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What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open. - Muriel Rukseyer
I picked my scabs as a kid. It drove my dad nuts, but I'd sit there intently, sliding my nail beneath the caked layer of dried blood. My new skin was growing underneath, and I was eager to examine the virgin flesh. A scab is a badge of honor - no doubt a hearty adventure left this mark, yet this active child would calm herself to a near immobile state while trying to loose the protective cover. I was entranced by the idea that my wounds were being healed on their own, but too impatient to let them do it on their own time. Sometimes I'd be too aggressive in my fidgeting, and a bright dot of my life blood would appear with the tiniest sting.
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I was eight when I learned to fear.

Eight, when I scrambled onto the seat of the World's Largest Indoor Triple Loop Roller Coaster with my brother. Eight, when he told me to "quick, grab a deep breath" and I only had enough time to open my mouth to ask why before we plunged towards the earth.

Eight, when my girl scout troop leader had to gather us children together and explain that there would be a time when our bodies would start to shed blood monthly, letting us know we were ready to start having children of our own. [Well, physically ready..]

I was eight when I learned that anticipation and preparedness really do nothing to quell fear.

I hate roller coasters - except Space Mountain. You know the one, where you're going backwards in the dark. I don't mind the thrill of the ride - as long as I don't know it's coming. If you don't know it's coming, you CAN'T prepare, so you can't be unprepared.

The best laid plans are over-architected and account for the worst of all possible scenarios. Plans signal anticipation and preparedness and an expectation of a positive outcome. Plans require foresight, intuition and an ability to recognize a situation to put the plan(s) in place.

Or what?

Was I eight when my conviction of a monster beneath my bed was replaced by a frantic fear of the unknown?

How old was I when I started to write?

The words on this page aren't plans per se - they say nothing of the future. They're a map of the present and the past, albeit one with overlapping routes and repeating landmarks. But they're something I turn to indulgently, as though through lines and shapes I can somehow be prepared for what's to come. Ha! Perhaps if they were printed, I could use the paper as an umbrella in inclement weather. Apart from that, they serve only to distance me from what truly is.

The fear of the unknown used to drive me to seek out information, but I am slowly coming to recognize intellectually how I started to act so many years ago. A moment will pass in but a moment, so there is no need to freeze it in anticipatory fear. Information is a flimsier shield than inner conviction and strength and faith. I don't "need to know" what may or may not transpire, as I start to live a thousand imaginary lives and forsake the one I'm in.
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Well Merry Christmas to you too!

I was anxious about the party - we haven't spoken much, but I saw you were RSVPing with a guest. Many of my friends weren't coming, and I was dreading being there with you and him (I assume it's a him). But I made the best of it, and applied the energy I'd generally spend being anxious about a social event shopping. New dress, boots, hair and makeup. I was actually looking FORWARD to the party!

I showed up feeling confident and great. I smiled and socialized and had a good time. Then you showed up, and it felt ok. I noticed you made your way around the room in the opposite direction, but it barely seemed like he was with you. Was I noticing too much?

Eventually you approached me and that easy teasing way we communicate was there. It's been a long time since we did anything beyond run together in a group, but there wasn't any sort of space in which we assessed how to be. I wanted to know how things went with your ex, because I'd be so happy if you'd found happiness with another girl. Honestly, I would. You told me it hadn't gone well, but you knew what you wanted, and it wasn't guys. Was it then you first slipped your arm around me and kissed my cheek? Wine makes for good stories, but it's hard to retell them later. The details are murky, as if you're still looking through that glass of opaque liquid.

The tiniest bit of attention you showed me spurred me on. This wasn't the stressful party I'd been anticipating. Sure, you were drunk but maybe I didn't care. I was getting attention. At one point (as I was talking to YOUR date), you motioned for me to come sit with you (actually, wasn't it an invite to come jump on you or crawl on you? How did that even come up???). I told you you had to make the move, so you did. You sat on my lap and leaned in for all to see. Maybe just because you were drunk and being silly, but I liked it. Later when everyone was outside you took me by the hand to come inside - turning to kiss me in the midst of our friends. Someone (even then I didn't recognize the voice) noticed and commented. We went inside and kissed and you asked me for another chance. I wasn't so drunk enough to really think that was a good idea, and I DO recall now that even in your "explanation" of what had happened, there's a detail that still doesn't fit. You lie, my dear. That's one thing I know about you.

Still later we continued to be goofy girls, arguing over who was taller (and encouraging the whole party to determine) and then we had a pushup contest that I TOTALLY won. We were two peas in a pod, my favorite part of being with a woman.

At one point I saw your date try to hold your hand, and you stopped him. Still later he did kiss you in the kitchen - yes, I saw - but I almost laughed because it was so not the kiss you and I had shared.

Then it was time to go - you with your ride, I with mine. I wanted to see more of you, but as soon as the door shut at the party, so too did our communication. No more texts - as it has been for weeks.

I woke up today thinking of you - even as I know I shouldn't. I can't. I have to revel in the fact I had a fun party and felt attractive and desired, but that doesn't have to lead to anything more. It shouldn't, and it won't.

I thought it was funny today that our mutual friends told me that a new guy ran with y'all this morning and you two got along well and made plans. And that he was attractive and really nice. I still don't know if they know about us - whatever US is or has been. Was it a random coincidence, or are they trying to help protect my heart without disparaging you? I do adore that the universe once again puts up a huge sign directly in front of my eyes that you are not someone worthy of my heart and time and attention. or curiosity. Definitely not that.

That's probably the biggest one, really. I'm curious about motivation, and you are a total enigma. But I am pretty sure I can't figure you out. And I really need to learn to be okay with that.

But, I do thank you for the gift of attention and attraction. I didn't even need to bust out the mistletoe.
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If you look closely, the road is slightly more cambered to the left. It's not due to natural topography or how the road was laid. No, it's generations of runners leaving their mark. More than sweat remains long after the athletes have moved on. The road remembers.

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There is such joy in writing! I was just writing to a friend and found myself likening the two approached to innovation as a way to look at life. Evolutionary vs disruptive. I never thought of it that way before - or perhaps I have, but simply never attached the words to it.

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There are two kinds of innovation - evolutionary: the incremental improvements to something, or disruptive: the introduction of something completely novel. I feel like you're fixated on disruptive innovation: throw everything away and start anew. I'll admit its exciting to think of a brand new start. Yet what if you look at the fact you already have a pretty decent product and you just want to tweak some things and further evolve it?
Hmmm.. I'm not sure if this IS a good analogy since I think disruptive innovation IS more exciting, and rewarding if you nail it. It can just be risky in that you may end up cannibalizing your existing product and alienating your user base. [leaving the old you behind to run off to a mostly isolated country and live on the beach].
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Words have power. They carry with them motivation, intent, impact and excuse, all wrapped together in a lyrical bow. A stick leaves a welt, certainly, but a word doesn't just graze the surface. It invades, flowing through your corpus. Skin sloughs off and is replaced. Where do your insides go?

Language has long fascinated me, from age 3 when I asked my mother for "agua" and she didn't understand. Words hide concepts and build walls. Walls keep strangers out, and bring communities together. But sometimes walls hide away princesses. The Buddha gained nothing from being sheltered from the tragedies of life. If walls are just artificial constructs to help up make sense of the world, to what extent are we creating a myopic view?

Why do I love words? They help me spin out what's inside, weave a silken string of thought from the depths of my being. But the words are not my own, they belong to every man who has allowed an utterance escape. How vulnerable am I, not truly in sharing my feelings but allowing someone to understand them as he sees fit? My feelings are secret and sacred, behind the walls, not OF the walls. Yet I decorate them cheerily, as though they will be received as special gifts I have brought forth. I should know that they will not be cherished so much once I have presented them, but at that point it is beyond my control. I can only offer them.
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I told myself I wanted to keep writing; I liked this sense of being able to tap into that place within, where I can pull feeling out by chaining together individual characters.

Not those characters, not those individuals who touch and change me. The smaller ones, though no less insignificant. The characters that align in meaningful ways to form meaning. Letters. Words.

My paper journal has been in my bag for weeks, but I haven't picked up a pen. Tonight I recounted the story with the writer and here I am. As I told the story the feelings of that night welled up inside, and from that emotion comes the motion of fingers on keyboard.

I know I have a distinct way of writing; it's always recounting the current moment and I never quite find out what is behind that door I'm reaching for. Never see beyond what the mirror reflects. I can only use words to describe what I DON'T know, its never a vehicle to share what I hope to find.

Can that change? If this feeling is what's within, can I find the words to capture what I deep down hope to uncover?
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The matador taunts the beast, waving the red cape before him. The bull angers and charges, to the thrill of the spectators. Oh! it is such fun to watch the fury of another!

The waving flag disorients me, and I feel my stomach rise and fall with its movement. But there is more; it's not simply disorienting. Unlike the bull, reacting solely with his animal instinct, I am infuriated on another level.

We learn as children to avoid red flags, just as we learn to avoid hot stoves. Some children can be warned for their safety; others among us must learn only through our own experience. All too quickly our finger is blistered, a visible sign of the new information burned in our brain.

Things will burn you and leave permanent marks. Red flags are a warning.

Frustration goads us all into action, and I charge. But the cape is not pulled away as I expect [I never anticipated catching the cape, I was simply compelled to do SOMETHING]. Rather, I find myself enveloped in it. I feel a sense of comfort as the motion stops and I can try to regain my bearings. But in that split second, I feel it constricting around me. My limbs are enveloped in this shroud and my mobility is restricted. My pause is but a moment, but it is enough. I am caught up, and I can only hope to rewrite the story that this was always my intent.

I charged, did I not? What else could I have hoped for?

My limbs now completely immobile, my only choice is to retreat inside myself.

The poor colorblind bull continues to charge. Aha, but the highly perceptive soul finds herself trapped in the cage of her mind.
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I've always been inquisitive, love putting the pieces together and figuring things out. But sometimes, its just not worth asking or wondering why. 'Why' can turn your life upside down, drive a wedge between what you thought you knew and what you know you don't. That tiniest of spaces is enough; enough to let the insiduous current through, until you're drowning in unknowns. Nothing to hold onto, and all for one short question. Better to be dry and safe and naive?
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I have to go to Maine. The women from Maine are fierce and tragic. Is it the cold that causes them to withdraw, their piercing eyes soaking in the world outside until they can recreate it through their words? To capture and contain those they hold dear through a manufactured, restricted, oozing, visceral world?

I see Maine as a vast space of uneasy solitude. Figures pass as bit parts in each others' dreams. A landscape of thousands of individual reels, all going at once. Only on rare instances, at just the right moment, do the stories intersect.

But sometimes those women from Maine extract themselves from the web they have woven in that rugged isolation, and migrate. The scars of hardfought inner battles still visible on their skin, tatters of their previous lives trail behind them. I'm entranced by these women.
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