Sunday, November 25, 2012

Breathe Out

Did you ever find yourself in a position, a situation, a moment, where you just didn't know what to say? You can feel it crackling in the air, a live thingthis is important, this has meaning!and yet when you reach out to touch it, it slips away. All that's left is the feeling that something precious was lost, even though you don't know what.

And then that moment's past, the person gone...and suddenly the words come.

These are the words written at 2:00AM, the ones I didn't know how to say, but can sing. It's one of those cases, when the person in mind is so simply sad and hopeless, a laugh escapes. It's not joyous, it's hollow. It's breathing out, when you can't even speak. It's caring about someone more than they do for themself...and  having to let go before you get burned, too.

So here's the song I wrote for the words I couldn't say, for people whose names will never be mentioned but that I hope, one day, might listen.

Breathe Out 
my original composition

Breathe out, 
these are the words I caught in the wind 
And I smile, as you cast your net 
and cut my paper wings. 

Once upon a time in a land far ago 
the cold city boy met the wood-bound princess. 
And they'd play in the forest 
'till the moon hung low.
...that was, oh, how many years ago?

And I won't be made guilty for 
decisions I have taken. 
The day you made yours, 
gave me no other option. 

When the concrete's warmer than the bed you're lying in,
too wound up to see the stop signs caving in; 
when the words won't come 
'cause they're the only ones worth saying. 
Breathe out, breathe out, breathe out, 
breathe out, breathe out, breathe out...
when I can't love you. 

It's called 
The mistakes we make on purpose 
for those who hurt us. 
Damaged, the boy reaches out for more
he always wants more, 'till the castle's burnt 
and they're the last two standing...
Good thing he never knew her 
heart was for the taking.


And it's hard to breathe out
when i see you
sinking, wasting, burning
in a fire too late to put out.
But what can I do when you
don't want to know you?
(and I thought I didn't know myself)
Look me in the eye,
tell me you're not high.
What can I do when I'm wanting to know you
and I'm reaching out, reaching out,
but you're not breathing out.


Breathe out,
these are the words I caught in the wind.
And I smile, as you cast your net,
and cut your paper wings...

I started writing this song in the summer, when something happened that came back up during recent events. It wasn't until today that I finished it. I apologize for the lack of visual in the video (the sound quality, too)I'll make a better one soonbut, for now, here it is! What do you think?

Do you have that song? The one that, feeling happy or low, you could just hand to those who ask "are you ok?"...and let it speak the words that you can't? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The "W" Word

You know that word? The one that follows people in TV commercials, attached to their ankle by a chain to a scale? The one that floods the internet because there is simply no easy way to get rid of it? The one that clings to you as you fall asleep, knowing that tomorrow will come and it'll be the same thing on rewind? Yeah, that's right: "Weight"...

It's back, and I want it gone. 

This was me about a year ago when I arrived in England and studied in a 15th century castle. A summer's worth of kayaking, swimming and running had done the trick in keeping in shape...but it wasn't enough,

(References to England happen...a lot. If you're curious about these, I've attached articles I wrote for a magazine chronicling my time there at the end of this post. Feel free to flip through them! If you have any questions, leave a comment and I'd be more than happy to answer!) 

The castle was breathtaking. The food, however, was cringe-worthy. Homesick and stressed, I exercised and lived off of dried fruits, fresh fruits, vegetables and cereal. I was miserable, and a bit of an emotional mess. When I flew back home for Christmas and weighed myself, I was 145 pounds. I had never "looked so good" or weighed so little in my life. I was ecstatic, but the joy only lasted up until I took a bite of my first, delicious family meal in months.

Desperation: How would I keep the weight off if I ate? 
The answer: I would exercise more. 

So I did, but things got a little out of hand. I ate too much, I justcouldn't stop. After a while, I gave up: I would go back to the castle after Christmas, and starve myself. Seems easy, right? Wrong. If there's something I learnt, it's don't, don't, binge thinking you'll "just not eat" the day, or week, or whatever after. It never turns out that way (or maybe it does for you, just not me)...and the weight is crazy hard to get off.

So Christmas came and ended, I went back to England, but didn't lose the weight. My roommate told my friend, "She doesn't cry anymore, she just eats," and that was basically it. Overall, I was much happier. Somehow, though, I don't feel "happier" and "fatter" should have to have anything to do with each other.

I exercised, but the weight didn't come off. It couldn't, not when I was emotionally eating. Traveling to Belgium and Switzerland for two weeks before flying back home was just the cherry on top in feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my skin. So when I finally got home and saw the new, horrible numbers on the scale, I wanted to die.

Dying is not an option. So I did what I was best at: I went on a diet. I gave myself one month to lose as much weight as I could. I wrote down every single thing I ate, cut proportions and did three days of intense exercise, one day off, and on and on and on. And I lost 15 pounds.

So why am I here now, wanting to lose yet more weight? Because I'm not happy, because the emotional eating was a roller coaster on and off throughout the my summer's entirety, and I'm sick of those awful numbers staring back at me on the scale. I just want them to go away.

I just want to finally find something that works for me, that won't fall apart and make it that much harder to get back up again. So, for the past three weeks, I've started over, and it's been going well. My friend and I have been going to the gym six days a week and I eat healthy.But it's so hard when the numbers don't change. And the hardest part is trying to just be happy with it; be happy with "doing my best" when there is always "better".

Have you ever gone on a diet? If so, how did you do it after, when you're at that perfect weight and you shouldn't have to diet but you can't just go back to how it was before? How do you know when enough is enough, and finally learn to ignore the numbers on the scale and just be yourself?

So many questions...and it's far from easy, but I think I'm finally figuring it out. :)

On a side (and completely unrelated) note, my friend sent me this video. It kind of made my day:

What do you think? ;)

If you're curious to know more...

Feel free to flip through these articles I wrote for Backpack Magazine, the "Letters Home" feature near the end of each issue!

September/October (p.36)
November / December (p.35)
January / February (p.35)
March / April (p.37)
May / June (p.37)
July / August (p.37)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Too Many Words and...Instagram?

Instagram. Useless. A waste of time, an app you add onto your phone only to have it turn into a portal that sucks you in...
and then you emerge at 2:00am, wondering what went wrong with your life. So....why? Why the obsession? Because, oddly enough, it's what made me want to write again.

My story goes like this: Once upon a time, there was a girl that wished for words and breathed music. Quiet, mostly reserved, she wrote wrote wrote, holding on to the dream that she would keep on writing because that was all she knew. She graduated from her tiny high school, and spent The Last Summer at her cottage with her family. Then summer ended, September came, and she got on a plane to England. 

Suddenly, the girl that had never been away from home longer than a week wouldn't see her family until Christmas. Traumatized, it didn't matter that her first year of university was in a castle, or that the gardens were dotted by the loveliest red blossoms or...anythingshe wanted home. And there was only Shock

She couldn't write. 

Not when there were too many emotions threatening to claw their way out, not when she had to constantly bite her lip to stop from sobbing. She wanted to drown in music, and forget. The shock would pass. But it didn't. And it was this constant pain during too-loud silences, the bone-drenching numbness and the thought she would go insanecaught between homesickness and escaping the presentthat drove her to Change. 

She made friends, got involved, focused on grades. She still couldn't writetried, and put the pen down, preferring black and white piano keys to clarity. Because isn't that what we write for? To make sense of situations, make order of the mess? She didn't want to clarify. No, confusion was a friend. If she wanted to change, she couldn't over-think—she had to be. And so her old writings gathered dust, only pulled out when someone wanted to understand her, handed to them with unsaid things like, "this was me". 

Christmas came and left, the new semester in England started, and for the first time in a long time she was...Happy. 

So many pages were turned since then, bridges burned, lessons learned, and the girl that had dreamed she would write forever lied about writing at all. Until now. And this is when Instagram comes in. You see, it's not its entirety that captivated me, but rather the realm of quotes that drew me in. There were so many. Beautiful quotes, sad quotes, sarcastic quotes that made you bitter at the images of the person they conjured. The idea that these collected words could apply to so many people, linking complete individuals together, amazed me.

Suddenly, I wanted to create my own.

Just a few weeks ago, sitting in my Post-Modernity and Belief class, the lecturer said these words: "The truth about stories, is that's all we are."

I couldn't fully understand it at first, drew around the words and traced over their curved edges in an attempt to grasp the deeper meaning. And then I understood. There were many things that made it difficult to write: fear that I couldn't anymore, too many words that threatened to rise from a surface I had been contended to sit and watch, occasionally dipping in my finger to see what rings would form...but the  greatest was that I had lost my reason to write. I hadn't wanted to make sense of the confusion around me because doing so would have been too difficult, while all my life I had written precisely to make sense of things, to find their truths. What was the point in writing when I didn't want to make sense of any of it? If the truth about stories, though, is that's all we are, then can confusion not be just as true as clarity?

I write. Not because I want to bring order to things (though the temptation always remains), put them in their perfect little labelled boxes, but because I understand that there's truth in any situation, no matter the clarity or confusion. I write, because I believe there's a truth to be found in anything, and I love love love how the same truths can be found in so many people.

So at the end of all the questions, it's not about why can or can't you write, but rather...
Why do you write?