blue

i want to tell you about the blue of the casket.

i want you to know how beautiful it was and how striking and how it matched his suit and how i couldn't keep my eyes off of it.

i want you to know how it looked underneath the flag this afternoon and how it looked after we placed roses on top of it and how it looked when we walked away.

i want you to know that i will always remember that blue. that now, that blue is casket blue. it is my grandfather's blue.

i want to paint the walls this color blue. 

i want to carry that color blue in my heart.

i want to wear it every day.

i want to hold it, place my hand on it, see it in the winter sun.

i want that blue to seep in and out of my blood. i want it to be the blue in my veins.

i want you to understand that the emotions and feelings that are still underneath and unprocessed and still bubbling to the surface...i want you to understand that they are wrapped up in this color blue. 

i want you to know and to see because maybe if you knew and if you saw you'd feel how i feel--somewhere between fine

 and numb

and

well

blue.

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just a day in february

74 years tomorrow, we say. valentine's day 1943. 

my grandparents met at an USO dance. my grandma, feisty then too, told him he was too short for her. my grandfather cut in anyway. 

-

my grandfather lies in a hospital bed. when i first walk in, he follows me with his eyes. i don't know if he knows its me. when my mother walks in though, he perks up. he knows its her. 

-

i've always known that when my mother's parents, maud & joe, got sick or passed away, i'd have to step up. that has been clear since one afternoon about 15 years ago, when my mom mentioned their eventual deaths and her face turned the color of a tomato. ohh, i remember thinking. oooh, she is going to lose it.

in the car, on the way to the hospital yesterday, i point out that she is telling me something i literally just heard because i was next to her in the car.

"you are gonna have to keep an eye on me. i am losing it," she says.

"i know. i've always known what my job would be in this situation."

she smiles. "yeah...you have."

-

i get the call that we need to see my grandfather while standing in line for flowers. i decided to get my boyfriend flowers the day before valentine's day and to leave them so when he got home from work (and when i was at a meeting), he'd see them waiting for him. it is windy and cold and i am sweaty from spin class and my mom calls and says we have to go see grandpa.

he is not doing well.

ok. i run through everything i need to do and change before she gets me. i stand for a second in line, wondering if i should abandon the flowers.

i get them anyway because i realize that now, more than ever, i want to leave a little thing to let my boyfriend know i love him.

when i get home, i email some friends i had written about a possible galentine's day meet-up to cancel. i get emails of love back. when i text my boyfriend about what's going on, he offers to meet me at the hospital. i tell him not to do that. but knowing he would hits me deeply.

-

i look between my grandmother and my grandfather. my grandmother sits in a chair in her coat. it is cold to her. she will ask me if i am cold another 100 times before the day is over. i will say "no" every time. even when i am a little chilly. i look at her and i look at my grandfather and i think about love and time. i wonder what it is like to have known and been with someone for 74 years. i wonder what it is like to sit next to them in a hospital bed. 

maybe she doesn't understand what's really happening, we muse.

later, my grandmother turns to me and says, "soon there won't be anything they can do".

maybe love and time and age prepare you in their own way.

maybe not.

i hold her hand and she holds it back. she strokes my hand. i know one day my hands will look like hers.

-

after a particularly frustrating class, i pull out my phone and see i have a text.

grandpa broke his hip. he needs surgery.

that was last week.

in september, it was facebook and a voicemail that alerted me to my granddaddy's, my dad's dad, death.

i've never liked the phone.

-

i knew this lesson already, but i relearned these last two weeks that sometimes great things happen at the same time as not so great things happen. highs and lows, peaks and valleys, come together.

-

my mother is sitting and staring at my grandfather, her father. she looks at him the way a little girl looks at her daddy. i am watching the past and the present and i see the future on her face as she wipes a tear from her eye.

my grandfather says things that are hard to hear. he says them to my mother. i find myself getting mad at my grandfather for saying things that clearly hurt her. i don't say anything obviously, but i rub my mom's back when we step out the room.

my mom will sit here for hours. she will hold a vigil longer than all of us. she will listen to it all.

i remind her that she needs rest too.

she nods and looks back to my grandfather. 

i look down at my phone. a text. the boyfriend checking in, making sure i am okay. i text him the words i cannot say out loud.

-

my parents met on valentine's day too. 

for years i thought i was destined to meet the one i loved on valentine's day too.

i think i realized that wasn't necessarily going to happen when my dad got engaged to his now ex-wife on valentine's day too.

who needs all that weight on a day in february?

-

we leave after hours in the hospital. my mom admits she only left because i was there. otherwise she would still be there. 

it is only later, as we drive back toward the city, that i wonder if i have seen my grandfather for the last time.

but he was talking. and he knew i was there. and so...

i don't know. 

i don't like not knowing.

-

i forget to tell my mom happy valentine's day when i step out the car and when i call her in the morning. but i say i love you both times.

-

i get home from the hospital around midnight. i call my mother to make sure she gets home okay and when she does, around 12:30am, i tiptoe into the bedroom. it is cold in the bedroom because he is always too hot. i am always too cold. and so i think of closing the window, but i don't. i sneak under the covers and then he shifts and puts his arms around me. i don't know if he is really awake or if it is a reflex. i don't say anything and he doesn't say anything, but i am under the covers and warm because he is there. 

in the morning, he gets out of bed to begin his morning routine. i open my eyes and smile. when he tells me happy valentine's day, i realize i had forgotten, just for a moment, what day it was.

today is valentine's day. 

my grandparents met 74 years ago today. 

my parents met 35 years ago today. 

this is just a day in february that makes me think about love, loved ones, and loved things.

peace out 2016

well, we made it, folks. we made it to the last day of 2016. this year has both felt like forever and like a minute. it has felt wonderful and like shit. and so i am happy to see 2016 go, but also know it is a year i'll remember forever for a number of reasons. 

as i look ahead to 2017, i am just hoping to be more comfortable in my own skin, being the person i already am as opposed to the person i want to be as per pinterest, the person i think i should be as per facebook, the person i'd like you to think i am as per instagram, and whoever the person i am as per twitter. 

because, let's face it, 2017 may be a shitshow and the best way to combat the possible fuckery is to be yourself.

so. 

yeah.

happy new year y'all.

see you on the flip side.

quiet, a poem

the following is a little poem i wrote when thinking about quiet moments...

 

the kind of quiet

sometimes the world feels too loud

it feels like everyone is speaking and no one is listening

and all I want to do is bring my hands to my ears

close my eyes

wish myself into another existence

into another moment

into the quiet of the woods

into a time and place when I can hear my breath

and almost hear my heart

and i can hear the squirrel in the leaves

and the wind in the branches

and your feet on the path in front of me.

sometimes I can’t deal with the all caps

with the retorts

with the everyone trying to one up each other

trying to be the loudest

trying to be the smartest

trying not to give a shit the most

sometimes I want quiet care

I want a hand on top of mine

that look of understanding

that search for connection

sometimes the world is so loud

I wonder if we are trying to yell

to prove to ourselves that we are here

like how teenagers’ voices bounce off our ear drums

as they find the bounds between youth and adulthood

or like how we othered people, we who have been othered,

have had to yell to prove that we exist

have feelings and lives and blood and bone

we yell to show we are alive and cannot be ignored

we yell to show we are not to be inferior-ized, child-ized

and so what does it mean that I sometimes can’t handle the decibel

can’t handle the yelling

wait

maybe it is that there is just too much yelling

and I can’t hear the ones that matter,

the ones that hit my soul,

the ones that I say

yes yes yes yes yes yes to

sometimes I worry that my yearning for quiet is just a form of escape

and is an attempt to ignore the work that my life requires

and sometimes I note that it is just that I am an introvert

and my soul prefers written words read with tea and a pen in hand

alone or nearly alone on a Saturday afternoon

I wonder how to balance the sound needed to thrive

and the sound that feels as though it beats me

down further into myself so that I don’t just yearn for quiet

but also for isolation

 

I want the kind of quiet you learn from

the kind of quiet that you listen to and in

the kind of quiet that prepares you for battle

the kind of quiet that is actually quite lou

more joy

this holiday season has felt a bit different than the last few before. 

i got to spend more time with family. i got my mom and dad to celebrate a holiday together. my grandparents were able to get out of their house for thanksgiving and have a nice little thanksgiving getaway. christmas started out quiet with just me, my boyfriend, and the dog, but that night my dad and niece came over for dinner. it was quiet, intimate, and slightly awkward as any good family get-together should be. yesterday i had brunch with old college friends (and stood up against them in a pizza hut/dominos debate...pizza hut all the way...thank god one friend was in agreement...excuse us while we enjoy our personal pan pizzas) and then spent the rest of the day showing my niece the city with the bf. we went back to the kerry james marshall exhibit, walked through central park, walked over the brooklyn bridge and made our way to shake shack. i was made fun of because i don't snap the snaps on my coat (why do i have to snap and zip?!), because i think pie without whipped cream is blasphemy, because i didn't want a milkshake, and because when it comes to fight or flight, i flee. i have issues, okay? issues i discovered that are easily made fun of. 

so much family time. so many good conversations. so many laughs and realizations and moments of reprieve. 

we all needed that in my family this year, i think. and because we listened to that need, this season has felt more intimate, more joyful, more meaningful. and i am really appreciative of that.

i am also really grateful to have a partner who wants to get to know my family and who is as sensitive to the issues beneath the surface as i am. and who dived in without the slightest complaint. i know this is part of the reason this season has felt a lot, well, better. and, as i said, i am grateful for that. so fucking grateful. 

so, all in all, it has been a good season despite the craziness of the world, the projects i should be working on, and seasonal depression that has been lingering in the shadows. i'll take the good. i'll hold on and cherish the good, the joy.

sparkle

i want to sparkle in 2017.

i want to feel like my best fucking self.

i want to be so me it is ridiculous.

i want to light up, light myself up, light up a room. 

i want to feel good.

and to be honest, i am worried i won't be able to feel that way. i am worried about what is really going to happen in 2017. it feels like we are on the edge of something. we are on the edge of something. i am just really afraid of what is on the other side. 

but, as much as i can, i want to feel the above. i want to make these feelings a priority--knowing i won't be able to achieve them every day but...they will be goals.

i am writing a list of intentions for 2017 that i'll probably share later, but know this is the underlying vibe.

i want to sparkle, y'all.