Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Wonder


The darkness settled.
Your heart pounded gently beneath my fingers.
Never a love has beat against the tips like yours.
The stars shone down upon the hood of my car.
Reflecting on your skin.
Our bodies intertwined like the lonely days in my head.
Each one replaying, remembering life before you.
How lonely.
Misplaced once again, hiding from the hate.
Shielding ourselves from the choice words of society.
All I heard was the silence surrounding me, and the steady of your breath.
In and out. Quietly. Permanently.
And as my hands found your waist,
They reminded me that life is far greater than just living.
Life is a chance. A time to explore.
No more do we have to hold our tongues.
We say what we feel, but then… then we waited.
I remember how it felt. Terrified. But right.
I couldn’t stand the thought of who I was…
But on the hood of my car, no thought was necessary.
Instead I found your lips.
Parted them gently.
Longing for the reassurance of forever.
Knowing that forever would never come.
Hoping that they were wrong about me.
I was good. I knew it.
I wasn’t twisted or perverse.
I only loved the one who captured my heart.
I had no control over the hands behind the love.
I was young, and simple… But never free.
My freedom was captured by those who took it freely.
Taken. Stolen… By those who resented the peace that I had found.
Rolling now. Tossing and turning in a bed that isn’t familiar.
I wonder if you’ll ever return the way you said you would.
I wonder if I will ever feel those tips, or the tips of another..
That burned at the touch, when we held each other.
I wonder if I’ll ever again love with the passion in which I loved you.
And I wonder if you’ll ever do the same thing too.

I wonder. 

Giving Thanks


It’s post Thanksgiving. My second one without family.

After a while you stop seeing it as a Holiday, and more as a vacation. It becomes time off. A break, if you will. That’s why I didn’t try to make this holiday complex. Instead, I hung out with a friend. We attempted to cook our version of a Thanksgiving dinner (it turned out really well). Afterwards, we pulled up all the new American Horror Stories, and I caught up on this season.

1: It’s twisted.
2: It’s creepy.
3: I love it, and I have never been more thankful to not be that twisted and creepy.

Now I’m sitting on my couch waiting for my guests to arrive. Yes. I did the unimaginable. I invited 30 + people over for a late night extravaganza. Now, I’m hoping that it goes smoothly. I made it very clear that it was BYOB. I bought a case of beer for a cushion, and NOW I am waiting. We discussed that whole patience thing right? I’m not great at it.

Instead, I grabbed my laptop and here I am.

Let’s talk about the last time I tried to throw a party. I don’t mean when I was turning twenty-two and invited 150 people (who nearly all showed up) to a bar I worked at. That was easy. I said “Hey it’s my birthday” and everyone bought shots from the bartender. Here, in my own home… Now this is complicated. I keep asking myself…. Is someone going to fall through the sliding glass door? What might look fun to a drunkard? (That way I can hide it). Etc.

So far it’s been a fun game of “What to clean, What to hide.”

I like choosing between the two. It’s very satisfying.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving. All I wanted to say really was this.

I am thankful for the friends I have made along this journey. I appreciate you all for coming back week after week to read this blog, and all that I say within it. I can’t explain to you what it means to me. I try to voice my honest opinion hoping it will enlighten someone else, but the truth is… I’m figuring it out one day at a time… Just like you… So I appreciate the faith you put into me… One day I’ll make you proud. Each and every one of you.


Remember me…

Tennessee

Monday, November 19, 2012

What I Want


What I want.

I want to walk down the street without looking over my shoulder. I want this in every city. Not just for myself, but for everyone.

I want to hold hands anywhere I go. Not everywhere. Sometimes it’s not necessary or appropriate, but I would like the option. I would like to be able to hold hands anywhere.

I want my efforts to be reciprocated in work, love, and life. I want dedication to be universal, and “the right thing” to be law of the land.

I want to create. I want to leave my words behind, my art, and for someone to look back and say “That girl got it.”

I want to feel the passion of a love song, and see the results of a happy ending. Mystical I know, but I think it’s possible between two like-minded people who are willing to put their pride away. While sometimes pride can be a good and honorable thing, other times it just makes you immature and ridiculous.

I want to believe in love again. I feel like more often than not, I’m the “Bridesmaid” and not the bride. I would like to be on the end of the relationship where all of my friends are sick with jealousy.

I want to know what happened to Kennedy. The real story. Not the one our government shared.

I want to own an art gallery. I want it to double as a restaurant. This is a long term dream. Nothing I’m rushing into, I just like to think out loud.

I want to meet a slew of British Gingers. Adele, Ed Sheeran, Rupert Grint, Prince Harry. Seriously, Britain has the coolest gingers on the planet and I want to meet them all out for a hot beverage. We can call it Ginger Tea.

I want to climb a mountain. Bottom to top, I want to do it. Not particular on which one… as long as it’s tall.

I want to live in the same city as my mother. It’s been almost six years since that’s happened. I miss her.

I want to work with Jessica Chastain on ANYTHING. I’m beginning to think I just like red heads.

I want to meet Jessica Lange. (Maybe I’m into Jessica’s too?)

I want to master the art of recognizing warning signs. I mean when I’m out in a public place, when I’m walking home alone, when I’m weary about dating someone, and when I get too close to someone (even family). I want to be able to recognize ahead of time if there is anything suspicious or problematic.

I want to forgive. Despite my efforts, sometimes I still find resentment that I’ve held on to even for the silliest of things. I want to let it go. All of it.

I want to do my best at anything that I attempt. I’m not saying I have to be THE best. I just want to be the best that I can be.

I want my little brothers to grow up somewhere that they’re not taught to discriminate based on gender, ethnicity, religion or race. Although my parents try, the surrounding community is making this difficult. Despite the growth of our country, there are still places where this is a problem.

I want to hold the hand of my grandmother again. I want her to recognize me, and call me “Dahling.”

I want to cross the point where the atlantic meets the pacific, and I would like to do so by boat.

I want to hold a panda bear. An incredibly insane amount.

I want to be alive when there is a female President, multiples if possible.

I want to see an openly gay performer perform at the Grand Ole Opry. Better yet, I want to see Chely Wright.

I want bullying, gay related or not, to disappear. It’s hard enough being sixteen.  I mean do you remember the awkward way your body changed, pimples and puberty? Times are TOUGH for teenagers. They don’t need any other assistance from each other. That kind of change starts with us. The way we treat each other. The way we treat those younger, and older.

I want to write a love song.  Those are always difficult for me. Break up’s are more my specialty.

I want to get married, and it be legal in every state. 

I want to look back at my life 77 years from now, content, and ready. Yes. I intend to live a hundred years.

And that… Although somewhat seemingly unrealistic, is what I want. I dream because it gives me something to look forward to and something to strive for. I live in the now for the pursuit of tomorrow.

Just something that I thought I’d share with you all today.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

- Tennessee

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yuletide Yearning


I have this idea about life. It’s a crazy one…

See, when I wake up in the morning, I enjoy it. I enjoy what new comes with each day. The experience of living it. I yearn for constant change and irregularity, yet stability. Doesn’t make much sense does it?

I’ve been really happy lately. I finally got my gym membership. For those of you who constantly feel upset, or hopeless, try going for a jog each day or working out. It’s a natural stress reliever with feel good consequences.

I went today for the first time. I was doing planks on the mat in the corner when I looked up and saw the Hollywood sign through the window. There it was. Staring back at me.

It almost takes your breath sometimes, you know? You’re driving down the street, leaving a coffee shop, or hitting the gym, you look out and see that word. “Hollywood”. Some people have never seen that sign. I still stare at it with disbelief.

I have heard more than once since I’ve been out here that I needed to toughen up. I’m apparently too nice, and people are going to take advantage of me if I don’t come off as a badass. I disagree. Call me na├»ve, but I think that I can still be nice, and friendly while succeeding. I don’t think I should have to choose one or the other.

Also, I think life ought to be enjoyed. What good does it do you to work every second of every day, if you never take a moment to enjoy it. Working out, dinner with a friend, I cherish these things.  I wake up in the mornings for those moments. I don’t work my tail off just to work that hard again the next day. I work that hard so I can feel confident when I go home, or so I can afford a meal out. I work that hard so I can enjoy life.

One day I will work to support a family. That’s a terrifying thought. I was thinking about it earlier because it’s beginning to feel more like Holiday season. Not necessarily in the weather, but just the way people are talking. My mother reminds me every time I call home that I am going to be home soon.

I have decided to fly back for around two weeks. During that time I hope to get quite a bit of writing done. I also want to spend time with my family. I’ve missed the twins. I’ve missed my mom.

What’s interesting though is I know when I get home there’s going to be a new feeling of regret. I don’t know why, but I have thought about having kids since I was twenty. It didn’t really hit me until this past year when both my step-sister and step-cousin have had a baby. I’ll admit it. Especially around the holidays I often wonder what it would be like to have a family. I know! I’m young. It doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. My mother used to light up the entire house in Christmas lights. We would decorate it with every sideways knick-knack art project that us kids brought home, as well as with my mothers collection of glass ornaments. I can remember the glow of the white lights off that 7 ft tree as I curled up in my mothers chair with her and a cup of cocoa. We sat quietly until I fell asleep. I remember Christmas as a beautiful thing when I was a child. After I began to grow older it lost a lot of it’s sparkle and shine until I eventually began to resent it. Watching it through the eyes of a child however is a beautiful thing, and I cant wait to make it special for my children and wife. If she by chance practices something other than Christmas, then I’m excited to learn about that tradition from her. I think it’s important to participate in life. Do things. Enjoy yourself. Smile.

Tonight is going to be short and sweet. I have to be on set early tomorrow. I’m excited. It’s my first day going on set for something since I’ve been back to Cali. The rest of my work has been in the office or for special events. I’m looking forward to being out there.

Have a great week guys. Do something spontaneous.

Remember me,

Tennessee

Friday, November 16, 2012

Faith and Snow Flakes


“An Inspiration.”

That was the only thing I could manage to say. My mother sat quietly on the other end of the line. She had asked me what I wanted to be when I graduated. That was the only answer I had for her.

It was 2 a.m, and I was sitting in my car crying outside of my best friends apartment. I called her after I returned home from the bar where I worked. I didn’t drive, but my car was my “thinking spot” so after the twenty or so people went inside for after bar to dance and play beer pong in the kitchen, I sat outside alone.

I was currently intoxicated. I had no direction. I lost sight of my passion, and film wasn’t as fulfilling as it had been in the previous years. It was my senior year of college and I was three months away from graduation.  I had just finished shooting my senior project, and wasn’t happy with my results. This started a downhill spiral.

Snow was falling gently around me, covering the windshield one flake at a time. Through the few open spots on the glass, I could see the streetlight peeking in.

“I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I don’t know how to do anything. I’m not that great at film.”

I was nailing myself one harsh comment at a time. I had hit a point where I wanted time to freeze like the ice dangling from the roof of the apartment. I didn’t want to graduate. I didn’t want to grow up. I wanted to sit there, drunk in my car, and play Peter Pan for the rest of my life. I was afraid. I was months away from losing all structure I had ever known. Until that point, there had been a plan. I would get good grades, graduate high school, find a college, go to college get more good grades, graduate from college… And then what? Get a job? Have a family?

None of that was guaranteed. In fact, I hadn’t even begun to think about a job. Where would I apply? How did that even work? If you want to work as a banker, you go to a bank and apply. A nurse finds a doctors office or hospital. In film, you can’t even get onto a major lot without a pass. Most jobs are word of mouth, and nine times out of ten you’re not going to get an interview without a high recommendation. I had nothing.

“I just want to come home.”

I was sobbing at this point. I hadn’t turned on the heater, and I sat shaking violently in my car. I had never felt more alone.

My mother suggested I talk to my professors, or my advisor, or the President of the college. I, however, wanted to sulk, so I pretended like everything was hopeless and all of her suggestions were useless. When she had run out of potential answers, I hung up and cried some more. One by one, party-goers walked out of the apartment and to their cars. I sat for another two hours blasting an old burnt CD that would have made you think I liked to “Drive around and cry a lot” (as my best friend used to say).

I waited until I couldn’t cry anymore and opened the door. The cold hit me like a brick. A very, very, cold brick. I stood out in the snow, the flakes stinging my skin. It had begun to fall quicker. I tilted my head back and let the flakes blanket my face.

The snow settled on me and melted as quickly as it landed. It hit me… and disappeared. I began to wonder if that’s what this feeling would be like.

I had felt it before… that sense of hopelessness when I felt insecure and unsure of myself, and in that moment… I knew I would feel it again.

That’s the moment where I began to realize that life has no plan. That it goes and changes as it pleases. That I can’t force it to go the way I want it to, so I might as well hang on tight and enjoy the ride. I brushed off the hood of my car with my hand and laid down on the body. Before long the snow began to stick to my shirt. I watched it clump, and collect and build.

When it began to melt through my shirt, I stood up, and it was gone again. One more of life’s funny ways of reassuring me that it always knows better than I. Guiding life is something that we all do, but it’s those who can change direction when the time calls for it, and roll on that succeed.

I’m still working on that. I have to remind myself daily, but I’m trying.I encourage you all to do the same.

I started believing in myself, and let life guide me… Now I’m a personal assistant for a celebrity, and writing in Los Angeles, California. Who would have thought?

Next time something doesn’t go your way, ask yourself why it didn’t work out. Maybe another option opened up? Maybe that particular thing is supposed to happen later, or there is another path that you’re supposed to take. If that relationship you worked so hard for didn’t last, then maybe it’s because that’s not the person for you. The longer you prolong it, the longer it takes to meet the partner of your dreams.

Have faith in life. Believe. We have to live it regardless, so why not do it with a fulfilling and positive attitude? Enjoy yourselves. Encourage others to do the same. Be the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Remember me,

I’m Tennessee

Monday, November 12, 2012

Patience


I’m back at the laundry mat.

The familiar hum of dryers spinning round and round. Tumbling t-shirts and button ups, sweaters and sweat pants. It’s interesting when you think about it…

How many of these items were handed down by family members? Are some of them the lingerie of a lover? A mistress? Do these items belong to a mother of 5 squeezing in the wash during her two-hour break before she goes to her second job? Maybe somewhere in there is a shirt that belongs to a young woman who wears it whenever she needs to feel sexy again. Regardless, it’s another reminder how big the world is around me, and how small I am.

I don’t mind being small. In fact I prefer it. When I’m amongst a crowd, I don’t feel the need to stand out anymore. Rather, I long to blend in. Not to be unoriginal, but to be a part of something greater than myself.

I’ve stood alone. I’ve stood by myself, and fought the current. Now instead of struggling through the waves, I simply look for a stream that’s going the same direction. Something that isn’t so aggressive and difficult. I search for those who are like-minded in my beliefs.

I still run into those who are different. I find discomfort during conversations with conservatives and religious extremists. I’m still questioned and belittled, undermined and disregarded. I even still find myself the butt of a discriminatory joke every now and again. I’ve realized by now that I’m not going to change the mind of everyone I speak to. Often I won’t even leave a mark. Occasionally however, I will.

The thing that I struggle with the most at this point is patience. It’s a virtue that I’ve never really possessed. This patience that allows me to understand that some people have known no other way than hate. I see it everyday. Even here in California I will overhear a conversation that is racist or sexist, even if it wasn’t intended to be.

I long to feel at ease in my own skin. To breathe deeply during an attack.

Lately, I’ve found myself in a place very unlike my usual temperament. I’m not depressed. Not even sad really. I’m in pain.

Literally. My heart aches. I long to feel, and to share those feelings. I’m sure some of you are wondering what I mean by “feel” when I just clearly stated that I was in pain. It’s difficult to explain. I often find inspiration through art, music, life, the trees, sunshine, a blue bird… etc.

For some reason, I haven’t felt that in a while. I’m not sure if it is my increasing level of stress from moving to a new city, working two (sometimes three) jobs, maintaining friendships, questioning which ones to maintain, and still trying to be creative during this entire process or if I’m simply numb to life at the moment. I hear stories all around me of passion and anger, love and devotion. I hear of achievements and failures, pick me ups and let me downs. Now, God willing, I would love to be on the positive side of all of those… But I’m just ready to feel again. To be inspired. I’m ready to create.

Even as these words fall across my screen, I wonder if writing in this blog even counts really? I’m sure most would debate that it does, but the truth is that anyone can do what I do. Anyone can pour out their heart. In fact I encourage it. It’s liberating.

What I’m waiting for, I suppose, is more. That’s very selfishly “first-world country” of me, I know. Having so much and yearning for more. I can’t help it. Emotionally I’ve found that I’m never satisfied. Maybe the patience might be good for that as well?

A friend asked me earier what I was writing and I explained that I can’t write anything right now other than in this blog. I’ve tried. I’ve looked over some of my old scripts that I’ve started I’ve looked into the fictional novel I began. I even looked at some of the poetry I forgot that I posted years ago on poetry.com. I’ve searched for some sort of inspiration anywhere, and can’t find it. I do the only thing I can. I write here.

The best way I could describe it was, “I’m looking for an answer as I’m writing. I feel like I’m close to a breakthrough, but I can never tell really. Life itself is a revelation… Isn’t it?”

And then it hit me.

Patience IS the answer. Nothing has to come to me today, or tomorrow. As long as I am breathing deeply, and living fully, the rest will come in time. If by some off chance I never make it quite that far through life, then I was never intended to in the first place.

Life is a revelation. Every moment is that “Aha” in which you realize you know something more than you did moments before. This moment, I know that I am in desperate need of patience, so I will close my laptop. And wait.

I’m not sure what for. I suppose it will come to me when it is supposed to.

I’ll be waiting. Patiently.

Remember me,

I’m Tennessee

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Michigan's In The Rearview


It’s cold out. Even though I’m in California, my toes are freezing.

My hoodie is wrapped tightly around me, as I listen to the wind blowing against the side of the house. I can see the palm trees in the back yard, swaying gently from side to side. Despite that vision of oasis, this white page looks like snow.

With every key stroke, I’m chilled to the bone.

Michigan- by The Milk Carton Kids plays in the background.

“When she calls, don’t send her my way. When it hurts you’ll know it’s the right thing.” I’ve lied to myself for quite sometime now. See there was a girl… A beautiful, wonderful girl. A girl with a heart of gold, and a soul of pain.

I stumbled upon her accidentally. One of those instances where you just knew that it had to be fate. Coincidence couldn’t be this certain. Our first connection was through music. I loved her taste in artists and lyrics. We stayed up night after night sending each other songs. Listening to them. Relaying our translations. I shared some of my own work with her. She showed me her photography. I would sleep two or three hours at a time, just to wake up in the middle of the night and talk to her. It was sweet…

It was also short.

After just a few weeks of that, I packed up my things and drove to Michigan. That’s what we will call her. Michigan…

I drove the 9 hours through the middle of the night. Living off of Red Bull and a dream, I wound my way through 3 states, and a whirl wind of emotions. I had never been this careless. Never this crazy. I drove and drove until I found myself on a long winding street in the middle of no where. By the time I made it there, I was sitting thirty feet from a lake, overlooking the water from my driver’s seat.

It’s funny. As I write this… My body is warming. I can almost feel the sun beaming in through my window on that early Friday morning. I arrived around 9:30 a.m. I called her. She directed me to her driveway, and I sat there patiently hyperventilating, preparing to meet the girl that…

That what? That I talked to a lot on twitter? That I skyped with on my lunch breaks? The girl that called me at 2:00 a.m from the casino when she had time off from work? She was more than that. I didn’t know what she was exactly… But she was more.

She rounded the corner…


It took my breath. I was there. She was in front of me. Before I knew it, I was hugging her. She was small. She nestled beneath my arms. Rested against my chest. I parked my car, grabbed my bags, and followed her inside.

You have to forgive me. As I’m trying to type this out, I’m reliving every second. Sometimes I pause, just so I can remember the way the clouds looked, or the sunlight filling her room as we both sat quietly on the edge of her bed.

“Is it still weird that I’m here?”

“A little.”

She asked if I wanted to watch a movie. We settled on Crazy Stupid Love. She worked nights at the Casino, so this is normally the time she would begin resting. We laid next to each other in her bed. I remember thinking that I wanted to roll over and cuddle her. Hold her against me. I knew how well she would fit. It was like I had known her for years. She was only new to me in person. Her spirit had been connected to mine for centuries.

It was a slow process getting close to her. Eventually I held her as the movie ended. Her head on my shoulder, she held my t-shirt bundled up in her fist. We fell asleep. Over the next few hours I would get to meet her “Gram”, the sweetest woman you’ve ever met, and her best friend. The girl that has stood by her for longer than I’m even sure of. I was surprised to find that in this little corner of Gun Lake, there was a girl with a life so much like mine. Good people. Good hearts. Good conversation. Just good… Everywhere. And I liked her. Like was an understatement. I felt something. Something different. Watching her was like watching the unfolding of the Kirsten Dunst character in Elizabethtown (only with a northern accent.) It was like falling in love with Melanie Carmichael from Sweet Home Alabama, but only after she breaks up with the guy you know she was never supposed to be with, and then loving her that much more for punching his mom in the face. NO, Michigan never punched anyone in the face. But damn, she did a number on my heart.

We went to a little art festival the following day with her best friend, BFF’s (then) girlfriend, and their son. Watching Michigan push him around, and play with him, I just couldn’t help myself. I let my mind wander. I entertained ideas of a life with her. Too soon? Maybe. I’ve never been one to hold back my feelings. There are sometimes in life when you just know what you want, and right then I knew. I wanted her. I knew that I could be what she needed, and she was everything I wanted. I was overwhelmed with the certainty. Her hand in mine… I wanted it there.

Mind you we hadn’t kissed. We certainly hadn’t slept together. I wanted her as a person, not as an object. It was beautiful.

She told me next that she had a surprise for me. The five of us drove for another fifteen minutes. We wound up on the beach. She wanted to spend sunset with me. It was my last day there, and I couldn’t think of a better ending to the evening.

We laid there. Sun setting. Laughed. Joked. Played with the baby. Took pictures. Laughed about taking pictures. Joked about playing with the baby. I held her against my chest as it went down. As the sun set, so did my chance for her to feel the same. With the darkness came her doubts. During the drive back to her house she basically said that that nothing could happen between us. She wasn’t ready.

I had taken off another day of work, but when I mentioned staying another day, she said she had other plans.

When we climbed into her bed, I was confused. A little hurt. This wasn’t the way I hoped that this would go. This wasn’t the way I wanted things to be. I stayed distant on purpose. I made it a point to sleep on my side of the bed. I didn’t want to come to close to her, just to hurt even more. My arms found her body again through the middle of the night and I held her hopelessly. Clinging to every chance that might have existed.

The next morning I got up. Packed my things, and made my way slowly to my car. She walked me out. Thanked me for coming.

Last minute I leaned in and kissed her.

My head nothing short of exploded. When I caught my breath, I climbed into my car still a little dazed. I backed out, and made it at least ten minutes down the road before I ever sobered up from that beautiful exchange.

I cried.

I’ll admit it. I think that crying is beautiful, and healthy, and I like to do it. It reminds me that I’m alive. It helps me remember I can feel, and feel is what I did.

She faded out over the next few months, resurfacing only occasionally. I made effort after effort to find that girl I talked to in the beginning for hours on end. I still don’t know where she went. She told me that she wanted to visit me here in California. I was really excited about that, until I realized there is no plane ticket, and she has said  a lot of things she never followed through with.

Lying here now. “Michigan” still playing in the background, I wonder, did she feel any of it? Does she know me the way I know her? The answer is, I don’t think so. I don’t think she ever did, nor that she ever will. The truth is… I fell for this girl.

I fell for her heart. I fell for her mind. Her smile. Her eyes. I fell in love with her laugh. I fell in love with her pride and dedication. I let myself love someone that I never that intention for. It’s crazy. I know this. That’s why so many months later, I am still struggling to pick up the pieces. I gave my heart away to someone who was completely uninterested.

That’s my own fault. Really.

It seems I do that.

I sent her this song tonight. It’s been playing all evening on repeat so I thought I would share. We began with lyrics. It was only fair that we ended the same way.

“When she calls, don’t send her my way. When it hurts you’ll know it’s the right thing. Michigan’s in the rearview now. Keep your hands where I can see them. You took the words right out of my mouth, when you knew that I would need them. What am I supposed to do now without you…”

In a way my heart is breaking. Until this point I had let my mind entertain the idea of something eventually working out. Not until tonight did I realize that this really is the end. I loved a girl. I lost a girl. Maybe she was only a figment of my imagination. I can never be sure. Maybe I loved the idea of her, but god she was beautiful… inside and out.

What I do know is that if I reach that point again in the future, I won’t let myself be affected. I won’t hold back just because I’ve been hurt. I won’t let love pass me by just because it didn’t work out in Michigan. I will love deeply, passionately, and positively. I will be certain, and deliberate. I will love her the way I would want to be loved.

If you see a girl in Michigan, beautiful and with a frown… can you ask her to smile for me? She will be the one with a chip on her shoulder, but her hand on her heart, reaching up to the sky for reassurance that there’s more to this life than what she knows.

“Michigan’s in the rear-view now.”…

And now I'll end with a different song. "Maybe It's Time" - The Milk Carton Kids. It's a good one too… Listen at your own risk. 

Good night world.

Remember me,

Tennessee

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Handle


Standing here.
This edge of life.
This edge looks like…
A switch blade knife.
Switch made at birth.
Should have been someone else.
See, my father says that I’m a mess.
At best I’m less than his worst.
And even now
I’m not sure how
To breathe deep again.
See I see me,
In hypocrisy,
His rules that beat me down.
He asks me now
If I’ve turned around
To walk that straight and narrow.
I’m straight as an arrow
Through the heart of the nearest girl standing.
No reprimanding me.
I’ll be who I’m meant to be.
It’s not that I don’t like authority
Or it’s boring me.
I simply have this urge to exist.
And this is more than I can handle.
I ramble around
Trying to sound out the syllables
that tell us that you’ll come back.
But you won’t.
You never had an interest
In anything other than a mistress
And this responsibility…
Well this is more than you can handle.
See we learn a lot about someone
After they’ve come undone
Their thoughts frayed on the floor.
Displayed before they’re processed
And drop this polite bullshit
The truth is you’re not the man you want to be.
I’m not the girl you see
And it bothers me
That I tried so long to fit in.
This shit, it’s bogus
You owe us. You do.
Years trying so hard to be like you.
Just to find that you’re a mess.
Far less than my best.
And yes…
You're too much to handle. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Shattered


I was seventeen.

I had been through the biggest break up of my life. I was in love with her, but she couldn’t be with me. I slipped word to her through a friend that I would wait for her at the end of a gravel road, on top of the deserted hill in her hometown.

It was “Raegan”. I mentioned her in Water Runs Blue.

J drove me. We sat quietly in his little green beretta as he wound down the road to my fate. He knew that she and I had a falling out, but not about what. I think he suspected at that point that we had been together. Especially considering I requested a handle of “Zombie” (a blue alcohol mix that nothing short of makes you the living dead.) We parked at the top of the hill and J rolled down the windows. The sun was setting, and the stars began peeking out in the distance.

Lifehouse had become our band of choice that summer, and You and Me was playing louder than it should have been for an incognito encounter.

I turned up the bottle using both hands. It was nearly half gone, and I was already drunk. It trickled off my chin and onto my shirt. I was a mess.

I could see two stars floating up the hill. They got bigger as they got closer. I realized they were headlights. My heart began pounding. What if it was the cops? What if they knew we were trespassing? What if they found out I was drinking? What if my parents found out? What if it was Raegan’s dad? Even worse… What if it was Raegan? Could I really stand to face her? To hear what she had to say? It had been a month since we had spoken.

A million things ran through my mind at that moment. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I was hyperventilating. I was terrified.

Raegan stepped out of the car. I climbed out of the Beretta. Leaving the tell-tale bottle behind me.

“You wanted to see me?” was the only thing she said.

“You didn’t?” I slurred.

I took a step toward her. She took a step back, glancing at J.

“This is how you’re going to act?” I knew it was. She had always been paranoid. No one could know. No one could find out. Even the people who knew weren’t allowed to discuss it.

“You’re drunk.” She replied. It wasn’t hard to tell.

“And you’re an asshole.” I was angry. She hadn’t called. Hadn’t made contact of any kind. I knew that her dad was making it nearly impossible, but I loved her. I was ready to pack up my things and run away together. Instead, she just walked away from me… My heart was being ripped out of my chest with every second that ticked by.

“I’m an asshole?” She was hurt. In her mind she was doing everything she possibly could to stay alive. To this day, I still don’t know the things she suffered within the four walls of her own home, but at the time I was selfish. I was a child.

I spun on my heels and stumbled back to J’s car. He was propped up on the drivers side.

“Hand me the bottle.” I demanded.

“You’ve had enough.” Raegan said following me.

“Why don’t you listen to her?” He offered.

“Why don’t you stay out of it?” I jeered. I quickly rounded the side of the car and reached through the passenger side window. I grabbed the bottle of Zombie and lifted it out. Heavier than I expected, it slipped, crashing down on the car door. The window never rolled down completely, so an inch or so of the glass was raised above the edge. When the bottle met the glass it shattered. For a moment I thought it was my heart.

J grabbed his face with his hands and just squatted down to the ground. I knew I had fucked up, but damn it if I cared at that point. Every emotion that I had held inside until then came pouring out, as if it had been contained by the glass all along.

I was seventeen. I was in love for the first time. I was falling apart for the first time. I knew that I was dying, and I prayed for the end. When it didn’t come, I sunk to the ground. On my knees, I watched her walk back to her car. My voice caught in my throat, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t breathe. All I could do was sob. All I could do was bathe in the pain. I watched her tail lights fade in the distance, and what seemed like years later J lifted me off the ground. He walked me, steadying each step, back to the car. Most of the glass had fallen into the door, but the few pieces that made it out glittered across the ground under the bright, big moon.

I remember wondering if I swallowed it all, if I might shine again. I knew that I wouldn’t. I knew that it was crazy, and I wasn’t about to eat glass, but nothing made sense in that moment. I didn’t understand what I had done so horribly wrong to feel the pain that I felt.

Why was it so easy for her to walk away? Why was it so hard for me to stand? How did I feel this way about her? About a woman? Why couldn’t I be “normal?” Why couldn’t I love J instead? It was no secret that he was in love with me. He took me to his Junior prom the year before.

As we drove home, the wind blew through the empty hole where the window had been. I stared up into the sky, the breeze taking my breath away, and cried. When every tear had dried and I couldn’t shed another, I took a deep breath. We pulled into my yard, and I stepped out of the car. I held a piece of glass in my hand. J who was living with us at the time walked in front of me and opened the door. He walked me to my room. My mom called out from the bedroom.

“Tenn? Is that you?”

“Yes mom.” I slurred out. Still drunk.

I crawled into bed.

“Can you take out the trash?”

J looked at me knowingly and turned to retrieve the garbage.

“I’m going to sleep. I don’t feel well. J’s got it.”

“Alright. Good night baby.”

“Night.”

Not another tear fell. The next morning is when I began writing. I woke up, and stepped over J who was asleep in the floor. It was an interesting friendship we had, but it was what we both needed at the time. He needed a place to sleep, and I needed a guy to “protect me”. People weren’t so tough with him around.

“What’re you doing?” he asked.

“I’m going to tell her I love her.”

“I thought you tried that already?”

“I’m trying again.”

The words fell down like paint on a canvas. The story came to life before my eyes.



She never read it. She still hasn’t read it. I put it aside when my heart began to heal. Revisited it a few years later. Tonight, as I wrap up this post, I plan to pull it out again. I’m going to finish this story. Not for her, but for me. For everyone who feels like they can’t go one. For everyone in pain. It will all be ok…


Remember me,

I’m Tennessee

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Red Hands and Hospital Beds


I have it on repeat.

Tonight my friend introduced me to a song called Red Hands by Walk Off the Earth. If you click here you can actually watch the video for it that she worked on.

For some reason, not even because of the lyrics, but this song is just fitting my mood right now. I don’t know why. This beat is just running through my head like a freight. It’s loud.

“That gun is loaded.”

I am. I am loaded, the safety off and at any minute now… I could go off.

I’m not angry. Not mad, or depressed. I’m good. I’m more than great. I lose my breath sometimes when I think about how at peace I am. I’m busy, but I’ve waited all my life to be this busy. I went to college for four years, just to not have time. I like having places to be and people to meet. I love that at any moment, I could expose myself to another path in my life. With every step I take, another door is opening on the left and the right.

For every move I make, I reflect on the ones before.

I think that is what this blog is becoming. It’s a glimpse into my future, and stroll through my present, and a reflection of my past.

Presently my grandmother is in the hospital. (Remember that my mother’s real mother passed away hen she was two. The grandparents I refer to are my mother’s oldest brother and his wife.) She’s the one I spoke of in previous posts who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She ignored my grandfather’s advice and drove herself to the doctor. On her way home from lunch afterwards, she had a wreck.

After she was admitted into the hospital the doctor noticed that she was bleeding internally. It had nothing to do with the wreck. She is anemic, and they cant figure out where the blood is coming from.

I’m sure you’re wondering how my life is so great considering my grandmother isn’t well, but here is my reasoning. I do what I can, from where I am. I trust the Doctor’s and my mom. I love my grandmother from afar, and help her through a difficult time. I stay positive.

She has been in the hospital for three days now. I called her this morning. Her voice was hoarse, but she cheered up immediately.

“Hello Darlin.” I said to her.

“Darlin’ isn’t doing so well Sugar.” was her response.

She spoke briefly about her nurse, and the horrible food, and then took a deep breath.

“I’m gonna give you back to your Mama. I love you baby.”

“Love you too, Granny.”

My mother took the phone. She stepped out into the hallway, and I asked about my grandmothers condition. Her vitals. Everything was stable.

“I talked to your Papaw today.”

My mother refers to her brother as papaw when she speaks to me.

“What did he have to say?”

This sparked one of the most intriguing conversations that I’ve had with my mother in a while. Sometimes I forget that my mother had a life before me. She went on to say that during her conversation my grandfather talked about how much he disliked that hospital.

It’s the hospital where he found out his mother had cancer. It’s the hospital where his father went before he died. It’s the hospital where his wife laid in labor for 48 hours, because the idiot doctor was convinced her baby was a still born. He was wrong. When my cousin was finally born, he was over 24 hours late. The lack of Oxygen to his brain, and being inside of her for too long caused permanent brain damage. He was born mentally handicapped.

My mother said she remembered the night that he walked in to their house. It was the only night she had ever seen him cry. He looked at his father and grabbed him by the hands.

“I’m going to lose them both, Dad.”

His father held him, and the two of them prayed. He wasn’t a religious man, but he found God that night.

My grandmother survived, and so did the baby. My grandfather worshipped the ground she walked on from that day forward. My grandmother is still to this day the most loved woman I’ve ever met.

He ran into God around fifteen years later on that same tiled-concrete floor. 

My mother was asleep in the hospital bed. She had been in Labor for well over twenty-four hours, and it wasn’t looking good. My grandmother and grandfather sat quietly next to the bed. It felt all too familiar. My mother had hoped for a natural birth, but the vital signs dropped, and next thing they knew the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around my throat. The doctor ordered an emergency c-section. Unconscious, my mother remembered nothing of what was to come.

Despite being brother and sister, the two of them weren’t close. There was a sixteen year age gap, and my mom was wild in her younger years. Her brother didn’t appreciate that about her. Regardless of their differences, when she went into labor, there he was.

My own father had walked out at that point, and the next few hours, my grandfather relived his worst nightmare. The one he experienced in real life years before.

The oxygen wasn’t getting to my brain. The complications were slowly dropping my Mothers vitals, and before they realized what was happening we both started slipping away. My grandmother collapsed into my grandfather’s arms. She had fainted. Chaos all around him, he prayed again.

The doctor cut centimeters into my then soft head trying to deliver me with God’s speed, but I pulled through. Face blue. The umbilical cord was removed, and within minutes I began to breathe. After sewing up my head (where I still have a scar to this day), I was taken to my “Grandparents”. Papaw told my mother “She was beautiful. Just like you.”

I don’t know what it is about that man and Jesus, but somehow we survived. Mom awoke and took me into her arms. I suppose I’ve been there ever since.

We’re close. I often forget that Mom didn’t have that with her parents. The fact that she is becoming so close to her brother now is beautiful to me. I’m getting to see into her heart, and her life in a way I never have before.

In her I see myself. Struggling. Clinging. Searching for acceptance, and finding it in the arms of a loved one. It scares me as well, because he is sick. Emphysema has taken over his lungs, and he has been wheelchair bound for around 4 years now. He is slowly slipping away from her. Every time he tells her a story, I want to sit there between them with a recorder. I want to save these memories for her. I want to give her something, even close to the love and happiness she has given me. Maybe it’s the same reason I write about her so often.

I hope to be like her one day. In a lot of ways, I already am.

Side note.

I finally started “dating” again. Nothing serious, but I met someone I consider to be very interesting. I’m not saying it will or won’t go anywhere, but I am saying I have finally opened myself back up to the idea.

She is sweet. We spent our first date just walking around West Hollywood. We talked for three and a half hours that night. I saw her again last Friday, and she had built a fort in her living room floor. There were candles sitting next to it on the floor, and a stack of DVD’s next to the laptop. We laid in the floor and watched a movie. She held my hand voluntarily as we did. It was interesting to have someone make that much effort for me. It hasn’t happened very often.

Gosh. Here I go. Gushing. WHO AM I LATELY?

I hope that all of you take a moment tomorrow to experience something. Happiness. Sadness. Fear. Anxiety.

The good and the bad. Feel it. Process it. These emotions are beautiful. Every single one. They let you be apart of this incredible moment we call life.

I am nervous. I’m scared. I’m happy. I’m intrigued.

I am alive.


Remember me,

Tennessee