Can any of us relate?

Or do we each feel as if we’re orbiting in our own galaxy?

Are our galaxies at all the same?

Or are there hot and cold suns, dark and bright stars, soft and hard planets?

Do we all wish to be understood?

Or do we just want to be seen?

Is being understood the same as being seen?

Or do we often feel gazed upon, but never understood?

Do we find light in other universes?

Do we find another planet and hold their hand?

Whose sun do we then orbit around?

Are we science experiments or can we choose our own path?

Is the stardust in my soul the same as yours?

Or are we all just floating here in outer space?

happy 8 months

8 whole months. 9 full moons. It was also a Sunday when you first came into my arms. Sunday, my favorite day of the week.

You still reach your arms out to the side the same way as when you first met my chest. For as much as I wish that you were a cuddly baby, I love your openness to the world. Even when I’m holding you in my arms, you turn your body out to see what is in front of you. You love to look around and observe. You love people. You love experiences and getting out and there isn’t a single food you don’t like so far. 

You’ve given me magic. The magic I slowly started losing as I’ve gotten older has returned because of you. Sometimes, I wish I could have met you sooner, but any change of circumstance may not have given me you. And it is you whom I adore.

We’re a little family of three and though this number is small, the two of you make my world feel bigger and brighter than I’ve ever known. 

I’ve been searching for you my entire life. I didn’t know who the who was, but I now know it’s you. For love is all I’ve ever longed for, and love is exactly what you are. 

You are so beautiful. So beautiful. So smart, so strong, already, so independent. You are calm and quiet and playful and smitten. When your dad picks you up, your eyes light up greater than I’ve ever seen and you look so happy and proud. On top of the world. Completely in love. 

Last night when you woke up crying, I picked you up and held you against my chest. You laid your head down on my shoulder and I rocked you. It’s the first time you’ve ever let me do that (besides when you were a sleepy newborn). It was just us. Your quiet body against mine, safe and secure. Whole.

I love you my little Row Adelaide.

Now, who do I see?

I see a tired mother with tired eyes. The circles under my eyes, darker, like in the night when we are together and I’m listening to her breath as she sleeps. When she wakes, crow’s feet form across my eyes from the smile I cannot contain when I look at her, even if it is barely dawn. She smiles with her whole face and I am lost in her atmosphere. It’s all I care to do these days. She coos; I coo. Oh-goooo. Your first word. Oh-kkkkk. Your second. Now it’s ah-goooo and kuhhh and boooo of some sort.

Now, who do I see?

I see a mother whose body is soft, whose breasts fluctuate in size and leak. They aren’t what they used to be but they feed my baby who with her big, bright (turning brown) eyes looks up into my eyes as she nurses. She stares into my soul as she sucks. If I dart my eyes away, still she is looking–though I never want to look away from her. I am her whole world and she is mine. Sometimes she will smile at me as she is sucking and I wish to stop time. Attached to me again, please don’t ever let go, like when she was in my waterbed stomach (my daughter’s old home). I cradled her inside of me for 9 months and for 9 months, we were one. 

Now, who do I see?

I see my sweet, darling girl laying on my chest sleeping, and again, I feel as if we are one. 

you're the only one (for me).

You're the one I love when the storm clouds are thick and grey.
You're the one I love when water pours into the boat.
When the waves feel sixty feet high, you're the one I love. You're the one I crave.

You're the only one I want to fall down this mountain with. 
You're the only one I want run across this desert with.

You're the only one who makes my heart beat and fills my lungs with air.
You're my Jupiter up in the sky, and you're my hand to hold at night.

Tangled in blankets, shivering, wrapped around each other, hoping, praying.
"I don't know,"
you say.
"I know,"
I reply.

You're the only one I love amongst so much unknown.

Still, you're the only one who sees the beacon in the distance and rows with all his might.
You're the only one that sees the rain and builds a dam to withhold it.
You're the only one who hears the word no and turns it into a yes. 
You're the only one who keeps his eyes open amongst the hail or  dust.

You're the only one I love. The only one I crave.

This is why I love you.

This is why I love you,

because when I lift up my skirt to show you the new stretch marks forming across my thighs–spider webs intertwined with one another–your eyes light up and you see the universe in my thighs. You see planets and bright starry galaxies and a world where anything is possible and everything is beautiful.


This is why I love you,

because when I lift up my shirt to show you my growing belly–a mountain growing out of the earth–you see a fortress, a castle, the home caring for your daughter, the vessel making room for change to come and inhabit our lives, something we've longed for for so long.


You love me for who I am, what I speak, the things I do and think, the woman I am. You see me not as the world sees me, not how the world makes me see me, but as both your equal and your other half. You see my flesh and my soul, the deepest parts of my being, and you still love me. 


I do not entirely recognize this body I live in. It changes each day and aches in new ways. And while sometimes I feel lost in myself and I can only see the new blue veins forming across my chest, you see rivers and setting suns, moons and wild flowers. The moon flickers back in your eyes, and you remind me of who I still am. 

to jupiter and back.

you’re just my husband, and i don’t mean that you’re just my husband, but that to me, 
it doesn’t matter so much if you sing nostalgic songs or take mystical photos or fold steel upon itself to make knives (i mean yes, i love these things about you, of course, i do), but to me i love you because

you’re just my husband.
and being just my husband also means
you’re my weird human, silly human, playful human, serious human, diligent human, my do life on a day to day basis human. 
my normal human.

you’re the human whose strange spots matched my strange spots and whose lows met my lows and highs met my highs.

you’re not some on again off again, you’re my forever human. but on the off days, being with you is better than anything i have ever known before. and on the on days, being with you is like,
okay, is this even real?

i don’t know all the lyrics and i don’t all the songs and you never told me you were in a band when we first met and thank you for not telling me you were in a band when we first met because to me, you became,

just my best friend. just this (yes, obviously dreamy) guy whom i could have conversations with that went as deep as the lowest ocean floor and when i found out about our nerdy jupiter obsession, well, next our conversations went as high as there and back (and again and again).

to me, 
i don’t so much care about what they see because,
to me,
i see the very core of you.

the center of the earth is where you and i meet. 
my center. your center. the shared center we have found within each other because before things felt a little lopsided,
and not that things can’t be lopsided and maybe we’re still a little lopsided together, but
we can roll to the other side if we need to, together,

because to me,
you’re just my husband.

you’re more than the just and more than the my and more than the husband.

but to me, 
i get the just and my and husband 

and to me, 
that’s just perfect.
that’s just more than enough, you know.

6 things 6 months of marriage has taught me.

It's a day shy of our six month wedding anniversary and oh my, does time ever fly. We're getting way better at this marriage thing, and each day I can honestly say I wake up more in love with him and more excited for a lifetime together. But, I will say, there have been difficult moments. Here are six things I've learned through six months of marriage.

1. Marriage shows you your selfishness. 

    I never thought of myself as a selfish person, in fact, pardon me for saying this but I always thought I was a very selfLESS person. But no, marriage has shown me how selfish I am, which is actually a really great thing, because selfishness is a horrible trait to have. Marriage is not about you, it’s about the person you’re married to.

2. Marriage is really fun.

    Obviously, duh, but I had some fears about the whole marriage thing, and the stats aren’t great. So far, every one of my fears has been proven wrong. Marriage is fun for a million and a half reasons, and more. So much of marriage is how you react to one another. You can choose to respond in frustration when you are really tired, or you can choose to respond in laughter and silliness when you’re really tired. 

3. Find your “thing” together.

    Life happens really quickly, and it’s been so healthy for us to find our “thing” together. Now we have certain days where we do certain things, and they are something that, each week, we look forward to. For example, Sunday afternoon sushi dates, or evening walks in the park. Being able to share our traditions together, and make new ones, allows us to reconnect, no matter how busy the week has been. 

4. Protect your marriage.

    If you don’t protect your marriage, it’s easy to let things come in the way of it, and I’m not talking about the big things (like cheating or affairs), I’m talking about the little things. The little things where you don’t realize at first how detrimental something may be. Whether it’s comparing your marriage to other people’s marriages in a negative way, or keeping white lies from one another, or showing contempt to one another, these are all things that can cause great damage over time. So protect your marriage. Get rid of anything toxic, including toxic thoughts.

5. Marriage is like surfing.

    I’ve only ever surfed once and it was really, really hard, so perhaps this is a bad analogy, but marriage is like surfing in that marriage comes in waves. There are hard times, there are happy times, there are boring times, there are exciting times, there are all of the times that are going to happen in life and that therefore happen in your marriage. You just have to ride it out. Ride out the hard times, whether it’s something you’re dealing with, your spouse is dealing with, or you’re dealing with together. Ride the waves. Things get better. 

6. Marriage is about embracing one another’s differences. 

    I remember one day telling my husband that I wanted him to make the bed a certain way. It was probably after I had told him that I liked the kitchen a certain way, the living room a certain way, the bathroom a certain way, and the car parked a certain way. Instead of being annoyed at me, he replied, in all of his gentleness, “ya know, I think you’re more type A, but I’m more type LMNOP.” Recognizing our differences as a good thing, and embracing the other person’s differences, has only strengthened our marriage (and allowed me to have a lot more fun, too). 

On being a writer / wanting to be a writer.

I don’t know what makes one a writer. I call myself a writer on my Twitter bio because I write, a ton, both online and offline, but I’ve never been published. Does being published make me a writer? I take that back, I have been published. I was published in 1999 when I was eleven or twelve years old and submitted a few poems to some children’s poetry club and received a letter back saying, Congratulations! We have accepted your poems into our such-and-such-collection and you will be published in such-and-such book. I was over the moon, and to this day I don’t know if every eleven or twelve year old who submitted poems to that book was being published, or if my poems really were a magical and unique collection. But never-mind that. 


I’ve often thought that it must be age that will make me a writer, because, with age comes experience and wisdom; years and years of knowledge and trials and information and hardship and also joy. I’ve longed to be older than I am purely so that I could be more knowledgable on certain topics, a right of passage, in a sense, to write without naivety. I hate being naive, and yet I often am, although, perhaps not as much as I think, because I know I am constantly painting myself with doses of reality. Sometimes I am too realistic and in the same breath, sometimes I dream too much. I’m a serious, emotional and sentimental optimist… I think. 


But I know I can’t long to be older than I am because once I am older than I am I will only wish to be younger than I am. At least that’s what I think, or at least that’s what magazines tell me. They tell me that being old isn’t cool anymore. You’ve missed your chance. You’re no longer young and pretty (“you’re not in your prime!”), and so you only get certain parts in the movies. But I don’t know if any of that is true, or if that’s only what media wants me to believe. You see, I read the most beautiful essay by Roger Angell called “This Old Man” that was originally published in The New Yorker and was republished in a booked called, “The Best American Essays,” edited by Ariel Levy, author of Female Chauvinist Pigs, which I bought while I was on my honeymoon (I know, that was a mouthful). I read the intro and the first essay while I was in the bath, after a long day of hiking through freezing cold and pouring rain forests with my new husband (it’s still new). Then we returned home and had Christmas and the holidays and New Years and work and routine and rearranging furniture and just last night, over three weeks later, I finally got around to reading the second essay and I cried. Roger’s essay (I prefer to call him Roger than Angell because referring to someone by only their last name sounds so impersonal) was beautiful and the most honest account of death and love I have ever read in my entire life. He’s ninety-three and he’s “feeling great.” No really, he is. 


You see, I’ve wanted to be older than I am because being older than I am means I can write on topics with authority, and yet, I do not wish to experience things like death anytime soon, of myself or of a loved one. I’ve been lucky and have been mostly untouched by death in my short twenty-seven years of life. My grandfather’s death was my first one. We got along great. He was the funniest, old man I knew, and thankfully gave all that humor to my funny father. He died quickly, and I’ll never forget the look on my grandmother’s face a week later. She looked like she had died, but there she was still walking and moving and breathing and getting up from one spot to go sit at the next spot (say, the dinner table). She looked so sad and she was so pail from grief that I thought it would only be a small matter of time before she would die from a broken heart. But, over ten years later, my grandmother now has seven great grandchildren and I believe another is on the way (gosh, I hope I haven’t forgotten about any). She’s happy and teaches exercise classes and is just as alive as she was before my grandfather passed. And that’s exactly what Roger said, “the accruing weight of these departures [death] doesn’t bury us.” The next death I experienced was one of the worst experiences of my life, and it was only that I was present when a friend found out her mother had passed. I could write on this more, but it’s not my story to tell, and she continues to amaze me how she’s moved on, and yet I can only imagine that she doesn’t at all feel like she’s moved on, for “moved on” are not the right set of words at all, but I can’t even begin to accurately describe what it must really feel like for her. And then there’s just this past year, where my husband and I each had one of our best friend’s lose a parent, and that was just awful, too. But yet again, neither of those are my stories to tell. 


Death is this strangely complex topic that I do think about often. Not too often, not in a weird way, but in a way where it crosses my mind from time to time. Again, I’m realistic and I like to be prepared. Not for disaster, but simply for reality. I hope and I pray each night that my loved ones will be safe, healthy and happy, and afterwards I fall into a never-deep-enough sleep but still deep enough to then wake up in the middle of the night and realize that I had no idea that I was gone (sleeping), and that that must be what death feels like. Unless, of course, you believe in the afterlife, then death must feel like one of my really, really great dreams I have every now and then. Like the one where I am flying and I am able to lift my body higher up into the sky, and then control it as I race down and almost hit the dirt, but right before it’s too late, whisk myself back up in the air again. It feels divine. I haven’t had that dream in years, though.


I admit that getting married had me excited not only for the marriage part of it, but also because suddenly I could start writing on a new topic. If not something so grave and heavy and mature and life-altering as death, but still something complex in its own way, something also life-altering, and I hope to maintain a happy marriage, forever, both naively and realistically. 


So, perhaps, now, I am a writer. I am married–that grants me new knowledge and therefore authorship, right? Then again, some of us get married really young, before we’ve had a chance to fully know who we are. Some of us get married because we get pregnant, and instead of simply becoming a spouse and learning things spouses must learn, we instantly become parents. Some of us have a lifetime of experiences and don’t get married until we’re older, or at all. Some of us marry and discover ourselves right away, some of us marry and never discover ourselves or even lose who we are. So perhaps marriage is not what makes me a writer. I do feel different, though. Just last night I asked Eric, “how does it feel, to you, to be married?” “Different,” he said, “and yet I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s something I could have never adequately explained to my single self, but I know I feel it now. It’s even different than living with someone and not being married.” I agreed, or maybe I said that and he agreed, I can’t remember, but we both continued stirring the brussel sprouts in the pan and cutting the tomatoes for our salad, silently pondering just what it is that makes marriage feel so different. “God… It’s God, for me, that makes marriage feel so different,” I said, “although I don’t know what someone would say about marriage feeling different who doesn’t believe in God.” “I don’t know either,” he said.


I still don’t know, but suddenly, after reading Roger Angell’s piece, “This Old Man,” suddenly I do not wish to be older. Yes, he wrote the most beautiful piece on death and love I have ever read, as I’ve already said, but so much so that I no longer wish to be older in order to have access to additional knowledge, because I realize now, that I will always be experiencing something. And if I don’t write now, when I’m still young and only twenty-seven and newly married, who knows what might happen. I may get Alzheimers or die young or lose the ability to use my hands, and then I will be so mad at myself that I didn’t simply write. Just write, already. It doesn’t matter if I’ve never been published except for when I was eleven or twelve years old and can’t even remember what the publication was called or if I haven’t experienced things that others have experienced. I can still write what I have experienced, no matter how boring/insignificant it may seem. After-all, I don’t personally find it that boring or insignificant. I don’t wake up each morning going, ugh, god, another boring day to get to, no, I usually wake up with either a plethora of things to do, or I create a plethora of things to do, and that is what makes life so interesting. The day to day. The simple and somewhat insignificant moments. The moment where I was both annoyed at my husband because I was so tired and yet found myself hysterically laughing at how silly he was being and how much I love him (he’s always trying to make me laugh, and he does, without fail, even when I don’t want to laugh, but it’s never really him that I’m annoyed with anyway, it’s my own personal opinion of something and how I like things to be, and besides, it’s not always about me, nor should it be). See, it’s not necessarily about marriage or death or xyz, it’s about the collection of the events, and how we go about the events. The marriage itself took place when we said our vows, signed a piece of paper and then mailed it in. The actual death of my grandfather was that he had cancer and then one day, he took his last breath. Both of those events may not be so interesting, but instead, it’s the laughter, the playing, the joking, the doing, the living, the fun, the twists, the turns, the memories, the in-between and sometimes unseen moments that make love and death both so interesting. 


And so, maybe being a writer is simply continuing to write. Maybe being a writer is being able to slow down and recall and then write words together in a way that paint beautiful pictures and tell grand stories with letters on a page (or at least I hope my writing will paint beautiful pictures and tell grand stories). Maybe being a writer is allowing myself enough silence and solitude to voice my inner being, the true version of my self, the self that only ever comes out through these collections of words and the deep, intimate and contemplative conversations I have with other writers like me, and the friends I feel safe enough to share with. Maybe being a writer has nothing to do with my age or my experiences, for I would never want to tell my child one day, you’re not a writer! You’re only seven years old!, because how could I ever limit their abilities or dreams of not only becoming someone, but already being someone. A very real and feeling human being. Because when I was a child, I wanted to be a photographer when I grew up, or maybe it was a journalist, or no, a photojournalist, hmmm, it was something to do with photos and words and here I am, taking photos and writing words and I’m still trying to become something and someone. Maybe I already am that someone. Maybe I’ll never feel like I’m that someone. Maybe being that someone is continuing to do the day to day, ticking off small boxes of goals and accomplishments and tedious to-do’s. Maybe being that someone is simply being here, present, in this very moment, and not wishing to become someone, because right now, I am someone, and this someone is me. 

Imperfect Puzzle Pieces

I could not describe to you my writing process, except, that,
I can only seem to truly write when I’m listening to music. 
It’s the flow, the melody, that guides my thoughts along, releasing them from my soul.

We’re not perfect. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, he’s not perfect, they aren’t perfect. I don’t understand why we let perfection consume us when,
perfection is boring. It is utterly boring.

Two of my dearest girlfriends both recently celebrated long term anniversaries with their men. I love hearing of these anniversaries… Three years, five years, six and a half years, 28 years, 52 years, 66 years. Our marriage therapist says on his website that him and his wife “have been happily married for 16 of 17 years – year #8 was pretty rough.” And I love that. I love that so much. 

I love that so much because perfection is utterly and profoundly boring. Perfection can look like a number, but it’s not about the number. It’s not three, five, six, 28, 52 or 66. It’s not about how long someone makes it, it’s about making it. Making it, day to day, through all of life’s complexities. Whether as a couple, or as an individual. 

I love the laughing. I love the crying. I love the adventures. I love the hardships. I love it all. I don’t always love it in the moment, but I love these moments as a collection of something larger. There are the ugly pieces and the pretty pieces. We’re each puzzles. With dull shapes, colorful shapes, abstract shapes, simple shapes, dark shapes, light shapes. We’re puzzle-like shapes that when scattered, can look quite messy, but when taking each individual piece, intentionally, and slowly putting it together into a larger puzzle, it really is quite beautiful. 

Every piece matters. Every moment, every day, every interaction. Our moods, our mental illness, our bodies, our broken bodies, our thoughts, our movements, our very being. They matter. They make up something greater. They are far from perfect. 

But they are real and alive and shaping something large and vast and beautiful and never-ending. 
Spirits, memories, memorabilia. 

The song is over now. 
I leave these words. 
I go out into the world, collecting more words, moments, memories, tucking them away, quietly, intimately, waiting.