Why the mountains

I swear the air smells funny. It really does. People say the air up there smells crisp, fresh and clean, but I get something a bit different. When I first took a whiff of mountain air it reminded me of a strange and distant memory—the smell of the sheep eyeball we watched get dissected in 1st grade. I’m serious, I can see myself and 4 other classmates sitting around a small round table in the project area, sitting in tiny multicolored chairs, watching in horror and amazement as Mrs. Wile took apart a single eyeball in a clear Tupperware as it sat in a water-like liquid. That memory sits on the edge of thought as I breath in the cold air of the mountains. And, for some reason, it’s still a pleasant thing—the scent of the mountains. Very strange, I know. The unexpected placement of that memory continues to boggle me.

The mountains do strange things to the mind, and honestly we all could use some mountain time. Mountains, they let your mind wander. They remind you of lives you once lived, the feelings you once felt. All in such an unexpected way. But they don’t punish you like doubt or regret does, they just sit there, massive and magnificent in front of you. And you don’t expect anything else from them except that. There’s such a peace in it.

Sometimes you need something strong, something being all that it can and all that it ever needs to be. Because, sometimes you feel like string raveling undone off the spool onto the floor. You feel like the roadrunner losing the ground you’re standing on waiting for that plunge that you all too well expect and know. Having something like a mountain in front of you, it does something. It stays strong for you.

In elementary school, I was one of those kids who would sit on top of the monkey bars during recess. We were like trapeze acrobats swinging down off of them. I was pretty good at it too, but one time I overextended my swing and found myself landing on my back onto the wood chips. I remember laying there gasping for air that wasn’t there, terrified at this dying-like feeling, but then I found my gaze up to the sky. It was bright blue with bright white fluffy clouds, and it was then that I found my breath. This was the first memory I have of getting the breath knocked out of me, and when shit hits the fan I can feel those wood chips digging into my back with that same burning in my chest. I discovered it then, I and still know it now, I need something like mountains. Because when I stand in front of something so huge, so entirely large, I don’t have to think about inhaling. It comes easy. I get to feel small. The aching of my longings, the worries of my discontent, the pain from disappointment, it all somehow gets blown away by the air up in the mountains, and I’m able to breath.

The weird air up there, the unexpected scent of it, there’s something funny about it, I swear.

 

Travel guide to homelessness and happiness

Today I starred a bunch of big girl jobs on Craigslist. Jobs that seemed interesting enough that dealt with marketing/pr—things around my degree, jobs that come with security—401k, health insurance, a salary. Because jobs like this is what I’m being told I should take. Being told by society, my student loans looming over my head, my family, the voice inside my head when I think about my future, my money problems, and my adulating self. I found myself getting exciting, saying “hmm that could be cool, I could do that.” More times than that though I did find myself thinking I’m not qualified enough for that one, or I would never get past the first round of the interview process. So, I moved on, I moved through, job after job, not starring anything lower than $15/hour.

But then I starting thinking of something else, like my brain usually does when forced to focus on a particular task. Damn.

I slowly, but quickly, started realizing that maybe these types of jobs are what I don’t want, shouldn’t have right now. I am in a place in my life where I feel pretty lost, wandering in a familiar path, looking for something that can prove itself as new to me. Thinking, if I land one of these security jobs, what happens when I realize years down the road that I took the job too soon. I fell into a life that I swore I wouldn’t ever stumble into, because of well, health care.

I found myself saying “shit this job wants me to commit to a 2 year program, NEXT!” I cannot, in every cell in my body, commit to something for over a year at the moment. Love is the only thing I can see as an exception. I simply am just too goddam unsure, ok, more like scared that I’m going to make the wrong decision and send my life into a direction of tripping in puddles and looking up to see that I am nowhere near anything familiar. Hell, when the gym guy was signing me up for my membership and asked me if I want a lower-priced committed plan vs a higher monthly priced non committed plan I pretty much screamed OH I DO NOT WANT COMMITMENT.

I know that right now, in my 25 year old self, body, and soul that I aggressively am against putting myself into anything that I am not passionate about. Yes, I know I need to start setting myself up for the future, and I know that can be seen as an incredibly selfish and naive statement, but if I am setting myself up in a way that will actually put me 5 years back when I’m 30, is it worth it? Because I know myself. I know that I can’t allow myself to settle and feel ok about it. Is it worth always wondering if I could be doing something I actually enjoy, something I made for myself because of the giant risks I took in my 20’s? If I put myself in a position right now of setting my creative 20’s life away, where will that put myself in the future? Is now the time when I need to be taking foolish jobs, wandering even more, falling in love even more, feeling even more scared, and jumping into some not so lucrative creative things?

Recently a coworker was just talking about how almost everybody out of college gets a job that pays over a 30K salary—not sure how valid that point is— and it got me to thinking that, damn, I really don’t want to be in a category of people that go into the fucking “job market.” Right now, I don’t want to picture myself saying, “yeah I never saw myself marketing ceiling fans, but damn I’m sure good at it and its makes me a make a hefty salary.” No, right now I want to picture myself standing strong on my own in my own art studio in painted overalls sipping on tea while a soft jazz number plays in the background. I want to see myself as someone who made her own path. Made something of HERSELF. I don’t want to market SHIT. I want to find a passion, run with it, and be proud of it because it is a part of me. Ceiling fans will never be apart of me. I don’t care how good I could be at it, I don’t even want to imagine myself in that god awful position no matter how good looking that salary looks. Label me crazy. Hell, I sure feel like it. I think it’s an inner battle that I’ve been having with myself for awhile now. I just haven’t realized it. I know what I should do, aka get a security job. And I also know what I want to do/should also do because it’s something I want. And I sure know, I do what I want.

Listen,

I’m not sure what kind of decisions I’ll make, nor what I’ll base them off of. I do know I’m nervous, and I also know deep down that whatever decisions I make will be the right ones, because life has a way of working itself out. I truly believe that. It’s all perspective.

Solid ground

Looking at yesterday, you feel it brush against you.

Its touch is sticky.

That’s where you stood, how you lived.

The moments that brought you to today, sting

Because to stand where you stand now, took courage.

To have courage you had to be strong.

To feel your strength you must have lived in pain.

Because when you look at where you stood then,

You can see the ice cracking under your feet.

To this day you can feel the water take your breath away.

That cold, that damn cold will always run through your veins.

 

Looking at today, you feel it lay on you.

It’s heavy.

It’s where you stand, how you’ve landed.

Yesterday may always sting,

But look at you now

Standing on solid ground .

the car wash you walk through

It’s what you get after you go through something that impacts you in such a way that it moves you, changes you, or inspires you. It’s like a patina that glazes over you as if you walked through a mechanical car wash. A film covers your body showing everyone what you’ve been through. Evidence of an experience. You can try to rid of it like so many of us hide what we truly are, but instead it now is your coat, your sheen armor that rather than protecting you, illuminates your vulnerabilities.

The patina itself is love. Or hate. Or sacredness. Or bravery. It’s something you now wear, painfully visible.

It happens when you let something consume you. The ear to ear smile from feeling loved, the pained face of heartache you can’t help but wear, the flinch that crawls up your body when you’re conditioned to expect the worse, or the broad shoulders you carry to prove to yourself you’re strong.

We all want an armor that will protect us. What we don’t realize is that what makes us strong is not what we wear to keep things at bay, but what we see as our truths. If we realize what they are, what we are, our vulnerabilities will make us stronger.

If your weakness is love, then you are prepared for a life of heartache, so you love harder. If you feel hatred, it means you have felt pain, which means you have cared deeply for something and that you can feel that way again. If you are scared, then you know your monster and can stare at it until it doesn’t scare you anymore. If you are brave, then you know what you stand for and have the strength to stand up for it despite any odds.

You are who you are. You have to embrace what you are, what you were, so you can become who you want to be.

You should have something you like to look at

I was living in a house of white walls. I would get lost in them, staring at them for what felt like hours. My thoughts would go nowhere and everywhere at the same time—around and around in circles they went. It wasn’t until I put up some art, something to look at, that my thoughts found direction.

When you’re searching for something, it helps to have something in front of you… because something is better than nothing. Something will take you somewhere.

The stars sparkle for a reason

I looked up at the stars tonight, something I used to do everyday, but lately, everyday my nights are black skies–I forgot about the stars.

I forgot they were there because I haven’t looked up in awhile. I’ve held a narrow gaze with life, one which once you step into becomes bigger, vast like. So, I’ve gotten lost in this thought universe of mine, and it’s taken me awhile to realize that I should see it more as a solar system. Meaning, there are other systems out there in a bigger universe, I just have to look out for them.

Seeing the stars tonight I was reminded of the other solar systems. This solar system of mine is sludgy and jaded. We all have those kinds. We all have the easy kind too, like rollerblading on a smooth road, some solar systems feel better. But getting stuck in either is like forgetting about the stars. We limit ourselves to inside opportunities, the ones currently covered in the sludge.

In my universe, I’ve lived in some of the other solar systems–some good and some bad. They are a part of my universe and they’ll always be there if I look out to see them. But the only ones I can visit are ones I haven’t been to before. Because that’s how life works. Our past, present, and future live together in the compilation of our life, but none of them can overlap. Good thing there’s an infinite number of solar systems to visit.

Sometimes we get lost in our past. The “what ifs” and “back thens” make us question our present which makes our future hazy.

Sometimes we get lost in the future. We become so obsessed “knowing” or “not knowing” how things are going to turn out it prevents us from focusing on our present, which leads us to pessimistic views of our daily lives because we’re always wanting more.

The present is the only place where both the past and future can live, and it’s the only place you can see the stars.

Thinking that living in the present has been my problem, I have come to realize that living in the present is not what I’m even doing. The past and future are deceiving that way, they disguise themselves to seem like the present. But in reality, it’s us overthinking and analyzing, when we should be enjoying what is in front of us.

Living in the moment, feeling what you feel. That is the only way to get to a future, a solar system, that you want to live in.

 

…go look at the stars tonight.

You carry it, even if it’s heavy

Your eyes are closed, your head is bent over, but you still know it’s in front of you.

Loyalty.

It’s there because you want it to be. You make a point to have it in front of you, even when you can’t see it. Loyalty has a hold on people, and maybe that’s why people struggle so much with it. Because, it does dictate us. It is the reasoning to why we do things, and it is the wall that keeps us at bay.

People don’t always like having something have that much of a hold on them, and people choose life without loyalty because of that. Loyalty requires strength. Loyal is a word that is thrown around with importance, but not always carried as so. It’s a word that’s meant to carry weight. Loyalty should mean more than being faithful, it should represent you caring about something, actively being a part of it, and standing strong with it.  You have to know what you care about—what’s important to you. It’s something worth carrying. It doesn’t have to be a heavy weight, but it should be felt, always. Whether you have loyalty in people, in love, in work, in beliefs, in places, or even in things, it is a lifestyle that you are proud of, happy about, and is worth the weight on your shoulders.

Because we can’t go around walking with nothing. To carry something you care about is strength. We don’t have to do it, but it makes walking a whole lot more rewarding.