Sunday, November 8, 2015

A note, about feeling grateful.

I’ve been having trouble expressing myself
the way that I want to lately. 
And I think that’s because 
there are so many words that,
for a number of different reasons, 
I’ve chosen not to say.
I think it's human nature to hold back sometimes.
We convince ourselves that too much time has gone by,
or we fear that we may come across as impolite, or inconvenient.
We, or at least I,
 let other people’s opinions of a scenario leave me thinking  
that maybe my feelings aren’t valid,
or that I am being overly sensitive.
My whole life I feel like
I’ve been told to stop being so sensitive.
But for me, that’s like being told
‘Oh just stop feeling.’
And see – I feel too deeply.
It isn't feeling sad or glum,
it's almost feeling too aware.
I’ve felt this way ever since I was a little girl.
I have all of these feelings
and ideas and thoughts 
and they ping pong around in my head all day.
Happy thoughts, nervous thoughts, curious thoughts.
And so when someone says I just need to get over it,
well that’s like telling me not to breathe, or blink.
It’s just not possible for me.  
And I realize saying this  
might make people uncomfortable.
Because vulnerability can be that way. 
Speaking our truths can be pretty uncomfortable.
Over the weekend, I found myself in a conversation
with someone who reminded me
of the healing powers of self-expression.
And even if, for whatever reason,
we can’t physically say the things we want to say,  
we have to get the words or the thoughts out of our bodies
and into the universe.
We have to remove the negative energy from inside of us
so that it doesn’t manifest itself into physical pain.
This idea comforted me.
And I went from feeling a little anxious,
to feeling brave.
And validated.
And timely.
And convenient
and polite.
I felt the opposite of all the feelings that caused self-doubt.
I felt grateful.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Wish, For You.

Tonight at sundown, marked the holiest of holidays in Judaism.
It is a day about saying you are sorry. 
And asking for forgiveness. 
Sorry in itself is such a small word, 
but it has such a big impact. 
Just think about all of the little hurts we carry around;
the weight of them on our hearts when piled up.
Many of these could likely have been eliminated 
if a simple "I'm sorry" had been extended.
I was raised in a loving, liberal home, 
in which my parents shared traditions
from both their religious backgrounds.
Beliefs and rituals weren't pressed on us.
We weren't a church or synagogue family. 
In truth, I identify more closely 
with my exposure to Unitarianism,
but there is something about this day in particular 
that I find really meaningful. 
You don't have to be religious at all
to reflect upon your actions of the past
and to be mindful 
to make everything right in your world -
if only for the day. 
And that goes both ways. 
Today is about looking inward more so than out.
This is a powerful exercise - 
and one that I find very rewarding. 
And so...
As my dad wished to me, 
I wish for all of you:
Happiness, health and love. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

A birthday note, to self

This next year, remember...
There will be days dripping in gold,
and others that are just okay,
and some that are pretty terrible.
Try not to be too scared when the ‘terribles’ come along.
Maintain a positive spirit and a kind heart.
Quiet the ill-intended.
Work through the insecurities.
Don’t let anyone mistake being kind, as being weak.
Take care of your body.
Find something that compels you, 
and dedicate time to learning more about it. 
Don’t be so grumpy about the crumbs around the apartment.
The causer of the crumbs makes you really, really happy.
Be someone who, when mentioned in conversation,
is described as good.
Call home. Call sisters. Send letters.
Let friends know you're thinking of them.
Be a #1 aunt.
Keep travelling. Keep adventuring.
Maybe figure out how to get a dog.
Do the best you can this year.
And have the very best time doing it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Memories in the Attic

I was home in Connecticut about a month ago
spending time with my family,
paying the neighborhood donkeys a visit,
giving Little Cat scratches behind her ear. 
During my trip
I got baited into sorting through 
old bins and dusty boxes from our attic. 
I guess our sweet old house 
needs a sturdy new roof
and with that, 
the odds and ends 
and treasures that have accumulated 
over the years and grown comfortable and settled 
among old winter coats and broken lacrosse sticks -
Well. Their worth was being reevaluated. 
Cue almond-sized Emily tears
of panicky separation anxiety.
I sat for nearly 4 hours
and read through old love letters,
remembering the innocence of middle school crushes
and the romance that unfolded
on loose leaf paper.
I flipped through yearbooks and scrapbooks,
pausing on a page occasionally.
I wonder what happened to him?
Did she ever become a vet?
Daring myself to remember the exact layout
of my camp cabin,
the familiar smell of my elementary school,
the first kisses and heartbreaks,
high school victories and schoolyard gossip.
I thumbed through old exams
and high school essays.
Mix-tapes and photo collages,
friendship bracelets and old movie ticket stubs.
And cards.
So many cards.
Dozens and dozens and dozens of cards.
Which is funny because, I write and send a lot of cards.
 I never really linked the boxes
filled with cards in my parents attic
to my present day pleasure
of writing someone a card.
I scanned old letters marked AIRMAIL
sent from my childhood friend in England.
I chuckled.
The updates we deemed worthy
of a cross-continental journey.
An inquiry about my doll,
sent over oceans and mountain ranges.
Funny; sweet.
I squeezed my eyes shut.
I wished every question
were as simple as such.
Birthday wishes from my grandparents -
long before I reached double digits.
Words of encouragement from my dad:
I'm so proud of the woman you are becoming.
'Just Because' notes, from my mom,
with water colored scenes of desert cacti,
and smiling kittens.
When did I grow from child to adult?
From handwritten cards
with googly eyed dinosaurs and juggling bears,
to emails, littered with entitlement
and laced with stubborn pride?
Did it happen overnight, under a full moon?
Or was it more gradual,
as the leaves changed and days shortened.
I considered it briefly,
shrugged my shoulders and began to
decide what stays and what goes.
What memories to keep,
and which to part with.
It was cathartic;
the flood of the past,
and then their quick release.
But I kept all the cards.
Every single one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Word Drops

Last night we watched the sweetest short film.
It was centered around the theme of people 
entering and exiting our lives,
and how the abrupt shifts in those relationships
ultimately can become a catalyst for a bigger change.
It showcased the difficulty associated 
with someone you love leaving you;
be it platonic love, parental love, romantic love.
And it made me think.
And it made me feel.
And it made me cry.
Dean asked if it was a sad cry or a happy one, and I couldn't really tell.
I think it was a mixture of both.
I had been wanting to share an update on the blog for a while now –
but  each time I sat down to write
the words tasted stale and tinny in my mouth, 
like chewing on aluminum.
I'm not sure why.
And then last night we watched this little movie
and it made all the words floating around in my head
drip out of me in the form of salty tears.
It felt pretty good – to release those tears,
 the happy and the sad mixing together.
It was like I could see the words that were stuck in my head,
roll down my cheeks in liquid word drops: 
‘disappointed.’ ‘nostalgic.’ ‘comforted.’ ‘unsure.’ ‘loved.’
Sometimes you just need a little cry I guess.
Followed by a kiss on the forehead and the switch of a lamp.
Here’s to a gentle and happy Tuesday, friends.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness

Today is the start of Random Acts of Kindness week,
with the grand finale being Valentine's Day. 
I am pretty sure my heart is going to explode confetti hearts. 
So go ahead! Don't be shy. 
Make an  extra effort to show love and kindness 
to all living creature that surround you,
big and small. 
As Christian Larson said: 
" Think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

On Being Brave

John Wayne said that courage is being scared to death,
but saddling up anyway. 
I didn't. 
Last night, I wanted to be brave. 
But I wasn't. 
I found myself caught off guard.
 I'd like to say that my response to the scenario was selfless -
that I reacted in a way that would
ultimately spare some discomfort.
But I still felt like a chicken.
Here's what I earned though:
No matter how much you prepare,
some circumstances are going to be a little scary.
And after the initial jolt,
a long walk on a cold night can do wonders for the nerves.
So can a slice of pizza.
And a phone call to someone who loves you.
Followed by a long hug and a deep sigh.
And the promise that tomorrow will be better.
and good.