Our Nation's Capital

{ Tuesday, June 26, 2012 }

Only The Best

{ Thursday, June 21, 2012 }

I want to do something reckless tonight,
And I'm restless
Staring out of half-opened windows
And getting high off of the virginal summer air.

I miss the nights out,
The sneaks out,
The sitting-on-the-sidewalks-scared-to-hold-hands feeling.
Being bad back before I knew it was bad.

And they say the nice girls finish last,
But get only the best,
Or maybe I've just concocted that little cliché in my disillusioned skull.
It would be easy to be bad.

It's hard on these nights,
When all you want to do is run wild,
Clinging onto the windowsill and talking to God,
Asking Him to help you

Wait for all of the promises of
Golden intimacy
When everything else is so cheap and flimsy in the world.
Everyone is so cheap and flimsy.

And they say the nice girls finish last,
But get only the best.

Of Permanence, Of Change, Of Honesty

{ Tuesday, June 19, 2012 }
In these last balmy months of endless mid-morning slumber and evenings full of dusty skies, I've learned that nothing is permanent. Nothing, in the sense of what I have been most familiar with for the better years of my life.

I came to ugly grips with the stark reality of impermanent people and relationships years ago. I shed the callow skin of infatuation, soul-spilling serenades and hand-penned letters and traded it in for something much more practical and impenetrable.

But the halls of my home aren't as permanent or familiar, as is my childhood neighborhood. My bed, that used to curve perfectly around me as I drifted off to some unworldly, lucid place, suddenly feels like a tomb. Nothing here feels permanent anymore.

It's my last summer, and all familiarity has been rubbed away with time and age.

And I'm constantly moving. Going from here to there, point A to point B, incessantly. My spirit of adventure is undoubtedly being fulfilled, and it's invigorating. Rejuvenating, even. I am experiencing the world -- sight, smell, touch and taste at a time. No location is permanent, no location is too familiar.

I will be a stranger in a new city in five days, if only for 48 hours. But 48 hours is enough.

And I'm changing. Leadership, courage and boldness are taking the forefront; not by choice, but by necessity. And I'm learning that vulnerability does not equate to weakness, and desire is not a gateway to senseless hurt. Or at least, not every time.

And I'm coming to terms with honesty. The inner war field of 'the things I think' and 'the things I think I should say.' I so wish that I could honestly describe the things I have seen, and will see, this sepia-tinted season.

I wish I could formulate the words to describe what it feels like to watch the sun melt into the horizon from the Empire State Building, like a slowly-burning coal that had diamond potential. Or the way it feels to run my finger over adolescent initials carved into wood half a decade ago. Or how the heat radiates up from the pavement of city streets and only propels me to walk on harder toward my destiny. How the creek trickles all afternoon and how the big rock there -- my rock -- feels like a kingdom under the sun.

I want to whisper all of this, or say it all long-winded, or slip it out of my lips surreptitiously between sips of coffee, but that isn't reality. I simply don't have a recipient for all of this earnest honesty.

Until then, the paper and pen.

Vlog: Summertime Storytelling

{ Wednesday, June 13, 2012 }

Unapologetic. Enjoy!


{ Tuesday, June 12, 2012 }

I rose early just to see the smog rising,
And set out to soak in all that the asphalt would lead me to.
Seeing red in the one place that was once gratuitous to me --
No longer.
No one knew me here,
The blatant anonymity of it all was thrilling,
And the sirens and screeching tires served as a personal soundtrack.

But it was so early,
And I always go to sleep a poet and wake up a fraud.
The sleep had hardly been rubbed from my eyes,
Yet here I was, beating the pavement,
Feeling fraudulent.

I couldn't write my way out of this.

I sat on the weathered-down curb.
The pen felt flimsy and foreign in my hand,
And the words fumbled out of my mouth like tiny pleas. 
'I never should've,'
'You never would've,'
'I just feel...'

I just feel, like, bone-dry and hollowed out, you know?
On the inside, where lively rivers used to flow.
Flow like your fingertips down my goosebumped sides,
Or the hot water, trickling.
And I never should've been that honest,
Because we both know how you take the truth and run with it.
Contort it, and use it like a dagger, even.
Letting the truth slip through my paper-thin lips never set me free,
But only bound me to you yet again.
You only keep yourself this sick in the head
Because I know how the words get you (off).
I know, I know.
I know I could never be what you need.

And then I hastily scrawled my poor excuse of a John Hancock,
Folded the parchment, and sealed the honesty inward.
My pulse calmed, knowing it was all hidden for now.

You were still in the room dozing when I returned,
Looking fallaciously angelic in a tangle of ivory sheets and blankets.
I sat in a stiff-backed chair for a moment,
Only allowing myself a few glances, for memory's sake.

I counted the rogue freckles scattered across your strong back,
(That was so appealing)
And wondered how someone could sleep that hard.
(Sometimes for afternoons on end)
But that was it.
The glances only turned to longings, and the longings turned into inward beckonings for me to stay.

I left the letter on the side table, confident that you would read it as soon as you rose.
The sun began rising and combating the smog through the window,
Simultaneously raising my spirits.
The skyline was salacious and alluring and taunting all at once.

So I ran for it.

The Man With The Tambourine

{ Sunday, June 10, 2012 }

I strolled through the meek and modest doors of Grace Midtown tonight with my head in the clouds and a hunger for worship, completely unaware of the soul-rocking sight I would witness only minutes later.
Arriving early to the popular 6 p.m. service, I nabbed an aisle seat on the shiny, second row pew. While fiddling with my phone to pass the time, I felt a tap on my shoulder. A middle-aged African-American man stood in the aisle, smiling, and offered me a congenial “hello.” I returned the gesture and, in turn, returned to typing out a short and nonsensical text message.
The man was of slight stature, with a paint-stained T-shirt and baggy jeans cloaking his skinny frame. His hands looked worn with years of work, and his face was etched with the lines of age and burden. This man could have easily been a drifter or wanderer. However, there was a playful joy meandering behind his eyes. The type of joy that shines and emanates far beyond reason or unforeseeable life experiences.
The young pastor walked down the aisle toward the stage, but not before the man reached out and embraced him in an impromptu hug. The two exchanged small talk and, although the man took longer than most to articulate his words, he began to gesture to something on-stage. The pastor knew immediately. I watched as he snatched the in-house tambourine from the stage and kindly handed it to the smiling man eagerly waiting in the pew. No sooner had he had the tambourine in his hands when he proclaimed, “A man’s gotta have his tambourine!” In that moment, you would’ve thought he held the whole world in grip.
As the worship team took the stage, I watched the man’s excitement grow larger and larger from the corner of my eye. As we rose to our feet to sing “Blessed Be Your Name,” he began rattling the tambourine perfectly in time.
Throughout the set of songs, all I could do was watch him. He worshipped openly and without abandon. The tambourine in his hand sent praises up to God with each and every beat. His praises were honest and pure. He didn’t care who was watching or what anyone thought of him; he was in it only for Him.
Immediately following the night’s service he humbly left his pew and made a silent exit from the church.
Everything that I witnessed tonight followed me home in the ride home. I couldn’t stop thinking about him; the pure worship and gratefulness of it all.
Here I am — a 21-year-old woman with a college education, a car, a family, a spacious house, more clothes than I know what to do with, a wonderful group of friends. Yet I find new reasons to falter in my faith each day.
He had Jesus and his tambourine.
The moral of the story? He let his light shine with reckless abandon.
Matthew 5:15
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Sun Blisters

{ Friday, June 8, 2012 }

I saw your distinctive profile.
Or at least I thought I did in the blur of people surrounding me,
Until I knew that I was wrong.

And my soul sunk down deep into my stomach
And my hope sunk even further.

So I walked the pier and stared into the waves that only mirrored my ocean eyes and beckoned me inwardly.
In, into the saline sea that would cleanse me --
The bottomless, brackish baptismal that I so desperately needed.

Inwardly, I did jump.
And everything washed away all at once:
The bitterness, anguish and awe.

And then I told everyone that I had sand in my eyes,
Or something stupid and juvenile like that,
But, really, I was crying.

A rebirth happened in the riptide that rust-colored afternoon.