The Confessions of a Kind of Child Celebrity

When I was twelve-years-old, I discovered I was a celebrity of sorts.

My parents worked for a non-profit organization and much of their job involved fund raising and meeting supporters for dinners and casual gatherings to inform them about the work they were doing. My brother and I were usually there as well.

One day, I walked into the home of a perfect stranger. As I entered their kitchen, I saw a picture of my face on their refrigerator. It was a postcard sized image of our family with relevant details about what kind of work we were doing and how interested parties could reach us or our organization.

I was completely taken aback. Who were these people? Remind me why I’m here again? Why am I on their refrigerator? After a few moments, I had a rather shocking revelation: “These people think they know who I am.”

Our supporters–whether they realized it or not–had a preconceived idea about who we were. I was this perfect,twelve-year-old who got to travel the world and see amazing things and I was “just so blessed” to be part of what my parents were doing and wouldn’t it be amazing to be part of my family.

Years and countless similar visits later, I realized the thing that really bothered me. I didn’t really mind someone having a preconceived idea about who I was. This happens everyday with acquaintances and people we meet in passing. What bothered me was that they thought they had the right to interact with me based on the notions they created in their heads.

They believed I was the person they thought I was not who I really was.

And what was worse is they didn’t notice the difference.

For years, I let these people define me. I smiled and answered their questions. I complemented their cooking, and I put on a big smile as we left their house. I knew our family needed their donations. I thought I was doing the right thing.

Now I’m an adult and have had years to process these experiences. I’m not longer upset or angry at what these people thought about me. Let’s face it: I’ve made the same kind of assumptions in similar situations.

But I now know I’ll never have to conform to that picture perfect image on someone’s refrigerator ever again. I am my own person.

And if you want to get to know me, you should just ask.

Rainbow to Rain Clouds

Bright colors shine as the light filters through the crystal teardrops and dance across the grey canvas of the sky. They balance each other–two delicate elements–to make the perfect partners in this precise dance.

As rain waxes and wanes and the setting sun lowers its rays like a watchman trimming the wick of a lantern, the rainbow’s colors fade to pale pastels like the skirts of a maiden’s spring dress. She moves like light flickering across water as the wind moves graceful as the lithe body of the one who dances through it.

Finally, the pairing ends. Too much of the sun or rain–who can tell? But this dream-like performance is at an end as the two dancers make their way off the stage and walk along separate aisles.

These two wayward walkers will meet again but none can know the when or how or why.

And the dance they danced before will never be seen again.

Politics

I don’t usually write about politics on this blog. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion; I actually have a lot of opinions. But I find political discussions quickly dovetail into easy jabs at someone you don’t like or disrespectful exchanges between parties who are convinced they are in the right.

However, I’ve found myself in a few situations the past few months feeling the need to defend myself as an American when I’m in certain circles. There have been a number of events (the situation in Ferguson probably being the most prominent) where I’ve very much felt not proud of my country.

I realize that I am not an ambassador or diplomat. I am, however, some people’s view into America and what it’s like. I feel a sense of responsibility to portray America in a truthful manner but also to be critical of areas where the U.S. government is not doing a very good job.

The State of the Union Address highlighted several places where the US government is failing. President Obama has made a lot of promises in recent months and taken actions that some could be considered unconstitutional. He has delivered on very few of his promises and when he has it has been at the expense of either the people or the fiscal welfare of the nation.

I am also aware I am not a politician and as much as I try to stay informed about what is going on, I don’t have all the facts. Even if I did, I wouldn’t be in a position to make policy changes.

What I do have is the rights of a citizen. I have the right to vote in order to make my voice heard. But I also believe that my right to vote comes with a responsibility to research and try to understand what is going on in America. If you want to be part of the democratic process, you have to be informed and think critically.

I don’t think I’m going to start writing a lot of political pieces. But I do think I’ve come to a place as a writer where I don’t feel I have to censor my opinions for fear of offending people or giving the wrong impression.

I’m a writer and I write what I want to write.

Soul-fire Birches

Long tall birches line the forest

Floors and skies with plain white

Shades of blacks and grays. Shores

Reflected in the dwindling sun

 

That stretches itself long like

Glowing shadow before sinking

Down at rivers edge–waters flowing

Shallow and deep. Fragrant poppies

 

Blow their sweet scent toward

Now muted birches mixing grace with

Sorrow and beauty with pain. They

Tell a story of a fleet of long lost

 

Souls who moved through dust

And storm to find relief and rest–

But not one of them can do a thing

To unburden the packs of their heavy

 

Laden eyes and dust covered ankles.

They rest their tired heads on trunks

Of paper before they realize the

Harm has already been done–

 

Will never be undone.

24

Drop the coin tomorrow

Before the water stops–

Watch it fall like fabric

And whisk away the spots.

 

Tell me time is holding

Not slipping through the hands–

Of solid, stately banners

From wintered, shaded lands.

 

Drink the cup of sorrow

To practice for a time–

The joys of hope forgotten

The pain of life gone by.

 

Weep the tears of sunset

That sweep the ground for day–

But do not let me follow

That ground into the gray.

Setting Sunrise

Swiftly rising sunset stays

Draws the breath of wind and wave,

Echoes mind of tool and soil—

Speak the whispers of the ‘morrow.

 

Scare crow covers light of morn—

Plant that withers never drawn.

Blackbird forests rise to sorrow,

Something evil to be done.

 

Watch the man with lantern lighting,

Flee the birds to narrows far.

Move the scarecrow back to folly—

Morning’s light is drawing near.

 

Watch the swiftly setting sunrise—

Hear the speech of morning gone.

Weave a prayer with light unchanged

Speak before the moment—

23

One heart beats soft and quiet—

Two hearts wait for the spark.

Three times I asked these questions—

Four times they answer naught.

 

Six days with one more waiting—

Eight nights until we’re done.

Ten moments—did I fail you—

Twelve seconds did we stop?

 

Five minutes more I promise

And then to sleep I’ll go—

But only when you promise

Tomorrow you won’t go.

 

Our heart beats soft and lonely—

Two hearts wait for a spark.

Three days—will it be over?

Four minutes—watch the clock.

 

Five days before the sunset,

Chases airplane’s tail.

Six minutes—weeks or hours?

Two more—I cannot bear.

 

Please stay with me and slowly

Tomorrow we will find

That yesterday began for us

Before our minds or time.