Tuesday, December 11, 2012


We find out what kind of baby Baby Schultz is tomorrow.
It's better than Christmas.
I have no preference because it already is what it is and I just want a baby I can stop calling 'It' and give this child a name.
I'm freaking out inside.
I'm freaking out inside.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

little one.

This is the baby that is growing inside of me. It will be here on April 28th, they say.
I have a lot to say about it. I've been writing about it a lot, snippets and snaps of thought before it felt safe and right to tell the world. I want to let you in on those letters to my Little One, even though they are up and down and all over the place. This whole deal is crazy, full of so many emotions and thoughts. I'm moving through all of them.

Hi little baby.
Pregnancy test says you're here, inside my belly, growing away. I love you, but I'm just having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that you're real. After I sat in this same spot and wrote how deflated I was that you weren't, yet. And now two pink lines are saying yes, you're pregnant. It's such a strange feeling--I expected to be elated, but it's so surreal I don't know what to think. I'm excited, though. I think I'll be more excited when the doctor says for sure, it's happening, you're due on may or june.

I just want you to be here so I can meet you. but when you come, we'll live in a different house in a different city. I'm just antsy for you, and at the same time overwhelmed because i have no idea what to do with you. I'm afraid of small things like i won't feed you enough, whatever. but you are going to be my baby, the baby i made with the man i love the most, and then we will take care of you. we love you, little one.

i'm here again, and today is a day after yesterday. i feel intense and sad and tears are comin outta my eyes. maybe for the love i have for little one, or maybe for the things i don't know how to feel yet because it's only been two days but it feels like a freakin eternity. and will i let little one say freakin?

i have a lot of questions and no one to ask them to.
i don't know what i'm afraid of.
not knowing what i'm doing, needing so very much help?
it's day 2 of officially knowing and i feel helpless. it's already hard to bend over and i already feel uncomfortable. maybe i'm making that up, huh, little one? but you're in there, in a teeny tiny form, right?

it leaves me feeling pretty alone in the world, this whole pregnancy thing. needing people to help me out, wanting advice and the nitty gritty of their experiences, and feeling like i can't tell them because for some reason i'm not allowed.

I feel so tired, and it's 8:34. Pregnancy brain is setting in, I'm making this up, and i'm trying to think of all the outlandish things i could crave in the next 9 months.
is this real?
i want to get it, but i just don't, right now.
i can't be pregnant--i'm just brooke.
old people get pregnant, mommy-ish people, mature people, bookish clairish kaylieish people. not free spirits trying to find their place in the world.

I need to say things.
Things about this unborn baby, so teeny tiny, growing inside me every day. Every day I wonder if something will go horribly wrong. I try to have faith that it won't--but in the same breath, I don't expect that it will be all just fine.
I guess I could have the same fear about Jared dying or getting into an accident or something, but I think about how vulnerable this little body is, nested inside mine, hardly anyone even knowing about its existence yet, and I want to give my whole heart and blood and brain to this baby to have, to use, to live!
Oh how I want my baby to live! To live so full and long and happy and free, to enjoy so many rich experiences and the feeling of sand and the taste of homemade meals, the heartache of loss but only a little, and I want to protect this little one from any danger or pain and keep it tucked safely inside me forever.

It's hard, every day, for me to think about Little One not being completely safe. Being so vulnerable to any small thing that could go wrong. It's hard for me to think of not being able to make sure Little One is completely safe. So I guess I avoid, and nurture myself in the belief that this can't be quite real yet. Because I have no way of knowing if my little baby's heart has already stopped beating, or if it will stop tomorrow, or if it will somehow have something horrible happen to it, for no apparent reason or for something I could control.

We walked together and imagined you wrapped up on my torso, little one. We imagined pushing you in a stroller, in one of those backpack things on dad's back.
Your dad loves you so much, little one. He rubs my belly twenty times a day and talks to you. You're only three inches long and one ounce, but OH MY GOSH HOW WE LOVE YOU!
Your dad and I look at each other with love deeper than we ever thought possible because you're coming into our lives. We don't know if you're a boy or a girl baby yet, what your name will be, or for sure where we'll be living when you'll be born. But we know we love you fierce, and we'd do anything for you.
Like throwing up a delicious breakfast this morning. Thanks for letting me get through most of life normally, though, sweetheart.

Your dad is so anxious for you, and so am I! April 28 seems like it will never come. But we're already a family. We're already growing close, getting to know you in the smallest ways. Sometimes I think I feel you, even though the internet says I'm not supposed to yet. We insert you wherever we are: snuggling with us in bed, lying on a blanket in your pajamas, getting ready for a bath. Grandma Schultz already bought you a toy--so many people are so thrilled that you're coming into our lives! It's beautiful to see how this cycle works: parents have empty houses but get fresh new little souls to love, and we start the journey.
This is today, November 4th, 2012.

Little One!
1. I'm obsessed with hooded towels for your bath time.
2. I love going to stores and feeling all the fuzzy soft clothes and imagining you in them. We decided whatever you are for Halloween next year, when you are 6 months old, it has to be fuzzy.
3. You're not a fan of dessert, like your Uncle Cameron.
4. You love and have always loved: raspberries, eggs, bacon, cheese, and hamburgers. Mom's eating all kinds of things she never loved before cause your growing self wants them.
5. You are growing very slowly. I am so anxious for you! Come faster!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Creating Yourself.

My twenty-third birthday was this week.
I spent the actual day, September the sixth, teaching high school kids, singing in a choir that's inspiring me more than ever, even though it's my third or fourth semester there. We're singin' Order My Steps, and it's bringing back all kinds of gospel choir memories. It's all I can do not to bust out in soulful line of run-filled praise every time--which urge I promptly satisfy on my drive home, don't you worry. I think of Lyndsi Shae and Claire and Niecie, havin' my back at every rehearsal and going out on every 'express-yourself-and-sing-praise!' limb I directed. I remember Niecie telling me that Order My Steps was like her mantra on her mission, and she asked God for it often, that it was important to her. I remember what a difference I made to people directing that choir.

But I don't direct gospel choir now. It's my birthday. I savor a simple sandwich from Zupa's and people-watch. I walk outside into the dropping rain and see the first full double rainbow I've ever seen in my life, and it's the kind you can see from edge to edge, the way you draw all rainbows as a kindergartener. I smile and say aloud, "Thank you! Happy birthday to me from God!"

It was.
For my birthday, I sang, I taught, I pondered--perfectly reminiscent of the woman I see myself becoming. I'm feeling pretty proud of her.

Don't worry--there was plenty of partying and loving from a few fabulous people on different days. But the exact day I turned twenty-three, I felt more myself than I've ever felt. That's part of my life mission, and it feels good to know that even if I'm not sure how teaching or singing or photographing or writing totally fit in my whole world for my whole life, these things make me feel more like myself.

There's a quote in the office of the room I teach in every day:
life isn't about finding yourself. it's about creating yourself.
I feel that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vineland, New Jersey

From a scrap of receipt paper, asked for at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Vineland, New Jersey on July 5th.

I never want to forget the way it felt driving down the E40 today in New Jersey. The sun was getting golden and I drove, for once able to relax without falling asleep. I soaked in slow jazz, let it roll around in my bones as I passed the most amazing cornfields, whooshing past the big white farms with flags waving high. Road that stretched long and just wide enough; greens and golds and sunwashed blacks and handwritten signs for fresh fruit that all made me want to drive a snail's pace and never leave the road.

I want to remember the colors I saw and the jazz I heard while they still ring in my limbs--they turn stale so fast, and I forget why I ever cared.

It's the 5th of July, and for the first time in my life I missed the 4th. It got lost somewhere in Baltimore, or airborne next to a man whose dad is about to die here. That's why he flew in. To say his last goodbyes to a father he doesn't live close to--does he love him, I wondered? There was sadness in his eyes that said yes. Very much.
I guess this is what I'd do if I were single, now--go to restaurants by myself and write and eat delicious food while people were weirded out by me--I'd be the person the people watched, like this table of loud east-coasters with Jersey accents next to me. They all have 'usuals' here; pastas and salads and bread and wine; they call the waitress by name even though she isn't wearing a name tag. Vanessa. She's kind and doesn't patronize me because I'm here alone and writing on her receipt paper.

I want to make time for this in my life: quality alone time with myself, mindfully eating and lolling the thoughts around. Sitting, with water pooling in my mouth; I move it slowly, let my tongue go swimming. Feel the life-imparting wetness over my teeth, seeping into my gums, finally swallowing.

So far away from my usual desperate gulps, this way is abundant. It knows there will be enough water to fill my belly and my life, full of oceanic treasure and a fresh spring of great ideas and ample opportunity.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Once, I knew you deep.

There are a lot of unpublished drafts on my side of Freedom. Yes, I just italicized the title of my blog like it is a legitimate publication.

I've been coming here a lot in tiny fragments, and then angry confused tornadoes, and then slowly dripping controlled syllables. None of it fit to show.

I've been trying do describe this summertime, drenched in sweat and water, perpetually sticky, subsisting on a diet of potato chips and watermelon and ice cream and netflix tv.
I've been trying to tell about the way photography fills me up when I feel like it shouldn't; that's what music is supposed to be for.
I've been trying to be excited about student teaching come fall semester, and it is working.
I've been writing little ho-hum sentences that lack luster, and I get frustrated and go away.

I've been rereading my old self--the one who wrote better and longer and loved pens and paper instead of shutters and film developed at Walgreen's. I've reread her fears about marrying the man I am so blissfully married to--and I'd forgotten how scared spitless she was. So scared to make the wrong decision after already making so many...
I've been thinking a lot about lost things. Things and people I once spent a lot of time on and now have nothing to show for it. When we run into each other again there are zero words exchanged that would let anyone believe that once, we invested in each other. Once, we cared really a lot about how each other's day was, and we talked about politics and dream vacations and music that changed our lives. Once I knew you deep, and we spent hours we would have otherwise slept up talking, on the phone or in laundromats or in our tiny apartments.
And now you're a hippie bum in China,
you're a polished married man,
you're a mother of two babies I don't know at all,
and you're...
gosh, I don't have a clue in the world where you are.

I don't regret that I don't have any reason at all to talk to you or her or them--but just wonder where all those minutes and all that energy we spent on each other went in the universe. Did it dissipate into shards of glitter, float up and clump with some corner of the sky, or could it really have only vanished? All that would be left is the minimal brain space we allocate to each other now, once in a blue moon when we pop up on each other's facebook feeds, or are at the same mutual friend's baby shower or wedding or other celebration of love we no longer share, friendly or romantic or any other kind.

Maybe I'd like some placards announcing my accomplishments in relationships: with neatly printed names and timelines, interaction birth and death dates to neatly seal things up. Then, when I wondered, I could wander over to these official things and look and remember over an icy glass of tap water how crazy deep I loved these people, right or wrong or convenient or no.

I've been holding back.
I've been pushing myself.
I have trouble letting old things and people go, and in the same moment
I am the one who snips the string.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

the early morning light.

there's something about the early morning hours in the summertime. when the sun wakes up with you and you feel pleasant to meet the day. oh hello, your heart smiles. i feel glad that you're here.

there's something magical about walking outside to a pleasant temperature, being comfortable in shorts and a tee shirt instead of having to layer a silly number of thick fabrics that make you feel itchy, however adorable they look on pinterest. there's something beautiful about knowing your lover for life is sleeping gently  in the other room, while your monkey mind had to wake you up earlier to say things about precisely that.

there is something about running in the early morning light, with cars whizzing past, going to work or the gym or i don't even know where else. i feel part of the world, and simultaneously i am my own.

i spend a lot of time alone these days, working alone, being the sole owner and in-charger of my business. i don't have to roll my eyes at stupid comments people make, because i don't hear them.

but what i do hear is my own voice and thoughts, which can be just as stupid, petty, annoying.

it seems like the most successful people have never gone a different direction. they had their vision right from the start and then just worked hard, bam. but i think that is a lie.

it's also strange to be by yourself all the time when you think of how much other people rely on other people to tell them how they're doing. it's strange to try to get that information only from your insides. you wonder at first if they're wrong, and assume they have to be.

and then you start to realize how much you have inside of you. it's not just organs and a soul and guts, but a lot of strength you didn't know was there. because being a full-time creative is the hardest and most exhilarating thing. I've always wanted 'hard', because that meant i was gettin something killer in return. in return for the hard work. here's the thing, is that some people work hard forever and they never get the killer thing. they realize they need to go in a different direction, and even though that vision is still murky they know they ache for it.

i know i ache for it, is the thing.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Death Star

I love doing photography because I can control everything. But at the same moment, I control pretty much nothing. I don't control what locations or website templates are available or how long my stomach stays full from the food I feed it. I don't control how big my hands are or really how fast they can type. I don't decide the weather or the moon or tides or the sun and stars and most of the time I'm just fine with that--just fine to enjoy the sun and stars and tides the way they are. As is. Like the section of the store DI. Large As Is. A star could go there, maybe. And even if it was dead I would care for it. Even if it was on its last dying star breath I would want it to know how valuable it was, even if there are millions of kajillions of other ones that appear exactly like it. I would want to give that star a voice, let it say the final words of what it is like to be a star, a dying star on its last star breath, in the Large As Is section of DI. I would hold it up from the cement floors, turn off all the fluorescent lights and unplug the array of dingy lamps, and I would cradle the dying star in my small human arms. I would sing it things if it wanted, but mostly I would listen.
Mostly I would pay attention, and give that star the decency of someone being there when she died.

And maybe that's what we're all afraid of--dying alone, gasping our last gulp of oxygen without fanfare and just peacing out, unnoticed and unrevived. I don't think we're afraid that no one would care as much as we're afraid that no one would be there. We want holding in those last gulps maybe more than anytime.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coffee With Milk

I love this poem by Natalie Goldberg. I want you to know it too.

Coffee With Milk

It is very deep to have a cup of tea
Also coffee in a white cup
with milk
and a hand to go around the cup
and a mouth to open and take it in
It is very deep and very good to have a heart
Do not take the heart for granted
it fills with blood and lets blood out

Good to have this chair to sit in
with these feet on the floor
while I drink this coffee
in a white cup
To have the air around us to be in
To fill our lungs and empty them like weeping
this roof to house us
the sky to house the roof in endless blue
To be in the midwest
with the Atlantic over there
and the Pacific on the other side

It is good this cup of coffee
the milk in it
the cows who gave us this milk
simple as a long piece of grass

I want to live life this way. Aware, present, seeing the magic all around in the simplest of things.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A thousand percent crazy.

The walk is imperceptible. The walk to beauty. The walk to real, brave artistry.
And it is a walk because you never arrive and that's part of the obsession. The obsession with making things. Beautiful and meaningful things. Words and sentences and songs that are my own and not regurgitated from schooling.

I am crazy. Not even a little crazy, but totally and completely one thousand percent crazy. I wish I could let my life reflect that instead of kindly and calmly putting on normal clothes, attending classes and doing my homework like a normal person, and calmly moving on with my life, day after day.
I want to be wild.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Honest Artistry.

At times I wonder if the scariest things are the most important to do just because they are scary.

Arnold Shoenberg started writing atonal music because he felt morally obligated. He felt it was the most honest, truthful thing for him, felt it would be absolutely one million percent wrong to go back to tonality. And he wished a little bit that he could keep writing late 19th century Romantic music, beautiful edgy melodies. But he couldn't.

I heard those things in class today and I got the shivers, because I feel the exact same obligation to honesty with all my arts.

All my writing, all my photographs, all my songs and my creative juices feel obligated to flow in the direction of the purest honesty. And sometimes people hate it. And sometimes people are indifferent to it. And sometimes I care, and mostly I don't--because it's not about anything except being true to those particles in me that call for a certain kind of art at a certain time of the day or week or century. And even though those German composer saps always talked about taking dictation from God, spontaneous inspiration oozing out of them, I feel a shred of that, too. I feel me, though, directing my camera and my pen and my hands as I keep creating--and I'm voracious for it.

Sometimes it weirds me out, this whole being-an-artist thing. Sometimes I feel crazy and lonely and completely wild, sometimes out of control and ridiculous and brash. And then I think: Silly, it's just photos. It's just words. It's just little things. But I made them and they are out there in the world for me to never take back and that part feeds me, and my insatiable urge to make things, pictures or sentences or songs, keeps carrying me forward into a chasm that's so scary and thrilling I can't get enough.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


we give each other books for every birthday.
a tradition i love; a celebration of our deep lives, the inner ones--
how well we know each other, celebrating that
with titles like, the art of eating in
gift from the sea
favorites, sometimes picked up last-minute
wrapped in nothing but an ann taylor bag
last year on your birthday kaylie was wearing that shirt
pregnant as you are.
pregnant with a baby.
when i feel like i'm just pregnant with possibility--
ready to explode in a creative tornado
if i didn't have any homework to attend to.
still my pregnancy grows,
fed by light of film, metering and clicking
writing ridiculous poetry
reading more natalie goldberg
and this pregnancy i'm not off-limits from one single thing
no do-not-eat list perches on my fridge
just wedding announcement photos
I've taken
and feel proud of,
not unlike a baby child
i'd grown myself.

today is my dad's birthday celebration,
tomorrow the actual day.
sometimes i feel strange that it's alright to move things around when they don't fit your schedule, like valentine's day and birthdays.
he's perpetually 35 to me, the dad in my home videos running the camera while i screw up the courage to run through the sprinkler in my too-pink bathing suit.
he's perpetually a seminary teacher with lots of seminary teacher friends,
and i spy on the grown-up parties they have, with lots of laughing and finger food and it was like an aquarium of fun because i could press my nose to the window and look through without anyone noticing, observe and have a private smile with myself when my dad laughed so hard he coughed and wheezed.
he's perpetually that dad. i haven't wrapped my head around a dad who has two sets of married children, kids-in-laws, and is 49.

as i celebrate the changes--the new pregnancies, jobs, transitions to vegetarianism--i still ache for that too-pink bathing suit, hand in hand with my brother trying to convince me to run through the sprinkler on the simplest of summer days. i still wince at my list of responsibilities and wonder if i'll ever wake up accepting them with wide open hands. i still live in nostalgia and simultaneously run away as fast as i can so i can be the one moving on.

Friday, February 24, 2012

thoughts on abundance.

Does gratitude ever lead you to guilt? That sounds off.

But by the time I've exhausted the list-making approach of gratitude, in the middle of my gratefulness for my lack of gonorrhea and a cardboard house I start to think:
What did I do to deserve my big life full of stuff and opportunity? And the answer is always nothing. So I try to make sense of it, and give myself guilt, telling myself all the things I should do because I'm lucky enough to have all the opposites of the things I'm grateful I don't have.

It's hard to accept abundance.

It's hard to believe there is enough, and that even though I don't deserve it I can embrace it, live in it, and even increase it. It's hard to get away from my picture-perfect me to not only accept what I currently am, but accept, simultaneously, the vastness of what I could be. It's easier to make a list of things I should do that will give me a blue ribbon.
Easier to make gratitude lists long, long, long, so as to appear so thankful. So as to convince myself what I am. I am grateful, I am going to do big things, you know. It seems better than acknowledging the more frequent blah days where I don't do anything spectacular.

But I'm learning that even if all I do is feed myself physically and emotionally and soulfully on those days, I am those few steps closer to living more fully inside the mondo-ness of my potential.
Even when I'm not checking off items on a shiny list, I am still doing important work. It's just kind that can't be checked off that good.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ten Thousand Hours

I want to kiss this piece of paper, because I worked really hard to gather up this pen and this notebook from the dregs of my bag in the middle of this crowded car on the way home.
A scary q was burning at the edges of my mind:
What do I want to invest 10,000 hours in, to become an expert? What would I be excited about spending that kind of time on?

And the answer was not necessarily photography, not necessarily music education, not necessarily writing or teaching or being a zen-ish person, but just: all forms and flavors of creativity.

I felt excited when I thought it; I'm going to accept things as they come to me as a somewhat transient excited loony artist.

And right now I feel excited about my life being cracked right open like an egg and the yolk is just running out all over the wide earth. The snow dusts the mountains, powder-sugaring its cold magic on the little things that live in the fields. I get to see it with my eyes that don't see well without glasses but a lot of times when I see these things I just look and then other times I SEE, and not that my eyeballs bulge or do anything different at all but my heart accepts all kinds of possibilities and I get excited thinking of all the gifts I have in my world, and just thinking of these amazing things that have to be handmade by God and I feel happy and blessed and open and totally undeserving of all the awesome in my life, but still I know God wants me to have it.

I feel my life flowing more toward Him, naturally, and I feel the more I write the more He shows up on my paper and I include Him better, more decisively and consciously. The light is fading outside the car window, but I have to keep going. I have to keep telling about my lifelong paths and quests that other people conduct with ranging levels of seriousness. But I'm dramatic and I take everything in my life seriously because I live this life this way one time and each moment is so new and transitory and sometimes that's so weightful I don't know quite what to do? And how could I? Because I'm appalled by the wastes of time, even how long it took to turn the page to keep on writing.

I've started worrying a little less about the perfect allocation of blame and I've just started working to accept accept accept my life in the world and give away the need to know everything in its proper compartment. I am learning to balance scheduling with being wild. Because I am a wild child control freak spread out and and formed back again, like a cheeseball. A cheeseball that compliments all kinds of crackers and could do any big thing with her life she wanted. She doesn't have to write big but she can.

I feel God slowly and steadily directing the flow of traffic toward those sweet sweet little babies. They are so needy, so full of big ideas and brain waves and I am excited to meet them in a place where they can thrive in my care, in my love that will be big and wide as rivers and oceans and just as full of salt water. I will be able to take care of them with my heart open and my head brimming with ideas about how to teach them, read them fantastic literature and sing them beautiful songs and be their caretaker,
and I wish there was a more beautiful, full word to say what it really is.

It's almost pitch black and it's just the moon lighting up the corner of the blue sky on my right, a perfectly pink gradient of a sunset behind me to the west, on my left. The plants grow still, evergreen in the snow and there is dirt underneath the ice to support. The dirt doesn't die and it still compiles and hardens to make the mountains. Passing the curves of the rolling in the hills and the peaks that people climb, sometimes they even run up them. Listen to your body, the mountains it asks to climb and the world calling out what it needs you to contribute, be it dirt or a seed or a full grown tree.

It is too dark to write now.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Three Line Poems

I started with the title and went for three lines, and sometimes I had more to say.
My favorite is Lace.

Salt Shaker
contained beads of sweat
drip into the ocean
flitting home like a wave of grief.

A shivering fabric
Chokes up her neck
So fancy and free

Fireflies giggle obnoxiously
in a symphony
You blinked at me with open eyes.

All of the things in this room stood still
While the rice shattered on the floor
Like opaque diamonds.

The recipe called for you
And I said I'm improvising
We borrowed an egg from a neighbor
down the street three houses away
Your dad was on a diet
And we licked frosting off
cake for breakfast.

Killing Stones
Strange and expensive
not rare; blood kind
like the deep red flesh of an orange
by the same name.

My email was hacked
And I felt hurt--attacked
By spammers in India.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

shopko mj

I have French stuck in my head. What's that about?
My house smells like bacon.
I ate dinner at 9:00.
I wear a Michael Jackson shirt to bed every night.
Except it is from someplace like Shopko, and his face is white and his lips are red. I wish he wouldn't do that.
I ache to shoot film.
I have a Japanese umbrella atop my bookcase. It is from LA.
I have a jar with money in it for a someday trip to Japan with the boy I love.
I had a dream last night my mom was pregnant.
I am not bothered the least bit by people's baby comments.
Jared's new favorite thing is to see how long I can tickle him before he gives in and laughs. It makes no sense to me because I am female, but is hilarious.
I have a hot husband and secretly almost kind of want a dog.
I eat a lot of fruit snacks.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Jared had his first taste of gelato tonight; hazelnut flavor, and the working man made us say the names in Italian before he'd let us sample them.
I sampled about every flavor, because I chose wrong lots of times.
Hate when that happens, you know?
We used our coupons, laughed about politics (does Rick Santorum look like a perfect mix of Adam Sandler and Jerry Seinfeld to anyone else? Only really, really, un-funny?), and rolled our eyes at ridiculous garbage bags given out by mall stores, and talked about how easy it would be to build a table and how hard it would be to own a restaurant.

Being happily married is way, way underrated. Even when we're not vacationing lavishly, romancing glamorously, or being generally movie-worthy, it's those quiet moments when I look at him and the world is huge, swallows me, and I feel it all in the palm of my hand, in the very same instant. It's seeing backwards to that time he cut his hair in a mullet to be silly and forwards to our babies that will have personalities and being totally awake in the moment at hand, breathing in the whole earth full of bursting love for another human.
And yet, those gigantic inside things happen in regular clothes, coats, and ponytails.

Seventy times a day I talk to his ears about how I can't describe what I feel. It frustrates me, expressor that I am. (See? I just expressed mahself, makin up the word expressor. That's how it should be spelled, no questions asked.)

Only having a wimpy four letter word to account for all that hugeness feels pretty lame.

It's part of what I'll do in this life; turning words and thoughts inside and outside to find every one of the sixteen million ways I can explain how I feel about this boy. He is my dream.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Steps toward bravery.

I'm finally ready to post this--just for your reading, though, just to share, and not for a response. I believe in taking steps toward bravery and vulnerability, even if it's in a medium as small as one's little corner of the internet.

November 10, 2011

Today my grandpa died.

He was supposed to die yesterday, three weeks ago, ten years ago. They’ve thought he was leaving a lot of times; he’s just a fighter. Man of steel, mom said.

My mom has cared for this man all her adult life, when no one was really around to take care of her. You have your husband but he doesn’t care for you the same way your parents do. She cleaned out their fridge and had the cameras installed in their house to watch them, keep them safe.

The ultimate safety is death.

But that truth doesn’t often transfer well to us still here.

For mom it’s probably about goodbye; for me it’s all the things we didn’t get to do. Not in a I’m-so-gypped way, but a sad reality that’s-the-way-it-was way. That makes no sense.

I want to know him.
I want to know the whole story.
I want to know the battles my mom fought with him as her father.
I want to know the full extent of his genius, about what the patent from 1963 on my bookshelf really means. People ask me and I don’t know.

I watched him watch TV for those months we cared for them. He told us stories, but I still don’t know. I just watched him watch TV, filled up the hot water bottles the way he liked, got impatient when he wasn’t all the way ready to go to bed when we arrived, sweats-clad after long school days and just ready to sleep.

When I was driving home from a meeting in which a girl thoughtlessly joked about my grandpa’s death, I wanted to go to the house where all of that happened. Where I played with handed-down toys with dying batteries, enough to confuse the duck’s sound with the cow’s. Grandma had bright brown hair then--I never saw the gray roots.

I want to sleep, or throw up.
I thought I knew how to process death. Checkmark shebang bam alakazam I’ve got it. A lie to keep myself functioning. Plus I would be heartless—worse than selfish—if I did. 

Sad. I feel sad.

I feel sad about the memories I don’t have for writing in this moment. Just the blaring TV is coming back to me. Running into him at cougar creations in the Wilkinson center—being a little embarrassed that running into my grandpa could happen to me. Didn’t I know this man well enough not to run into him? I mean, see him often enough that our paths would naturally cross?

They did, every Thursday. Why can’t I remember more about grandpa on Thursdays? He took ages in the bathroom.

None of this is right. I need sleep and time.

I need to let my heart ache even if I feel I don’t have permission to let it.
Ache, heart. Do your thing. I set you free.
The ultimate freedom is in death.

Writing like this seems lame but I still think it’s important while it’s fresh. No judgment, just feelings and thoughts that float by in this moment—today, the day of his death. My grandpa is dead. He is gone. He is happy. I want to know him.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I am still here.

Here I am.
No grand plans for this post.
No big life events to announce, nothing out of the ordinary. No pregnancies, divorces, deaths or diamonds.
But I'm here.
And I'm finding more and more how important that is to me, for my life--I've tried to make writing my practice for a while now, and though I make excuses I keep coming back, even with nothing pressing to say. I am learning to own up to my soul needs: nurturing reading material, time to write, paper, pens. It's unglamorous and ugly and thrilling, mundane, exquisite.

Here's to this: doing things even when the genius is out to lunch, even when the glitter has settled and all you have to discover is the trudge through the dregs of those parts of yourself you'd rather not face.
My life is full, and I am buoyant and cheery despite a cold and a mile-long to-do list. I've learned to take pleasure in that mental checklist, in some twisted form.

I am still here.