An Idiot’s Guide to Button Collecting

I love buttons. Okay, some people might say I’m a hoarder or something, which I think is incredibly rude. Hoarders keep everything.  I just happen to love buttons. All shapes and sizes of button, the weirder the better. Hand em’ over. You don’t really need that bottom button on your shirt or vintage 1950’s hot pink blazer, do you? No, I didn’t think so. At some point you’re going to realize that, and I’ll be there, ready to pounce.

Yes, you might think I’m absolutely crazy. I get that a lot. I haven’t had a girlfriend since 1996 for that very reason. They all think I’m nuts.

But you know what? I’m happy, and that’s really all that matters, isn’t it?

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dreams

Dreams are jerks. Really. One moment you’re hanging out with Tom Hiddleston, having the time of your (fake) life, and the next you’re snapped out of that happy falsity and into your cold, dark bedroom by a wailing alarm. Now you have to get up for work and pretend that your fake, sleep-dazed non-reality wasn’t way better than real life. Because it was.

Then you spend the rest of the day sitting at your desk wishing and (day) dreaming, and the time crawls by at a snail’s pace, inching, slimy and slow, across the clock in the bottom right corner of your bulky computer monitor. You ache to be back in bed, to relive that dream that was such perfection, so real in the moment that you couldn’t have separated it from reality. Inception-style. You also ache physically because the damn desk chair is so uncomfortable and why do you have to sit all freaking day.

Finally, you’re done with the adult stuff – the work and the cooking and the cleaning and the bill-paying. You can get back to the good stuff; crawl through that dark tunnel into Wonderland (or something similar) where life is grand and fun and that tea party literally never ends. When you finally get to roll back in to that soft, warm cocoon of blankets and shut your eyes, drifting away to the quiet hum of the refrigerator in the other room and the sound of rain on the shingles covering the roof, you slip into a dream.

But it’s never what you want, is it? Rarely can you revisit a previous dream. This time it’s nightmares and fear crawling up your spine and exhaustion as you run, run, run away. Why won’t Tom show up, Gas-Mask Samurai style, slicing away the demons and bringing you back to a dream you would never want to wake up from?

Cause dreams are jerks, that’s why. That’s the closest you’ll ever get to Tom (I guess you can substitute Cruise, if he’s your thing) and the good dreams are always backed by the bad, dripping black all over your colourful canvas.

That’s why.

Writer’s Block

I have Writer’s Block.

There, I said it. It’s all out in the open, nowhere to hide. Not that I’ve been able to hide from Writer’s Block.

I haven’t had a good idea in so long, and I can feel Writer’s Block looking over my shoulder, even now. Staring at every word I write on this blank white page and telling me it’s not good. And it’s not going to get better.

I sit here and wait for my Muse. She is kind, friendly and always knows what to say. But he showed up instead and is simply determined to make my life miserable. I finally have the time to sit and let the words flow, but before they can make it out of my brain, he crunches them with his heel, grinds them to dust on the floor.

Dreams of writing the next big novel get squashed when Writer’s Block is around. He’s like that relative that you just can’t seem to be rid of, while they eat all your food and drink all your beer and take over your house like it’s their own, making you feel like you’ll never be alone or happy again.

He makes me rush my work, like an overbearing boss who cares more about quantity than quality. Of course Writer’s Block would prefer I succeed at neither, but beggars can’t be choosers, and if I’m going to write, he’s at least going to make sure it’s bad. Make sure I know it, and everyone else does too.

Maybe one of these days, he’ll back off long enough for me to write something I can be proud of. Maybe he’ll get bored of me and move on to the next unsuspecting victim of his malicious schemes .

Then creativity will flow like the water in the ocean keeping with the magnetic pull of the moon, unable to resist its nature.

Until then, though, my unwelcome mind-guest will continue to keep my company. It must be better than being totally alone, forever.

Right?

Darkness

In the vast darkness, I find me. Picking up broken and shattered pieces of myself, fumbling for them in the black, sometimes I cut myself. I suck the blood off my finger as I continue searching.

It’s hard to know who you are in the dark. When you can’t even see your own face in a mirror, how can you know? When you’ve lost pieces and are scrambling to retrieve them, even when you don’t really know what you’ve lost, especially.

Relationships are the main culprit, often taking and taking but never giving back. Friends turn you into someone you’re not because you are what you eat, so to speak, and if you’re eating sadness and depression, you become sad and depressed. Partners turn you into someone you’re not because you want to please the person that you love, even if that means becoming less of yourself. An endless cycle of losing your identity to please others and make them feel good, instead of yourself.

Even if it isn’t obvious, even if you are in love or best friends forever, it can be hard to remain yourself. To keep looking in the mirror and see YOU, rather than a combination of the other people that make up your life and your being.

This can be good, if the personality you are inhabiting is better than your own. Or it can be debilitating.

Now you care about things you have never cared about before, like boyfriends or…mostly boyfriends. And you spend long hours in the dark together crying about boys that you don’t even really want to deal with. You’d rather watch TV or play a video game, but she’s crying about the boy next door and you’re over and you want to do SOMETHING with her, even if it’s horrifically depressing. You can’t just abandon her at her own house when she’s sad or obsessed (but you have). So you obsess too.

Now you care about recycling and how many plastic bags you use at the grocery store. She’s made you more environmentally conscious and you’ve watched videos about how plastic is destroying our environment and all the beautiful and unique animals that inhabit it. Now suddenly what you do day to day actually feels like it makes an impact.

Now you don’t care so much about money. Because of him, you realise it’s a vice and you can’t take it with you, so just pick up that sushi or sweater now and again, and just don’t worry so much, okay?

Now you struggle to get them off their bed. Sad and crying again and all you wanted to do was make tea and watch a TV show and then go to the mall. That doesn’t matter to them, though. They can’t fathom getting out of bed, so what does it matter if you spend your day sitting there beside them in the dark, hardly talking, when you could be enjoying the sun and having fun? You can’t leave them though, cause that would be a jerk move.

And then I’m left scrambling to pick up the pieces of myself that matter, while I drown in someone else’s depression. I rejoice in the people in my life that make me a better person, that give me pieces to add to myself, rather than taking what I know and throwing it into a dark corner, lodging it in a wall that I can’t seem to pull it from.

When someone is throwing or dragging away pieces of you, it’s time to leave THEM in the dark. Turn around and walk away, as far as you have to walk before you can’t even see their silhouette anymore. Step through your own darkness, don’t double the darkness with someone else’s weight on your shoulders. Something that is not yours to bear. The weight will crush you and change you into someone you never thought you would be.

It’s not worth it.

Desert Rose

The cicadas chirped in the blazing summer heat, and the shimmer in the air combined with the cicada symphony made the world feel dream-like. Tall wheat swayed gently in the fields, golden waves dominating the view in every direction.

It was heaven for Josephine. She lay sprawled on an old Mexican blanket, spread out in a haphazard rectangle on the wheat, the long stalks waving around her, looking up at a square of clear blue sky, not a cloud in sight. She couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

She had her eyes closed, humming the tune to a well-loved country song when a shadow blocked out the warm sun on her face. She squinted her eyes open and gazed up at the silhouette blocking her heat source, a shining halo around the figure’s head where the sun was still trying to reach her with its bright caress.

“Nate, whaddayou want?” Josephine asked, a hint of grumbling tainting her southern accent.

Nate moved out from in front of the sun, blinding Josephine momentarily. She groaned and sat up, leaning back on her hands, legs stretched out in front of her.

“Jose, it’s Desert Rose. There’s been an accident.”

Josephine leapt to her feet, the calm feeling she had been enjoying vanishing with the wind.

“What happened? Never mind, I gotta go see her. Right now. Is she at home?” Without waiting for an answer, Josephine took off through the wheat field, Nate scooping up the blanket she had left behind and following after her. Continue reading

Prairies

In my dreams, I fly back to those prairies, yellow grass sweeping and blowing in the wind. I was born under that wide open blue sky, stretching so far that you could see the curve of the earth on the horizon. Where the sunset lasts for hours because the sun has no mountains to hide behind, only the curve of the earth to dip below at last.

The prairies never leave me, no matter how long I live sandwiched between mountains. Beauty reigns on those gorgeous golden fields, studded with the occasional tree or pond, pockmarked with cows and horses, bales of luxuriously yellow hay curled up on the never-ending stretches of land.

Days when I am trapped inside, when I can gaze out the window and see the wind blowing, but not feel it on my face, when the sun is hiding behind storm clouds grumbling high up in the sky, I imagine my home. Standing in those fields of gold, the wind whipping through my hair, the sunset warm on my face, painting the sky with a pastel rainbow.

It may not be where I live or want to live anymore, but it is where my cowgirl heart dwells.  It is a part of me, just as much as my hand or my foot. I feel a desperate longing when I cross those jagged peaks that separate the prairies from the hills and see those beautiful plains for the first time in forever.

Close your eyes, listen to the frogs and crickets croak and chirp out a deafening symphony in the late summer sunset. Feel the wind on your cheeks, the sun on your forehead. Love where you are, because the world is beautiful.