Monday, December 14, 2015

Nowhere left to run

You're everything I'm not.  You're the bullet and I'm just the shot.  You have wings and my arms are fraught with scars and bruises.

Why is my narrative composed of holes in the dark and worn skin?  Why do I sit alone in silence hoping for someone to come in?  All the decisions I've tried to make today feel empty and fickle.  Productivity tells me I'm not doing enough.  My inner insides tell squeeze at me like a clamp.  I want to flee from here.  I want to be okay with who I am.  I want to disappear and return as a new start.  I'm not suicidal, but the times just seem to be rolling waters.  What am I doing for others?  What am I doing for myself?  Am I really that cheap?

As the rest just pair off I wallow alone, as if drowning under sheets.  Alone, I've grown accustom to the things I hate about myself.  Hate is too strong a word; I'd never use it on anyone else.  I can't be myself though.  I can't be anyone.  I'm an imitation.  I'm a counterfeit representation.  No one here knows me because I don't want to admit to who I am.  I don't want to be myself because when I try it just comes out as trying to get something else.  The things that I say seem to be self-exploitation or attention seeking.  I'm not comfortable with myself and I despise comfortability.  I'm a thousand arrows pointed in different directions as the infinitesimal wheel of time rolls down the rocky stream.

Abandon the broken glass and you'll find me.

I want you to remember me.  Will you hold me?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Glowing Shadows

If and when you become a ghost, will you pine for me as I did for you in this life?  Will you haunt the shadows just wanting to be seen again?  Will the shivers down my spine be your tender fingertips?  Will you tell me you're still here?  If and when you're an invisible phantom will your presence still linger in the four chambers of my heart?  Will you dance under the moonlight, spinning tree limbs in the park?

If you're destined to be a whispering vision that is only felt by my third eye, will you tell me that it's you or will you just pass me by?  When I'm floating in a dream and your eyes are fixed on mine, will you crawl under the covers and simply pass the time?  You've haunted me my life entire and barely eluded my grasp.  You're a picture frame without a photo or a face without a name.  You're not a bank from which I withdraw, nor a vault where I deposit my intimate secrets.  You've eluded me because whenever I get close I notice my breathing and catch my breath while my heart's beating.

I'm a light fixture caught up tangled up in the branches, a flickering filament with no desire to burn away the leaves.  I'm a teapot seeking water, but my chamomile is sufficient.  Flowers and aged root have served their time in the soil and now await the scolding, purifying liquid.  Hot water doesn't burn me, it mixes and melts to make the perfect engine.

I'm a faraway land with no one beside me and I'm an inner peace that is hiding inside me.  I'm a bat among squirrels that fly by me.  I may not be sighted but my sonar will guide me.  The gifts I've been given will not ferment inside me.  I mustn't try and hide the gifts that You provide me.  I'm a whisper in the breeze and a blade of grass in the meadow.  Soon to the fire or perhaps in the storehouse you'll find me.  Until then, I'm translucent stained glass painted with pictures of Paradise.

Tell me who I Am once was.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Brief Incongruences

There are words I can't tell you because I don't even know if they're real or not yet.  There are words that have been dancing on my tongue's tip for months now.  It's never the right time but somehow we have to seize the day.  I come home every night with bags growing under my eyes and yet my eyes are sometimes further down the road than I am.  I find myself worrying about unnecessary battles because I want to be prepared and then I trip over my own two feet.  Then I study my shoelaces to see what I could have done better, only to miss the point the true point because it's already hovering over the horizon.

I want to tell you the words stuck inside me but I need more time.  I want to live today but I need more rhyme.  I want to not want so much but this lust is killing me one day at a time.  I shall not be in want, right?  So how do I practice such a word or proverb?  I often find myself becoming a product of the trees planted around me.  I haven't always wanted to be placed here.  The last couple of years have felt more like enduring than really living.  I tell people that I'm trying to make the most of it but I don't try as hard as I would like.  It's easier to stay inside.  It's much more simple to complain about the heat than it is to fix the air conditioning or to even turn it on.

I'm hurrying in my life to make things happen and then I rush into the important decisions.  I closely examine the pencil shavings and eraser marks and paint over the number on the account balance.  My eyes are far away and my hands are too close to my hips.  I need replacement surgery but of nothing in particular.  I need a motivational drive to keep me moving.  If I am to stay anywhere, it ought to be moving.

I'm nearly falling asleep and this has become next to nothing.  The ideas ran away again, perhaps they're hiding in my dreams.  A few sentences became sketches of oases but the rest seem incongruent, bland, and without substance or flavor.  I'll come back if God wills it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Seat of the Muse

You cannot get lost at a museum.  Walking around as the paintings draw their gaze to your face and away from you, you're more likely to be found.  If you're lost in the artist's cathedral it's because you were before you entered.  A museum will show you where you are, it will bring things out in you that you weren't aware were there.  I'm not talking about a field trip with friends or a family vacation with relatives.  A solitary visit to the talking halls will open you up to where you've been.

I recently meandered the hallways of old warehouses converted into artists' studios set up for public viewing.  The views were quite spectacular; the conversations sometimes came easy, but I found myself missing you.  That has happened a lot lately.  I want to tell you that I love you but I'm not sure if I do.  I want to tell you that I feel something but I'm not sure how you'll react.  I want to know how it will be but these things are painted with uncertainty.

I feel so at ease talking with you.  I want to continue.  As I'm driving down these weathered and worn streets I find my mind turning to the passenger seat and wishing your hand was there in mine.  I'm wishing for the slight gentle touch of another, but not just anyone.  These imitations don't do it for me; I'm just creating an interference in all of our empty signals.  You don't know what you mean to me.  We've gotten to a place where I can speak of your external beauty, but what I mean to say stays inside me; it's inside you.  It's something I don't know how to describe.  Usually the inward beauty comes from a different place but your intellectual skepticism soothes me.  The problem is that it also scares me.

I don't want to be serenaded off to the gates of Hell.  Are you a siren lulling my heart to a treacherous shore?  My soul found an olive branch in this coral reef and I don't want to let go.  The people I don't know tell me not to go.  The people who claim to know me don't seem to react precisely as I anticipated and so your siren song seems all the more pleasing to the ears of my heart.  I write words in my journal that I wish your ears could hear.  I fill once empty pages with musings of what this alleged love tastes like.  I don't know how to tell you because I don't know how you feel but I don't know because I don't tell you.  I'm afraid.

I'm afraid that your heart will fly further.  Your presence continues to escape me.  If I told you what I felt but that I'm not sure about how I felt, what could we do?  I'm frightened that you'll leave me before we even have a chance to enter into each other's lives.  I'm anxious that you'll tell me not now because your life is papers and faraway places.  You don't have time for love, you can't be tied down, but that's not what I want.  It is not my desire to bind you with ropes and chains to any one place.  No, some of that is the very reason that I've found myself falling for you over these last several months.

So what would really change?  Not much really.  Maybe we would just talk with more intentionality.  Maybe you would just know more truly how I feel and we wouldn't have to fish for answers about what the other is feeling.  Yes, perhaps it might involve making a more concerted effort to actually see each other soon but that's okay, right?  We're both swimming in this lonely fish bowl.  We're both lost at sea.  I don't have this life all figured out and I think you would say the same.  To be honest, I don't want to worship you and I don't think you would like that either.  I just want to live life alongside you.  You intrigue me.  You keep me guessing.

You're such a profound thinker.  It sometimes seems as if everything you say gets me thinking more and it's not the kind of thinking that sets me off on a runaway train either.  You just take me to worlds I never thought I would go.  Perhaps you're not a siren serenading me into rocky shores, but an explorer looking for a companion to accompany you on a lifelong journey full of new discoveries.  I don't want the monotony of this life.  I don't want the same potholes deflating my tires.  I don't want the same faces always telling me how I ought to live my life.  I know that living as an independent celestial body orbiting others won't work either; there must be a healthy amount of accountability.

Something inside you pulls me closer even as you travel further.  I don't want it to just be absence-induced affection, though sometimes it feels like that's all that it is.  Nor do I wish for you to be a mere comfort in the dark, though these last few months the sun has often refused to shine.  Nevertheless, I remember times with you and how something was lifted even when you were with me.  Even when I didn't know what to say, there seemed to be something there.  When other silence fills me with anxiety and uncertainty, your silence somehow keeps me wanting more.  More of what you are.  More of who you've been.  More of where you're going.  And more of where you'll take me.

I wander the once empty warehouses and find myself again.  I find you in every landscape.  Every portrait is you singing poetry with me.  I wonder what you'd think and where your mind would be.  I think that you'd be so pleased, you'd be in your element.  You're not a looker or a gawker but a gazer. You've changed something in me and I want it to keep evolving.  I don't want to leave my chrysalis because I fear the fire might be awaiting me, but I'd rather live a full life than spend my waking hours sleeping.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Every crack is big when you've only one road to travel

All of my life is a once in a lifetime opportunity, though I don't live it as such.  Everyday is new and I can't get one second back.  I don't live as one who seizes days and moments.  I feel more like someone who's sleepwalking through life.  I look back on what was and wish for it to be again.  I look back on the past and remember greener grass than there was.  Maybe if I could go back there it would all be better, I think to myself but know it's just a wandering thought.  None of it will be the same.  I'm not assertive enough to say anything to anyone.  I want to live my life today but I need someone to wake me up.  It's too comfortable here.  I'm getting sick of this comfort.  Everyone just feels so safe.  I want to take my seatbelt off but I'm afraid I'll get in an accident.

Others encourage me to think things through and so I do and then I think too much.  I think it's better to be safe than sorry but now that I'm safe I feel sorry for myself.  I feel useless in this restless nightmare.  Can I wait two years and then wake up?  In the meantime what am I doing?  I want to live.  I want to find my true passion and feel like where I am is either pushing me further from it or keeping me stuck in wet concrete.  Why did I ever leave a good thing?  It felt so much better when it felt temporary.  Was that even it?  Or was it that I had a good feeling about the newness of the situation or the exotic nature of the place?  Here it's just concrete and potholes.  It's not even a concrete jungle.  To swing from one building to the next is too great a gap.  The humidity wears me down.

The sun beats down on me and it's nearly November.  Many people are friendly but they seem to all know each other or have a mission themselves.  So I just wander aimlessly with nothing.  I think it's better to sleep than to realize how lonely I am.  I sleep all weekend and most of the night because I feel like that's what my life is otherwise.  Sure, I could travel back to old joys and once upon a time friends but it wouldn't be the same as my mind's tricks.  People don't flock to me and likewise I do not flock to them.  I like to dance but only when I know people enough or if I know enough to forget myself for a time.  I feel like where I am, I don't have enough time to forget myself and so I dwell for so long on long-forgotten hiccups.  I know a little bit of what I enjoy but I have somewhat convinced myself that I must be with others to enjoy it.  What is going to happen to me?  What can I do?  Everything is just so temporary and I fall in every crack in the road.

The moon has become my closest friend.  She's glows for me a couple times a month, reminding me she's there.  I look to her for guidance but hear whispers from the trees, "She's just a reflection, you know.  The sun is where she gets her light."  I tell them I know but it just isn't the same.  The warmth from the sun just bears don't too hard on me.  When I want her warmth I'm stuck shivering inside and when sweat drips down my forehead, she pours more onto my shoulders.  The moon directs me where to go. She points to the signs that say "Road Closed".  She lights the dark places.  The sun just hurts my eyes and drains me.  At least the signs tell me that they lead to nowhere.  The moon deceives me but I'm so quick to give in because everything else around is dark.  She's a light in the clouds.  She asks me to stay outside and walk with her a bit but I know I must sleep for tomorrow is an early morning.  "Why can't we play on a Saturday?" I ask her with a sigh.  She just grins and turns away, "Perhaps next week I'll try."

Monday, October 26, 2015

jumbled Cyrillic

I'm not everything.  Far from it.  However, inside me is not a vortex.  It's not an empty hole.  I have been created.  I'm not all that there is.  I think too highly of myself and those around me can't believe me.  Who is wrong?  Do I know anything?  When everything is crumbling and I just want to be a piece of someone else's puzzle, where do I go?  I don't fit well where I am, but I'm falling asleep in this cozy coffin.  Some people here seem to be so content sleeping in comfort.  Sleeping in the only place they've ever known.  Have I become them?  Have I forgotten my purpose in life?  Have I done anything worth noting in the last two years?  Have I done anything or will I ever even do anything?  Does any of this really matter?  Where are all of these words coming from but the tip of my nose or the nadir of my mind?

I'm more than nothing inside but less than any substance at the same time.  I'm an intricate circulatory map of organs and tissue.  I'm a product of migration, both mass and minute.  I'm a son of many men from moons ago.  We made it across an ocean but we deprived people of their lifestyle.  We have nothing to offer and yet we have thought we are more than others.  What are these invisible borders anyway?  What is it that society is telling me to be?  How can one be a true nonconformist if we're all products.  Products of what?  Of whom?  We're not goods to be consumed, we're not just dirt and magic dust, but what are we?

Can that be all there is?  Do we die and rise or die and fall?  Or do we rise and live or fall and die?  What are we?  Who are we?  When we fall asleep where do we wake up (both here and after)?  Do we just put on robes and bathe in the blood to be made clean?  Do we just sing?  What can it mean to worship unto infinity?  What is infinity anyway?  We all have our ideas and nothing is perfect.  Or is perfect nothing?  Is perfect a thing?  Is perfect perfection?  Is there a reason for all of this?  Are we more than morals and rainbow-colored songs?

Does God favor one gender?  I cannot think they do.  It is easier to call Him Him because that's what we've been taught.  Is that because that is all we could understand at the time?  Are we becoming wiser only to lose our knowledge and the drive to keep going?  What are we anyway?  Is there any meaning to all of this?  Who can really answer the questions if we're all living it together?  Why do I feel I must keep moving?  The seventh day is for resting but my fingers don't stop picking at sore wounds.  I'd rather pick my skin dry than to keep still.  Why?  And sometimes I fall asleep for lack of positive activity.  Who will save this evaporating soul?

Is there hope at all?  Can there be hope in anything here?  Who will pay attention to my vaporous words that mean nothing.  All of this is meaningless.  It might as well be jumbled Cyrillic to an illiterate Englishman.  If you can make sense of any of this, where do you come from?  If you make sense of it all, where are you?

Not even me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Darker Clouds Than Rain

Have you ever had so much going on in your life that you wish you could just zap yourself away for a day or two?  Do you ever feel like all of your downtime is more up time than you wish?  Do you long to relax and then once you get to a quiet place, find that it's not the world that was loud, but it's your mind spinning circles?

Welcome to my life.  The last couple of years (and especially the last few months) have been out of the ordinary.  I would say extraordinary, but that would imply that they were superb.  While they have not been particular bad for any sort of circumstance or situation in my life, they have been largely dull and empty.  I have found myself sleeping away the prime of my life while other people continue to thrive.  I'm often not satisfied with my life but feel confined to my situation.  I'm stuck in invisible chains.

Most of me can't wait to leave Texas, though there is a rational side of me that says when I leave Texas I will not leave my problems.  I cannot set my mind free in Texas while my heart escapes to Colorado; life doesn't work that way.

I am blowing things out of proportion.  I don't let myself feel or I tell myself I've got to be stronger though I know I am weak.  I am weak and without motivation.  It's a miserable combination.  I've got pockets full of empty envelopes with letters I've almost written.  I can't escape myself and let someone else live for me even for a minute.  That's what I would really enjoy.  Just give me some time away from myself.  Some time to be who I want to be.  But who do I want to be?  Who am I really?

I don't like excessive exaggeration that exists only to embellish a story.  I take things literally even when others don't.  I read into things and extract meaning from "hidden" messages that may not even exist.  I judge others by my own unbalanced standard and expect them to be better, all the while knowing that none of us can reach that standard of perfection.  I want to be free but am told that I already am.  Why doesn't it feel that way?  Do the people who are on the wide road know it ?  Is this what it feels like?

When I fall asleep at night am I tucking myself into my deathbed?

Caterpillar Corrections

Don't tell a caterpillar she's just a worm, she may believe you.  She may think, perhaps that's something I never knew.  Maybe I've been blinded to this fact all of my years and I'm just now seeing the truth.  However, that is not the case, caterpillars are caterpillars just as a rose is a rose is a rose.  To take it a step further, caterpillars are butterflies in process.  Would you agree that it is more effective to refer to a caterpillar as a butterfly than it is to call her just another slug?

Why are caterpillars seen as so much less of a nuisance than slugs or other slimy creatures?  Is it because we know that they haven't met their full potential yet?  Perhaps when we look at the strange jumble of colors in a caterpillar we begin to marvel at the wings it is hiding within herself.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we started seeing our sisters and brothers this way? Instead of throwing confining words and simple terms around to describe each other, we saw the potential for colorful flight in everyone.  Instead of seeking to put the slimy slugs of our society in jails, prisons, and facilities out of site, we learned to embrace them as our own.  Yes, people do bad things, but the world cannot be divided into good people and bad people.  If we say that sometimes good people do bad things, wouldn't that mean that sometimes bad people do good things, which leads to the assumption that no one is completely good or bad?

So instead of pointing out the differences in others, let's learn to listen to each other's stories.  In a society that is heavily driven by morals (whether we care to admit it or not), it does us no good to push people to the sidelines to make room for ourselves.  When we do that, we may be attempting to make invisible a problem that has only been painted over.  We cannot expect selfishness and greed to save us.  What does it say about the world we live in when we hasten to punish the violent offender and shortly thereafter lose all hope in him?  We say that one must pay the price if he does the crime, however we are not willing to accept collective responsibility for our brother's rehabilitation.  He has to prove that he has changed or at least show that he is willing to change to receive our acceptance, we tell each other.  However, we take no responsibility for helping our brother begin to change.  We lock him up, treat him poorly, and tell him either you're unchangeable or you've got to figure it out yourself.  No wonder he has lost hope.

However, young caterpillar, I have faith in you.  You can change.  You can be a butterfly one day.  I know you have some colorful wings hiding inside you.  Sure there are slimy bits too, but I'll be honest with you, I've got some things in me that I'd be better without.  I make mistakes and I even do some things intentionally which are blatantly wrong.  I'm not a complete butterfly, though I'm not all slug either.  Please, promise me you won't poor salt on me just to alleviate your discomfort and I will work with you to help you find your wings.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I'm a Butterfly

I need conviction.  I have conviction.  I hear more words from my own head than I do from outsiders.  I live on an island though I'm surrounding by Living Water.  That's right.  I'm surrounded by Living Water on all sides and instead of soaking it in I tend to feel more like I'm drowning.  I look around at my life and think, "It could be better."  I look around at the archipelago of isles around me and think, "Why not me?"

I sometimes wonder what I'm here for.  Is it to paint poetry like Paul Simon?  Is it to love the "unlovable"?  Is it for just one small act that I've already screwed up?  Or perhaps it's a small step that I've yet to make.  I look outside of me for hope beyond hope.  Somewhere buried deep I have hope eternal, as I said, I'm living among the the Living Water.  Somewhere below my surface is an eternal flame.  It's a magma building inside me and making room for new life.  The igneous is bubbling inside me though the sedimentary is not ready to depart.

Metamorphosis.  Do butterflies remember what it was like to be a caterpillar?  Do they think, "Wow!  What joy it is to finally have my wings!"?  I can remember being a caterpillar.  Sometimes I feel like I still am one.  Some nights I stay up late and whilst my wings are fast asleep I wonder, "Why have I been placed here?  My wings might as well be clipped for I do not use them as they were designed."

But I'm a butterfly.  It is for freedom that I have been set free.  I have not been given wings for others to admire, though their colors shine majestically in the Spring sun.  I have not been given wings of fragile silk so that I can covetously look upon the feathers of an eagle, longing for something greater or stronger.

I'm a butterfly.  I am made to fly.  I am made to shine brightly.  I have been changed, metamorphosed as it were.  I am new every day.  I am gentle when it is necessary, though I have been freely given the power and strength to lift what is necessary.  My gifts and my strengths are not for me to hold onto tightly.  I cannot hoard my free gifts: my mercy, my grace, my fantasy.  It is for freedom, not for me and my kingdom!  I can leave my chrysalis behind and begin to feel the air between my wings.

I'm a butterfly.  I must give from what I've been given or I'll lose the very wings that let me fly.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wandering in the Wilderness

When one lives in the wilderness, it's hard to just get lost.  One does not intentionally lose himself.  He cannot make a plan and set a road map for the trail, for if he does he will already know to where he has set out before his journey has begun.  That's like hoping, planning, and wishing to be spontaneous.  It cannot be so.  One only gets lost so easy in the wilderness because he was lost there to start with.

Show me a trail and I'll analyze it until my days are shortened.  Teach me a chosen path and I'll worry, though subconsciously so as to hide the sin from my soul.  Then, when I realize that I've worried needlessly I become anxious regarding my anxiety.  How did it get here?  Who let it enter?  I'll put labels on my skin, like tattoos that penetrate deep into my tissues.

I'll seek an answer, all the while distracting myself from the truth, or sometimes the Truth.  I fall victim to the carnal, the secular, the pretty distracting roses.  I disregard the sneezing, saying, "It must be something else."  I worry I'm becoming less of myself and by that time I can't find who I used to be.  I look down at my feet and notice my shoes are missing.  "Perhaps they've fallen off," I tell myself, knowing full well it was I who gave them up.  I donated my opinions, my perspectives, and my glasses to get to know another.  I desired so deeply to fall in love, to be in relationship, to show them that I care that I was content to strip to nothing of my own.

"I am you," I tried to tell them.  "I can be you," I would say, but that wasn't the same.  Our experiences are different even if the emotions held hands.  I'll share my broken heart with your sadness but only until you're whole again.  When you can fend for yourself I'll need you more than you may have needed me.  Who can teach me to be whole again?  Who thought they could teach me to be whole to start with?  Why is it simpler to point to my cracks and shift the pieces, however slightly?  Why can I not be content with my being?  Why don't I like me when I am myself?  Who has taught me to despise my desires, to resent my rejoicing?

Yes, perhaps I'm not myself today, but if that's true then who am I?  I can be no one but who I am.  I AM says (S)He made me to be just what I am and more.  How can I be ever be content if comfort is the enemy?  How can I be me?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Own Pair of Shoes

I can gaze at pictures.  We have the benefit of photos.  We have the advantage of almost feeling former faces.

But that's not always a positive.  Gee, if it's not the anxiety of the future or discontentment with the present, it's regrets about the past.  Why so much lately?  Why do I see faces in my mind's window?  Why do I long for days gone by?  Why can I only live in the present for brief moments before the past picks me out of a joyous moment?  The claws of the past get a grip on me and I can't let go; it's as if I'm not the one in control.  I'm not though, am I?

I wonder if I could call you.  If I could text you.  If I were in town, if I could remind myself to forget you.  Or if things had been different.  If scenarios traded, or just a few more months I had waited.

Could I have put my tongue in my mouth a little longer?  Could I have spoken up when I felt torn or elated?

Why must I almost always be the one who's not assertive?  Will this timidity destroy me?  I let others walk on me because I don't want to trip on their fragile bones.  I don't like to be courageous, not all the time.  But it's often much worse to be the one without his own identity because he's stuck sticking up for others.

Lately I've forgotten where my shoes are or who I've lent them to, perhaps because I've spent so much of my life trying on others'.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Compassion Fatigue (Are we there yet?)

I'm lost in the most obscure part of confusion.  I'm at the place where I'm beyond being found and yet I've fallen in what feels like a hole in the ground.  I'm wearing thin most days, though some days it feels like I'm out of it.  I sometimes feel out of options and just want to crawl into the warmth of the darkness but I know it's false.  The dark is just so cold and I don't feel like I can make it myself.  I don't want to be alone.

I'm sick but it feels like too much pressure to ask you to cradle me.  I'm stuck in a tunnel and fly like a moth to any hope of light.  I'm a parasite and hate it when others come sucking my own blood.  I find outlets and try to plug in my own surge protectors, hoping that I'll be able to plug in at any moment.  I'm so caught up in my own life that the people around me seem to just float and orbit around me.  Still, I'm not a ball of light and the planets don't revolve around me but I just want to feel cared for.  And most times people try and show me such care and appreciation it feels so forced and inauthentic.

Help me see the Truth.  I'm falling asleep here and there's no one beside me.  And I don't need anyone beside me.  And I do need someone beside me.  I'm not codependent.  I'm not independent.  I'm a rag doll; you can move my arms and legs and it'll appear as though I'm living but my insides feel empty.  Some days tears say more.  Some days tears won't come.  Some days I want to say more than tears but they just tear across my face, ridding me of any words.

I can't be just a sponge.  There has to be more to this life.  There has to be more to who I am.  I have to dispense as well as absorb, but sometimes I feel like all I ever do is expend myself until I'm dry.  Someone throw a life vest to me.  Someone teach me to swim.  Someone hold my hand.  I'm a child drowning in water just above my head.  I can't make it alone.  I'm not alone.  I'm just lonely.  Shut me up.  Hold me.  Hear me out.  And listen to me.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Step in and Step Back

"If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well..." ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt (First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933)

If you've been around me at all over the last month or so, you've probably heard me go off on a somewhat of a tangent about how I believe that the ideal of independence that we have in the West, particularly in the United States, is an unrealistic goal.  If everyone in the world intends to live as independent people, unions, corporations, or any other entity, we will leave a vast number of needs, interests, and dreams of others behind.

At this point in my life, I believe that the more productive theory would be one of interdependence.  This theory of interdependence aims at working with our own strengths and passions in an effort to aid others in doing the same.  It involves knowing one's limits, yet still having the courage and humility to continue to be an academic of life.

I saw a quote a while back, though I can't remember who said it or exactly how it went but it was something like this: "Leaders are like cream foam in coffee, there comes a time when we have to sweep them off the top and start afresh."  Though the quote wasn't exactly like that, it had a similar idea.  I think it was a George Orwell quote, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, this is the type of interdependent leadership that I believe in.  I am convinced that it is a part of human nature that if any one person, party, corporation, government, idea, etc. is in power for too long, the person or people involved will have so convinced themselves that they will not be willing to relinquish the power that was trustingly given to them.

Here, I would like to employ a ground rule that was employed in a class on multicultural practice in social work that I took this past spring.  The rule simply stated, Step in and step back.  It is quite fascinating how four small words can make such a huge difference.  During the class we were often engaged in very meaningful conversation surround identity and culture and the ways those two concepts (and the myriad domains within them) intersect like a spiderweb tracing constellations on a clear night.  Such conversations required each person in the class (the professor included) have an equal opportunity at participating.  Therefore, the rule encouraged those (like myself) who may really like to talk sometimes to step in and step back, keeping in mind that I was not the only person with an idea or opinion on the subject being discussed.

I believe that this step in and step back idea is something that could really make for gains in politics, nonprofit work, all the way down to individual therapy sessions, and beyond.  If we can go into any scenario remembering that we are not the only ones with interests, hopes, dreams, and even needs.  There is a whole world out there.  If we are not cognizant of others, we will wind up stepping on them or shutting them in a windowless closet perhaps unintentionally or maybe we were completely aware.

As I'm writing this I found another quote, this time by Mark Twain, that alludes to my point, "Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason."

The world that we are living in is in many ways, much like the world in which FDR delivered his first inaugural address.  As in 1933, the world has been recovering from numerous economic crises.  True, the stock market hasn't crashed like it did on Black Friday in 1929, but many world economies are still recovering from a global market that is beginning to find a way to the surface water.  That being said, in many ways the world is also much different than it was back in the early 1930s.  The recession we experienced over the last decade is nothing when compared with the depression of the 1930s.  However, a global economy that is increasingly becoming more interconnected between countries, continents, and corporations can often mean that when one economy falls, it will not be a lonely tree in the forest.

Despite what may appear to be a negative consequence of interdependence, the interconnectedness and interdependence of all people can actually be very advantageous.  True interdependence implies that sometimes we must serve, lift up, sacrifice, and give others.  It also means that at other times we will be on the receiving end of all of that.  However, it should be noted that the motives of our service and sacrifice should not be a desire to be served and pampered ourselves because that will only bring us back to the flawed ideas of selfish independence.

With interdependence we welcome sacrifice because we desire to see each other succeed.  We give out of what we have because we recognize that when others are able to move passed just surviving, we all get closer to truly thriving.  Interdependent leaders recognize that compromise is not a bad word.  Instead, it is dangerous selfish ambition that is truly toxic for the sustainable development of this world.

I'm not an economist and I don't claim to be.  I'm just a writer with thoughts that are sometimes just aching to spill somewhere other than my journal.  If I ever get to a point where instead of stepping in and stepping back, I step up and push back, please reprimand me, but please do so in love.  For if you just tell me I'm wrong or that I have failed, I may believe you.  However, I too am a stubborn human who answers positively to the right approach.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

(Discipline + Edification + Admonishment) - Love = Rebellion and Defiance?

You say, "It sure isn't nature or nurture, though it sure seems to be pretty close to nature alone."  Then you turn around and say the opposite.  And I'm the same.  Sure, I value our conversation, but I want to be able to leave without the guilt.  You twist knives in my chest where I can't speak.  So I try to speak for the absent and have also been shamed into knowing I can't.  When is a house a home?  What is the difference between surrounding yourselves with those who support you and closing yourself off to criticism?

I had been having a mostly good day.  I can't blame you but will you let me speak please?  Please don't throw your morals at me.  Don't tell me you're white and everyone else is black.  I'm just learning to love.  When you tell me you've chosen to just forgive I am trying to figure it all out.  I respect your decision but that forgiveness looks less like action and more like resolution.  It looks like the words, "I can't change him so I might as well forgive him."

Why?  Why must you change him?  It's not our job to change others!  Can't we just love those around us where they are?  Sure, the judge cannot say to the criminal, "I forgive you.  I will show you mercy."  However, we're not called to be the judge.  We're called to live life alongside others.  I feel called to be the advocate of the broken.  The lover of the lost.  Not the lover of the "chosen."  I must remember my stain so that I am not too eager to jump on a man-made pedestal.

Yes, I do get a lot out of such heated debate and dialogue with those around me, but I also want a place where I can just be.  I want people who will challenge me in love, not shame disguised as love. I know that discipline hurts when it's happening, but it's not the end goal.  I know that edification and admonishment are invaluable, but lately it just seems that they are taking the place of love.  I believe that discipline, edification, and admonishment of others must stem from a root of love for them to be the most effective.  If they are implemented as a defensive stance or as a means to end an argument, they will not be sustainably effective.  Not now at least.

Teach me in love.
Correct me in gentleness.
Forgive me in mercy.
Love me in grace.

I don't know everything nor do I claim as much.  However, when all you do is correct me and challenge my views almost all I want to do is turn the other way, even if your views are valid and reasonable.

Lord, teach me to love through it all.  Teach me to love Your children as You do.  Give me the perseverance to be merciful as You are daily merciful to me.  Teach me to love without conditions though I am only human and I will never truly achieve such a lofty goal.  Teach me love and be gentle on me that I may carry that gentleness to those around me.  Love me that I might love You through as limitless a love of Your world as is Kirbyly possible.  May whatever I do be to point to who You are and what You've done, are doing, and will continue to do.  In Jesus' powerful Name, amen.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Continual Evolution of Success in Life

Some people write dictionaries.  Some determine doctrine.  Some are label makers.  What do I get to do?  What can I define?  My own success?  My own happiness?  What brings me joy?  What causes me shame?  Do I have a say in my life besides always following?  Is it enough to have an impact on someone else's life even if I was just pursuing another's goal's or ambitions?

When will I know I have arrived?  How will I know that I have succeeded?  I don't want to plateau at the top.  I want to always keep climbing.  Success, I would say now is learning and teaching.  I've said before that its key is knowing how to say what to whom, but the more I think about that the more I'm conflicted.  You see, I've thought fairly often about that definition recently and it sounds more like manipulation.  If my key to success results in manipulation, then can that really be success?  Perhaps, I've thought, that still is the key, it's just that it can be warped in the wrong hands.  Like a key to a door that someone is trying to use on their front door, it just won't fit.  Still, this thought warrants additional thought, something I know a lot about: thinking.

So, as those thoughts tumble around in my mind, sometimes ending up in the frontal cortex and other times bouncing between nerve endings, I analyze other outcomes.  I think other thoughts.  Maybe success can't always be measured.  Maybe success is sometimes abstract.  Maybe there are markers that can tell us we're on the right track, but those markers can look drastically different from one person to the next.  So rather than putting forth tireless effort in coming up with uniform mile markers I choose to ask others about themselves.

Tell me about you.  What is your life?  What are your hopes?  What are your dreams?  What terrifies you?  If you could do or be anything, what would you be?  How did you get to where you are today?

I don't always ask these questions outright, but I think that something inside me looks for them constantly.  I wonder about others.  Perhaps it's because I'm seeking those same answers in my own life.  Maybe my hope is that by hearing of the hopes, dreams, and fears of others I can find something shared.  Could it be that my hope in asking others how they define themselves is tied to my desire to find my own identity?

I don't need others to tell me who I am.  In fact, that is one of the easiest ways to shut me down: Tell me who I am.  Tell me you know me.  Tell me how to live my life.  These monologues from those around me are like master artists painting me with shame.  I know you have much wisdom to share and I truly value it.  Your amount of lived experience is not lost on me.  You've without a doubt earned your position in whatever domain you may be in.  However, to tell me that I must now follow all that you've done in order to get to the place where you are rather shortsighted of you.

I'll take your wisdom and even your sharp critique with me, but you must recognize that I am not you.  When I look at you eye-to-eye, I know I may look like a mirror to you, but that's not all that's there.  I appreciate your input.  I really do!  There are just some things that I have to find out for myself.  Like a prodigal son, sometimes I have to squander my life to find it.  Like a loving father, sometimes you have to let me go to love me.  Is all of this just delayed teenage angst?  Is it just my opposition to authority?  Perhaps it is, only time will tell.  However, in this moment I need to be allowed to be myself.

And please don't think that your input and insight is not appreciated.  That is far from the truth and I hope that I can make that clear.  I hope you can understand that success (and life really) just look different for me.  I like to think that much of this is universal and people reading it could relate to it on a deep level.  However, then I catch myself.  Then I remember that those are the thoughts I'm fleeing.  The thoughts that say, "I know your life.  I've lived it before.  Let me teach you how to make your better life best."

So rather than preaching to you about who you are and what you should and should not do, I'll leave that up to you.  I'll say, "live and let live and laissez-faire."  I'll do my best to be teachable and find a way to be teaching.  I won't assert myself without cause.  I will not tell you how to live my life.  Rather, I will seek out my biases and blind spots because awareness is pivotal to growth.  I will be open to what you have to say and seek greater understanding in the solid ground that I am standing on.  That way, I can begin to comprehend when it's becoming more about me and less about you or us.  Then, when it becomes about capacity building at the expense of another I can pull out the roots and throw those thoughts in the compost where they can have new life.

At the same time, I hope I will have people in my life who will have the courage to point that out for me.  The line is thin, but I'm willing to hear you out if you speak to me where I am.  Yes, we all know that fear, anger, and shame work when getting someone to hear us out or obey what we say.  However, just because something is effective doesn't mean it should be replicated.  Let's love those around us as they come to us, not as we desire for them to be.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

421 Lines and Still Deception

Dear Social Me-

I'm sick
of you.  You're
not quite my news
source.  You're more
often my blues

You're where
I go to send
my thoughts at night.
You're where
I read people
pushing sisters
and brothers
off their soapboxes.

"My turn," they say.
don't worry,
I've brought enough
shame for everyone."

I don't like
the pointing fingers,
the climbing pedestals,
"this is just
my view [but
you better
agree with me, or else]."

Social Media,
can I tell you
I think
you're like a magazine
article or a pict-
ure in time:
You tell
a beautiful

Here lies
John Smith,
pictured here
with his
three smiling children.
after the camera
flashed, his son
was murdered,
younger daughter stripped
from his arms,
and his
life forever altered.
later he ended
his own life
pain wouldn't subside.

"But look
how happy
he is in this photo!
What happened?"

"I can draw
my conclusions."
"I can paint
a picture with
421 lines.
It will look just
like him,"
but the picture
will lie.

We take
pictures to
remind us of
life lived,
but they hide
our true selves
until others
think they understand.

"Let me paint
a picture for you."

"The likeness
is uncanny!"

"He was never like

"Did I ever even k-
now him?"

But, Social Me-
dia, I must tell you
I could
never tell you
this because
the plank
in my right eye
is too grand
for me to
the splinter
in your left.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Living Inside Memory Making

Who doesn't want a soundtrack for their life?

I've somehow found that in a way my life does have a soundtrack.  I can listen to a song and be transported back to a particular moment, or multiple moments in some cases, in time.  I'll hear a song and the movie in my mind plays back to where I was, who I was, what life was like.  Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that I feel those moments being made in my life lately.  This is particularly interesting because I usually find that the memories that make up my past aren't really ones that I get to choose.  Why does my mind remember some specific details about things that seem to amount to nothing and forget the name of a person I just met?

My mind appears to currently be making memories around Mumford and Sons' latest release (Wilder Mind), which came out a week ago today.  What a time to get to remember (if my mind does in fact let me do so)!  From a week of uncertainty and neck pain-inducing stress to sudden smiles and a near "high" of walking at graduation.  From tears on the phone and just wanting to be home to smiling as the rain falls and I play Solitaire alone in my room in the afternoon.  From resentment and frustration at not getting my first choice of internship to being showing gratification to the field office for working with me in the process and having the opportunity to finish graduation requirements before I would have even started.  From immobile to involuntary smiling.  Dragging my feet and scared of an impending depressive episode to finding life in some of the simplest conversations and interactions.

I'm living again..though I always was.  Now it feels worth it.  I can see through the windows on the doors and the sunlight is a little clearer.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Safe Ships

I'm a ship
      in harbor, but
I'm meant to
set sail.

I straightened
my mast and
  await the high winds.

            No one will push me off
the dock.
I'm stuck in the seaweed,
                    the marsh all around.
          it does nothing,
but jumbled together
I'm tied down.

I don't want to be

Let it rain.
Flood the shores again.
Untangle me from
this mess so that
I might sail again.

I might
rough the waters and
embrace the high
I might
look beyond the bow,
past the horizon,
to a sea of milk
and honey.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Equality and Learning Metanarrative

Throughout my life, there have been many instances when people assume that I have it all together or that I have things sorted, so to speak.  "You've already figured it out."  "You know what I'm talking about, right?"  "You already know the story/rules/expectations, so I don't need to worry about you."

In a strange sort of irony it is sometimes because of others' assumed understandings of who I am that I sometimes have to work twice as hard just to gain a real sense of understanding.  Sure, I may have an idea about what a relationship with Jesus can look like/how to keep professional boundaries/what the rules of the game are, but it doesn't mean that I deserve any less attention than anyone else.  Others may need more explaining to even begin to get to a point of understanding on a particular matter, however just leaving me to fend for myself and assuming that I'll be fine isn't a great feeling either.

I know we can't be everything to everyone, but if you're trying to work with people on a level of equality, make an effort to do so.  Working equally doesn't mean getting everyone to a certain point and then letting them fend for themselves.  That is just about indoctrinating people until they arrive at your presupposed level of accepted understanding, knowledge, spirituality, professionalism, etc.  That's not equality.  True equality is working with people with different levels of experience, knowledge, spiritual maturity, professionalism, etc. on their terms and where they are.  Working with those people to achieve mutual goals.  There are certainly sacrifices, but these sacrifices cannot come from just one side.

Mutual sacrifice promotes growth all around.  When one side is giving up something valuable and the other is not willing to do the same, the result is a clear unbalance of power.  Those yielding power, strength, wisdom, experience, or any act of will to another become submissive to the other.  If the other party is not willing to do the same, the yielding party becomes extremely vulnerable to exploitation.

Some may say that it is the weak who submit to authority, however I disagree with this sentiment.  Those who submit to authority do so out of a profound trust in said authority.  They are willing to submit to an institution, whether it's a religious institution, a community organization, a high education institute, or any other political (or otherwise) group, because they (for better or worse) have placed their trust in that group.  The truly weak person, group, or party is the one that is so convinced that its entity is true, in the right, or flawless that it cannot be challenged.  To be convinced beyond all traces of a doubt that one's position on a particular issue is right is to not be willing to accept criticism.  An unwillingness to accept criticism is a recipe for hidden bias and "island living."

No (wo)man, group, or party is an island.  We are all affected by each other.  There are truths or ideas that I believe to be absolute, however my belief in these truths does not make them true.  Truth cannot be relative.  Truth is truth is truth.  Opinions are relative.

I may believe that Jesus lived, died, and lives again so that I might have life but that doesn't make it true.  If it is true I am grateful, but there are not enough words to prove to anyone what I may have convinced myself to be true.  Likewise, another person may believe that homosexual relationships are wrong.  They may point to things such as nature for their argument: "Homosexuals cannot procreate and therefore it is unnatural."  Perhaps they'll point to tradition: "Sex is reserved for two married people and marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman."

When we make an argument for (or against) anything, it is helpful to understand the assumptions behind our understanding.  By beginning to understand the assumed absolute truths, we may start to understand that we do not understand things that we may claim to understand.  To put it paradoxically simply complex: when we know what we don't know, we begin to understand why we think we know what we may not know.

The point of homosexual relations being unnatural because a homosexual act does not allow a couple to procreate acts under the assumption that a sexual act is intended for procreation alone.  My understanding of sex is that it is not just an act made for procreation.  To be clear however, it is also not just an act for pure ecstasy or carnal enjoyment.  I believe that sex is something that is to be embraced on many different levels between people who are so deeply in love with each other that they wish to be intimate with each other physically, spiritually, biologically, emotionally, and the list goes on.  To proclaim that sex is only to be reserved for a man and woman in a committed heterosexual relationship is to paint broadly something that has many different levels.  Similarly, to say that sex is just a physical act and nothing more is to remove much of the intimacy of such a vastly underestimated act.

I believe that the argument of pointing to tradition is also flawed.  To say the common belief of sex throughout recorded history is a unilateral one of heterosexual relations between a married man and a married woman exclusively with each other may sound pleasant at first.  However, I can think of another common belief that sounded nice to everyone, and society as a whole took it for truth without wondering about the alternatives: the earth is the center of the universe.  Can you imagine the bold narcissism associated with such a belief?  "Yeah, us human beings are exceptional.  The whole universe literally revolves around us and all of our great achievements."  Hearing something like this is quite absurd today because people like Nicolaus Copernicus had the audacity to ask questions rather than just accept repeated tradition as absolute truth.

I want to make one final point before those reading this assume that I am making the argument that accepting absolute truths is foolish; it is not.  What I am arguing is that we seek to understand the reasoning behind our understanding.  Notice that I did not say that we seek to ensure that others understand the reason behind our understanding.  At the end of the day, we all arrive at our own beliefs, opinions, and ideas through our own life experiences.  To accept some absolute truths requires faith (certainty in and through uncertainty), while accepting others absolute may require sensory observation or the scientific method.

It all comes down to knowing what you don't know so that 1) others can't place the wool over your eyes without your permission; and 2) your biases and/or assumptions don't influence you without your knowledge.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Less than embers

Though not everything is falling apart it sure feels like the world is crumbling.  Why does one of my only modes of social contact have to be full of such frustration and disgust?  Can I not watch the news?  Can I not have a friend who doesn't passive aggressively try to assert his opinion into my soul?


I'm up.
I'm down.
Down. Down. Down.
Then up. However brief.

Something tries to convince me to embrace the up more than the down, but it's okay to be down sometimes.  Really.

I think the world is falling apart.  Some days I have hope and some days I'm gasping for air.  How are we going to make it here?

Sorry for the overshadowing clouds.
And sorry for apologizing.
I can't seem to get anything right, can I?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 2015

(Brought to you in part by mental (sk)illness)

Imagine with me
for a moment: You're in
a dry Sahara, not much around
but you
begin to notice
a massive hole in the
parched earth.  The unfortunate
truth is that you must pass
this hole to
continue your journey.  You

look for ways around it, you
try and remember what
you've been taught, but
there's no way
around it.  You see the edge
and beeline for it.  As you try to
rush by on its side
the foundation begins to crumble.

You suddenly see
a familiar face and
she reaches out
her arm.
You're safe, but you can't
seem to find
the solid ground on which she stood
and she's gone.

You trip on your own
feet and
begin to fall again.

Another familiar face appears,
"I'm here
to help!" she shouts down at you.
"Take these and
put them under you.  They'll ease
your landing."
"But I don't want to
live here,
this is not my home," you
retort.  "I just want to be
back on solid ground and
you're keeping me down."
"Here's a rope and
some string, when you're ready,
build a ladder.  You're keeping
yourself down."

As you tumble
further down the pit
you see posts
lining another end of the expanse.
You reach for one and it's
not very sturdy, so you grab another
and another and another,
gradually rising out

from the vast hole.  You whisper for help.
Every so often a post crashes
to the bottom   or you
lose your grip.
Your cries for help become
clearer, more audible to
the faces above.  Some faces jump
in after you.  "I'm here," they say.

You use their arms
for support (somehow they stand
on solid ground), trying
to avoid stepping on their faces.  You repeatedly express
endless gratifications as you reach the top
together.  "Just one final push
and I'll make it," you tell
yourself in a daze.

Then your mind rushes
to remember:
I'm not out of
this forever.
As you crawl
                                  the hole's outer edge
you see broken glass bottles and
smell olive oil,
so you cautiously rise
to your feet.  In the distance
you see shadows, but the dark clouds
haven't reached the horizon.
The hole next
to you hasn't vanished.

A flag that has been
quilted with
a mosaic of voices, tools, and faces
all culminating in
                                                         a self-portrait of you
has been placed along its edges.

You pick up
a rope you've fashioned yourself,
thank the hair that
holds it together, and
continue on your way.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Becoming a Professional through Child-like Discord

Where is the line between advice-giving and creating awareness?  I know that a large portion of my duties as a professional is advocacy though conversely it is frowned upon to be the one giving advice.  So how do I make people aware of the options that are available to them without coming across as recommending one over the other?  I think that is where parity of services and a thorough knowledge of the diverse range of resources becomes key.

I want so desperately to be of service to those around me.  However, I so often am stopped short by the others' voices inside me telling me not to give advice.  Still other voices come at me, telling me not to appear overbearing.  "Don't be a part of the problem, but a part of the solution."  "You can inform them of our policies, but don't try to convince them one way the other."

It is not my intention to convince people that one way is correctly.  On the contrary, I desire to show others the many options that are available to them.  When you tell me that I am overly siding with one group or allowing my values to have to convolute my judgment I get lost and don't know where to go anymore.  My values say "strive toward egalitarianism and equity."  Apparently, I must come across to some as attempting to sway people one way or another.  I'm sorry for being myself.

So then you blame me for making this about me.  How can I not?  How is this not victimizing the victim?  I know, my own struggles pale in comparison with those in the world starving for justice and hungry for compassion.  However, when you tell me that I'm making it too much about me I wonder how can I change?  If you're striving to convince me that I'm blowing things out of proportion, then aren't you the one who is giving advice or labeling unnecessarily?

So I ask you what I can do in an effort to not see things so much from a victim's perspective.  You say, "You have to come up with that yourself."  So the message I get is that you have every right to point out my problems and shortcomings, but when it comes to suggesting methods for changing those thoughts, behaviors, etc. you are unwilling to work with me.  How is that just?  "I want to empower you but when I begin to give you suggestions (advice), it is coming from me and not you."  So where does that leave me?  When I'm stuck and part of you is willing to work with me and the other part says it has to come from within you, what do I do next?

Your efforts to "empower" me live me disempowered.  They leave me wondering, "What am I really getting out of this relationship?"  I understand your reasoning around not wanting to become an enabler to me and thus create a sense of codependency, but really?  How do you expect me to learn this way?  I feel this mentorship is very one-sided and it has begun to leave me worse off.  Sure, I've learned a lot about myself through this time, and it hasn't all been of my own accord, but I have begun to question your motivations for mentoring me through this.  Do you truly have my best interests in mind?  Are you really thinking about how I might best succeed?  Or are you just hoping to make it through our mandated meetings so that you can add to your own experience, your own CV?

It doesn't seem fair to me though I'm trying to work through it.  I'm not one for confrontation, though I know few people who are.  Therefore, though you might see my frustrations come out, you may not know their true extent because it seems that the more interactions that we share, the more you lose my trust.

So I'm sorry for coming across as a brash, little child but I'm learning to live this life and lately it just seems like some of the people that claim to be for me are working against me.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Concerning the best policy and keeping brothers

I like to live by some principles.  Not because I think that morals and values make me a better than someone else.  Not because I think they will get me to Heaven.  I think that certain principles and values allow me to see the world outside of my two eyes.  They allow me to be better equipped to love those around me rather than get stuck in my own selfish desires.

One such principle is the belief that honesty is the best policy.  It's a common saying, but how many of us really live by it.  I think that it is important to be honest whenever possible because dishonesty promotes confusion, a lack of trust, and can really create barriers in interpersonal dynamics.  So then, the way I see it, striving to be honest should likely have a contrary effect.  It should foster mutual understanding, build trust between people, and provide a way for us to connect with each other.  When we are dishonest and people take us at our word, then the seed of unnecessary bewilderment is planted.  Why would you say something to someone that you do not deeply feel is true within you?

Sure, we cannot be expected to always speak with complete certainty about all issues, however it is in those such instances where honesty is so vital.  To be transparent with those around us and to recognize that we do not know everything will give others a chance their own minds.  If, instead, we try so desperately to convince someone that our way is right and there's is wrong and resort to dishonest wording or phrases, our validity in any argument is immediately challenged.

Likewise, when we are dishonest with those around us we set up a trust imbalance.  How do we expect someone to trust us if we have been proven time and again that our words cannot be trusted?  A lack of trust can lead to further, more complicated issues.  If I don't trust you to hold onto my wallet for a couple minutes while I go to refill my drink, how will I ever trust you to watch after my children.

Similarly, honesty can create bridges between people.  When we can be honest about the way we feel and about our experiences while simultaneously being open to critique of our perspectives we find new ways to connect with each other.  In the long run, stating something dishonest for personal gain does not help either party.  The dishonest person will have to come back to what (s)he said and defend it.  The person on the receiving may have an inkling to believe the dishonest person may adjust certain aspects of his/her life.  Then, when the dishonest person is found out, his/her credibility is tarnished.  How can I trust anything you say if you lied about liking my shirt?  Was anything you said truthful?

Another thing that I try to live by is that to an extent I in fact am my brother's keeper.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that we are all responsible for each other.  Sure, we can't change the way that someone else thinks or take full responsibilities for others' actions, but if we think that we are islands floating in a sea of our own decisions, then we are sorely mistaken.  The decisions that we make impact others and it is often our duty to collaborate with others to help them in their troubles.  To think otherwise would be to say that anything one person does is not my responsibility.  So, if someone tells me that (s)he is seriously considering hurting someone else and I choose to ignore the fact that I heard that, then I am doing a disservice to someone who may be in danger.  I am being unethical toward the person whose life may be in danger.

To be certain, as I mentioned, we cannot take full responsibility of others' actions.  We can change no one but ourselves.  We control no one but ourselves and we put ourselves in a difficult position when we try to control the way that others act, think, look, etc.  So, we have a responsibility to others (and they do toward us), and while we should not take that responsibility lightly, we also must respect others' freedom to make their own decisions (self-determination).

I'm done.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Dear "Life's not Fair,"

I know.  I'm trying my best.  I can't change what you think of me and I can't put my thoughts in your mind.  Sometimes I just feel like I'm trying my best and then I just get pushed back down.  "We're working with you.  We're trying to help you.  We're just getting a lot of pushback," they say.

So how do I show them that I'm trying my best.  I'm trying to be transparent and show them where I need guidance.  I'm trying to open myself up to them and then I get stabbed.  I don't want to be overdramatic but I just feel so hurt and that I'm not being heard.  Maybe my values are different, maybe I'm biased, but I'm trying.  I can't so easily untie my values that feel so naturally attached to my being.

I know I'm supposed to be objective.  I know I'm not supposed to bring up my own issues with others and so I'm trying.  We all have our biases, right?  Sure, most people learn to control them.  I thought I've been taught that we're supposed to acknowledge them and then work to overcome them as best we can.  I'm trying.  I understand it's not anyone else's job but my own to correct any destructive or biased thinking, but then how do I go about doing that if I can't be transparent with regard to what is impacting me.

It's not that I'm not willing to adjust my values to be better equipped to help.  Perhaps it's that I haven't seen an example that relates closely enough with what I'm trying to do.  I can watch people do things differently from me all day but I don't know if our motivations are coming from the same place.  If they ask me to adjust my values so that I can be more objective, I need help finding out what that looks like.  Granted, I've had numerous examples of what it can look like to be present with someone else in crisis.  However, how do I adjust my adjust values that are so closely tied with my motives behind serving in the first place?

If I cannot be myself in this work and you're asking me to be someone else, how do I reconcile the two?  How do I find a place where I can be transparent with others with the fact that I may not agree with them not be pushed to lean toward suggesting a difference of opinion?

Yes, I know that the key is to remove myself from the situation.  It is not me, who I am seeing.  There is someone in front of me.  Someone on the other side.  That person is just hoping to have someone listen to her.  I can't bring my own issues into an already complicated life circumstance.  The thing is though, I'm human.  Whether I acknowledge that I am bringing my own biases into a conversation or not, it's happening.  The same thing goes for my values.

Therefore, rather than trying to pretend that I am not impacted by the work that I do, I strive to be transparent.  I seek to be authentic.  I am a very open person and to limit what I can and can't say to others can be a difficult challenge.  It is not my desire to have my values or the limitations of my biases be forced upon another person. On the contrary, I seek a true awareness of them both and how they impact my life.  From there, I hope that this will make me a more empathic person, willing to work with people no matter who they identify as.

  "I too am not perfect."

Monday, January 5, 2015

Winter Break I

Stale jokes,
echoed stories,
failed glories,
noses running further than my feet.

My mind escapes, my feet are caught
and it's not even snowing this year.
Stuck in the mixup.

My eyes see reruns with the TV turned off.
I sit more than I would like.
The only times I have the new words
the sandman is reeling me in.

It's bland like wheat rice on a mid Atlantic beach of sand.