Posts filed under soft

the itching of wings.

When we were younger, I remember climbing the couch all the way to the top and waiting for the itch in our hands to appear before leaping toward the floor. 

We liked to see how far we could fly.

We followed that itch every where. Monkey bars. Swing sets. Backyard pools and tumbling gyms. The higher, the faster, the further? The better. 

We wanted to be a ballerina for a minute. Do you remember that? We loved the way they jumped and twirled and defied gravity in so many ways. We walked into the studio clad in gym shorts and a t-shirt, saw the tights and leotards, and went running the other direction.

I felt you, though. Despite the it's okay, I didn't want to do it anyways, the pinch was there. And when we had a best friend in elementary and middle school leave for ballet class and talk about finally reaching point, we'd smile and wonder. Remember? Instead, we took to cheerleading and became the base. The spotter. We couldn't fly, but we helped every one else get there.

I think that might have been the beginning of the Great Hiding.

There were other factors too—hands in places they didn't belong and words thrown toward you at volumes you weren't meant for—but eventually, the itching went internal.

And instead of your hands reminding you where your wings should be, your heart scratched your insides and begged you to stay safe. That's when you turned to the pantry. 

You learned early on that a cookie worked better to satiate that scratching than anything else. So you ate. You ate the cookies and the tortillas and the peanut butter and the pies in the freezer. You ate the chips and the turkey and the candy bars and the chocolate milk.

And soon, you didn't even try to fly because of how heavy you felt inside.

A few years ago, someone gave you a rope. Do you remember? It was like a piece of red thread connected between here and sanity. 

The Great Hiding looked dark. Lonely. It looked like you may turn to the wallpaper for friends instead of the world outside and that's just not the way to go, you know? And you wanted the girl back—the one who would jump from things without even looking because of course she could fly. She had wings! There was itching to prove it.

That thread was the first broken belt on the strait jacket of invisibility. Nothing was satiating the scratching inside and now you knew it was because it didn't belong there. It didn't belong there and this whole time you thought your heart was working against you but really, she was just trying to get you to hear her because she was caged. 

She was caged and begging to go free.

She knows we're meant to fly.

I found the key, little one.

It's right here. I'm holding it. Are you ready? We were born to risk—to jump—to celebrate the softness of landing in our dreams. 

And today is the day the itching returns to our wings.

 

This post was part of Story Sessions' The Girls We Once Were linkup. Will you join us? 

the saltwater baptism of dreams.

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Earlier in the fall, some of my friends and I made our way to a beach in Georgia. While there, we frequented a driftwood beach, where massive tree trunks blossomed out of the sand like a wooden graveyard. There was something hypnotic about those thick branches reaching toward the sky while the waves crashed around them. My friend told us earlier this beach was a thin place—and standing there I felt it—the distance between here and there—that place of Other? A fraction of an inch.

One afternoon, I stood on the edge of the shore while the tide came in and felt the sand wash out and over my feet. Something was happening internally. I could feel this shifting—as if my organs were moving around to allow space for something deeper. Something rooted. 

It's a strange thing to allow yourself the feeling of sinking when for so long you've been fighting against it.

But I stood there, and let the ocean caress my toes and feet and legs and knees and felt myself sway with the waves. My hair flew up and out and the sun beat down and warmed my arms from the cool breeze blowing haphazardly. I closed my eyes and listened for that rhythm I'd come to know—the one where my words stay—and I could hear them forming. Hear the letters crashing against each other and moving around to build the words that would one day describe this scene.

Looking down, I found a conch shell. I picked it up and rinsed off the sand and wiggled my toes free and made my way back to our gypsy camp we'd set up further up the coastline. As I walked away, the ocean waves crashing behind me, the tears started lodging themselves in my throat. 

Sometimes, the Beauty overtakes you. Sometimes, the salt water comes from every where and it's a baptism from all angles: the spray of the ocean and the spray of our soul.

I fingered the conch shell and grabbed a sharpie. I looked out toward the blue, where the horizon and ocean meet and you can't tell the difference anymore, and I thought of the past year. Of the breathtaking beauty and soul-splitting disappointment. There was hope and despair, excitement and rage, promising beginnings and harsh endings.

And I almost didn't hear it happen, but some how, despite the cranes and the seagulls and the waves and the distant voices of laughter and the boat's whistle in the distance—deep inside I heard a door softly shut and a new one swing open.

It was an invitation. 

I wrote all over the conch shell. Dreams and hopes and wishes and prayers. It mentioned something about being a mama and publishing and writing more and Story Sessions and loving my husband well. 

And then I kissed the salt water on the shell, walked toward the shore, and threw it back into the waves.

Posted on February 23, 2014 and filed under soft.

{embodied}

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She asks me the question often—how do you want to feel, Braveheart? 

Sometimes I roll my eyes. Because honestly—how does anyone want to feel? Do they even know? And what's with feelings anyway?

Here's some truth: I'm an inherent feeler and I spent most of my 30 years trying to hide the fact. 

So the eye-rolling? It was more of my "you're getting too close to who I am, watch out now..." But it's never left me. The question, to this day, haunts most of my decision making.

.::.

"So what would it look like to honor this emptiness?" 

The question struck me in the place between my heart and gut. I glanced away from the computer screen. 

This is too close to home. Too much of a needed answer.

I took a deep breath. Let it out. 

"Lots of painting," I said. Another word was vibrating against my bones and I dismissed it. "Probably lots of silence, too. I don't see myself writing a lot because there aren't really a lot of words for what this is..." 

She nodded. "This is not a season of words. I would agree." 

My heart pounded and whispered, giving into the word.

"And yoga. I need yoga." 

She smiled. "I was thinking the same." 

.::.

For an INFP, I do a lot to separate myself from my own desire and longings. I can meditate with the best of them, but I guarantee you it only looks like I'm meditating. This brain of mine works way too fast to grow quiet without lots of stern talking and I'm serious this time. Shut up. Please. Just for this moment. 

You see, for multiple reasons, I've spent my life detached from this flesh and blood exterior. Much easier that way. When your skin holds memory and your veins pump shaky darkness, it makes sense to cut those pieces off. But now, it's begging for attention. 

My arms tingle. Do you feel us? Do you see how you clench your hands when you sleep? 
My lungs demand a breath. Feel that beating? Notice the stillness? 
My feet tap a rhythm. Hear that music? Feel us moving? 
My heart skips a beat. Feel those hands? Notice those butterflies? 
 

Breathe it all in, sweetheart. Every last drop.
 

I close my eyes and stretch my arms above my head and circle down to touch the floor. I breathe deep. Feel every vertebrae shift as I stand tall again and suck in air. Hand above head again and reaching back behind me, I notice how my skin stretches. I breathe in and think of everything I want to feel. I breathe out the memories. The fear. The questions.

I want to feel everything. This is what a friend says on her tumblr. For years that sentence made me wince with what if. Now, it blooms with possibility. 

How do you want to feel, Braveheart? 

The question still echoes in the shadowy spaces inside. Today, I have an answer. 

Embodied. I want to feel embodied. I want to know this flesh and bone.

Posted on January 15, 2014 and filed under desire map, soft.

{soft}

My word for 2014 came to me during the summer.

I read a blog post where the writer quoted Mary Oliver's Wild Geese and this line jumped out at me and grabbed me by the throat —

let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. 

Even more, the word soft echoed against my insides, like the vibrations of a tuning fork. I whispered this to a friend later that week and she smiled, saying it made sense.

For me, the year of risk was harsh. Pointed. I have a lot of bruises from last year—a lot of scars that are going to take a while to heal. And at multiple times I've mentioned how grief and love can bludgeon those sharp pieces into something smooth.

I think this is where I rest now. I'm sitting in the post-bludgeoning. 

I am not the same person I was when I started this whole one-word-for-the-year business. 

I am not naïve—I know the way a single word can turn you inside out and right again. I know the innocence of stating "this is where I am laying my flag in the ground" only to have you look back and laugh at the end of twelve months because if you don't laugh you may cry.

Jubilee brought the freedom. Abide brought the rest. Risk brought the bludgeoning. Each of them holding a beauty unique to the awakening involved.

So now, I'm going soft. I imagine it will look a lot like reacquainting myself with who I am under this flesh and bone. 

 

There are multiple ways I keep the word on the tip of my tongue throughout the year, and in 2014 I plan on using this playlist as well as wearing as much as possible the necklace I purchased from the Giving Keys with SOFT engraved on the metal. Do you have a word? How do you keep it close throughout the year?

Posted on January 1, 2014 and filed under soft.