Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Love & Poetry

Love is a beautiful thing. And when love is felt by a creative and expressive person, that beauty is heightened. Suddenly the object of this person's love becomes their muse, inspiring page after page of poetry and prose. Short stories, paintings, songs. When an artist is deeply in love, the creativity flows and they become an unending well of inspriation, creating beauty every moment. It is a beatiful thing, sharing love with an artist. Being the inspiration behind so many beautiful things is such an honor and the greatest of compliments. I love to ruminate about some of the great acts of love I've seen in the art world. The tangible products of love felt so deeply. One of my favorites, Alex Katz Paints Ada, a series of portraits that Alex Katz painted of his wife over the past fifty years. So often our hobbies and interests are not something intwined with our relationship. They are often our personal oasis from everyone and deeply personal. When love  is felt so deeply that it crosses into your personal oasis, takes hold of your creative mind and propels you into whole new directions of art, that is really something special.

In my life I've been fortunate to have loved several times, and been loved several times. All of these loves have been so unique and so different from the next, which is to be expected. Some of my loves have been very technical people and some very creative. In my experiences, I know that the love between to creators of art, no matter how long it lasts or how bad it ends, will leave its mark forever. I can remember times of falling in love and writing feverishly poems about my love or writing poems with my love. Sitting together creating lines back and forth until together we'd crafted a sort of love-child from the lovemaking of our creative minds. Long after the love is gone, when communication no longer exists and even memories start to fade, the art doesn't. The poetry doesn't die, the portraits don't vanish. The songs don't stop being played. We can keep those loves alive through art.

If you can, create something with the person you love. Recognize that there is always a possibility of impermenance and this person may not always be here. Hold them in your heart and life forever by sitting together and bringing forth one thing into the world that wasn't here before. A craft. A song. A poem. Something you can pull out in the future and continue to celebrate a love that touched you so. I am so glad I've done this in my life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Releasing the Pollution Inside

While having a conversation with a friend last night, a topic came up that I decided I would write about today. We were discussing the habit that many people have of hiding their problems and perceived flaws from everyone else. 

We mused on this for a while as it totally astounds me. I've always been a very open person. Perhaps too open for the comfort of some.  I have always believed that when I admit to a problem and put it out in the air, I release the poisonous affect it has on me. Just as our bodies expel waste, gas and other pollutants that don't need to be inside of us, our bodies need to expel the polluted thoughts as well. The more you hold on to something and keep it inside, the more it attaches to your being and becomes you. The longer you sit with secrets, the more you feel alone in them. The longer you sit with anger or shame, the more the cancer of negativity grows inside of you.

One thing I've found in my life is that people react very positively to my openness. Often times I hear that something I've shared has helped another to realize that they aren't alone in a particular thought or experience. These reactions are only a bonus, but a big one. My real motivation is just taking care of me. It takes a certain amount of courage to be genuine about who you are. To be comfortable admitting to yourself and to someone else that you have the problems or hang ups that you have. To abandon the idea that you need to uphold an image or meet a standard set by others. I believe it is one of the best things we can do, both for ourselves and for others.

Do yourself the favor of being genuine, and looking at yourself deeply and honestly. Be more than okay with who you see.  Love deeply the person you are, beautiful in all of your imperfections. I've had plenty of moments in my life where I've wondered if I've said too much, but at the end of the day I will always prefer that over saying too little.

I feel free from secrets and I never feel alone. I feel loved and supported in all that I do, because I've been real. And my spirit feels clean. I speak out about my imperfections and it's like spring cleaning. I cry often and it's like a rain washing away all the ugly things inside and cleansing my soul. I look in the mirror every day and know the person looking back at me is real. And absolutely beautiful in all of her imperfections. I love her.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Love Deprivation

When we think of the affects of deprivation of basic needs, it's easy to say what that kind of dire circumstance will cause one to do. What are our most basic needs? Food, water, air, sleep...right? All of these essentials in life, when taken away from a human being, start a series of bodily responses. Over time the condition of deprivation swells and swells until we are not well or we die.

Think about the physical affects of deprivation of core needs. Food: Hunger, headache, exhaustion..those are on the less severe end of food deprivation. Later come the more dire symptoms and eventually death if you are not nourished. Same with sleep. First might come irritability, lack of energy, lack of focus...but later down the line could come total deliriousness and loss of reality. It's easy to see how not having our essential needs met can hurt us.

But what about love? Is love also not an essential to being human? Not to say that we should all have a romantic partner at all times. But we must receive love from somewhere. A friend, relative, a teacher in school who is the only person who gives us the time of day. What happens when we are deprived of love? What does that eventual decline look like? Disconnection, being emotionally withdrawn. Feeling we don't need anyone, internalizing all of our feelings. Having no idea how to verbalize a feeling because we disconnect so much from it. An outward facade of independence and not needing anyone that is so deeply originating from fear that we often cannot even identify that true feeling.

Just as we become desperate to meet our basic needs of food, water air and sleep, I believe that we also are desperate to meet our basic need for love. While starving can rationalize theft in even the most virtuous person, I believe that being starved for love can also rationalize out of character behavior. Falling into bed with anyone who will have you because you are dying just to feel human touch. To hear someone speak to you messages of acceptance and affection even though you know they're just temporary. Or what about starting a fight with your lover just to shake them, wake them, make them see that you're wilting away when they don't nourish the need in your heart for love.

While most of our basic needs are physical and clearly can result in the death of our physical being, what happens with love? Can we die inside in such a way that we can never be brought back to life? Can a person be starved for love for such a long period of time that their ability to love and feel loved is gone forever? Does love get left off the list of basic human needs because something so spiritual and emotional is impossible to get down to a science, like the inner workings of the human body? Do you feel that love is one of the essentials of the human experience?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Looking the storm in the face.

My mother once said something to me that resonated in me, I think, in a much stronger way than she meant it. There was an awful storm brewing in the Texas town where I was raised. Much damage was anticipated (and much damage ultimately was caused) and people were leaving town, boarding up, the whole nine yards. I remember speaking to my mom as the storm was approaching and she was sitting in her window. I asked her why she wasn't leaving or hiding out and she said, "Hell no! If it's gonna get me I'm not gonna hide from it! I'm gonna look that mother fucker right in the face first!" I was so pleased to hear my mother's attitude about not cowering to this huge force of nature, but also, it makes me think about the dangers in society.

 In the western world, and in the United States particularly, the majority of us do not look the storms in the face. Catastrophic, horrible dangerous things are all around us. Brewing, storming, sweeping around and causing damage in their wake. We all (both figuratively and literally) bunker down in our dwellings, draw the shades tight, turn up the sound on the video game and live completely oblivious to the damage being done, right down until our own space is wrecked to smitherines. Holding on to that last moment of mindless bliss is so important to many of us. Denying that we are in any danger or that our neighbors or friends across town are suffering. Or our fellow humans across the globe. We remove ourselves from the things we see on the news. We accept the version of the story that the news anchor on Fox News at 10 gives us. We don't search out more details on world events, government policies, or the roots of crimes being committed by seemingly average people. We accept ideas of "good neighborhoods" and "bad neighborhoods" and think of police brutalities as isolated events and move on.

While I've made no real effort to change the world, I have made a commitment not to let the world change me. To always see it for what it is. As my mother illustrated, to look the storm in the face. The overwhelming, supersized threats to myself and to my fellow man. I will not bunker down and pretend everything's fine when it's not. I will not pretend that women in Rwanda aren't still rebuilding their lives post genocide or that big businesses in America aren't trying to manipulate me into thinking I'm less than I could be without their products. I will not ignore society's manipulations or fall prey to the lies told by the media.  It's a small commitment ultimately, but it makes a huge difference for me. And it's something I wish more people (particularly here in the USA) had the courage to do. To surrender the distraction and the fantasy, and live in the real world.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When love hurts.

I just want to bury my face in his chest and cry hard. Cry one last time before I go. For everything I hoped for that will never be. Every family photo that will never be taken. For the things he could never be for me that I need, an the things I cannot be for him. For failure. For how bad it hurts to let go. Out of respect and mourning for the closeness we used to share that's been replaced by distance. I want to sob wildly until I expel every ounce of frustration and sadness. Until I'm too empty to be angry about all the things that fell short of my hopes, and until I'm too empty to care about the gap between hope and defeat. I want to cry until there are no tears, then walk away and never look back. Never be ugly, have no words except goodbye. No more I love yous. This love hurts too much.