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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Reflections at Francis Scott Key Park

Today I walked by this miniature labyrinth on my way back from an afternoon in Georgetown.  I simply sat for about seven minutes and wrote these lines.  I watched several people walk through and stare out at the river and look up and the vines, their eyes scaling down the sides of the columns.

Image

Reflections at Francis Scott Key Park

This is musical:

the romance and reticence between

my paper and I.

I like the quiet because

of the sounds it makes.

I like it because its sweeping haze

brought me here

to an umbra of creeping jenny—

a silent striker, a perennial genius.

We are resilient animals

when hiding beneath twig and brush.

The jenny’s leaves are the smallest

and loudest sound in this space;

they move rapidly against

a metronome of wind.

This is the way music sounds

when I’m not hearing anything

but the earth resting and rising again.

That the freckles in our eyes are mirror images…

Dedicating myself to just the idea of beginning to type words in this space is more of an “I know I should” than an “I will” most of the time.  I thought I’d write this first time in the second person (thank you grammar school) to someone I am used to speaking to with great ease.

I am sitting across from you.  It’s the first time you’ve picked up your guitar in, well, too long.  To start, many people seem to know us or know about us.  They like us.  Some more than others.  I think most like our relationship better than they like me.  Maybe sometimes, although I’m happy with just us–just us knowing and thinking about us, just us loving–I wonder, what if these people knew?  What if they knew just a bit more.  Right now is one of those times that occurs only every so often where I find myself falling in love–again.  You don’t know yet, but I’m recording you as you play.  It’s an intro to a version of “Such Great Heights” by Landon Austin.  You are frustrated, but I’m not noticing that.  Sometimes I am looking at your furrowed brow, sometimes I find my gaze drift toward your hands and especially your reddening fingertips.

We’ve been together for over two and a half years.  And to say I am amazed is an understatement on so many levels.  To speak to solely this moment, though.  This is one of those oddly cinematic moments where you, unbeknownst to me, perform some sort of magic.  This time you are emitting that magic from your fingertips right to the core of me and then back out again to my eyes which can’t seem to look away.  Now, I know we joked, in light of our sass-a-frassing, shared sense of non-conformism, for the first month or so of dating that we hated one another, couldn’t wait to get out of the relationship, what have you.  But, now, though I still delight in our mindless banter and feigned disdain for the other, I find myself having to contain my ratting insides from becoming too excited, even still, when you look at me.

Maybe I never thought men to be redeemable.  You know, I’ve told you I once felt that way.  But because of the previous examples I’d had, you still, to this day, seem unreal to me.  Thank you.