Thursday, January 20, 2011


I woke up this morning to the steady beat of rain pattering against my window. On mornings like this, all I want to do is sleep the day away in my warm, cozy bed- but, as they say in show biz, “The show must go on, Toots!” Well, unless it snows or there is a chance of snow for that matter, then, the whole city shuts down and only the brave souls with hefty auto insurance plans get out of their houses. Anyway, I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed to go to my mentor’s house for some coffee and food for the soul. I be-bopped up her steps and knocked on her lovely red, wooden door. I waited- no answer. I knocked again. I waited-and again no answer. I decided it was time to implement the use of the door bell. Success! I heard her hurried foot steps drumming down the stairs. Unfortunately there was some miscommunication, on my part of course, and when she greeted me with wet hair and a face covered with shock, I said, “I must have the wrong day.” Since she had to get to work, we agreed to try again Thursday.
Instead, I went to Bruegger’s and headed to school early to see if I could catch up on some homework. It is not impressive that we are only a week into classes and I am already behind. I digress. As I was merrily trucking down the parkway, sipping on my delicious French vanilla coffee, traffic began to slow and back up for at least a mile in the lane of my exit. It seems as though if there is any other element thrown into the driving equation, (rain, sleet, snow, fog, wind, ect.) people go bizerk and immediately forget how to operate a motor vehicle. Carrying on. I decided it would probably be quicker to take the long way. Getting off on the “long way” exit, there is a spy store, which always catches my eye. Perhaps it is their alligator mascot who is dressed in a trench coat, spy hat, and has a magnifying glass in his hand tracking footsteps. But, I think it is probably the mysterious tinted black windows, which do not allow you to see what the contents are on the other side. I think it is human nature for our interest to automatically be piqued by something we have to figure out. My itch to satisfy my curiosity usually gets me into trouble. I want to know so badly what is behind those black windows, that the itch is almost too much to bear. Nonetheless, I looked over at the shop and saw that the marquee read, “Finger print cards sold here.”
It doesn’t take much to make my mind start rolling. While I was stopped at the red light, I looked down at my hands and examined my fingers. I studied the swirly, ridged patterns that are uniquely mine. I thought about how many works of art I created out of these prints. “Oh, look how sweet! You made a flower out of your hand.” “Isn’t that just adorable?! You made a turkey out of your palm print and your fingers are the feathers.” I think I have a sweatshirt with a reindeer made out of my footprint for the face and my hands as antlers for every year that I was in elementary school. But not only are your finger prints tools for art class, they are also personal identifiers.
I began replaying scenes from movies where they bring criminals in to have their prints taken, or investigators finding finger prints at the scene of the crime. It is so amazing to me that you can identify a person just by these squiggly lines on your fingers. Then, I thought about how everything you touch- there your finger prints are etched. I mentally went through a typical day and what all I touch; my alarm clock, kitchen appliances and dishes, my tooth brush, my wardrobe, my phone, door handles, computer keys, car keys, radio player, workout equipment, and the list goes on and on. But most importantly, I touch the people around me- with every high five, fist pound, hand shake, hug, and kiss.
To me, your fingerprints are your legacy. They are what you leave behind, no matter how large or small the impact. I want my fingerprints to be found all over the lives of my family and friends.  I want my fingerprints to be on the important things in life and not wasted on the insignificant things of this world like money, social status, career, and the endless pursuit of stuff. For where your fingerprints are, your heart will be also. So, my legacy will be my finger prints and the evidence will be imprinted on the hearts of the people around me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bridge to Reconciliation

I feel like everyone has their ideals of how relationships, that is any kind of relationship: family, friend, romantic, acquaintance- should be properly maintained. And with each of these types of relationships, there is a specific level of responsibility.  A certain amount of effort is put forth with how much you value that relationship. Relationships are the mutual agreement to let your guard down and allow yourself to be increasingly vulnerable with the other person(s) in congruence with the depth of the relationship. You are constructing a bridge from your heart to their heart- a passage way into your deepest most thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Relationships can be lovely and bring great joy to your life, but when they are not properly cared for, they can bring such despair that you wish you were the tin man from the Wizard of Oz- hollow on the inside.  In short, building and maintaining a relationship is tough work! This is no new concept. Throughout history, you can see the rise and fall of nations due to a relationship gone sour. Everyone knows how difficult the task is in the architecture of intertwining the hearts and emotions of two people, and increasing that number, ensures that things are going to get tangled.
Today, two of my girlfriends and I had breakfast at Shea’s Express- catching up on the ins and outs of each other’s lives- mainly the relationships that have come and gone over the past couple of months. The conversation took some twists and turns, until eventually, it came to a bridge, where we began discussing the art of bridge burning. I have had my fair share of broken relationships in which I happily took the kerosene can and slathered that bridge down from end to end- then, with a vindictive smile, I would strike the match and torch it to the ground, n’er to return. I was an arsonist armed with bitterness. The pleasure I received from this fiery act was always short lived though. And actually, it brought me more trouble- in other relationships, as well as anguish within myself.  
I recently read the quote, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” This resonated so loudly in me. I can testify, first hand, that this saying holds true. A woman will stop at nothing to appease her vengeful soul! A woman’s heart is not to be toyed with- it is to be cherished and cared for with the utter most delicacy.
Not too long ago I had a relationship go awry, where I felt as though I was an Aztec sacrifice and my heart was ripped out from my flesh still beating. Needless to say, fury welled up in me like water to a dam. Not saying that this execution was not for the best. Sometimes, relationships need to be severed, but that does not mean that it is any less painful or that the wound is not left gaping for all to see. And what makes matters worse is when your lives are so intertwined that all ground is common ground making relationships with mutual friends strained. So, what do you do? Well- I am still trying to figure that out, but one thing I know for sure, burning bridges shore to shore is not the answer La Roux. If I have learned anything from my past, it is the sweetness of reconciliation. Sometimes people need time apart to grow, and then later, can be brought back together as if nothing had ever gone wrong. This I know to be true. So, if you are like me and are bearing the burden of a broken relationship, put down the gas can and matches, and embrace the power of reconciliation.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Don't Stand So Close To Me

(Phrase made popular by "The Police")
Yesterday, a friend and I met at Barnes & Noble, which just so happened to be bustling with every walk of life: avid readers, style divas, business suits, and long lost friends catching up over soup. As I stood in the “We Proudly Brew Starbucks” cafĂ© line, I scanned the scene, eagerly searching the faces and body language of the guests. “Oh, I think - perhaps, they are getting up to leave.” I thought to myself, but to no avail. So, I got my coffee, mixed in my cream and sugar, and I moved along to working my way throughout the store. Perhaps, there will be a few comfy chairs available? Occupied - Or maybe, a table is just around the corner of this book shelf?  Nada.  Alas, I found myself wander into the kid’s section where I barely slid my hips into the Kelly green lawn chair on the reader’s stage.  There my friend and I sat and chatted as we read over some of my work. It was quite a humorous sight, for there, in the kid’s section, was a small congregation of adults who just had nowhere else to go to enjoy their coffee and literature, so they found themselves at the reader’s stage, amongst the ever entertaining Dr. Seuss books.
As I sipped on my coffee and we discussed ideas, laughing, running foot steps, and “But, Mom! I want it!” tantrums echoed throughout the aisles of fantasy land.  “Quincy, have you chosen a book?” asked the mother of the little girl dressed in her pink, sparkly tutu. She had joined me on the reader’s stage in the adjacent Kelly green lawn chair, reading her Disney “Tangled” cartoon book, which I highly recommend; very good movie. At any rate, as Quincy sat calmly flipping through the pages of the newest addition to her personal library, her little brother jumps up on the listening bench on one end and proceeds to jump from bench to bench until finally he jumps onto the bench my friend is occupying. As his parents gasp in horror of his invasion of my friend’s “personal space,” as the father called it, this rambunctious little boy stands, looks his parents in the eye, and ever so delicately pats my friend on the head and says, “Hello.”
This little boy, whose name I cannot remember, had the most beautiful eyes and angelic face, but became a personal offender. This was a malicious act against my friend’s invisible bubble. He had no concept of what the phrase, “personal space,” meant, which got me thinking, at what age do we come to the realization that we posses this thing called, “personal space”? For me it was kindergarten. I specifically remember the occasion that I was denied this so called space and realized that I was entitled to it. Care to hear? I knew you would.
Kindergarten was a time that my mom was a single mother, which meant, “extended-day care.”  For those of you who do not know what “extended-day care” is, it is the after school program for the kids whose parents work and cannot pick them up until about 5 o’clock. The idea of it sounds like a blast; stay after school with some of your friends and play, but the fact that you have to stay extra hours at school with teacher supervision, nightmare. I digress.  One afternoon, I was at extended-day and my best friend’s dad came to pick her up. Before she left she just had to come over and give me a hug. This was no ordinary hug, it was the “I can’t live without you” strangle hold.  She invaded my space, with no way out, for she had strategically wrapped her arms over my arms, interlocked her fingers, and proceeded to contract like a boa constrictor to its prey. That day, I did what any prey would do in its final attempt to escape death, I wiggled and squirmed and just as I was using all my force to set one of my arms free, she let go. For those of you imagery inclined, you already see the picture. For everyone else, with the force I was using and the sudden release of the restriction, my elbow went springing upward - popping her right in the chin. Then, there was blood and crying and perhaps a tooth missing. I’m not sure. It was a long time ago. Anyway, when it was all said and done, somehow I was the one who got in trouble. Me; the prey! The dad swears I did it on purpose, which I most certainly did not. I was trying to escape my attacker. At any rate, that was when I realized, I have to have some boundaries.  
From then on, there has always been an invisible bubble that surrounds me. If anyone gets too close, I can feel my bubble deflate a little and I have to compensate and move accordingly to the degree of the violation.  The place that I have been violated of this space the most is at the bank waiting in line for a teller.  Listen people, I understand that your financial status is important to you, but getting an inch away from my back side and breathing down my neck is not going to encourage the teller behind the desk, with cameras at ever angle, and a security guard go any faster stamping those checks. So back off!
Another thought that came to me was – well - what if my personal space requires a three foot circumference, but the person beside me only requires a one and a half foot circumference. Then what? Do I compensate my space for them, or do they have to compensate for me and back up a foot and a half? This is where it gets confusing.  I propose that we all wear a sign that projects our personal space circumference.  So that way, no one is offended in any way and life goes on in perfect harmony. I will be in touch with our local legislature to see if I can get the ball rolling, but until then, please remember, if you are ever behind me in the bank teller line, don’t stand so close to me!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Love. . .Seize it!

Growing up, I feel everyone dreams of being great. To be known; to see their name in bright lights, or on the cover of a novel, or to be featured in a film, or have a spread in Vogue magazine, or to travel to the moon and back. I know that while I was growing up my dad always told me, “Michaela, you can be anything you want to be. All you have to do is take advantage of the opportunities that are put before you. The world is at your finger tips….. Love. Seize it!” These words seem so simple to follow. Life, after all, is what you make it, right?  But what defines greatness? Is it how many zeros are in your bank account, or how many lives you change, or the relationships you build, or how many Facebook friends you have, of whom you only know ten percent? Maybe?
To me, greatness is conquering your own limits; achieving the seemingly unachievable. But then again, you can only go as far as your ambitions take you, and even then, accomplishing your ambitions can be the end of you and the beginning of a never ceasing quest for more.  That is no life to live. To never be satisfied with what you have, and not enjoying the here and now. For all we have is now. Every second is a blessing. Now more than ever, my heart is bubbling over with desire; desire to do and be something great. This desire is so strong, I feel as though I will explode!
I am in the remaining semester of my college career, and with this milestone approaching; there is a sense of fear and excitement. The past twenty-two years of my life have been planned for me.  Everything from my hair cuts to my class courses. I say this loosely. Of course I have had some influence on the decisions that have been made in my life, but for the most part, my parents and my education have been the determining factors.  By law I was required to attend school until I was sixteen. By my mother, I am required to stay in school until I receive my degree. My wings were clipped and I only had certain perimeters that I could venture out to before I was herded back home.
In five months, nothing will be planned for me anymore. My wings will be restored and I will be free to finally spread them wide and fly. Where I will fly? I don’t know, but I invite you to join me on my quest for adventure. I will be open and vulnerable with you. Sharing, in detail, my thoughts, feelings, and nuggets of wisdom I discover along the way. I am sure there will be much blood, sweat, and tears along the bumpy road, but I promise it will not be a boring ride! In the words of the great poet Robert Frost, “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  That is my goal; to take the unbeaten path.  To live my life and love it!