Sunday, March 31, 2013

Closing Thoughts

It’s the last day of the month- and I’m looking forward to April.  I want to keep this blog.  The slice of life challenge was so much more than I anticipated.  Sure, I didn’t write every single day, but each blog post I posted was one more than I ordinarily would have.

And I’ve never shared my poetry with anyone before.  The kind comments were very reassuring, and made me want to keep writing.  I’ve learned about so many great projects- like my one word, National Poetry Writing Month, and National Novel Writing Month.  And ultimately, it’s about being good models for students.  If we ask students to write and read, they need role models who write and read as well.

Some blog posts this month were submitted at 11:30 pm.  Some I can’t look at without wincing, because they could use a few (hundred) more edits.  But I am proud of what I’ve accomplished, and what I’ve seen an amazing community of people accomplish.

Thank you to everyone who commented.  And to everyone who dared to share part of their lives through blogging. 

Friday, March 29, 2013


I grew up in church. Every Sunday, without fail.  I didn’t even bother to ask if we were going on Saturday night; I just handed my dress to Mom so she could press the wrinkles out.  Life’s like that when you’re a preacher’s daughter.  And then, I suddenly wasn’t. 

The context changed, but the routine stayed the same.  Until high school.  Older brother went to college, and attendance was no longer enforced.  Still, I put on nice clothes and sat in the back row, because I knew my parents wanted me to.

And then, the context changed again.  Away at college, I didn’t understand how to hold religion and my own beliefs in the same set of arms.  So I let religion go.  Learned to meditate.  Tried yoga.  Graduated with a 3.96. And got into grad school.

Grad school was a new set of classes, same struggles as before.  And with Easter approaching, my heart is quite conflicted.  The Dalai Lama (who’s my favorite llama of all) said that the religion you were raised with is where your heart has roots.  And I miss the community.

But I don’t agree with much of the doctrine, or the leaders.  And I don’t like some of the people.  I’m pretty sure that makes me a bad person. 

There’s no conclusion to this essay, because I haven’t reached one myself.  Maybe this is something I’ll continue to struggle with.  For now, I’m just trying to be the best person I can- give help where it’s needed, offer kindness and understanding, and never be in too much of a hurry to listen to others- even the words they’re not saying.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Connect the Dots

When I was seven, I grabbed a
marker and connected the
freckles on my face.  I’m not
sure what I was looking for,

but I know I didn’t find it.
I’ve learned this year that
I can wear different clothes,
talk a little louder, and

dye my hair purple.  But
I can’t stop being myself.
It doesn’t matter how much
weight I lose, or miles I

run.  But maybe this too
is a blessing- one I can only
see with my eyes closed to
the mirror.  Sometimes I

can’t start listening until
my cellphone is turned
off.  We’re so distracted
and the sun blinds our eyes

Give me the strength to
stop.  Please tell me that
I’m not missing out on
this life.  That there’s a

melody in the quiet,
and life without frenzy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Writing with Voice

When I get home, all I want to do is throw on my PJs and crawl into bed.  The day feels impossibly long- and the weight of other people's problems rests heavy on my shoulders.  Sometimes it's impossible to take a deep breath.  When I'm sleeping, time seems to trip over itself.  Sleeping is like falling, except there's no floor-- no sudden, jolting impact.  Sometimes, I drink tea before falling into bed.  The warm mug is an anchor for the day.  The stars slowly appear, and the world gets quiet.

One of my peers handed out this awesome worksheet that had a list of emotions.  The assignment was to choose an emotion.  Obviously, I chose exhaustion. Haha, it's a long week.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Music Notes

One day, my Dad solemnly
turned on the radio.  He turned
to me and said, “This is Queen.”
A formal introduction to the

soundtrack of my college years.
I had a disdain for Top 40, and
was never cool enough to listen
to rap.  Something about my

long hair and good-girl persona
prevented other genres from
sticking so effectively.  But I could
adore Queen, ZZ Top, and AC/DC.

They formed the background for
my Shakespeare studies, and the
last-minute essays of undergrad.
I need to go back to the silence now.

Listening to the quiet is scary
and only echoes the emptiness.
A television and computer makes
a lot of noise to keep me from

understanding? Thinking?
Whoever I am, it isn’t what I’m
supposed to be.  And homework
can quiet individuality and self.

I wonder who I’ll be without
a to-do list? Will I exist without
tasks to accomplish, or a list
of goals tattooed on my forearm?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What I'm Reading Saturday

Just got back from the gym.  Finished Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood late last night.  Truthfully, more like early early this morning.  It wasn't the easiest book to read, because the topic dealt with cruelty to others.  I'd like to believe that everyone ultimately has good intentions, but I know that's not the case in "real life."  Even those we'd trust to have pure motives- politicians, police, administrators, professors, lawyers, and doctors- are capable of stunning cruelty.

But this book focused a lot on cruelty that masquerades as friendship.  It happens.  Those we trust simply know how to hurt us the most effectively.  In the book, Elaine becomes good friends with Cordelia.  That relationship shapes the rest of Elaine's life.  It had echoes of Oryx and Crake, which makes sense because of the same author.  Friendship is a risk, and one that always comes with a cost.

I'll get back to poems tomorrow, hopefully.  I wanted to write about the stars.  Or how to be a family across a continent.  Or even how to make each day different, new.  Because all of those topics are a bit of a struggle right now.  I feel like a rat trapped in a cage.  Or like Han, Luke, and Leia in the garbage compactor...Nerd Life.  I don't know how to get off the metaphorical and physical treadmill.

I'm starting to understand that truth is more complicated than what I've been told.  There are so many facets, and there's never just two sides to a story.  I do want more Margaret Atwood in my life though.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Unattended Weddings

My best friend in high school
had the most amazing hair.
A thick and untamable mane
that resisted brushes and pins.

That was before she left for
the other side of the continent.
Before I learned that promises
can be empty words and people

can hurt you.  That’s why we
lock our doors, darling.
Before I cut my hair and
bleached the color out.

I wanted nothing left that
reminded me of her.
I am constantly the wrong
age for my body.  Awkward

didn’t used to be a middle
school insult.  It wasn’t a
single word offense hurled
by bystanders and pre-teens.

It meant rough, lacking polish,
even graceless.  The irony
doesn’t escape me.  Hannah-
graceful one, favored one

My father told me once that
grace is about more than
coordination.  It’s about
making others feel safe.

I still look for life jackets
from others.  Maybe safety
comes in another format.
Maybe the disconnected

phone can be a shelter.
We’ve grown up now, and
I wonder if you’d even
know the girl I am.