Recovery

I spend a lot of nights making horse-like sounds as I tromp up the creaky steps of my Washington, DC townhouse, my sandy leather backpack slung over one shoulder, ballooning and nearly bursting open from its contents: my server’s uniform, consisting of a crusty, browning white button-down, an ankle-length apron, splattered with ink-markings, brushed about the surface like spin art in accidental waves of black and blue, and unbearable black shoes, wreaking and stale.  It’s on these nights that I breathe heavy, sometimes I cry.  I often don’t know why, sometimes things just get leaky up there late at night.  I like to lay down and look at my ceiling because it reminds me of limits, and I like to think about limits but then also imagine—launching, movement, surging speeds escaping boundaries and gracefully expanding the skies.  Sometimes my cat licks my face, presses his paws into my sweater, and coos softly.  This is his bliss, though it may not be mine.

I do quite a bit of recovering.  I’m getting very good at it; that’s not to say I brave the storm of various traumatic events that require recovery.  There’s something in between doing and not doing, and it’s recovering.  It’s not often spoken of, but it’s a state of being.  Even when recovery is discussed in an applicable context, it is inferred as rehabilitation or moving forward, moving on before looking at the limits and envisioning the breakthrough.  I’ve watched the ceiling quite a bit, it’s where I learn the most about myself; that and this playlist on Songza called Music for a Woodland Clearing, which is essentially Van Morrison sprinkled with near miniscule flavor bursts from other woodsy artists.  Regardless of its semi prosaic musical DNA, it helps me to learn about myself, and all things considered, it evokes wild and diverse spiritedness and life, which I’m desiring more than usual today.

I’ve received a few job rejections now.  I almost have to run back into the house each morning to grab my coat of resiliency.  I’m rather calculated now as I dress myself as someone whose cares are less numerous than they are when dressed in doubt and fear.  I’m afraid to face anything that might’ve once seen me as seamlessly and conventionally successful: the buildings, the faces, the mentors.  Sometimes I sit down to write thinking maybe I could write the story of non-success, maybe I could write my own story with more grace and beauty than failure and pain.  But the words are too close and not yet far enough to become story or tale.  I think maybe one day when recovery is past, when I’m not staring at the ceiling, concocting innovations and mental revelries of my untold flight through ceiling, stars, through woodland clearing, I’ll have moved enough to write the story of untraditional success—a sort of success that occurs when nothing else does.  When I’m walking up the steps late at night…

My mother sent me an inspirational yet delightfully childlike piece about her own life told in the fairy princess and her kingdom and castle-style.  She, the fair maiden, was described as having lost control over her kingdom, then claiming ownership over a kingdom that wasn’t fully realized until she believed in her ability to rule what was hers.  I, like the princess, need to rule that which is mine: myself, my time, my late night walks up the stairs, in the dark, with tears welling up in the pit of my stomach.  I have gifts of words like paint, voice like movement and song, hands accountable for change I can feel before envisioning it.  I make decisions like paintings.  It’s not even real yet, but I know it, think it, then it is realized like the artist, like the princess who decided life: the inner the outer—it was all hers.

Anyways, my mom doesn’t like Bob Dylan, but I bet the princess would like this song that makes me think of all I can do.  It’s simple, but really I feel the message of what one can do rather than not do is tantamount

She’s got everything she needs

She’s an artist, she don’t look back

She can take the dark out of nighttime

And paint the daytime black.

Recovery is in realizing that it’s all there; it just has to be taken and held in one’s arms, wrapped up and called “my own.”

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We Were Rosy

**Note: Thank you to the gods of inspiration, that bolt has finally hit me.  in the past couple week, this blog has hit 3,000 views and the views keep rising.  Hopefully one day I’ll be able to have a whole website.  In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has shown genuine interest in my thoughts/beliefs and feelings about life and the world.  This next one is so extremely important to what I do and who I’ve become.  At this stage in the game, writing about love is writing about life.  To Paul: I love you, dude.**

We Were Rosy

We were rosy-cheek in love, listening to songs just to get back in one another’s head just in case one of us snuck out.  We used to talk about us before you and I, as if the components didn’t even exist.  We used to entwine ourselves with more ferocity as if we were slipping from one another.  I could paint a scene of love imperfect.  I could attempt to make it beautiful: the way literature makes a car crash perfect.  But perfect wasn’t right.

I can remember age eighteen with frightening clarity—meeting a man when men had formerly wreaked taboo.  I’d never chalked the world up to something celestial until I came face-to-face with the only worthwhile stuff of the universe.  Individuals: faces and eyes that make one understand why Zarathustra came down (I remember my Nietzsche professor couldn’t stress that enough—the guy came down!).  So, when I met him, he made the world more of a place for me to state my intent, to be myself, execute the deepest desires of my heart.

Time allegedly heals, but I find it likelier that it smears a coat of BIC brand white out over a wound’s surface.  Time wears and chips away the wood.  If a fine-crafted mahogany table is a sweet November stroll through the oaky, shaded-over neighborhoods of Roland Park circa 2009, then my four-year-long relationship is that same table after a number of moves across country in the back of a Uhaul, having incurred the stamina to handle vases and hideous cross-generational accoutrements, ranging from Lalique to Precious Moments.  We will continue to transport that table, keeping it close, despite its watermarks and chipped edges.

I will carry the table; I will carry you.

I can recall the early fights: me muffling his voice anytime so much as a friendly confrontation came forth from his nervous lips.  I’d do anything to maintain our status as that flawlessly alluring couple that graced an otherwise Playboy campus brimming with modern day oligarchs in oxfords.  I’d mitigate, in efforts to brush the white out over the smeared pen, only to find that this would be my first go around at throwing non literal gasoline on the non literal fire of my relationship.  All I needed to do was let the fire crackle—perhaps blow it about a bit, so it could electrify and affect a chain reaction.  This is the stuff of the earth, the flames I must let go but can’t bear watch burn.  It would take awhile until I was good at this—using words, allowing love to arrive gradually out of strife, rather than quelling fighting words that make the times of peace more lit up: robust with pale brilliance.

I remember the first 9 months together, six of which were spent with him in Scotland. I’d write him long letters of how we’d one day counter the prototypical numbed middle-aged couple.  I’d talk about how lively we’d be—how innocently in love we’d find ourselves even after 10, 20, 60 years.  I’d loved him like a child: fully, but closed to any indication that I was wrong.  I would love, but I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to turn my gaze toward the truth: that my inability to open myself to the possibility that I was wrong had created a one-way street—the kind one doesn’t automatically perceive and begins to turn down, only to realize its there, just barely executing a 7-point turn in the middle of the road, ashamed, confused, and unable to grasp how a smart, perceptive individual, would ever turn down this street.  For me, feigning euphoria seemed like a better choice than acknowledging what I’d later learn was life and realism disguised by my ballooned perceptions as a faulty relationship.

I first watched the flames flicker during a miniature Renaissance at the start of the Fall.  I was Michelangelo, furiously breaking my back, painting “I’m Sorry” on the ceiling like a heart-sleeved maniac.  Sitting by his door with my hands folded was “I’m sorry for saying that.”  My tears, the film’s epilogue, were “I’m sorry I did that.”  Using words without the words was the best thing I’d ever done.  Now, we’d each have our turn to start the fire: he’d be the gas-thrower, me: the extinguisher.  Then, like the best painters and artists we’d invent our love story with erratic brushstrokes and zigzagging chalk lines: this goes here and maybe that’ll come in way down there.  It had plenty of seams, but that was all right.

Now when I redden with frustration, he’ll likely shake his head and walk away, but it’s cold outside now, and we’ll take November walks, our cheeks rosy but mostly from the cold and our eyes lit up, knowing we wont be here forever.  I will not turn down that road again; I will not make 7-point turns.  Instead, before I blame him for my lost tube of chapstick, I will ask him about this constellation, and we will walk like careful giants, up the stairs of the Library of Congress, through this city, it could be any city really, but it’s this one and it’s ours.  They’ll put scaffolding up on the Capitol building soon, but we’ll have the night to remember when it was just another bit of the troposphere.  And that’s where we are too, frozen on earth, which is really the only celestial body for which we’ve got to live.  You’re the sky, I’m the sky, and so is this building.  And I don’t have to write sorry in the stars, not yet, not tonight.

An Unlikely Cover Letter (Submitted)

My name is Leah Rosenzweig and I’d like to be your seller of ideas.  I will assume the challenge for the price of the opportunity to stand in the marketplace among other craftsmen and women, and perhaps, the price of a salary.  But I am most thrilled by the prospect of standing among the pretty birdhouses and hand-stitched tapestries with a cart-full of concepts.  I imagine myself positioned beside pedestrian-swarmed streets and shouting “Come, behold the unseen!  Tell me your ideas, your products, your marketable entities! My words will take something as banal as your sock and sell it to the world as if it were the loveliest prize!

Listen: ‘I have, in my possession, the loveliest white sock.  In its standard application, the sock would certainly belong on the foot, stretched and protecting its vulnerable skin, calluses and inclination to smell while fitted into the most burdensome of boots or sneakers.  The sock’s masked microfibers will clothe the tiniest or plumpest of toes in unimaginable layers of softness and warmth.  But don’t be fooled by its warming powers, the sock also allows for cooling in summer months.  Suppose you are partaking in a heated tennis match, the sock will allow flexibility, coolness, and breath to tuckered out toes.  A sock is also the ideal plan-B mitten for a child whose desire to run headfirst into an embankment of snow following a peaceful storm is too urgent a cause to waste time sorting for a pair.  The same sock can be used to warm a child’s rose-colored cheek when the game is over, when the snow is stomped-upon and tinted brown.  Buy this sock and you’ll remember it like I remember the socks I first wore after my first fall stroll down Charles Street with my boyfriend four years ago.’”

Although the sock may seem an exaggeration, it is the perfect example of how my mind constructs vehicles through which I frame something or someone, yes, even a sock, as desirable, beautiful, and original.  While at first, I feel I lean on vocabulary, sentence structure and wit, I almost always feel my mind drift toward a personal connection.  After all, this is how I won Second Place in Impromptu Speech the Pennsbury Invitational Forensics Speech Competition in high school (this is a true statement).  I was assigned a topic, and on the spot, I was able to draw in puzzle pieces from my own observations and life experience to create a wholesome speech that was both persuasive, innovative, and wholly my own.  I do this in my own writing now.  I believe my writing exudes confidence and a distinct style.  My invitational and personal style draws in a broad audience.  I don’t ever aim to capture a reader through entrapment or excessive hyperbole. Rather, I aim to sustain a genuine voice, one that tells the truth about a product, person, or idea, and tells it clearly, with a beginning, middle, and end—like a story.  This is the key to how I sell ideas:  I never alter or exaggerate; I just communicate well.

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Like the potter, I’ll write a small narrative essay or a review, and little by little, I’ll remember how a collection of poems on bullying reminded me of my days of feeling inferior, lost and alone as a starry-eyed middle-schooler.  I hold the cylindrical wad of clay and press the petal violently, yet gracefully.  Some ideas spit back and smack the wall, while others, create a personal, yet marketable review, a beautiful product that contains visible bits of myself.  Someone will spot the finished product in the marketplace among other similar beauties; they will sense, without knowing it, each particle of personality spreading news and ideas, continuing to create and exchange concepts, from the marketplace to the mantel.