Thursday, May 24, 2012

This is a very long post, and it's very likely that it's about you, so read on.

This is a blanket apology for my hypocrisy. I'm allowed to move on. You're not. I'm allowed to do whatever I want. You're not. I'm sorry about that. I thought I should mention that right off the bat.

Baby girl, let me tell you what I learned this year. Let me tell you: it wasn't trigonometry. I don't count my years January to December; I count them September to May, and summer is stuck in the middle like something beautiful that you get to just drown in -- "And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." (Name that book (without Google)).

Here's the thing: I don't even remember what I was taught about the unit circle, I don't remember important dates from medieval England or the point of the Civil War, but I learned a lot. I learned a truckload of things since last September and most of them came from people who... who have (for lack of a better way to say it) apprivoisered me.

There are two verbs in French that mean "to tame." There's domestiquer and apprivoiser, and they don't connote the same things. Domestiquer is like the domestication of an animal, but apprivoiser is something different, really. It's more about etre un ami -- devenir un ami, really. When you apprivoiser something or someone, you become their friend and learn to love them. People aren't automatically special. They're special because you love them. That's what le petit prince and le renard and le fleur and le pilot and madame taught me this year (merci, Madame). That's why I cried a little in my French class today.

I'm learning to be breathless and stay breathless and to let whatever happens around me just carry me. Benjamin taught me that. He taught me that if you know what you're doing here, you know what you're doing here, so just do it. I know I'm supposed to write, like Benjamin's supposed to act, so we're doing those things. We've stopped floundering. (Gosh, Benjamin's going places. Going places, I tell you, and I'm aching from missing him already.) And I can't stop thinking about Kristin Parker, because that girl taught me more than she'll ever know. If I can ever achieve the beauty and talent and fidelity of that girl, I will have made it. Kristin Parker taught me youth. Connor White taught me about friendship and doing what you feel and saying what you've kept up inside of you. Cody taught me about blooming into something beautiful. Laura taught me to let go easy. Aubrey taught me to never be disillusioned by appearances. Gretel taught me about discovering myself -- Gretel taught me about real beauty, people.

Emily Henson taught me that new friends are nice, but old friends are gold. Emily Luse taught me to just be a good person. Daniel Allenbach taught me to shatter stereotypes. Eliza Summerhays taught me about what it means to be beautiful, what it means to be a Christian.

Avery taught me to say what I mean, and Avery taught me to love people, and Avery taught me what a family is, and Avery taught me what it means to be beautiful, like Kaitlyn taught me what is means to be beautiful, like Kaitlyn taught me what a family is, like Kaitlyn taught me to love people, like Kaitlyn taught me to cry. I love them so much it hurts me.

Matt Davis? He taught me calm down. He taught me to wait before you make assumptions. He taught me to stop forgetting people's birthdays. And Kyle? He taught me that good things come from unexpected places (Kyle, if you're reading this: I miss you). Morgan taught me that it's okay to feel things, and it's okay to have bad days, it's okay to miss people, and celebrations are important. She taught me to go day by day. She taught me to do what I need to do, despite all other schedules. She taught me to laugh and cry with the same breath, because what's life without really feeling things?!

This year, I learned that 16 and 86 aren't that far apart. 

I learned about falling apart and falling back together. I learned that from everybody, especially Katie Thueson.

This year, I learned to like myself, and I learned that far away isn't that far away (hollaback, Alex Barker).

My mom taught me that I have to come home sometimes, because she will always be home. She will always be home to stroke my hair and love me no matter what. My dad taught me that I have to change my perspective before I can change the world. Sophie taught me to take whatever happens into stride, to get up when I fall. Hazel taught me to snuggle more. Millie taught me... Millie taught me what's really important, and that what that is is love.

My yoga teacher taught me to do this: "Inhale peace, exhale expectation. Inhale hope, exhale competition. Inhale love, exhale judgment."

Yeah, I have this teacher, and he teaches me about Shakespeare and responsibility, but what I've really caught onto is this: "Remember please. Remember please when God is holding you in the palm of his hand." (And how can I ever thank you for that lesson, Mr. J?)

I learned about love and loss and how to run on an empty tank of gas. I learned that bank accounts aren't for spending frenzies and that if you run too fast, albeit stunning for a second, you won't see what you're running so quickly past, and that's really too bad, because this world is something to see.

And baby? I know. I know that you think you know everything. I know that feeling, but one day, someone will walk up to you and say, "There is no God, and we are His prophets," and you'll be all, "Oh, okay..." and then realize that doesn't make any sense at all, but he'll be gone, and someone else will be in front of you, and they'll say, "Doublethink, amiright?" and you'll be like, "Uh, sure," and when you blink, they'll be gone, someone else in their place saying, "And Lot's wife, of course, she was told not to look back at where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human." That you'll recognize. You'll get excited. You'll say, "And she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes," because so it goes. (Name those books.)

Baby girl, people keep marching through my door and they say these things: Remember where you're coming from, remember where you're going, remember what you want, remember that you can do anything if you try.

And that's what I'm learning. That's what I'm becoming. These people march through my door, and they apprivoiser me, in a sense. It isn't a conscious thing. I just love them, even when they're the worst sometimes or even when we don't agree. I love them.

There's this woman I call Gina and she asked me a lot of questions this year, and I learned things I'll never forget. What is Art? she said, What is Reality? she said, What is Love? she said, and she handed me the Mona Lisa's smile and in it, I saw just how wretchedly hypocritical I've been.

So I'm apologizing right here and now. You are free to move forward. You are free to do anything you want -- anything. And I will applaud you if you are happy, baby girl. Applaud me when I'm happy, yeah? Because you can be happy. Because you should choose to be happy, like I can be happy, because I'm choosing to be happy, baby. That's something my dad taught me.

And I'm ready. I'm ready for summer. I'm ready to just drown in the loveliness of it all, spend as much time as I can breathing in the scent of you. It's time now. I've learned now. I've passed on what I've learned, and I'm ready now. I am here now. I am here now.

There are UFOs in the sky.
All my love,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday, May 21.

You are the only thing I've ever really loved. I mean, I love my mom and my dad and the sunshine, but you are the only thing that I've ever really loved like you're something else entirely. I know that makes me sound like I don't understand the connotations of "love," but I promise you that I do. I swear to high heaven that I do know. I understand them very well. I know because this is something else. I know because I've tasted everything else out there, and you are the only thing without a bitter aftertaste. I know because I don't know how to say this and I? I know how to say everything. Everything. You know that. I know how to describe indifference. I know how to spell apathy -- like this: "T-H-E-E-N-D-O-F-M-A-Y." I can use it in a sentence, but I know the shapes my mouth makes when I make the words "I love you," too. I can use that in a sentence, too. I'm brilliant; you cast a shadow that I'm drowning in. It's so safe here.

I tried commitment and I tried promiscuity and I tried hope and none of it feels like the way you smell. I can find you in the dark and I could paint pictures with your secrets if you'd let me know them. I could make great art out of your glances. I worry about you. And I don't know what I'm asking you for, maybe nothing, but probably everything, because I think you can give it to me, you would give it to me, and I might not be able to give it all back to you, even though I'd try, but I think you'd forgive me, because you are the best person I have ever met.

Darling, I don't mean this. I'm not really asking you to give me your whole heart, because you can't force it, you know? I just mean that I think you're something else.

And then there was one.
All my love,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I didn't write these, but they're wonderful.

Just for your reading pleasure. I didn't write these, but they're great. I highlighted the best parts. Happy Thursday, lovlies.

“Hipster Poem” by Russell Wilson

Beautiful boys and girls sip water out of mason jars
Cuffed flannel exposes the ease of dark haired wrists and brown knuckles
Sitting on a picnic table
Laughing like they’re gonna be this perfect forever
Perfect being this relative thing ‘cause they haven’t washed
Their hair in like two weeks
But they’ve got hope strung up like fairy lights in the bedrooms
Of that person they loved first
They fall into each other
And I’m jealous of these bodies next to bodies
Because the moon is falling in love with them
At the exact moment that they’re falling in love with each other

A pale mouthed boy with freckles and a chapped nose
Is humming Amazing Grace
Their feet start praying loud
But then amazing grace turns into a back pocket harmonica solo
And I’m thinking it won’t take long before they drown
In the happiness of it all
I can see them choking on it already
But that just makes them want to love harder
Because they’re not stupid and they know that it can slip
Through their fingers so quick
And because they’re kinda stupid, they think that wishing
On a picnic table will make it stay

Funny shaped knees poking through faded cords
They they wore so carefully threadbare
Fabric so thin you can see their souls
The indecency of showing what matters most, like it was nothing
But it makes them so wickedly cool
That, and the fact that at least one of them can play the ukulele
And I’m blushing like it’s the first time, thinking they must know everything
But then they start talking about the world like it’s a joke with no punch line

Until one of the girls with feathers in her hair starts crying
She does it like poetry till they all wish they’d never been born
And somehow in the carelessness of tragedy
The harmonica got kicked into the dirt
So I start humming Amazing Grace
And they’re looking around like maybe it’s coming from the flowers
Because why wouldn’t the flowers start singing
When the moon’s out loving you so good.

by Gregory Sherl

You fit the world in your mouth and I’m jealous of all the cobweb space. I scour the neighborhood picking up your lost hairpins, smell last night in your hair. It’s a good thing, you never forgetting my waist. Maybe I’m in love or maybe I’m not in love or maybe I’ve tasted love before and haven’t brushed my teeth in a while, but you look so good in that dress I want to bake you a pie. In one of these sentences I say something important. This is what I’m going to do: touch your hips with my tongue, build you a nest out of pillowcases. We are always falling into the softness of photosynthesis. The most important part of last night is making it happen again. I was never good at math but I’m adding up the miles to your hips. Come over, I want to sober up inside you.

We've made it to the single digits.
All my love, 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Twilight (a time of day) (don't get your hopes up).

As much as I like to think that I am a city person, I think I'm actually a small-town person at heart. I'm definitely not a country person, that's for sure, because I'm starting to realize that the things I think I love about cities are really the things I love about small towns: people. I love people. I love knowing my neighbors and seeing the same ornery woman behind her desk on the second level of the library.

I love local bookstores and local coffee shops and local gas stations and local restaurants. I love local car washes, and I'm still a little cut up about the whole Firehouse Car Wash being bought out by nationally renowned Mr. Hot Shine, because that little car wash was a part of this little city! It was a part of my little city, like I'm a part of this little city, I'm a part of my little city.

And I love small-town because it's home. Maybe if I grew up in the country, I'd be a country person. Maybe if I grew up in the city, I'd be a real honest city person. But I grew up in a little baby, overly conservative town, and when people say things like, "Obama sucks," I know they're just saying, "Welcome home, Addy."

And I'm going to leave here someday. I'm might build bridges, I might write books, and I'm going to go to New York City, as cliche as it is. San Fransisco and Paris and Rome and Cairo and London and Tokyo, and maybe someday I'll call that my home. I'll stand at the feet of the Hellenistic Beauty and I'll cry and say, "I'm home," and I'll stand in Times Square and say, "I'm home," and I'll lean out of open windows in Barcelona and I'll say, "I'm home!" and no one will know what I'm saying because I speak English and they speak Spanish there.

Maybe I'll even go to Mitchell, Arizona, which is somewhat ironic and an anomaly in of itself. Mitchell, Arizona is doublethink in city form (boy form?). Maybe I'll fall in love with everywhere in the world and when I look at a map, I'll just stretch out my arms and embrace the entire world as my home.

But now? Right now? Home is my family and the weird conglomeration of friends that I've collected. Home smells like my shampoo. Home is Avery's shampoo and Kaitlyn's shampoo and how our hairs stick to Matt's black coat and how Kyle laughs when we pull them off. 

Maybe someday my home will be universal, because there are things that are universal, you know? Friends are universal, I bet, like families are universal and youth is universal. Heartache and euphoria are probably universal, and fires probably burn when you light them no matter where you are. As far as I'm aware, shampoo smells the same wherever you go in the whole world and hair probably sticks to coats on all continents.

But I'm not leaving yet, like you are not leaving yet, and like we might never leave, really, because we're pieces of each other at this point. I'm not leaving yet.

I'm still not over 17-year-old Leo. (Are you asking me on a date?)
All my love,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo and stuff.

How long can we procrastinate saying goodbye? Should we take bets like we're the Kentucky Derby? Like we're that interesting?

Your shoes were supposed to smell like fire for the rest of forever. Then we woke up. That's just the way things work out sometimes.

Headaches and shoulder pains. General misery.
All my love,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reasons why we leave and 37 things I learned from you.

When I was younger, I ate a black watermelon seed. After I swallowed it, they told me it would stick inside my stomach and grow into a watermelon. This seems illogical now, because I know my stomach is only about the size of my fist, so I think that's called teasing.

Last week, I ate a fortune -- right out of the cookie. I ate because they told me that if I did, it would stick inside my stomach and become true. I think that's called peer pressure.

I said, "Operator? Give me God. Put 'im on the other end," and she said, "Darling, I'll look again, but I don't think He's in this book," and I said, "Maybe you're looking in the wrong one." I hung up really quickly, because I thought she might ask me what book to look in, and the truth is that I'm not sure.

I have a new idea for clocks. I think instead of numbers, they should just have pictures. Things like where the 6 is, just a picture of me hitting the snooze button. At 1800 hours, there'd be dinner. A 24-hour clock, you know? And special clocks for the weekend.

I want to waste time. I'm trying very hard, in fact, but it isn't wasting away. I like to tease time, you know? I like to stand on the platform and pretend I'm not going to get on the Time Train, but if I blink, I'm locked away in my compartment. Happens every time. And time says, "It's AP week, and there's no food in the cupboards, and it's time for you to say goodbye," and I say, "I know. I know, but procrastination and general denial of life are house specials where I come from."

It's AP week, and there's no food in the cupboards, and it's time for me to say goodbye, but procrastination and general denial of life are house specials where I come from. They're specialties of mine. Would you like a side of things-half-written with that? Would you like your mourning scrambled or over easy?

And you? I've written you thirty-seven letters, and I remember what you said. Yeah -- later, still December, in the car, you handed me a handful of foreshadowing, which I didn't understand for eight months, but eight months later, I remember what you said, August 17, and I remember what you didn't say.

The point is, last week I ate a fortune cookie, and now, however metaphorically, everything that I am going to be is housed inside of me, just waiting for me to climb in there and throw open my own silver shutters and let the light in. One day, when I've built up the strength, I'll do just that, and when I do, the carpenter's son will come to me, and he will say, "You are here now. You are here now, and now you understand."

Learner & Lowe were not influenced by Gandhi. Stop lying to yourself.
All my love,