tunnels & collar bones

i want to run through every red light to get to you faster
the butterflies caged in my chest break free
when i recognize your silhouette across the dark parking lot
i want to live with my face buried in the space between your collar bones
your smile sets my gut at ease
like the ease you have with kissing the top of my forehead
with a warm, “hey babe”
& i never knew how much i craved
the velvety softness of those two words
until you say it

casually.
like how you casually play off the incredibly thoughtful things you do for me,
like loading the Harry Potter audiobooks to a playlist for me,
or leaving me “thinking of you” videos in the morning.
i want to extend each moment,
each second,
because time apart feels like that game i used to play with my brothers,
holding my breath at the entrance of a tunnel
only allowing myself to exhale once you reach the other side–

only, it’s not a game now.
& i’ve only just caught my breath with you
& don’t want to hold it a second more.
& yet.. i want to let you leave.
i want you to go conquer the world,
and be the person you tell all about it
at the end of the day.

if you didn’t ask me, “how was your circle group meeting?”
i’m quite sure
that all of this
would’ve come tumbling out

in one

breath.

type A

“is she your type?” i ask, motioning to the smokin’ hot YouTube guru i had playing on his desktop

“come here” he says, pulling me to sit on his lap at the edge of his bed

you are my type” he affirms, wrapping his arms around my waist

“no i’m not” i laugh rolling my eyes, then searching his for a visual contradiction to his words

i find none.

“you are now.” and he kisses me on the cheek

sermon

i am far from a good christian
i still feel weird about stating a religious preference
because religions get a bad rap
& their followers are the worst.

i hold the agnostic card in my back pocket when im cornered
to play neutral when questions get too tough
& prayers get too touchy feely
as I gaze at my meal with head bowed.

but once i met you
something changed
as cliche & cheesy as that sounds.
maybe it was timing
i reached a point where agnosticism wasnt giving me enough
at the end of the day

maybe you can call that His work
or atheists call it luck
but something changed
& theres a yearning
a craving
for more.
im not wholly convinced yet
but its a start.
with the questions
& the discussions
& the links to video sermons
that make me feel a little less lost.

& maybe the intent has other motives
but isnt that the covert way He makes things work sometimes?
i cant speak for anyone else’s plan but my own
so for right now,
hearing you talk
about living a righteous life
is enough.

the future freaks me out

maybe im just overly dramatic
& am exaggerating this sudden complacency on both ends
but i feel like it was too easy to come to this
& too much to sacrifice to make it work.

you’d need to grant me the moon & the stars
the unconditional love & happiness,
if i were to meet your conditions,
& sign on the dotted line.
but i dont think you will.
i dont think you’re capable of it.
its a lifestyle
its a trade.
the way i see myself living for the rest of my life… for yours.
its a life i dont see for myself.

& i know,
being pushed out of your comfort zone is supposedly a good thing,
but how much should one have to be pushed,
before its no longer even your zone at all?
its a whole other field entirely?
doesn’t too much pushing just make for a pushy partner?

i dont want kids.
at least, i dont think i do.
& i could go into the why’s, & the ways i could work around it…
but in the end, my indecision could cost us this relationship.
i didnt know i had a deadline for figuring my shit out.
at least, i didn’t know i had to work on a timeline other than my own.

valerie

you dont know this
& i may never in this lifetime get the opportunity to share this with you
which could either be my solace or my curse
but after seeing you that night,
i went home & searched for my favorite version of this song
& set it on repeat for a month [& counting]
its the soundtrack to me reciting the events of that night..
& being utterly unsuccessful in finding an answer for why im still even reciting the events of that night: except to frame the moments i captured with you
the solution undeniably always comes down to this:
i was captured by you.

i recall listening to the three girls singing this song
but really only being acutely aware of the way you would watch me curiously.
i remember asking for a hug before i left,
& the way you casually offered, “let’s hug it out” & came out from behind the bar.
you asked around if i was seeing anyone after i left,
which only piqued my interest even more to know it was mutual.

these small,
minute details
insignificant in the greater scheme of things
of things i do not know
& perhaps may never find out

but at least i have this song,
& in my head I paint a picture

hapless hiatus

& i always return to what i know,
& what knows me best.
big changes,
lil’ perspective,
& hopefully,
happier future ahead.

resolutions

resolutions & any goal shouldn’t have to give way to one another, so im hoping to find a balance in these aspects of my life. & these don’t have a deadline, just a timeline.

– mm.

unraveling

“It just didn’t seem like she wanted to share a life with him is all…

This part.  The conclusion. Lacking in so many details left out of a half-lived story, is what keeps me up at night.  that seam you keep thumbing over in your favorite jacket pocket that you wish you could just cut out but you know you run the risk of carelessly undoing the stitching. it’s a flaw. you know it’s a flaw. but you can’t part with it, because it’s a part of a bigger, greater, whole.

finances. not sharing incomes. i get it, people get funny when it comes to money. but like all other things in a relationship, you eventually learn to become comfortable with it right? like farting around one another, or confiding in one another about that one odd cousin you just wish would learn some table manners.  but if im perfectly fine keeping what’s mine as my own, and yours as yours, & not asking for loans from the bank of You, and vice versa.. and we take turns buying the groceries and splitting the electricity bill.. how is that not sharing?

the more scary, resounding truth for me, is not that the argument is about finances. but more, that two people, who are “ready” to spend their life together, can still have such disjointed views on what it means to “share a life together.”  people go through the motions, sharing what they believe, in checking off the boxes of what they are, aren’t, try to be, don’t want to be, but when it comes down to that grand scale of weighing out who’s giving, who’s taking, who’s getting enough, and who still needs more …  can someone really be in the wrong?

i have this thing about support and time. so the other stuff, the shared finances, the romantic gestures, the monetary gifts, are all minimal to me because i need someone to be my rock– sometimes when it’s not the most convenient for them.  maybe its a barter system in my head. i forgo-ed those, so let me have this. maybe its unfair. but ive never been in a relationship before, where what i gave in exchange for needing my other half in that way, wasn’t enough.. or unfair.

until this, i’ve never had to reason out why what i know to be a true way to win my heart, is important.. and why it should stay. or convince someone that i know what’s best for me, & no it doesn’t need more understanding on my part, or flexibility, when majority of the time i’m ok playing backseat to your other plans, your future, being your cheerleader to your successes & your ear to your failures (although there are few. see how much i look up to you?) i take a lot of energy, & a lot of talking myself out of my corners of defeat & off ledges of what i make out to be insurmountable fears.. but ive never been afraid of disclaiming that early on, so that anyone who doesn’t have the patience, or tolerance, can walk away risk free.

Maya Angelou once told Oprah, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” 

i feel…
like.
sometimes we stand on uneven playing fields.
& you see that we are
but i dont.
& you’re telling me to share,
play fair,
do it like you do.
& for the life of me,
i cant seem to get the coordination,
the gravity of the situation,
to get me to you.

you call me the pessimist
the eternal realist
& wish i knew how to dream
& breathe optimism into the doubt i hold so dear & near to me

but then i think of the times
when i was floating
elated
hoping for things i know seemed intangible
silly even
but would it have killed you to have believed in me then?
if not the dream,
at least in me,
the dreamer
who you claim has never been
nor ever will be.

but i swear,
every death
every departed essence of someone
had a reason
for being, & then.. not being.
sometimes its easier to forget the motive
& just deal with the results.

artist statement

comatose progress comatose

Comatose charcoal on hot press paper 24″x36″

i have a love-hate relationship with artist statements.  its right up there with resumes, & self-evaluations.  sometimes it seems making the piece was easier to create than that short statement that’s adjacent to your work.  it always feels more like a psychological test than a simple explanation of intent.  youre damned if you over simplify your objective, & youre damned if you dont at least try to convey that there was even a slight fleeting thought that motivated it.  i like to learn from the statement the medium used when installations seem effortless or on the flip-side, incomprehensibly complex.  other times, i read it to verify that what i got out of the work is what the artist intended me to get out of it… but thats the funny thing about art — once its created, it really doesnt matter what you meant to say, because people take it how they want to take it.  they appreciate it, or depreciate it as they see fit.  sometimes i think art can do without the statements entirely, and other times i wish they were more upfront.

my final college body of work was based around this internal struggle i had, about how what i make can be conceived, then perceived, any which way.  i wanted to create images that motivated the viewer to draw on prior experiences, memories, or maybe just their gut, and build a narrative around what they see.  their own biases fill in the gaps.

my work also ventured into role reversal, and playing with tensions either via body language, juxtaposition of figures, or the building up of pigment on the paper.

i suppose what i just wrote could function as an artist statement, and it actually may be a lot better than the ones i submitted for grades along with my art, because its candid.  either way, purging/sharing my struggles and successes will help me in the long run.

– mm.