In This Moment Here With You

Urgh I tried to write a blog post and wrote a poem instead. They say that true inspiration begets great writing so here’s hoping that’s still true. 

15

All day I waited to be in the moment with you

That moment where all the talk shuts up

and there isn’t any asking what we are or how we feel because it’s so crystal clear

I can feel it, here, in this moment with you

I try not to grab hold of it

I just watch as it slips around us

Tangled in our bodies

Some call it energy or chemistry

All I know is it started with a spark

in a moment just like this

in a bar where I first saw your smile

And it’s been hiding here amongst us ever since

It’s followed us, nurtured us, spoke to us in tiny whispers that said

“be open, be honest, be here”

The thing is, it only grows when I’m in moments like this, here with you

Moments free of fear or hesitation

Or the insecurities that hold us back from one another

It can’t thrive in that

Exposed to unhealthy air it starts to shrivel up

turn into pain, and hurt, and misunderstandings

But not here, not in this moment with you

With your kisses and arms wrapped around me

All I can feel is bliss and joy and connection

In this moment here with you time stands still

Music sounds louder, colors seem brighter

And I wonder if you can feel it too

In this moment here with me

It crescendos slowly, setting me down just long enough for me to watch before it slips away

Hiding there under the covers I feel like maybe we’re in my dreams

Because it’s just me and you and something so pure neither of us speaks – neither of us has to

Unlike other moments, these moments are special

They let me know I have the capacity to love

but more importantly

That I have the capacity to love you

Then without anything outwardly changing, the moment is gone

and we’re still together just in different moments

Our perceptions and experiences go back to being colored by who we are

Limited in our access to one another

But cut off completely from the world the we both share

I grow less and less afraid of this time

because I know that somehow we’ll find our way back to each other

Back to the shared moments

Back to the moments here, with you.

4th of July

IMG_2255Since as long as I can remember I have been terrified of fireworks. When I was younger, before California became the dried up wasteland it is now, fireworks were legal pretty much everywhere and since I spent most of my summers with my dad and my brother so every year I was always in for not only the big fireworks show but a bunch of fireworks that my brother and his friends would torment me with for at least a couple of days. The ironic thing about me being afraid of fireworks is that my two favorite holidays (Independence Day & New Years Eve) have both of them in spades.

When I tell people my favorite holiday is the Fourth of July they never seemed surprised. I’ve loved politics and history since I was about 12 and have also never turned a way to a chance to be decked out in red, white, and blue or eat apple pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I think deeper still is my love of traditions and celebrations that have meaning and importance.

During my years in college I actually rarely spent a fourth in the nations capitol. My first few summers of college were spent as a camp counselor where for three summer I spent the holiday in my swimsuit with my girls at the lake, only remembering it was any different of a day due to the amazing strawberry short cake dessert we got to commemorate the 4th every year at the camp. Post college my 4th of July’s are usually pretty uneventful. The past 4 years in particular have been marked with memories of loneliness or quite nights in watching the fireworks on TV. It’s pretty pathetic.

This year, after finding out none of my friends would be in town, decided to turn it into a work weekend, finding the itch to get out of the city unbearable and preferring to take in somewhere different a motivating factor to drive the length of Colorado to get to Durango for an extended weekend business trip. The fact that I had the ability to make this decision made me feel grateful and thus my drive down to the small town was filled with belting out songs and listening to the entire Aziz Ansari audiobook, Modern Romance. It was a beautiful drive, though sprinkled with rain storms that made it hard to go fast on the twisty wet mountain roads.

I smiled as I passed through a handful of tiny pop up towns, many decorated to the nines for the holiday. Due to the passing of #marriageequality last week I was feeling particularly patriotic and was surprised that I felt a twinge of sadness. Though I had never really thought about it, this was the fourth of July I had always dreamed of and somewhat nostalgically remembered. Families, probably on their way to the fair, or the campgrounds, or the lake all dressed in shorts and tanks but still sweating from the summer heat. The kids begging for ice cream, the parents dying for beer, but all excited for fireworks later in the evening. Friends laughing together, buzzed, maybe high, all shouting out which bar they should walk to, one of them saying they should stop for hot dogs.

You see I do love fourth of July for all the reasons I mentioned above, but none more than this feeling of summer, and friendship, and music, and ice cream, and fireworks. It’s a smell, a picture, a taste that can take you back to this holiday more so than any other and be tinted with nothing but nostalgia and happiness. That’s 4th of July for me, a feeling of happiness.

Pulling It Together (A Short Story)

There I sat, waiting in the therapist office sitting with my ankles crossed in the middle of the couch as if I was waiting for the school principal. I had made an emergency appointment shortly after crying hysterically on the phone to one of my best friends for an entire 20 minute but before I had gotten a parking ticket that threw me into a tizzy later that afternoon.

“I just… don’t… understand… why I’m… taking it so hard…” I had heaved while pulled over on the side of the road an hour before my AM staff meeting.

I was somewhere between a complete mess and total disaster nearly 48 hours after calling it quits with a guy I had only sort of been seeing for the past two months; so my reaction felt a bit extreme even to me. Yet I had also started a new, but somewhat overwhelming job, and my mother, my usual confident, was refusing to speak to me after a falling out a few weeks prior. On top of that I was financially trying to steady myself and it was harder to get a wine date put on the calendar with any of my close friends than it was to stop crying. I felt alone, abandoned, and like I was slowly being smothered to death with the monster of all emotions – heartbreak.

“You need to pull it together Chelsea.” My best friend Tiffani had advised between my soft sobs into the phone. I knew that. I knew I needed to pull it together the day before when I had started tearing up at a Air Force Base event I went to for work. The truth was I was not pulling it together very well at all and everyone was starting to notice. However, the more I tried to get a fucking hold of myself the more I seemed to break at the seams, feeling all the more upset at myself for even being upset at all.

I wiped a few tears away as I sat waiting for my therapists arrival down the hallway, ironically embarrassed by my spilling over of emotion. I grabbed a Bon Appiete magazine off of the coffee table to preoccupy myself with and tore out a page of a vegetarian pasta recipe that looked promising. I put it in my purse and immediately felt the sting of my heart as I realized I didn’t need it. I had been looking for vegetarian pasta recipes to make with him and now that was over….. I fidgeted over wether or not to put it back but was interrupted by the sound of my therapist standing in the doorway.

“Now what seems to be the matter here?” he asked, his voice booming throughout the empty waiting room while I got up somewhat alarmed. He was a short older man, and I tended to like male psychologist, especially him. I followed him down the hall and took a seat in his half tribal, half hippie office that faced out above a park in the throws of the Denver suburbs.

“We ended things. On Sunday. I’m a wreck.” I spit out in a huge jumble, no longer able to conceal my tears or the shakiness in my voice.

“I see. You do seem very upset, tell me what happened.” He said not bothering to gloss over our usual small talk that prefaced our intense sessions. I teared up more avoiding his gaze.

“What happened? Shit if I knew I wouldn’t be sitting here.” I thought. I had spent the night Saturday, we had started a conversation about how emotional detached I was getting from our relationship Sunday morning, the conversation was interrupted and the next thing I knew a few hours had passed and I was agreeing we shouldn’t see each other anymore over a delicious beer on a hot a humid Denver Sunday afternoon. I woke up Monday feeling as if a cement truck had just run over my heart and spent the entirety of Monday trying to grasp all the emotions I was feeling. I had cried myself to sleep only to wake up Tuesday to the feeling that I had been having a terrible nightmare just to be struck back down to emotional hell when I realized it wasn’t.

“I just don’t think I’m handling this. I’m just so sad.” I managed to mumble.

“Well that makes sense. It’s only been a few days, it’s normal to feel this sad considering how much you cared about him.”

I only went to see Jeff once a month for a few hours each, finding that weekly therapy sessions were a) too expensive for me and b) a nuisance to figure out with my schedule. This meant that I saw Jeff once a month for a few hours and thus had seen him 3 times during the period  of seeing this guy.where he was easily one of the top three topics in my sessions; following the usual suspects of work, my friends, and my family depending on which was annoying me more that week. Our last conversation about him had happened less than a week ago where I happily exclaimed that I felt that him and I were making progress and that I had reached a new level of patience with him. Of course what I described as patience to my therapist was probably more acutely disassociation from feeling connected or even romantic about the guy who I first describe as everything I had ever imagined.

“.. but it wasn’t that serious, it was only casual, why do I feel so bad.” More hot tears ran out of my eyes and he made a comment about being out of tissues.

“That’s ok, I’ve been a regular water works these past few days, I can barely even tell when I’m crying anymore.” I laughed a little which he smiled at and took a minute just looking at me before saying, “so tell me, what your theory on why you’re so upset is then.”

I grew quiet for a minute. Wasn’t that what I was paying him for?

“I don’t know…. I don’t know what’s going on it’s just… he was different… he was special.. I was willing to wait while he figured his stuff out I mean… I just didn’t want it to be all over. I’m disappointed and I feel like he just quit on me.”

Nuggets of truth lined my poorly articulated “theory”. I was disappointed, and sad and angry, none of which explained why I also felt so devastated. Yet we had developed a connection, an emotional intimacy that’s rare to find these days and I had been looking forward to getting to know more about him and spend more time with him in doing so.I had not expected to feel this way, I was out of control I didn’t know how to stop it. I had happy things in my life and but this was bringing me down, way down.

“What would you tell yourself if you could give yourself one piece of advice right now?” Again with the questions I pay you for?! I looked at him sharply before drawing in a breath and saying.

“I would tell myself it’s okay to feel this way. It’s human, it shows I was genuinely connected and invested in him. I would tell myself to try to enjoy the things that make me happy and keep reaching out when I think I’m spiraling it too far.” I took in another deep breathe and wiped my eyes again.

“Exactly.” he said writing something down on his pad while I looked at my watch realizing the hour was almost up.

“Try not to be so hard on yourself. Nobody think’s you’re overreacting except you.You can’t write off your feelings for him at this moment, which is something you’ve been doing for a few weeks so right now they probably feel extra intense.

I nodded.

“I’m grateful you reached out to me. You’re not so upset that you aren’t reaching out for help and that’s another positive thing…. and I have a feeling that you and him aren’t exactly over Chelsea.

“I can’t think like that.” I snapped, getting angry for the first time all day. I new feeling bubbled into my head that rarely made an appearance – cynicism.

“Yes well, I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” He said watching me as I pulled on the jaded girl exterior that would protect me from feeling any hope and therefore any more pain.

“Maybe…” I said doubtfully as I stood up to leave. It was easier for me to think the door was closed otherwise I would pine, another unhealthy thing just as bad as it’s counterpart – skepticism.

As I walked back to my car I read all the notifications of people who had sent me positive thoughts on this hard day. I wanted desperately to see his name too but when I didn’t I felt only a twinge and not a tear spilled over.

All I could do was breath in and out and take each day one step at a time, knowing I would feel better but knowing at the very least I had a heart, and it was still  very much beating.