iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path


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Balled up words

Words are full – they’re full of meaning, connotation, history, nuance…

They’re also so big sometimes that they stick in the back of your throat and never come out.  We say “I’m so sorry” because we don’t have the words to truly voice the chaotic emotions in our heart.  The hurt, the sadness, the memories are all balling up and wedging themselves like a plug.  We whisper “take care” and what we mean is “stay with me, don’t leave, get better, be like before.”

Don’t die.

I’m grateful we live during a time where words like cancer can be spoken out loud.  I only wish that the emotions came with an easier vocabulary.  But words are only words – limited in definition and size.  Their inadequacies feel like our own as we try to emotionally deal with something we spend most of our lives ignoring –mortality.

This past week I found out that a dear friend has terminal cancer.  Given a prognosis of less than a year to live, I didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t know what to feel.  I couldn’t imagine what she was going through.

I wanted to say everything and yet my mouth could only vocalize “oh, no”.  Words came up but I choked them down, afraid to say the wrong thing.  Afraid to hurt her more with my ignorance.  Naively, I thought I was more prepared for this kind of news since I have read a lot of books where characters are given a terminal verdict.  I found out this week just how unprepared I was and how little I knew.

One thing I definitely found out?  It’s far better to say something than nothing at all.

To try as hard as you can to vocalize even one part of what you’re feeling.  Will it be enough?  Maybe not. Will you think of things later that might have been better?  Probably. In fact, in my case, definitely. But opening myself up to that moment gave me the opportunity to bridge the silence and sadness.

In the end, the words are there. They just need the power, our strength, to be spoken.

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Scratched Lenses

“Merry Christmas!” says a smiling face as I take my packet I bought for a good friend. The carefully chosen doll was weighed against the other items in the shop and had won out by a cuteness factor of ten.  It was so cute, I was tempted to keep it myself.  🙂 My startled gaze creates an odd juxtaposition with the presents in my arms.  While I obviously had Christmas on the mind, I didn’t seem to have wholly absorbed the fact that Christmas was, in fact, only 2 days away.  Mind and body or even mind and mind do not always align.

Camera360_2014_12_23_052954_jpgWe’re spending our holidays at my in-laws in a country not my own.  Everything is lovely, familiar and new.  We’ve visited a few times now, but this is the first time where I’ve felt confident about going out on my own and exploring the town.  The winding roads that dead-end, the narrow sidewalks and magically appearing cars around corners no longer frighten me like the times past.  Striding down the street purposefully made me feel more like I was at home than most anything else.

Camera360_2014_12_23_053533_jpgJet-lag means tiredness and odd wake-up times, but it also means a giant hammer striking against your fragile self-esteem.  Inadequacies are hard things to ignore when your rose tinted glasses are scratched blind.

But they’re so much easier to deal with when you’re able to breathe and take them off for a bit.  The world is full of bumps and slight dips but nature and people have a way of filling them in with color, life and novelty.  When we’re running about our day-to-day lives we miss the details.  The things we do notice, ripped up roads, piles of leaves and broken verges are usually taken with a cringe, a frown and a general air of obstruction.  What ought to be beautiful, our own lives, are relegated to the mundane and chore-list of life.

And the only thing I can do is remind myself to lift the scratched lenses from my eyes.

Camera360_2014_12_22_074327_jpgAnd finally see.

Camera360_2014_12_22_074123_jpgIf only for a bit.


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House Dreams

“you are searching everywhere
you want the sun
find your home
between your eyes”
― Žiga Stanovnik

I’ve been desperately wanting a house to call our own.  My houzz ideabooks are stuffed with greys and blues, plush rugs, stone steps and beautifully tiled laundry rooms.  I’ve been trolling trulia for all of the houses up for sale in our neighborhood (and culling all those that don’t fit my exacting criteria) even though it’ll be at least another 8 months before we can leave this apartment.  We’re not filthy rich, so most of what I dream will stay in my mind.  But that’s okay.  We’ve got time to make the house our home where dreams are realized.

Some people say that home isn’t a building but the people in it.  I’d love for that to be 100% true since it would make waiting with my hubby at a dirty bus stop be like putting our feet up on a cushy ottoman, tea in hand. In reality, while the people and animals you share your home with are the most crucial part of what makes up a “home”, there’s no escaping the long sigh that escapes when you finally sink into your own bed and bury your head into your own pillow after weeks of being away.

Nothing beats familiarity.

I’ve “left the nest” for some 12 years now.  We’ve had our fair share of apartments and a good bit of luck with our current setup.  Having only one neighbor above us beats the surround sound situation of college life – pounding feet, arguments and drunken music.  I can’t believe we put up with so much for so long, but I suppose that’s one of the long held rites of early married life – the “what we had to do back when we first got married” story is firmly written.

Going back to my childhood home, however, was never the same the minute I stepped off the porch.  The fact that my bedroom was replaced with tatami mats and kotatsu and all of my favorite foods were suddenly absent from long stashed cupboards meant that while my heart might never leave family, my actual presence in the house was now that of a stranger.  Or a friend.  But certainly someone that now felt like she had to ask to use the milk or to borrow the fan.  It’s jarring when you fully realize how easily distance can occur.  One day you’re the child who doesn’t even blink to switch tv stations and demands pizza for dinner, and the next you’re politely agreeing to whatever everyone else wants to eat and sitting neatly on the couch.

And it’s not like my parents are all about rules, either.  It’s just a sense of otherness that seeps into the carpet.  Suddenly you see the house as an outsider might and all of its flaws and beauty are laid bare.  Funny how when you’re in your own home we become blind to everyday living.  Currently, I have laundry hanging on chairs after being ironed and a pile of paper sitting on my kitchen table.   By Saturday, when my parents come to visit, all of that will be cleared away and the floors swept.  “This is my home and my life,” the neatly placed coasters shout.

I’m hoping to find a house that we can truly customize to match our personalities and dreams.  I want our home to be somewhere people gather, laugh, eat and relax.  I want it to welcome us with open arms, bright with the warmth of the sun and the solidness of earth.  I want our home to reflect the life held gently between its walls.

And these lovely pictures?  Not our home.  🙂 They’re ideas taken from houzz of what I’d love to see in our future home.  Dreams, all of them.