As I sit in my kitchen letting my feet thaw in my slippers and allowing my fingers to warm themselves on this keyboard, I suppose I shall share some thoughts upon which I have been ruminating. I just went for a luxurious twenty minute walk around the block. Wearing my brown flats, which are insensible in this weather yet I refuse to retire them for any season, I set off in my bright pink pea coat with my thoughts, my black leather gloves, and my slowly dying cell phone. I find that a walk is often all I need when I'm stressed, anxious, over thinking things, or just battling with boredom. I wasn't really dealing with any of these situations, but I knew that my body could use some fresh air. Walks always seem to have a calming affect on me, letting me unwind and attend to the emotions and thoughts I often neglect during the day.
As I walked, I thought about how all my Facebook friends have been posting things for which they are thankful during this month of giving thanks. I also began to compile a list in my head. It's quite simple actually- family, friends and experiences. I am lucky to have grown up with a family that is so close. I have shared a bond with all of my siblings since I was young and with my parents, which came easier as I grew older. I often take for granted what a rare breed I am. I get to go home to a house full of people for every holiday- no pressure, no stress, no disagreements, just fun with a healthy, wholesome, crazy family. They are my life and always have been. But the point of this post is not for me to rave about how awesome my family is, or how I am blessed to have a boyfriend who is my complete opposite and thus both challenges and supports me, or how I am lucky to have amazing friends who have never stopped loving me, no matter what differences we may have faced at various times. No, the real reason I sat down at the computer this afternoon was because I realized something important. Not only do those people who are close to me affect my life, but so do those who no longer are.
Shuffling down the sidewalk this afternoon, I looked, as I usually do, for the car I know I will see around town at some point, for the face of a guy with whom I used to be infatuated. I know some day I will face him, probably when I am unprepared and flustered, probably not when I am as calm and level-headed as I am now. Even though things didn't work out with this person and me, for good reason, he is still a part of my life, or was. I learned who I was and who I didn't want to ever be from that relationship. So not only are we affected by the ones who surround us; we also are influenced by the ones who are no longer in our lives. As I lingered in the cold air, I was aware that at that particular moment I would be okay if I came across him. I would be able to face him head on, but that's not how life works. When and if I ever see him again, it will probably be at the most inopportune moment, at the most inconvenient time. But that's what life does- it throws us challenges when we are least able to accept or handle them. However, we always manage to survive.
So, I am thankful. I am thankful for all of those people in my life, past and present. I am thankful for those people I have yet to meet and the journeys ahead of me to come. I am thankful for all the experiences that I have had, both good and bad, because they've made me into the person I am today. They've made me into the woman who sits here watching the sun set from her living room window, thawing in the silence of an empty apartment, ruminating on how lucky she is and has been to a world wide web full of both familiar people and strangers alike. And I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Why is it that the first snowfall of the season always brings with it the romanticism of the season and memories fated to remain forever in the past? As I sit at the computer this chilly November morning with my lukewarm cup of coffee, I stare at the fresh coat of snow outside. It covers everything- the ground, my car, the leaves that have yet to fall, the roof of the diner across the street. Its presence brings a certain warmth, the promise of Christmas, but that's not all. For me it brings romance, it brings desire, it promises passion.
Now I am not a winter girl, which leads me to wonder why I have lived in New England my whole life and refuse to leave it, but the first snow always seems to take my breath away. It brings all these promises with it that I can't describe or begin to explain to you. The first place it brings me back to is college. I remember each flake sparkling as it fell, wrapped in the spotlight of Alumni Hall. I remember walking with a colleague who loved to push me into snowbanks any chance he got, falling with me every time and never failing to do so without a slight grin on his face. I remember being hailed across campus because of my signature red pea-coat, which no one failed to miss as I traversed to class and back and forth to the library.
The snow brings it all back, that feeling of cold wrapped in warmth, the blizzard whipping around outside while the fire blazes at home. Christmas with the family, snowmen in my youth, baking cookies, peppermint coffee- these are all promises that the season makes us. Now, by the end of winter I am ready for a break. The harsh reality of cleaning off my car at seven in the morning or being stuck in a parking lot of people who can't handle the snow becomes more than annoying. The holiday crowds, the pushing people, the Nor'easters, by January first I am ready for the spring. But I always find the first snow of the season to be magical; it's like we're all children once again, itching behind our small school desks ready for release, ready to taste the flakes on our tongues, ready for the hot chocolate waiting at home, ready to bundle up in our snowsuits, ready to go sledding. That feeling is still ripe in the air, ripe for all to pick up on.I'm sure I will forget this post in a mere matter of minutes once I am outside scraping the snow off my car, trying to get it to move over the snow mounds that the plow so kindly shoved around it overnight; however, I think it's important to capture the magic of a season in words. The snow marks waves of nostalgia for me, longing for youth, longing for college seemingly long gone now, longing for the innocence that the white, sparkling flakes seem to bring. The snow makes silent promises to me every year. It brings back the past and with it, remembrance of a time long gone.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Lately, I have been finding myself with a lot of time on my hands. Since I don't start my new full time job for a few weeks, I have tried to devote this spare time to writing. I have become a member of a fabulous website called She Writes. My page can be found at http://www.shewrites.com/profile/ErinSmith864 for all readers interested. I have been trying to write different things there than I write here, but it all sort of ends up in one big overlap, self-promotion on both sites. I have been trying to gear myself up to right that novel I'm always telling people I will write. I'm hoping with my membership to this new site, I can make some actual steps toward doing so. I'm all talk right now, and I'm well aware of that fact.
Anyways, so I guess my post for today alludes to my past, as my posts so often do. After having dreams for the past few nights about someone I'd rather not be dreaming about or even mentioning, it inspired me to write the first poem that I have written in a long time. I will include it below after this post, but it got me thinking. My greatest inspiration is often pain. Why is that? I'm beginning to wonder if pain is the strongest emotion that we feel as human beings, not love or lust or happiness, but pain. It's always fresh, no matter how long ago the incident may have occurred that initially sparked it. You can live a happy life, but happiness often becomes a constant, and while there may be a rush of unexpected joy now and then, I find that it's the pain that lingers. It rears its ugly head and jabs us with a one-two punch to the heart every now and then. While my past is in the past, I hear mention of it through mutual friends, I have dreams, I see the model of my ex's car driving around town. I am willing to admit that similar things happen with joyful memories, yet it's always the ones that we look back at with disdain that seem to alter our mood.
Now I should go into a lecture about how not to let it affect you and how to move past the past, but I won't. Every once in a while, we need to reflect on the bad memories, live out the bad mood, if only for a little while, then let it pass. I'm not in a bad mood currently, just contemplative. The thoughts will pass and I will enjoy my day off of bad TV and cleaning the apartment. But for now, I'm giving myself the time to reflect.
I watch you move with listless eyes,
Your body betraying your sad disguise.
You follow the cracks in the sidewalk,
Shuffling silt as you talk
To me of your great plans,
Your wondrous life, your adoring fans.
But I can see right through to your core,
Your rotting heart, your lack of allure.
You’re no longer good, though you boast you are.
Prepared to wander near and far
To find another source of lust and adoration
Of a life no longer worth contemplation.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
I really am a basket-case. Now, unlike Ally Sheedy in my favorite movie The Breakfast Club, I am not eating a sandwich of Captain Crunch and pixy sticks or shaking my dandruff over a painting to create the effect layered snow. No, I am an emotional basket-case. One minute life is beyond alright, everything is going my way, the sun is shining, all those wonderful, happy, often yawn-inducing things. It only takes one event or one dream or one flashback to the past to sending me reeling off my stable axis. While I have just become aware that I am describing some symptoms of bipolar disorder, I assure you it's not that. I have been an overly emotional person since I was younger- reliving guilt over and over again over a stupid mistake made in childhood, replaying a fight between friends in my head while wishing I could have stopped the words that came rushing out of my mouth, pressing the rewind button as I will myself to get up off the floor and not react so embarrassingly to a boy breaking my heart.
Why am I like this when so many people can seem so unfeeling? I mean, while I'd rather be emotional than dead inside, it can be an extremely annoying condition with which to live. One instance from one dream the other night had me replaying the past over and over in my head all day long. It's the past, it's gone for a reason; however, when it is brought back to light, I have the hardest time shaking it. I can't shed the feeling that things could have been different, that I could have tried harder, that I could have made a significant change. I know this to be untrue because when I was living in the moment, I tried as hard as I could without crossing the line and being downright rude. I often have to pull myself out of the reverie of remembering one person's touch, now a stranger's touch, and ground myself in the present, realize all that I have in front of me. My past never seems to go away, and it has an unwelcome way of rearing its ugly head at the most inconvenient of times.
It leads me to wonder if we ever really shed the skin of our past lives. Maybe the past remains hidden in the back of our minds only to reappear when our guard is down, when sleep takes over our fragile bodies, when we're vulnerable. As scary as that is to think about, I think it may be true. We don't live in the world of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where memories can be erased and written over like cassette tapes, where people whose influences have become ingrained in our mind are no longer relevant. Where would we be if we forgot all the experiences of the past? We'd be stuck making the same mistakes over and over again. We'd learn nothing. So while my mistakes and past people of influence may haunt my dreams, at least they stay there now. I no longer have to live with them because I've learned, and now I know better.