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cirque de la nuit

The inky journey of a modern day Troubador

Pie in the sky

It’s what I call my perfect days.
not the kind of days where every-thing goes right.

Just
The kind of days where all that happens falls together like pieces
of a nonsensical puzzle.

Like a sunny day in LA, on our way to the Griffith Observatory. J and his parents wanted to stop by an outdoor cafe and drink tea and eat a warm slice of apple pie.

So we did.

I ran my fingers over the cold damp roots of the succulents set on our table, and sipping my chai slowly.

J was driving.

He carefully wound the car up the hill to the observatory.

We wandered around the observatory in silence, waiting for the planetarium show.

J whispered a hasty explanation of the Tesla coil to me with just a hint of annoyance.

The planetarium show came. We set ourselves near the center and I eagerly called out answers to the hosts questions, not being deterred by the handful of children he was actually querying.
When it ended we exited to the east, stepping out of the dark theater just as the sun was dripping its way down past the horizon.

sunset LA

J took me by the hand and led me back to the car, his parents not far behind us.

No one said anything.

We just enjoyed the silence.

J and I dropped his parents back at our temporary home (his sisters house).

We ventured into night-time LA– eating dinner at Moby’s restaurant, and having a cocktail and dessert in tarped alleyway with the wind roaring loudly around us.

It wasn’t the explosive vacation that people write Instagram stories about, but it was the coziest travel experience I’ve had in years.

When you are eating pie in the sky, with your head in the clouds and your feet too far off the ground to be frightened…you enjoy every sweet bite.

Bar-sit

We sat down.

J and I, we are inveterate bar investigators. I troll for new places online, and J finds new spots on his driving routes in Columbus or from fellow driving co-workers. We will sit down, map out a quick route as J laces up his converse kicks, and head off into the sunset for a bar-sit.

this particular evening we sat down in a familiar local joint. Walk-able and a place we used to frequent, back when all the bar tenders knew our names, and our go-to drinks.

This time, when we sat down, every face the servers the bartenders, the bar-backs— all unknown.

We sat down anyway.
and waited
and waited
kept waiting.

I could see the build up of impatience on J’s face. Not because he desperately needed a drink. But because for him the enjoyment in being in a bar is having in your possession what you came there for. The process and lag time is not quality time for him. Probably because his long history of working in the industry.

For me, being at a bar– if I’m not in a rush then every single part of every moment is exciting for me. I’ll admit to being a social moth. Not a butterfly who wants to parade around its beauty and claim attention. I prefer to hover next to the light, on the wall watching and listening only announcing my presence when provoked.

I smiled and patted J’s arm. He flashed an irritated smirk and picked up the drink menu, again.

This time the bartender noticed this time and hurried over. He took our drink orders, simple: whiskey on ice, and a beer. 15 minutes later we had our drinks in hand and J was ready to leave. Obviously to stay meant waiting 45 minutes between service spurts and neither of us could tolerate that.

We left after quickly finishing our unsatisfying drinks. I was slightly amused by the entire experience. The long wait and J’s growing impatience,(which oddly manifests itself as stony inconsolable silence) but also the incompetence of the bartender.

It’s a thing of beauty- the consummate bartender. The one who can sternly take your order, provide the drink, make light conversation, and leave you alone all at the same time. A rare find, and becoming rarer.

It’s just something a girl like me, who likes to order a second and third glass before I’ve finished the first….appreciates.

The Burden

of being a woman.

Not denying that men don’t have their own..
or that transgender individuals have independent struggles as well.

still,
being a woman

having to decide at 29 whether
to take the birth control that numbs real life
or
deal with constant pain and pressure
and almost constant bleeding

to be told to
have a kid now, because your uterus is living on borrowed time.
do you want a kid?
right now?
do you know?
how could you not know?
most people…they know.

either way– you have to decide
right now
something that will change your life forever.

to be told you are not enough
by well meaning friends
who have it together just enough
to know what it should look like.

to carry all the weight and pressure
of looking good
being good
doing good

just because women can.

to know that
no matter what you do
it’s not enough.

All that you Are

We measure ourselves by comparison.
From Birth
and I hate that

Hate that we come into this world a blank slate to
be beautiful clothed in all the colors of the world
and we choose comparison

..”your baby weighs in the 15th percentile of all babies”

I get it. It’s a measure of health, its useful.

But then you are 5 years old in preschool and the teacher wonders why your child is unable to color between the lines where other children can.

In 5th grade most children have learned their multiplication tables by heart but your child still uses his fingers.

In high school other children are into sports, or theater cliques while your child sits under the stairs and draws things that make counselors wring their hands with worry.

Why are we always measured by what we aren’t?

What are you? Describe yourself in fantastically obscure words that could explain topography of a landscape or the majesty of ancient architecture.

What are you, as a whole complete being on your own?

What are you, as if no one else exists on this planet?

Challenges

It’s been hard.
Documenting my challenges internally
and leaving the external world out of it.

But it is hard to know just how inside my own head I am
sometimes

The Intention/inspiration challenge is over.

And I know myself.

In ways that I don’t think I wanted to know myself.

But I’m glad I do.

I didn’t want to know how much of a dreamer I am
How disorganized and panicky I am

How I play possum when stress overwhelms
and how I maintain a childlike since of wonderment
inside my old soul.

But I know it now.
And I know that candles and music will forever calm me

that taking a step back isn’t my “thing” but something
I have to force myself to do and once I do
I see clearer.

That I only bite my nails, when I am biting my tongue,

that when i am angry, I write villains exceptionally well.

That when I am blocked mentally, it is because I’m not being challenged enough;

that I can run on autopilot so smoothly, even I can’t tell my cruising altitude–
That I’m no where near as smart as I think I am, but so much brighter than I ever believed.

That Neverland isn’t a place, it’s a state of being.

Cheers to all the challenges that make or break us,
and to knowing thyself.

Its as scary as it sounds.

Fraud

Either you feel like a fraud
or you actually are a fraud.

The older I get the more I see through the
thin veneer of “adulthood”

Adulthood is the true fairy tale.
Grown-ups tell kids stories of the magical time
when life comes together and you understand the meaning
and purpose of your life
That along comes a job and career and suddenly you are
doing all the things you are supposed to be
and you just get so comfortable that marriage
and children inevitably follow.

But the reality of life is that it is all
a shot in the dark.

and unless you are a complete fraud,
you can admit
that you have no idea what you are doing and
where you are going sometimes.
That you feel like an impostor behind a mask of serenity
and pretending you have it all together is as exhausting as
keeping it all together.

Self-awareness is necessary to achieve any degree of happiness. And I’ve become acutely aware just how much I don’t know about anything.

Being passionately curious and willing to dig in and try to learn is my saving grace when I feel like my fraudulence is getting to me.

Appreciation

“What wins?”
I grumble to myself as I read the days challenge over a creamy caramel cup of coffee.

I think its a trait I’ve carried over from my youth but I have always considered success to be a state to live in and failure to be a pit. But reality is so much greater than that. A win for me today, I woke up early and instead of cowering under the covers hiding from sunshine i opened the window and started my day.
I checked my email and planned my day accordingly.

Taking time to appreciate my successes and even attempts however big or small will only serve my craft, hone my self love, and give me ownership of my life—all of it.

~

And when life gets too much
when the roots I’ve sewn deep in the soil
feel like chains anchoring me to a decaying ground
and the tempest around me disrupts the stillness in my soul
until I want to scream my primal fear and anguish into the void

I look up
at the winking stars perched on black matte
many, i know are long dead
and yet
I still see their light.

I take a breath
inhaling the dust of things much older than the
planet I exist on.

my smallness of being
cloaks me like a sheltering shroud
and I am content in the
storm.

Awaken my heart

“May this serve the awakening of my heart”

I am under duress. Not the “buckle down” kind
the “buckle under” kind.

I got lost in the woods chasing rabbits through the trees and
now I’m missing the forest.

At least that is what my mind told me. Repeatedly.
As I sat staring blankly at the TV screen willing myself to fall asleep.

The mind is a writers best friend and worst foe.
Sure I can dream up stories just watching the way J ponders the sunlight while sipping a cup of coffee.
But I can also convince myself that everything is awful and horrible and disastrous and the only way I can make it better is to worry and work and whenever I’m not doing either of those things…to drown in syrupy guilt.

This challenge on my intentionality stopped my overactive mind on its hellbent path with one quote: “May this serve the awakening of my heart”.

Rather then let these difficulties rattle my bones till they fracture, I can take a mindful moment, focus on the present and let this become a journey for me to surmount. A valley with sloping inclines for me to work my way up rather then a pit to wallow in.

“If we must bear the inescapable challenges each day brings, why not learn to love them?”

–I’m no yogi, and given my personality there is slim chance I’m going to love my way through the challenges in my life. But I can learn to love myself and my support system through the harder times.

And while I’m at it I’ll learn a lesson or two so that I don’t end up in the same stupid valley twice!

Day 11– Creating Space

I was completely unprepared for the types of challenges this Inspirational Challenge Journey would send me on!

I thought it would mostly be journaling, but it has sent me into the living world for conversation, feedback and engagement. (which is why I haven’t been updating on my activities)

I’ve had to engage in mindful meditation 3 times a day, and tell someone the truth. I’ve had to confront anxious ideas to figure out their roots, and offer encouragement to someone I don’t like. I’ve had to visualize my stress and transmute it into something else.
It’s been so much work and intensity that I haven’t found the time or energy to write about it afterwards…which at first seemed like a waste— but as I’ve continued on the challenge road, it’s been a boon for my creativity! Not feeling the obligation and disdain to write but the excitement of looking forward to sharing and turning all my thoughts and experiences into future notes!

So far the biggest challenge has been creating my own space. At work I am an admin which means I handle everything, every detail, every minor incidence, every scalding hot fire that comes our way. Whether its my job or not, rain or shine, no matter what else I have on my plate. But this challenge required me to create a space for myself so I can feel secure, appreciated and not overwhelmed. This means I had to say no, and to re-enforce that no.

It was incredibly empowering to simply say, “no- I don’t have time for that right now, I can get to it in a month or so but I will not do it now.” My space is my own. I own it, and I have to protect it fiercely. Otherwise others can and will take from my my time, my serenity, and my joy.

Commitments

I have trouble with mornings.
Those first rays of sunlight that stream through the window pane are not friend to me.
I get a dull ache behind my eyes and a dry tiredness that stretches through my muscles and itches at my skin.

So my commitment during this challenge is to change up my morning routine. Not to rebel against my nature and make a morning person out of myself….but to start the day in a way that might make me entertain the possibility that mornings are not the devils work.

I turned on my meditation music, soft pastel tones overlay-ed with natural world sounds, a loon, a small wave, the smattering of raindrops in a forest…

And I sipped my coffee and focused on being present in the moment. Enjoying the view from my window peak above the fray.

It wasn’t great. but it was enough.

Intentionality (Day 1)

I accepted a challenge.

Via Intention Inspired

To motivate and inspire myself through a series of mindful tasks, completed over a 30 day period.

The first challenge, to imbue an object with my intentions for this challenge and put it somewhere I can see it everyday.

I picked my spoon ring. It’s the most valuable (to me) piece of jewelry I’ve ever owned, despite only costing me $15. It was a graduation gift to myself. And it symbolizes the triumph over obstacles. A natural choice to give me daily motivation, from around my ring finger.

 

What inspired me to take on this 30 day challenge, is the need for change. I can’t change my surroundings right now. In the past a big move always symbolized a new path to for me to chart. But adulthood brings a lot of stability with it, and unfortunately stability brings boredom for me. I needed this challenge to chart a new course, even when I’m standing still.

I have no idea how to make that make sense to anyone.

I’m going to find away to shake the wanderlust out of my hair, and dig my bare feet into the wet dirt right where I am. I am going to put some tentative roots down, and learn to grow my adventures from the hearth.

Michael Chabon

I tried in all sorts of ways not to fall in love with the writing of
Michael Chabon.

I failed so hard, it felt like a crash and burn.

I went into his book “Telegraph Avenue” anticipating his inability to write the mental voice of a black woman, or black child.

But he captured every voice so well, and wrote so eloquently in-eloquent that I fell madly in love with his style, his unique verb usage, and the quirky flow of his characters speech….it actually mirrors how people talk. (One of my main complaints of authors)

Suffice it to say, I couldn’t keep it to myself and had to proclaim– Chabon is a fantastic writer, if you haven’t consumed from his assortment of amazing reads…..https://www.harpercollins.com/authors/michaelchabon

You need to.

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