My heart is held together by Elmer's glue, and little scraps of embroidery thread, it beats with a broken rhythm - I think they call it depression- and it feels - literally, not figuratively- like a heavy weight in the middle of my chest.
For four months I have wrote thousands of words. Thousands of words that were actually read by ten of thousands of people. An accomplishment I never thought I would see.
I wrote about food and I interviewed a finalist from the CBS reality show Survivor. I talked to pastors and chefs, and master gardeners.
I talked to professionals and your average joe. I was given mugs of steaming coffee and warmly invited to sit in their living rooms. One photographer I interviewed I had admired his work since I moved out here, years ago- never imagining I would have a chance to meet with him.
I offered people a chance to talk and sometimes the stories I heard never made it on newsprint, but I learned further about fragile hearts and sensitive souls and came away realizing that there's not enough hugs in the world and we are all so imperfectly human - each with our own story, shaped by tears and laughter and heartbreak.
One article I wrote was about how the non-profit social organizations in my Western small town had set themselves on a new path to change poverty. How instead of throwing more services and financial assistance at the needy, they were going to teach real skills- tech school or college - instead.
Instead of handing them fishes - they were going to teach them to fish.
One day, if I continue with this blog, I will write about how writing about interviewing people who deal and help people with poverty made me realize they can't feel it. Empathy- yes. But to understand poverty you have to experience it. Pawn off useless crap to feed your kids. Or visit a food pantry.
Feel it. In the rumble of your belly. And the red stain of shame flushed cheeks when you're three dollars short for hot dogs and the small business owners sells it to you for the dollars and quarters and pennies in your pocket.
For four months I have avoided this space. I have filled my head and my fingers with words about my community and other people's stories and I have avoided my own.
My grandparents died and then I was thrown away by a loved one who never in her life has thrown anything away, but she could toss me and the rest of the family away like an old box of cereal.
Nah, she keeps old boxes of cereal.
And I have to admit it hurts like hell to not even be as valuable as an old box of cereal. And I have to admit in my imperfectly humanness, I hope the holidays are just lonely enough to hurt. And then I try to remember love, but anger can be louder sometimes.
For my friends and families who have lost dear, dear loved ones this year, I worry and pray for you. And my heart swells with tears that I don't know how to express- because despite being a writer, I can be pretty lousy with spoken words.
But I have a wonderful friend who has taught me to say something anyway. So I stumble, stutter, but I speak clumsily and I have found that my far from graceful offerings of comfort aren't as rejected as I feared.
And I have seen the light, and I know even in our darkest hour we are never, ever alone. And of course, Bean reminds me how do you know it's your darkest hour...
Ah, shit. I was trying for something hopeful and poetic and worthy of a life coach. But freaking me, truthfully that's not me.
Let me speak frank and with the anger I keep carefully contained under lock and key.
Life can fucking suck and we don't always understand the reasoning behind what happens.
It can be tough and fill us with hard words.
It can drag us down into the murky water to drown. And we do. We try to drown it with drugs, drink, food, and reckless sex. We numb ourselves and medicate ourselves and we turn away from the Divine.
And we forget to breath.
WE FORGET TO LIVE. And then Bean reminds me that she doesn't understand why people keep telling everyone to live - do more than survive. Aren't we living?
Are you? Am I?
And in the meantime, the world shifts in imbalance - back and forth along the broken edge of a cliff, dividing people and we can feel it in our collective emotions. And if a hashtag could fix the world, then things wouldn't be falling apart like a snowman in summer.
And it's not that I'm writing about anything that hasn't been discussed since humans made a written language, and our ancestors understood hardship and death.
It's just us in the Western world we have been coddled and lived within an illusion, shopping while we sip lattes (and I do enjoy a good latte) and now I realize that one of my main jobs of being a parent was not just to teach them compassion and empathy, but strength.
Because this world will kick you in the ass.
And since us imperfect humans love to find solace in words - words from songs like the Beatles, and quotes from deeply spiritual people like Mother Teresa and from words handed down through centuries like the Holy Bible - one theme remains clear -
The world may kick you in the ass but
Love kicks back.
And that's how I am going to finish this utterly too depressing narrative about ass kickings, old cereal boxes, and how cancer is
We always find love words to give us strength.