Like armies taking to the fields in battle, the ice marched steadily onward. Starting at the edges and meeting in the middle, its frozen grip grew briskly downward crystallizing all movement and solidifying that which was fluid mere hours ago.
Once again I stand in awe of nature and the uncanny way it has of taking over. It gains control of everything without ever having checked with us.
So too, life goes on without regard for our plans, our ideas, our dreams, our schemes. Time advances on us, like a freeze to unsuspecting open water, and we have no choice but to withdraw… to surrender… to survive… and to wait.
We wait—with overwhelming anticipation—for the sweet, sweet mercy of the thaw.
To say that a picture is worth a thousand words is true I suppose. But only if you’re counting all the ones that are left unsaid. The things it failed to capture and yet, were present all the same.
That picture of us that sits atop my second shelf only captured a moment. It is a mere sliver in time when you were smiling and I was smiling because the photographer told us to.
It does not tell of weathered hearts and dusty dreams… of successes or of failures… Nor promises kept and promises broken. It gives no hint toward the future or revelation of the past.
That time I made you laugh so hard you nearly choked to death is nowhere to be seen. The scar on my left wrist I got while running after you is just outside the frame.
Weekends on the water, midnight rides and long, late nights of talking are written behind our eyes but no one would ever know it — were they to pick it up and hold it. Should they ever really, really study it…
That time when you were smiling and I was smiling because the photographer told us to.
Do you remember? That image on my second shelf? It is the one collecting dust. That picture of us.
I look in the mirror and do not know her.
This woman starring back at me. Who is she?
Where did all those lines come from?
Features completely foreign…
I search for explanation.
Answers swimming in a sea of silver…
Revelations in the reflection…
Facts and figures float just beneath the surface…
of the glass.
Between the lines there is a story.
Some of the parts are good. Some of them are sad.
Some of them are silly. And a few of them are mad.
All of them are worthy
of being written down…
to be always recorded
before I’m all curled up and brown.
Where once there was a twinkle…
now emptiness prevails.
It wasn’t always like this…
but the colors now are pale.
Finish each day and be done with it…
You have done what you could;
Some blunders and absurditites no doubt crept in
Forget them as soon as you can
Tomorrow is a new day;
You shall begin it well and serenely.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I flipped to this quote one night before heading to bed at the end of a particularly difficult day. Lately I’ve been trying to read encouraging and/or inspirational thoughts to close my days and when I saw this quote on that day, I broke down in tears.
As my breath caught in my throat at the sheer timliness of reading these words, I felt the weight of the day literally being lifted from my shoulders. I felt relieved at the reminder that I did not have to take these worries to bed with me.
Finish this day and be done with it. It is over. You did what you could do. Not necessarily what others expected you would do or what they thought you should do. You did what you could do. Now let it go.
No doubt you made some mistakes or said some stupid things. Forget about it. Others probably have. You are your harshest critic.
Tomorrow is a new day! You shall begin it well and calmly. Choose peace over turmoil and serenity over fretfulness.
The day will be what it will be. It will bring what it will bring. You can only do what you can do. And when it is over… the second most important thing will be to know that you did your best… And the most important will be to release it.
My stomach is turning. My head is spinning. What once stood upright and tall is withered upside down. Peace and calm are shattered by reality.
It’s either you or it’s me. Or maybe it’s both. I haven’t decided. Though I’m pretty sure it’s you.
I don’t know why I try so hard to please you. To make you like me. It’s pathetic. It’s sickening. It’s disgusting. And every time I open my mouth in an attempt to win your approval, I feel like one more piece of my soul has been sold on the auction block.
For way too little.
When will I learn? When will I stop trying? You aren’t worth it. You never were and you never will be. I don’t know how to cease the striving?
Daily I hope for salvation from the sentence I am serving with you. Oh how I will rejoice when this has run it’s course and you and I are done. Some days it is the only thing that keeps me going. Perhaps then … Peace, not Insecurity and Sufficiency, not Inadequacy can become my default mode of being. Again.
Until then… I guard my heart by guarding my mouth. My words only serve to bury me. Protect my soul by covering my ears. Your forced laughter sickens me. Save the scraps of my self-worth by looking in the opposite direction. The site of you reminds me of how insignificant you think I am.
One day I will turn my back on you and walk away with the vestiges of my pride bundled up in my arms like shreds of colorful fabric. You will be left to swallow your disdain and emptiness—like a bitter pill—when you know not where to direct it.
And I will smile.