The August book is different from the others, but I can’t apologize. Don’t give up on me.
Today is the first day of August. This mornin I had peanut butter gravy on my biscuits. I took a boat to Okracoke island where I cooked in the sun lookin at little shops. I rode back with a green beaded bracelet and a resolve to never marry someone who is severely lacking in work ethic.
Then me and my best friend busted the old car to find a place to eat, just me and her. The attendant at the gas station asked “You wanna play pool tonight?” I said “Nope.”
Now we’re at Buoy’s Restaurant at a round table for two by the window. Red tablecloth, bamboo shades and seashells on the wall. We order an appetizer because Katie says this night is supposed to be about strong, beautiful women, deserving a beautiful meal. So of course, we’ll have the fried corn fritters please. They’re out of those, so we ask for cheese sticks. We’re also splittin a shrimp alfredo with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Apparently our pasta comes with a salad bar. Katie picks like a hobo at the cucumbers on account of we’re in college and aren’t used to eating real, varietized meals. I love her.
I write about tablecloths and lemons in my water because I’d rather speak about them than my resurfacing hate for my father—and the way I whispered “f***” in the parking lot of the kite shop after our card declined and my mom said she was tired of living like this. My dad yelled at her on the steps and I walked to the car. “F*** f*** f*** f***.” I hated him today.
Our pasta is so good we ignore our hushpuppies. A humming rises up from the edge of the room. It floats over to me. It is thee Lord’s prayer—a family in unison.
I spread out on my back and feel a cleanness in me. This is my slate. My choices are imperative. My obedience is imperative. I will be happy, if I am valiant. This does not mean there is one outcome. My future, in this moment, is plural. Multiple paths to joy. He will be with me, my Savior. My Heavenly Father. I am not alone and I do not need to worry. He loves me. He will take care of me. And so while it is okay to be curious, I should primarily be comforted. Always.
Saturday August Ninth 2008 Almost MidnighT
Sometimes it pours rain and I can find no way to fully soak it up. I am thirsty.
The clouds sway grey above me and I know they are ready to bust and pour. Why have then not yet broken? I am the sky on these days, full and needing to be more than what I am—needing to externalize what is in me.
To the dry dust of the west, take me. Let me become desert. To thick wet forests. To blazing poverty. Let me be in the landscapes that will discover who I’ve been hiding.
08122008 From a letter to my Katie
Love I’m sittin on my bed with markers, missionary letters and journs. I love you. Remember how I told you that I understand why I couldn’t have come home for the whole summer? I need to be in this place where I am safe are more able to progress. I could progress back home, but I’d have to persevere against all the resistance there. And God tells me its okay for me to take myself away from that. Its okay for me to let my load be lightened. There are other reasons why I had to stay out here, but that’s a big one. Since I’ve been back I’ve been trying to come out of my hibernation and really live in this place. Let myself be a part of my environment.
My first day back I went fishin with Kahili, our friend Jovi, Joe-Joe, Brooklyn, and her sister Jen. Joe-joe caught a fish and I watched it flop around while he took a goofy-face picture. It was agonizing. Jen had it in her hands down by the shore, trying to put some water in the cooler for it. It was thrashing to be back in the river. On impulse, I ran down to her and fought her for the fish. I grabbed her hand and tried to loosen it so he could go home. I was laughing a little, but also tearing up. I couldn’t get her to let go. Everyone said he was too far gone to live. So they killed it. Jen actually knew how to cut it open and gut it, which I was impressed by. She ate it for dinner. I think its okay, she’s poor and has no food, like me. But it was the weirdest surge that sent my down to the river to save him.
After that I sat on a rock and watched the river for a while—by myself. “I could have been writing here all summer,” I thought. I still want to be surely awake, every day.
The next day we went to Lake Mona, which is off a dirt road in a little town 30 minutes away. Floatin in the lake you can only see mountains and trees… no buildings. No people. No manmade anything. It’s so clear I could see my toes under there. Someone steps up on a stump, grabs a hanging rope, and plops into the water. Next to the stump is a tall tall tree with a platform up top. I am scared, but I know I have to jump. I am awake, reaching out of my numbness. Today I know I cannot be among hesitant girls at the roots. I count to three, let go, trust, and fly. Then I climb up to the platform and do it again. I am so high in the air, so exhilarated, so free on principle. There was a chance. I took it. Dangerously. I feel the force of life in thee mountains, in me. I am coming back to myself.
This past weekend was wedding number one of August. Sabrina and David. There’s a few hard parts about weddings for me; oddly enough, the fact that I’m givin one of my friends away is not the main source of my overflow. I am always trusting in their chosen beginning. But it is hard for me to watch families, especially the Dads. Dads talking to the guests about what his girl used to be like. Dad’s last dance with his daughter. I also think about what I’ll be like when I get married, which is way more emotional when I’m watching it happen, when there are temples and pictures and covenants that are undeniably present. And then there’s this third feeling which goes like this… Getting married is a huge step. In doing so you are no doubt progressing in your life. You are moving forward in a definite, black-and-white way. I’m always working on progressing, but rarely do I accomplish it in such an obvious no-denying-it type way. And so, I often feel like my massive efforts to become more are in the shadows of this white dress, once in forever occurrence. I feel very small against a backdrop like this. And then, sometimes selfish for focusing on that.
My favorite part about being back so far is Jen, Brooklyn’s sister. These days I call her Jen Bee. I met her when I went up for Thanksgiving. One night we slept in the back of the suburban and cried with her about some dilemmas she was in. Her and Brooklyn were best friends in high school, but after Brooke left she went a different way. I’m pretty sure she got lost. Her heart had been far away from Brooklyn ever since. Jen came here because her new friends from home had this hurricane of drama and backbiting. I’m pretty sure it was about to swallow her up, so she flew away. She didn’t tell anyone she was leaving until a few hours before she did. Now she lives in our room. She wears baggy pants and calculates student loans and cuts Brooklyn’s hair. She makes friends openly, especially Kahili and Jair. She lets Brooklyn in again. Wrestles her in the living room and sleeps in her bed. They are forgiving eachother, reuniting. In both of them I see gratitude and relief. Jen goes running at night and reads every book on my shelf—mostly Writing Down The Bones. She reads her scriptures and draws and writes in her journal. I know she does not normally do these three things as often as she does here. I know she is on her own revolution. Her presence is rejuvenating me. I am thankful for the comfort she brings.
08.13.2008 1:15 am
I had an avocado last night on my sandwich. It didn’t taste how I remembered. It was too thick, too young? …Too much yellow and not enough green.
I am still trying to be delicately faithful with my summer of healing.
There is a song titled “Sweet Burden Of Youth.” I know what this means to me.
My bones stretch into who I am and I flinch. “Just don’t forget who I was,” I tell them.
But already I cannot remember. How was it to read Roald Dahl books? Avoid confrontation? Fear the highway?
Life tastes different on my front porch, August 13th. I feel too young. Too much yellow and not enough green.
08\17\08 5:02 pm
Don’t you wonder what it’s like to be on fire?
Secrets burning inside an empty apartment on 960 North. Quietly letting the flames spread over you. The forbidden heat of that moment, the danger of breathing too loud.
I ride someone else’s bike down streets that are, somehow, unfamiliar. The dry wind breathes over my face. I am ready to peel off my layers, stretch out my soul, and spread it over this town like butter in the morning. This is me, navigating through stumbling blocks, pedaling out my aches, sending out poems on open faced postcards.
God, please help me to be in this day, to emerge my soul into the mix of youth and what comes after. Please help me not be afraid of admitting what I do not know. Help me to salute the validity of the knowledge I have gained, the wisdom I have earned. If I continue in this habit of discounting it—I will never trust it to be my foundation; I will lack a plot to build upon. This act of ‘building upon’ translates to
Please show me what I can do so that I might trust in your foresight, your vision of my potential. Help me to believe in the possibility of myself, and to remain worthy of attaining it. I love you.
I am learning to love Provo for what it is. I can only accomplish this if I actively choose to let go of my prejudices. Easier than loving it for what it is—is loving it for what it is to me, for me.
It is a haven, a new space, a diving board. I am safe here, to grow and to find.
Right now I am on someone else’s back deck. I don’t know them but it’s up in the mountains overlooking the Salt Lake Valley. I want to fly over the city. Not like a super hero—too flashy. Not like Tinkerbell—too delicately jealous. Not like an angel—not ready. Maybe like Peter Pan—peeking into the core of the city with curiosity, a symbol of eternal youth.
… Why do we leave our lights on all night? When the businessmen lock their doors, well, the late shift teenagers paid by business men lock the doors—why can’t they shut off the lights? Are we so concerned with proving our presence? Are we afraid of the night’s returning prevalence? Wouldn’t it be beautiful if sometimes, we did not leave our mark?
I would love for this house, in all of its superfluous expense, to disappear. So that gravity may send me toward the grass, so that I could look out and see stars, rather than a cheap imitation by twinkling industry below. Let humanity find peace in being small, illuminated in countenance rather than watts. We could abandon our shoes and ipods. Where have we gone? The skyscrapers reach up as we only reach for more.
Tonight I sit between summer and fall, second and third year of college, apartment 326 and 778, past and future. I miss Brody. I hope for Kennylove to be peaceful. I feel far from my family. I am between lines of definition. I am here, on this deck, alone and in awe of my Heavenly Father. The rod iron chair pokes into my back. My toes are cold under my pajama pants. My hair is dried in summer waves from windows-down air.
I am the profile of the black mountain that stretches to the north and south behind me. I am the rhythm of the crickets in the night. I am the grass on the medians and between sidewalk cracks. I am the beads in the shop downtown. I am the spiral of my tenyearold journal. I am the blue flames that engulfed my scrapbook on July 13th. I am the ice on the trees outside my DT window. I am the keys on Ben’s last piano. I am the juices in my stomach, the cloud under the airplane, the film in my Mother’s hands. I am alive in this night, silent inside the breeze, scrawling through my identity.
083008 8:33 pM
“LooK alive. See these bones. What you are now, we were once.”
I’m layin in my new front yard and its time to talk about my Emily. I love my Emily because she has passion. She is a searcher and a diver like me. She has longing. Convictions. Questions. Sometimes I feel a three generations away from people. Like there is a gap between us I don’t know how to bridge. These are the people who are unwilling, unable to see who I am.
Sometimes I walk knee deep into someone else and can go no further. This is not enough for me. Because I am an ocean. I will let you dive, swim as deep as you can go. I am willing to show you.
Emily swims downward. But that’s not it. She lets me swim in her too. We feed off of each other’s current. I am reawakened through my ability to truly speak to her. Last night on that deck we stayed up til 630 am. We do this all the time, and still, there is more to talk about the next night—more to analyze and question and explain.
This closeness and understanding that we have both calms and energizes me. She has been a catalyst to my own self-discovery.
A few nights ago I was awake in my living room, making the collage for this August book. I layed the 4 books in front of me, studied their covers, felt the near completeness of my summer pages. I am overwhelmed with the effort and life in these books. I see my own growth. This summer was not 2007. Not as revolutionary, but I feel its impact. I love it for what it was. Still exhausted with growing up, I am in awe of life’s constant transformation. There is a song I wrote about already—“Sweet Burden Of Youth.” I know that what means. I know what that means.
What I have learned since coming back home to Provo is that I need to speak truly. I have a constant need for expression, to externalize what is in me. Maybe because it was quieted for so long. I have a natural love and curiosity for people that I need to exercise everyday. I need a job that fulfills me. I need to learn to serve. I need substantial conversation. I need to be constantly finding myself and showing myself to people. I need for others to truly see me. To let me in so that I can see them. I need to feel my own worth, to expand my definition and identity. I need to be free from contention, superficiality, self-loathing. I need to feel real, alive, valid and present. I need to write and then show what I find. I need to loosen the ties on my wild ambitions and crazy metaphors. I need to deepen my relationship with my Heavenly Father and His earth. To show him that I am thankful that I know who he is and who he has helped me to become. I need to find my own sources of rejuvenation, comfort, and energy for future. I am in love with ideas, words, and souls. I MEANT IT ALL.