Airport Time

June 23, 2015 at 12:27 am (Ruminations.) ()

Airport time doesn’t actually count. It’s a time-warp of (sur)reality where all logic, social boundaries, and emotional grip are lost.

I am literally sprawled in the floor of the Las Vegas airport like I would lie in my bed at home, flipping through photos while listing to acoustic guitar. For an hour I’ve been curled in a ball, emotions a knot in my belly, using my backpack as a pillow, catching snippets of passing conversation as people saunter past in couples, singles, and groups. At one point I experience an overlap of audio where at once I hear layers of jazz, Guns ’n Roses, and this side of a conversation about this woman’s grandfather, who is dying. She’s sitting on the floor at my feet eating take-out Chinese followed by chicken noodle soup.

It’s not just me – we are all floating in a travel limbo, a snapshot of breathless reality between two beautiful spaces: the departed and the destination. It’s a free-for-all in airports, really. It’s a given that you will never see these people again, so who really cares if lying in the floor of a public walkway is appropriate or not. Who cares if a lunch (or dinner? breakfast?) of Kung Pao beef and chicken noodle soup is socially acceptable. Anything goes in airport time. There’s an eerie familiarity in these travel spaces that cannot be duplicated. Things are the same – but different – but still that sense of familiarity, longing, and remembrance. It’s like visiting the house of a childhood friend. Memories are palpable and I know my way around, but I just can’t quite put my finger on the reality of it.

Airports give us permission to unapologetically lose our shit, because 90% of the population of airports at any given time is emotionally charged. I experienced one such moment at the tail end of an epically long trip that had taken me across the globe to four different countries. It was one of those adventures that is almost too long. The sense of real life diminished with every passing day, until what was real became so removed from ‘home’ that I started to lose my footing.

At this particular moment, my footing was long gone – a distant memory. And I had just left my love. Matters of the heart, always so complicated.

The tail end of my epic adventure brought me into his presence, but in another city. Over the course of the last year an intimate friendship had unfolded, and I had allowed myself to slip into a hesitant and doomed love. The feeling was mutual, but the timing was oh-so-wrong. Logic was bound to prevail, and we both knew it – but the heart has a way of taking over despite all intent towards pragmatism.

A few hours before I had to leave for the airport I found I had stumbled – more like tripped, flat on my face – into ’the talk.’ It was my fault, a product of me – in typical form – not thinking about what was coming out of my mouth, and kickstarting a confrontation about what was going on between us. What an inopportune time to embark on such an emotionally charged topic.  I couldn’t get around the literal time limit: I had to shower, zip my bags, and ride with him to the airport to catch my flight home. Time ran out, and there was no resolution. We both saw that there wouldn’t be – it was impossible at that moment in time – and he mercifully embraced me and told me that everything was going to be OK, and we would talk more after he returned home the following day.

I knew deep down in my gut we wouldn’t. To the pit of my core I knew it, but I forced myself to believe him simply so I could get through the next half-hour of getting myself ready and to the airport. Cue quintessential airport drop-off, complete with hug and kiss, and promises of a chat soon. Numb, I walked inside and entered the rigamarole of airport check-in and security.

To kill time before boarding I went to one of the sub-par airport restaurants with the same sub-par airport food as every other airport in the world. I had no appetite, but felt it wise to order some food to accompany the whiskey I had chosen to sooth my raw emotions. After the waiter walked away with my order I sat, defeated, staring across the restaurant but seeing nothing, just absorbing little bits of conversation around me. A young woman off for a girls’ weekend. A couple anticipating their impending tropical adventure. A college student explaining to her dad via FaceTime that she was on her way to surprise him – “Surprise!” – but her flight was cancelled and she now needed his help. Every word, every one of them, emotionally charged.

And there I sat, emotions a knot in my belly. I was headed home after three long beautiful weeks of reconnecting with dear friends, adventuring across the world drinking in the beauty of it, and – lastly – attending a gathering of amazing activists working to stabilize this crazy world we live in. Home to the wonderful life I’ve crafted for myself, back to my pup, my friends, the ocean, and my world. But for that moment I was caught in breathless limbo, a poignant moment between two beautiful places: the sweetly and sadly departed, and the much anticipated destination. In this case, Home. My heart simultaneously burst with gratitude and flooded with waves of grief. I was hemorrhaging love.

I laid my forehead on the edge of the table, and I lost my shit. In the way that you can only lose your shit in your bed at home, or – apparently – in an airport. I wept giant drops of sadness. They rained down on my knees and sandaled feet, and before long, strings of snot were dripping out of my nose too. Wounded, I let it all fall out of my face as I gasped for breath to nourish my soul. After the initial waves of emotions, tremors, and face explosion passed I became still. Minutes dragged by. I wondered if there was a napkin on the table. There wasn’t, but it didn’t matter because there was my waiter with my sub-par food and melancholy whiskey, and my head was in his way on the table. I shielded my snot-covered nose and mouth with my hand to make eye contact, and thank him.

He asked if I needed extra napkins.

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Ten minutes

January 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm (Ruminations.)

Should I find it apropos that when I tucked a new memento into the frame of my mirror, the picture of us fell out?

Last night as I lay with my back to the room, my mind shifted and moved, sorting the puzzle pieces of life, trying to join them together in logical order. Perhaps I’m starting to see the outline of the puzzle… but I’m still wondering, is that light blue bit going to be a sky, or an ocean, or a whale? The pieces don’t quite fit, but maybe the edge is starting to take shape. Last night, semi-conscious and out of focus, I gazed at the wall, basking in the scent of the day old wine on my bedside table… at this point just a fading memory from yesterday.

My old life has slipped away, and been replaced with a new. How can that void be so easily filled? Is it possible? Is it true? That such a history could be erased, without so much as an afterthought? Almost like it was never there, but my mind clings… like a poem that’s been sitting outside for way too long, words bleached by the sun but still visible from the slight indent on the page. With the light just right it almost seems real. Dutifully tracing letter by letter, I pretend the words are still there, but the truth is they will never be the same… just a ghost of a story, written in new handwriting.

It so empty, it’s like it barely even counts. And in the wake of the tragedy, I’m left…

This morning as I lay with my back to the room, the faded sunlight unfolding, I sorted and shifted the puzzle pieces of my life. Maybe the picture was a bit more evident. Maybe it was a bit more relevant. Through the gap between the wall and the curtain I could see the garden past the dewdrops on the window.

It took me ten minutes to think of you today.

I guess that’s something.

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The Lesson in Kalamata Chicken

November 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm (Ruminations.)

I realized today something valuable.

Last night I got a text from a friend, asking if I was coming inland today. I was told ‘Lemme know the time – I’ll meet you in route with the kalamata chicken lunch.

She had meant to bring it to me last night, but had forgotten it. A quick stop off the 78 and there it was.

I tore into it at the office, and I tell you: I could taste the love in it. I could feel the love and nourishment in the food.

I have always believed food is better when shared, but this takes it to a whole different level.

When we sacrifice for another, our heart is evident in the sacrifice. This goes for healing. This goes for cooking. This goes for every time we go out of our way to connect to the person beside us, next to us.

A sacrificial heart is palpable in the sacrifice.

Love…

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I hadn’t been to Venice Beach in years.

July 14, 2013 at 12:24 am (Ruminations.)

I hadn’t been to Venice Beach in years. The city now was a far cry from the days of old, when we would spend every weekend on those grains of sand, losing ourselves in the drum circle, laying mostly naked on the sand, sneaking beers onto the beach, chilling, and loving life.

Somehow, we exited the freeway a little too early, knowing it would add a little adventure to our journey. As we drove, in my mind it felt like the lights were slowly being turned on, like a dark room with a dimmer switch slowly brightening the room. We exited Venice Blvd., and slowly the surroundings became more and more familiar, as we drove towards the beach, closer and closer to our old ‘hood. Memories trickling in, things I hadn’t thought of in years. By the time we reached Centinela, it was the most natural thing in the world to swing left and turn onto Pacific to stare out our old apartment building. Too many memories. Lots of them good. Some of them, not so good.

We made the block and then headed towards the water. Street names flooded back, and the trickle of memories turned into a stream. Sooo many memories at that beach. Too many to really want to recall. We naturally drove up and down the streets where we would always park, somehow found a spot, and started the short trek to the beach. All the while noting how the neighborhood had changed with new businesses, and marveling at those that were still around, the ones we used to frequent.

The sky was finally clear for the first time since Summer had arrived. It was our beach. The beach was the same as it had always been. Clear. Gorgeous. Mostly empty. I used to always say Venice Beach was the best beach in the area because nobody wants to go where the freaks are. There isn’t as much traffic on the beach itself. The boardwalk was always filthy, but the beach was clean. This was why we used to always end up there each week. That and the drum circle.

Laying on the beach, with the warm sun on my skin and the warm sand in between my fingers and toes, the memories were flooding through my veins. The throb of remembrance reminded me of the constant rhythm of the waves. Between us, there was chattering. Then there was silence. Within me, there was a reconnection with the soul of the person I used to be. I was sad. I felt like I was reconnecting with someone that was never fully allowed to live.

We had been two girls, barely out of college, who paths somehow crossed on this journey of life. And we were somehow clinging to each other as we each tried to get through each day, figuring out how to live, figuring out life. In the grand scheme of things, it was such a short time. A few short months together before we split to different parts of the world, never to return.

And today, here we are. Two girls, still young and clueless, confused, and just trying to get through life doing the least damage possible. But still clinging to each other thirteen years later, still trying to figure out how to live, still trying to figure out life. And – maybe – still not fully allowing ourselves to live.

Later that evening, sitting on the lawn of the Hollywood Burns compound, yoga mats laid out like towels on Venice Beach, we sussed out life a little bit more. The time was nearing when we would part ways again, splitting to different parts of the world, and – maybe – never to return. We were clinging to each other, and a heavy air hung around us. It was heavy like quilts draped from the trees, laden with the undeniable knowledge that we may be doing life together today, but – again – we won’t be tomorrow. Laden with the undeniable knowledge of the heaviness of life, and for me, the poignant reminder that life never is quite what they said it would be. And for many more tomorrows we will be apart, and the understanding that comes from walking through life with someone for years will again be just out of reach. Wearily, I could feel the sadness channeling through my body, pumping like blood between my hands and my heart, throbbing like the ocean pounding on the sand. Unapologetically, and without explanation.

I couldn’t help but weep for the sadness.

But what was I weeping for?

For days gone by that were simpler. Easier.

For the confused young girls we once were, making choices we never knew would be so painful.

For the passage of time that etched lines on our faces, that painted spots on our skin. Time that made our hands tired, our bodies worn and marked with the joys and the stresses of life.

The loss of lives, the loss of marriages, the loss of innocence and hopes and dreams.

The reality of the trauma and tragedies of life.

I cried for the pain that coursed through both of our veins, for the experiences that kept us both questioning, kept us both from forgiving ourselves.

I cried for lies, and tears and sorrow.

I cried as we breathed one breath, and then another, and then another.

In and out, like the rhythmic throbbing of the ocean of our youth… unapologetic, without explanation… ageless, powerful, and pure.

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faded

October 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm (Ruminations.)

Tonight I ripped the sleeves off your favorite t-shirt

and – in it – here I lie,

thinking about your awkward laugh,

your blue, blue eyes, and

that make-believe world you made your own.

Worn.

Soft and exhausted, just like your smile,

it gently shifts across my skin, and

maybe its supposed to wrap around me like your arms

(holding onto me just a moment longer than needed)

but, instead I’m enveloped by the lack of you.

That’s nothing new,

since you were never really here anyways.

But I still don’t want to take you off.

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Love

June 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm (Ruminations.)

Early this morning I collected 5 eggs from the chicken coop and while putting them away I dropped one. Happy day for the Dominator, I called him over and let him clean up the mess. When I stooped to hand-mop the floor he kissed me right on the top of my head, and then stood with his face a couple inches from mine, whole body gently wagging. It was the most purely sweet, endearing moment. Just simple love and gratitude and unashamed expression of it. I wish love could always be that simply expressed and openly received, without all the junk that comes with our fallible human existence.

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How do I escape…

May 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm (Ruminations.)

How do I escape. Let me count the ways.

Wait until there are five minutes left in my therapy session  to bring up the real stuff, and then walk out wracked in tears, wrecked in the reality of my pain. Drive the long way, then change my mind halfway and go run errands before going home. Go spray in the granny flat, at least that is something productive, the painting is what I have needed to send for two weeks now. Listen to the roommate washing the dishes. Burn incense and take out my contacts. Look at facebook, oh glorious time waster of all time wasters. Drop a line to a client to push of going to their office, cause obviously, this is gonna take awhile. Open wordpress and go look at a random blog. Start writing.  Stop before I get to the real stuff, and correct my capitalization, read, rewrite, read, even this itself is an escape. Maybe we’ll call it a warmup instead.

 

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Fight for Truth

March 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm (Ruminations.)

The truth is….

I am a very wounded person. The scars run very deep.

The truth is it takes very little to trigger me.

The truth is…. I’ve spent most of my life running and making bad decisions.

The truth is I have no idea what I’m doing, and a lot of the time I am scared out of my mind.

The truth is – I have been told – not many people know that. But I feel like its obvious.

It is true that I lack motivation sometimes, and I forget. Apparently I have the mind of an artist and when that part of my mind isn’t fed my brain starts telling stories to itself.

The truth is that I don’t know what to do with myself most of the time, and I don’t know how to process what’s happening half the time.

The truth is that I live in an amazing house with an amazing garden. I live with some very amazing people.

The truth is I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be doing here.

The truth is I’m fighting demons and wrestling habits, and that sometimes I think the fight will never end.

The truth is.

I’m tired.

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The Soundtrack of my Life

January 7, 2012 at 3:38 am (Ruminations.)

The house was pretty special. The only reason were able to get it was because the good friend of a good friend was a real estate agent and he stumbled across this deal. Basically a foreclosure came across his desk… and… well let’s just say he pulled some strings. We got a killer deal.

The location was not the best in the world, but it was worth it for the deal we got. It was huge… for us at least. Two story, four bedroom, as soon as we got it we had it professionally painted on the inside. It was just what I wanted. The living areas downstairs were sick, and we had all the DJ equipment set up in the second living area which was like a lounge. The way it all came together it was like a dream. It was like everything in terms of wordly desires was appearing before us. Our little family, us, Domino and the two cats settled right in.

And a short two months later is when my life began to crumble. Part of me will always wonder why he didn’t tell me what was going on before we made a commitment like buying a house, but in the end it was such a blessing from God I can’t question it.

In the landscape of my life, this house and the time I spent there will always be fraught with memories of extremes. That house was filled with the most hope I have ever in my life experienced – it was the house where I came to know God. Where I first experienced the movement of the Spirit in my daily life. Where I was blessed with the beginning of an understanding of Jesus, and a body of Christ that became my family. I learned that life could be better than I ever imagined.

And at the same time, the house was filled with the most intense despair I have ever experienced, as I watched everything around me crumble, fall apart, and be destroyed. By ‘everything around me’, I mean my life. My marriage. My family, both outside and inside. My home. My house. My friends. My belongings. My delusions of what life is supposed to be. My delusions about myself. My perception of what the world is. My pride. My trust. My love. It was all gone.

In that house I remember – after he was gone – sitting in the living room reading my testimony. It was around the time the house went on the market – just 14 short months after we had popped a bottle of champagne in the kitchen to celebrate the purchase. But this was a different celebration, it was the last meeting of my CR 12 step group, and we had a little party and read our testimonies to each other at my house. Might as well, it was empty. I had gotten about halfway through writing mine. I was reading it to my sisters and I just started sobbing. I finished reading it through my sobs – chest heaving, struggling to breathe – and when I was done I just sat there staring at the pages. Empty. My heart felt dead.

That night, as soon as they were gone, I made a phone call. “Mom. Can you please come.”

Through tears. “Yes, baby, of course.”

And then silence as – like so many times before over the last 12 months – she listened to my broken sobs, absorbing the radioactive pain that was emanating from my existence, throbbing from every pore. Inhale, exhale, trying to breathe.

Despair deeper than I can put into words. And at the same time triumph. The victory of Christ in my life. Wonderful and terrible at the same time.

————————–

Today I was sitting in a client’s office in the upper level of her house, and I felt the pleasure of the sunlight shining on me through the vertical blinds while the cool breeze slipped in through the slats, kissing my skin. It felt…

Just. Like. Home.

The home I had in *that* house.

My office had been on the upper level, and it was just how I wanted. I had painted the walls PURPLE – straight up. A desk for working, art table set up, all my junk stored away in the closet. North facing window overlooking the street and in the distance you could see the mountains. It was really cool when there was snow on them, enjoying a sunny winter day in So Cal while gazing upon snow across the way. Many afternoons I spent appreciating the cool kiss of the breeze slipping through the vertical blinds to give me a haunting embrace.

Today… that breeze… it haunted me again.

So now there is a task at hand. I am making new memories to accompany the soundtrack of my life. Maybe next time the breeze will remind me of another day, another person, another tear. Another smile. Maybe that painting will remind me of another room, in another house, where the hope outweighed the despair by a much larger margin.  Maybe next time that song will remind me of joy instead of sorrow. Maybe it will remind me of an amazing adventure, hiking the wilderness and exploring caves with my new family that God blessed into my life (we write our addresses in pencil and people wonder at our existence).

Maybe… maybe, soon… the other memories will haunt me less and less.

Maybe.

I’m ready to let go.

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The Faith of My Fathers

January 5, 2012 at 12:57 am (Ruminations.)

I have these little habits that I don’t even realize until – for example – I hear something fall out of my mouth at the end of a prayer. Like,

“InJesusNameAmen”

It’s like one word – injesusnameamen – and when I’m not really thinking about it, there it goes. There if flows out of me, some remnant, some ghost of a spirituality that was ingrained in me as a child, but for whatever reason never really took.

I have the Bible, the little pink pocket Bible – New Testament and Psalms – that I earned as a child for saying (singing) the books of the New Testament. I remember the moment vividly. I had to be somewhere around the age of four. I can see it from my actual point of view, when I close my eyes. I was supposed to say (sing) them in front of – I assume – the class, but I was so scared I wouldn’t do it. I could recite the books, of course, but I didn’t want the attention of getting up in front of the class and saying them. I was afraid. So they let me whisper them to the teacher, but I still had to go up in front of the class to do it. I was even so scared I made him come to the side because I didn’t want to go up front. And then they gave me a little pink Bible with the embossment on the front: Wendy Erin.

I also have an visual of the experience where I am outside myself looking at myself. Of course I am just seeing the little girl from some photo on my grandmother’s dresser. I don’t know what I actually looked like or was wearing or anything, just some fabricated image in my head of the experience. But there she is, up there whispering New Testament song to the teacher.

Matthew, Mark, LukeAndJohn, Ax and the LettersToThe Roh-mans. I still know it well, in fact I sing it in my head almost every time I open the Bible to look up something in the New Testament. Still learning my way around. I wonder how many Bible scholars still use the New Testament song when they are looking up scripture. But the Old Testament? I’m just out of luck, no song for that one. I did memorize the books of the Old Testament at one point – middle school I’m sure – but not being put to music who would be expected to remember them 15 – 20 years later? Why didn’t they ever make up a song for the Old Testament?

I know more than the books though. I know about Joseph and his coat. I know about Abraham. I know about Baby Moses, and – obviously – Noah. Creation, yes. The birth, life, death of Jesus, yes, of course. Tower of Babel. The exodus. The prodigal son. Even some parables I can recall.

But, then…

There are times when I read the Bible, when I’m studying scripture, and this feeling comes over me. It’s like when you see someone that you *know* you have known. But you can’t place where. But you KNOW… that you have known them. There is a certain familiarity that cannot be overlooked, but at the same time you know they are a complete stranger.

So, yes, the Bible and me… we go way back. But somehow…

I just can’t put my finger on it.

And for some reason… it makes my heart ache.

Why didn’t it take? Why did Jesus pass right in front of my face, but not settle in until I was smacked across the face with the horrid-ity of life?

(don’t ask why)

For some reason… even with the faith of my fathers… I had to move beyond it, to find a faith of my own.

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