a summary of recent things.

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Within the warm, post-winter air, I swear, must be a drug.

I walk outside this morning. The air smells sweet with fresh-cut grass, and lilacs. This season sedates me, cradles my head and lays me back into a contented, unyielding state of daydreams. My inner child pulls at my hand, tugging me away from routine, responsibility, obligation. Anything that even resembles work, she insists I escape.

“We need to go,” she says, “There is so much out there!”

I am intoxicated with nostalgia, dragged backward into memories of the black road moving rapidly behind me in the middle of the desert somewhere. There is something about Spring, that demands variety, adventure, something to make you feel as new and alive as the world has once again become.

A few weeks ago, Drew comes down with a cold. A week later, I come down with a cold. I have a photo shoot, then a wedding, and another wedding, three days in a row. Not much time for rest. I can hear my mother’s concern over the phone, “Meghan, you need to lay down. You’re sick, you need rest.” I drink more caffeine and push through, because you can’t reschedule a wedding day.

I have dates with friends that I can’t cancel, don’t want to cancel. If I cancelled, I wouldn’t see them until June. I can’t cancel because these individuals are my sanity. I have band practice, because we have a show in a week, which also can’t be cancelled because you don’t cancel your band’s second show that’s going to take place somewhere with an actual stage, with an actual sound tech and actual drum mics.

I am coughing, here and there. Which turns to coughing constantly. Which leads to a night of a hopeful dose of Nyquil, yielding a foggy mentality, but no sleep, because of the coughing. The clock keeps changing numbers, and I am still awake. Watching The Office again, because what else do you do at 4 a.m.?

I fall asleep, finally, at 6:30. What is it about the sun coming up that seems to raise a white flag? Drew kisses me goodbye, leaves on a business trip. I sleep until 1:30 p.m. I schedule a doctor’s appointment. Moving is difficult. My entire face hurts. And my teeth. I use two entire boxes of tissues and all of the toilet paper. The doctor tells me it’s Bronchitis and a sinus infection.

There’s something so validating about being told by a medical professional with an expensive degree that, yes, something is wrong with you. Here are some drugs.

I go home. I take showers in the morning and baths at night, because the hot water soothes the battle going on inside of my nose and throat and chest. What a luxury it is, to be able to breathe through your nose. You don’t appreciate things until they’re gone. How lucky I am to live in a time with antibiotics. If this were the 1800’s, I’d probably be on my death bed.

Though it kind of feels like I am anyway.

I reschedule photo shoots. I lay. Kind friends bring me food and supplies. Three days alone and coughing. I wonder what on earth I would do if I had kids right now. What do sick moms do? How?

So many tissues. So much of The Office. I really focus on it. This is a serious viewing, with pausing when I have to leave the room to pee, rewinding the parts I had never noticed before. I’m sure the world will hate me for this (because the world is good at that), but I almost like it better after Michael leaves. It’s fun to get to know the other characters in greater depth.

Also, I’m not saying that spicy Thai soup is the cure to Bronchitis, per se, but I am saying there’s a lack of research there.

It’s May, suddenly. I feel a little better every day. We play our little show at Kilby Court. I’m always surprised at how many people show up. All of these people I love. Two sticks in my hands, I sit behind the rest of the band and my drum set. I see the faces of my dad, mom, brother, so many friends. I drum my little heart out. I feel like I’m buzzing, electric, I feel like me.

I realize that I’m a little bit addicted to this. Playing music is another level of being. Because, most days, I walk around feeling like almost every interaction I have is pointless. But I’ll get to that another time, in another post. It’s just there seems to be so little room in life for real connection, the honest conversations I’m interested in having. I really have to work to make them happen, find the people who want to have them. I guess that’s why art exists in the first place, as an outlet for the things you feel, but don’t feel able to say.

When I’m playing music, watching music being made, it feels like connection. It feels sacred, otherworldly. And that might sound cheesy, but I don’t know what else to call it.

fever to the page.

6S3A62006S3A61856S3A62056S3A62096S3A61786S3A62046S3A61996S3A6211The swallows are back in their nest on our porch. The sun turns the little corner in our kitchen to gold every evening. The days are long. The hills are green. It’s the season for living. I turn my face into the light and allow it to enfold me again. I become a version of myself I prefer to all others. This time of year, I get to shine.

I feel like myself in our little home. I get distracted by the light on the walls, the sky, the pink hue that is cast upon everything just before the day is finally gone. I feel like myself when I am still, when I listen and once again find that every moment has a rhythm, a melody, a pulse, where all the magic and energy of life is stored. It’s just waiting to be tapped into. I feel like myself when clicking a shutter, in a futile attempt to keep a hold on it, on these moments I can’t find a way to thank or appreciate before they’re gone.

I feel like myself when scribbling thoughts into disorganized journals with my favorite pen. I forget them almost as soon as they’re written, after I’ve transferred their fever to the page from my chaotic mind where they’ve no doubt been taunting me, maddeningly so, for days.

Within peace, I find myself. That is where my motive lies.

I feel like myself when I’m with him. Some days we’re somber and serious. Our words are few and our company subdued. Other times, we seem to bring each other to life. Laughing across the table at a restaurant, just him and I. It feels as if we’ve got something figured out that the rest don’t. And all it really is, in truth: All of these supposed-to’s, all of these expectations laid upon us to fit a mold, are really just other people’s projections. It is other people waiting for you to justify their own life to them. But we see this for what it is: a trap, disguised as convention. We know our life is ours. We’re making our own way. Everything else is just a template.

into the depths of the earth.

“We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.”  -Nathaniel Hawthorne

6S3A93666S3A9370It feels as if I spend all day running from my own mind. Some feelings seem too big, too overwhelming. I shudder at their presence, upon sensing their weight and their terrible depths. To me they seem like an ocean. They hurdle themselves violently into my chest, like angry waves upon rocks, they pull themselves backward into the depths of my stomach, they tie it into knots. Other times, they feel still, all too still. Like dark water. You don’t need to jump in to know they run deep, that many things hide beneath that inky surface. You don’t want to think about them. You turn your eyes away.

I lay down. Drew says goodnight, I love you. He always does. I stare at the ceiling, take breath in, and feel it settle there on my chest. They have caught up to me. They are home once again.

I fear them. I run from them. I can never seem to manage to shake them away. I have a strange and unsettling sense that one day I may break beneath the burden.

I am distracted, constantly. My existence is leaping from one distraction to another. Day dreams, playing made-up conversations in my mind with characters both fiction and reality – Some a blend of both. It embarrasses me, to think about someone gaining access to this strange and scattered world that dwells just behind my eyes.

Does everyone do this? I wonder, does everybody have a world of  thoughts that nobody else will ever access? I think they do, can only assume so. It comforts me. It disturbs me. Do I really know anyone? Does anyone really know me? Why do I think about these things? None of it changes anything.

Each night, I tell myself stories to trick myself to sleep. It hasn’t been working lately. But that seems to be a new theme, nothing working the way it used to. I learned once that your body regenerates itself every 7 years. I since learned that this is untrue, though our cells are regenerating all of the time. It’s just that I feel entirely new, a different creature than before.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m learning to accept what I’ve been all along.

The stories aren’t working anymore. Each one just leads me to a chasm. Deep, yawning into the depths of the earth. And there I stand, so small in comparison, at its edge. I try to think about something else, but can’t seem to tear myself away. And then I am falling. This is not a dream. I am not asleep. But I am falling. My heart races, a rush of adrenaline burns through my legs.

It has a name, that chasm. It is uncertainty.

 

“On Letting Go”

6S3A47346S3A47546S3A47706S3A48266S3A52356S3A87276S3A89466S3A89506S3A90366S3A90836S3A91246S3A91256S3A91286S3A9135 It feels like I can’t keep up with my own thoughts.

I’m not afraid of death, for myself. I’m afraid of how my death will affect the people I care for. But, to be honest, I’m just so curious to see what happens after this that it seems to blot out any fear. To finally know the unknowable. To see what mortal eyes can’t. I don’t mean to be morbid. I am certainly not expressing a desire to die. In fact, I enjoy living now more than I ever have. But I spend more time considering what death will bring than I think is “normal.” Then again, I don’t really believe in normal.

I had a quote, scribbled out in black magic marker, stitched together with masking tape, adhered to my wall over my bed as a teenager: “The more a man learns, the more he realizes how little he knows.”

This has been my life experience, thus far. The more I learn, see, feel, the less I feel able to state as irrefutable, concrete, objective fact.

No, I am not afraid of death. What I am afraid of, I’ve come to see of late, is leaving this world with no record of my true thoughts, desires, feelings, experiences. I feel an urgent need to document who I am, and the way I experience this life. My perspective. Because that’s really the only unique thing I have to offer. I am human. I need to breathe, to eat, to sleep. I need to feel connected. I need all of the things everyone else does. But the way that I see, that is mine alone.

I can’t stand the thought of leaving without telling you who I really am, even if nobody’s actually listening. Like the letter you wrote but never delivered. It still served its purpose for you. And so, I must write. I spend all day attempting to explain to the air around me my opinions, theories, beliefs. I’ve come to use that last word very carefully. Belief.

“Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would ‘lief’ or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go.” -Alan W. Watts

Those things I try the hardest to hold on to, to control, to define, are repeatedly turning out to be those things keeping me in the dark, diluted, biased, resistant, angry, miserable. As Julia Cameron put it, “Nothing dies harder than a bad idea.” My life lately has been a journey of detangling my real self from my ego, the part of me stubbornly holding onto bad ideas, justification, fallacy.

I had a therapy session recently that brought me to the image of a game of tug-of-war. I described my compulsion to take on others burdens, to shoulder their shame, take responsibility for their actions. It creates a constant tension, constant battle, an endless effort to control the outcome of what was never mine.

Connie (therapist, friend, mother of my friend, artist, art teacher, creative healer extraordinaire) simply asked me, “And how do you end a game of tug-of-war?”

Without hesitation, I responded, “Someone lets go.”

I am letting go. And it is horrifying. I am letting go and it is liberating. It is a fit of laughter followed by uncontrollable tears. It is overwhelming dread as I read the news, and overwhelming gratitude as I consider sunshine through leaves.

It is impossible to properly explain.

until we disappear.

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One of the first truly sunny Saturdays of the year, I’m in a friend’s red pickup truck en route to a baby shower. The first of many, seeing as the majority of all of my close friends are pregnant. It’s that time, I suppose, for all of us kids to have kids of our own.

The friend who’s driving is pregnant herself, a little bump starting to making its place in her belly. It seems like pregnancy has made her even more beautiful than she already is, her skin glows, her lips are fuller. The whole process scares me to death, but it’s fascinating to see these women I’ve known for years doing what I it seemed only my teachers and church leaders did. But now we’re the teachers and leaders and I struggle to make sense of it, of the way I am who I am, but at the same time, still entirely who I was.

The 16-year-old from a decade ago sitting alone in her room, furiously scribbling into a journal, Jesse Lacey serenading in the background.

“This story’s old, but it goes on and on until we disappear.”

I’m still her. I still feel all of her pain, as well as her triumphs. Big or small, they were all so very significant. A decade passes, and most of my closest friends then are still my closest friends now. A decade gone, and I’m still that girl alone in her room, scribbling out her feelings into messy paragraphs, who will never stop listening to Brand New or driving to other states to see them live. Assuming they ever tour again.

“Would you say,” my friend asks from the driver’s seat, “that you’re happier now? You just seem happy lately.”

She speaks carefully, always pleasantly and always with tact. The sort of person that could make anything sound like a compliment. She doesn’t want to make it sound like I used to seem completely miserable. Though, would that really be so off-base?

I answer in the affirmative. Yes, I’m happy. I’m as happy as I never thought I could be. I’m happy in the way I never understood how people were. I think about Before, the crippling anxiety, the periodic mental breakdowns, Drew trying his best to calm the turmoil in my mind. Winter used to throw me, scoop me up and hurl me into a dark state of self-loathing and paralysis. But this year, not so much. Sure, there were low points. I still felt the grinding monotony of life without light or color. I’m still not sure how 5:00 sunsets are morally acceptable. But, other than that, I was fine. No seasonal depression, no darkness near as dark as what I’ve encountered in the past.

It feels so good, better than I would have thought, for someone to see me as happy.

Not to say that I’m any less annoyed that our culture seems to demand happiness over every other equally-valid emotion. Not to say that it’s been without effort. I’ve been working at myself, or, at loving what that is. About a year ago, I began the process of forgiving myself all of my inevitable little blunders. At accepting that my value is something I was born with. And then I came across something I hadn’t expected.

That those blunders, oddities, moments that used to bring blushed cheeks and feelings of shame, are actually what I love most about myself. They are the defined edges that keep me from vanishing into the background as I once did. They are what make me decisive. Tangible.

I have found a new truth. Or, a new personal truth. I’m sure many have discovered it before me, and I hope that many do after. It is truth to me that when something is loved simply for what it is, nothing less or more, it becomes luminous and beautiful. Just like sunshine and good soil bring empty branches into bloom. Yes, it feels like that. Like I have done the work necessary to clear away those things that were blocking my light, grounded myself with deep roots, allowing myself to bloom.

here

It would take a
time machine
to fulfill all of my
fantasies,
because a hidden dream
can be embarrassing,
and the only thing
that’s sacred ’til
the end.” -Conor Oberst
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The day is windy and wild, dark clouds cause even the brightest hours of the afternoon to feel like the dreamy, fleeting moments of twilight. That’s what I love about stormy weather – it makes the softened, melancholy light from the very last moments of the day last for hours.

I am home. My happiest place. I spend my days here, working, writing, cleaning, dreaming. The way I’ve always dreamed of from where I used to sit in a cubicle. Stuffy offices, one after the other until, finally, I had had enough. Until I found the courage to admit to my dreams, to point them out, utter them aloud.

I think we are often afraid to become acquainted with our dreams – or, what I consider our destinies. It seems that we are hesitant to admit to them, stand by them because who do we think we are? To hope for more. Because once we do that, we realize just how far below our potential we are allowing ourselves to live.

More still, we realize that we are the only person capable of changing that.

“All these grand old rooms, and we live our lives within three feet of the fire.” – W. Nicholson

Candles are lit around my house. I fold laundry on our bed. Drew will be home soon. We’ll practice for a show we’re playing this weekend. Then I’m off to Bikram Yoga, where I stretch myself, allow myself to take up space, give myself permission to exist, to sweat, believe in my abilities to do what I couldn’t before. I imagine that I’m sweating off all of the make up, the products, the perfumes, through my clothes, through anything unessential. I sweat it off of me, out of me. I imagine becoming my essential self.

I had the TV on, but something about this moment on this day feels pure. Sanctified. Holy. It feels almost as if some divine presence from some other realm, plane, dimension is reaching out to me. She embraces me, tenderly stroking my cheek as she says, “That’s it. Keep moving, child. You are onto something now.”

fire

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I only mean to comfort
When you settle close to me
But there must be space between us
We both need room to breathe

It is true that I accommodate
I am solace
I am peace
But remember there is power
In these flames now at your feet

Let me be your fire
Crackling below the mantelpiece
There is little that I require;
I will let you come to me
You’ll find no obligation
Only warmth and tranquility
A place of quiet comfort
Where you can safely retreat

Let me be your fire
I’ll warm those hands and kiss your cheeks
Lay yourself down beside me
And I’ll sing you off to sleep

Let me be your fire
I’ll fill the room with my golden glow
You can mention anything
You’d want no one else to know

There is no cause for worry here;
At this hearth your secrets will keep
When you’re close to me, dear,
You can rest,
You can whisper,
You can weep