I met a girl in Forever21 yesterday. Cute, skinny, brown chic with high energy and style. I was twirling in the mirror as I asked her (of two non-matching pieces) ‘if this looked right.’ Of course, she had my style, so the answer was ‘yea girl you could do that.’ We got to talking.
She, about wanting to go into psychology, I, about how and why I decided to first get a management degree and then pursue my dreams writing. I looked up and we’d been talking for about forty five minutes. My teaching dreams never cease because of days like this. Of course I told her to follow her dreams—but before she did so to look long and hard at what she wanted, had to have—to survive.
I miss teaching for times like this. But I do love love love my job. Sometimes, things change.
Friday I was sick—so it put me behind, I guess I’m still recovering, but it really was a beautiful day yesterday, real simple. I took my kid for a hair cut and slept for a few hours. I like to pinpoint the days I’m really happy because a lot of times you don’t get them as often as you’d like. I woke happy, I stayed happy, and I went to sleep happy.
Few more edits back for clients this week and a final manuscript due. Like I said, happy.
Picture from: avadakedavraurmother.tumblr.com
Honeydew and Orchids
He said “I want the opposite of everything with you because you only remember the bad”
I gave him a sad face and said if you keep saying things like that I’ll stay sad.
So these are your orchids. And then he asks me if I’ve ever seen orchids. Because these orchids, he said—eyebrows up—are talking orchids. Crawling up stucco—designer orchids on glowing wallsides, heaploads.
Let me tell you what they’re saying, he leans close. They admire the way you laugh, and the way you love your Dad. Acquired tastes. They love, your neuroses–spun together–next to the space heater.
Well this. I tell him. Is honeydew. It is sweet, unless spoiled. It doesn’t need water or sunlight, it needs to be savored. It has a window of time, and this honeydew. She has a line. Like the lining in your collar, or your lack of consideration.
And it can’t be suckled into the ouch patch, you know the part you can’t get back,
A line that,
Cross it if drawn
Balance if it waves
Careful in anomaly, (no
matter how little we have.)
He said oxygen, you need oxygen.
I said, not just yet. I want “Come here.” . “Right now.” . “I’m. in. this.”
He said, I haven’t promised you anything. Which is otherwise clandestine, which is microscopically kaleidoscopic, which is bullshit if I never heard it, otherwise known as art deco blue. I wanted Tinkerbell’s castle, I would’ve given up sadness for a clue where.
And I’d have grown him more than fruit and flowers. He as in you, you as in admirer.
But I guess I have to love you from afar. And I guess I have to love you where you’ve fallen,
which means move on.
Which is a line. A line once drawn—
if crossed is gone. Which is how I know it,
that does not offer you honeydew or glowing orchids anymore.
And so I leaned over to the flowers, and whispered to their spines:
“You have specifically been placed in a box marked ‘why for?’”
And the world, which is how I now know it, has aligned.
—Happy Valentine’s Day to all those I secretly admire, love Lalanii
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”
—Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation
I regret “spooning,” I regret his over-excitedness about daily regurgitating tasks, I regret the handholding—the squeezing, I regret all the big dreams about French doors and ponytails. I regret going along with it all by thinking I’d grow into it.
I’m 28 years old and I’ve never been in love. I’ve only been in regret.
I can explain. You meet someone and you fall impeccably, dancing around lampposts “in love” with them, their smell, the habits they have that you initially think are cute. Wait for it…
You meet their Mom and you’re sold. She’s nice, which is the best word to use about any man’s mother you just met. You meet his kid(s). I once fell in regret with a man who had two little girls. Prettiest peaches ever. No, I mean impossibly, selflessly, itching under my skin to be around him and his kids. It wasn’t as hard as some claim to get children to “like” you, but again, this was only one experience, and only my experience. I was pushing the four year old on the swing and the seven year old was coloring with me at the park in no time. Cake. The issue is, the moments you remember most—like a movie, those moments that incessantly replay, aren’t the moments of fancy dinners or dotes, but are the moments you had to catch your breath with overwhelm, the moments you’ve said to yourself “I want this.”
Thing is, when you fall, you fall hard for their families too. I recently watched “How to Lose Your Lover” on Netflix. A funny chic fling movie about a writer convinced he’s over LA life, so he does everything he can to rid himself of excess LA baggage, including women. He goes off about pissing everyone in his corner off. He shoves his love interest into uncomfortable positions such as meeting her parents and his friends on the first and second dates. An interesting concept indeed. I think this way now. I’ve realized that so many people wait the three months, six months or years before they meet the friends and family of their significant others only to find it plops. People don’t realize that when you date a person (for the most part) you date their loud ass mom, their overprotective dad, their sneaky sister, their ignorant ass friends, and their horribly annoying children.
If you think you can handle it, you should know sooner rather than later about the people you might love regret.
Case in point: when you love, you love the bad about a person sometimes even more than the good. This wanes and regrets once it’s over, often while it still is. Gretchen Rubin says in “The Happiness project” a book I’m currently reading “I knew that my combativeness and pedantry in this conversation came not from petty irritation but from a desire to protect myself against false hopes.” I completely agree with her. False hopes.
I regret not learning how to “fight right,” as in, pick my battles. I regret not loving myself enough to love anyone else. I regret having to admit that I went crazy before I got this half-right. Only half. I regret the growing up process and all the short sticks I give and get. I regret the shit out of not getting to know a person enough not to regret the whole damn thing.
I’ve never been in love, only regret. Funny what you regret is what could be what you’ve loved the most. Funny what you regret is what you’ve learned the most from.
I tend to read out loud. Now, whether or not you’ve heard me or not is a different story.
I’ll say a “subconscious-unconsciousness of” — too damn much. For instance if the person in front of me says he doesn’t like women who shop… all of a sudden I’m a thriftily shopping mo-fo. He doesn’t like tea? O, I only dabble in tea sipping, pinky finger flailing, honey sticks, and lattés, just dabble, lol. Similar to Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride when it was all she could do to match her counterparts, she forgot herself.
I read, a lot. I read people. I speed read. I read attachments. I read magazines, marketing material, interviews, the internet, but mostly, I read out loud. I tell a person what’s wrong, generally, like most of us do — before telling them what’s right. I’m proud to recognize this, and acknowledge myself as a work in progress.
I write my toot off. I stay up wee hours of the night reading. Studying. I put it first when at times it should come second to some things like taking a few minutes to make the people I love happy. Ma calls me up the other day, exhibit #1:
“Where da hell you beeennnnnnnn?” Her southern accent, a cheerily bit ghetto. She asks of why I haven’t called her.
I go on explaining and rambling off about deadlines, genre workshops, reading group, and submissions and halfway through my summary of absence, this broad is not listening. At all. I’m talking about not only not listening, but in full conversation with my niece in the background.
“Maaaaam, did you hear me???? You not listening! You never listen, how you gon’ ask me a question then go all off talkin’ to someone else?!” I shriek.
“Awhl, shiiiiiiiit, leme call ya later honey, these children are on my nerves.” She hangs up. I laugh and shake my head. Like I said, I read out loud, no one listens.
Example 2: an ex of mine came over about nine maybe ten one night o clock a few weeks back to listen as I read a few pages to him for proofing. After all, I can credit him for catching a lot of my run-on sentences, verb tense issues, and grammar ridiculousness. He also fully believes in my work and I love that. This particular time no sooner than shortly after his arrival did I read into about the fourth page, and I found that he had apparently took the drug opposite of No-Doze. He was full-on asleep, light snore and all. Naturally, I’m human, I was hurt.
He exclaimed that he was tired, which I believe he was, and that if he’d only had the pages in front of him (like his own copy) he would have stayed up. The issue is, when someone gives an über quick reason for falling short, the explanation loses its weight. A simple “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again” would have sufficed. Practice with me: “I’m sorry it, won’t happen again,“ the most important words in language, since “I love you” is overrated and everyone loves everybody. I’m really sorry, I won’t read a damn thing to you, ever again. HAhahaha!
Him actually using those words might have gotten us on the same page. Simple acknowledgement and reassurance that it (hopefully) won’t happen again. Although Ma still hasn’t said a word about her tangents of rudeness, and my ex and I no longer talk, I still feel I’m learning how to better express myself, and I continue reading out loud. I just wish the right people would listen.