Friday, December 4, 2015

Oh, December

Illustration by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

I love December and I don’t care who knows.

I love it because winter feels fresh and anyone who complains about snow at this point is just being a whiner.

I love it because that guy who never took down his Christmas lights from last year is patting himself on the back for his cleverness.

I love it because it has the most work holidays of any other month. Well, two. But still. This is America, we didn’t fight off oppression from the monarchy just to sit around twiddling our thumbs. Yes we did but we want to get paid to do it.

Anyway, here’s my December to do list:

a.     Gingerbread house – this is non-negotiable. In fact, this year I’m bringing in the expert help of the dude I hang out with on the weekends. He’s two, so expect great things.

b.      Visit Seattle. My family is heading there for Christmas “just because” and I’m crazy excited for my very first visit to the PNW, land of foggy beaches and pensive bearded hipsters. Bonus: two of my favorite squinkies live there now.

c.     Get up early enough one morning to properly photograph the hoar frost. #instagramgoals

d.     Audit my sweaters. I have almost more sweaters than there are days in a month and that is nonsense. Let’s be real, some of them need to be put out to pasture. Part of me wants to make slipper booties out of old sweater arms but I can’t sew, and also calm down, Pinterest.

e.      Read two books from my unread shelf. Yes, I have an entire shelf of books I own but have never read. What is wrong with me. I’m thinking The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff and Ellis Island by Mark Helprin.

f.      Ice skating. Or rather, the annual attempt to live out my Michelle Kwan dreams until my feet hurt or I fall catastrophically, whichever happens first.

g.      Hot Chocolate Cookies, get in my oven.

h.     Wear plaid flannel everything. I want to feel like I just crawled out of a tent on a frosty morning in a forest and am brewing coffee in an old tin pot over a campfire. 

i.       Update my blog design. I love you blog, but you need a facelift.

j.       Support my mom, brother, and aunt who are running a 10 mile “fun run” on the 19th. And by support I mean stay home and cook them a big post-race breakfast. And by that I mean sleep through my alarm and text them the address of a nearby Cracker Barrel.

What are your plans this month?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Words on Words

Within my imagination, there is a struggle of constantly wanting to write but not knowing what to write about. Am I writing to pass the time or because I have something to say?

How do I add value to the universe with my words and not just take up space better used by something else-- by a conversation, or a news item, or a song?  Why do I feel the need to make words that are music for the eyes and food for the brain and fuel for the imagination?

Words can be tattoos on the mind, more permanent than ink on skin, than an etch in stone. They can be life-changing, life-directing, even life-giving. But what are words if they are not received? A word of wisdom falling on deaf ears is a precious gem dropped on the floor. Where does it go? Does it roll under the dresser, never to be found again? Or if another is nearby and sees it fall, does it still hold the same value if that person picks it up? It’s diamonds to one but coal to another.

Words can be poison, the most insidious kind--a little sting, over and over again until it breaks the skin. It’s the kind of poison that seeps into the marrow quietly, changing the way the blood flows, until one day the uncomfortable ache becomes unbearable agony. Where did this come from? Nobody remembers the origin story. Nobody was paying attention when the first word found its mark.

Words can build, but it’s disheartening how many more words it takes to build than it takes to destroy.  If you must speak hard words, layer them with kind ones.

There’s not necessarily safety in numbers – thousands of untrue words repeated over and over hold a thimbleful of water that leaks out slowly. A man would die of thirst in a lake of insincere words but feed for a week on a single morsel of truth.

Sometimes it’s not the words themselves, it’s the method of delivery.  Are they issued forth from the lips of a loved one, scribbled in the margin next to other words, or overheard in secret? Some words aren’t meant for us but we receive them anyway. Impassioned words incite nations to war. Make people believe your words and they will die for you.

Words mean everything and nothing. Entire conversations occur in silence. In the blink of an eye, the story can be rewritten between an inhale and an exhale.

So what does it come down to?

Say only the words you mean and never be afraid to let the silence speak for itself.

And therein lies the struggle: knowing when to speak and when to keep my peace.  How to not be overwhelmed when the silence is roaring. How to find the right words when someone asks.

Today these are my words. What are yours?

design + development by kiki and co. creative