The Ineffable Quality of Love

ineffable: too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words. 

The other day I ran into someone who uses the L word a lot. In the course of regular conversation, she expressed it no fewer than 10 times, to encompass everything, from the latte she was drinking, to her new bag, to the latest episode of some vapid TV show she watches but I’m glad to say I’ve never seen.

I nodded along, but inside I was counting, and thinking to myself, “You can’t possibly love all of these things.” I realized one of two things in that moment. Either she honestly believes she loves all of these things, or she hasn’t really taken the time to analyze her feelings for each one, and love is simply a placeholder until she decides she wants to dig a little deeper. If she ever decides she wants to dig a little deeper.

Too often people don’t. Too often they grab a word, put it in their pocket, and pull it out whenever the mood strikes, whenever they can’t think of anything that fits the situation they’re in. That’s why we often say we love others too soon, when all we can possibly feel is attraction, or companionship, or relief, or any number of a million other feelings that often masquerade as love.

We see others living the lives we want, having the love we wish we had…

Continue reading “The Ineffable Quality of Love”

Clip-Ons and Half-Smiles

My mom never took pictures of me on the first day of school. I think it’s because she realized I looked no different then than any other time in my life. Okay, maybe I had a cleaner, ironed shirt on, but we all knew it would be rumpled fifteen minutes into the school year. So, why front?

It’s like when we had school picture day. Sure, I wore a tie most of the time, and a sweater to cover up the fact of no tie at other times, but generally I had on a collared shirt. That was fancy back then (at least when I wasn’t in church). I only knew it was school picture day because the clip-on would be lying on my bed when I got out of the shower.

It was like Santa had placed it there.

Sometimes I wish they had clip-on ties for adults. Don’t tell me they have them. You will ruin my dream. It’s the dream that sustains me, after all, the illusion that they don’t exist. If you tell me they do, then I’ll have to subscribe to a new illusion. Like when I found out about the Tooth Fairy.

So, I would clip on that tie, adjust it to hide the fact it was a clip-on, and I’d smile for the man, or the woman, who stood behind the camera with a chipmunk grin. Continue reading “Clip-Ons and Half-Smiles”

Bridge Diving

Sometimes, when I pass a bridge, I slow down. I ease back on the throttle. I turn down the music, straining to hear the haunting melody of the river below, as it lulls me into both a complacency and an urgency in the same moment. I imagine what it would be like if I jumped, if I tumbled head over feet into the abyss, if I would survive. If I would even want to, at least in that moment anyway.

Then the moment passes.

But I’m somehow changed by it, transformed in that instant when anything was possible, when I was capable of doing that thing. I tell myself it was never real, though, that I never slowed down, that I never imagined myself, arms raised out wide, staring off into the never ending blue, or brown, or gray water below before letting go. It’s so real, though, this feeling when it comes, so overwhelming at times that I have to remember to breathe, to drag one breath at a time through my lungs.

Sometimes, it scares me.

Who am I kidding? It always scares me, when it happens, when I think for a second that I could be able to do something so drastic, so permanent, so astoundingly perfect in that instant. I always snap out of it, though, the road dragging me back, the gas pedal calling me back home, or to work, or to get pizza on a Thursday night. There are too many bridges around here. I’ve never really consciously noticed before, but they’re everywhere.

Sometimes, I imagine what it would be like if I could find a path where there are no bridges, where life doesn’t hang by a thread, even if it’s just in my momentary daydreams. Continue reading “Bridge Diving”

Like Sunday Morning

I have always loved Sunday. It’s the first day of the calendar week, but it doesn’t have the stigma of Monday. It’s the last day of the weekend, but for most of the day it can be easy to forget that and just go with the flow.

It has long been a day when things get done, at least for me. I write on Sunday, I clean on Sunday, I read on Sunday, and I listen to music pretty much all day on Sunday. So, it sounds like total love, doesn’t it?

The problem is that Sunday, like all days, can be separated into three distinct time periods: morning, afternoon, and evening. And, while morning and afternoon are absolutely masterpieces, evening is where everything tends to fall apart.

It’s not that I’m anxious about returning to work, either. There’s just something to be said for time that is relatively free of schedules. There’s a peace to be had when you can look at the clock and know this is time you can do pretty much what you please, within reason. (But, believe me, sometimes I want to do things with that time that aren’t within reason. Thank god I have that little angel on my shoulder.)

These Sundays I can often be found in my study, with at least one shade open (so I can see outside but I don’t have to be outside) and Microsoft Word open, the words filling the screen like soldiers marching in formation.

Right now, Florence + the Machine is serenading me with “Make Up Your Mind,” and I’m smiling, because this is where it’s at. Sunday morning, with the music flowing, with the words dancing, that’s my happy place. Continue reading “Like Sunday Morning”

There Was This Girl

There was this girl.

There always is, isn’t there? A girl, a dream, and some magic beans to make it all turn out the way we want it to, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. It’s funny how, when you’re 18, 19, 20, the world seems so small, the possibilities so large, how everything is within your reach, even when it isn’t.

So there was this girl. She wasn’t typically someone I would go after, because I thought she was well out of my league. Imagine on a scale of 1 to 10 — she was a 9 — I only trusted myself to go after 6’s and 7’s because I hated rejection, and most 9’s would dismiss me out of hand. It was okay. I knew I wasn’t 9 material.

But this girl…

She was beautiful in all the ways that counted, though I barely knew her. She was like Juliet, this wish list made real, but so dangerous in pretty much every way. This was obvious almost from the start. She wasn’t religious at all (and if she had been, it most certainly wouldn’t have been the religion I had been raised in), she was a very good dancer (or so she said), and she didn’t know she was a 9.

Isn’t that fascinating? So often people don’t recognize what they look like to others, how they’re perceived by the people they come in contact with. Usually 9’s know they’re 9’s because of all the attention they receive, but that’s not always the case, especially if they’ve “grown into themselves.” They’re used to being 5’s and 6’s so that’s all they see when they look in the mirror. Continue reading “There Was This Girl”

“We Must All Hang Together”

“We must all hang together, or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Unity. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind on this day, when I think back to how the founding fathers (and mothers) probably felt. It was the only way a revolution would ever work, wasn’t it? If they were fractured it would have been easier to divide and conquer, or to be more accurate, to divide and maintain. Because that’s what they were united against — the status quo.

Can you imagine the vast majority of a population uniting for a common cause, or uniting against a common enemy — today? I’ve seen it on a micro scale, where people in an organization rise up and say, “Enough is enough.” I’ve seen it in family dynamics, where the bad seed is ostracized. I’ve even seen it in churches with excommunication, but those are such small potatoes when compared with what the colonists did in the late 18th century.

That’s just the thing, too — they were colonists. They were supposed to be marionettes controlled by the monarchy — all gain and no downside. But what the monarchy failed to take into consideration was each colonist was an individual, with his/her own hopes and dreams, that each one was a human being who wanted to be treated like a human being. Not like a puppet on a string. And when these “inalienable rights” are taken from any human being, it’s not a small slight.

So, understanding the enormity of the challenge ahead of them, they decided to go ahead anyway. Because Ben Franklin was undoubtedly right. Continue reading ““We Must All Hang Together””

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