This Midnight Protection

You are bloodshot.

Your eyes mirror the roots of a misplaced seed.

Your sleeves are tattered, from the misuse of muscles,

That never stopped working towards some sort of vindication.

A heart uprooted; a heart attacked.

What would it feel like to look into your eyes and feel what you see?

To feel comfortable where I am; to feel oh so sturdy on my feet.

To feel that feeling for course hair;

For blemished skin;

For black eyes;

For quivering limbs;

For subtle veins;

For tired eyes.

These streets are threatening, you showed me yourself.

You showed me that smoke stirrs, like the leaves of seasons;

Like spoons in mugs;

Like muffled voices at dusk;

Like wrap-around fingers;

Like protruding wrist bones

Like sheets.

You showed me what it looks like to see a bullet shoot the eye.


For Momma

You are more scenic to me, than the grandest canyon and the vastest body of salt water on the whole earth.

The way your hair falls just above your shoulders.

Just above the back the breaks every morning, and heals every night,

With poured wine, in large doses.

More translucent than that of your veins, weeps, and robes.

You rub backs.

You are visceral to sadness.

Your war is a battle between who you are and who you are not.

Protruding thoughts of the many expressions in your head,

Settling for less than, because loneliness is simplistic,

With a side of tea and honey for one.

Lost in transformation of some sort of life that He in fact made a battleground.

Dried up blood is temporarily scarring, but your skin refuses to let go of stories.

Stories of how one left, how one went away and grew, how one died, how one left, how one grew, how one died and how they whimpered together in separate beds,

At the way the pages of your story stuck together.

The way you pray for your own weary heart, when the candles collapse.

A light sheet for sleeping is all you need, when your body sweats and shakes with fear.

Why does no one recognize that petrification is not always for attention, but rather the sickness that is mourning?

The sickness that is inevitable and is undeniable when earthquakes only seem to hit your tiny home, but then gently blow through the windows of the sleeping people.

Your clocks tick, at different seconds, because your ears only hear what they should.

The way the mirror fogs when your showers scold your skin, as if warmth was meant to cause forest fires and a nationwide evacuation of honesty.

Lucky for you, canyons could never burn to the ground and seas would never part the way they used to.

Your skin could sting and your hair could fall out and your tears could provide enough water for the victims of a drought,

But when the waves of bodies of water crash and air loses breath in cavernous canyons,

The sun shines for you,

The lone survivor.


Treat Yourself

I’m starting to realize that the hours in which I should be off in a deep sleep are the hours where I continually find my mind wandering into thoughts and places where all I want, is to be awake. Sleep begins feeling so distant and so irrelevant, even with an 8:00 AM breakfast date, a 9:15 AM exam, a full day of classes, countless interactions, participation, brain stimulation, and a grilled cheese comin’ up, for the two kids that brighten my week, if even for a few hours and dollars at a time.

If it’s one thing I have subconsciously memorized from my college studies, it’s the list of predefined instruction on how to succeed, in our faith, in the classroom, among our friends and for ourselves. It’s the many bulletin board presentations and dining hall posters, that are supposed to teach us that central to our studies, we are to hit the gym daily, drink water, never procrastinate and get a good nights sleep, or else.

Or else…what? All the last minute information we acquire, all the Netflix episodes we start after midnight, and all the distractions we tend to, will turn us into an unintelligent, unhappy, unhealthy, monster of a college student? I disagree. I personally think, bed head is an entirely worse way to start off my morning, than to yawn a few too many times from spending a few too many hours doing, well, something for myself, simply because I wanted to and because I could.

I have never considered myself an introvert. Ever. It wasn’t until my busy year took off that I realized my firm belief behind the motto, “Treat yoself!” One of my best friends often says this to me, when I often find myself nervous to throw down a couple dollars on a sugar-filled coffee drink or ugly sweater from the thrift store, just because I am taught to have a budget, stick to that budget, and wait to buy a coffee drink until I have a full-time job and finally, deserve it. But, sometimes I gave in, and sometimes I didn’t, but nonetheless her motto became my motto, and just like that I began feeling that doing a few things for myself, is not selfish at all. It’s one thing if a Grande spiced cinnamon-dolce low-fat latte with extra whip is the only thing to get you through a day, BUT I think a good amount of something for yourself is okay.

We all have our guilty pleasures at Starbucks, in the vending machines, on our secret Spotify playlists (is that just me?) and on our social media. Buying yourself something isn’t in any way the same as staying up too late for non-educational reasons, and neither of them are the key to eternal happiness and bliss, but ultimately it leads back to ourselves, in a way that I deem to be unselfish and quite honestly, vital to our sanity. I think that some form of introversion is in fact, a necessity. At least for me.

I used to feel pathetic and rude for not answering the door when people knocked or when I spent 4 hours teaching myself the basics of guitar instead of socializing at dinner. Except, now I see, that the hours I spent, (and still do often spend) alone, somewhere, doing whatever it is my mind at the time wants to focus on, are in ways, more important to me than a good night’s sleep before an exam, that quite honestly, I know I will do no better on by following the world’s guide lines for being the best student (and person) I can be. Sorry professors and the greater society…but no one else has the right to guide us down the lines (probably doodled during a boring class lecture and yes, we all do it) that we have not created for ourselves. (Need I even say, that God is obviously the exception to this statement?)

Here is my current life status: I am exhausted. It is far past midnight. I am eating a brownie in bed. I plan on binge-watching something on Netflix sometime this week and maybe browsing my insanely fashionable, comedic and ridiculous Tumblr blog feed…because stupid as it sounds, I know myself a bit more every time I allow myself to breathe, while the tea water boils and I surf the web. I am not saying that it is the healthiest of a lifestyle to eat junk food and watch TV all day, however, I say, power to the night owl’s and power to the early birds. I refuse to wait until I am thirty and thriving to enjoy life’s little pleasures, and I refuse to go to bed before midnight, most of the time. Sometimes, I surprise myself with the things I learn and the passions that grow in me, just from an article on Buzz Feed or a song I forgot I loved, or even a perfectly baked brownie in bed.

Life is so, so, joyous, and how on earth are we expected to do all of these “more” important things, when we don’t offer ourselves enough time for laughing out loud, alone, or getting inspiration through Pinterest DIY accounts? I see importance, in all of it. Yes, I studied for hours for my morning exam, and yes I will be tired in the morning because I “should” be sleeping, but life is full of treats and they are not to be wasted. I might even eat another brownie, and yes it will be in bed. Because, why not?

Treat yourself.

God knows, we all have a circumstance, a stress, or a test in the morning that will drain us, and disappoint us, and push us away from believing in our own self-worth, and it is absolutely pathetic to never give ourselves a break, because cliché as it sounds, we are only human. We are more than deserving of some well-spent time for ourselves and we are more than capable of interpreting what “well-spent” means to us.

Maybe you’re a salty snack kind of person, who prefers a 90’s sitcom, or maybe you are jealous of my brownie and prefer to write a journal entry, or maybe you really do just want to sleep. None of it is better spent than another in my book and I refuse to lose sight of just how important, life, and its many “treat yoself!” moments, are.


For Oma and Opa

I promise I will always remember them vividly, because I know about death. There was that friend I had a falling out with and those distant relatives who made me feel guilty for faking a tear. It all taught me more than I could bear, but all were at ease in my mind so fast, at times I felt inhuman. I know about death, I just don’t remember when it began feeling normal, to say goodbye. I don’t know remember when it became normal to know that the next time I would see their face would be in a casket. Weeping and surrounded by last name connections and no actual sympathy for each person in pain. I don’t know when it began feeling so normal to know about death.

But it happened; it was happening all so slow and then it happened again; and it was happening all too fast and all too far. The closest I could get to silence and a real tear, was in the office where he once sat and where she once stood. They were so in love and so relevant to the sound of the air and the feelings inside. All together, we sat and stood and worked with the hands we were given. His were tough and soft, and hers were perfect for kneading, mending, and hugging. A safe haven of a house with carpets so white, it scared us all. We breathed in beautiful dust and witnessed beautiful love and listened to the way she hummed along to beautiful notes.

After it happened the first time, I knew what it meant to hold close and to speak so intently on the subject of love. I knew what it meant to pray with my eyes shut and for us all to say “Amen”. After it happened the second time I told myself to be strong, and I was on my way. That was it. I flew to places I had never been and stayed with people I had always known, and never realized I had always loved. And together, we sang to the only God that could ever really hear us.

With little time to process, it began happening again. This time a bit was too close for comfort. Coming home was a journey I didn’t want to go about, with her much too important and much too sick, an emotionally wrecked family, and an unkempt home. I wish I listened all those times he tried to teach me that amidst a messy life, you grow, fast. Just not always in ways that you wish for. The roots that hold your family tree down intertwine just as often as they break and disintegrate, and that’s life in its realest form.

It’s as if they both knew I would come to realize so much more than that.

I realized I could spare a trip to the fridge and a tall cup of coffee just to face the facts and hold her frail hand. I realized my ability to breathe deeply alongside the woman who taught me what it meant to love dark roast in the first place. I realized that the clock could only be heard ticking when the house fell silent for a reason, and that the ticking means there was a time cap on every perfect moment, but it never was to be forgotten. I know that this house was always to be remembered. I know that the people, who cooked and cleaned and criticized my fast footsteps, were the ones who knew my life story the best. I know that they had life far past the life of my own life-givers. I know that they saw the world, far before the rest of us. And still, they chose to settle, where all was safe and sound.

I know life, and with life I know death.

But in between life and death, there is so much more that you come to know. The things that are far more visible, when seen through the windows where he once sat and she once stood. I know that my unsteady feet could stain the white carpets with coffee, and it wouldn’t matter anymore. I know that there is no right way to feel and no right words to say, but that a hug is always good. I know that when it the light pours in, it’s okay to take a photo, so you can remember the way she looked on that day. I know that an out of tune piano can still make lovely sounds and that plants deserve to live a life, as abundant as ours. I know that no text conversation could ever be more important than a nap together and that it’s okay to justify the way your hearts beat when you see their smile. I know it’s hard to admit that you’re petrified of life without them, but that it’s Christ-like to love them, more than you ever have, when they are at their weakest.

I know that love, really is God’s greatest gift.

I don’t remember when it began feeling normal to say goodbye, but I remember the first time I ever did. I remember the second time I did, and with tears in my eyes, I remember the third time I did. But, as more roots disintegrate, more songs are sung, and more “Amen’s” are said, I will continue to hear their clocks ticking and the smell of her favorite drink. I will dig my roots deeper into the soil they have so richly nourished with memories, and I will pray and say Amen…and I promise, I will always remember them.