The ‘Maybe’ Box

A trip to the dentist today, such fun!  What started as a routine check-up ended in some serious pain, numbing mouthwash, needles, and laughing gas.  While I lay in the tan, plastic-covered dentist chair sucking in as much nitrous oxide as I could without passing out, my mind began its usual wandering.  The hygienist was just over my right shoulder, no doubt sharping the array of pointy, metal, slash-y so-called “instruments” she planned on jamming into my mouth, while I thought about my childhood and how dentist visits were never so scary or full of Medieval torture devices.  I remembered the first time I ever had a serious visit to the dentist; 6th grade, after moving back to Texas from Germany.  And that’s when it hit me–an idea I had in my head after a conversation with a friend of mine suddenly started to make more sense, as I closed my eyes and went deeper into the memory, drowning out the sound of the whirring drill with vivid images.  I started to answer the question that I had been bouncing around in my head: why are some choices so hard to make, and sometimes, even the choice to make a choice?

“Do you like me? Check ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘maybe’.”  That was the note I got in 6th grade from Charlotte, in my last period class on some random Friday in Copperas Cove, Texas.  I can very clearly recall staring down at the note and not wanting to look up, knowing that her eyes were burning a hole in the top of my head, searching for an answer.  I couldn’t say yes; she was just a friend.  But I couldn’t say no; how could I hurt someone who did I like and thought was a sweet, giving person?  I picked up my pencil and carefully checked the ‘maybe’ box.  Almost the instant I did it, I felt lighter, as if a 10 ton weight had been taken off my shoulders.  I had no idea the many problems that came with that ‘maybe’, and that they would end up being a much heavier burden to bear than making a more definitive decision.

Being in relationship limbo sometimes seems like the best thing to do.  Why hurt someone that you care for, even if it’s not a romantic caring?  Why not just ride it out in that void, that strange middle-ground between lover and friend?  I mean, it’s so much easier than making an actual decision!  That’s what I told myself for years after that one moment in 6th grade, and somehow, like the over-achiever I am, I managed to apply this principle to every aspect of my life.  Whenever I needed to make a major decision, I would just check the ‘maybe’ box and put it on hold.  It seems like a great idea at first, but as all the life decisions that are on hold begin to pile up, things get overwhelming, and suddenly there are 20 giant decisions to make at the exact same time, instead of just one.

So I made a choice a few years ago; I chose to stop being stagnant in my life, to step out of the habit of choosing the ‘maybe’ box.  It wasn’t easy, and it is still a constant choice, and one that I don’t consistently make–I still find myself holding out on certain difficult decisions when it’s in my best interest to act immediately.  I can say, however, that I make the greatest effort to.  Quite often, that means me checking the ‘no’ box–no, I won’t start that Master’s program; nope, think I’ll pass on that wacky business venture proposed by my old college buddy in Florida; sorry, I’d rather not spend time with people that are a cancer in my life, good luck with that on your own!  I think the hard part is dealing with the unpopularity that sometimes goes along with those choices.  Playing the role of Mr. Onthefence is so easy, so innocuous.  It isn’t even participating in life, it’s like being a satellite orbiting the lives of all the active players.  I know that being on the line has its time and place…but I think it’s important to avoid making that the comfort zone you live in.  Am I in the minority with that thinking?

Okay, that’s my final attempt at thoughtfulness for the week.  I think now I’ll pop another handful of ibuprofen to preempt the pain that is no doubt on its way after spending two hours listening to Jimmy Buffet on the dentist office overhead speakers, praying in vain for them not to play “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.  If I hear one more steel drum…


I don’t want to forget her

three months ago

i dont want to forget her..
in my life, forgetting is too easy.. i treat each segment as past. as a memory.
i was so sure. i am so sure. i know that what i feel is real.
i know that what i had was real. she gave herself to me..
but something in her was always scared, terrified.
i dont want to forget her. i dont want to forget the moments
when she opened and we made love, through hope and fear, the visible, and the nistar.
i dont want to forget her. the soft skin beneath my fingertips, every inch, every curve, feeling her
beneath me, above me, beside me, within me, feeling her skin merge with my own til i could feel her soul
throbbing against mine.
perhaps we pushed fate, and asked to be together. our souls, pulled together by our deep-felt love and the power of will, bonded.. began to take hold of each other and join tenderly, carefully.. the beginning of an eternal union.
i know. i feel it in the ache that hurts beyond the physical. my soul aches.. the bonds have been severed, pulling our souls apart.
but i dont want to forget.
perhaps we forced fate.
but i love her.
her life force moved me.
i am already beginning to forget.
i miss her energy. her gentle touch.. her hands, resting lightly upon me. eyes that saw worlds, looking into mine.
she joined me and we rose. through fear we fell. each time, fallen from light into darkness, climbing awkwardly back into the light, searching for each other again.
i will miss her. i wanted to raise children with her, bring light into the world.
i will miss making love to her in the moments when boundaries melted..
to know love such as this is a blessing.
her smell. her breath. her love. her soul. her spirit. her darkness and her light. her eyes that took me in and enveloped me when we trusted each other.
her energy and her strength. even her deep weakness.
i know that i love her.
i know that my soul bound itself to hers. through my will. through her will. through ours.
i know that i am torn now and must heal.
i know that the ache in my heart is less than the ache in my soul.
i do not want to forget what it is to Know.
I Know.
Such is the path fate has decided
and we were not strong enough to resist.


“I see the sun’s in the east and the moon reflects..” badu

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 5:00pm

I woke up this morning exhausted but with a smile.

Time flies by so quickly that I find it hard to place myself firmly in this churning river of stories and undercurrents, pulling me every which way. I wonder sometimes about the stories that make up our sense of self.. the images in our minds that combine to give us a sense of identity, presence, and being.

…I ask “why?”

Every story takes me into a newly created reality, a new step; but then i inevitably remember that there is nothing new under the sun.. matter is neither created nor destroyed.. energy recycles itself into images, tastes, and sounds that mesh together into some sort of massive conglomerate of endless buzzing stories.

I feel them left and right.
Up and down. Multidimensional. Zooming past me..

I look into the faces of friends and strangers and it’s as if i can hear all their emotions gathered up behind them, in the air around them, talking a million miles per second in a chaotic frenzy. Even the voices that are silent weigh heavily and bludgeon a dark, powerful path.

Sometimes i awake and question everything i know with my own silent voice..
A choking pain seizes my chest, grips my body, and holds me forcefully still.

In that moment, that terrifying moment of Existence fragmenting in my mind, a deep knowing rises from my gut and spills forth into my body.. arms and legs, slowly making its way up until it reaches my eyes.

The buzzing quiets..

And I am reminded to love.

There is no reason in this world. We have to cleanse ourselves somehow in the madness.