a thousand tiny pieces

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I am currently sitting here, watching my new printer spit out some words I’ve been writing over the past year or so.

It is certainly the shittiest of first drafts of something I might some day consider to be a book.
It is just so, so hard to do.

I can’t really say if I will ever get to the point where you fine people will be able to read it, but that is my plan, overall. Really, I just want to finish something. I owe that to myself and my story.

It is hard to dive back into that, especially as each day moves you further out. It is odd, at times, to see myself in such a painful reality that many of you are in — hell — that I’m still in sometimes.

For me, it revolves around a small moment from a few months ago, when I was playing cards with my nephew. At face value, it was a good ole’ fashioned temper tantrum. Kids have them all the time. I understand.

He had gotten frustrated and threw the cards on the ground — they went everywhere.

I knew this frustrated him even more, because now he had to pick them up. But he just couldn’t. He moaned and squirmed on the ground, while I noticed the amount of time it was taking for him to work through this frustration, he could have had the cards picked up in no time.

But kids get frustrated, man.

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After being told repeatedly to pick them up, he would start, and throw them down again. Squirm some more, maybe a few little tears. I felt bad. Not because he was being stubborn, but because I remember when those things got to be overwhelming as a kid. When you’re tired and frustrated, and can’t put a voice to it. So what do you do? You whine and moan. You say and do things out of anger.

So I began to help him.

“Come on bud, we’ll do this one at a time, okay?”

It took a little convincing, but I think when he saw me helping him, he started to pull out of that messy space.

I mean, what do you do when all your cards hit the floor, dispersing into what looks like a thousand little pieces?

You squirm and complain and to be honest, gotta cry for a while.

The chaos of what you created, and perhaps what was presented to you consumes your ability to take first steps.

But what I learned from this, and what I still learn every day, is that you have to start picking things up.

One at a time.

Your mess will still be there looking raw and disorganized and public.

Then, some people will come in and help you pick up a card or two. I have looked up on several occasions, choking on my own words, thanking people for getting on my level — for sitting in my hectic little moment for just a bit to help me through. I still have those moments.

I will always have those moments.

The idea about whatever it is I have coming out of that printer, is a mixture of what I experienced on that floor.

Having one’s shit together. Then losing one’s shit, and then picking it all up. With loads of help and grace and cheeseburgers.

T, who I still consider to be my mother in law, once told me, “to love is to suffer”.

And I remember it daily. When our friends lose their friends. When we get on the level of those who need a little more help.

That is powerful, yo.

You are powerful in ways you’ll never know. And in some ways, this thing that I’m writing, is a gift. To myself, and to whoever it is someday that will be able to know it had flesh on it. That this blog, in so many ways, was my way to squirm and moan and groan…and how I discovered in myself, through you, that life is all about the tiny pieces and how we get our knees dirty helping to pick them all up,

one at a time.

and for that, I say:

thank you.

 

bit by bit.

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We need helpers today.

People who can pay it forward and have an extra 10 minutes of patience with their kids, to show them a little bit extra. I can’t say for sure why I feel like this is important today.

Like you, I take a small look at the news and immediately throw my hands in the air. (In the not-at-a-club-dancing sort of way.) It is discouraging to see so much bad. Conditions getting worse in already war-torn nations, I am heavy hearted with the kids who have known nothing but conflict.

Especially those kids who feel lonely and feel the need to act out in violent ways, often times to their own bodies. Loneliness brings us to do a lot of things, just to feel or be touched. After all, if we’re looking to change the world, we better start with the kids. They keep watching us screw things up and we haven’t yet told them that they will be in charge of our messes. Our debts. Our ever-changing climate and our exhaustive food methods.

I guess I see so much hope in the human race at times. I know we want to help. I know we want to be good.

I reckon’ there is something to be said about “I get mine first and then we’ll talk about your needs.” This is something I struggle with. Especially lately as my needs have outgrown the needs of others. I shrug my head and say sorry.

I am coming back to this place that I have left for a while.
Mostly because I can only indulge myself for so long before I start to realize the need of people to be bigger and stronger and braver than ever before.

We are suckers for hero movies because they are willing to die for us. Yet we are not necessarily ready to die for our neighbors. And I’m not saying I am, either.

I suppose when things hit the fan, we are in shock. But there is a saying to “look for the helpers” — those people who are there picking up folks off the ground and sticking their fingers into main arteries to stop the bleeding.

We are all exhausted this time of year. The weather can be dreary, we are cold to our bones and the bad guys are still going to be bad. They are still going to leave you with a great weight on your shoulders. They will care about themselves and take and take and take.

I realize we do what we can to absorb some pain, and give it some space. It is how we digest most things, given that we have the time to do so.

Take it bit by bit.

Hold some pressure on a wound.

Basting Stitch

I am reading a book by Anne Lamott called “Stitches” — not only is she one of my favorite writers, but her latest book focuses on pain and taking it all in ‘stitch by stitch’. Quoting C.S. Lewis on forgiveness, it is best if we start with something easier than the Gestapo.

She drops another beautiful line, quoting an influential spiritual mentor as saying, “We’re all just trying to walk each other home..”

I just love that.

There is too much pain here. As she says.

But there is so much goodness too.
And I am not saying anything new, by any means.

Today though, I want to be better than I have to be. I’ll try doing it again tomorrow. Instead of saying something shitty behind another person’s back, I will build something a little stronger. If not with them, then with myself.

Peace starts slow, and builds upon itself even slower. We have to move this way. For the sake our future, and the future of the ones smaller, and more precious than we will ever be again.

Let us move.

bit by bit.

 

sugar and dirt. (thoughts on being an old soul)

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I am often accused of being an old soul.

Why? I don’t know.

I think it’s because I’m quiet and a wallflower and can hang with folks older than me.

“You’re only 27!?”

And I understand. My balding head, nodding to your adult stories, tossing in a few bits like double dutch, whenever I’m ready to make sense of it all.
Fair enough. I am an old soul. But something tells me deep down, there’s more to it.

I’ve been around other dudes in their late 20’s and I feel as though I missed some pivotal growing stage. Like maybe I just jumped over it because I didn’t feel like it would work for me.

I’m grossed out by arrogance and too much pride. (Granted, blogging is all about ‘me, me, me’, but there is something hard to swallow when I have to listen to people build themselves like a personal resume. “People tell me I’m amazing…I dunno…I’m just a guy, ya know?”)

Yes, you are just a guy.

I’m noticing this is something single dudes develop at some point when looking for a mate… (or to mate, for that matter. Whichever is more lucrative.)

Whatever. Just a stick in the mud right? I suppose old souls get tagged with that too. Grandpa. Uncle. Mr. Business. I’ve been called it all, at the expense of the other person feeling good about their stamina and/or free spirit. Or whatever I’m supposed to call it.

When deep deep down, I’m learning more and more how to be childlike. If anything, growing up in traumatic situations makes you age quicker than your friends. Like when they’re going camping for the weekend, and you are torn with which parent to spend it with or whether or not you feel safe going home. That loss of innocence is world-changing. And because it’s your world, not everyone will notice the changes you have to make to survive it all.

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I learn from little ones. How they feel and how they feel misunderstood. We all keep misunderstanding each other. We all really want to understand. Some of us don’t, and I suppose that’s okay. But we are all still moving in the ways fear makes us move – when we listen to bad voices and have a hard time loving ourselves.

I mean, sheesh! I was terrible to myself last night.
I sat alone in my room, thinking how sad it was that the Panda Express I was consuming was so, so awesome in the thick of everything going down in my life. And that I was watching a sad show and it was stormy outside. I felt so rightly alone. Nothing but the sound of the dog’s breath coming from under the door. (No doubt, the string bean chicken aroma was calling his keen nose to its source…)

I ran through all these scenarios in my head of what loneliness looks like and why it was such a bad thing.

A roommate of mine saying, “I feel sad for you”, was not what I wanted to hear. But whatever. I had my chow mein. I was okay. I appreciated the sentiment, but unless I really know you, those words are a little haunting.

We are all filled with bits of wisdom. Especially the little ones who take joy in small things. How they are straight up when they feel sad or alone. How they learn what is good and bad. Such important and strong little things.

Somehow we are all taught to be quiet. To lower our voices. To speak only when it’s appropriate. Maybe I believed in that too much.
Either way, I am always humbled by the minds of our little ones, as they wander and somehow always smell like sugar and dirt.

So as I continue to think of myself as an old soul, I will embrace it like a friend.

And whatever it is people deem as being an old soul, so be it.

Just know, that I am dreaming and electricity is pulsing through my bones. I am not done. I’m not even close.

I have a ways to go before it all catches up.

Then again, in the words of my doc, “…you’re a spring chicken!”

So, you never know what could happen, really…