Friday, December 30, 2016

Restless Train Syndrome

Despite the fact that I am a self-proclaimed traveler (indeed, I'm writing this while logged into the internet on a train- look at me, all fancy and tech-savvy.  I even packed lunch for the family AND remembered to charge and bring my tiny tablet computer rather than my trusty, overly large MacBook), I am terrible at it.  I mean, truly terrible.  I am horrifying to travel with and even worse to cater to.  I'm pretty sure I'm on some sort of Irksome-Traveler Hit List held secret by flight attendants the world over.

I'm antsy, fretful, panicked and annoying.  I get up to walk around on planes, trains, and boats as much as I can (so far on this 8 hour train journey I'm taking today, Fitbit tells me I've logged just about 2,000 steps).  I bounce my legs in cars and incessantly ask for pit stops.  I try to read to calm myself but then drink water while I'm reading and then have to ask for even more pit stops.  I literally drive everyone around me absolutely nuts.

You may ask my husband about that.  Or my father.

I'm also painfully terrified of planes crashing.  Yes, I know the statistics.  No, I don't care about them.  You are still sitting in what amounts to a very large, winged tin can that has been launched 35,000 feet into the air.  Call me crazy, but when things shake and rattle up there, I begin to do the same.  Whenever I fly I mutter the following prayer:

'Whoever's out there, if you're listening... look if we go down, please let me kick it before the sharks get to me.'

... Even when I'm not flying over any bodies of water (or bodies large or saline enough for sharks).  Because I do.  And because by now it's ritual.  Like coaches before big games- only I just want to get through the moment unscathed and still relatively well-intact.

You see what I'm saying?  I'm terrible.  I have even been guilty of the white knuckle grip upon landing, takeoff, and turbulence.  And of gasping.  And possibly, once or twice, of tears.  And then as soon as it's safe, I'm up again, bouncing around like a children's toy.  If I have a short layover or a long flight delay I crumble into a frenic state most clearly identified by my checking my watch every thirty seconds or so... as if my desperate need for smooth sailing could somehow will the plane to take off or the runway to magically clear or the people walking at a snails pace in front of me to spontaneously disappear.

I also make very loud huffing noises when none of those things happen.

And until next time, I'm off to the bar car.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Magic That Remains.

As children we are allowed to suspend the real world and believe, wholeheartedly, in magic.  We are allowed to believe in Father Christmas, in Tooth Fairies, and in the rightness and inherent presence of good things.

There is some magic, I believe, that remains.  Some things stay with us: how the world is wiped clean in a snow storm; how the night time is the time when the most magic possible can happen; how Christmas lights add just the right touch of fairy dust.  And how looking at a lit Christmas tree can act like a time machine- bringing you right back.

It is right that we should remember this little bit of goodness from time to time.  Especially at this time, when the magic of family is all around and permeating.

And so to all- Merry Christmas.  Let the magic stick.

Friday, December 9, 2016


Sometimes words get stuck between my brain, my fingers, and the rest of the world.  And then I get drafts... long-suffering, purgatorially bound drafts.  Drafts upon drafts upon drafts.  Words that float on the whiteness of a barely-blank page until they are either forgotten, lost, or put to bed as something materialized or something cast aside.

There have been about a hundred drafts of a certain nature since the 8th of November.  The need to be calm and remain rational while the rest of social media melts down prevented them from taking life.  Also, despite my general openness, some things need not be exacerbated.

Some drafts look like this:
Yesterday, while studying for two exams that I'm sure I'll fail, I found myself thinking thoughts that put me squarely in the category of 'moron' or 'simpering fool' or, worst, 'idiot woman.'  I don't particularly like those categories, but I was in them yesterday (may still be today).  Because I found myself doing what I always do: cowering.   
And making excuses. 
I psychologically abuse myself.  I tell myself that I'm not good enough; not important enough; not special enough.  And then I use that to justify the behaviors of others.
What's worse is that I then re-abuse myself and rejustify others with this impossible-to-discard banner of independence.  I made this choice.  I made all of these choices; I chose the qualities that made me not good enough, important enough, special enough.  They are mine and I keep them close to the chest. 
Others look like this:
It is humbling to have your intellect thrown in your face.

It is humbling to have a world of knowledge surrounding you, complicating you, and exhausting you.

It is humbling to be a person who is less than a person- more of a thing.
Or this:
Reading over my previous post for grammar errors (my father instilled in me a rather consuming worry over them), I began to recognize The Other Side, to name it; to give it a real space over there.   I could see it, a little, like a distant  This side is Hope, The Other Side is Acceptance.

I hope, I hang out in Hope, I 
I know what I was thinking about when putting these words in place.  I know who I was responding to (it wasn't my father if that's what you're thinking).  I remember how sure I was about this response and how carefully I began to construct it.  I also remember the fever of writing that kept burning and burning.

There are times when drafts become something more.  But there are many times when drafts are just drafts: there and gone, gentle winds that become nothing; haunting currents.  A consideration of an echo.