Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Could I drop out of college to play with Brad?

Last night I took a bath.
I was on a mission to take the best bath in the history of time.
There was a playlist made specifically for this event.
There was a spiral notebook taken from the paper-drawer downstairs,
7 pages of which became full.
(Yes, I write in the bathtub. Are you really that surprised?)
I would love to post up the clarity I found, but there is too much backstory.
And sometimes I keep these things to myself.

I can tell you that today
I walked through the pet store with Brad.
It was his idea.
His winter boots were clunkin under his little legs
He ran from snakes to guinea pigs,
to sounding out the labels on the fish tanks:
"Guh-ol-duh-ehn Bobbies... Golden Bobbies! Those little guys are golden bobbies!"
His lips were blue from the lollipop he got at the drive-through bank today.
He hung out the window in the back seat and waved to the banklady two lanes away,
She was behind the window and he was discovering pneumatic tubes for the first time.
"Woahhhh!" he said. "Hey I can see you over there!"
"This is fun. Ya'll should come more often," she said.

Later in the car, he is rollin down the window and screamin
Because I told him that's what the crazy guy on the corner was sayin.
The southern man wavin his giant flag
in his star-spangled sweat pants and bandana.
He was probably screaming about politics that have
gone to the edge of the right wing and jumped ship.
But I just told Brad
"He thinks we're really lucky to live here. He wants to yell about it."
We drive by later that day and Brad wonders why he's not there anymore.
"Sometimes the police make those people go home," I say.
"Because they scare people away from the shops on the corner."
"I don't think he's scary," Brad says, blue lipped and dancin to the radio.
The light turns green and the man pops out of nowhere, still wavin his flag.
Brad rolls down the window.
"I LOVE AMERICUH TOO!" he yells as we turn left for home.

Being five years old is so dang cool.

I am thankful to get both.
To be the crazy college girl, tearing up in the bathtub with her journal and itunes.
And the big sister, running errands with the motor-mouth of curiosity.
In both roles, I spend most of my time trying to explain the world.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So Inclined.

1. I am home with my family.
I have been readin my old journals, I brought the last 4.
They start in late July.
I am trying to figure out how my life got this way.


3. I want to paint things.
I want my little brother to think he is smart.

4. I have a cat named Cutie. She is snoring on the bed. Corey named her when he was 6. Corey is on a mission now. He is 19 and almost to Nicaragua. This cat is old and ROGUE. She scratches at the door and we let her out, knowing she'll probably pick fights and come home with bald spots. I'm pretty sure she always wins. Sometimes we joke that she will never die. I always feel bad because I mostly ignore her, even though she's a survivor and I love those.

5. It is strange to come home, to think of all that I was doing last Christmas break and be shocked, again, over the changes. I will never predict my life.

6. Littering is a huge turn off for me.

7. I miss my friends. I've been too absent.

8. I have sat on my old bed for hours, writing out words that need to be recorded. Because I'm not so good at writing about actual events. I have pages and pages of how I felt about what was said, with no recollection of the original words spoken. Tonight I exhausted my memory until I could preserve it.

9. I believe in taking breaks from things that are hard. Breaks from homework and writing papers. Breaks from cleaning the house and breaks from thinking about money. But there are some things I will never walk away from. Some things I cannot justify breaking, not even for a day or two. Mainly if I love you. If I love you, I will figure it out. When it's hard, I will not step away.

10. I watch my little sister live. She wants her driver's license so bad she could tackle an army of crabby DMV employees. She wakes up early for seminary and can't watch the first thirty minutes of a movie without fallin asleep. She makes scrapbooks as Christmas presents and takes care of little Brad and cleans the counters and is tired from constantly standing up for who she is. She goes to parties and turns her music up loud. She is always sore from track or soccer. She won't date the boy she's liked since middle school because of the nasty things he wants to do with her now. This girl never stops. I know she is fighting so hard. Does she know?

11. I am so young in my learning. I am so bewildered with how big life is. Four journals ago there is a page filled with one fat question mark. I made it out of oil pastels and then explained that this mark of punctuation personifies my life.
I say "I am not ready to be adult and play multiple choice." 
I look at that page and read about all the paths I was considering. I read about cryin with my best friend Katie over what to do. I read but I know how it all turns out. I know that those questions resolve and then evolve to new questions... to the ones I'm writing about tonight. I know my life evolves in this way.

* * * * *

These are the first eleven things that came out of my mind.
I read over them and realize that even my random collection of thoughts remains centered on this idea that one must KEEP GOING.
I believe in forward motion.

"I chose and my world was shaken.
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken.
The choosing was not."
--Stephen Sondheim

It is in these periods of my life, these eras of choice and forward motion, where I feel most alive. Even if it creates a struggle, even if I am racked with complexity, I am creating my future. And so, I find myself more fulfilled than I would be in a period of indecision, of stagnant calendar weeks, of horizontal silence. Because surely if I am not reaching up, I am sinking down.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This is Finals Week.

While I study, I keep a blank Microsoft word document open.

This is where I write all my thoughts, so they can have a place. 
Because when they don’t get a place of their own, 
when I don’t listen to them… 
they won’t let me study anything else.

Sometimes these thoughts are inspired by what I’m learning. 
Sometimes they are trying to survive, 
despite the irrelevance of things I’m learning.
These days, most if not all of my writing is done this way, 
right inside of everything else.

My laptop has almost no memory left.
So while I am typing, it struggles to catch up. Thoughts don’t actually appear on the screen until minutes later. It’s ok though, I can’t keep up with them either. So I understand.

On this page are short paragraphs and three word phrases.
Some are directed at certain people— words I have to say right now.
Some are just thoughts for sending outwards, towards anything.

There is a letter to God, so personal that I couldn’t post it for you. Not even because I am embarrassed for you to see that part of me, but because it is sacred to me. It deserves to be selectively exposed. Does that make sense to anyone out there?

Here are two pieces of what started on that page today.

Do you ever hear a few sincere guitar chords and suddenly remember everyone you ever loved? I am overcome with old questions, thoughts of the lake and the radio and saying goodnight.
That happened to me today. A lot of those times are over forever. A lot of them were later exposed to be less pure that I had thought. But it just doesn’t matter. All of them remain. All of them are capable of resurfacing. A few sincere chords. And there they were. I was sitting in the library. But I miss those people.

Is this normal?

Does anyone else’s heart do this?

Sometimes I feel very foolish just spillin my love everywhere, like I have no control where it goes. People are staring but I just can’t hold it all at once.

Like you know when you have a huge load of laundry? And you’re tryin to carry it all in your arms but you just know you can’t do it? I used to try in my first apartment, try to carry my clothes from the dryer, down the hall to my door. But my socks always fell and I’d have to go back to get them. I felt like that today in the library, like I was carryin my love around the fourth floor. It just showed up in my hands after I heard the guitar comin through my headphones.  I did my best to put it away. But it was fallin everywhere like my socks, the socks always do. If people had known all I was feeling, if it had shown up like laundry in my arms, I think they would stare. “Doesn’t she know that’s personal?” they would say. “Isn’t she worried that we’ll see? What if her underwear falls out?! This is the library.”
Sometimes I feel very foolish with my arms so full, but I can’t help it and I don’t want to.

Just see my love.
I saw an album title today: Love is red. It said.
He’s right, love is red.

* * * * * 

I am reading about Shakespearian times. 
There were letters with titles so long I laugh before I finish reading them:

"To the Noble and most Vertuous Princesse, Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, of England, Fraunce, and Irelande, Queen, defender of the Faith. Etc:"

"The Copy of a Letter Largely Written in Meter, by a Young Gentlewoman to Her Unconstant Lover"

I think about what my letters might be titled:

An Email To a Very Busy T.A. Who May or May Not Hate Her Life When I Tell Her That None of my Grades Have Been Posted Online And This Ofcourse Means All is Lost... Forever.

To My Brother Elder Brown, Who I Want so Bad to be Best Friends With Even Though I was Sometimes Mean to You in High School and Who Should Really Stop Being Obsessed With His Girlfriend Who Never Writes and Just Write Me Instead.

To the One I Have So Much To Say To, Here is Another Letter That I Will Write And Never Send Because I do This Almost Every Day Just To Help Me Figure Out What I’m Feeling. But No Worries, In a Moment Of Involuntary Honesty, Probably Within The Next Few Days, I will Say it All Outloud Like I Always Do.

* * * * * 

Sunday, December 6, 2009


My mind wants to get some things out before it falls asleep.
Some big things have happened. I haven't written them down yet.
That makes me feel like I can't write about anything else.
But I can.

Here's a try.

Tonight I saw an indigo coat at Target.
A coat is something I should ask for this Christmas.
Next to this coat, was rack after rack of bathing suits.
Some of which were fantastic.
None of which I should ask for for Christmas.
I tried on three.
Can't help it.

Tonight I am very inbetween.
In between what?
Thought and action.
Mind and voice.
Lonely and resolution.
I am tryin to ask the right questions.

I wear a ring on my middle finger, always.
Just underneath, I am missing a tiny piece of skin.
I am reminded of this when I stick my hands in
cold or hot water.
In either extreme, I flinch.
I am reminded of this when I hold on tightly.
I am reminded of this
every time my skin
is not ready for the intensity.
It is new, and it stings.
I lost this skin on Friday, while I was trying to climb rocks.
I like it. It makes me look tough.
I am tough, but I am not stoic.
It's hard to be reminded
that some things are still too intense for a straight face.
I flinch. I sting.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Today the sun came through my window and I sat inside of it.
That means I was sittin on Brooklyn's bed.
She was on mine.
"Can you believe it's DECEMBER?" she asked.


My friend Claire says sometimes she looks at old posts from this blog.
I think that's a good idea.
So today, I did the same.

Who was I two Decembers ago?

Ironically, two years ago this time... I was writing about who I was years before.
Because there is something healing about going back.
But that phrase, going back, is misleading.
Because there is no backward. There is no retreat or regression.
It's not that I am stepping back from my current self in order to feel the past,
but that I am inviting that past to come forward. To me.
Inviting these two december voices, into one moment.
Today, full circle, we met each other.

Here's what I found: Collide. Kaleidoscope. 2007.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I am this woman.

I am on this bed, all showered and ready to be hopeful.
I am a hopeful person.
I am gonna write this paper,
apologize to my friend,
keep my mind open to what I prayed about this mornin.
Today I will make things happen.
Today I will be okay
with the things
I cannot make happen.

Today I will think of all my pages and how I want to show them to everyone.
I will be sad when the publishers
don't bang down my door,
dying to share in my enthusiasm.

and when my paper is done and my body is tired,
there you will be.
Today I will work hard to make my words and myself align,
to push for truth
and then show it to you.
Because you need that.
We need that.
Both of us scrambling for words.
Face down on the floor,
big exhales for the answer that is not simple,
that is not shining above us.
For the release we are seeking, and the question:
do I get to have that with you?
Yesterday you asked, "Are you worried?"
I am. I told you.
How can I show you?
How can I do this
and tomorrow
and again?

Today I will do this again.
On purpose.

Today I will exhaust myself with the choices I am now proclaiming.
I will revere and follow these convictions.
I will go to bed without answers,
and I will not want for clarity.
I will trust.

I will be tired, but I will not wonder...
I will not question myself.
I am a hopeful person.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today I thought about things, with sand in my clicky pen.

November 26th, 2009. 9:52 am.
I am on the beach alone today, sitting in the sand with my runnin shorts on, reading aloud to myself and the small breeze that hears me. When I look up at the ocean, I feel only gratitude. Pure. Thankful.
* * * * *

10:33 am.
I put down my book in the sand by my face. I am on my belly now, but I stand up and brush off what sticks to me. There is a place in the shore now, a print of myself by my book and my shoes. I leave it there; I've stood-up to do cartwheels. I haven't entirely realized this until I am already doing them. And soon I am running in between. Running and flipping, my eyes open and closing. I used to do this when I was younger. I'd draw a line in the sand and play gymnast on my balance beam. One step at a time. One flip. One turn. Then I am pickin up a purple rock and watchin the little girls in rainbow colored clothes. It's their hair I am watching, wild and curly, red~gold  like another country. They take careful steps toward their sleepin mother in the blue dress and all the while their hair is bouncing, blowing, spiraling. I have never had hair this way-- so defined. My hair is curly, straight, and in between. It is up and down... sometimes both... red, brown, and blonde. This is exactly how I feel-- malleable. I have always felt like I am in the middle of a transformation.  I see another rock in the sand and I think I like it... it is not purple or green but all colors at once and more. I hold it in my hand or a second before I step back and throw it hard into the ocean. Because I know I should. And like the cartwheels it is flying before I understand why. One flip. One turn. A balance. Some things are this way for me-- I know I cannot keep them.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Finite. Falliable.

I am amazed at life.
How does it do this?

I'm listening to Greensleeves. Can you believe that Henry VIII wrote this?
Once upon a time, Henry had a huge thing for Anne Boleyn.
He was so enamored with her that he started his own church in order to divorce his wife.
This man threw down with the POPE to get his way.
After that went through, he married Anne.
They had little Queen Elizabeth,
and then they had three miscarriages.
No one thinks about what that was like for Anne.
After this, he had her beheaded for failing to produce a son.
No one thinks about what that was like for Henry, because obviously Henry had no feelings.
We're wrong. He did.
That man wrote Greensleeves, which to me is proof of feeling.
He felt many things, especially for Anne, the girl this song was written for.
How could we understand him?

Sometimes people tell me I am strange.
I think they're right.
Sometimes people tell me I will not find another person to match me.
You know, like I don't get to marry someone I've been hoping for.
I don't get to feel what that is like.
Because I am just an odd girl... maybe I'll just do my writing thing and be fine alone.
Sometimes I hear these things.
"I just don't know how you'll find a boy who rolls outta bed in his t-shirt and plays in the mud with you-- but also bears his soul. I don't think there are boys that do both."
And plus... if you were to find him... he'd still have to want you back.
And so somewhere in my subconscious,
I was preparing myself to settle.
Because I am strange.
And I might never be understood.

That was a few years ago,
before i found out they were wrong.
I get to be loved too.

But there is an element of truth to this idea,
the idea that no human can completely understand me.
Or you.
Because there is one word that applies to all of us: complex.

[adj. v. kuh m-pleks, kom-pleks]
2. characterized by a very complicated or involved arrangement of parts, units, etc.
3. so complicated or intricate as to be hard to understand or deal with.

"You cannot confine someone 
solely to the story that you know of them," 
my professor said.

That was in September.
I think about it all the time.
There is always more that we don't see.
That we don't quite feel.
And no matter how far I dig to find out who you are...
You have memories I've never seen,
and choices that even you can't explain.

They found the manuscript among his old things.
Written for Anne Boelyn.
Signed Sincerely, King Henry VIII.


Monday, November 16, 2009


Today I am crying so many times.

First, out of guilt.
Once from a talk I watched by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Twice from this book I am reading.
And once because I realized a very big question I have.

What you're imagining is not right, I don't cry that way.
Each time lasts about 4 seconds, my eyes get sad and watery,
but nothing falls down my face.
I am almost overcome, but then, it's over.

Why so often?
And why so short?
How am I so immediately back into normal?

I am getting a little sick today. Steph let me take some of her herbs. This was strange. Little plastic medical capsules-- full of something that once grew straight from the earth. Is this what it means to be "organic"?
Is this the best I can do?

My Dad used to pick blackberries in the woods. He'd bring them back on his horse, and his grandma would make pie. Sometimes he would find arrowheads from the indians-- the land was that untouched.
One time him and his cousins made such a mess in the creek that the added dirt acted as a damn and re-routed the whole thing. Someone down the line who depended on the water had to follow its outline upwards, trying to find the reason why his creek had flowed elsewhere.

I know what a blackberry looks like, but have never picked one myself.
I remember how to find poison ivy, from when I used to play in the woods.
But I never play in the woods anymore. I don't know the way.
I wish I could find the herbs and crush them myself.
I wish I did not depend on someone else to package them for me
into eerily labeled bottles: All Natural!
The plastic fixation of the new-age hippie.
All I need now is a hip new shirt with the word GREEN on it,
maybe one of those reusable grocery bags that feel like airplane pillowcases.

I wrote a story about my Dad and a horse.
I read it in front of my class with his picture on the overhead projector.
I want to tell you I'll post it. No promises.
I have written many stories about growing up with my Dad.
Though I now find I am more interested in when he grew up, without me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And this.

There is a tiny booklet of poetry
which is published monthly 
for a very humble readership
in one town
on the coast of North Carolina

And they took me.
I'm published.
Numero Uno.

Mine was called Fireworks.


Two nights ago I wrote a paper called LET THERE BE WORDS.
Thesis: All human disharmony is rooted in unspoken words.
I turned it in at the top of the JFSB, headphones in.

On the way down, I danced in the elevator. Alone.
Because this is my life! Yeah!
Because though I did spend all day in the library-- it was with powerful books. It was with ideas that are new, even spiritual to me. And so I refuse to complain about my homework. I do not refuse to experience a personal revival in the elevator with sweet Beyonce beats. I was dancin to the finale of 2 papers, 2 quizzes, 2 midterms, and 3 presentations. Whew!

Yesterday I got my paper back.
"The passion behind your topic is evident, but more supporting quotes would be helpful. 89%"
Fair enough.

I read a story about Nanapush, who was pushed to the brink of death by a fear-motivated silence.
He'd adopted a girl he found in a cabin, she was wild and savage, raging around her cold, dead family members on the floor. They'd died from the white-man disease. Her name was Fleur. Nanapush tied her to his horse and brought her home. He held Fleur still and sang healing words for days until her spirit healed and her face was calmed. After that, they felt the ghosts of her family in the new house-- and stopped talking aloud. They were swallowed up by the horror and questions of all they'd seen since the tribes began dissolving. And for a length of circular time, the fearful underbelly of his silence took all but the edge of his life.

Then, someone came to visit him.
Nanapush offered this visitor food-- a custom of his tribe.
The silence broke.
He spoke first out of politeness, then out of desperation.
Fleur joined.
They talked all into the night and were healed by their own story.

On a shelf in my living room are 38 journals. They are my personal narrative, the evidence of God in my life. With words I am placed, I am healed. I get well by talking.

There is something in you that pulses with innnate necessity.
It is fueled by complex needs that will take time to understand.
Even if you never learn how to explain WHY, follow it.

Mine is to write.

And while I have been gone from this blog for a while, the words are still coming.
With words I am placed, I am healed. And I'm still a believer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

There's a sun in my front yard.

Here’s what happened today:

I found a song.
It hit me.
I hit: REPEAT.
…and then, exhausted my laptop battery entirely on the music.
Never bored, only soaking.
Wishing I had life-size speakers to blare the words.
It’s called “In your Atmosphere,” By John Mayer. Live.

“Wishing I had life-size speakers to blare the words.”
This makes me think of a picture.
I saw it in a magazine today: It was Bright colors and Broad daylight.
It was a girl jumping in the air with a megaphone.
Not a cheerleader, just a voice.
She wanted everyone to hear.
Looking at her determined face, it was hard to assign a label.
Should I deem her NAIEVE or HEROIC?
A difficult question,
but I knew that the image was me.

“By John Mayer. Live.”
This makes me think of the highway.
I love live music because of my Dad. Because of my night drives in his passenger’s seat. He drove a Saturn with the sun roof open. The engine was loud and untrustworthy, but the stereo? Loyal. Freebird was his senior class song. He knows all the guitar solos. He knows that before Sweet Home Alabama, Johnny Van Zant yells “Turrrn it up!”
He knows all the Oooo Oooo’s and Oh Yeahhh’s.
He can tell me where he was when he decided he loved the song.
And now we can sing you The Eagles. Bob Segar. Bruce Springstein. Boston. Eric Clapton. America. James Taylor. Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Because my Dad’s engine was loud, unpredictable.
But his stereo has always been loyal.
And now we can sing together.

John Mayer is singing “I don’t think I’m gonna go to LA anymore.
This makes me think “I know what you mean, but I still want to.”
I went there once, with the Jordan boy I write about sometimes.
He had never been to the beach at night, and while we stood on the sand, I stared down the ferris wheel. It was a distant circle of lights. I wished we would go. Things got in the way.
But then
I did go to LA again.
It was barely September, a Sunday night.
I was on that same beach, in my church clothes again.
But the lights didn’t seem so distant anymore.
I felt the difference.
The hope that their promise would only seem closer
With each
Adventuring drive toward the coast.
I sent my words into that night,
Declaring that when I came to LA again,
“You best bet I will ride that ferris wheel.”

I am a strange girl, needing to type out all these thoughts before I can get back to life. But this is my life, here in the kitchen, scrawling for words. And that’s enough for me, even if I can’t make you see what those lights mean. 

Can we shout this to the heavens?!

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, 
and of love, 
and of a sound mind.

2 Tim 1:7

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Your blog sucks.

When I write
I leave evidence
of that moment.
I do not leave
a lasting definition of myself.

I often read over my pages (or posts) and no longer identify.
Thankful they exist, I still want to delete...
Delete. Delete them from your view.

-------That was a confession-------

There are a billion evidences
of my own bad writing.
But not everyone knows the sound of her own voice.
So I scribble, and hold onto hearing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Not a cake.

Someone just texted me.
"What are you doing?"

The real answer:
homework. making dinner. drinking hot chocolate. writing. laundry. dishes. texting you.

How am I doing all of these things at once?
The real answer:
I'm not. I am absolutely not.

Legs: lunge for the shaking pot -- Oh no! That is SO not a simmer.
Ears: listen for the microwave to ding.
Arms: fold what comes out the dryer and
Then: get back to my book at this kitchen table
While: hot water and soap fill the sink.
But: I'm not in any of these things.

I am in my mind, entirely.

Thoughts from Layer 1:
I am so hungry
and late for everything
and I really
really just wanna snuggle.

Layer 2:
I am thinking that I am the craziest girl alive.
I'm thinking about boys. And really,
Can any of you handle my frustrating complexity?
If so, could you teach me how?
If not, I should warn you about that...

Layer 3:
I'm thinking about the mass influx of letters I have recently received,
all unexpected, all from great distances.
There are 6 envelopes full of things I've wanted to hear.
Voices from up to seven years ago embody the complexity I have tried to tame.
"This is what I've learned."
"I love you."
"I wish I still knew you."
"I'm trying to understand."
"I'm waiting on you."
"I still see who you are."
They come from North Carolina, Honduras, Virginia, Lithuania,
and literally around the corner.
Really, all at once.
I'm thinking about how I will ever reply,
because I have to do it with my WHOLE self,
and these days-- I'm divided.

Layer 4, or somewhere in there...
I'm thinking about what my Shakespeare professor told me.
First, she asked "And how are you dear?"
I was getting up to leave,
fixing the hat to my head and the ipod to my ears.
I stop.
She's had me before, and I can tell she knows, so I spill.

"I don't get it. I read and read and gain no significance. But literature is my life, and I've never had this problem, so it's totally undermining my confidence-- and kind of, my identity. I mean... this is the big stuff! If I can't get this, can I ever get the rest? I feel like my response is inadequate, and only further evidence that I am missing the mark."

By now, all other kids have left the room.
She says
"I know you are dutiful. Try to stop dissecting. Instead, let the language wash over you. Lose the fear. You will find something original to reply with."

She was talking about Measure for Measure.
But is this my answer for life?

Layer 5:
Behind all of the thoughts I have just revealed,
are thoughts that try to disprove these things.
Layer 5 is the problem.
Layer 5 is new to me, I don't usually struggle with these thoughts,
Because here's the deal:

I am Lyndsi Shae.
I am strong in my identity, fierce in my convictions.
I know who I am.
I know what I want.
I have a voice.

Layer 5 attacks at the source of my strength, my one rare rock.
And I refuse to listen.

I see now, that what I said about my Shakespeare class
is actually how I feel about life.
And what that glorious woman replied,
is probably what God's been trying to say.
This week it's about letters, but always it's more.

And now my dinner is burning.
But so worth it.
If I did not write, I could not define myself past Layer 1.
And I would surely never conquer the 5.

Can you believe what's happening in here?
Much more than laundry, dishes, and texting.
Much more than homework.

The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor.
--Winston Churchill.

Monday, September 28, 2009


*Definitely brought up Beyonce in our relief society presidency meeting a few days ago.
"The woman empowers me lately. It's all I need in my speakers."
"I mean, at least she thinks marriage is important," Bethany says.
"She ain't sayin If you like it then you shoulda cohabitated."
And there we are around the table, snappin and bustin a move.
Yes please.
Can we get that in the handbook?

My life is insane.
There is so much in it.
People Schedules Appointments Assignments.
My next word was going to be: Obligations.
And here's the beautiful part-- I can't write that word.
It applies to no person, no meeting, no assignment which I am trying to accommodate.

That's right, I want to work it out with you.

I want to deliberate for hours over fifty-some girls.

I want to write letters to sad friends and mission friends and the mass number of people who simultaneously have something to say to me.

I'm not sure where you all came from, but I'm trying to answer.


I want to call you back!

I want to answer 
all these big big assertions 
that people are presenting to me.

When I do not, it is sometimes because I am scared.
Sometimes because I am at a loss for words.
But most often because I am letting my free-spirit translate to: disorganized-life.
My hippie everythings-gonna-be-alright attitude 
will not bring answers.
It will leave people neglected, 
letters unanswered, 
and potential unfilled.

Dear Self, 
Stop running through fields and poems and start looking at a calendar!
My soul says "Nightmare!"
And then, "Okay, fine, you're right."

But I can still be me.
Still the girl that quotes Beyonce in our meeting and challenges the new girls at get-to-know-your-presidency-pancake-sunday. "I ate all seven on my plate! Whatchu got?!"

I want to tell you that it's not all about this calling thing. 
And it's not, there are so many things I want to do (for you/with you/about you.) For the ones who are not part of my list of girls. But it has taken over my mind and perspective, so it is about balancing you with that. It is about this motivation-- this new kick in the pants to be better. Because-- and here's a shocker-- my progression is not all about me. Did it used to feel like that? Other people are depending on me to step it up. Thank goodness. Keep kickin. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary

From a letter I wrote to Katie, Saturday November 8th 2008.

He tells me he had no idea I wasn't wearing makeup. (Do you think boys really mean it when they say that? I don't know about that.) Anyway, he says I look great no matter what. And I mean, that's nice, but I don't put much weight on those types of comments. It's not that I think he's flat-out-lying to please me, I just don't fall on the floor in flattery, you know? 

So then he says 
"I've been thinking about something, and I want to tell you..." 
This is how a lot of our conversations start out. It's kinda like saying 'There's this thing that I understand, but it's weird... but sometimes you understand my weird things-- so here it is..."  

"I think every girl has her own thing about her," he says.
"Like... some girls are really charming. They tend to say lots of funny things and that draws people to them. Some girls are quiet and have a graceful way to them.... and anyway, I think I figured out what your thing is. You have a radiance. It's like a happiness, a bright youthfulness that comes out from within you-- and so when people see you, it doesn't matter what makeup you're wearing because they see this part of you too. It shines towards people. You are red. And golden.

She replies:
"Lovie he is DIGGIN for you. Diggin so see who you are. I know you know this but it's such a big deal. Like it's one thing for a boy to let you dig for them-- to answer all your questions and nod when you say stuff about your soul. But he listens and remembers and applies. Woah. And he likes you for those things instead of just tolerating them."

* * * * * 
Remember when you saw me one day at a time?
There was a reverence there, at the beginning.
You remembered my name.
That scar was forming at the bottom of my thumb,
It was the skin over my bone-- my trapezium.
You kept watch
Over that burned skin
And my trapeze.
We were both surprised at how brave I was
in what I spoke to you 
in the tricks I attempted up there.

"How is your burn today?" you'd ask.
I'd hold out my hand.
I'd let you see.

Did the transition of today's air feel familiar to you?
Because we felt it once together, 
this space between seasons.
(It was conference weekend. The leggos and the roof.)
I used to think: "What's coming?"
Now I know: A Fall.
I was inside this air, when I jumped for that trapeze.
one. year. ago.

We drove away
to escape the cold, 
That's where
You named the flame colors in my countenance.
Remember when you told me you'd found them?
On the road, I played this song for you:

If it is born in flames
Then we should let it burn
Burn as brightly as we can...

And if its gotta end (Let it burn)
It ends where it began
So hot with love
We burned our hands.
We drove home from the heat, and
in the end you were winter.
What felt brave, was now humiliating.
I grew tired of showing you my tricks.
So I came down.

"My love is like a blanket
It gets a little too warm 
I wanna wrap somebody in it
Who can hold me in his arms
Cause when it got a little too hot in there
He was always steppin out for air
And he froze.
Oh he froze."
"How is your burn today?"
You don't ask anymore.
So I don't show you.
I don't tell you that 
I have another scar now.

But I am still Red. And Golden.
Don't you forget.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall together.

When I grow older, I promise to never have a job in accounting.

(No offense accountakids, I think ya’ll make great dads. Not because of the hours or the nature of your work, but because every time I meet a dad who is also an accountant, he is honorable, kinda goofy, and gentle.)

Regardless, I promise to never join you in the field of numbers and money.



My Dad is an airplane mechanic, 

which I have ALWAYS thought is cool.

(I don’t think he knows that.)

Sometimes we would go to his work—it’s called The Hanger.

Does that make you think of closets? Me too—but it’s not about that. It's where the Dads open their toolboxes to show each other pictures of their daughters. It's where they fix the airplanes. 

The Hanger.

This is where my family would sit on top of the mini van

and watch the planes come in to land.

The sky was usually pink when we got there, dark purple when we left.

I would look at those planes and think of all the people in there,

The people and their unknown stories.

And I would think 
“My Dad helped that thing to fly.”


Today I am also thinking that I want to have tons of good movies when I’m a Mom—but none of those empty-and-kinda-raunchy ones. We will have only movies of substance! 

(My kids will get annoyed at their nerdy mother, always shouting "substance!" with one hand in the air, making them trade in their subpar DVD's for literature. They will gag.)


Thursday night I was in the car with my new friend Sarah Motley.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” she said.

I can tell her things like this—like graduated but not an accountant or dumb-movie-owner.

But I cannot tell her much.

“I’ve been shown recently that I have no idea what’s happening around here. Nothing is turning out how I thought it would. So I’d rather be open and adaptable than make a solid plan,” I say.


I try to explain this to her. It’s hard.

Because here’s what my brain keeps saying.


This is a word we’re learning about in my Native American Literature class. I have a nifty blue handout full of what it feels like to experience this word.

Here’s a piece:


“The existence of the her belief, the nature of her destiny, the very shape of reality itself are all, in a flash, brought into radical question. The daughter can either accept the world as bereft of meaning… or find some deeper sense in the ceremonies and objects which had come to mean so much to her. The naive realism of her previous perspective has been exploded. Necessarily, she begins her religious life in a state of serious reflection and in quest of an understanding of the sacred profound enough to sustain her new life.”


It means my world gets turned on its face, 

and yes, it’s been doing that lately.

I do not understand the way my relationships are shifting. God still talks to me, but he doesn’t explain why these things are happening. I want to tell you about it.


But how can I explain this to you publicly 

without overstepping my bounds?

(Translation: How can I show you these people I have stories with, and the confusion of the plot-lines, without exposing their hearts unfairly?)

Zach. Jordan. Jared. Claire. Stoph. Emily. Brody. Corey. Lacey. Dad. Sabrina. 

This intersection of timelines splatters across past journal pages and I watch from the side as my understanding dwindles and my predictions humiliate themselves.

* Some of them are saying “I love you! Come back!”

I say... “I’m not sure why, but I can’t. I’m sorry.”

Or... “Really? Are you finally saying this? Because I don’t know what to say back anymore.”

Or... (speechless).

*Some I will never get answers from.

* Others are popping in and out of my life unexpectedly—planting their roots in the middle of my path. Sometimes I trip over them. Sometimes I have to watch my step for days and days, but sometimes I stop and see their tree coming forth. Trees I never thought could belong to my world. I would not permit my path to be smoother by digging them up and away.

*Some surprise me with their choice to be someone else for a while.

*Some are filling me with love and possibility where I assumed there would always be shadows and contention.

*Some: are just Gone.


And so I am disenchanted with my own predictions—a loss of faith in all things once hopefully deemed “Obvious. Natural. Coming Soon.”


I am by no means obliterated, only silent for a while—telling myself to relinquish control. And then, relinquish the idea that I have any knowledge of what is to come.

“But I am not that girl!” I say to myself.

“I am not the girl with the 5 year plan who refuses to deviate. I’ve always been okay not knowing the answers.”

“Oh please. You’re NOT the girl with the 5 year plan and the permanent mascara, but you ARE the girl who is thrown by all these twisting outcomes at once. It’s okay that you’re that girl, but you have to change your perspective now: You make choices. God makes outcomes.”

He is the only relationship I can predict as Obvious. Natural. Coming Soon.


With this on my mind, I walk into that Native American Literature class.

My professor speaks up. “I’m passing the role,” she says.

“Circle your initials if you’re prepared for discussion today.”


I look down at my blue handout,

“Disillusionment means ‘to be in the condition of being disenchanted.’”

So I reach for the clipboard.

“LSB.” I write.


I have a lot to say today.


As my stories with these people take exits I could not see from the driver’s seat—I realize that I am not wholly driving this thing—that the map I’ve got across the dashboard is drawn by my own narrow predictions.

“That’s a nice map you’ve worked on,” God says to me.

“But in the past I’ve always navigated by my own omniscient vision, and I think we should stick with that.”

I tell him it’s okay, and slip out of his seat. I think I was cramping him a little bit.

See how he talks to me like he’s just my Dad?

The truth is: I am thankful, even desperate to believe in something beyond my human limitations—even if I have no idea where He’s going with all of this.

“Fine. But do I have to be an accountant?” I ask.

I think he said no, but he probably just laughed.


Here’s a piece of hope from the blue handout:

“The rites of disenchantment must end on the threshold of revelation, for it is only through the living of the religious way that the sacred becomes fully known.”


I’m willing to fully know the sacred, to let my hope get of the ground.

I see myself as a passenger in that ungraceful airplane,

The child in me looks up to see her future fly over.

My unkno`wn story is contained in 

an impossibly huge and bulky machine,

and I am comforted to know:

My Heavenly Father helps these things to fly.