Pause.

I have posts ready, but I'm going to wait.

The Girl From High School.
Coffee and Cigarettes.
Walking. Floating.
Love is a Gravestone.
Take Me to Church.

I want you to be able to think about everything you need to, without interference.  I almost feel like all of the stuff I've already posted isn't helping, and maybe having this blog up at all isn't such a great idea.  Almost.  Hard to know.  I want it to be good, to be the best, but I'll just let it pause.

Have a happy new year, Erin.

The Life of a Fragile Mystery.

My Grandfather told me, about six months before he passed away, that the most powerful thing in life is a fragile mystery. 

After graduating from Full Sail, I didn’t take an internship that I probably should’ve.  No regrets or anything, I just took a different door.  I ended up moving back into my Mom’s house with the intention that my stay there would be very short.  I ended up being there for a year and a handful of months, but that’s another story.  About three weeks after arriving in Michigan, I started spending a lot of time with ol’ Gramps (a nickname he truly deplored).

Gramps in his 20's

He aged to 86 years around the time I left Florida, and finally started letting family help him with chores around the house.  My Mom and her sisters were handling everything he needed, but since I was back in the area, and didn’t have a ton to do, it ended up being the perfect opportunity for me to hang out with one of my favorite people.  I got lucky, too.  In the months that followed, I was able to chip off a few pieces of wisdom that came with living close to 90 years.

I had great respect for my Grandfather.  Still do.  He grew up poorer than dirt, but made a spectacular life for himself and his family by working harder than anyone I’ve ever known.  He was a military man.  Very corporate, organized, and had a tough-but-fair kind of attitude.  He was a very short step away from being vice president of GM before he decided to retire in his late 50’s.  He showed me what hard work could afford, but just as importantly, what it takes away.  He always wanted me to remember that sacrifice was a very real part of busting your ass.

I’d visit him at least once a week, sometimes more.  I’d change lightbulbs that were a little too far up in his ceilings, go with him to the hardware store so he could get odds and ends for projects, change out wiring in his furnace — whatever he needed.  He was still a pretty active guy that got around relatively easily in his old age, but there was enough he couldn’t do that he ended up taking the help.  I think he liked having me around after a while, but it took some time.  He liked to bark a bit, but he never had a bite to him.  I always did my best for him, and he was happy because he was getting free labor (as he saw it, I was just helping my Gramps out).  

Eventually, he was also able to talk to me in a way I don’t think he ever expected to talk to anyone.  At least anyone I knew.  Maybe my Grandmother.  And I didn’t expect it either.  It didn’t happen right away, of course, but by the end, he was more than my Grandfather, and I was more than his grandson.  We were friends.  Close friends.  It was a special relationship, and I'm glad we had the chance to have that.

It all started easily enough.  I’d just ask questions.  I’d be using a screwdriver on a door hinge and ask him what it like being a teenager in the 1940’s.  What was it like being a part of the automotive revolution in Flint and Detroit?  Was it hard having thousands of employees?  What was the hardest day of your life?  How did you meet my Grandmother?  What’s the one thing you didn’t do that you wish you would’ve done?  He’d answer every question, some in greater detail than others.  He never refused to answer anything, and that felt great.  Eventually, he started to offer up thoughts on his own, without me having to ask.  He was never a big “back in my day” kind of guy, but I got him to open up.

I’ll never forget the day he told me about mysteries.  I was replacing a few boards in his deck that were going to rot if left there for a few more winters.  It was a late afternoon in June, and we both had a few beers in us.  It was warm, but there was a nice breeze rolling in through the trees around his place.  Gramps sat in the shade in his favorite chair, offering his best board removal tips (as grandfathers do).  I must’ve been doing alright because he didn’t offer too many tips, and let himself think about other things.

It started as a work story, as a lot of his stories did.  I think that was always a comfortable place for him to start, but he’d eventually take his thoughts to another place.  Philosophize a bit.  Kick around some theories.  Anyway, he spoke about how leading a team whose job it was to come up with a new design for a car was tough work.  There were so many pieces that had to come together perfectly.  He said the people that were the best to have on his team were the people who could reach into the unknown, hold onto a mystery, and transform it into something new and exciting.  Something worthwhile.  I remember smiling pretty broadly.  This god-fearing, perfect American family guy was talking about the unknown, and it was completely out of character for him.  I loved it.  I told him I liked that very much, and that I tried to do that with my work.  He chuckled a bit.  He probably knew better.  I had plenty to learn.  Still do.

As conversation drifted on, he told me that the most special mysteries are fragile things.  They can shatter with small amounts of pressure, but offer untold amounts of wonder if handled appropriately.  If you treat them right, he said, they can give you inspiration, motivation, and help you create something you never would’ve expected from yourself.  And once the mystery is over, and everything has been explored, it can transform into a core of understanding.  Something you can carry with you for all time.  A solved mystery still offers everything it did in its previous form, but with the added bonus of knowing how to do it better next time.  How to reach further, deeper, and with great confidence.

I was dumbfounded.  Gramps had never spoken like that before, and I just sat there with a hammer in my hand, staring at him.  He brushed it off, and told me to finish up so we could have dinner.  We didn’t speak for the rest of the task.  The trees and birds talked while I thought about his words.

Thinking back, I don’t think he was getting soft in his old age.  Not him.  I think he wanted to give a few more of those tips before he decided his time here was over.  That was my Grandfather in a nutshell.  No one was going to tell him what to do, when it was time to die.  That was his choice.  And that’s how it happened one night in a nearby hospital.  I miss my Grandfather very much.  I hope to be half the man he was.  I work towards that goal every day.  You can have many things in life, but only a few are mysterious enough to be of great importance.  Only a handful can really be magic.

You’re my greatest mystery.  The most fragile I’ve had the chance of holding.  Maybe you feel that way too.  Maybe that’s why you’re hiding.  Maybe Gramps knew more than he was letting on, even about this.  I don’t want to squeeze too hard, I don’t want to shatter this, but I have the strongest desire to turn us into a core.  To keep that core in my chest and let it drive me every day.  But I have to keep your wants, your mysteries, in mind too.  Maybe my desires are misplaced.  This all might be too much.

I want to keep writing to you.  I can stop if that’s what you need, but I have a few more things that I want to say, and I’d like to have the chance.  But if this is getting too big, tell me.  I want you to smile.  If it’s easier for you without all of this, I understand.  I really do.

Bye for now.

Merry Christmas // The Disjointed.

Merry Christmas!  It’s a little early in the pacific time zone, but here it’s past 1 AM, and we’ve already gotten started.  My family opened their first gifts, traded hugs and thank-you’s, and now everyone has gone up to bed.  The traditions continue, and it makes me happy.  I hope your Christmas is exciting, and that you smile all day, and eat tasty food.  I also hope you get some cool stuff!  I had a few neat ideas for you (if I do say so myself).  Situation as it is, I’ll hold onto my ideas, but I wanted you to know that I had fun thinking about them.  And you, of course.

This is a shorter section than what follows, but I wanted to take a second to send some well wishes.  I understand if you take the day off from reading beyond here, too.  Not sure if it’s weird for you.  Anyway, I hope you have an awesome day.  Hope your hand feels better, too!

//

I wanted to revisit a bit of what I was writing about last night, and put it in some sort of order.  Summarize it in some (hopefully) small way because I think a few parts of the pages of random thoughts I ended up with were worthwhile.  I couldn’t come up with a theme like my previous posts, and I think that’s what prevented me from posting any of it.  I had trouble finding the thread that tied me to you.  It usually happens so easily, but I was missing the mark.  Just so you know, a few pieces of this will come back up in another post that will come soon, but for now, I hope this is as easy and nice to read as the other posts have been.

Yesterday was was a strange day, let alone the vacation as a whole.  Of course  being with family and the last remaining friends that haven’t left the area has been great, but I started really noticing that I don’t feel a large or deep connection to this place anymore.  It was a pretty slow day, and I had a lot of time to think about, well, everything.

I think the disjoined nature of everything I ended up writing down happened in part because of the strangeness I was perceiving, but also because of the long conversation my friend Jason Andres and I had over endless cups of coffee until 6:30 AM the previous night.  Jason and I have known each other for a pretty decent number of years.  He knows a good deal about me, which he made very evident a few nights ago.  Way more than I expected him to, anyway.  It was refreshing and horrifying.  I am certainly me.  Yes, happily.

After a few paragraphs of nonsense, I wrote of love.  How the concept of love can come from an immature place if you tell someone you love them because you feel you need them.  That in such a  scenario, you're looking for love yourself, and will take whatever you can get.  Is love the desire to be desired?  I thought that was probably true for some people.  I thought about how real love seemed to be something that you felt when you needed that one special person in your life because you already felt love for them.  It's the order of the love and need that's important.  Do I love you because I need you?  No, I need you because I love you.

“Tell me who admires you and loves you, and I will tell you who you are.”
-Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, an obviously French dude

I wondered about absence then (physical, mental, text), and if it diminished the passion I felt, or intensified it.  What that meant for you and anything you might feel.  Do you think about me as much as I think about you?  Does it matter if we don’t talk for days, if at some point I’ve crossed your mind at least once?  Was it horrible that I hoped you thought about me all the time, all the time, all the time?  That I never wanted you to forget me, not even for a second?  Probably.  No, not at all.  Maybe?

I wrote about the passage of time.  How if the whole of time was put on hold, on its side, as sand in an hourglass, that it would be a 'sand still' and maybe then we'd have a moment to figure everything out without any pressure at our backs.  If time was indeed the longest measurement between two places, two people, then I wished for all of the time I could get my hands on, and spend it all on you.  If time was really a currency, I wanted to be rich with it so I could just be with you forever.  Does that sound unreasonably dumb?

I wrote about a lot more, all in the same vein.  And at some point, it all felt a little too serious.  Sometimes letting actions lead to larger actions (or in this case, a thought leading to larger thoughts) is like digging a mind maze you can never escape if you keep thinking in one direction.  Still believing in every conclusion I came too, and keeping my mind on any new questions that came up (at least in some capacity), I left questions about time, love and absence stay up in the air for the night.  I think it all felt a little too overwrought to post.  Not sure how that’s changed today, but I guess I answered my own question about any diminishing or intensifying tendencies when I can’t talk to you.  I miss you.

I want this to be easy.  I know it’s inherently not.  I just want to let this go wherever it will, and maybe that’s bad, maybe it’s great, but I guess what I want to say is that I want it to exist.  I hope you do, too.

The last thing I wrote in that session:  I guess some things are worth holding onto while others are better left behind.  I could leave everything behind, my job, my house, even my name, but I never want to lose sight of you.

Power.

Still don't have any, and I haven't had the chance to charge my computer anywhere, so I'm posting this from my phone.  Hopefully everything returns to normal tomorrow.

Hope your Sunday went well.

Miss you.

 

Esto Perpetua.

Have you ever been to Idaho?  When I visited the state many years ago, I was just passing through, but I remember it being a rather nice place.  The parts I traveled were very scenic, and just like a lot of the larger states in our country, there didn’t seem to be very many people around.  

I was 20 at the time, and it was the first opportunity I had to take a 3,500 mile road trip around this big hunk of land.  The group I was with traveled through Idaho on our way back to Michigan after spending a few weeks in California meeting people working in the film industry.  Idaho’s views were a pretty big contrast to what I had been experiencing in Los Angeles and San Francisco only a handful of days earlier.

In every state I traveled through on that journey, I’d pick up something small to remember the state by.  At the time, I was a big fan of collecting horrible memorabilia from states.  It was my goal to find the worst keychain, mug, trucker hat, whatever, and if I every came across something like that in one of those shops, it was a no-question purchase.  I wasn’t in Idaho for very long, but my group ended up stopping at a roadside center to eat lunch, stretch, and visit a few stores. 

Unfortunately, nothing super gaudy was around for purchase at my stop in Idaho, but I was able to walk away with a coaster that had a horrible, color illustration of a river with trees and rocks everywhere.  Just a really poorly rendered forest scene.  Overlayed on the illustration was the word “IDAHO” in big chunky, white font.  The state crest was below that, and the words “Esto Perpetua” were printed below the crest, also in white.  Later I'd learn that this was the state's motto.  I had no idea what the words meant, but one of the people I was with said he thought it was probably Latin.

I ended up forgetting about that coaster and those two words for quite some time.  Years later I found it again, tucked away in an old box of memories.  I don’t remember why I ended up looking up the translation of the words on the internet, but I did.  The guy I was with years prior was right, it was Latin.

Let it be perpetual.

I remember really liking that phrase.  Thinking back to my trip, it made a lot of sense to me.  It seemed to fit.  I didn’t know much at all about the state where I picked up that coaster, but it did feel like a part of the world that just kept going.  Kept moving on like nothing ever happened.  Humans?  Sure, a few roads, a few towns.  But otherwise, it was all just big, peaceful nature.  It was indeed perpetual.  It felt like forever.

I decided this coaster had more to it than just being something dumb I picked up in a gift shop on a trip.  Plenty of things in my life had eventually shown previously hidden meaning once I looked at them with new eyes.  Why not this?  I decided I wanted to live my life perpetually.  I wanted each action to lead to another, larger action.  I wanted to let everything carry on in that manner until I simply happened upon the end, knowing that once I got there, I’d be safe saying that I lived my life just like the perpetual nature I saw in Idaho.  Always present, always moving forward, year after year.  I could say that I was me, happily.

All of that out of a coaster, right?

Well, all of this out of a crush.  Each and every action has led me to you.  Every choice.  They haven’t all been right, and not all of my actions have led to bigger or necessarily better actions.  But I’m here now, always thinking about you, willing to give you everything.  I’m still moving forward and I’m still me, happily.  I’m letting life be perpetual.  I’m letting us be perpetual.  Something big, peaceful, and...well.

I hadn't since felt the forever like I did in Idaho, all of those summers ago, until I got the chance to know you.

Doors.

A front door in Michigan.

I couldn't tell you how many times I've walked through this door.  My family moved to this house when I was twelve, and when I moved out to my own place (with its own door) seven years later, I didn’t think much of it.  Like a lot of things when I was nineteen, I took it for granted.  That door would always be there.  How could it not?

Coming back now, I see it a bit differently.

“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend”

— Aldous Huxley

A quote.  How cliché.  How deep.  Whatever.  Seeing this door tonight reminded me of my past.  How different and strange my life is now, compared to when I used to take this whole place for granted.

When I saw it tonight, I wished you could've been with me, even though it would’ve just been a simple door to you.  I was reminded, again, that I still don’t have all of the answers, and as more time goes by, the more I’m able to revisit this place, the more questions seem to pop up than answers.  Who knows, maybe answering questions isn’t the goal of all of this.  Maybe it’s simply having the questions.

I don’t question why you’re in my life.  What our relationship is.  What it means.  Why walking through different doors day after day brought me to you.  But I’m so undeniably happy that I got the chance to meet you, get to know you, and that I get to talk to you every day.  You’re humbling.  Sometimes when I think about you, it’s a little hard to breathe.

Anyway, thanks for being in my life.  I hope we can walk through a few doors together in the future.