Unquotable Me No.2

I’m thinking about making this a weekly post- to share quotes or verses that speak to me. There have been countless times where someone has shared a quote on social media and it changed my mood or perspective in the moment. If it can brighten my day, I can only hope that sharing these words will brighten the day of someone else.

1. The measure of love is to love without measure. -St. Francis de Sales (He’s my saint as well as the patron saint of journalists!)

2. And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good. -John Steinbeck

3. Some things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. -Laura Ingalls Wilder

4. Isn’t it funny how by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different? -C.S. Lewis

5. The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still. -Exodus 14:14

6. Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead. -1 Peter 1:6

Questions for answers that don’t exist/ Answers for questions unasked

 

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“What? What do you want me to do?”

The mother shook the baby. She had been crying for the past ten minutes with no sign of letting the tears stop their sliding down her smooth cheeks. Her nose was running, but all the tissues had been used up by her mother the night before, when something, only God knows, made her cry just as much.

So while the mother cursed the ceiling for conjuring a life of pain and confusion for her alone and screamed at the flesh and blood that stole her smooth skin, the universe listened to the sound no one could hear- the churning of a baby’s empty stomach.

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“I something in something? What does that mean, Emma? What are you saying?”

The girl fidgeted in her feet. She mumbled and stared at the lines between the tiles on the floor and thought about how they’d make perfect streets for ants.

“What are these marks on your arms? Huh- I guess you just need a bath to scrub them off.”

My teacher is weird, the girl thought to herself. Purple was her favorite color, mommy said so. She even liked purple more than the color of the sky. Emma couldn’t wait for purple day. That’s when she got to go home from school and stare at the ceiling that mommy painted purple while mommy painted her with purple polka dots. Mommy makes the best polka dots, Emma thought. The universe thought so too.

+++

“Are you okay? I love and miss you.”

Emma opened her phone and read the message on the screen. She got one just like it almost everyday from her new parents. They were really her aunt and uncle, but the social worker explained that every family is a royal family; when someone is done with the job, they pass it to the next person in line.

“Everything ok?”

They didn’t like it when she didn’t respond correctly. It was never enough to say okay. Everything must be explicit, they say. Who, what, when, where, why, how, and then some. It is never enough to not know. You must always know Emma. You must always know.

+++

“It looks like it says ‘I breathe in…’ but I can’t figure out the rest. What happened? Do you want to talk about it? I’m here for you.”

She had gotten used to seeing these similar words pop up on her phone. Ever since she stopped talking, Emma carried around a notepad and pen and left scribbles she called notes for people to read her thoughts rather than hear them. It didn’t really sacrifice the clarity of her messages, although that’s how people perceived it- since they couldn’t read her chicken scratch. Just because she was audible before doesn’t mean she was clear to begin with, she thought to herself. She felt confused like the eyebrows that twitched when they read what she wrote. It doesn’t make sense for a mouth to speak when it doesn’t know what to say or what it’s saying.

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“Eh. I don’t really care.”

Sometimes Emma purposefully made notes difficult to read. She felt that the ones that took the time to understand her lines rather than glance at the notes were worth her time. That’s why codes exist. Some messages are only meant for certain eyes. The people who cared not to bother with her words didn’t worry her. In fact, it eased her mind knowing that she could easily sort the seedlings from the weeds.

+++

“Does that say I believe in sadness?”

Emma didn’t know who this was. Her rule was to only give notes to people she knew, and this was a random number. Was it an old friend? Someone playing detective? Either way, it didn’t matter. The unfamiliarity, strangely, lifted away the vulnerability that texting gave her. She didn’t mind if a stranger was able to read her thoughts. The universe knew her mind and more.

“So what if I do? What if I’m wrong?” she asked in return.

“Then I am too,” replied the stranger.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”

“If the mind confuses a burden for an inconvenience or anything other than what it truly is, is that wrong?”

“That’s life.”

“So then it doesn’t matter? You just go on?”

“I suppose.”

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I recently experienced a period of confusion and uncertainty within myself. However, despite feeling the inability to see in the darkness, there was never a moment in which I was alone in the abyss. The quotes in this story are all quotes from the people who reached out to me at a time where I felt blind but decided to reach out for something, even though I didn’t know what exactly. Thank you to everyone that was willing to support me or just ponder along with me. Although I didn’t have any answers to give or didn’t know how to give them, I’m grateful for every question asked. 

**Disclaimer: The story itself is fiction.

On the job…

Today, I wrote for my first, real-world publication, and it was entirely exhilarating.

After working on my high school publication, The Wildcat Tales, our school’s publication department got a phone call from The Lone Star Gridiron, a local high school football publication. So, my adviser pulls me into her office and hands me the phone.

But you, my fellow reader, do not know that I am not an avid sports writer. I’m more of a news/feature writer who wishes she could write a splendid A&E review. I’ve only written one or two sports story in addition to an accidental sports feature. (That’s an entirely different story.)

Yet for some reason, that didn’t keep me from fully accepting a story assignment at around 11:30 a.m. that I would need done by that evening. It was a real assignment in the midst of a school day. I was going to live a taste of the life I want in the future. Of course I said yes. I was only thinking about how exciting it would be.

So from there, I frantically dropped everything to grab a camera and track down people wearing purple shirts. I thought it’d be easy to spot the people wearing the domestic violence awareness shirts, but I was mistaken. I could’ve sworn that I saw at least fifty-thousand purple shirts before the phone call, but when I went to look they had all mysteriously disappeared.

Because of this, by the time I found someone, I immediately started chasing them instead of continuing my way to class. Then by the time I got to class, I left to conduct an interview. It felt as though I was all over the place. IT WAS AMAZING. I hate roller coasters, but I imagine that the feeling is the same. It was thrilling to track down and meet people and feel the heat of a true deadline. I don’t think I ever type faster than when I know time is running out.

I can’t wait to learn more and write more and edit more. I can’t wait to grow in my craft. I just thought I would share that sentiment for any aspiring journalists out there or for anyone pursuing something that they are dogged on for. Just because the field can be difficult to be successful in or it doesn’t make a six figure salary doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it. If that’s what you really want, if that’s what thrills you and challenges you, go for it. Reach for it. Work for it. I believe in you, if that counts for anything.

(If you are interested in reading my story, you can find it at http://lonestargridiron.com/ at 7 a.m. tomorrow.)

To the lady that sells pictures on the corner

To the lady that sells pictures on the corner:

Do not lose hope. I know that it may grow tiresome to hear the passersby complain over your more than fair prices. It must not be easy to hear “Why would I pay a dollar for that old hag to take our pictures when I can take one myself with my camera?” -the words that speak from the sideways glances.

They know not what you’re selling.

You are no more than the man who draws portraits on the people sitting at the café. When he delivers to strangers his interpretation of them on a piece of paper, they are taken aback. “What art!” they exclaim. “What beauty! What vision!”

Do these people not see that there are multiple canvases in this world? Nowadays people would rather find fascination in painted glasses than a photograph. “Photographs are for memories,” they say.

No.

Photographs are for vision.

The Perfect Lazy Day

If I have absolutely nothing to do, I will wake up early nonetheless. It’s just ingrained in me; I can’t help it. So, I’ll slip out of bed in my fuzzy socks and walk around the house, watching the light filter in. The rays of light dancing on the hardwood floor and the floating dust particles adds a sense of magic to the room, that it too is waking up with me. I’ll just sit in the middle of the room and enjoy the world while it was still mine, before the silence would be disrupted.

Eventually, doors would start opening and shutting, meaning I could turn on the TV and watch Netflix. The volume would stay fairly low, assuming it’s an episode I’ve already seen, so that I could hear the faint popping of the butter square sliding across the skillet. Then, the TV gets muted because my dad will start playing music on his guitar. Even though the silence is pretty much gone at that point, I’ve already fallen in love with how the noise intertwines in harmony: Elisa snoring until 1 p.m., dad singing into the microphone, and the clicks that the kitchen emits every time the stove turns on and off.

From there, I’ll decide to devote my undivided attention to Netflix for the next umpteen hours. Every so often, I’ll stretch my legs by traveling to the fridge, staring at its contents, and returning back to my indented spot on the couch that happens to be equipped with blankets, pillows, and a small dog.

All of a sudden, I’ll realize that it is in fact 10 p.m. despite the fact that I’m pretty sure I only watched a few episodes. So I’ll convince myself that I can only bear to stay awake for one more episode, but the next thing I know is that it’s 2 a.m. By that point, my eyes are struggling to stay open and my hands can’t seem to enter my phone password correctly.

Then, I blink without being able to reopen my eyes for a bit. I could say that’s where the day normally ends, but usually these things happen on a Sunday, meaning that most of it will probably happen yet again.

 

I’m Not Waiting For Thanksgiving

I believe that people should be grateful for everything that they are given in life. To me, it is pointless not to appreciate what you can’t change. There are so many rewards that complement a positive mindset, so why would you choose to think negatively? There is always a silver lining even in the darkest of times. There is always something to learn.

In light of the subject, I want to say thank you for all the things that have not only made my life better but have also changed me as a person. I would not be who I am today without the struggles and successes I have been through.

I am thankful for…

  1. God
  2. my family (both biological and chosen)
  3. my friends
  4. my dog
  5. growing up in Louisiana
  6. moving to Texas
  7. not getting a phone until 8th grade
  8. learning to ride a bike
  9. the dance lessons I took as a kid
  10. 80’s music
  11. my teachers
  12. my neighbors
  13. my ability to play and enjoy music
  14. writing
  15. sleep
  16. dreams
  17. movies
  18. my new laptop (which I got today!!!!)
  19. drill team
  20. orchestra
  21. newspaper
  22. my ability to read and my opportunity to read amazing books
  23. Harry Potter
  24. Disney
  25. my travels
  26. food
  27. Netflix
  28. Skype
  29. my curly hair (even though I used to absolutely hate it)
  30. social media and the wonders of modern communication
  31. baking and cooking
  32. Target
  33. my diverse heritage
  34. Mardi Gras
  35. being 5′ 5”
  36. my school
  37. my car
  38. my ability to drive
  39. my past injuries
  40. my failures
  41. my imperfections
  42. the beach
  43. Christmas, Easter, and all of my other favorite holidays
  44. my weird laugh
  45. funny parodies
  46. dogs and other cute animals (ex: pugs)
  47. post cards
  48. art museums
  49. science museums and planetariums
  50. ice skating
  51. roller skating
  52. fall weather
  53. swimming lessons
  54. sucking at being on a swim team
  55. themed 5ks
  56. t-shirts
  57. swings at the park
  58. coffee and tea and milkshakes and water
  59. onesie pajamas
  60. memes
  61. superheroes
  62. comic books
  63. board games
  64. stargazing
  65. sunrises
  66. sunsets
  67. flowers that don’t make me sneeze
  68. musicals
  69. all the plays I’ve gotten to see
  70. all the concerts I’ve been to
  71. sweaters and hoodies
  72. fuzzy socks
  73. naps
  74. rainy days
  75. road trips
  76. snow
  77. all the years I got to play soccer
  78. air conditioning
  79. my ability to speak two languages
  80. college applications being online, so I don’t have to write it all by hand
  81. controversy, because it has made me more open minded
  82. having to share a room with my sister
  83. dress up days at school
  84. having glasses that I don’t mind wearing
  85. having had glasses that I didn’t like because they make my glasses now seem so much better in comparison
  86. the bad haircuts I used to get
  87. my amazing hairdresser who does my hair and never messes up
  88. picnics
  89. water balloon fights
  90. snowball fights
  91. home videos
  92. water parks
  93. all the times I accidentally stutter or yell gibberish
  94. painting
  95. traditions
  96. all the movie tickets I remembered to keep
  97. scrapbooks
  98. the fact that I’m not colorblind
  99. never having fallen onstage
  100. my memories

The Rubber Band Theory Part I

“Get out! Get out of here! You are not my wife! How dare you sleep in this bed! I don’t know where she is or when she’ll get back, but get out! I don’t know you! Get out! Get out!”

All I had on was a slip with my hair still in rollers. I could hear his feet shuffling towards his baseball bat, so I threw some underwear, a polka-dot dress, loafers, and my wallet into a grocery bag before running out the door.

“Don’t come back here! I have a wife you know! Don’t come causing an old man trouble!” he yelled hoarsely while slamming the door behind me.

319. Three one nine Cardinal Drive. 319. When you’re little, your parents do their best to make sure you remember the important things: addresses, phone numbers, the works. But then you can’t forget it. It takes forever to erase the little things, the little pains of memory. And it sucks because I don’t have forever left. I’m 84, and I’m not losing my marbles like every other old lady on the block. Specifically the block I live on. 319 Cardinal Drive. 319. 319.

Some of them make me laugh. I know it’s bad to laugh at old ladies for not being able to remember much, but I can’t help it. It’s like laughing at crying babies. I can’t help that either. But there’s this one lady named Cecilia, and she went nuts when I told her about Stan’s oncoming Alzheimer’s. She went ballistic, going on about how sorry she was and how she wanted to bake me  casserole. The gesture was sweet and all, but when I went to say hello the next week I had to tell her the story of Stan’s Alzheimer’s again. She gave the same reaction. I don’t know if that means I should’ve gotten two casseroles or one. I got none. Then again, she’s getting old. I don’t think she has Alzheimer’s. She’s just always been a bit forgetful from time to time.

I live at 319 Cardinal Drive. Sometimes when I’m addressing envelopes in the return section, I’ll write Dr. instead of writing out Drive. I bought the house with Stan a long time ago. I don’t remember what year because it was never one of the things I learned to memorize, but I can remember the important things. Sometimes I’d sign it Mr. & Mrs. Stan Levanson, a lot of times actually. I didn’t mind taking up his name because it meant we were joined together. I can’t say forever because he just kicked me out. He kicked me out of the house that we bought together some number of years ago which is located at 319 Cardinal Drive. 319 Cardinal Dr. 319. I don’t understand why somethings last forever while other things don’t get the chance. I’d trade my memory for Stan any day. Then, I could fall in love with him over and over again until we both died. I wonder if he wished for that. I better knock on wood.

I change my mind. I wouldn’t trade my memory for the love of my life because Alzheimer’s is a blunt dagger to the gut. It’s not like the movies where you get to fall in love over and over again. Even if it was, it would still suck. There would be no more reminiscing over old times or enjoying each other’s silence. Instead, they’d be asking you the same questions over and over again. It’d be like repeating a first date until you died. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my first date with Stan, but I think I’d murder him if he asked me what my favorite color was every day until death do us part. Eventually, I’d grow to pity him and pity myself. I’d have to watch his eyes light up like a puppy and care for him like a puppy. Then someday I’d realize that falling in  love everyday is only fun for the one that forgets. It’s not that I don’t love him. Old people just get tired.

 

 

My French Fry Fetish

To describe the best french fries I’ve ever had would be like painting a masterpiece using the nerve that connects my taste buds to my brain as a bristle in a paintbrush made of wonder dust and dreams. I feel that if I were to paint this masterpiece, it would only be fitting that it hang in the restaurant that can conjure the potato-lings that have stolen my heart (via my stomach).

It would definitely not hang at In-N-Out. Their fries are so thin and way too salty. The same goes with other fancy restaurants that think it’s okay to charge way too much for sticks of wannabe fries.

Some places are worthy of owning forgeries of the masterpiece. This includes Canes, Chick-fil-a, and McDonald’s. They’re warm, chunky fries with enough pizzazz to make me eat them in the car ride home instead of waiting. Love never waits. Eat the fries in the car.

The only restaurants that can have my work bless their walls are the restaurants that  understand the essence of perfection when it comes to french fries. They must be golden. They must be so deliciously scrumptious that I will risk burning my hands and mouth for the sake of eating a fresh batch of such fries. There must be enough tater in the french fries to constitute it a french fry, not a stick of unworthiness. They can never be bland or too salty. They must radiate bliss.