Sh*tty Time Machine (Thoughts on Feeling Strong)

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It is important that I choose this blog as a platform for my voice.

One of which, doesn’t say much on any given day.

The thank you and hellos of going to the store. The banter of the cashier talking about their art show. The usual. I like it.
And then there’s work banter. Which goes downhill pretty quickly. Two or more cooks in the kitchen, and the conversation gets dirty, fast. I’m not sure why. Maybe it helps ease the tension and makes doing dishes a little more tolerable. But I know now I will never make sausage in front of them.

These days when I talk to people more than 10 minutes, I feel like I’m talking their ear off. Usually I apologize, for the sake of saying the things that are at the forefront of my mind. Sometimes I feel weird, because not everyone wants to hear about my idea of madeira jelly with chicken liver pate or that I really do, love dinosaurs.

Especially now, as my intimate community has shrunk (and at the same time, expanded) to a house of full of people, who are deep down, sweethearts – but don’t have too much history to work with. And that’s okay.

Louis C.K. has a joke about divorce being a sh*tty time machine.

That in a marriage, you become somewhat cut off from the world of single people. Time goes by, but at its regular pace, until you decide, or are forced to step out of that relationship, and land in another world. Like Brooks Hatlen in Shawshank Redemption saying, “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry...”

By now you know I’m being a little dramatic.

With that being said, I am glad I feel safe enough to speak about things on my mind.

I’m glad I can do that here, and to another human being, face to face. Because I do have a lot to say. We all do. Some of us just say it with fewer words.

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Lately, I’ve thought about having a core group of maybe four people who will call me out if it looks like I’m starting to go a little crazy. If I start collecting things that have no business being collected, or decide I want to build my own rocket ship, they will grab me by the shoulders and give me a shake as if to say, “Get with it, man!”

But right now, I think I’m okay.

I surround myself with the comforts of old and new. My lovely cookbooks and warm lights. Good speakers and a painting from my Great Grandma of two mockingbirds perched on a Magnolia branch. (Both the state tree, flower, and bird of my Beloved home.)

I guess today feels strong. I feel like I have a lot to say, and tomorrow could be different.

I do, however, feel it all on my chest. And each day I decide how heavy I want it to be. If it needs to be built stronger, or if it needs to crumble. I’m learning to be okay, and to listen to both.

The truth about sadness, is that eventually, it is met by something good and powerful. To say happiness, is kind of farce at times, because I don’t really know if that’s a real thing. I suppose that’s why our country embraces the pursuit, but tends to live somewhere in between. Seems a little more realistic.

But alas, I will save you from the other side of my jumbled conscience. It will not show its head at this hour, at least.

I will leave you with a quote given to me by a dear friend this past week, from Khalil Gibran’s, The Prophet,

“And shall it be said that my eve was in truth my dawn?”

finding your voice (when you already have it)

Food

Whether it’s your writing, your art, or your food; there is something powerful about someone discovering their voice.

Yes.

Voice.

It’s been on my mind a lot these days.
And you know what it’s like to see other people who have found theirs. It’s what makes them drive their point deep into your belly. And voices, like people, come in all different shapes.

One of the hardest things about writing is voice. In any form of art or creative thinking — finding your voice is usually the most frustrating. We tend to emulate others we respect and in doing so, sound a lot like them. But people have already heard them before.

You want people to hear you. You want people to understand. Getting that across to those not in your head is hard.

And this is something I’ve been talking to people about lately.
I’m not really for those kind of blogs that give you step by step solutions to things, which is why I don’t really post many recipes. I’m not that skilled of a cook or a writer or a person, so I don’t want you to see me that way.

But there are some things that have helped me in discovering a voice for myself.

Regardless of what you do, do it a lot. 
If you want to sing, sing a lot.
If you want to write, write a lot.

If you want to cook,
I think you get it.

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I think it’s important to copy things you like, but only for a little while. Start adapting things to how you work. If you like Stephen King as a writer, you’ll probably find yourself writing short stories in the same tone. (None the less, terrifying and brilliant.)

It goes the same with cooking as we copy recipes out of a book and with time, add more of this and more of that. (Or less!)

Use your intuition.

In all of these things, you are creating your voice.

And people will see that. People are already seeing that in you. Especially when that voice becomes confident and fierce.

You will be unstoppable. (Within the means of law, unfortunately.)

Have fun with it.

You probably aren’t pursuing meaningless work. Maybe you are for the sake of a good salary and benefits. No one is to blame you for that. But it’s important to also do something you love. My Paw-Paw has this saying (which I’m sure he got out of Reader’s Digest) that if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.

But that’s also not really true. Because work is work. It will suck sometimes. But when you are in pursuit of your voice, it’s refreshing. It drives you to be better. It helps the fact that you stand on your feet for over 10 hours a day. Or ball up paper and start over again and again.

You will mess up and struggle with it. Don’t expect it to be perfect.

But at some point, we all have to move. And to do that with intention and drive is what makes our voice louder than others.

Even for us quiet people, our voices can be loud.

It’s also not something we necessarily have to create, but something that, for lack of more profound words, defines who we are.

We are moms and dad and grandparents. Your voice is who you are as a teacher, how you treat and teach your kids. How you work and what you put into it.

It’s how much you want to learn and what you want to do with that knowledge. And like I said before, it’s about moving forward with that knowledge. It’s about what you give back.

Don’t think of it as something that is far off — you’ve always had a voice, and you always will.

You don’t have to go far to find it.

Just pull out a sheet of paper.

A pen.

A pan.

An instrument.

An onion.

 

…And make it yours.