a place for yourself.

Maybe right now you are preparing a place for your future self. I suppose that is the romantic way to look at it.

It’s impossible to know when you’ll arrive at that place, or if it will look anything like you imagined. Probably not, but that’s okay.
Dating and in general relationship-making has never been easy for me. Hell, the last time I fell in love with someone it ended up being in India among the masses crammed into the metros and markets, with a constant sheen of sweat and dirt.

I’m also not a stranger to hearing, “It’s just hard to put a finger on you.”

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that some part of me likes it that way. But, I can honestly say I just don’t think I can be any other thing. Especially the exact thing you need or want me to be. (Maybe this is my death sentence in the world of romance.) I also know you aren’t going to be that for me, either.

Most of me just feels like I’m really broken in places (and not the theological sense that Christian readers eat up so much). Mainly, I feel not quite glued together just right. A lot of duct tape, and whole lot of feeling like I don’t fit back into where I belong.

This leads me down to some deep and dark places. Like maybe that was why my marriage dissolved into a mess of youngins having no idea what they were doing. Each year from that time, I come more to peace with where I am. I still process, like we all process our hard bits. What could we have handled better — and more importantly, how do we handle this in the future?

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Becoming more adult is scary. Awesome, but scary. Already at 30 years I am thinking of all the weighty ghosts that wander around and I see them all every day. It’s damn hard to move on from how people made you feel. A smell or a picture or a piece of paper in a small box discovered and BOOM. You are right back in it.

I think it’s amazing that we can feel that way. I think we’re better for it. We at least begin to understand what we can survive and for that, we can feel strong. On the other hand, I witness all sorts of innocence on a daily basis and want it again so badly.

I am frustrated. I feel I am not boyfriend material. Partner material. Maybe never again husband material. Some parts deep in my belly wonder if fatherhood will ever be in the hand I’m given, but I certainly do not count any of those things out.

I am lucky that I have something to go to every day that I pour so much of myself into. It is my church, and it is my love that is so full of rage and passion and fire. My adult kinda love.

Who do I think I am?

God knows I’m changing every day. Like maybe my system updates when I go to sleep and when I wake up, I take it for a test run. Some things get left, but more often then not I gain some perspective — some memory — and inevitably something stronger to keep moving on and on.

You are right. I can’t put a finger on myself. For all I have known until now, this is the busiest my brain has been. It is exciting and terrifying and it’s all smushed together like English peas.

But I can tell you that I believe my heart is being made into something new all the time. Maybe that is for a place, some day. It is something I can love and protect and grow all at the same time.

I am always on the look out. Eyes steady on the horizon. Moving toward the Greater Mystery.

the lonely generation.

Let me first start out by saying I really just speak for myself, and not the entirety of my generation, and certainly not for folks in other parts of the world.

For some reason, I’ve been wanting to talk about being alone. And I always say “being alone” rather than “being lonely”, because I feel they are two very different things.

Being lonely, to me at least, can happen regardless if you’re actually alone or not. I know people who feel lonely and have a large, supportive family and are maybe even married or have a partner to share their life with.

Being alone, well, that’s where I come in. I came across an article recently that said we, at least my generation, are going to be the loneliest generation (because of various social networking habits). Broad statements like this always rub me the wrong way, because it’s such a large generalization of a generation that is barely into their 30s. People can’t always, or if ever, control the things that happen to them in their lives.

I think often that I might have a kid by now. I might have had a lot of things by now. But I don’t, and that’s okay. Life took a sharp U-Turn a few years ago and sent me on a different direction. Part of me feels sad, not as much for me, but for the people in my life who wanted to see me have those things — maybe some family — maybe some friends. I can’t control these things, and that is something you have to understand.

What I want to say, is that I may be really difficult. Whether that is my standards, my dreams, and whatever it is I may be pursuing at the moment. Some people have an easier time in life living with other human beings, and some work better being on their own. The part of this that is difficult is merging those things at some point.

I think being with people is important. I know we joke about staying in at night instead of going out, or people telling me how much they know about being an introvert when it is all so damn complex. People don’t like feeling hurt. As I get older, I will admit it takes a lot more energy to try and try again. To connect…and to hopefully really connect with someone who happens to be going your way.

I am okay with being alone, mostly.

But, that is me.

I also feel lonely at times. Especially when you’re sick or need some squeezes. I think that’s understandable. I love seeing people together, and working out. I remember what that was like and I am hopeful to have it again one day. But you have to try things out. More often than not, it doesn’t work. You can’t lose hope in yourself or the world.

I always want to say people are stronger than they make themselves out to be, but it’s not my (or anyone else’s) job to coach you like that, because those people, in time, will probably let you down and then what?

That is what it is to be a messy human. This is your story, moving at your speed.

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So yeah, maybe I should have two kids by now.

Maybe I should be thinking of having my own business or working towards some other grand thing.

I am doing something that I love. Love that includes lots of things, though. Bits of rage and exhaustion, as well.

I have people that care about me, and loads of people that I care for, most importantly. I have a lot of reasons to wake up and try to create something that gives me, and hopefully others life.

I try to let go of my want to be understood, and focus more on understanding.

We are all different little monsters sometimes, and that’s a little scary. But deep in my belly I see a lot of love and a lot of knots that need untying.

You will feel lonely, sometimes. We are all full of cracks, you see? Because of that we get to fill up with all sorts of things.

Right now, I’m learning how to make Kombucha, and I’m running a lot more than I ever have each week. I am preparing myself for a busy Fall season, and also what that means for me,

when our seasons start to change, and we feel new life in our bellies.

 

a billion moving parts.

Sometimes I itch all over.

Maybe for places and things I will never see. Mostly, these days, it is an impatient itch and I feel it everywhere. I feel it enough for it to interrupt my sleep as I wake up sweating, not just from the Southern heat, but because in my dreams I am living with all my memories.

There has been so much that has changed about me. Depending on which life you saw me living, it certainly seems to change from year to year. Maybe I’ve started believing in certain things existing, and other things dying. Maybe life is only about being born. Perhaps living for a short moment, and as though it was a lifetime you cease to be that thing and your love and memories are left with the people you let in.

I may not know my impact on whatever tiny piece of Earth I live on at the moment. No one does, really. That’s hard for me sometimes. I work for things I will probably never see. They say if you’re trying to solve a problem in your own lifetime,  you are thinking too small.

I agree with that.

I am often selfish, though. It happens when you live by yourself and are your own deciding factor. “Yes, I will wear this. It’s not that wrinkled.” And then being in a group of your peers and thinking, “Ah. Yes. Someone should have told me that this shirt was a hot mess.”

I remember my married self, quite often. I believe I had a lot of peace then. A lot of everything really. Who knows how to handle life with another human being that is also strong and opinionated and calls you out when you make them feel bad.

Then, when you aren’t married anymore, or separated from your partner, it is quite literally like picking up all these weird looking pieces of yourself. Your mind. Your heart. Then there’s the things that hold you, momentarily. Alcohol. Cigarettes. Being busy. Watching TV. Eating awful shit.

If I’m being honest with myself, part of my body has still been in mourning for the things I’ve lost. That’s just the kind of person I am. Of course I care what people think about me. Of course you are harsh and say things to me and I take it hard because that’s the kind of person I am.

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My health has been a product of this mess. It’s all felt like a roller coaster, really. This has been the coming down part — it’s really fast, and your stomach is in your head.

The past few weeks have had me digging around a lot of things. For one, I am running four to five nights a week. I’m not good at it. But it feels good. I’ve cut out as many vices as I can for the time being, at least until I can roughly get myself back to where I want to be, physically.

I’m learning that takes a lot of discipline. A lot of saying no. I try to make up an excuse for people, and really all I want to say is, “No. I can’t. I care for you. But not right now. This is for myself and for you to have me in the future. But right now, no. I’m sorry.”

That’s a little too long to say all the time. But it’s true. Generally I am swayed by the numbers, but when it comes to my health, I am trying my best to make better habits. I have to, really.

So, needless to say, this road is quite long. I am impressed at people who have been able to scoop up other people so quickly — but I think I am a little different. And that’s okay. I have a kitchen to feel that adult love with — that rage and that passion. That is where you will find me mostly.

Until then, I am falling deeply into something else. Something that I think is important. Knowing myself, there will be a time where I fall deeply into another thing — into another person. It is easy for me to dissolve into someone. Because of that, I am careful. Because of that, I am hopeful.

There are a billion moving parts out there, and I am something so incredibly tiny.

And that’s okay with me.

 

knots.

Love is a great tangling thing.

Like a puppet getting caught in its own strings; knots and things.

It’s also really frustrating, when you struggle to straighten them out. Hours, fumbling with your fingers, figuring out which goes and where. It’s easy to give up, too.

I think that’s what things feel like to me right now. I’d like to think it is easy to hold loosely, as much as I say I do, but I do not. In fact I hold on to mostly everything. Sure, some looser than others, but I still hold them. I feel like there are people I think about every day — like a checklist. I think about them and they bring me back to myself. Who I was to them, how they made me feel.

It’s all knotted up there.

The tighter I pull, the harder it gets.

The same goes for place.
There’s a line from a song that goes, “Every place I go, I take another place with me.”

This is my longing. To belong. To remember. The feeling of a place and of a person.
We change though, and I am so thankful for change. I am content to gain people, while l also lose some in the process. That’s just how my brain works and what my heart can handle. I can only process a few at a time. I know myself well enough to see when I am being superficial. That to me, feels unkind and un-me-like.

But alas, I am tangled in a world of knots.

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I am unsure how one moves through this world without the occasional snag — sometimes that involves breaking down into a million pieces and sometimes that looks like eating ice cream cones in a coastal town, somewhere.

Untangling takes time, and I am not a great untangler. I don’t think that’s a word. At least it’s underlined in red, so I know it’s not a word, but I don’t care today. I’m not a great untangler.

Like my fishing pole when I reel and feel it stop with plenty of line left. I get antsy and angry. I wanna throw it down. Sometimes I just cut it loose. But as we all know, you can’t always cut it loose. Sometimes you have to work to keep from losing it. Especially if it’s something worth holding on to.

I’m always taking stock of my people. Some days I feel like I’m losing, and some days I feel really strong. I am working hard at maintaining a peace of mind.

I hold on to them knots like heirlooms. I remember why they feel as they do and there is strength in all of it. Perhaps some sense of loss, but they’re all still there. Because though I hold loosely, I still remember and I still make room to lose things I love.

That is hard hard hard.

But that is it, isn’t it.
And you live with it,

those knots and things.

you are awake now

I had a dream of all my failures.

I woke up pitted against myself with the reminder.
Now is not a good time,

I said to myself.

I stumbled down the hallway half awake to fill my glass with some water and thought,

I guess everything stops working, eventually. (Like I had figured out some deep, philosophical question.) Maybe I just needed to hear something true.

At this point, my dream was still fresh. I felt terribly broken and alone.
I thought about all the jobs I’d left. The people who have left me, and a lot of things in between.

I do not believe in energy wasted. I tell people this all the time. No matter what end, the things you put into forward motion are eventually transformed into something else.

As my day moved on, I was still a little hungover with things like regret and ‘I should haves’. I know better, I swear. But you know how dreams can move in and out. Sometimes they create little lies that reside in our subconscious. It is no fault of ours, except for the billions of electrical pulses creating tiny memories for us to wander in.

I was tired. It all felt a little too real. I guess maybe my defenses were down.

Then, there were the things that pulled me out of my own little war with myself.

Watching my nephew slurp down a chocolate milk.
Or even just seeing the weight carried by my family.

Waking up

I started to shake it off, as though I had grown some shell over my skin that was getting too tight and needed to be shed.

Failure is such a strong word. In the way a lot of words that we use to describe extremes. These days, I refuse to let words define personal circumstances and weigh me down. Call them what you will, but failure is only a word, and I really don’t have the space to have everything figured out.

I don’t have to know everything about myself.

I don’t have to know what or why all the time.
That is exhausting.

I felt a movement into myself. A dialogue. I needed to put those dreams to rest themselves:

you live today.
move in and out of your troubles,
like some rhythm in a song.

remember that sometimes, there are no grand finales,
remember that it is all like a tide, sometimes leaving you with an abundance,
and sometimes washing things away into a great wonder.

but it is no fault of yours that this happens, only it is what always happens in this world,
it is not against you, though some days, you find it hard to leave the comfort of your own space.

energy is absorbed and expelled, all the time.
some seasons we are given more than we need,
and sometimes, we are left with nothing.

let go of your need for power over everything,
because it’s obvious this will never, ever work.

instead, pay attention to the person sitting across from you,
and look them in the eyes and listen.

they are the truest reality

listen. let go. and keep moving.
listen. let go. and keep moving.

you are awake now.

listen.
let go.
keep moving.

 

you and me. (and everyone else)

We’ve been hit pretty hard at work lately.
The mix of a new publication and a three page spread of a certain meatloaf sandwich we make. Hey man, people love their meatloaf.

I have looked around at the faces of my co-workers, dazed and exhausted. Stretched a bit too thin, but they’re good, I tell ya. Good.

In my own body, I am tired as well.
I don’t seem to get as frazzled as I used to. Even when there is water above my eyes, I can’t think of any reason to feel any less of myself. This hasn’t come from working in the food industry. I mean, sure. The longer you work in the mess of trenches and the rows of tables and chairs, it can be an overextension of one’s soul. Enough to want to make you hide in the bathroom or the walk-in for fear of another human being’s response.

But then there is something deeper to it. For me, at least.

I find myself laughing a lot. And smiling. Understanding. Listening.

Maybe it’s some sort of mechanism I’ve developed over this past year where I say in my head, “Pfft. This is nothing.” And really, the rush will pass. All things will pass.

I had reached a point at one gig, where I just lost it. I went into the bathroom and called Hannah in tears saying, “I can’t do it anymore. It’s just too much.”

It was a combination of a lot of unhealthy things. I realized if I wanted to make it in this industry, I’d have to start making it work for me. So, I just let go.

And this is where something deeper started to take place. Out of all the rough things I’ve endured in the most recent past, there has been nothing worse than sitting on the floor of my old apartment, weeping at such a huge loss. My heart was at its lowest point, and I think often when older companions lose each other, it’s only a matter of time before the other starts to let go.

The heart can only take so much. It is a muscle. Like any muscle that cycles through its daily motion, it will tire. At some point, it will let go.

So, like rough days on the line, or running food: you sink, or you swim.

And there is an ebb and flow to sinking and swimming. There are seasons where it feels good to fight, and others where you have to submit for a while.

I revert back to myself sitting on the floor with no energy. No hope. Nothing else to say. A pain in my chest and a belly that was sick of everything. Since then, I have worked myself back up into something decently recognizable, I think. Presentable. Able to push my shoulders back and walk with meaning.

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It is quiet, where I live. So handling customers is sometimes a welcomed experience. I like the challenge of handling a person, as often times restaurants can be intimidating places to go. But to make someone laugh, or give them the space to get what they really want. Sometimes that feels like a gift.

It’s something I can give them. It’s something I have power over, but not in the way that should make you feel threatened. There is something important about communicating needs and desires. I think good communication relies on both sides making non-threatening words, and putting them together in such a way that disarms. Too often I found myself defensive. I found myself making it about me all the damn time.

And then I just let go of it.

I let go of my desire to be understood, and worked more at understanding. (I believe there is a St. Francis prayer there somewhere..)

My energy has shifted. I get to put it in places where I’ve needed it the most. Connecting with people. And that allows me to not be so afraid. You learn everyone is battling their own wars, both inside and out of their bodies. I meet that with grace, you see?

And I do it in hopes that I get it back in return.

I think this is one of those things that might change the world. Starting small, and to not threaten each other all the time with our rightness or needing to prove that we are loved and important.

We have value. And we have these tools that build up over the years, like your grandpa’s shed. We learn better how to loosen and tighten. Those big problems become smaller problems.

“Ah,” you think to yourself. “That’ll be good in no time.”

or

“Well, this one might take some time.”

And you will see better on both sides, that it’s not about winning or losing an interaction. It is about sustaining a goodness, for yourself and your community. I wish everyone could see inside themselves the things I’ve been able to see in myself.

That goodness is a simple luxury. That good communication can take time to build, but that it is most important when building up the Beloved.

I talk about the Beloved a lot. And really what I mean is humanity.

Made from the stuff of our mothers and fathers, mixed with wonder, and grown into things that have the potential of loving another.

That is what I believe in the most.

you.

and me.

and everyone else.

that’s what I really want.