Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stand {UP}: a Declaration of Independence

I have to.
I have to write.
I've gotta say it now before my mind remembers something else in it's place.

A constant stream of Furious thoughts in my head right now like, they're like…fireworks.
That's exactly what they're like! 
On this early morning Fourth of July, my mind is alive with thoughts like fireworks in the night sky.
They hit me with a loud BOOM {hey, listen up!!!}
I see their light, their beauty, their sparkle...

I stare up with awe and wonder as I'm trying desperately to capture them fast enough and inscribe them here before they burn out and fall to the Earth.

I'm committed to this 30-day photo challenge on instagram…so far so good, just on day 3. 
 I did pretty good a couple of years ago on the 365 picture a year challenge…I only fizzled out towards the end of the year.  30 days?  Pussshaww. Done.

I'll do it.  I can't not do it.  It's what I do.  I see the details, the light, the shadows, the irony, the hidden messages waiting to be seen, the symbiosis, the answers to prayer, the sorrow, the beauty…
I see it all, I can't shut my eyes to it, close my ears, or turn off my mind.

I have friends and family that get annoyed with it..with the constant picture taking, 
 the recording of the saying and the notes into my iphone or scratching them out onto whatever piece of paper I can get my hands on.
Blogging.  Huh? What's that? 
I've kept it to myself until now.

Why do I do it?
Well, I do these things for me & for all of us;
for now & for the point in the future when we'll want to look back because memory failed us or someone was gone but then in the words, in the lines, in the images, we find them and ourselves again.
  We find our roadmap to how we arrived at our present, find a dream that lost its wings and needs to be revived, we remind ourselves of who we used to be and who we are still.

I am the keeper of my dreams, the recorder of my memories, the chronicler of my adventures
My life is a novel, these are my chapters - it’s a storybook, a thesis, a photo spread.

I had this conversation with my dear, sweet friend last night - her and I, an ocean apart, never having "met" IRL, but finding we share the same ideas & feelings simultaneously:

I want to tune out, but I can't.  It's not who I am. 

My to do list.  I can't even show you. 
You might break out in hives or get sweaty like I do when I look at it.

I have a hard time saying no.

Despite that...I can't stop writing, I can't stop taking like a million pictures with my iphone at every turn. Literally, at.every.turn. 
I could fill an entire album of pictures with the photos I've taken with my phone in one hand
& the steering wheel in the other.

I keep saying that it's my struggle to live in this day, in this moment and just when I think I have a handle on it, BAM!, I feel kind of overwhelmed. 
but I'm not sinking, I'm not.
I'm kind of floundering some days, but I'm always afloat
 all this struggle, it is making me stronger.  
I refuse to sink. 
 I refuse.

In the midst of this ramble I had been writing, I had this: The Crazies' Manifesto {written exquisitely by Andrea Balt, she's brilliant} delivered to me by my friend and fellow blogger Lynn; someone who gets me, she knows me well, she understands my words and just said this to me today:

"One of the things I think you've managed to do (well, there are so many but speaking to this point) is become more aware of each moment as it is occurring. Living in the moment, being more present."

STOP. Stop here and read the Manifesto before you go any further. 
Call it a commandment, a requirement, a prescription. 
You have to read this, you have to listen to the song embedded in the text…you have to before you go any further. Step into it and maybe you'll understand what I'm about to say.

These words, beautiful, fluid…they were love at first sight.  It's like sunshine for my soul. 
This's a life raft, a parachute, an AED. 
Its like......nitroglycerine.
Do you know how nitroglycerine works?
Absorbed rapidly, improving blood flow, stopping the heart ache, lowering the blood pressure,
halting the oxygen-deprived destruction before it's too late. 

I read the manifesto…I couldn’t read it fast enough. 
I was reading like I had just finished a race and I was at the end, hunched over, hands on my knees, sweat pouring off my brow, my lungs sucking in oxygen, but instead of air, it was words, I was reading the words like I couldn’t get enough air, I couldn’t pull them in fast enough.
 {breathe damn it!!!}

{yes, this picture again, but guess what?  this is my blog and this is my tattoo and I love it}
These words from, The Manifeto - they just woke me up.

"And if, say you’re somewhat lonely—though not alone, somewhat sad—though not broken, and somewhat tired—though wide awake and restless, please stand up.
Take a deep breath. Clear your throat. Look your Self in the eyes. Place your hand over your beaten heart. And let’s declare our independence from the norm."

I am standing up. 
I'm standing up every time I open my eyes after I sleep. 
I'm standing up with every deliberate keystroke of my furious fingers.
I'm very much standing up every time I am down on my knees asking, begging, praying for comfort, for peace, for forgiveness, for understanding. 
I am standing up every.single.time. I tie my laces or put on my game face for my health.
Every tear, I'm standing up. 
Every deep breath and bead of sweat, be it hot yoga, a hike in the hills, or a spin around the dancefloor.
I sat in a chair on my birthday, but I was really standing up…
I had a message emblazoned on my arm for me and me alone. 
I know that I'll never stop standing up even if I need a reminder to keep breathing.
I know me.  I know that I am that woman who stands up. 
I was that girl that stood up to get where I am today.
Damn it, I am standing up like Norma Rea.

As I read, my mind said these things in response:

1. Curious…it's the definition of childhood, it's what we loose when we get "old".  I refuse.  I refuse to stop wondering. I refuse to stop wandering.  
2.  My heartache…I pray for him even with our words silent and gone -  the others I forgive too…my heart is too big, it beats too strong to shrivel up and turn black
3. I always wish on shooting stars. "Why not?" a friend used to call me that..not by my name but she referred to me as "Why not?, what shall we do today?"
4. My words, I know their worth, their comfort, their torment, their pricelesness
5. Have no regrets, even if saying "I love you" is not met with "..and I love you too"
I will not waste my heart on those who don't deserve it, but I will not be afraid to set my feelings free, to breathe life into them and let them live outside of my heart
6. yes, yes, and yes…I will be present in it all
7. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
8. I see this whole world in word and in pictures - I can create art from trash and treasures from scraps…
I was born with creativity in my veins.
9. "Your Word, it is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path." Pslam 119:105
10. I will stand behind and next to crazy, I will look back at it when it stares at me in the mirror
Why?  "Why not?!"  He did.  I saw it with my own two eyes, the start line, the finish, the in-between…
he said "I am going to run across the US"  Then he did it. 
This time last year, he was at the end of it, making his dream his reality.
11.  This is what I leave you, this is what I leave behind, my pictures, my words, my feelings in prose, the lyrics to the soundtrack that is my life

Aaahh, yes, it's crazy - but crazy makes my world go round. 
It's a mess. 
But (ah-ha! that's what it's all about), its my mess, and in the piles of clean laundry that never get in the drawers or on the hangers, in the stacks of dishes that are starting to get a little "fragrant", in the clutter that shifts side to side in my car as I turn corners racing from one event to the next, and in the constantly turning hamster wheel that is my brain, it is MY mess. 
It is MY beautifully messy mess. 

I just gave this piece of advice to my friend, moments after reading The Manifesto, my new creedo.
 Telling me that she was nervous for an art showing, so full of talent yet so full of self-doubt, I told her this:

Don't ever stop being nervous when you're sharing a part of you, what defines you, what makes your life your own...but be comfortable with nervous.
Expect nervous like it's a the one you love that still gives you butterflies everytime you see him or look into his eyes…the one who not only leaves you breathless but is the only one you can breathe easy with.
Treat it like the one that you want to write love letters to, the one whose arms you don’t want to leave, the one who your thoughts wander to throughout the day.
Be nervous to lose him, just don't wait until it's too late
and he's gone before you realize what you had.

 This is it.
This is my one {our} chance at this thing we call life. 
I believe in eternal life, but for this one on Earth, right now,
I gotta take it both hands on the wheel {and camera} and foot on the gas and goooo!!!
I will not have it any other way.

So call me crazy, but:

I. Am. Standing. Up.

Will you too? 
On this very Independence Day will you put one hand on your heart and raise the other?  
Will you Stand.UP with me?

Will you take the Unapologetic Declaration of Crazy with me?
I dare you.  I dare you to move.  I dare you to breathe.  I dare you to Stand UP.



  1. Btw... Your new ink is uh-max-ing. I want it.

  2. Welcome to the *crazies* my friend.
    Andréa Balt is the one that created the Manifesto.
    Follow us on FB. (sharon pingitore and andrea balt)
    And check our websites:
    We too, are friends across the ocean who've not met....yet.

    1. Hi Sharon! I was introduced to Andrea's writing by my friend Lynn, who coincidentally I introduced to Bikram and then she introduced me to Elephant Journal. I cannot say enough fabulous things about The Crazies' Manifesto or Andrea's writing...I read some of her other stuff just the other night. Thank you, thank you for saying hello. I have already subscribed to RebelleEpoque and I will head over and find you now.