I Miss Thunder

We had a storm tonight. The lightning flashing and the lights flickering kind of storm. Actually, it was the kind of storm that you would typically see roll over the horizon during the summer, when all the windows are open and you can actually feel the change in barometric pressure. It’s exciting.

As long as you’re inside. Or at least, under cover. When I was younger, I used to watch storms come in from the porch of my grandparents’ house. The awning above provided just enough protection to see and hear the storm instead of feeling it. (But I can remember standing in some puddles afterward, which was the perfect amount of wet for me.)

I found that I missed thunder tonight. Actually, I always miss it around this time of year because, right about now, summer feels like the furthest thing. And for me, thunder is one of those rare anchors for the seasons.

But I also realized that I missed the feeling thunder gives me. Again, when I’m safe inside.

Because when you’re cozy and sound inside of a dwelling when thunder is booming, it really makes you appreciate what you have, in a way that you don’t on a perfectly sunny day. (Or maybe it just makes you happy that you’re not out in that mess).

For me, it makes me hunker down a little further and feel a little bit more relaxed about what’s going on around me. Like maybe it’s not that bad, because I’m not out there. Everything is okay as long as I’m not out in that storm, being tossed by wind and drummed by thunder.

And when it’s all over, I can still play in the puddles. (As long as I make sure that the lightning has stopped.)

In the end, thunder just awakes some primal instinct in us that makes us grateful for the shelter that we have. But if you find yourself stuck out in it, at least the ducks think you’re lucky. I guess there’s always a brighter side to a lightning strike.

Why Cry?

Did you ever think about the fact that the first thing you do when you are born is cry? And that you cry at all of your most important moments in life? It’s one of those very few, special things that you never stop doing or somehow unlearn. (Yes, that’s right. Crying isn’t just for women and babies.)

And what’s weird is that you never get better at it. It’s not like you get especially adept at wiping tears from your face. It’s not as if it gets any easier to hide your tears once they start.

But whether you’re a baby or not or good at crying or not, we all still cry for the same reason: we need something, and we don’t know how to express that need in words.

I mean, when you’re a kid, your mom or dad or legal guardian would scoop you up and shush you or sing you a lullaby when you cry. And maybe that worked. Or maybe they had to give you a bottle or change your diaper. And maybe that worked, too. And other times, you cried for no reason, and nothing could stop you. And that was frustrating, but your parents knew that you had to do that.

Now, that you’re older, suddenly you find yourself unable to hold back tears, standing in your kitchen alone, eating leftovers and wiping your face with dishtowels because when was the last time you bought napkins? What do you really need now (besides actual tissues)? You can feed yourself and go to the bathroom. Why would you be crying as an adult? You think, I have the ability to communicate my needs, but I can’t seem to at this moment.

And then comes the shame. Shouldn’t we be able to express ourselves in words instead of just crying about things? What an unproductive mode of expression! But laughing doesn’t have a bad reputation. No one has ever called someone “weak” for laughing at something. So, why crying?

As much as I love the written language, I think there are always going to be things that we cannot explain in words. The awesome power of the universe is one thing. Love is another. But the reason that tears are shed may be the most important of all. Because in the end, it is not the act of crying itself that is cathartic. Rather, it is the act of giving ourselves permission to feel. And really, we need that capability from the beginning to the end of our lives.

Love Comes Back to You

I’m not sure how old I was when my fiancee gave me his army blanket. But I’m pretty sure it was fairly early on into the relationship (the first 5 years, give or take.)

He gave it to me in the hopes that it would keep me warm when he wasn’t there. When he handed it over, though, I wasn’t convinced. It was very light and raggedy looking. Nothing at all like its fluffy, thick cotton candy cousins I ordinarily called blankets.

It wasn’t until I wrapped it around myself later that day that I saw what a gift he had given me. It’s deceptively thin, but it insulates incredibly well. You have to generate your own heat for it to work, but once you do, there’s no getting rid of it. And best of all, when he first gave it to me, it smelled of him. Not in a gross gym sock way, but like clean laundry. Occasionally, when I was feeling generous, I would bring it to him, and he would spread it out over us like one of those huge colorful parachutes we had in elementary school. I was glad he didn’t ever ask for it back, even though I knew he missed it some days. I think he just knew I needed it. (And not just because I was cold.)

And now that we live together, the army blanket is on our bed. It warms us both. It covers us both. It has come back to him, but it stays with me.

And yeah sure, I probably would have given it back had we broken up or something. (Well, I would have put up a good fight for it because I do love it, but I definitely would have given it back…probably.) But we didn’t, and so we share it now.

Which I think is a perfect lesson about love. You quite literally get what you give. And if you wait long enough, what you give will return to you again.

I shudder to think (in more ways than one) what would have happened if he had been selfish and had kept it for himself, or had simply let me borrow it. But he didn’t; he gave it to me, with no expectation of getting it back. And there’s a lot to do with love in that, too.

All I know is that love can be smothering or lightly covering, but above all, it should warm you all the way through.



Soul Itching

Have you forgotten to take care of yourself today?

And I don’t mean did you forget to eat or bathe, and in doing so neglected your physical needs. I mean to ask, have you nourished yourself today? Have you given yourself what you really need?

Let me explain further. Let’s say for the sake of an argument, that we all have souls. (Listen, it doesn’t matter where those souls go after we die, that’s an entirely different argument.) And if you don’t like that, let’s just say that there is a part of ourselves that is uniquely…us. No other human being has the same nutty, nougat center as you do. And so it is has unique needs.

But we wear our souls down in the course of the day, like a pencil eraser. And somewhere along the way, we need to refuel. Me? I need to dance in front of a mirror while lip syncing my favorite songs to feel like I’m whole again. I need to drink a glass of wine and take a shower (sometimes simultaneously.) I need to speak to an old friend for hours at a time. I need to write.

I call this “soul itching.” It’s like scratching a part of myself that I can rarely reach, and it feels just as good. Think of it like a huge bear vigorously rubbing its back against a tree. Except on your soul.

And it’s really important to make time for soul itching. Because what happens when you don’t allow yourself that time to do what you like/need to do, you just get itchy. And when that happens, you make a lot of bad decisions and you get a little snippy.

So, don’t let yourself suffer. Scratch off a little at a time, steal little moments every day. You won’t know how it good it feels (and how much you needed it) until you do it.


How did you read the title of this blog post?

Did you read it as “compare-able”? As in, oranges and apples are not “compare-able” because they are obviously two different fruits, you knucklehead?

Or did you read it as “comprable”? As in, these M. Night Shyamalan movies are “comprable” because they both have terribly obvious “twist” endings.

I know, I know. The second pronunciation is correct, but for whatever reason, I say these words in different ways depending on my meaning. To me, “comprable” is something lesser. If something is “comprable,” you are compromising by choosing it. It’s like saying,
“I’ll have both if it makes you happy, but I’d really like the first one.” Whereas “compare-able” means something like, “Those two things are the same, and it doesn’t matter to me which one you pick.”

And quite literally, this is semantics…that I’ve made up in my head. There is some perceived distinction in wordplay within this word for me that isn’t there at all.

And yet, this word has completely ruled my life in an imaginary way. Until today.

Okay, here it is, plain and simple: I am a human, and so I compare myself to other humans. Not in a “why is she so rich and perfect and I’m not,” way. More like, “why am I so awkward, I just said “I’m good” when she didn’t say “how are you?” way. And so, I’m constantly wondering if people find me “compare-able,” as in someone similar to a person they have met before, but generally a dime a dozen, or if I am “comprable,” meaning that they could be hanging out with someone much cooler, but they’ve lost interest in their own life and they might as well compromise their best interests before they come to their senses.

But I realized something today: when you are truly yourself, when you are really who you are inside and out, you can’t be comparable or comparable. Because there is no one that will ever be exactly like you and you’re not compromising anything when you can be yourself.

And suddenly, the pressure was off. I didn’t have to think about being too this or too that. I could just be me, and there were no words to describe me, whether they had multiple pronunciations or not.

Because when you defy the boxes and labels that people try to put you in or on you, some members of the outside world become frightened or confused. But most people? They’re just dazzled that you have the confidence to be yourself. And they haven’t got any notion of what you were once or what you should be. You’re just you. And they’re speechless.

I Can’t Even

Author’s Note: I’m sorry about the lapse, absence, and neglect that has occurred on this blog. It was truly not my intention. But alas, life happened. I hope that I will greet you with more regularity in the future. I say “hope” because that is all I can offer as of now. 


I think us ladies have come a long way from “damsels in distress,” right? I mean, we’ve overcome some serious oppression (which was basically meted out to us by the fashion industry that put us into those uncomfortable petticoats and weird shoes). Now, we can vote, wear pants, and think for ourselves (the horror!). We’ve burned a few bras and generally raised hell in the name of equality.

So, why is there still stuff we (women) “can’t” do? (I use the word “can’t” very liberally, mind you.) I mean it more in the way that why aren’t we taught to do all of the same stuff? Forget breaking glass ceilings, why can’t we rip down the curtain that separates the sexes?

Because whether we like it or not, there are commonly certain tasks that are simply relegated to the male or female sex and so are passed over when one individual is provided with an education, either formal or otherwise.

I’ve become painfully aware of this since moving out with my fiancee. I pride myself as a woman who isn’t afraid to do a job that is generally perceived as “man’s work,” or whatever that means in the 21st century (which is a statement that I know subjects me to the same sexist ideals I’m trying to fight.) But the thing is that I never really learned a lot of those tasks, or was really interested in learning them, for that matter.

I don’t know how to hammer nails, for instance. Not that it’s particularly hard, but for some reason, my father was always in charge of such things. Wiring wires and screwing screws. These were simply things that I had missed, gaps as sure as the holes in the walls that my father used to make. And if I needed to do these tasks, it was easy enough to ask him to help or to do it for me.

But that was then. Now, nothing on this Earth makes me more frustrated–feeling like I can’t do something because some type of biological obstacle is in my way, either real or perceived. (Men are stronger, women are more adept at conversation, blah blah blah). But what’s really bothering me is that I feel ignorant for not trying to learn. For accepting the fact that someone (some man, perhaps, although I’d never voice it that way) would come along and help me do whatever it was that I needed doing. That I can’t even because I had never wanted to.

And maybe that was the right use of wording before…”pride.” Maybe I’m just being prideful by not wanting anyone to help me. But I also think that it’s quieter than that. A small discovery of not my own physical weakness (I can swing an axe if I tried, I think?), but a weakness of the mind, thinking that I didn’t need to try and learn.

Because although I hate being ignorant, I hate being helpless so much more.

And so, it is high time to leave off the stays of oppression of my mind, in which I simply wait to be rescued. It’s time to let down the rope (or my hair, whichever is available) and worry not about ceilings, but climbing down off pedestals to have level ground to stand on.