You See: Where I’m From

You may befriend the scarlet fox

whose steps fall silent on a freshly white meadow

But I shake hands with a balmy palm

Whose milk tastes sweet and cool inside that burlap shell

You are born with a strong beat

in both hand and heart

And mine too beats with zeal

but my fingers and lips play a softer melody, soothe like a violin bow

You confront life with volume

like your father, and his mother, and her grandmother

I cross my legs and take in what has now gone from a sticky bowl to a flaky pan

as a proper woman would, and I do, but only when I feel like it

You think and think and think some more,

after all, that’s what the greats were made of

And I do too

but with far less question marks

You come from a world between the cactus and frosty mountain

where the snow pants save or suffocate

But I, I am only from ice

and my, what boldness it taught me

You are from, “it is your choice”

from an internal war won with the might of heart and a little bit of Strattera

I have never known such things before I met you

I suppose he gave them to you too

Before you were free from inside of me

we met and married you with glee

Because I am you, and you are we

            you see, that is what my mother said to me.

 

For those of you who aren’t me (obviously everyone), I’m not sure if you’ll get this. The poem is where I’m from, so a lot of it has subtle nuances that only myself or people very close to me will understand, I suppose. But it was still a great joy to write. If you happen to care enough to want to know what the italics and little things mean, I also suppose I can tell you that, because I really would absolutely love for people to read it and go, “Wow! I get that!” So here goes.

            I figure that just as much as I from physical and mental experiences, I am also equally and literally “from” my mother, so the second half of each stanza is actually describing her, in all her loveliness, while the first half is me.  I placed the pronouns for my mother and father in a normal font, while the ones for me are italicized, partly to help whoever is reading, but honestly it’s just as much for me to get my bearings as well. When, at the very end, I say, “that’s what my mother said to me it’s my little way of saying that every time I have said “you” like it is someone else, it’s actually her talking to me, and then comparing how we are different from one another. Really, the whole poem is my mother speaking to me, explaining what I’ve done myself, what she’s done, and how both my own idiosyncrasies as well as hers have combined to make the me that I am.

            I promise I haven’t married my mother, I promise. That “we” and “you” aren’t italicized because they’re my parents and my dad, who I am also from and share a great many similarities with (such as ADHD,,,hence the Strattera).

            Mom hates the cold. I love it, and the beach too. I’m a drummer, she plays the violin. I never shut up, she is usually the calm, composed one with a few random bursts here and there. But it’s all in me. Her, me, my dad…all there. I’m made of complexity, like we all are, so I feel like making this poem simple and to the point would undermine the true wonder of how diverse and complex the process of becoming who we all are really is.

            If you want to, go back and try it again, and I hope you understand. It would make me so happy to know that, because it’s a tribute to mom and my dad, but also their parents and grandparents and everyone else who comes from somewhere.

So here’s to you, for being you.

Carrot Whips and Jenga: The Truth About Possibilities

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I have this feeling so often, one of a blindfolded individual fully aware that the perfect speed and trajectory of their bat will lead them to the unknown location of a cornucopia of wealth. Like the world contains trillions of paths that are laid before us everyday, altered by the tiniest variable, that lead to innumerable outcomes. It is not comparable to the choice between two options that have already been determined, but rather between this incalculable number of undefined decisions to be made.

This fascinating and pressing concept that there is one pathway among the trillions for each individual that would lead them to the most success- and joy-filled life imaginable fills presents an person with an intense optimism as well as enormous pressure. Knowing that the ability to select this one unknown, invaluable opportunity exists is a maddening experience. The sheer power and positive influence on one’s life that this evasive answer contains orbits just outside of recognition and therefore is often not realized.

I believe this concept can be very well depicted through two different scenarios. The first is of an individual in a perilous situation. A gunman has him cornered and will most certainly pull the trigger. In the midst of the attack, the victim stands there helplessly, racking his brain for a trigger of his own that may save his life. There is something in the human vocabulary, or an action, that he could perform to keep him breathing. The aggressor may have one point in his life had a father who constantly threatened to whip him with carrots (just to display the true vastness of the possibilities that this concept entails), and so as the cornered man starts yelling, “CARROTS!!” at the top of his lungs, his predator retreats weak and terrified, allowing the man to preserve his life. Or say the perpetrator suffers from an unwarranted fear of the noise two credit cards make when rubbed together. The victim may create this dreaded sound and in the same fashion extend his existence.

The second scenario embroiders the more success-related pressure of this concept as opposed to its dreadfully shifty life-saving qualities. Picture it as a tower of Jenga blocks. It is your turn and there is one block in the entire tower that is removable. All of the blocks are identical though, and even if you happen to stumble across the one of a hundred, the unknown angle, needed speed, and the proper maneuvering technique that is required pose further uncertainties regarding how to respond to the situation. The key to winning the game, or attaining a positive thing, exists before your very eyes, yet you have no clue which one!

This perfectly demonstrates the tantalizing nature of these possible pathways, as it is clear that one of the innumerable leads to a golden outcome, yet there is no way of even beginning to know what that decision is. The man is aware that there is at least one thing that he can do to save his own life, but he has no direction or clue pointing to that one choice. How on earth would he be able to determine in a split-second’s time, with a complete stranger, that his life-saving decision would be to scream out the name of an orange vegetable? Only pure luck or the guidance of a higher being could lead him to that action. He stands there with the knowledge that the ability to save himself exists, but he lacks the knowledge of what it is. The woman sits there and scrutinizes the tower of blocks, but try as she might, there is no way to determine the one route, along with all of its minute variables, that would bring her the prize. The perfect decision EXISTS right in front of them, but knowing your keys are lost somewhere does really aid you in driving to the candy store, does it?