- Sitting on my swing:
I had wings once,
Stubby little things with no feathers,
But they grew, a little stunted.
I stretched and flapped, refusing to be flightless.
For a time I knew the sun, the wind
But I never trusted those wings.
I feared they would falter,
And somehow bring me back to earth.
Surprisingly, it was not my wings but the sun.
I forgot it can blind you.
I hit a wall, repeatedly until I had no strength to try again.
For a long time I was content to be broken,
To suffer and forget about the sky.
Part of me believed this was the inevitable price of dreaming
Dreams I was never meant to have.
Now, I sit in my cadge and people call me a survivor and inspiring.
They think I have persevered beyond my handicaps, limitations and self-inflicted harm
But they are wrong.
If they only knew how it hurts to breathe, remembering.
How the sweet voices encouraging me to raise my twisted wings
Only serve to remind me of the carelessness that got me here.
How long will I stay safe in my cadge?
My heart still remembers, still longs to fly.
But I do not have the will to believe in second chances.
And my heart curses me for such a selfish betrayal.
AC Nov 2012
I am a person who doesn’t really do labels of most kinds but I realize that this rule -like so many others- was only applied to the people outside of my head. For a long time I wanted to be the “good daughter” I’m not sure I even realized how far that one went until I didn’t want to do that any more. I wanted to be a “good student,” in HS and college. I never sassed my teachers and always did my homework.
I have tried and will continue to be a “good friend” though I know I get too caught up in my own stuff sometimes. When I was married I desperately wanted to be a “good wife.” And I became another person to try to pull it off. I knew that I was a “good teacher, bad writer and someone who loved to sing and make art.”
But now precious few of these way of identifying myself feel real or wanted. And the terms I find myself thinking in feel different; sometimes comforting and others threatening. So many of the labels I had hurt to try to retain. I know there is something taking that space but I don’t know what it is. There are so many things I could do and I could be. And I know that the “you must have a purpose” part of me would love to just latch on to anything to keep from being a void. But that is where I am.
I have met a lot of interesting people lately that have caused me to think of myself in different lights and for that I am grateful. I have a strong inclination that the person I used to be is fading away. I am uncertain of the person I am becoming but I trust change. Some seeds take fire to sprout.
I went to a dance party at the studio where I take Latin classes tonight. I always get a little anxious beforehand, mostly b/c it is my nature to be so. Tonight there was a small group, all people I knew from my classes. I did not expect to find how warm and funny everyone was. I don’t mean to imply that they are not that way usually but I am not usually open to letting that in.
I have noticed over the past month or so that in my own small ways I am seeking out opportunities to let people back into my life. And not in a passive, they come they go kind of way, but in a way that asks me to offer something in return- vulnerability.
When I first came to Valdosta almost two years ago my life as a knew it had just fallen to pieces at my feet. It took the better part of that first year to remember how to breathe and live again. Once I was on the path of rejoining the living I knew I had to start doing things for my own happiness, to maintain my grip on the now. So I took up dance.
Never having danced before I walked into the studio across the street and decided that I would learn something new. It was difficult for a long time to feel like I was making progress and not handicapping my partners. But with the encouragement of my classmates and teachers I stuck with it even when I wanted to just give up and cry. I know that may sound a bit childish or over the top but I’m not sure you can understand how hard it is to re-start your life unless you have had to go through it. After that pain is gone you are left with questions about yourself and the choices you made, the things that happened to you. It makes everything a raw patch, so what would normally be nothing on an average day feels like you are being stabbed. And then if your me, you wonder things like ” why the h*** did you put yourself out there in the fist place?”
But I digress b/c I didn’t give up and tonight I could see it. I know that I am easily flustered but I didn’t care. I kept the apologizing to a shocking minimum and laughed a lot. In fact my teacher said “you are so fun.” I like that the light I feel in my life is finally starting to show through. I know that I have done a lot of work to get here and there is still much to be done. But I would be remiss if I did not mention these interesting, generous group of people who have helped me to remember that my life is wonderful, silly and still going forward.
So I would like to take this small moment to thank them: Hanna- it is a blessing to have someone who has walked in your shoes, Alvero- for not letting me give up, Chester- for making me practice one more time to know that I can do it, Will- for making me look you in the eyes, Tiffany- for a big heart so generously given, Ananda- for your smile and conversations, Gloriana- for you patience and sweetness. Thank you all so much. Weather you knew it or not you helped me to find my way back to me and for that I am so grateful.
When did I first learn not to trust you?
Was it an unanswered cry in infancy?
A tearful, childish night I was sent back to bed without a hand to hold?
Or was it the nights I listened to stories yelled through the walls,
Shattering my illusions of home?
Was it the first time you doubted my judgment?
Pointed out how my “methods” needed improvement,
How different I am from you?
Or was it when you decided I wasn’t worth the sacrifice of anything to be in your life?
Was it when I realized that little girl still lived inside me?
That I had not managed to kill her with my rationals and coping mechanisms?
When you still loved those that failed to take care of you?
When you loved someone who could not love you in return?
I don’t remember. I only know that I want to try again.
Amanda C 2012
I don’t think that I had ever watched a subtitled movie until I saw “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.” I was so drawn in by the story that I for got that I was reading everything. I know fora lot of people the idea of “reading” while watching a movie is off-putting but I must say for a little extra effort you are missing so much! Here are a few (very different) subtitled movies that I enjoyed. They range from family to adult in subject latter. I hope that something makes you want to give a foreign file another look.
PG 13 This is an epic story with fantasy/ magical elements. If you like things like “the Lord of the rings or the Chronicles of Narnia” this would be right up you ally. Please keep in mind though it is from an Eastern point of view, if you are looking for uber happy this is not what you will find. However you will find truly honorable heroes, people who take honor to its furthest limits and love that spans all obstacles.
R- (I would not give it this rating) This is a wonderfully sweet and adventuresome story about a girl who wants to make her father’s life better and solve a mystery of the everyday find while finding love. When I think about this movie I see Madeline as if she were a real person. It is funny and light-hearted.
NA, Like most French comedies this is about a slice of life. The family is ridiculous and the main character is hounded simply because he is happy as a bachelor. It’s you typical romantic comedy.
NR- This could have been a simple they break people up scam kind of movie but what I liked about it is they only break up people who are not good for the other person in the relationship. They don’t destroy happy lives because they get paid to. It follows a typical: character though one thing but was wrong and now has a different point of view.
NR (R) Though this might seem like something it’s not, I actually enjoyed this film. Yes there is a lot of sex but not in an exploitative way. It is the story of a woman who struggles to understand her sexuality on her own terms and not as society deems she should. I found it heart breaking at moments and uplifting at the end. If the subject matter doesn’t bother you this is a very interesting film.
PG 13- This was a sweet story about finding what makes you happy in life instead of settling for something else. The wife is very doormat-ish in the beginning but finds herself along the way. If you like movies like “under the Tuscan sun and Fried green tomatoes” you would probably like this too.
NR (R) I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one at first but the story kept me interested. The gigolo takes on his profession as a side job to make money. He is not terribly attractive but is kind to women. The twist being that he is engaged and eventually she finds out about it. This was surprisingly sweet and sad in places.
(R) Violent and has disturbing sexual violence- I only watched the version in Swedish and loved it so much I refused to watch the American one. If you like a good mystery/thriller and can take violence this is for you. I loved Lisbeth’s character, she was so brilliantly written and acted I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like her before. The story she unravels has many twists and turns, in the end I had to watch the next two to see what happened to her.
The girl who played with fire
The girl who kicked the hornets nest
PG13- This was a surprisingly sweet movie about a person finding their true calling in life. The main character goes from being a Cellist to a person who prepares the dead for burial. It is quiet moving to watch him learn to really care about his clients (though they are dead) and see the impact that his work has on the lives that he touches. If you are a fan of understated movies, this is one for you.
The Syrian Bride– Arabic
NR- It is hard to list all the things I love about this movie. It will break you heart. The whole movie revolves around a wedding but because she is a Golan Heights resident once she crosses into Syria she will never be allowed to come back and see her family. The love shown by her family an their determination to see her settled in the best life possible is so moving. The bride’s determination to follow through no matter the cost is inspiring. This movie feels more like a documentary then a feature file. If you like that style or like inside into different cultures this would be one for you.
It’s funny how we move though life and collect memories, people and things. This is one of those songs that no matter how many times I listen to it I just love it. I think I was in college when I first heard it and 10 years later I still love it. It was the beginning of my introduction to blues.
I started taking Latin dance classes about 3-4 months ago at the studio across from my apartment complex here in Valdosta. There were a lot of reason’s that pushed me towards doing something besides work for 8hrs a day every day. I needed the social interaction, the exercise but more than those things I needed to have fun and remember that I was alive.
So I started taking Salsa and Bachata. Though they have similar moves they could not be more different in attitude and music. Salsa is technical, fast and athletic. Bachata is slower (though it can be fast), has more styling for the women and is very sexy. Normally I would have shied away from the latter but I didn’t quit know what I was getting into at first and then I was hooked on it so I just have to deal with my issues. Which is why I love my dance classes so much. It gives me a safe place to learn to trust people and myself again and realize that I can be sexy and it’s not the end of the world.
I know that may sound strange to some of you but I was raised very conservatively and spoken and not it was very clear that if you enjoyed being attractive or getting attention that you were a bad person. Even in college I avoided situations were I would be noticed. I didn’t hate myself but based on a lot of other stuff I thought that it was batter to watch and choose who saw me than run into the limelight and have toe pay the price of being seen.
So now I find myself here…a 30 something, divorced, who is so ready to be over the “shy girl” thing but I”m not. If anything the tumultuous end of my marriage left me feeling even more insecure about myself. So I jumped, I had never taken a dance class before in my life. I was not a social dancer in high school or college. I learned the fox trot for my wedding off a DVD and that was the extent of it. And I am so glad that I did.
Not only do I love dancing b/c it challenges me mentally and physically. I love that there is a place I go and laugh, cheer and get frustrated with myself twice a week. I have off days and forget that I’m learning and I am so grateful to my classmates and teachers who don’t let me give up and encourage me to keep going.
I have not been moved up into the intermediate/advanced versions of both of the dances that I am taking. I would by no means says that I am as good as my class mates (all of them have been dancing for a while) but I am better than I used to be. And I’m still challenging myself and not settling for okay. Like to-night, we were supposed to work on some styling while we did our moves. I didn’t quiet get to the styling so I have assigned myself homework to get comfortable with it so when I go to class on Wednesday I have a better chance of at least giving it a go with a partner.
To that end of getting better and challenging myself; I have agreed to go with some classmates to Jacksonville to visit another studio and go to their dance part on Saturday. I am actually a bit scared but that is b/c I don’t trust myself. I know that I have the basic stuff down and I should have a little confidence in what I can do. I am hoping to have the chance to get to know my classmates a little better and have some fun. I thought that it was important to write about this now as opposed to post b/c I don’t often celibate those moments when I have done something brave and good for me. I usually shrug and think something like “well you should have been doing that all along,” quickly followed by “it all going to go bad,” never giving myself the recognition that I was unhappy with my life and did something about it. I said I wanted to do something besides work and I am. I wanted to meet people and try to make some friendships here I have the opportunity to do so.
I’m not saying it will all be roses. I will at the very least have blistered feet and a nice chunk of humble pie. But I also might have a new friend and realize that all my hard work has amounted to something. Something that I love to do. So here’s me standing on the edge totally jumping.