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A Letter to My Strength in Sicily

I wrote this in my diary the first day of June of this year. Originally written in Slovak, I had translated it to English to share with someone close to me. I’ve debated if or when I should share this publicly, recently supposing now is just as good of time as any.

“A Letter to My Strength in Sicily” – June 1st, 2017

It’s an incredible love passed from an old man through me, to a young man he never knew; but he knows him still as he exists in the soul that pulses and breathes in the form of exponential generations that journey through a labyrinth too winding to bend the will.

That young man, once briefly left the side of a woman of whom he rightfully holds as more than sacred (and now all the more since within her, their joining will birth their life with the hope they will be carried beyond their years) because he loves me.

He trusts the result will be worth the torment of exposure to the harsh elements of pages turning with echoes of the voice of a mother he can never again hold; the mother who extinguished his early childhood agony with her touch and with flower petals in his water when he cleansed for every Shacharit she gave him, and painfully birthed his life from her soul so that he may have stillness and peace that could never rot from his bones.

In his bereavement, He ripped at his soul given from this buried mother for the sake of the only parent he has left. He trusts the strength wrought from generational agony would sustain him, empowering his wings affixed with waxed hope. From the core of his being he now tells me that, just for a moment, he chased a light and flew; but now he’s fallen because he feels he flew too close to the sun.icarussea

If only my voice could reach my sweet boy turned fatherly man so I can tell him that his only mistake in this is that he sees me as his likeness so much that he forgets he is himself. Roles have a way of switching themselves around amidst the clouds of confusion.

My strength, my hope, my love that exceeds my capacity of life… You are not this assumed reflection of me you have taken up on my behalf. You are much stronger than that.

This familiarity is no mythical story. I’ll rise from the sea named for me and reach you again someday, if I will be so welcomed upon your shore.

— With love, Icarus

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Posted by on November 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Beams and Talons

[an abstract piece describing my experience of recently becoming someone with low vision blindness]

This throbbing within my head is pounding; enough to the extent of which I can relate to every beam of some safe structure that has been riveted in such a fashion where so many other facets and arms of support have just been pressed and anchored upon it to uphold their own strength.

Even in the quiet still, the echoes of the drilling and the sounds akin to crepitus continue to ripple as the fibres ache from breaks and cracking under the spinning of bits and pressures of affixation. This beam is now attempting to settle calmly despite the restricted ability to adjust to the drops in temperature that surrounds it; changes of which seem arbitrary and are outside of its control.

barn-beams-2Under all this, and as are the beams of safe structures, I am somehow to remain as the bearer of immeasurable weight. As I am grateful and understanding of this cause, the sounds of joy from those who find comfort beneath my outstretched purpose are piercing as they are wound. The smiles from the surety of the resulted proper efforts are a new exchange of trust as I’m now only to believe they’re there through assumption and contextual implication.

The sight of them are beyond my scope. What lies unspoken remains unheard in ways I dread to be forced to acknowledge; a means by which exists through causes I cannot control.

The warmth they intend to give is known to me, however, it’s cold up here. It’s unsettling, yet I am to remain calm in all this lest they realise I’m now needing the anchoring of their support in ways I have not understood how to communicate down the wire. I remain steadfast, constant, unmovable; perhaps to a fault.

The distances from the sounds within this safe structure resonate with currents of energy that surge upward; enough to illuminate a vision of distraction as everything worth reaching for are, in that moment, closer than they appear. Perhaps I’m just attempting to convince myself of this closeness of distance.

owl-sleep-snowHowever, I am certain that my eyes feel as though they are where a comfortable owl’s talons have securely found his perch on what has been identified as a most sturdy beam. Unbeknownst to this owl deep into slumber, the restfulness of his posture is his alone as is the timing of when he’ll decide to take his leave.

Thus, in hesitation, the pit in my stomach is quietly preparing for a stir of which has a likelihood of growth; the uneasiness only enough to be ahead of itself so it may have sooner departure due to already being on it’s way out from a worn welcome. Yet this same stirring is restricted in such a way that I’d remain capable of exchanging such anticipation for the lightness of which can only come from a countering pleasant surprise.

I am still hopeful that surprise will be more than pleasant as such will be the sight of three perfectly arranged freckles on the nose of the most beautiful countenance created as she’s gracing me with the privilege of being the cause of her smile.

I pray mine own riveting causes not similar discomfort as she has been so kind, so selfless, as to take upon herself the weight of my beam.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2016 in Purpose

 

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Writing Solo, with Help

journalI’ve always had this sense that my writing is uninteresting or horribly composed. I’m not sure which is worse–except maybe both. So when I write, it’s more of my own journaling, internal monologues, poetry, observations, and quickly articulated musings after the moment. I also write letters to those who have passed away and pen pals living in crowded isolation. Often, I write letters I’ll never send as a form of emotional release, regardless of the type or magnitude of my feelings; experiences I’m unable to verbalise just flow into tangibility.

When I do share them with people, that too has been a consistently good experience. Those who harbour negativity will continue to do so, but sometimes they’re inflamed for some reason that I’ll never know. People who don’t know me have been kind in their commentary. Those who love and care about me give me advice or ask questions, wondering what the ‘real’ inspiration was and why. They always know there’s something more below the surface.

So, why the hesitation? There’s no lack of material. No lack of positive potential. But, when it comes to blogging or any other material for an undefined audience, I stop short of the publication line. That is, until someone else gives me a good shove, and *presto* it is done. Someone close with me would edit and format my work, which also ensured that that particular head dump would be turned into a properly published swan. Not only did she write more eloquently than I ever could, she usually knew what I was attempting to convey without needing to ask me anything.

When she passed away, I didn’t know what, if anything, I’d be doing with this blog; especially since I don’t post that often. I’ve heard a lot of blah blah about ‘she would have wanted you to continue’, ‘but you do so well anyway’, and similar yada yada, which I feel is unnecessary and inappropriate.

Bereavement is such a layered complexity. There are many concepts to consider. What part of the journey still remains? Which trails were lost in the emotional storm, and which course will take me in the right direction? These, and other questions arise with such intense concurrency that it’s impossible to differentiate between each train of thought. Ironically, the most necessary component required to even have a chance of making sense of death is time.

So, now I’m back to clearing up a point of hesitation. Making a leap is not something unknown to me. Leaps have all had their many forms. Before I was old enough to learn how to hold a pen, I moved from everything I knew into the house of two strangers I knew nothing about. Very peculiar to call this concept “adoption” since there was no real acceptance. Other leaps have been in quieter acts such as a held hand during another’s last breath, acclimating to new languages, unexpectedly packed duffel bags, a kick off of a high dive… Which leads me to believe that I can do this, too.

PS: So much love and thanks to Star Brady for helping me through this entry as well as many others who are always rooting for me. Your love and kindness is appreciated more than I could ever articulate. Thank you.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2016 in Purpose, Uncategorized

 

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Not Far From the Tree

If I were only strong enough, good enough, brave enough. If I were only as clever as you, as personable as you, as smart as you. Maybe others would notice me, love me, and accept me if I were more attractive, less shy, and not as whatever it is that makes me feel so lacking, so out of place.

These are the kind of things that echo in everyone’s mind at some point or another. The origins of this negativity comes from an infinite number of sources and can quantify to be just as impacting, just as hurtful, in more ways than could ever be counted. As much as we struggle with give and take with others, we must also reach within to give ourselves permission to take the opportunity to accept our own differences and see them as a source of growth rather than a means of disappointment, grief, and fear.

We have this urge to “compare apples to oranges”, but is there"In a Pear Tree" © 2011 Karen Mathison Schmidt really that much of a difference between us? Because at the end of the day, we’re still growing from this ever reaching source, rooted from where we stand in our strongest place. We all have our bows and breaks, knots and turns; roughness left from unforgiving storms.

Yet even still, we have in our own ways an ability to continue to capture water and light, transforming our most delicate outreach into brilliant blossoms; all for the purpose of sharing the sweetest of our fruits with those of whom take comfort in our shade.

Weathering withstood was never meant for the benefit of ourselves.

In the comfort of that shade, the differences don’t matter any more. It is all forgotten. So long as there’s fruit to be shared, there’s growth and strength, shade and comfort. And it is ever so sweet.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Purpose

 

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Remembering My Grandfather

Grandfather would help me with my school studies, namely anything to do with numbers. The lessons weren’t restricted to the kitchen table. Going from place to place, he’d have business radio tuned on the dial and explain financials and economics to me as they were broadcasted. He encouraged me to ask questions, as many as I wanted. What he couldn’t answer, we would figure out together. There was always an answer. “We just have to find it, that’s all.” First stop, the books.

He would show me his scribbles from his projects and assessments. He’d teach me how to build and repair what seemed to be anything that could possibly be built and repaired. Grandfather was always on top of things, precise and confident. “Measure twice, cut once”, he taught, was not limited to carpentry but in other aspects of life as well. “Sometimes you have to make your own measure” meant more than counting paces to estimate the length of a room or pathway.

When he wanted us to go out for dinner, with a grin on his face he’d ask me if I wanted him to take Grandmother and me to his favourite café…which was not her favourite. In her quick protest, and before I could answer, she always told him that I didn’t want us to go eat there. We’d laugh about it. Sometimes we’d go anyway. Sometimes another place, but still such a treat to be at the same table with these great minds. I’m grateful of his inclusion when I was able to take part.

Grandfather taught me a great deal about so many things in so many ways. I still learn from him every day. When I work on repairs around the house, write out arithmetic, problem solve, or balance a budget, I hear his resonating voice of instruction and encouragement.

As of yesterday, it’s been 13 years since he passed away. I miss him dearly. I don’t have many relatives who are accepting of me (almost all of the inclusive ones have died), but with him I know I have always been, and always will be, his grandchild no matter what.

And I know this to be absolute like I know that whole numbers are integers, and numbers are infinite.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2013 in On Being Adopted

 

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Misfits Mother

Just like every other day, so many people have their judgement pants on, especially concerning the young single mother who’s trying to study and manage her quiet but curious child a few tables down. This is a mother. This is a child. They are a family, and they are beautiful. Other people’s approval are not needed, yet scrutinising eyes seem to disagree.

punkSome mothers are rich, some are poor, and some are somewhere in between. Some dress in a way that seems prim and proper with styled hair that’s falls just passed their shoulders, faces accentuated by a mineral foundation and subtle touches of colour. They may have a purse or handbag that matches their outfit, traveling in groups of mothers who look similar to them. And some are dressed in a black Misfits t-shirt, cutoff shorts that expose her large tattoos on her legs with a buzz cut and no make-up. Her backpack has seen better days and it’s sitting in a nearby chair instead of friendly company.

Kids are kids. They laugh, they cry. They live. Sometimes they spill things. While this young Misfits mother is comforting her small child who is devastated that his simple delight of fruit juice has crashed beneath him, she’s also rushing to contain the liquid on the floor. Other patrons in the café are so quick to shoot glares of scorn and eye roll as if they could do better, as if their lives have been rudely interrupted by an inappropriate annoyance. Though she’s focusing a great deal on her child as well as the mess, it’s clear that she feels the stares of dissatisfaction, of disgust, peering over laptops and newspapers. She’s reminded yet again that she’s alone in this parenting endeavour, that there is a shame to be associated with not being that prim and proper woman the world would rather see.

Her books are still open on the table. Her quick glancing at them confirms they were far enough away from the reaching of the spilt drink, but then a flash of worry appears in her eyes; perhaps discouraged that her studies may be further than she could reach herself. The mess briefly left alone, she holds her child dearly, drawing comfort from this precious life as she calms him in his mourning of the lost juice. Amidst the scorn and worries, she clings to what she knows she can do well in that moment; that is, be a comforting mother. As the child quiets, stares from the unmoving patrons lessen; though their sting lingers.

Now, when I was having to live life experienced as a woman, helping someone like this mother drew little attention; as if it was expected that perceived women would help another cover the shame of being alone and an aire of “sorry I dragged you into this” is present. Yet not helping her would be just as socially acceptable. After all, she’s “made her bed” to lie in. “That’s what happens when kids have kids” kind of a thing. But now that I am rightly experienced as a man, all due to some thick serum of which I self-inject into my leg every week, a wave of mixed bag of stares intensify when I make my way to offer more crappy napkins and a gentle smile while quickly bussing the wads of dripping paper to the bin.

Most people are pleasantly surprised that a man, and a ring bearing clean cut one at that, would do such a thing; especially for a woman and a child who obviously “aren’t his”. You know, because women and children are somehow possessions. Even if I did know her, it would be socially acceptable if I didn’t help clean up the spill. “Men just don’t do things like that.” Why shouldn’t we? “She’s not your problem.” Why is she a problem?

As I am careful to show her I mean well, the young mother is greatly relieved that a stranger, who also happens to be a man, is gladly trying to make her life a little easier; even if just for the moment. “Thanks. I guess nice guys still exist,” she sighs, which says more than most would care to admit.

The stares continue, some distant whispers are exchanged. I don’t care. I’m not doing these things for the entertainment of the other patrons. I’m not dirtying my hands for recognition either. As far as I’m concerned, what would be dirty is remaining idle.no one is useless

In moments like these, we can either be dismissive and hurtful, or we can be understanding and kind. Like most choices we make in life, what we do and don’t do affect others more than ourselves. So when we are there for one another, even strangers, we validate people as people. The worries of life are still there, but when we look past what makes us different and help others feel they have worth, we make the world a little more reachable.

We are all people. We all have feelings. We all need a little help sometimes. We are a community and we are only as beautiful as we’re willing to make it.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Purpose

 

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Recognising Today

I suppose I’ll resume this blog by starting out with the same type of post as most do in their beginnings: a blog entry about future blog entries and what it all means to me, etc.

I have thought about this for a few weeks now and have decided that I’m not going to take this in any particular direction but forward. After all, the title of my blog states the intention of writing about things in my life so I’ll post about a variety of perceptions and events that are going on in my world. Some will be happy, sad, frustrating, discovering, simple, complex…such is life.

So many people have been kind and encouraging to me. Most people tell me that I should write a book, or at least have a blog or three. I don’t always find myself to be that interesting, but I am humbled by those who do. Some aspects of my life are unique, such as being a gender variant man and adopted, but most aren’t. Methinks a big part of my influential stamp on the world is how I am able to cope and see myself, and others, in a way that most would not think they would consider themselves. I hope others realise that my conversations and experiences with them intrigue me, even if they don’t think they have too much to say. I know how that feels. Maybe I should encourage them to write a blog too. 🙂

I enjoy talking with people and sharing ideas, so why not publish things to reach more people? I recently confided in a friend saying that I have written a lot in the past and journal often, but have a fear that those who have been negative, and downright hateful, would be more motivated just by my having more of an open presence.
Anne Lamott

Sure. Some would say to just not write about them, but they too have moulded how I experience things in my life so it is only fair to allow them the credit that they deserve. There have always been others who pull me through and they will always have a greater place anyway.

So today, I am going to face those fears and not be held back by the possibilities that might come from negative reactions. Today, I am recognising that by allowing to be censored is just another way to miss out on the goodness that others may have to offer. Time to make good on that.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Purpose

 

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