondering what I have to show for the last month and a half. Well, I have done a ton of work, so I guess that’s tangible, but I haven’t really done anything for me. Maybe that’s why I feel so shocked that the time has passed, because I have nothing creative to show for it.

So, come August I need to:

  1. Start editing my next novel
  2. Start writing a new creative piece (in whatever form that will take)
  3. Get back together with my poetry reading group
  4. Re-find my spiritual connection
  5. Begin sorting through my life
  6. Overhaul this blog
  7. Create and maintain my fantasy football league

Because life shouldn’t be all about school and work, and a month shouldn’t go by without reconnecting with myself, spiritually, emotionally, and creatively. I guess it’s easy to lose myself in everything that I *have* to do, but it’s so much more invigorating to fall in love again with what I *want* to do, with what feeds my soul. There’s enough time in life for everything bland, yet palatable, so there should be a yin to that yang, a soul to squeeze, to hold tight so it doesn’t float away.

So, come August I’m going to find myself again, wherever I happen to be.

Sam

Wistful Wednesday

1992. That fade rocked.

I love it how Throwback Thursday has become a thing lately, based on Facebook impetus and the ability to scan in old photographs so they’re suddenly digitally relevant. Oh yeah, and so that people can “like” them.

I never thought I’d see the day where people would proudly show around horrendous photos of themselves as children and others would sidle up to them and say how CUTE they were. And 600 “likes” later they’re celebrating because they broke some perceived impossible barrier of “likes” from the previous Throwback Thursday when they posted the picture of them on the mechanical dog with the Flock of Seagulls haircut.

So I’m proposing a moratorium on all things Throwback Thursday. I’m taking back the day that used to simply be called… Thursday. I’m returning it to its former glory, without all the glitz and glamour of faded photographs and pithy sayings that accompany them. In its place I’m instituting Wistful Wednesday, a chance to glance through old photographs and make them suddenly digitally relevant, just a day earlier.

If Thursday was the new Friday, then Wednesday is the new Thursday… and in the immortal words of Dr. Dre, “everybody’s celebratin’.” Here are some old school gems I’m getting Wistful over:

1987. Fifth Grade.
1993. Bowling, bowling, USA.
2003. Is this a Temple Bar?

Sam

Settling

old-houseIt’s all about settling
This act of sitting still
Sliding imperceptibly
Shackled to the ground
As it shifts over time
And voices carry overhead
A cacophony of noise
Drifting down into the soil
Disturbing such casual rest
Without thought or care
While weeds grow wild
Obscuring the shrubbery
Facing west with the sun
Out past the wraparound porch
Where cold shadows gather
Like familial ghosts
Waiting for new playmates
As the noise begins to die
Replaced by an eerie silence
And a shifting of earth
Waiting for the tipping point
When we all settle down
Upsetting the delicate balance
Of love, and pride, and pity
As the land reclaims its own.

Sam

A Horde of Chances

“I need a chance. A second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance, a word, a signal, a nod, a little breath, just to fool myself, to catch myself. To make it real.” ~Strange Currencies. –R.E.M.

How many chances should you give someone before it’s obvious they’re just not that into you, that your friendship means about as much to them as this loaf of bread? Does it take a second, a third, or even a fourth chance failing to show you that your energies would best be spent elsewhere? I honestly don’t know, or maybe it depends on the individual, on the breadth of the chance, or on your own resilience.

I’ve made mistakes, some major, some minor, some that could have been avoided, and others that I’m glad I didn’t avoid, but all attributable to me in the end. And I’ve lost friends from some of those mistakes, which, while regrettable, means perhaps they weren’t meant to be with me for this part of my journey anyway. I’m sure you’ve known people like that, the ones who give you the one chance and then disappear when you mess it up.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging them. They were obviously not built to withstand the flood, and I wouldn’t have wanted them to drown. But it hurt, that all it took was messing up one chance for them to declare that I just wasn’t worth it. Maybe I wasn’t worth it, but it would have been nice to get a second chance to prove something to them that I’ll never get to prove now.

So how many chances would be enough? A horde of chances? An infinite number of wrong turns I could make and still have someone in the passenger seat, along for the ride whatever comes? Maybe that would be too much, the blind faith that others would have to put in me to let those chances add up without batting an eyelash. Or perhaps they would be judging me the entire time, keeping me around because they can always say they’re better than someone else. You know the type, so are they worth the time?

Or perhaps a horde of chances isn’t a blank check that I can fill in whenever. Maybe it’s the ability to go down the road with someone else, to be there when they need it and to slide back when they don’t. It might be the tough talks, and the tough love, and the challenges that make me a better person, that shift me in ways that I don’t return from. Perhaps a horde of chances means someone is there for me, regardless of the mistakes I make, but who also doesn’t settle for that version of me. It’s someone who pushes me to learn from each mistake, to take solace that I survived but not to sit on my laurels because there’s more to come.

Then, if I don’t learn from them, that horde of chances can trickle out in a river red with rain, testament to the fact that I’ve only been fooling myself all along, that the only person I can really count on is myself, and even then only when I’m not pretending that everything’s okay. Because everything isn’t okay. And every single chance someone else gives me is a blessing from some higher being, so I shouldn’t take any of them for granted. Even in a supposed of horde there comes a point of no return.

I don’t want to let it get that far.

Sam

The Irrationality of Fear

HPotter_boggart_dementorSometimes I let fear of the unknown control me. It’s like there’s a boggart in the closet and I’m afraid to go in there because I know he will assume the form of my biggest anxiety, because I know I will wilt in front of him, and I can’t admit to being that weak. Weakness isn’t prized in our society, and why should it be? But some days I honestly wish it was. I would be the mayor of such a place.

I’ve had dreams the past two nights, realistic dreams that leave me raw and exposed, at least to myself. The subconscious is such a tricky thing to analyze and to appreciate because it opens everything up, and it doesn’t care how it makes me feel. I woke up with beads of sweat sliding down my face both nights, and with an insane sense of deja vu and impending doom. I have to stop doing that.

My oldest daughter fears being alone. She can’t be anywhere for very long when she’s the only one there. She seeks out company constantly, and she won’t stop talking because I think to her if she is in range where people can hear her voice she’s safe. I’m not sure what makes her so worried to be alone, if it’s ghosts or whatnot, but I know I sometimes judge her for it. And I need to stop. Because I too have irrational fears.

Because fear isn’t always rational. It doesn’t always say, “Here I am.” It comes like a thief in the night, sneaking and skulking around until you least expect it, then it jumps in my face and sticks out its tongue. It knows it has me over a barrel, and I need to take the sting out of its appearance. Those dreams can’t hurt me, but the anxiety and stress they cause can. I need to figure out how to get through that fear, to tame the beasts that like to live inside of my head.

And I need to stop judging others for their own fears, whether rational or irrational. It’s okay to be afraid, but it’s not okay to just let it rule your world. It’s not okay to let it rule my world, either conscious or not. What I need is a new perspective. What I need is a closet with a boggart in it so I can open it up and learn to tame that fear before it drops me cold. When I can finally see just how foolish those fears really are I can begin to move past them.

Then I can sleep again.

Sam

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