Spring beginnings are bittersweet a rotting smell rises with the heat roadside carcass baked in sun kept from hoping for what's to come Backward glances, Jack Frost's shadow the direction you face is where you'll go the cruelty of youth is turning away from sorrow, sickness, and slow decay Life's still blooming, the sun persists the trees don't wonder what they've missed each breeze carries the powder of new pollen raindrops don't resist where they've fallen
The full-bodied scent of fresh cut grass starts to lighten the heavy eyelids of this child's soul that has lied slumbering in frost shaking snowflakes from thick lashes cells expanding as the air heats up Everything tastes better in summer soft air, sweet fruit, and salty skin hearts peel open suddenly in the sunlight like the fresh blossoms spilling pollen tender petals ready to receive the sky Colorful carousel of familiar sensations the day's reluctant, yet sensual surrender as the night descends in a slow simmer igniting the thorny hillsides into whispers the hushed murmur of a million voices Sleep comes easier when the sun has returned store away those sacred escapes somewhere safe Bright Eyes songs and novels by Charles Dickens David Copperfield tucked away beneath pillow cases life supports reserved for when the air grows thin again For now it's easy to breathe more deeply the atmosphere is thick like honey and just as sweet another new life christened with lavender winds wondering how those slinking shadow talons always tore so sharply at untanned skin
ASD and Decision Making
One of the many struggles I have in life that I attribute to my undiagnosed Autism is my utter inability to make decisions. I’ve felt like decisions were so much harder for me to make than my peers even as a young child, but I feel it’s only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older and the decisions I’m faced with every day have become more and more serious and important. It’s hard enough for me to decide what to wear or what to make for dinner, let alone if I should take a new job or move.
I used to be more able to make a decision if I felt somewhat forced into it out of discomfort. I’d wait until I reached my breaking point, where the discomfort of not choosing a different path exceeded the discomfort of change. However, that threshold for discomfort has become larger and larger as I become more dependent on and attached to my routines. It feels impossible to make a big decision regardless of how certain I feel it will be good for me, because I know it will inevitably cause turmoil and disrupt my normal patterns and habits for awhile. Despite unhappiness with where I am, it still feels easier to just let things remain how they are. At least I know what to expect, even if it’s nothing good.
I’ve been trying to focus on the positive things I stand to gain from making a change. Part of me does get excited at the idea of beginning a new phase of life for myself. Who knows what wonderful new things might enter my life if I only have the courage to make room for them? However, I am immediately terrified and overwhelmed with the idea of the immediate future that lies before any of those benefits. How on earth can I bear the pivotal moments of action? It seems like an insurmountable task. I wish I was able to press a button, make the decision, and wake up a few weeks later beyond the initial aftermath.
Possibly worst of all is the feelings of guilt, shame, disappointment I feel with myself for not being able to do this. It’s hard to even talk about with other people, because I am so embarrassed. I can’t really ask for advice, because it’s obvious what they’ll tell me I need to do. Part of me is afraid that their certainty will push me into action. No matter how sure I am of something, there is always a small voice in the back of my head pushing me in the opposite direction, warning me that I might regret this. I know that’s not something I can ever avoid for sure. But I already have so many regrets. I’m afraid to trust myself. I’m afraid to be the one that chooses how my future will unfold. I don’t want to blame myself for making the wrong choice someday.
On the other hand, what if I am making the wrong choice by remaining where I am? There may be wonderful opportunities and people passing me by because I haven’t been brave enough to create space for them in my life. I hate feeling like such a coward, like a child, that needs someone else to make all the important decisions for them. I just want to ask for help, but I know that there is no one that can help me to live my own life. Some things we just have to do on our own.
What I Want Most
I never considered the things I wanted was asking too much It's not as though I wasn't willing to work very hard As children we're told that's enough that great enough efforts will inevitably succeed The more time passes the more aware I become of my error My trial was never taking on the hard work it was something worse My life is about learning to let go of what I want most all together To accept all that I've sacrificed has been worthless and wasted leading to the same result Which is utter surrender to a life that lacks everything I've yearned for since my youth Growing up has turned out to be a lesson in starving An appetite spoiled on fairytales is unable to stomach the bitter truth
The Endless Cycle of Introspection
Sometimes it takes an impending change to jolt us awake. It feels like I’ve been running on auto-pilot for quite a few years now. I’ve begun to wonder who I am and what I really want again. The misty idea of where I’m heading has become all together obscured. Do I even want to keep moving in this direction? Have I been moving at all? Why did I start wanting all these strange things I’m pursuing? When one change comes, for some reason, it starts to feel more possible to change everything, to choose a different course entirely.
It feels so scary to let go of all the goals I’ve been clinging to and clawing at for all this time. But there comes a pivoting point where I have to ask myself if the person that wanted those things is even still me. I think the brain likes to default to routines and rituals to conserve energy. It’s tiring to always be asking yourself why you’re doing the things you do. It takes a lot of brain power to start something new.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to contemplate recently is my seemingly life-long body goals. I think right from the very beginning, I never truly believed I’d achieve them. Although, I thought I’d get closer than this. The image in my head is still a high-school girl. The popular one with the perfect body that all the boys try to talk to. The older I get, the more obvious it becomes. That image is unattainable. My window of opportunity (if it ever existed) is quickly closing as I stare down the last two years of my twenties. Am I still going to be chasing the “perfect” body when I’m 50? Perhaps it’s time to start loosening my death grip on that aesthetic before this uphill climb starts to become a desperate, inevitable decent.
Why was it so important for me to look a certain way in the first place? All my inner longing has just left me years of unappreciated youth and a blindness of my own strange form of beauty. I’m sure I’ll look back on the body I’ve had with envy soon enough and wish I had enjoyed it more instead of wishing it were different. Still this battle has lasted long over a decade. It feels so foreign to let it go, not to mention the crushing sense of failure and acceptance of defeat.
I guess overall, I’ve realized that all I really want is to enjoy where I am, wherever that might be in any given year, at any given moment. That’s all any of us can do. Anything else is just wasting time we could have spent being happy. But after 28 years of immense self-hatred and dissatisfaction, I don’t know how to turn my inner dial to “happy.” Sometimes I’ll catch myself realizing how much better I’d feel if I dropped all of my self-imposed obligations and just let life be what it is. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s true freedom.
My ego is always quick to chime in and say, “BUT YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” It yanks me back into old habits much easier and more frequently than I find those moments of surrender. The older I get, the more apparent it is that I’ve let the driving force of my life become fear. Fear is what inspires nearly every action I take, every thought that swims in my troubled mind. I’m always afraid if I don’t do this, that will happen, or if I do that, this will happen. I’d much prefer to move from a place of curiosity and love. But fear is such a primal force. It is so powerful. It closes down my ability to love, to access that higher self inside. I’ve known fear so much more intimately and often than I’ve known love. I’m terribly sad to admit it. Do I still have time to change that? Was it ever really my choice?
Some days I feel like I have an immense amount of free will. It seems completely possible to change course and fall into new patterns. But other days it feels like I’ve never had any say at all. Everything I am and everything I have been feels like a heavy weight around my neck. Standing still is all I can manage. It’s hard to believe I can simultaneously be every aspect of the self I embody. All of the shifting selves I’ve ever seen staring back at me in the mirror. Were all of them me? Or am I none of them? Can it be both?
Getting to witness the unpredictable and constant nature of change is one of the privileges of growing older. There is a point as a teenager where it really feels like you finally know it all. But life doesn’t stop. You keep going. And you realize you never knew anything, that maybe you never will. For me there was a beautiful, mysterious comfort in that realization. What a relief to know all the dark certainties I once held about myself and the world were just illusions, transitory passing clouds of perspective.
A big part of me has stopped trying to pin down or predict what is coming in life. Maybe that’s why it suddenly feels more possible to consider enjoying the present. When you aren’t sure of anything, it becomes much harder to move with aggressive conviction in any one direction. It seems much more practical to just enjoy where you are in the journey. Life was never a trip from point A to point B. It’s an expedition, an adventure through uncharted territory. Tomorrow I may push aside the brush to find a beach or a desert or a cliffside or maybe just more endless forest. It’s frightening, but it’s also what makes life worth living.
Life these days has transformed into some kind of performance a play we curate for the eyes of others to love and be loved, now to consume and be consumed My face feels hot under this heavy gaze the vague surveillance of the whole world perched outside my window, watching there is a strange thrill in being perceived show and tell on a grand stage Sometimes I like to pretend I'm on TV a character where every bland moment matters the pleasure of being devoured by hungry strangers the pride of a life worth putting on display the perfect, personal, self-aggrandizing parade But a life does not need to be witnessed to be meaningful and worthwhile when every head turns away, who am I? we seem to believe we'd all disappear without a crowd to jeer or cheer The curtain still falls at the end of every day to reveal that I am the audience of my life I am the true observer that sees every season the only one that will ever know the full story rather than the shallow highlight reel There is a beauty in knowing there are parts of me that are private that I couldn't share even if I wanted to precious sugar cubes of experience tucked away for private viewings A world reduced to surface level let's us forget about all that's concealed the breathtaking mystery of each individual hidden beneath the painted masks the silent pressure of all that's left unsaid
Summer stirs something deep inside a soul shaken awake by sunshine renewed and ready to add its song to the symphony of early morning Slipping unharmed from the jaws of winter wondering at this cycle of renewal once again where did I go while the world was dark resurrected by blue skies as a brand new being The shadow of death has fled from my heart crept into the creases to await autumn ready to beguile me with cottage core cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice Every season seems splendid and romantic in the intoxicating summer air full of flowers all of life seems brighter, softer, less scary than before safety found in long, winding, aimless days Warm skin soaked in bright light greedily drinking the sun's special elixir this soul of mine is solar powered one juicy charge lasts until January Every season is all or nothing in the summer I know I'll live forever in the winter I know I've already died celebrating my 28th year of reincarnation
Playing the Game
What if this is just a game? would we still feel as attached to the arbitrary outcome and keep hacking away at ourselves in order to win What if we chose this avatar in another life we've forgotten was this path placed before us with loving, mindful intention a joyous challenge, a precious lesson Will we feel silly to wake up and realize we felt such urgency a desperate need to get it right in a form we can return to as much as we'd like
I want to rise to meet the gaze of those that inspire me to honor their contributions to my life and to the world I don't want to waste the grace they've given me I want to pass it forward to be a beacon for others My soul begins to stir with hope as I brush shoulders with beings that are shining emblems of the best humanity has to offer My greatest motivation to be worthy of their presence to make them proud is my deepest wish I am so grateful for the chance to learn by their example for the opportunity to emulate those dearest to me I am honored to be the humble student to practice choosing silence as I sit attentive at their feet may I learn well
Winter wipes away all memory of the sweetness of summer air it stops me in my tracts when my senses are infiltrated again with the intoxicating scent of soft petals The cacophony of sensation that saturates the warmer months never fails to fill my soul with reverence and awe for our magnificent mother Inspiration seeps into every pore when the world reawakens at my doorstep the miracle of resurrection witnessed once again When all hope is nearly lost the tender blades of grass whisper "just give us one more day" I fall to my knees upon it and gratefully obey