Coming Home Again

I just bought some books of poetry from the poet Nikita Gill. Whenever I see poetry online, they are mostly from Gill’s work. So I knew I had to buy a book or two of hers. I got them today and sat down to read them.

Guys, I already think reading a book is like making a friend. Learning their quirks, smiling with them, and sometimes crying on their pages. But reading poetry is like coming home again.

I used to write poetry in high school and college, and I thought it was what I wanted to do with my life. Now, I don’t think I could write a poem to save my life.

But I almost cried with joy when I realized that your passions as a kid and as a young adult never leave you. They just wait for you to remember and come home again. Poetry has been waiting for me. All I had to do was find it again.

So, go home again. Color. Draw. Write. Read. Sing. Do whatever that used to make it feel like you are home again. And feel like a curious child once more.



Baby Bird Syndrome

Ah, the wonders of nature. A little baby bird emerges from an egg, it is fed and nurtured by its parents, and then one day, it grows its feathers all over and becomes too big for the nest. So, what happens? Does it watch its parents closely so it can learn how to fly? Does it hop along on a branch before finally taking wing? No! Mom and Dad shove their little son or daughter right over the side. How’s that for encouragement?

And most of the time, the little baby bird either flutters a little and finds the wind under its wings, or it plummets to the ground and chirps for days, until it finally figures out how to get itself out of this mess.

Now, you might think, Wow, rude, Mom and Dad! You wouldn’t even allow it to pack its stuff? Or you might think, It was time. Everybody has to grow up, and nothing helps you to grow up like the fear of falling out of the nest.

But what happens when that scenario hits a little closer to home and that little baby bird is actually a full-grown adult college graduate?

This is a situation that we are seeing more and more with our tanking economy. Students return to their home base before making their way out into the world because it’s all they can do to stay afloat with collegiate debt. And in nationwide polls, most parents have said that they don’t mind that their child has come home to roost. I mean, if your parents are anything like mine, they usually don’t mind the company. They like the extra help and someone to schlepp around with.

But the weight of it all for that little baby bird or human well…it weighs on you. You feel like a loafer. You feel like a mooch. And worst of all, you feel like a fat baby bird who refuses to fly and would rather sit in the nest watching Jerry Springer! at all hours of the day. There’s this awful guilt that you aren’t living up to your full potential because you’re grounded, in a way.

Which is why bird parents and human parents sometimes push their children out of the nest at some point. It absolutely forces them to make a decision, and the baby is able to start his or her life on his or her terms.

But there are also parents who would rather see their baby’s feathers fully grown in before they’re  encouraged to fly. Which is okay, too.

The point is that it’s fine to do either. It’s okay to strike out on your own and it’s okay to just strike out. As long as everyone is happy with the situation, then you need to feel like it is acceptable too, guilt or not.

Just remember that if you’re feeling a bit like you’re taking up too much space in the nest, think about what it will feel like to you and your parents when it’s empty. Enjoy the time you have together.

I Don’t Know Why

Some days, things are hard. And some days? Things are so much harder.

I don’t know why that is. I don’t know why it seems to feel like the universe has it out for us some days, but on others, it wants to sabotage us and then trip us and then kick us when we’re down.

I don’t know why some days you can drop a cup of coffee on yourself and accidentally give yourself third degree burns. And I don’t know why life has to give you the third degree.

I don’t know why the words flow so quickly on some days. And I don’t know why it’s hard to go with the flow on others.

I don’t know why I get so stressed out sometimes. And I don’t know why my brain would allow me to do that to itself.

I don’t know why I can’t focus somedays. And I don’t know why there is nothing to focus on, on others.

I don’t know why I make everything so hard. And I don’t know why it’s so easy when I let it be.

I don’t know why I can’t learn to be still. And I don’t know why I can’t learn to keep going.

I don’t know why happiness is the hardest thing to attain. And I don’t know why it’s the first to leave.

I don’t even know why you’re reading this. And I certainly don’t know whether this is helping you.

But do you know what I do know? We all make it through. We all get along on our way. I may not know why, but I know how:

by breathing and carrying on.

A Screw Loose

Tonight, I’d like to give you a little taste of my nightly routine.

After I’m showered and calmed for the day, I crawl into bed, tuck the sheets under my chin, and start reading. Ever since I was a kid, someone would read to me until I fell asleep…until I could read by myself. Thankfully, I now don’t have to position a flashlight over my head so that I can read in the late hours or beg my parents to read just one more chapter. I have a set-up. There’s a little electric candle that sits on my windowsill, secured by a single nail, that lights the pages by night, way past everyone else’s bedtime. The light doesn’t shine in my eyes, and I don’t have to get up to turn it off. It’s perfect.


It blinks out. I have to position the wire so that it stays on continuously, but sometimes it still winks out like morse code. I’ve often wondered if the neighbors think that I’m trying to communicate with them (and if they are wondering if there’s actual intelligent life in my room.) And most nights, it’s slightly annoying. Because all I have to do is rest my head on the pillow, and the light goes off, but if I wiggle slightly to the left it will come back on…for a second.

The kicker? I know what’s wrong. The little box that holds the control has a screw loose, so there must be some misfiring going on. I figure that all I have to do is give it a couple quarter turns to make it work normally.

The problem with the problem? It’s that I’ve gotten used to my malfunctioning fake candle and the trouble it causes me. I actually look forward to figuring out how to sit just so in order for it to keep shining. It’s like this little lighthouse with a serious attitude problem that guides me home each night. It has character and spunk, even though it doesn’t have much reliability.

And so, I wonder what other little quirks do we have in our life that we feel need fixing but really add such character to our lives?

Like the leaky faucet, for instance?? Yeah, it’s an environmental cost, but how many times has the drip drop lulled you to sleep? Or what about that squeaky step on the staircase? Maybe it got you into trouble when you snuck in late, but it can definitely alert you to robbers if they ever try to creep up the stairs.

Really, at the end of the day, I think we have a lot to learn from the imperfect. I think it has an important place in all of our daily lives. And maybe, just maybe, we all need to take more time to appreciate things (and people) who have a screw loose.


On this July 4th, this most regal of holiday, with plenty of domestic beer and hot dog eating contests, I feel compelled to reflect on my country of origin. This is an incredibly difficult undertaking because it will take everything in my being not to fume (did I say fume? I mean explode.) over the decision made earlier this week by the Supreme Court  regarding women’s healthcare, namely contraceptives. No, I will not discuss the idiocy that courses through this country to have four men allowed to make a decision that does not affect their lives because they are, quite apparently, not female. And to be honest, this isn’t the first thing that America has done that is completely stupid in awhile, it’s just the most recent.

But isn’t this what makes the “home of the brave” great? We let everyone have a say and an opinion. We let even the most simple- and close-minded people freely speak, even though the rest of us want to tape their mouths shut. In the name of freedom, of course. 

But I wouldn’t have us any other way.

Sure, as a country, generally speaking, we are a bit too obsessed with food and a little behind in education. But I’ve never met more passionate people than Americans. And we’re passionate about everything. Media, beer, technology, food, fashion, art, etc. You name it, and we have someone who has absolutely dedicated their life to making the entire industry better.

And I’m not saying that other countries aren’t, uh, better than America. I’m going to say this slowly so I don’t get a million accusations of egocentrism in the comments. Plenty of countries are so much better than America, and we all know it. China is advancing as a society at an alarming rate. The Scandinavian countries have some of the best schools in the world. The Netherlands does everything, well, better than here. Including solar roadways. Hell, I lived in Ireland for several months, and I seriously question my sanity for coming back. I mean, they have beer AND a beautiful countryside? What more could you want?

But it isn’t home. And I don’t consider America home because I grew up here. I call America home because it calls me home. I can’t find a place where I can be more myself. We are called the land of the free for a reason. We are free to live, and love, and be. And we may try to control each other’s lives but somehow, we return to our roots. And we remember that this country was created to escape persecution, not to embrace it. We are a haven for others, and despite certain, offensive individuals, we are an accepting and loving people. I don’t mean to get on my soapbox, and I’m not about to quote the Statue of Liberty, but I think we should all remember what our troops see in our country to want to fight for it. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. I may not always live in America, but it will always hold a place in my heart.

So, I absolutely encourage you to travel the world. There’s some wonders out there that you should not miss. But if you ever want to be a competitive eater, you should come here. And seriously, if you want to find a true home for life, come to America. We’ll feed you (a lot) and keep you safe. We promise.