Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sea of Life

I am sitting waist deep in a sea of personality. There is a current that runs from eastern Asia, one from south of the border, even one from a small town in Northwestern Maryland.

A wave of love without inhibition or concern washes right in front of me. To my right, a wave worn by old age and wisdom idles anxiously, with flowers in her hand.

A wave of curiosity, a wave of adventure, a wave of mourning, a wave of anticipation have all gathered here where the tides collide, the winds meet and the sands combine. Here, in the marketplace of rhythm, the epicenter of life the waves come and go as fast as a plane departing the runway where the promise of change awaits.

They pass me silently, occasionally bestowing a look my way. The majority are disinterested glances, wondering what they maroon-colored form is in the black, leather chair. Some show true interest as if they try to discern my story in the 2.7 second eye contact we share.

But my story cannot be bestowed in a passing trivial glance. But what's more is neither can theirs.

I will never know the tales of triumph, the sonnets of success, the parables of persistence or the riddles of reality.

I will never know the dichotomy of life that makes each wave so unique. So individual. So alive.

For that is the essence of life. The duality of it. The rising from the ashes. The incomprehensible moments that define us so fully.

I am in a sea of riddles. An ocean of enigmas. A crashing wave of diversity.

Yet together, we make up the vast, encompassing blanket of beauty that covers the earth. There is life all around me. I watch. I listen. I observe.

It suddenly puts the trivial concerns of my wonderfully average life into perspective. Ironically enough, in a sea of character, where I all too often feel I am swimming alone and against the tide, it's the many waves that create such a fullness to give me meaning. I am nothing without the waves. They shape, mold and define me with each crash into my calloused, rock-hard heart.

I am a product of the waves. And as I crash into a wave dressed head to toe in Green Bay gear, a wave with a spring in his step or a wave with sad eyes in need of a smile, I find purpose in helping to mold them in return.

Together, we all make up an imperfectly beautiful sea of life.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Quiet Impostor

There are yellow flowers growing outside of my window. Those bright, sun-worn blossoms have never caught my eye before. Yet there was something in the enchanting, almost inviting way they softly hit my window that pulled me out of my monotonous thoughts.

I have spent the day in someone else's skin, the whole time wondering who the strange creature is. I looked in the mirror to catch a glimpse of this impostor. It is the same face that has looked back at me for 24 years.

Tonight, her eyes are tired, lifeless, almost. The weight of her thoughts has pulled her brow into a hard line, and creases have started to form at the bridge of her nose. The heaviness of the thoughts seem to press its force against her entire body, causing a sharp pain in the neck and back. It's a defeated type of pain, as if the world has won the war today, leaving the host suddenly disjointed.

I continue to look into the girl's face. The impostor is me. The heavy thoughts are mine that I must face alone. They threaten to burden those close to me, but they cannot. I alone must wage the war of introspection.

This impostor's stay has left me without words. Without thoughts. A shell of a version of myself I claimed just a few hours ago.

But the impostor's stay is short lived.

These days are the defining ones. The days were we lay out our own cards in the game of life. We strategize, calculate and contemplate. We take our wins, cut our losses.

Days like today, when an impostor takes hold of your soul, you feel you are walking to someone else's step, that your calloused heart is beating to a different metronome, are enough to leave you stripped raw. The day where you face every fear, and have to do so alone because words cannot connect you with anyone else. The day when your soul is tired of fighting.

I'm grateful for these days. The impostor is the one who has introduced me to myself and shown me the hidden parts of my heart. Emmilie and I have met again. And tomorrow, Emmilie will be the conqueror.

For tonight, I will look at the yellow flowers from outside my window. That quiet, friendly creation is what has relinquished the impostor, and reminded my calloused heart of promises on the horizon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I sat in a grey swivel chair, mindlessly twirling my bangs through my fingers to keep them from falling into my eyes. I carelessly looked up to my right and out the window. With a deep sigh, I pulled out the daydream I was in and realized it was time to get back to work. 
I clicked on the Google News bookmark on my Safari browser. I waited for my ancient commuter to load all 47 images impatiently tapping my toe to the song in my head. 

The top stories were about the Colorado shooting. I quickly clicked on the top story. It offered me some updated concrete details of the terror that happened in that dark theatre in Aurora. My newsfeed refreshed itself, and a headline caught my eye. "Witness tried to keep door closed on Colo. gunman" 

I opened the page, and the world around me began to dissolve. I was suddenly very aware of myself. My heart beating steadily in my chest. My eyelids blinking back tears as I read personal accounts of a young girl falling on a dead man. A mother who hears round after round fired, praying the bullets don't fall to her or her loved ones. A girl that slipped in the blood of another man as she tried to run. 

I read on. 

The tears that I had initially controlled started to flow freely. 

A tear for the mother back home that heard rumors of disaster at the theatre where her teenage children were watching a movie, suddenly aware of the temporary existence we all live. 

A tear for the sister searching for her brother in the pandaemonium that ensued following the murderous rampage. 

A tear for the child that stood crying trying to find her parents, while darkness and shouting seemed to consume her. 

A tear for the man who fears more for the life of his wife than his own. 

A tear for the father who will learn his daughter will never come home. 

I cried a tear for every story I read, and a tear for the ones I didn't. 

I cried a tear for the lost, twisted soul of the gunman. A tear for what he did, the choice he made, and the depths of Hell he will face.

I finished the article, my heart heavy and my shirt wet. I went to the back and locked myself in the bathroom. I turned away from the door to face the mirror. Wiping away the black smudges from underneath my eyes, I focused on what I saw staring back at me. 

It was a woman. She had lived a life of fullness. I looked in her eyes. They were troubled, pained even. Her soul was heavy. Those troubled eyes searched her own face, looking for answers. 

None would come. But despite the silence in response to the questions that circled within her mind, a familiar peace came. Simply, softly and serenely. It was enough. Though the weight of the world could not be solved with her, she had her influence for good. 

I realized in that moment that despite the evil, there are intense possibilities to fill everything in my life with goodness- but what's more, is that there are possibilities to recognize it. 

Tonight I watched the sun set into the mountains. the golden and pink rays reminding me of the hope that will come with each morning I strive to try again. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I love giving people crinkly eyes as they laugh at something foolish I say.

I love watching a stranger receive a text from someone dear to them, and the sweet, subtle smile that fills their entire face.

I love harmonizing with the radio.

I love the moment between frustration and discovery as I pore over the pages of my law text book trying to decipher a language I feel inadequate to speak.

I love the release that comes from forgiving another. I love the tranquility that comes from being forgiven myself.

I love listening to "Gravity," "Edge of Desire"and a "Face to Call Home."

I love passing a beautiful painting I have never seen before, and stopping in my tracks to let it speak to my heart.

I love conversations that reach my soul.

I love the validation that comes from trust being fulfilled.

I love old movies, black and white photography and kisses on my forehead.

I love my mission.

I love making strangers laugh.

I love listening to a dear friends' stories.

I love the triumphs in the life of another.

I love people in love.

I love the years of life that I have lived, rich with wonderment and sorrow.

I love journalism and this nonsensical blog.

I love discussing national politics, county government and the Idaho legislature.

I love listening to my mother laugh with me about my day over the phone.

I love little notes left in my room by my dear, dear roommates.

I love long necklaces, daisies and new dresses.

I love feeling close to God in nature.

I love doing things that I didn't think I could; things that are hard; things that terrify me.

I love to sing in the shower, dance in my car and run to Kelly Clarkson.

I love to live deeply.

I love verbs, adjectives, nouns, adverbs and interjections.

I love long drives in my faithful red car.

I love reminiscing with people I hold close to my heart.

I love being Emmilie.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Twitter and a Parable

I have recently become a more devoted Twitter user. Follow me. I'm funny. And thought provoking.

Occasionally, on late nights when for whatever reason I am procrastinating getting into bed, I wander onto my popular trend links on Twitter. The trends that always seem to catch my eye have nothing to do with #TimTebow or #NASCAR. Rather, it's the trends that capture the essence of a human life. The ones that allow tweeters all over the world to anonymously and even cryptically express the inner workings of the soul.

Perhaps this is where my love of psychology and fascination of the way human beings work kicks in, but I have noticed a few things. More than half of the tweets I read have to do with companionship, relationships, triumphs in love, lovers lost, lovers found and the occasional broken heart threatening to go viral.

One of the fist trends I ever read was #LateNightThoughts. After some quick calculations, I determined that nearly 87 percent of all the tweets had to do with another person for whom the tweeter had feelings for. Now, I will admit to my thoughts turning to someone I found interesting when the night has settled in and my evening is winding down. However, in some odd way, I thought I was alone in that. Not so. Perhaps this is what we all long for, though few are brave to confess. Admittance makes you weak, vulnerable and alive.

This statistical analysis turned my thoughts to a dear friend of mine. We'll call him Chase. All Chase has ever wanted in his life is to love a woman who loves him in return. We have spent many a night in my overheated, musty apartment discussing his love triangles, and a seemingly never ending circle of girls who can't seem to reciprocate his feelings for them.

I listen, I learn and I offer what menial advice I have to give to my friend. I pretend to be an expert. And I am— when it comes to other people's lives. Each and every night Chase and I discuss his love life, I find myself saying these words: "Just tell her how you feel."

Then the "what if" game ensues.

What if she thinks I'm creepy?
What if she doesn't reciprocate?
What if she doesn't want to be friends any more?
What if it ruins everything because it wasn't the right time?
What if I hurt my pride?
What if I break my heart?

To this twisted game, I offer two "what ifs" of my own.

What if she felt the same, and you wasted one of the greatest opportunities of your life in telling her?
What if she didn't? What's the worst thing that could happen? You'd move on?

We discussed this more at length. I have found that among a student enrollment of over 15,000 dating is a topic that is never void of timeliness. This topic is everywhere.

Finally I came to a conclusion: Wouldn't it be great if two adults, regardless of how the other felt, could act like adults, and talk about their feelings openly with one another. Wouldn't that just be nice? But this is rarely the case. Instead, we result to cryptic Facebook statuses, vague text messages, misunderstood instant messages and the occasional anonymous Twitter updates.

It's enough to make you pull your hair out. Maybe one day we will all grow up and learn how to talk to each other as adults.

But for now, there's always social media.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Creator of Words

Tonight I feel like a little girl again. I have escaped reality to the small corners of my imagination. I am accompanied only by the story in my head and the small smile playing at the left corner of my mouth. It's as if I have played a trick on reality. I have bested it again, befuddling the mundane into something beautiful once more.

It has become a ritual. The end of the day is signaled by my 200-pound eyelids, the buzzing of the living room fan, the comfort brought from melodies by Jason, John and Norah. They quiet my mind until it can fully enjoy the solitude of the silence. I brush my teeth. Fold up my glasses, placing them carefully on the shelf. I say my prayers. I lay on my side in bed. And my mind begins to spin away.

It weaves a tapestry of truth enriched by the vibrant colors of hope and expectation. It is textured by the memory of past and present heartaches, and discomforts. Yet, in the silence, my mind becomes a creator of perfection. Perfect thoughts are born that encompass the emotion found within my afternoon of monotony, my evening of predictability and midnights of inevitability.

My eyes beg for sleep. My joints and muscles sigh in agreement, wanting nothing more than to rest in that heat swamp of a bed. But my soul compels my fingers to type the thoughts swirling through my brain.

I have found myself through words on a page. The ideas that fill the paper have filled my very existence with meaning. I am my words.

These words have led me to a balcony on the second floor of a run-down building. I sit with my back slumped against a sliding glass door with a weathered screen. My toes, painted pink, curl over a dusty black railing, stretching them in an oddly pleasant way.

The cool air feels heavenly on my bare skin. I sit in baggy shorts, and a plaid flannel shirt I picked out from the men's section of a thrift store in Kalispell.

In front of me, a story below, the bushes rustle. A branch of a tree bangs against the chain-link fence. I sit up straight to look bravely into the dark distortion in front of me. A small black figure emerges from the brush, his pointy ears and long, slender tail practically dancing as he weaves in and out of the foliage.

The moon, bright and full shines supremely to my right. With the continuation of the earth's rotation, it sneaks further from my view, hiding behind my apartment complex.

It moves, and like the earth, I must move with it. I am not meant to escape to balconies in hopes of being rescued. I am not a damsel waiting to be saved. I am a creator of thought. A writer of words. A lover of ideas.

Tonight the balcony has become my sanctuary, a nostalgia for my simpler childhood. But in a few hours time, my moon will fade. I will be left an adult, alone to write the rest of my story with perfect words and beautiful ideas.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Tonight I laid in bed, the heat from the day sweltering in my room. A muggy, gritty feeling was left cascading over my body. It was a peaceful sort of night. My muscles ached dully from an emotionally and physically draining week.

It was a week of deliberating, contemplating, supplicating and debating. In the end, however, decisions were made, assignments completed, articles published and progress noted. I grew up a little more this week; it has left me exhausted.

As the clock ticked closer to morning, my mind reached a familiar crossroads. It's a place where the past, present and future collide, merging in and out of each other leaving my calloused heart feeling raw.

As I laid in the heat, my ancient mattress creaking in complaint with the slightest shift in movement, my thoughts turned to the past week. "What a beautiful mess," I thought to myself. It was a week of hopes and disappointments. Moments of growth masquerading as moments of struggle.

I recalled a warm evening I spent in the company of a dear friend, sitting on a stone bench outside a sacred building at the top of a hill, the soft breeze blowing lightly on my bare legs. I looked at the magnificent structure and thought of the hours of work and dedication sacrificed by a skilled architect.

 My thoughts wandered to my dear carpenter. As I thought of the interest he took in helping me build my own life, I couldn't help but smile in spite of myself. I considered how he repeatedly bolsters my faith as he wraps me in his loving, omnipotent arms. All that is left for me to do is trust.

I am confident in the light of the day. As the sun sets, the air cools and the colors fade into night, my mind travels closer to the crossroads, and I am left to my doubts.

It is the crossroads that stirs the fear. The memory of moments long gone, the fear of disrupting the present and forgoing the future. Yet that intersection of reality is where one faces the soul head on. That vortex of truth sucks each of us in. Lie, we cannot. Fear, we cannot. Doubt, we cannot. The only thing that allows us to escape the crossroads is the brutal honesty that can only come from within.

It is cleansing. It is not always pleasant, nor pretty. But it's healing. Is where the soul answers the foolish questions of the mind. The mind calms the heart. The heart takes a greater resolve, and the soul complies. We have come full circle at the crossroads. We have come to ourselves.

Tonight, in that muggy, musty room, I entered the crossroads, and came out whole.