yesterday was a pale day, full of the rain drumming down into invisible barrels and gossamer webs drenched with cold. today the world is blue, not quite azure but full of February. the trees are cold and bare, gleaming against the sky with only the sparsest brush of pine.
I am ignoring a screenplay, because constructing visual scenes is hard when things are figments of dreams walking among so many thoughts.
my room is full of Christmas lights and papers, and roses that smell like old books, with maps along their petals. a can of cranberry sauce remains unopened, because the hinged metal used to open it is broken in the kitchen, amidst a lot of laughter. I cooked last night with some of the boys down the hall from me, and felt unskilled until I saw people eat and smile. we ignored the football game while I borrowed pots and pans to cook soup, and we blasted the Lumineers and laughed hysterically and groaned over film takes.
today is a day when all the songs with lyrics are something I want to listen to, and yet they feel too crowded, so I sing them with a battered voice and my guitar, or absorb instrumental music instead. today I completed an art project but have yet to cry over a fictional story.
a friend of mine likened my writing to “the art of negative space,” and maybe that is why I am having so much trouble doing more than roughing out the edges of today. I have the same problem in that art class, where right now we are fitting spaces, empty and filled, together. I have trouble defining words in more than periphery, in much the same faults as my sight.
I’ve just come out of a week where I had trouble laughing. maybe I ought to treasure those moments where I’m forced to do more than be logical, but laughing is easier for me. it’s a bright defiance, like the lyric I read once:
excuse me while I kiss the sky.
I throw my head back when I laugh. maybe this can be blamed on when I once cracked my head against a waterbottle on a table because I laughed, but I’m not letting myself see it as a fault today.
the oddest thing of the English language: the trees go up and up in this surety crammed with wonder that is inexplicable, and there is no word for it. it’s like a straight bend, the arc of an arrow, but as excited as the stars shrieking the heights of a song.
nineteen has come, and I don’t feel that much older. for sure, some days my bones feel wearied (see: last week) but it doesn’t feel like a milestone, except for the fact that I particularly love the word nineteen. the surges of emotion are the same, rawness in writing still moves me, and I still struggle with the same flaws.
so far this year has been a year of letting go. last semester I held onto things so tightly, and accidentally crunched them in my grip. there is a story by Janice Hardy about a girl who can absorb pain, but cannot push it into a stone like so many others with her ability. she can only shift it over to others. some days that’s what empathy has felt like: absorb it as much as I can stand, or hurt others. lose-lose.
maybe this is Death by Living, but only a shadow of it. one reason I know this is because some days I have let it eat away at me. I get angry when people assume that I don’t understand, when people brush over any empathy I try to extend of assume that I am the fourteen year old I used to be. I tend to absorb the hurt, and do my best not to shift it to others, but I can’t run the race that way.
I always forget another part of the story. the girl finds that she can “flash” the pain out of the stone, turning a default situation into something beautiful. she pulls her thoughts together, finds an identity and a focus. she belongs, and suddenly when she stops chasing things in circles she finds rest. she learns to look up.
today is a day where I’m sitting in a dreamy-sad mood. it isn’t all bad, but a sort of quiet. peaceful, even, so long as I tilt my head back to see the sky and the trees straining to mark the span. and if you can exhale as the sun sets, even better. there’s more that rises in the morning with the gold and blue window. ultimately, running the race isn’t about running it for others…it’s about running it for Him. everything else flows out of that. every monetary stress, every problem I can’t fix… I’m not wired to merely absorb hurt. there’s a trust element, a giving it away that needs to happen to the only One who can weave the threads.
“I’ve been standin’ up for nigh on twenty years now.”
He smiled. “Got lots of help along the way, from
the Reverend, from Mr. Bolzius, from the sisters,
and maybe you don’t know it, but this last year
you been helpin’ me stand up too.
… I reckon I got fiddlin’ to do.
Got to turn it beautiful.” He smiled
and winked and walked out into the morning.
– Pete Peterson, The Fiddler’s Gun
[Photo credit: unsplash.com.]