And I am watching now for the time of day when the shadows sleep.
When there is still light in the sky but the sun has sunk low enough to put an end to the contrast of miraged skin.
What is the exact moment in time that your body no longer casts a shadow onto the earth and if that moment had a name what would it be?
The point of gradual desaturation before the gloaming sets in is an unnoticed thing to the naked eye. Perhaps permanently so, for how do you measure an intangible disappearance?
Where does the secondary world of dark figures retire to?
Isn’t it a kind of faith to know they will come back?
Perhaps it is as my Father said: “nothing good ever happens after dark”
For bodies no longer have mirrored accountability of their actions.
The leaching of apparitions’ measured movements.
It is a secret world that they go to—the shadows.
Frozen in an invisible realm until the sun rises just-so again.
And I am watching now for the time of day when the shadows sleep.
I was talking with a friend recently, and she shared this thought that I wanted to share in turn and expand upon this morning.
This resonated deeply with me because I immediately recognized the times in my life when I have in fact allowed those what-ifs and you-can’t-do-this’ creep into my framework and how it’s often caused imminent failure or, at the very least, a very halting and bumpy start.
Belief in yourself and your abilities is very often the needed thing to execute any given project or goal. As nice as it is to have the support and encouragement from others, if you don’t believe in yourself, you are without the real execution you need to accomplish anything.
This year has involved a great number of new ventures for me.
And looking back, to some degree, so has much of my life. By which I mean that I have always gone after the new, the adventurous, the out-of-the-box, the what-have-I-not-tried-yet. But if I am being honest, I cannot claim to have always had the full can-do mindset when tackling those things.
You cannot have just the drive to go forth towards new paths, you have to believe you will get to the thing you are seeking at the end of the road.
Which is the inner mantra that I plan to hold onto through these new transitions and into this upcoming year.
Because, whenever I’ve really thought about it, really, I can do it.
i am an extremely goal, list and dream oriented and motivated person (see the goals tag here on the journal for proof). i have stated that i am a process junkie, but i am also addicted to getting.shit.done.
i am the kind of person who will almost-always make their bed as soon as they get out of it, but if for some reason the whole day goes by without it being made, i will make it right before i get in it at night.
i am also the kind of person who will add three things on the “to do” list that i’ve already accomplished just so i can check them off, who will use every last drop of shampoo before buying a new bottle and who will absolutely under no circumstances leave the house with only one errand to complete.
i like efficiency, progress, organization and accomplishing tasks. i have a really hard time not feeling like i am getting things done because, well, i always have a list of things to get done.
i also have a hard time not wrapping up my worth in what it is i do and separating that from who i am (but i digress).
i recently got back from a two month road trip and needless to say i have been flooded with inspiration and ideas and motivation ever since. more on that another time, but the point that’s relative to this post is that i have had a lot of ideas since that trip. a lot of project concepts, goals and endless tasks i want to complete.
last night i texted a friend:
“do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the things you're passionate about and all of your ideas and goals and all of the things you want to do?"
this, is a common problem for me. i have zero problems generating ideas. i am the ideas (wo)man. i am easily intrigued, curious, interested and fascinated by a wide array of things and as such my brain gets fired more often then not by the endless sparks i am coming into contact with. so it’s not ideas i have a hard time with, but the choosing of which ideas to act on. i tend to get overwhelmed with all of my plans and projects often to the point where i don’t act on any of them. it’s that paradox of the world being your oyster but you get too caught up in trying to figure out which side of the oyster to start from.
(and before you say "just pick one and start” it’s not that easy... i mean, completely hypothetical example, but if you wanted to build a tiny house, convert a sprinter van, gut an airstream, live on a sail boat and buy a teardrop trailer how would you choose??)
after commiserating with a “yea me too” my friend reminded me that there are different kinds of goals. namely: sprints vs. marathons.
sprint goals are the things you can accomplish quickly and without much long term effort. things you can get done with just a short concentrated amount of energy in a small amount of time.
making your bed in the morning
starting a new instagram account
send an email proposal
start a newsletter
have a yard sale
sign up for an art class you’ve been wanting to take
marathon goals take more long term planning, are often step and task oriented and take dedication over a longer and more steady period of time. they still enact progress and forward movement but in a slower manner than that of a sprint.
guys, i don’t know why but this helped me so much last night. my brain had been on hyperactive overdrive mode since Monday, i’d spent a total of 13 hours in two days just sitting in front of my computer working and brainstorming at my local coffee shop. and being able to further organize my already long list of goals and new project ideas, into something that felt more manageable and digestible was such a relief.
however, all of that to say, being the dreamer that i am...
i have a lot of marathon goals.
i reach the end of the shadows and that is when i feel the sun warming my back, reaching me finally, as it had crept higher than the trees.
i feel its heat through the worn wool grey sweater i often wear (admittedly one of the more unflattering pieces in my wardrobe and yet something i've held onto for eight years now. which is a thing i am always fighting—my attachment to material things).
the suns fingers slide down my body, starting at my hair, falling down my back, slipping down my calves and then being kicked off by my heels.
the shush-shush sound of my jeans, my Mothers jeans with various time-worn holes, is the closest sound to me.
next to it the stray rocks my feet kick as they walk, next to that the birds above my head, then the wind playing with the grass and trees, then the distant sound of a truck on an unmarked road and then, further still: a barking dog.
it is these sounds that i've learned to be attentive to, to hear and enjoy and recognize as enough, in lieu of music or words playing into my ears.
it's beautiful to listen to.
the waking-up of the world.
a witnessing of the slow graduation of night into day.
then--a shot of copper.
the fox was one smooth line, as it sped across the road from the cannon of the field. uninterrupted, linear, both in its physique and its destination.
seeing the sun shine on his back as he ran somehow brought more joy than feeling the sun warm my own.
on the left, always on the left, for what is routinely just shy of an hour.
i let my mind wander.
thoughts unrestricted. unkept. unruly.
(words that could also be assigned to my hair)
a sort of inward dialogue with myself.
it's calming, starting my days this way. letting the things my senses bring to my attention pour in and out of me without needing to measure or quantify or justify or dictate or document or list.
to let them.... be.
well, this is the middle.
the in-between and un-done.
i know you get uncomfortable here.
but it's necessary.
for you can't get to the end without going through a middle to get there.
this isn't the only middle you'll ever be in, and there isn't only one end you're headed for.
the ground isn't all hard here.
there's some soft places too.
go barefoot while you walk through it, so you can feel it all.
it's okay to feel it all.
there will be many middles.
as there will be many beginnings.
and many ends.
keep seeing them through.
our priorities aren’t what we say they are, but rather what we do.
just some food for thought that i'm mulling over today.
what do you think?
the history carried within things is much more evident within their imperfections.
of objects. of ourselves.
by which i mean:
it is by the worn deck of a boat that you can gauge how many storms it’s weathered.
the lines by a woman’s eyes that tell of how many times she’s smiled because she’s chosen to see the good in life vs. the bad.
the calluses on a mans hands that showcase how hard he’s worked at his craft.
the chip in a plate that shows how many meals have been loving prepared on it.
the crack in a door that speaks to how many guests your home has greeted and how faithfully it’s overseen your own coming and going day in and day out.
the patches on a pair of jeans that tell the story of the journey and adventures of their wearer.
the scars on an arm that whispers of a soft and unspoken strength.
the dog eared and underlined pages of a book marking how meaningful it’s contents have been to it’s readers.
the value in not only our own history, but that of the things in our lives, is often overlooked.
the recognition of it is another of those slow-living practices.
the appreciation for things worn and weathered is scarce.
the idea that the old has more value than the new is not an idea held frequently, or for very long, in our society.
for we are bombarded with needing to refresh-replace-redo-renew-remake daily.
of course there is time for those practices.
(although there is certainly a privilege that comes with being able to act out such things— to be able to replace something instead of having to make do with what you have.)
but it’s not as necessary or as often needed as our culture would want us to think.
this is definitely one of the main reasons i started Folkling.
it’s why all of my clothing is handmade, secondhand or vintage.
the same goes with most of what i have in my home.
but this idea, this appreciation for things worn, for something visibly showcasing it’s history, it goes beyond our possessions.
it can also be read on our own bodies.
i recently have found grey hair on my head and this is something i take pride in, odd as that may be.
i’ve never dyed my hair.
(disclaimer: in saying this i am not speaking against anyone who does dye their hair. everyone is different. this is just my personal stance.)
because for me it’s a way of being able to treasure the signs of age.
it’s a sacred and beautiful thing to be allowed to do so, to be allowed to live, to be allowed to carry on.
for there is a time coming where i will not be.
i don’t know when that is, but every day i get to still be here and show up and add more to my story is a gift, so why would i want to reverse the telling of it?
to seem as if i haven’t had as much time and as much story here as i have?
i shouldn’t continually want unrealistic and unnatural change and alteration from my body towards an idea more so of perfection because in fact it is moving more and more in the opposite direction.
but in that, in the age spots, wrinkles, scars, grey hairs, folds, curves— there is a history.
it is my own personal story.
one i should be proud of.
because it is wholly mine.
and this is how i was made, and this is how i am being re-made, as i further my journey and weathering of this life.
we should honor ourselves for that more than we do.
ourselves, others, and the things around us.
to see imperfections with a different perspective.
to see the history and story behind them and have those be more beautiful and valuable than perfection.
(thank you to a dear reader, Karen, for prompting me to think about this due to your lovely comment on my last blog post)
the dirt of our hurt.
it’s a phrase that’s been running across the mainframe of my brain on repeat ever since it came to me a week or so ago.
i’ve been sitting with it, knowing i have something i need to process and write involving the ideas around it, but i've been running away from doing so.
distracting myself. thinking of other things. or not thinking at all.
but yesterday i woke up and realized i couldn’t continue on that path.
as familiar and often comforting that path of distraction is.
because i’ve been hurting.
and yesterday i made myself sit in it.
which is hard for me.
by which i mean stillness.
even more so when discomfort is surrounding it.
although i’m not one to shy away from growth, changes, newness or hard things.
in fact i often run all-to-willingly towards them.
sometimes put myself in and on their path unnecessarily because i have a hard time without
which then causes unnecessary hurt more often then not.
i am trying to be better at just being.
just processing one-at-a-time.
whether that’s as small as a new moment or as big as a new day.
each as it comes. each in its appointed time.
for someone who’s as addicted to newness and change as i am, it’s been a hard thing to wrestle with.
but i know it’s a wrestling worth putting my arms on the table and fists in the air for.
so today, this week, this month, however-long-i-need-to, i am embracing the dirt of my hurt.
it’s a place of mess that we often run away from.
left unattended, weeds grow, things become ferrel and wild in the not-good ways.
so much possibility is held in this dirt.
this very place of pain and overgrown vines and past entanglement.
because once freshly dug into, tilled and stirred up, it is the perfect place for planting.
i had posted this on instagram last week, but i wanted to share it here too.
because it's an idea that i think is really important and i honestly needed re-reminding of this week myself, because i've been feeling slumpy.
(i am mostly blaming this insane weather we've been having. it's 77 one day, 25 the next, my body literally cannot handle it and i feel so off and unwell. i just want some consistency)
i’ve somewhat been feeling so off and on for a while now, but have been pushing through it and fighting to feel not so.
i've received much needed words from loved ones in the language of:
do not be so hard on yourself.
pain is not necessarily an indicator of something bad, rather an indicator of growth.
it is okay to be here.
feeling so much all the time is not a bad thing because feelings do have value. but we have to be careful because there is often a discrepancy between our feelings and reality.
out of the hard and dirty and painful and messy parts of our lives come the most beautiful pieces of us.
which i know to be true. because i’ve been there. multiple times. i’ve seen that story played out, been a character in it’s telling, written some of the words to it’s story and read the proceeding chapters.
i’ve been in and out and danced with that theme of redemption many a time.
in the dirt of our hurt, we are given a chance to re-plant, re-sow seeds, and start anew.
and there is so much promise and hope in that.
for without the dirt, there would be no flowers.
evolving is a balancing act.
to both hold contentment (without being stagnant and stale) in one hand and a desire to grow and experience new-ness (without being restless and unappreciative of where you are) in the other is hard for me.
what's also somewhat related are the countering ideas of: if it's meant to be, it will be and if you want it, go get it.
i fight with the balance of these thoughts constantly, but i suppose that's what life is about to some extent.
we are always becoming.
i wrote today.
properly sat down and wrote.
sheepskin in lap, strong black coffee in reach.
long rushing, flowing paragraphs of tangled, jumbled vine-y thoughts, which became a little less entwined once translated into little orderly black characters of text.
and how good it felt.
i write on my phone a lot.
in my notes. in instagram captions. in far-reaching-grasping texts to loved ones.
however there is a lack of freedom sometimes in those outlets.
sometimes i just need to sit and let thoughts flow from my fingers in the way that writers always talk about is so cathartic for them.
and too, the smallness of the phone’s keyboard and screen almost limits my language in comparison to the computers 10x larger one.
the tangibility of more space for translating thoughts lends to the extension of them.
(i know it isn’t really that way, but it feels so)
i do love writing by hand, and do that frequently too for i love the feel of paper, but for extended periods (no pun intended) of time i find it limiting.
for my handwritten scrawl becomes less legible and hard to keep up with in regards to the speed of my fast cycling thoughts.
and while i have long strengthened muscles in my hands from knitting, using a different instrument, in the way of a pen, seems to produce cramps and aches where knitting needles do not.
so i suppose i am not as good and frequenting that practice as i should be.
i’ve been working on a story.
one more so of documentation than fiction.
though, knowing my tendency of over romanticization, there is, i am sure, a touch of fantasy and dreamed-up-ness intertwined.
it is a telling of a journey.
of situations of mystery and unknown.
terribly thrilling yet terrifying, though not singly so.
there’s also feelings of wonder and joy and anticipation here in this too.
but it feels good.
good in that centering this-is-right way.
the above are words i wrote at the beginning of the month that i never shared, but coming across them again today i found them very much mirroring the state i am in today (something i seem to be doing a lot of lately, looking back on old writing... perhaps because i'm in such a state of figuring-out this season and revisiting old thoughts is helping me do that).
so i finally decided to publish them.
i'm trying to be better at publishing things as i write them, not letting them sit for so long before i share them.
though there are things that do need a little more time to pass before doing so, most of the time i feel my hesitency is out of fear of vulnerabilty.
so here's to fighting that in the future.
and here's to writing today.