Saturday, June 29, 2013

Benched and Awake

You know those days that seem brighter than all the rest?

There are days when I take a walk, and everything has a certain sheen. It’s as if the world is jumping from it’s casing, pricking me on the skin, and making me aware of everything.  My senses are heightened, and my mind sharper as life begs me to drink it all in. I already notice everything, but on days like these my attention to detail has intensified. I am awake.

On days like these, I might finish my walk, and go into town on an errand. As I brush passed strangers, they are no longer a haze, but a chasm of individual stories and happenings. Each person has a face, and each person has a story. As I fill my basket at the grocery store with odds and ends, necessities and indulgences, I might notice a mother and her toddler. I’ll begin to study her face, as well as her little daughter’s. There’s a vacant routine being followed, evidenced by small wrinkles barely visible, furrowing the mother’s brow. I might linger on her story as I proceed to the checkout line. There I’ll switch my focus to the cashier, a perhaps middle-aged woman with no ring on her left-hand ring finger. As I leave, I might compliment her necklace and flash her a smile infused with all the sincerity a stranger’s smile could convey.

I proceed this way for the remainder of the day. The air is still tangible, the trees alive, everything with a purpose. On days like these, I observe. Something has pulled me from the opaque glass that often blankets my world. Often I amble through, very much in my own head, with life intricacies buzzing, and sometimes shouting through my head. Shouting things that don’t matter. Shouting things that shouldn’t be taking up the majority of my thoughts, or any of my time at all. -Things that distract me and from what’s going on around me.  I find myself yearning for, and missing the world. My awareness is savored on these “awake” days, if I’m lucky enough for it to last an entire day.

-Because eventually days end, and I sleep. I wake with the nagging thoughts of the trivialities of daily life, plunging me back to that opaque world with rhythmic, methodical blows. But, as with most things, the unnatural “awake” days can become more frequent than infrequent with practice. I’m learning to quiet my unsettled thoughts and worries, and to set them aside in a useless room in my brain. I don’t appreciate when others nag me, so why do I allow MYSELF to nag me? I’ve found, that as I’ve sent my nagging thoughts to their own room in my brain, that I’ve made room to notice. I’ve tried to clear my head. I’m trying to notice. I’m trying to stay awake.

Monday, May 27, 2013

He Offered Me His Pillow

     It can be the smallest kind gesture from a stranger when you feel like you're about to break. When life weighs down your spirit and your heart. 
It was only a pillow.
     I pulled down my tray table and hunched over about to fall asleep. This would be a long flight.
     "Would you like my pillow?" -He was asking genuinely. I don't know this guy, and he doesn't know me, yet he offered me the only assistance he had available. 
     Could he feel my listlessness? Could he sense the storms inside of my soul? 
He offered me his pillow.
     It was as if he'd offered an umbrella for me to use as I waited for my private storms to subside.
     He wasn't the only one.
I'm in the middle seat with strangers on either side of me. Pillow guy to my right, and blanket guy to my left. 
He offered me his blanket.
     "Would you like my blanket?" He asked.
I gratefully declined, like I do with everyone else's help.
     Another kindness.
     When I boarded this flight, confusion, doubt, and traces of sadness and regret swirled through my body, overwhelming my thoughts and bruising my heart. I began to sift through the causes of my anxieties, mapping out the resolutions, one facet at a time.
     I prayed to my ever patient Father in Heaven, consulting Him, and allowing peace to replace the fears that were flowing through my veins.
     This is when I pulled down that tray table, hunched over, waiting for lucid sleep to take me.
He offered me his pillow.
He offered me his blanket.
     Standing in my own personal raging storm, these strangers, along with the promise of peace from my Heavenly Father, have equipped me with an umbrella and a coat, some comfort.
It was just a pillow.
It was only a blanket offered from two strangers on a plane.
     But it made all the difference.
               I think the sun will come out soon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Benched in the Wind

It was 73 degrees in North Carolina today with a wind advisory. The unseasonable warmth and the strong wind around makes me wistful...

Maybe they saw you and you didn’t see them, or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe you missed each other by only an inch and meandered in every direction except the one that would lead you to each other. Or maybe your paths wound in such a way where you brushed passed each other for just a moment, caressing your skin at the touch. The twinge made you pause, but you were too caught in the current to exude the effort to let the moment linger, or gather any significance from the experience. You wouldn’t allow yourself to be stayed. Perhaps the wind was warm, causing your back to coil and your toes to flex with each goose bump. But maybe the wind was cold, and icy, making you cringe and shy away. Why didn’t you stay when the wind was warm, and the sun came out from behind the clouds that day?

The wind is an interesting creature. It likes to be gentle, slow and free. It likes to breathe, and see everything. It likes to be carried by its whims, and jostle things slightly in its paths. It tries to run from storms, but often get stuck in them. Sometimes it’s pleasant, at times uncomfortable. Sometimes it nudges us to directions we hadn’t planned on veering. Sometimes it knocks us off balance, and we have to pick ourselves up, or be humble enough to allow someone to pull us off the ground. Sometimes we get caught in the wind, and continue to jaunt from place to place, never settling on anything, anyone, or anywhere in particular.

I’m caught in the wind. Perhaps it’s time the wind brought me somewhere to stay. Perhaps it’s time the wind and I took a little break.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Benched in Reverie


I lay in bed and close my eyes
That’s when you flood my thoughts.
No matter how I try to fight,
I see a picture taken from the first night our paths crossed.

I try to remember where your hands were
Those hands that since held mine.
Those same hands that pulled me closer
When I woke up scared that night.

I can still see the glint in your stare
That forever claimed me yours.
That captivation held me there
And made me want you more.

Fleeting glances
Lost romances
And love that cannot be.
Star-crossed dances
Second chances
My pain in reverie.

When you close your eyes,
Is that what you see?

I’m sure you do not dream of me.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Benched in the Mirror

Short, blondish highlighted hair. Green eyes today. Long shadows cast from the window to shade the right side of my face. Smeared makeup from the tire of the day. Epiphany.

There are times in my life where I get so caught up in triviality. I go, go, go, and push so hard through my trials or the things I’m trying to accomplish. Everything feels noisy while I’m caught in this havocked momentum until finally: everything stops. I barrel through my circumstances and try so hard until something intervenes to make me stop and think. I hit a brick wall, or in my case, a mirror.

I picture myself sitting in a large, soundproof room with nothing in it except a full-length mirror. Whispers of recent events flash from my memory of those times when I’ve tried to be enough for people. I notice a worry line begin to reveal itself in my brow from the realization of how hard I’ve been trying to please everyone. Helplessness and wasted efforts seep from my eyes in the form of quiet, gentle tears. Awareness washes over me in hot waves that I will never be enough for everyone.

The wave recedes, leaving me with sharpened senses and an awakened freedom from this new knowledge. Of course I will never be enough for everyone! I’ve spent the last two years trying so hard to please someone who never wanted to be pleased by me in the first place. It’s not easy to put so much into an investment for it to turn out unrequited, but it's impossible to please everyone.

At the end of the day though, I’m left in this ‘room.’ I’m left with only my own reflection, and God to answer to. Of course I’m still going to try as hard as I can to do right by people and be the best person I can be, but no longer will I be shackled and bound by my need to be “enough.” At the end of the day, I am a daughter of God. I love my family and my friends. I have the desire to improve and progress in my life and for the first time in years I’ve realized: that is enough. I am enough.

Thank you, mirror.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Benched in Bliss.

Have you ever just felt completely liberated? At peace? With “a perfect brightness of hope?” That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling for the past few days. I feel SO good.

I’ve mapped out exactly every assignment I need to do, and when I need to do them. I found a ride to L.A. for a fraction of the cost that I was anticipating. I’m at a point in the semester when I’m actually going to have time to exercise daily. Even though I do have a ton of assignments to do and eleven more novels to read, I feel so at peace. For the first time in the past few months I feel like I can step back, look at my future, and breathe easy.

I know none of these things are just occurring out of happenstance. I’ve increased my scripture reading, and am trying to make more time for the Lord. I’ve also been able to feel the blessings from going to the temple weekly, even if I just go there to have more focused prayers. Most of the semester I’ve felt so stressed and down that I haven’t made enough time for what was most important. The difference is stark.

Anyway, I’m so excited to be coming home in a few weeks. As much as I’ve enjoyed BYU-Idaho, I’ve really missed North Carolina. A big part of that was the weather, I can admit, and I also know that I chose the worst semester to attend Idaho, but I was just way too cold here haha. The weather has been way nicer here, and I'm sure that's contributed to my uplifted spirits. I've actually heard a bird or two, and seen a few bugs haha.

I hope everyone is having as optimistic of a day as I am! Breathe easy, people.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Benched in the Tundra

I should be seeping happiness from every pore of my body for this welcome change of scenery. I should be reveling in the amazing acquaintances I’ve made here, and I am, to a degree, but I find my temperament elsewhere. Instead of dancing in the cold drizzle or snow, I seem to get lost in the haze. Rather than being liberated by the surrounding beauty, I simply note the splendor and return to the dread of the impending week of assignments and duty. I’m hoping that I’m not falling into some kind of dismal longing and that I’m just having a little cabin fever.

I do really like it here. There’s always some social gathering going on, where one is sure to make dozens of new acquaintances, with ample doses of small talk for any human to endure..I mean enjoy. There are down to earth people to hang out with, and ridiculous people and couples to watch. My classes are informative, and not too overwhelming if I would buckle down and get ahead of my assignments. I have incredible roommates, and the campus does have a great spirit.

I do crave the sun though. I’m honestly having trouble trucking through school right now. I have some serious wanderlust issues, and I have to exert incredible will power to do the simplest of school assignments. I just want to be done with school! I’ve also found that being thousands of miles away doesn’t solve as much as I hoped it would. Suppressing issues rather than fixing them only amplifies them for a later explosion, and leaves you with those moments of seeping ache that sneak up on you at the most inopportune times. Then again, when is ache ever opportune? How does one solve the unsolvable though? At the moment I seem to be just riding out the storm hoping that when it’s all over I still have my fundamental body parts intact. I feel like I’m in the eye of the storm, and that at any moment it could all come crashing down. Thankfully, God does not fail, so if I try to do what He wants me to, then I can’t fail either. To think otherwise is only a lack of faith, and that’s something that I can’t afford right now. Sometimes only He can calm the storms in our hearts. I cling onto that knowledge. There are some things that come to us only through gifts: miracles. Miracles are things that come to us when we can’t accomplish them by our own efforts. It’s going to take a miracle for this storm to clear, and I know that God has the power to help me do it. In the meantime, I’m going to try to enjoy the scenery, and the people, and the small talk, and the cold slush.

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,

For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid; 

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, 

Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”
-How Firm A Foundation