the same as mine.

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Some things fade.
They feel like my dreams, like each corner I turn is unfamiliar.

“I know this place.” I say to myself.
But sometimes, time is a lead pencil with a cheap eraser.

Places leave us, as we leave them. My heart bursts from all its creases, and at times, it still finds a way to save itself from ruin. If you’re still here, your heart is the same way — the same as mine.

I sat at a table and saw your ghosts. How you used to drink your coffee. I saw where I buried my pain and where I discovered my greatest joy. Yes it was in between walls but it was also in those creases of my heart.

It was where I discovered the truths of humanity shared — that people are the truest way to presentness.

That is rich. Like dark chocolate and butter and heavy cream — drizzled and smoothed over something that is already just too much.

I was heart sick for so much. To connect. To discover again. But mostly, to be back home where it is becoming more and more evident that my world exists in a tiny corner, of a tiny city in a state no one understands.

I find whatever all of this is, to be the sum of its parts. Maybe this is the beautiful stuff I will think about when I’m dying — when I’m wondering how life moved so quickly and how I became so stiff and filled with old memory.

What a story, I already claim. To have loved greatly and given so much of my heart — to know what it is like to watch it shatter and gather it, along with all the other broken things. I get to sit around with these people and watch them eat things I cook.

I get to watch them grow older with their person and I get to see their babies get peanut butter stuck in their hair or blow kisses to me as I say goodbye.

Your heart is the same as mine. Blubbering and wonderful. Our heavily flawed muscle.

You may not remember where the streets go, or what they turn into.
But I can tell you that it’s not forever lost.

And you are forever, a ghost, a place at my table

— a love with the heart that is the same as mine.

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you will.

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I think I often straddle the line of what I see as heartbreaking and what is beautiful.

Maybe I can dip my toes into both lakes because I know they always meet somewhere down the line. We are always in that meeting place. Of heaviness and both light that swirls infinitely between all of us.

We are the beautiful and heartbroken things. I see it more so, all of the time. The truth is I’ve been raw to it my whole life. Inflamed and swollen and exposed like a nerve. It’s taken me a lot of time to wrap myself in them good things. I keep them tight against my chest so I can feel them when I breathe; up and down.

Being single, officially, longer than I was in a relationship weighs heavy. Why I often weigh things in time is something I’ve developed over the years. All in all, I am so thankful for what I’ve learned in the chaos and in the calm.

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I think I wanted to write this to one person. It might actually be more than one. But they say to write to one person. So here it goes.

I have this card on my fridge from a friend that says ‘Your heart is the size of an ocean” — which seems like something that you’d get stitched on a pillow from the Hallmark store, but actually is a quote from Rumi. He’s probably one of your favorites, too.

But it is. And it is what I often want to grab you by the face and scream so that it finds its way into your heart so you know and so that you’ll know forever. The world is not always angry and misunderstanding. And that so much is birthed from pain. The world was created by melting rocks and hell and only became something beautiful because of time and pressure.

It’s geology. That’s really how we tell things are ground down with different pressures like winds and rains and the inevitable meeting of two souls who have moved and changed.

Your life is in fact valuable and grows more valuable by the day!

Your wounds won’t heal all the way. Most don’t. But don’t let it stop you from moving forward and living your days with intention and love and the power that rumbles in your belly.

It is the hardest thing you will do.

But like the earth you will moan and heat and cool. You will expand and host a world of thoughts and adventure:

5Ks and stiff drinks. Cheese fries and kids falling asleep sweaty on your lap.

You will wake up and breathe again.

And the knot in your stomach will dissolve.

I know it will.

And I know you will.

You will wake up and breathe again.

 

lifted.

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I came across a picture of you today.

Well, from time to time I like to check in on you. Even though I know what I’ll see may send me to a place I haven’t been in a while. But that’s okay. I find some familiarity in that place. It’s where I mourn for some things, and also where I find a lot of grace and goodness.

I saw your face, and his face. And you were both smiling. A while ago, I would have been so angry. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I still felt some heaviness there.

This person is your place, now. I see that.

For reasons I’m still not very clear on, I knew you had to move. That was like hell to me. I wanted your heart forever. I know that sounds selfish, especially today. A lot of me is jealous for the people that get your light upon them — and I’m also better for having it on me for a while.

That picture, made me think. It made me think of relationships that are strained. The people I miss because I couldn’t walk in that city for one more day. I hate that I couldn’t make it up there by myself anymore. But I just couldn’t. I miss that place so much.

And then I started to smile myself. Except I wasn’t looking at your picture anymore.

I was doing dishes and listening to music. I was thinking about my work and my friends and my family.

I remembered my broken foot. My roof that caved in. The financial debt of being a freaking wreck for two years.

But I had this grin on my face because I was, at the moment, alive and stronger and braver. I have all these new people in my world and I also still have older friends, too. I felt some richness in that. So many meals eaten with these people and listening to them talk about their kids and Donald Trump and how bittersweet the South can be at times.

It was some other kind of heaven, I tell ya.

Lifted — an effervescent moment — something a little holy.

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It is just, the hardest thing to lose someone. Especially someone who loved you so well, and hoped they felt loved in return. Who taught you about meaningful conversations and listening and being active with people.

I miss setting a plate of food in front you and hearing, “Oh my goodness!” while we watched Harry Potter or Parks and Rec. Those damn simple things, give me the most belly feels. Your friendship, I miss the most.

It is not my job to make anyone feel a certain way, really. But I really loved taking care of you in the way that I did. Perhaps it was enough for that time. And then, you move an inch to the left and things look different. Love is not always made of the things we thought.

To me it looks like a shelf full of cookbooks and the idea that I can move in and out of moments like of soft tide — washing away and leaving things behind for others to see.

I saw your smile.

And I missed you deeply. Just for a second, I wanted to send some light and love, in hopes that you still feel free — and free to love the world in the ways you always have.

fixin’ and floatin’

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Quite often I remember the words of my friend Jen in Portland who would always tell me that time would heal.

And I also remember how much I hated that.
I didn’t want it to take time. I was in the fixin’ business.

Hurt? Broken?
Fixed.
Done.

Next!?

Love, unfortunately, has this awful way of slowing time down.
Heartbreak, too.

My sister showed me a picture recently of myself from two years ago. I was visiting them on the Alabama coast from Oregon, just having told them that I was getting a divorce. I was in the back seat with my nephew Cooper, cheesing it up for the camera phone.

My heart sank.

I was so very broken. Holding a smile so I wouldn’t completely bum out my entire family on their vacation. Well. My vacation too, I suppose.

The flight down had an empty seat next to me the whole way down. The place where she would have been. And I held it back and concentrated on being strong for everyone. Everyone but myself.

I remember thinking that if the plane crashed, I wouldn’t mind all that much.
I did not want to remember the pain anymore, or how alone I’d felt and how I knew I’d be alone for a while.

Being alone is difficult for an introvert. I need it. But I also don’t need it. Because human beings, regardless of their agenda, are worth struggling with. They’re worth getting beat up and torn apart for. Regardless of how much you’d like to guard your heart from this world, people will find their way in. They will set up camp and explore all sorts of depths with you.

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Today I feel really lucky. I’m not sure I believe in luck or being blessed or any of those terms that deem me worthy of such goodness. I believe in people being people. I believe that in our depths we are bound to one another, to be good, for the most part.

To want what’s best for our children.
To find meaning in our work, and to do a good job.
To make a decent living so that our needs are met, plus some.

To eat dinner every now and then at a table and explore a few souls.
(often times when the babies go to sleep and you can get too warm and giggly.)

Because our stories are all so complicated and jumbled. The people that have reached their arms into the pit and pulled me out — I feel eternally indebted to.

Only now, I am part wounded person and healer. This happens when you walk through the world. You are, too. It is never safe, okay? I know you’re scared of a lot of stuff, but there will be helpers. Healers. They may bring over cupcakes or a six pack of High Life. Or both.

I suppose that is what I’m feeling today. When the currents seem to be working with me — pushing me to another horizon. I soak it in when it’s good. That’s what I always tell people. To get it in you when it’s good, because it’s not always good. In fact, it’s bad. A lot. So celebrate when you can, the friendly currents. The people who help pick up the pieces and dust you off.

My Beloved.

Healers.

Friends.

Family.

Thank you.

fog.

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It was all very perfect.

I don’t say that often, but sometimes life hits you just right, and you live in it.

Up and down, through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fog, cutting through trees. It reminded me of how I pour icing on cinnamon rolls. Filling all the cracks, making things a little hazy, but all quiet.

I needed to see that horizon again.
Being on the road allows me to stare into them, push into them, dream into them.

I got to visit my dad, and I watched his garden grow.
I sat next to a girl who was very adamant letting everyone at the table know that she was the Chubacabra on NBC’s Grimm. We all drink some gin drinks and called it a night.

I cooked dinner for my dad and his wife. I petted their big dog Angus who has big sweet eyes and thinks he’s a human, sometimes.

I drove further up north and met some more friends and got some hugs from quite possibly the most beautiful little one. I cooked dinner there too and drink too much wine and talked about God and divorce and food.

All of which seem to be cut from the same fabric of our desire to learn about each other.

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I felt sad, a bit.

Like, really felt it. Like the way you feel when something sets in and there’s no way to stop it. You let it cut through you, like Appalachian fog.

I felt love though, too. Loads of it, in different forms. Through food and hugs and proximity.

I stared endlessly into those horizons, where I knew the curve of the Earth would never let it stop. So I kept driving. By rivers and more little mountains. I smelled the cool damp rock smell. It reminded me of the wild Oregon — the one I was haunted by. But not so much scared as unsure as to what it was all about.

There is still plenty of beauty here.
That’s what I came to realize.
I opened my heart and a lot of things got out and a lot of things got in.

That’s the way I like it.
Because I also learned I’ve gotta lot left to learn about myself and how I treat people.
About my intentions — my humanness — my icky insides that make me wanna hide, at times, from the messes I’ve made.

I remember my sister-in-law Leah used to say, “It was just your turn to spill…” when someone knocked over a glass.

And maybe, that’s what it feels like. A knocked over glass. A little ashamed of being clumsy with something. And a million times I think I could have moved another way. But I sit and think that we all spill over.

The road took me back to Mississippi.

Where it is warm and not as pretty as them foothills.
But it is where I am, and how I felt myself looking forward to settling back down there.

Road weary. Thankful. Ready to stretch. Ready to move, again.

I guess home has a way of doing that.

gargantua

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I couldn’t fall asleep last night.

Maybe it was a mixture of my day’s lump sum.
Drinking. And crawfish. Eating. Taking a nap.
Drinking a little again. Eating a bit more.

These are days that I try to smooth over a bit.
Sort of like trying to fix the frosting on a cake,
and getting it all over my fingers in the process.

I felt it all too.
And I missed her deeply, especially on this day.

Somehow I was given the space to deal with it all. I’m not always that lucky.
I began watching “Interstellar” and tried to make it through the whole movie, but it was late.

My heart had been beating so fast. I think because of Saturn again. And its beauty. And its symbol to me, at this point in my life. People may think I’m crazy, but it stirs something deep inside my own swirling galaxy.

My head wouldn’t stop spinning. Not because of alcohol or blood sugar, but because of outcomes. Because of time.

I couldn’t let it go. At least not last night.
The subtle shift of life’s forward motion. A small bump into a new trajectory.

It became so bright and sparkly. Maybe some pieces were engulfed in flames, like rock or metal skipping off the atmosphere.

I told myself to take deep breaths.

In between my steady stream of thoughts and worries. I squirmed and tossed and turned.
I punched my pillow a few times to get it positioned just so.

It was one of those nights where I think I got some sleep. Enough to wake up, at least.

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I woke up yesterday with a burn in my belly. Restless from the get-go. Those are the days I walk through carefully.

I think about every single thing. What would happen if I would have stepped left instead of right. Embracing my world like an old friend I haven’t seen in quite some time. I think that’s maybe what feeling small does to me. My tiny world, hanging so delicately on some sort of tilted bias, occasionally in darkness, but always coming to light.

I heard a young poet yesterday say that ‘wonder is the inevitable conclusion to fear.’ And that ‘someone, somewhere has already cracked open its beauty’.

This is truth.
These pains and these joys have already been felt and explored. But we are all so new to everything. We are allowed the opportunity to explore these frontiers for ourselves, as scary as they are. And we get to see each new day, when we open our hearts to it.

Like I open my heart to the universe and its pull.
Or when I want to hide in my own darkness, gravity and time still find their ways to fill me with wonder.

Cracking open what is infinitely human,

again and again.

‘how wild it was, to let it be’

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The infinite spirit of the human being.

I think maybe this has been some theme swirling around in my head for quite a while. Maybe a bit medicine-induced; a fever-like sort of haze.

I don’t quite know how we make it through the horrible shit.

Abuse and death and violence.
Divorce or moving or taxes.

And yet, here we are, being soft again.

And again.

I helped cater a wedding this weekend. It was a beautiful wedding.
I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in almost eight years.

My tiny corner of dessert prep was done in the back of a refrigerated rental truck. Slicing strawberries and bananas as thinly as I could with the motor vibrating against my shoulders and the condensation from the cooler dripping on my shirt every thirty seconds or so.

I jogged to my car, slipped off my chef’s coat into my nice shirt and adjusted my wrinkled tie. I was lucky enough to have a stunning wedding date this time around. She gave me a thumbs up, though I felt like a sausage packed into its casing. I’ve never been one to tuck in shirts, is all…

I drifted in and out of wedding land. Thinking about my desserts in the truck, hoping a server didn’t slip and crash into my 48 banana puddings and mini peanut butter pies. Then I watched my beautiful friend walk down the aisle of an old New Orleans church, built in the 1850’s.

The back of my shirt had come untucked. I’m used to it, being a tall oddly shaped guy.

Then came the message from a person I knew long ago as a pastor and friend.
He said all the right things and it was picture perfect. To be honest, who cares if I agreed or didn’t agree. It was what it needed to be.

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Only, it’s hard to sit at some weddings and not feel a little jaded from it. For some reason, marrying people allows you to talk about what’s right and pure and what’s wrong and damaged. Like divorce. Or that marriage is hard and challenging. Which it is.

When I tell people a bit about my life, I bring up the fact that I was married, and that I’m not married anymore. Usually the response is “I’m sorry, marriage is hard”. And I nod and swallow, somewhat bitterly. I move on, because I don’t have time or the want or the energy to walk them through why everyone and everything is so complex and different.

I find myself thinking, “Why do people even have to say anything?”
But they will. And you will listen and it will make your heart heavy again.
You will smile and the conversation will move on to work, babies, etc.

Weddings are fast and emotional and busy. It is a whirlwind of remembrance and newness. Perhaps it will flood your brain with memories of love lost. Whatever it is, you feel it.

At the end of the night, my wedding date had a glass of red wine spilled on her dress, and her phone stolen from the venue.

She also smiled and laughed. And we both had our choice words.

I watched people eat the desserts and dance in the aisle, and I imagined it such like a place in the cosmos. All sorts of energies colliding and creating. New life mixing with old.

The Second Line marched the wedding party out of the doors and into the streets.

I cleaned up my jars, packed them away in my car and drove back home.

Somewhere, somehow, I said, “This is all just feels so good. And I feel so lucky. It’s just the best.” Not about any specific happening or memory. But that time shifts and moves forward.

I think it’s because at the end of great sorrow, there is birth to something else. Something new and undiscovered. And that’s exciting and scary.

It’s coming and I feel it all, wrapped up inside my heart — like a bud — awaiting to open and invite in the Beloved.

For a moment. I feel wild and carefree,

and it is enough.

I am enough.

here and there.

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I’m writing to you.

This person I’m so afraid of.
With so many breaths I find myself apologizing for my lack of commitment and the mess that other person left in my head. The mess I leave in my own space.

Sort of like moving out of a place, you can get the big parts up and out, and it looks like you’re making progress. But then you’re left with the tiny things. The rackets in the closet. The loose boards. The last picture you take off the wall to hide the hole you made, inevitably losing your safety deposit.

This is the stuff I’m still cleaning up.

I think about choices. I think about how devoted I am to a place, and I’m not convinced that I have what it takes to stay too long any one place. I am always thinking about something that involves me, traveling towards another horizon. Maybe that’s with you. Maybe it is opposite you.

This is my biggest choice.

I think that it might be one of my most life defining moments. What do I give up and when do I give up? What do I lose? Do I have to lose something to gain another? Why do I even have to word it that way?

I realize I’m using a lot of possessive pronouns here. It all sounds very selfish, and it is. I have that luxury right now. What it took to get me here, was its own hell, though. We’ve both been through our own hells and we are both seeking the heavens in our own little ways.

So, I can only indulge in what has given my heart so much peace. Time. Some days I feel like I’m wasting it and other days are full of the moments that make me believe that I am here for a reason. And maybe it’s like my coworker said one time, “Some folks are just meant to be background people.” I was a background person. But I was also very strong. I didn’t know it at the time. I still don’t quite know about this person I’m becoming.

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There is so much here.

And there is so much there.

Every day, I am torn between wanting you and wanting my craft. Knowing that obtaining both is so, so very hard. It is not something that I would want to put you through. The world that I work in is stressful and tough and demanding.

I think that it’s totally possible. I also think there are better people for the job. On both ends.

But, when I do think about you, this person, I melt. It doesn’t go to waste, like some tragic spill, but instead it absorbs into something else. Like butter into toast. That’s kinda how it feels.

I think about building a home with someone again. I feel hopeful and it makes my eyes water a bit. I know this to be true and something real. But right now, I dream. And I dream where I am. Mixed with where you are,

in hopes that someday,
they will meet.
and I know, inevitably,
they will.

posture.

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I spent the latter part of this week wandering in my past.

I suppose when you’re around your family, all you have is the past. Who you used to be. Where you’ve been, and the ever-conflicting conversations about where you’re going. The same goes for the collective ‘they’.

It’s not anyone’s fault but my own that I think this way.

But I sat and processed a lot of ghosts. A lot of painful things and resounding conclusions that we are resilient and strong and capable.
I watched my dad pacing back and forth and reassured him that this was another adventure, not knowing quite where the road will end up, or how steep some days might seem. I feel as though this is what life is. A steady stream, moving you through God knows what.

Hopefully, at the end of the day, you have some peace and a full belly.

I look at my relatives who have seen and caused and worked through some traumatic things. I see us all as wounded. Not one of us here has been able to move through this thing unscathed — new people — new things — but their eyes are the same and I read that they are capable of seeing life a million different ways.

In all of this, I move in and out of my own past. I sit with that tired and heartbroken part of my body that is dying in its own way. I push my shoulders back, and I make more eye contact. A sign that all living things have the ability to open and close; add and take away. This is my season of standing taller, I say to myself. This is your body. Your eyes. Your scarred up arms and skinny legs. Use them. This is another way to show people you love them, to share with them your struggle of being wonderfully human.

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“Have you gotten taller?”

I hear that from people, these days.

Probably not.

Just my attempt at standing straighter, when possible.
Perhaps whenever it is that I’m leaning over the stove, and I feel the muscles in my lower back responding to this common motion, I think about adaptation and repetition. The parts of ourselves that grow stronger because it’s what we have to do. The lean. The constant pressure. Adjusting back into your frame.

Familiar motion.
Small moves.
Returning back into ourselves.

Maybe this is about posture.

How we hold ourselves up in all this gravity.

All I know, is that our stories aren’t fully written yet. That is both exciting and terrifying.
You will carry yourself and others toward the end, though.

And that is what I watched this week.

A family, carrying their own through another chapter. Another story.
Another adventure, with the past in its place, and the future moving forward,

standing straighter,

eyes wide open.

finding a universe

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The more I learn about people, the more I find myself exploring their depths like a newly discovered galaxy.

I wish I could say Interstellar didn’t have some role in this piece, but I cannot deny that looking for a habitable planet is a lot like looking for a suitable mate. Now I know, I don’t usually talk about dating on this thing. I generally save that for the thousands of other blogs that are much better and braver for it.

Too hot. Too cold.
Not enough oxygen.
Too much space.
Not enough space.
Hard to read.
Habitable?
Thin atmosphere.
Hospitable.
Barriers of communication.

This life is about thriving in your conditions.

So often I find myself living in a truth that timing is one of the most difficult things. In the ways our planet wasn’t able to support life for millions of years, I often think how rare it is to actually find a place to settle for a while. I have no doubt there are many people good for each other in a lifetime. The fact that we find people who we can share a life with at all is pretty amazing, when you think about it.

Many people dwell in a place for an entire lifetime. Some bounce around, finding a space more quickly, and others, through choice (or not) are left wandering around the cosmos trying to find the energy to again explore another.

Those who know me are probably really nervous that I appear to be way into astrology these days. Fear not, I will not be joining a cult soon, and I will not be drinking the kool-aid.

That is not to say that I don’t relate a lot to our world and our wonderful gift of a planet. It is just too perfect for us.

But I have to submit to my own wonderings.

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I find this dating thing to be extremely difficult. I have forgotten how many variables are in play and just how much it seems like a dance. A super frustrating, but fun dance.

Deep down, there are so many things about so many people that I just love. I see all these strengths and I have this idea in my head of what things would maybe be like. I guess I have this odd advantage of having been married, and I recognize both worlds.

I spend a lot of time with married people, and remember the ebb and flow. I spend time with people who are in relationships outside of marriage and people, like me, who are single and floating around in the midst of a world where it can be hard not being tethered to another human being.

When I was married, a friend of mine would often ask me what I’d be doing if I wasn’t married…or to imagine the freedom of being single again. Often times when I’m around married people, and I let them divulge in the bits and pieces of drama I scrounge up, they say, “Oh, I’m so glad I don’t have to do that anymore.”

Well, I don’t either.

But I must lay down my arms and my panic.

Finding another place in all of this space takes time. Along the way you will experience so many other worlds and it will still be wonderful and sometimes suck. That is the duty of exploration.

Drifting, into other worlds,
exploring and fumbling with the right words.

To me, it is infinite.

I am traveling at the speed of my own body,
embracing the great spirit of that same body.
Knowing always the importance of movement,
and new discoveries upon the horizon.