an origin story

When she walked through the door all I saw was the silhouette of her hair bouncing with a vibrant life that would continue to captivate me for years to come.  I was intrigued and turned away from the television to give the newcomer my full attention.  Then she stepped into the hallway where the light framed her smile and I was lost.

The smile didn’t start with her lips.  The upturned corners tried to cage it, but nothing could.  It surpassed the possible and began with her whole exuberant entrance.  It spread through her limbs to squeeze the air from the room.  It shone in her blue eyes with the warmth of an afternoon sky in the height of summer.  It set her hair ablaze in the joy of escaping the work week and adventuring unknown roads in her resultant freedom.

I do not recall what happened next in absolutes.  The days that followed are a blur of volleyball and laughter, food and drinks, and friends old and new.  It was a delirious whirlwind of activities and conversations.  I was delirious as I ignored a burning fever to spend an extra couple hours with her before she returned home and our separate realities brought an end to the smile-gifted festivities.

The timing wasn’t right.  The setting was wrong.  I was seeing someone else and she lived far away.  Even so, we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers before she got in her car and took her smile away.  In its absence I could no longer pretend there wasn’t a fire between my temples and I stumbled to the safety and relief of cool sheets and restorative slumber.

Time slipped after that weekend, both in reality and my memory.  Life carried on in its ups and downs.  Days passed.  Work was accomplished.  Adventures were had.  But, none of it mattered then, and in the context of now, none of it ever will.  Time was meaningless until the circumstances changed, I was single once more, and the distance between us no longer seemed important.  It wasn’t important.

We were lucky in a world that holds a premium on such things.  We were searching for each other.  We pursued each other.  We fancied and courted and learned and experienced each other.  And all of our adventures were within the glow of her smile, her wonderful smile.

a conversation to have with yourself

“What’s the most important thing in the world?”

“What do you mean by, “important?”

“You know, important, important…”

“Well, there are many different ways to measure importance: worth, weight, size, nostalgia, history, scarcity, replication, and on and on.  So, think about it and then ask what you really want to know.”

“… What’s the most important thing to be happy in the world?”

“Love.”

“You didn’t think about that very long.”

“I didn’t need to.”

“But… per your own qualifiers, how can you be so certain?  Love can’t be bought or sold.  It has no heft.  It has no physical presence.  It does have nostalgia and history, true, but it seems for every tale of love there are ten tales of love lost.  It isn’t scarce with the way the word gets thrown around, and while it can be achieved again and again it is never the same from time to time, and it is never certain.  How can you possibly believe it is the most important thing to be happy?”

“Because it can’t be bought or sold, it is priceless.  Because, while it isn’t physically tangible, it can bear down on you with the weight of mountains and lift you up to float among the clouds.  Because those tales where love was everlasting are more powerful than all ten tales where it fell apart combined, multiplied together, and squared.  Because it doesn’t matter if the word itself has been cheapened by over use, the sentiment remains as mysterious and magical as the day it was first coined.  Because it is always changing it reflects everything else on this planet, from the worst of us to the very best, and yet still gives us an ideal to strive for.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“And those were all trumped up generalizations at best.  They were nice, yes, but not an honest reflection of the world we live in.  So, again, how can you possibly believe that love is the most important thing to be happy?”

“Because I choose to believe.”

Wedding - TOS walking away

it’s your day

The card is in the mail!  (Whoops, didn’t send it until today.)
It might get there slow, like a snail.  (Worst son ever, that’s all I can say.)

But, don’t let that take away from the party.  (You will be having one, right?)
I know when you get down, you do it real hearty.  (The wine and music flow all night.)

Happy Birthday, and all that implies.  (I’m not really sure what that means.)
I wonder if you’ll splurge at dinner on fries.  (You won’t, but they might haunt your dreams.)

I hope you have a good one!  (Presents and the whole works.)
And now this silly poem is done!  (That’s definitely a birthday perk.)

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Yeah, so, it’s your Birthday today (you know who you are) and while your card will get there a little late, at least you are getting this “awesome” blog post, right?  Right?  Right!  I hope you have a good one.  I know if you do splurge on something tonight it will be more exciting than fries.  Yellow cake with chocolate icing?  A steak?  Butter drenched vegetables?  Tough choice.

on the path of a jester

After college I was forced to do some soul searching to figure out not only what made me tick, but also to find what I needed in my life to be happy.  They were dark days.  Eventually, I discovered that my path to leading a content and peaceful life was far simpler than I ever could have imagined.

It came down to two things.  Family and the mountains.  As long as I had family close to me I knew I was going to be okay.  They had always been my biggest supporters.  They had always continued to stand by me even when I had actively been trying to push them away.  It made sense that I wasn’t happy during that time because they were such a key part of what I needed.  The other thing I realized was that the mountains represented my recharging station and I needed at least a week camping or backpacking every summer to remain sane.  Again, I had stopped venturing into the wild for awhile, intentionally trying to avoid that part of my life and basically sabotaging any chance I had of being happy.  Two easy fixes – hang with my family and go camping – and I was suddenly back to my easy going, happy, bring on all challenges because I can take them, self.

Before coming to terms with my unhappiness and figuring out how easy it was to move away from that, how easy it was to return to who I was supposed to be, those around me could clearly see how much I was struggling.  They could see how miserable I was even when I could not.  My family and true friends did their best to help me along, to help me see that I was missing something, but sometimes we can be too close to these situations, feelings, emotions, to see them clearly.  Even though they affect us deeply, we are blind to the full scope of our experiences.

It’s funny to say that though, because while I may not have been aware how depressed I was, I did know that something wasn’t right.  I knew that because I was fighting against dark thoughts that hadn’t plagued me since the worst of my bullying in high school years before.  My closest friends and my family, whom I was still mostly pushing away at that time, never knew how dark my thoughts had grown.  I shared them with no one, safely tucked away within the confines of my mind.

Perhaps it was realizing that I was keeping those thoughts a secret that led me on my path to discovery?  Perhaps it was just taking the time I needed to heal?  Perhaps it was just getting to the point where I felt I had nothing to lose and so was open to anything and everything?  How I finally came to my point of self discovery, came up with my short two item list (family and the mountains), is unknown.  I don’t need to know the how and why of it, though.  What’s important is that I was able to step out of the darkness and be happy again.

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Queen Creative have thrown out a real challenge for their final episode in this season’s Prompts for the Promptless:

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

The Johari Window is a method of representing information (regarding feelings, experiences, motivations, intentions, attitudes, etc) – from 4 specific perspectives.  It is a technique to help you understand how you are perceived by others, and how you see yourself.  The perspectives are as follows:

  1. Open area: The things that you about yourself, that others also know about you.

  2. Blind area: The things you don’t know about yourself, but others know.

  3. Hidden area: The things you know about yourself that others do not know.

  4. Unknown self: The things no one knows about you.

The four perspectives are not always equal.  Someone who regularly self-examines may have little to no content in window 4– “unknown”.  Someone who is secretive by nature may have a large window 3 – “hidden”. Creators of the Johari Window use 56 adjectives to guide the completion of these four perspectives.  Those can be found here, along with more information about how the window works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window

Suggested Prompts:

  • Share one, or all, of your areas with us
  • Show us a picture that represent perception
  • Compare a self-perspective to an outside-world-perspective
  • Describe yourself from the perspective of a stranger
  • … or make up your own related prompt!

the secret of life

Here is today’s Daily Prompt:

Daily Prompt: Evasive Action

by michelle w. on May 6, 2013

What’s the most significant secret you’ve ever kept? Did the truth ever come out?

……….

My immediate reaction was to think “Well, yes, ‘x,’ ‘y,’ and ‘z,’ but I can’t tell you or the truth WILL come out.”  That’s very tricksy of you, Daily Prompt, trying to get us all to spill the beans like that on our deepest, darkest secrets.

However, while pondering if I should just skip today’s response, it occurred to me that I could use this opportunity to impart the secret of life to my faithful readers.  Who hasn’t wanted to know the secret of life at one time or another, right?

I’ve got your attention now, don’t I?!

Well, don’t get your hopes up too high, that’s just me having a little fun with words, being a little tricksy myself.

The MOST significant secret I’ve ever kept:

The wife and I found out that we were expecting and we told no one.  It’s common now for new parents-to-be to hold off telling most people until after the first trimester, just in case, but they usually tell a parent or a sibling or someone.  They can’t help themselves.  We liked having this secret, getting time to ourselves to own it, to get used to it, to make plans, and gather information.

The first trimester came and went.  We saw a wide variety of my side of the family through various outings during those three months.  My brother’s family, my parents, some aunts, uncles, cousins… and we kept our secret.

The days continued to tick by, with the secret of life securely kept, and then the day came that plans were being tossed about for a Christmas rendezvous at ski resorts in the middle of the country, the wife would have been 6 months pregnant and snowboarding was, while jokingly talked about as being a possibility, sadly not a reality.  We had to finally share the news.

And share the news we did.  Phone calls were made, emails were sent, and there was even a Skype session with a cousin in Norway.  It was a good secret for us to keep, and it was also a happy couple days while we reached out and spilled the secret of life we had been keeping, shared the happy news.

We let the child keep it’s own secret too.  Not finding out until he was born that he was a he.  Not just any “he,” either, but the little prince of the matticus kingdom.