wasting paints | wip

translating a dream state

I BEGAN LAYERING PAINT, WITHOUT THINKING.
FLOWERS BLOOMED, AND I GUESS, THAT’S JUST ME, IN TRUTH, AN OPTIMIST WHO HAS FAITH IN THE SMALL PLEASURES OF THE WORLD. I THINK I’M TRANSLATING A DREAM STATE WHERE I’VE TRIED TO IMAGINE SUMMERLAND.

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NO PREDETERMINED PALETTE OR SUBJECT
JUST UNCONSCIOUS, WITH LACK OF ANY BRIGHT IDEAS OF WHAT MY STROKES AND LAYERS WOULD BE LEADING TO. AND ISN’T THAT JUST LIKE US?

faith & déja vu: fl☞va

a large part of what you believe & defending what you are passionate about, is accepting that others will disagree with you

a feminist visits danville, va


photograph by Kyle Koppe

I left the place I called home…

 

I miss Massachusetts. I miss my family. I miss my dear friends. I even miss the people  I didn’t much care for. And why? Because they still hold a place in my memories, and helped me grow to be the resilient, confident, & imaginative person that I am.

My home has been defined by lineage dating back to the Mayflower + the 1840 potato famine in Ireland; & while I roam around in the humid air with sand between my toes, my loved ones still shovel in the winters + appreciate warmer ocean water for one month out of the entire year.  A large part of me wants to go back and stay, but I am on a mission to better understand the world, starting with the country I live in.

Now that I’ve eased you in, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Danville, Virginia. 

If I thought I experienced culture shock moving to Jacksonville, I had no idea what I’d be in for driving to Georgia, South/North Carolina, into VA.

I grew up in a liberal state, with city friends, in a suburban mindset, with not much to want for. I always dreamt of the rural, of the countryside in England. And when I went there, I felt more at home and at peace with my soul than I ever had in my entire life, with ehe exception of a recurring dream I’ve had since I was five years old.

But in just a couple of days, I’ve witnessed an entirely different pace of life; a simplicity which survives on prayers and blessings. And it isn’t to say that all people here are christian, but the ones that aren’t certainly wouldn’t dare admit it. There are enough signs quoting the bible to remind you where you are, who your company is, and what sort of respect the community demands.

In Boston, you could shout, “THE DEVIL IS MY MAKER,” and some people would laugh, some owed simply stare, and other would join you in the parade. But here, I imagine something much more like shunning would occur. I can’t rightly say. 

And even JAX has its moments where I fear my own spirituality would not be accepted. There are men holding signs on the street, offering you heaven if you accept Jesus, and hell if you don’t.

But here, those signs are on front lawns; there are children holding confederate flags before grand southern churches beside their kin, while black men and women stay away on another part of the street. I can’t imagine what they’re thinking; if they’re used to it, or if it just makes them sad. All I could think was, ‘You would never see this back home,’ and that’s when I wondered, do I consider JAX my home? Or was I thinking of Andover + the likeminded people that helped shape me to be an inclusive, open person, who wants to be confided in & experiences of others shared with.

I first found out about Jesus at the lunch table in 4th grade. I had heard his name before, but never had my parents explained much of him to me. I asked my friend about him, and she said, “He’s the son of God, our savior.” I remember nodding and smiling because I found it to be poetic.  I went home that day and asked my mom, “Do we believe in Jesus?” And my mother said, “We celebrate Christmas. We are christian.” That was the only explanation I had. I never read the bible. I still prayed every night before bed, but not because I was taught to, but because I still knew of god without being told of God. God just meant something different to me than the other kids at school, and I found that intriguing.

When I was twelve, I wanted to know more about religion. So I researched, I asked around, I was invited to different religious rites of passage, I made friends of different faiths, including atheists and agnostics. I structured the commonalities in my mind, so that I might better understand the root of it all, and what I found was love, fear, existence & the afterlife. I developed a sensitivity and passion; an automatic acceptance of sort, to all people, of all faiths. To all people, of all genders, and all beliefs.

The culture of this town has certainly transported me in time and minutes, but I find it precious and important to be able to understand the psychology of others; to fault others for what they’ve been taught, for what they’ve confided in, and the spaces that have made them feel comfortable creatively, mentally and physically.

It is so hard not to use the word ‘Ignorance.’ Because when one acts with anger to the belief system of others, one becomes ignorant. Speech can be violent, detrimental, hurtful, spiteful, and often breeds discomfort. But a large part of what you believe & defending what you are passionate about, is accepting that others will disagree with you; some might even be afraid of your thoughts for what they challenge, what they question. Do not be complacent or silent, but know when fewer words are better for your own soul, and for the audience who does not listen, but prepares to answer.

with love,

Belle

 

travel

 

apollo

this is how I imagine us

this is how I imagine you
sitting below deck beside a round window full with a wet blue sky of salt and fish
there’s a novel in your hand by someone who is not you;  light around you, but what’s inside is drowning from the doubt and Time

this is how I imagine me
a spirit in the woods weaving through old trees as ancient as my soul
there is a burrow where I hide my secrets, and a small meadow where I dance and write and sing; light above me, but my heart is forever clinging coolly to the shade

this is how I imagine us
we are near the forest and the sea, where light touches everything
there are grand windows, spools of thread, cascades of books, by us and by them
our walls are filled with what we find beautiful and harmful and true
there is a garden with old trees, butterflies, and a rocky shore
beyond is our escape, an unnamed boat that dips and turns at the dock, tied to its rope as
I am tied to your will


this is how I imagine us
a life where we have everything because we have each other
neither is left behind
feelings never overlooked
promises never left unfulfilled
a scale eternally balance
two souls forever curious and adventurous. 

 

 

kind actions and beautiful details

the beauty and ingenuity of only moments, small things, a few words

A grand scope will provide a vast look into the world around us. I notice the details, clinging to what makes life itself feel grand through the beauty and ingenuity of only moments, small things, a few words. It can be quite terrifying to see the bigger picture, and in a lot of cases it is necessary in order to better your world and the shared experience. But for our own happiness, if we hone in on what works; the small instances of sheer joy in our lives; what we find to be pleasing and interesting, we can better approach the blanket statements, the unfulfilled promises, and the state of ourselves. In kindness we discover patience and forgiveness. Be kind to yourselves and to others, for it is far easier to consider only you in the equation, rather than aiming focus to what lies outside of yourself waiting to enrich your attitude toward the fairness, or lack there of, in life. It is not to forget our problems, but to embrace the beautiful details that can propel us forward in positivity.

with her | a letter

we grow. we bloom. we are coveted & plucked.

we grow. we bloom. we are coveted & plucked.

I will not give love to those who approach me with hatred.

I want to be honest with my fellow woman. I want to be strong with you and for you. I am afraid of what you’ll say; I’m scared of what you’ll think; I’m terrified of the lies I have told; I’m angry with the world; I can’t set an example for you when I am hiding.
Who is the enemy? Men are survivors of abuse, gender stereotypes, and expectation too. I haven’t forgotten you.
I have been hurt by a woman and I have been hurt by a man. I have hurt a woman and I have hurt a man. I have hated a woman and I have hated a man. I have loved a woman and I have loved a man. I have forgiven, laughed, and cried, with both.

…This is our truth… I am afraid of a man overpowering me…I will fight, thrash, and scream until you silence me… I will walk alone in the woods at night, but never alone on a dark street…The true monsters walk among us…

“Yes, you do.”

 One bright afternoon, I felt like walking. I walked with my friend down the beach. We stared at our feet because the sun hurt our eyes. We both wear glasses.

We avoid the depths for fear of the shark, but drink carelessly in a sea of rapists who don’t know they’re raping.

We sat at the bar. The beer was cool, the corn dogs I ordered were hot and yummy, and she ordered cheese that was fried into little messy chunks. Southerners like everything fried.

We are afraid of calories making us fat, not of beauty making us targets.

The restaurant was only a few blocks from my condo. “Let’s take the sidewalk,” I said. “Sure,” she shrugged, and we talked about who we were in love with.

We care if they’ll make handsome children, but not if they raise a new generation of predators.

A man and his dog were in front of us. A bulldog, if I remember correctly. The man had gray hair, glasses, and was thinking about his life, I think.

We worry for the cost, not for the victims survivors.

We kept close to him.

We believe that someone will save us, but when the time comes our screams aren’t heard.

She walked closest to the road.

We fear being hit by a car, not that we could be followed.

I watched a young guy on a bike approach. He almost hit the curb as he skidded toward us. He halted and asked, “Can I have some cash?”

We fear appearing poor, but not being hurt for seeming rich.

New baseball cap. Bike in perfect condition. Clothes not tattered or old. No bags heavily strapped to his back because he had no place to leave them.

We take for granted emotional generosity, but leave happy dirty kisses on the cheeks of blank checks.

I don’t know you.

We ask for something, but never ask if something is needed.

“I’m so sorry, but I don’t have any cash on me,” I said. I meant it. I felt sorry. I don’t know you.

We are taught to face our demons, but are not prepared when they are tangible and threatening us.

“Yes, you do,” he sneered and rode off.

We are blamed for saying “no” and we are judged for saying “yes.”

 

I didn’t hear him; I had watched his face.

We are forever changed, but expected to behave the same.

I saw anger.

We are angry, but we are strong.

I wished in that moment that he feared me as much as I prepared to fear him.

We are lost, but we are still breathing.

 

 

 

soul of a nomad

to inspire others to prioritize exploration

Our ancestors were nomadic; never in one place for too long. Due to lack of resources, tracking herds of animals, and the innate human urge to explore, our genetics ultimately track the choices our elders made; where they came from and where they ended up.

So much of what we believe in is based on faith or sight. We can see a photograph of the Parthenon, but until we witness it for ourselves, the well-rounded sensation is lost. We can read a holy text, but until we feel that spiritual connection within ourselves, provoked by first-hand experience, we aren’t going to fully commit to God, doubt Him, or create a whole new way of life that might completely exclude divinity.

For me, God is in art, science, culture, and nature. Experience is the vehicle by which I pursue enlightenment, self-actualization, happiness and positivity. You can have an adventure in your backyard, in your home town, in the woods or mountains an hour drive away, or across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe. Wherever you go, there will be stimuli for you to either pass over or relish in: the choice is yours.

I hope to inspire others to prioritize exploration. So much of our lives are concentrated in a particular place with a certain group of people, like an adult trap intended to keep us structured, stable; living without risk. And for some, that is a very attractive way to live out their lives. In this, I say, follow your heart. If you love where you are, what you do on a daily basis, keep at it. But if the reason you don’t pick up and go is because you are afraid of the cost, consequences, or what will change in your absence, let those fears go! I promise, you’ll be better for the knowledge you’ll gain while living in the present moment.

travel

roots | the return home

it was this looming vision that I might have to say goodbye

ode to Jane

In my first post, Snowflakes to Seashells, I talked about planning. I had graduated college, left the nest, and finally realized that adulthood was full of unanticipated paths and uncharacteristic choices. I found that being in the present is the most rewarding part of the journey. I said “there is no plan,” and that “there shouldn’t be.” Well, it is in our nature, or at least mine, to plan. It gives me a sense of control over the uncontrollable. And I’ve reached yet another conclusion: our plans are only a piece of our complex collaboration with Life.

I told my boyfriend, “Let’s plan to spend Valentine’s Day in Boston.” I wanted to see all of my favorite places, taste the foods I’d been craving, see the faces of long-lost friends and family, and visit my grandmother Evelyn Jane.

Often there’s a feeling that precedes a visit to the hospital or a death. With my Grammy, it was this looming vision that I might have to say goodbye to her soon. Always a fighter, she would feel ill, and then with unimaginable resilience, she would pull through. This happened so many times, we thought her invincible. And she was. The difference this time was that she was ready to be reunited with her loving husband in the afterlife.

Just two weeks before Joey and I were scheduled to board a plane to reunite cheerfully with my family and friends, my Grammy passed on. She held on for a whole week, surrounded by her seven sons, loving grandchildren and daughter-in-laws. I didn’t make it to tell her how much I loved her, so I trusted that she knew I didn’t want her to go, but that I was happy she would find peace.

Of all the ways I expected to find my way back to my roots, to my home, this was the one I dreaded. I hoped I would make it in time, find her sitting in her chair smiling, her cheeks plump and pink, but Life and Death had a different plan. I knelt beside her, her favorite outfit on, her hair placed perfectly to frame her face, the same nail polish on her fingers you’d find her wearing in so many photographs, and her rosary wrapped around her hands. It was there I said goodbye, told her I missed her already, that I hoped her and Papa were watching in joy as their legacy joined together in mourning to send off the most selfless and strong matriarch the world has ever seen.

I wanted to be hugging her and saying, ‘hello, I love you.”  Instead, I was hugging my family members who I hadn’t seen for months, some for over a year, and saying my hello to them, cherishing their breathing, thankful that Grammy’s passing brought a new perspective and passion for family that we were all needing. I had the most wonderful week with my family: a family that was able to smile, laugh, sob, and enjoy each other, reminded of our fragility, even in profound sadness.

I hope to not lose this overwhelming sense of being present, grateful for each and every moment I have with the people I love. The week I planned was rearranged by forces stronger than myself, and in return I was given two weeks of reunions, nostalgia and clarity. Because, despite the loss of someone so dear to us, we remain. That is a gift worth celebrating.

travel