I’ve been looking over some of my past work recently. Essays, prose, poetry. I’m thinking this is the year that I finally release a book. It will most likely be a collection of poems.
Looking back, and reading what Younger Me had to say, really brings perspective to my journey. It’s interesting to see that I’ve been wanting to say the same things all along. The difference now being, they are coming from an infinitely deeper part of myself. A bigger life.
In the thirteen intervening years, my life was carved out by sadness upon sadness. It was lonely and heart-wrenching, and at times, all I could do was curl up in the pain of it all and hope for a new day. And I got it.
There is a line from a Mumford & Sons song that became my mantra for more than a decade. “Get over your hill and see what you find there with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.” It’s good to live with a heart full of grace. And I definitely wore flowers in my hair when I married the love of my life last spring.
And speaking of song lyrics, the one at the end of my post couldn’t be a more precise descriptor of my present life. This right-now moment. “ . . . Nothing is different but everything is changed”.~
I’d like to introduce you to thirty-eight year old Taya. She had some great foresight and was very brave.
Something Unstoppable Set Into Motion – 3/10/2010
I’ve started writing. I used to love writing then I married a writer and learned there was really only room for one of us. The last two blogs I’ve posted have been received well by the very small handful of people I’ve given access to them. But that’s not the point.
Sometimes I think about things I want to write about. I see things that make me feel like writing. I have ideas or am moved by beauty. The urge to write is generally the next thing to follow.
I remember when Jason released his first album and started talking about his next project. I felt so afraid for him that he wouldn’t have any more songs. That he’d run out of things to say. But then he wrote songs for another album, and another, and another. And for the next few albums, I was so relieved each time he completed one. Finally, I realized that it was what he was meant to do. The songs were his to write.
The thought of writing is exciting to me. The thought of writing for others is terrifying to me. What if I run out of things to say? What if I write something and it’s dumb?
I remember when I was in my early twenties and I wanted to read, “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I suspected I wasn’t smart enough to read, let along understand an eight-hundred-page piece of Russian literature. One day, I had the clarity to realize that it didn’t matter if I was smart enough or not. If I wanted to read it, I should just pick it up and try it out. If I wasn’t smart enough, I’d at least find out and then I could put it down and pick up something less intimidating. If I was smart enough . . . . well then, the possibilities would be endless!
Turns out, I was smart enough and Dostoyevsky has become one of my favorite authors. Add Leo Tolstoy to that list as well. “Anna Karenina”, in fact, was a book that truly changed my life. Saved me, in a way.
So, I guess, as I look back on my own story, If I’m to learn anything at all, maybe it’s that the stakes are never as high as I fear they are.
I am enjoying writing for now. It is both a relaxation and a sort of therapy for me. For this season I will write. And when I run out of things to say, I won’t write.
When the stakes are lowered, there is a freedom that comes. Freedom to try new things, to be new things. The phrase, “high stakes” is a gambling term. “Stake” being the quantity of something that is risked on the outcome of an event.
I think I get so caught up in the stakes that sometimes I lose sight of the possible outcomes. When I read Dostoyevsky, it gave me the confidence to read any book I wanted! And there were a lot of books I had been afraid to read: “Don Quixote”, “Dracula”, “The Possessed”. I risked very little to gain confidence and access to a whole world of literature that, in many ways, has come to define me.
And now I wonder what other things I’d like to try but am afraid I’m not enough for. Or take it one step further – what dreams lurk in the dark recesses of my heart, behind doors that fears and insecurities have closed? Just the thought of that possibility makes my life seem a little bit bigger. And in the end, I want to live a big life.
The amazing songwriter, wise-poet Paul Simon says this: “I want to shake every limb in the Garden of Eden, and make every lover the love of my life. Because once upon a time there was an ocean, but now it’s a mountain range, something unstoppable set into motion, nothing is different, but everything is changed.”
I realize that big lives require high stakes. If gaining access to the closed doors of my heart costs me something, and I expect that it will, it already has, then for the possible outcome of a huge, full life, I am ready to risk. Thankfully at this moment, the stakes on the table for me are only a pencil, a journal, and my laptop. Though the stakes seem low, I have a suspicion that the possibilities may be endless~
If you’re looking back, or looking forward, if you’re feeling bruised from your journey, or if you’re grateful for it, let’s be friends~