From Flowers For website
Can you recall the exact moment you saw a flower petal fall? I do. I was sitting at the dining room table, writing away as the sun spilled onto my page. I heard it before I saw it, a tiny crack that demanded my peripheries to pay attention. It fell with a slow determined grace, as if it chose that moment to fall. By the time I turned my head, it was already bathing beautifully in the sunlight. As I looked at it I was thankful for the gentle reminder that there is a certain elegance to falling (or failing). For it creates vast opportunities for growth, change, and thoughts anew.
“What is so marvelous about living today is that it is possible to extend, like a flower, spreading petals in all directions.”
— Carolyn Kizer
I don’t know if the YES PROJECT made me do it or if it was my need for change, for a new chapter but I made a decision to start fresh. To let go of the places and circumstances that are holding me back and just be free. I’ve been bowling with bumper guards for too long (metaphorically speaking) and it’s about time to put them down. I know I talk about it a lot about doing this but now I have no choice. It’s a new chapter whether I’m terrified or not. It all ends August 1st, one final goodbye and I’m off to something new. I don’t know where I’m headed but it starts with a pen and a dream, and it’s worth protecting.
Yesterday night I went to my brother’s high school graduation, which means that it’s been seven years since I graduated. Do you remember what it felt like to sit among all of your classmates and listen to esteemed facility yap and yap and yap about how the future is yours, about how proud they are of you, and most importantly about how much potential you have? In all honesty I thought watching my brother graduate would bring back such memories but it didn’t. It brought on anxiety and the inevitable revaluation of my life choices.
There I was, so young and impressionable, not entirely sure where I was headed but completely sure that it would involve the written word. I have many things to be proud of, many words that I’m happy to share, and yet all I can think about are the opportunities I let slip away. The ones I was too afraid to take, the ones that could have made my life a little bit different.
But I digress, graduations aren’t about fear. Graduations are about courage. They’re about new beginnings and new chapters. The Valedictorian at my brother’s ceremony ended his speech with something along the lines of:
“Everything you’ve ever done, ever thought, ever experienced, and ever felt, has led up to this moment in your life… you define the next moment… make it count.”
All I can hope for is that my brother makes his decisions with care but without fear. I hope that his hard work and dedication will lead him to whatever he desires. I hope that he’ll forget about what he “should” do and that he’ll follow his heart. I hope that he makes every moment count. I hope that he won’t let opportunities slip by him because of his insecurities or fear of change. If I’m honest with myself, the kid is a million times braver than me and I couldn’t be more proud. I might be older than him but I do look up to him (and not just because he’s 19 feet taller than me). I hope that I can borrow a little bit of his courage and make the next moments in my life the very best ones…
You know what will put life into perspective? How about serving pizza to a man with a leg-and-a-half. I don’t mean for that to sound rude or insensitive — I’m simply stating facts. He limped on a wooden prosthetic leg, pain seemed to overcome his right leg as if all the pressure might cause an eruption. He was an older young man, with dark grey hair, crows feet around his eyes, and a boyish smile. He was polite and kind and my heart couldn’t bear the pain in his eyes. I didn’t know his story and I dare not ask because something in his face, in his haunched shoulders, told me that his story isn’t an easy one. Perhaps one without a silver lining.
And there I was, dwelling on things that now seem so insignificant. It is astounding how narrow or self-centred our minds can become when we let our lives become the only life in existence that matters. When our tiny setbacks are nothing compared to someone else’s troubles. When we let a dark cloud come over us, weigh us down, and think negatively of our lives.
when really, it isn’t that bad at all.
“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Best Sellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to fund these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.” — Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Thanks to Amanda DiPasquale for recommending Stephen King’s memoir to me, and to my cousin Amanda Rose for telling me to read my old notebooks — it’s nice to see how far I’ve come. I’m vowing to write more in 2014, more stories, more poems, less daily documenting.
Okay, YOLO is kind of tacky and over-done but You Only Live Once is a great motto if taken the right way and variations of it can be found throughout history. I don’t think it means you should be driving recklessly or spending all of your money or walking out on your job or family just to experience other things. I do think that life is too short to NOT experience the things you want to experience. Having YOLO as your only motto definitely leaves room to make some mistakes but it can also lead to great things. Your dreams and ambitions should not be silenced or put aside for anyone or anything. If you want to travel somewhere, you should. If you want to spend your evenings walking around downtown, you should. If you want to self-publish a book you should — although really think that one over. If you want to start a new career, you should. If you want to try a different hairstyle or change-up your wardrobe, you should. It’s easier said than done, I know. It’s hard to try new things, to let go of all you apprehensions but most times it is necessary for growth.
Life is about change.
Life is about experience and you shouldn’t let anyone hold you back (not even yourself).