Sunday, February 15, 2009
Trust me when I say that this blog entry will not be coherent. It will have no beginning, middle, or end. It is just thoughts, stories, or better said, moments. Every day I try to live a life based on moments, connections, and people, but every day I equally struggle with certain aspects of life.
In November 2001, I wrote my last journal to Buzz Alexander, english professor at the University of Michigan. He is someone who opened my eyes to life, to creativity, to change. It was through his classes and passion for social change that I started facilitating art workshops in high schools, detention centers, and prisons. The people I met in the workshops changed how I saw and continue to see the world. I can still hear the laughter from when I broke out the roger rabbit or tried to rap. There were difficult moments too. I heard stories that broke my heart. I cried, a lot. I got angry about the world, a lot. On November 8th, I wrote: I just wish we could be compassionate, to be with what is, to love ourselves, each other, and the world. Is this to much to ask?
My story actually begins in Traverse City, Michigan where I grew up with brown shoulder length hair and bangs. I was pushing my bike up the long, twisting driveway beaming from ear to ear. The training wheels had been removed and I was ready to ride. My feet were sockless and sweaty in my sneakers as I peddled around my neighbors circular driveway. As blisters began forming while my strawberry shortcake laces began flopping around, I started heading down the driveway. I was speeding down the hill frantic to find my breaks. As I nearly took out my dad and the garage door, he grabbed the handlebars. I fell gently on the pavement. To this day my dad loves telling this story about my persistence. Every day for weeks I asked to get those training wheels off my bike, he finally gave in. My dad always had a way of saving me. When I fell he was there to rinse off my cut up knees.
I've learned to fall. I've learned to be patient. Take swimming for instance. Two years ago, I signed up for a class at Laney College. Some background knowledge, I learned to swim in a lake with sand holes that would sink kids my size up to their waist and there were snapping turtles too. In the 90 degree heat, I would doggie paddle around the lake or just keep hold of the dock hoping that I could get out soon. Even without sink holes and snapping turtles, I think I almost died my first class with Marcia Benjamin. Chlorine tickled my throat and breathing sucked. It definitely did not look pretty. Within two laps, I was climbing out of the pool when Marcia yelled at me to get back in. Been in the water for the last two years not saying it looks any prettier, but I feel more comfortable. I can breathe. Running was similar. Sixth grade track coach thought I was a distance runner. I made it 100 meters and nearly passed out. Thanks to my legs, lungs, mind, and heart, I am making it a bit further than 100 meters these days.
As I said, nothing with any particular order, just moments.