This Turbulent Riot

"But his heart was in a constant, turbulant riot."- F. Scott Fitzgerald


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On Starting

It’s currently 9:33 pm on a Wednesday night. For many out there it may not feel any different from last Wednesday. And next Wednesday may not feel any different from this current one. But, for me I’m standing on the edge of something. Standing on a razor-thin enough that I’m balancing on the arches of my feet. I know the risks. I know that I may end up cut up a little bit, but I can’t help while sitting here, sipping on tea, and listening to some James Taylor that those little cuts may be a good thing. That they may lead to something better. Something bigger.

I’ve never really pretended to know what bigger is. What better is. My life has never felt like it had a whole lot of direction. Perhaps that’s why I’ve chosen to go back to school. Maybe that’s what I’ve been searching for during these last few years. But, right now, starting seems like one of the most terrifying things in the world. I know that 5:30 pm tomorrow is going to roll around no matter what. No matter how nervous I may get. No matter how much I may want to turn around and run away. I may find that I’m not cut out for this. I may find that I’m not enough, but I’ll never find any of it if I don’t start.

If I don’t attempt this, then I will never know what I’m made of. Never know what I’m capable of.

If I don’t start this, then I’ll never know that this potential that I’ve been storing up for years means anything.

I’m trying not to tie my worth to this, but it’s also what I’ve been working for during the last few years. Maybe I won’t find anything. Maybe we never really find much at all. But, I have found this: without ever starting–without ever attempting anything–we really won’t know our selves. Won’t know the world. Won’t know what the potential we can see even means. Or what we are capable of within the world. 

And quite frankly, I’m not willing to live with that. I want to know. I want to search and discover. I want to start.


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On The Things That Haunt Us

I’ve been spending a lot of time alone since I moved. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s part of why I moved here: to be alone. You see, there were things that I needed to clear out of my head. Things that have been weighing on me far longer than I think they should have. The only way I could dream of getting rid of them was to move away for a while. I understand that this may not make sense to some people, but I just wasn’t sure what else to do.

You see, we all have these things. Some call them demons. Some call them baggage. These weights that we carry around from our past. Maybe you’re like me and you keep them hidden from the world. Maybe you keep them tucked away in a pocket that you’ve sown into the back of your mind. It doesn’t matter where you keep, it’s the fact that you keep them at all. We all have these things that haunt us. That keep us tied to something we only pretend we want to leave behind. But the truth is, many of us pull those things out when it’s quiet. Maybe when you’re sitting alone in a dark room. Maybe it happens when you are in a room full of people. The problem is we all keep them because while these things may haunt us, we get some sort of comfort from them. Even demons can keep us company if we let them.

I’ve been thinking about all of this a lot lately. For a lot of reasons, really. But, it hit me last week that if this really was one of the reasons that I moved 2,000 miles away from home, shouldn’t I be doing something about it? Shouldn’t I be doing something about the demons I keep around for myself? And the truth is simple: yes. I should be doing something about it. The bigger truth is much more complex: I have been doing this. I may not have noticed it, but demons have been falling down around me and I haven’t been sensible enough to look on the floor next to me. To recognize that I’m already changing. That I’m already losing parts of me that I wish I could have shed so much longer ago.

I’m not ashamed it’s taken me this long. These demons have shaped me. Have controlled me in some ways. But, more than that, they have led me to where I am. And where I am really isn’t so bad, right now.

And while I may be alone and tempted to bring my demons out, I have to remember that they can’t talk. They can’t think past what they once were. These demons are no longer real, if we choose for them not to be. Maybe you feel more secure with them around. maybe you feel more comfortable knowing you are not alone, so long as you have your demons. But the question isn’t whether they will keep us company or not. Rather, the question is: are they they company you really want to be keeping?


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On Being More Than Slightly Terrified

Do you ever have those moments in which you find yourself just completely freaking out? I don’t mean those moments in which you can visibly see someone freaking out or see yourself freaking out. I mean those moments when you are probably alone, sitting on your couch, sipping on some tea, and there is huge swell in side of your head. An ocean that simple will not be calmed?

I had one of these moments tonight. It was a freak out moment sure, but it was more than that. It was a moment of sheer terror.  It hasn’t scared me as much to move as I thought it would. Am I nervous about the next few months? Sure. Was I slightly terrified to move 2,000 miles away from home to a city in which I know no one? Yes. But that is not what has me more than slightly terrified tonight. No, my fears run deeper than that. That ocean that’s swelling in my head? It rages in my stomach. In my heart. In the big toe on my left foot.

Where is all of this rooted? It’s rooted in the fact that earlier tonight I hit a submit button that pulled me farther into debt. It was a submit button for a student loan, but the more I sat here contemplating, I realized I was submitting to so much. At first, I thought it was just the money issue, but really that submit button is so much bigger than I may ever know. It’s so much more than a price tag that I could slap on it.

And now, my terror is not coming from that debt that will be piling up. Rather, the cause of all those waves crashing throughout my being is the idea that the debt is not worth it. After hitting that button, I was left with questions. So many questions. What if after two years of school I haven’t changes? What if my writing stays stagnant? Will that debt be worth it in the end? What if I find out and my professors find out and my peers find out that there was a mistake along the way and I’m not supposed to be here. Studying writing. Studying poetry.

I have these thoughts from time to time. I used to believe it was just the curse of an artist. I used to believe that to be a great writer, I needed to doubt my ability and skills as a poet. And you know, maybe that’s true. Maybe I do need to question these things. Maybe proving something to myself is not all that bad. But, the insecurity behind these questions isn’t the fact that I’m a writer. An artist. No, it’s the fact that I’m human.

This is one of the things that connects us all. No matter how much confidence the person sitting next to you has, there is a tiny ocean inside of them swelling at this very moment. Oceans can be calm from time to time, but somewhere out there a wave is building.

And you know what, for a little while, I’m going to choose to have comfort in the fact that I’m not alone in these thoughts. In these growing waves. I’m going to accept that I will doubt myself from time to time. And in the end, the thing that pulled me out will be the same thing that pulled me in.

Life’s just funny like that. So, while I may be more than slightly terrified right now, I know that it won’t last. That oceans calm down and waves eventually have to break.


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Peeling

Have you ever gone on vacation and sat out in the sun a little too long? Maybe you were on the beach and fell asleep with your toes in the sand. Maybe you went to South Dakota and hiked in the Badlands for three hours. Maybe you were just laying out in your pool in the back yard.

Th Sun will burn your face off!

The point is, I’m sure at some point in your life you have had a sunburn. I’m sure that you have felt the heat on your skin slowly rise and at some point you looked down at your knees or your upper arms and realized that they were bright red.

Like this. Bright red.

Recently, I actually did go to South Dakota and I did go for a three-hour hike in the Badlands. And, while I’m sure you know where I am going with this, but I did actually get a little sun on my neck. And by a little I mean it was on fire. I want to rip my skin off, just so it would quick burning. I put aloe on it, and I still wanted to tear my flesh off.

This morning I was rubbing the back of my neck (it no longer burns), and I realized that my skin is starting to flake off. I realized that sometimes we need to be burned, so that our skin can peel.

It’s kinda like a snake. But, not like a snake. You know?

That was a metaphor. If you don’t know what a metaphor is, then just quit reading because I’m not going to explain it. If you really want to know, then google it.

Sometimes we need to shed part of ourselves.

Sometimes we need to know what the second layer is– what lies beneath the surface.

Sometimes we need to peel the layers of our metaphorical skin back and see what else there is.

Maybe we should all sit out in the sun a little too long. Maybe that’s what we have all been missing. We’ve been missing those bright red spots on our knees, on our shoulders and upper arms, on our necks, on our toes.

I’m a big fan of these tan lines.

Wherever. We’ve been missing shedding of skin. The shedding of layers. The realization of what lies below the surface of our own skin. Of our own lives. Of our own flaws. Of our own perceptions and truths.

And maybe none of this makes sense to any of you, but have you been burned lately?

This is an orange. You can peel them.


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Metaphorical Music

The other day I was riding in the car with Boss.

No, not this boss.

We were talking, joking, singing along with the radio. When we pulled up to his house a familiar tune from all of our pasts came on. I’m not ashamed to say I started singing along…

“Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine”

I mean, really who hasn’t gotten swept up in the musical stylings of Miss Sheryl Crow? Don’t you remember that song about the summer time…

I was going to put up a picture of Sheryl Crow. Thought that was creepy. Then I was going to put up a picture of summer. Thought that was cliche. Then I was going to put a picture of a walrus. Thought that was overdone. Brain went on meltdown mode. This is the result. I'm not apologizing.

Here is where I’m going: she is wrong. Or rather those lyrics are wrong. I mean really can we say everyday is winding road?

I get it. I get that some days don’t go as planned. There are twists and turns. But, what about those days that don’t have those bends in the road? Those days that are just straight?

Apparently, this is a day?

Have you ever driven through Kansas. It’s that state between Missouri and Colorado. The state no one really cares about.

Just in case you weren't sure where Kansas was.

I have. It is horrible. Dry. Flat. Straight. Brown. And full of cows.

The color scheme of Kansas

You might be wondering how this song and Kansas are connected. Well, I’m getting there.

I think Miss Crow is only half right, or partially right. You see I think some days might be winding roads. Some days are unpredictable and we can’t see everything coming. But, I also think that some days are like driving through Kansas.

That was a metaphor. If you don’t know what a metaphor is, just quit reading now. I’m not explaining it.

I think that a lot of things in life come down to balance. We have to balance a lot of what we do. Days aren’t really that much different except we don’t get to control the balance. We just have to accept that the days will eventually balance out.

I think if we accept that there are winding road days, then we must accept that there are Kansas days.

Just to clarify, this is kinda what I mean by a Kansas day.

You might be asking yourself, “what are we supposed to do with these Kansas days?”

I’m not going to answer that question. Sometimes we have to find the answer to that question on our own. I could refer you to my post from two weeks ago. I think it deals well with what we should be doing.

But, maybe that isn’t enough. Maybe what is enough is just accepting that there is this balance. That when life is going crazy and you can’t see the end to current bend in the road, you have to hold on to that hope that the road will straighten out eventually. After all, we wouldn’t appreciate one without the other.

ANGRY TURTLE. (Secretly, I think he is just misunderstood.)


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Staring Out the Window

I finished my work early yesterday.

You may be asking yourself, “why would he share this little bit of knowledge with us?”

Well, I’m telling you because I was going to write a post. I sat for a few minutes at my desk thinking about what I was going to write. As I sat there, I thought of it. It was good too. But, then I got side tracked and realized I was done with work for the day, which meant I could go home and run.

I'm not a dog, but I do run this fast. No. Really.

Yes reader, my daily run has become more important to me than you.

Then last night I sat down at my computer to write this post, only I couldn’t remember my stroke of brilliance.

I couldn't resist using this again.

In case you haven’t noticed it yet, I often forget what my small small strokes of brilliance are- often leaving me questioning my own thought process.

Then today as I was staring out of my bedroom window (while I was running) I remembered my idea. Which is really ironic because my idea revolved around staring out the window (which I cam up with as I was staring out the window at work).

Those red dots represent the pain I usually experience after running.

When I was little I used to sit in our living room and stare out of this huge picture window at this old silver maple tree.

I like to remember it like this, although I'm sure it wasn't even close.

The tree was cut down a few years ago, I don’t stare out that window anymore, but I do still stare out of windows.

OVER DRAMATIC.

That, well, that was a metaphor as defined by me. If you know what a metaphor is and are wondering how I call these things metaphors, deal with it. I’m making up the rules and I say this is a metaphor. Boom. The end.

I don’t really like to hit these things on the head. Or shove my ideas and philosophies down your throat. But, I do understand that I need to explain myself a little bit.

I guess my point is that even though the scenery changes I still find myself doing the same things. Yes, I do have my head in the clouds sometimes. Yes, I can get lost staring out the window. Yes, if I allow my mind to wander it can go places I never thought it could.

But, my point is if I allow myself, I could waste days staring out the window.

And while enjoying that sometimes isn’t necessarily a bad thing, doing it too often is. I know that I’ve literally wasted (maybe not wasted) hours staring out the window. Sometimes it leads to something good. Sometimes it leads to nothing at all.

Last week I told you to go into the woods instead of just looking at them. I guess I’m trying to reiterate my point. I’m trying to tell you that life shouldn’t exist from inside the room. Life is outside of the window, so instead of staring out the window, maybe we should all get up and break the window. Just go see what’s on the other side, instead of staring at it. Maybe we should all put down whatever we are working on and take a few minutes.

Yeah. Do this. Whenever you can. However you can.

Again, I’m not telling you to stop and smell the roses. I’m telling you to pick the roses (let’s not turn that into something it isn’t). I’m telling you to travel. To write. To eat. To do something you have always wanted to do. I over think a lot. I think too much sometimes. I’m sure we all do.

My point is that maybe we should stop over thinking about living and just live. Life is outside of that window.

It’s up to you to figure out what that means.

Apparently, Adrian Brody is a toucan.


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Open Those Eyes

This is my third attempt at this post.

My first attempt went kinda like this: “Hmmm….this is going to be good. Oh wait. No. This is horrible. Possibly the worst thing I’ve ever written. No one will understand this.”

Am I the only one sense a theme with my posts lately?

My second attempt went kinda like this: “I don’t care if no one gets it. Wait…yes I do. (Then I typed for about 5 minutes.) Crap. This is horrible, obvious, not funny, and really cliche. Must. Erase. Everything.”

This was me at work while trying to write this.

(Sometimes I miss the actual act of erasing things with an eraser. You know, instead of highlighting something and then hitting the delete button.)

My third attempt is going something kinda like this:

Ok, so I'm not a little girl, but when I figured out where I wanted to go with this post, I was pretty excited.

At my last apartment we didn’t exactly keep things “clean.” As in we hardly ever used the vacuum. I don’t think I ever dusted. And often we only did dishes about once a week.

This last one, well it resulted in a pile up. I think usually the reason we washed dishes was because we would run out of cups or plates. Or the kitchen was starting to smell.

You might be think, “well, that’s just plain gross.” And I would have to agree with you, but as much as I love(d) my roommates they hardly ever did the dishes. Which left it up to me. So, sometimes I would protest and not do them. Until it was driving me insane.

That’s not the point I’m trying to make though. (Just give me a minute okay, I’m trying to build up the story!)

We didn’t have a stopper for the drain, which meant that I had to leave the water running while I was doing the dishes. And our kitchen was rather small, so it would become loud and usually I couldn’t even hear the music that I had playing 3 feet away.

Roommate used to come down stairs and say something. I would quite literally jump. I couldn’t hear him come down the stairs or take the 6 and half steps from the bottom of the stairs to our kitchen doorway.

No, I'm not a cat either. But, you get my point, right? I hope so. I think it's kinda obvious.

You see, I knew he was there in the apartment, but I didn’t realize he was so close.

That was a metaphor. If you don’t know what a metaphor is just quit reading because you are just going to be even more confused than those that do know what a metaphor is.

Does that make sense as a metaphor? I’m not sure it does. But, I’m making up the rules here, so you’re just going to have to deal with it.

Maybe that was just another way to say we don’t see the trees for the forest, or however that saying goes.

I'm pretty sure this is fake. It doesn't look real. Gotta be a fake. No way.

I think a lot of times we miss what’s in front of us. We forgot what is next to us because it’s always there. White noise tends to drown out everything around us.

Sometimes, we need someone to come down the stairs and scare us a little bit. (Maybe this is a better metaphor for what I’m trying to say.)

Maybe we need to be shaken awake every once in a while.

And just so we are clear, I’m not trying to tell you stop and smell the roses. I’m trying to tell you that something is probably in front of your face and you haven’t opened your eyes wide enough to see it.

Does this scare anyone else? I think it's kinda freaky.

I’m trying to tell you to get lost in something (like washing the dishes) and maybe when you snap out of it you will realize that things have changed. That maybe you will notice something you haven’t ever noticed before.

I’m trying to tell you that when your heart is racing, it’s a good thing. I’m trying to tell you that there is comfort in silence, but there is also comfort in loudness. And if you are open to things, well then good things can come your way.

But, maybe most of all, I’m trying to tell you to not look at the forest or the trees from a distance. Actually go into them. Explore them because you never know what might be right in front of you.

Walter the Walrus, says to tell your Mom hi.

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