/cr\ack/s

(undated journal entry from some time between August and October 2016)

The water of the shower drenches her in sudden insight. The realization of the reason for the sudden and intense need to leave the room trickles through her hair and down her back. The idea percolates through to a place of understanding somewhere deep inside of her – a place the influence of past and unconscious is unearthed beneath the surface of conscious present. This place where the paper is filled with imprints and smudges, the floor covered it eraser shavings and splatters of white out – the remnants of constant battling.

The clay she forms remembers the places it has been touched, mended, and punctured.  Though it does so silently, only revealing these memories later, when tried by fire. Only then do the cracks appear, shedding light on the previously unseen mistakes/damage/mishandling.

She realizes in this moment that she is this clay, cracking in the kiln of marriage. And just now in the kitchen he was not her husband, but her father. And the fear that left her child self hiding in her bedroom some evenings, brought about by his anger, was suddenly cracking her surface.

/cr\ack/s

The Stranger

*knock knock knock*

I wonder who that could be… I’m not expecting anybody… Gosh, I hope it isn’t my landlord to show the place, everything is a mess right now…

I leave my dinner prep and walk to the door. I glace through the peephole and see a man I don’t recognize. Uh oh, I wonder if something is wrong downstairs or if I’m walking around too loud. I open the door about a foot and peer out.

“Hello?” I say in a friendly, yet questioning tone.

He looks slightly confused and says, “Oh, hi, I’m here to see Eric.” (I already forgot the actual name he said.)

“Uhh, sorry,” I say, as we simultaneously realize he is at the wrong door and a look of embarrassment comes over his face. “I’m not sure who Eric is.” I wish I knew who that was so I could direct him to the correct apartment… Should I suggest the one at the bottom of the stairs?

“Jesus Christ,” he mutters as he fumbles for his phone in his pocket, clearly trying find the message with the correct apartment number. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s no problem at all,” I say cheerily as I close the door and return to my cooking.

I hope he finds his friend. Man, I really should have met my neighbors and learned their names.  It’s definitely too late to do that here, but I really want to make an effort at our next apartment building.

As I stir the vegetables in the pan, my mind continues on.

Oh jeez I hope I didn’t offend him or anything by only opening the door up a foot… It was only because he was a stranger… I would have been timid opening the door for any stranger… Maybe less hesitant with a woman, but all unexpected men would make me tentative… But I hope he didn’t think it was because he was black.  I would hate to have just unintentionally played into any racial insecurities he might have.  Hmm…I wonder if me thinking that he might have been offended is considered racist? Or thinking that he might have insecurities?  Was me thinking that his friends might be the black people living in the apartment at the bottom of the stairs racist? I mean, I didn’t want to assume that, but they have a lot of visitors and most of the other people have moved out for the summer… But the fact that I didn’t suggest that he look at that apartment… was that a good thing? Or did that just mean I wasn’t being helpful? No… probably better I didn’t say anything.  He just seemed so flustered, I wish I could have helped. 

Is this a helpful internal dialogue?  To question my reasons for doing this and how they may or may not have impacted others?  Is doing this going to make me more aware and sensitive or just more likely to overthink things and make them awkward?  I genuinely want to be aware of other people’s feelings and reactions, but I am also aware I can’t control those.  I want to be sensitive without tiptoeing.  For a long time I just did my best to ignore color and race… to view everyone as the same.  But in Gardner’s class we learned that that is basically erasure, which isn’t beneficial either.  So I should recognize race and the potential for prejudice, and then… what?  Also, I know there’s a difference between racist and…what’s the other term… racial?  I need to read more about this.  Maybe the blog world could have some helpful input…

 

 

The Stranger

On Using & Being Used

The feeling of being taken advantage of is one of my biggest triggers

Feeling used and naïve

Whether it is by a friend, a company, a professor

It reminds me of how little control I actually have

Everyone has mixed intentions, I know that

And maybe it is the reminder that I, too, have mixed intentions that bothers me so much

But it almost always comes back to that question I asked my parents all those years ago

That question I have continued to ask again and again over the years:

Are we all just God’s puppets?

Am I just a pawn?

If companies can just change how things run

“I am sorry, but those are the new rules.”

The government can just adjust the hoops that have to be jumped through

“That’s just how it is.”

What power do I really have to fight?

What can I really change or control?

Because controlling my reactions to things hasn’t really seemed to help

Controlling and containing the anger and frustration and helplessness isn’t doing much

Besides making me want to tear down ‘the system’

Break down ‘the rules’

Confront the people hiding behind ‘corporate policy’ and “there is nothing I can do”

And it’s not just those situations…

Because when I really stop to think about it those employees may feel just like I do

Helpless and powerless

Unable to respond any differently because of The Man and The Rules

They’re just doing their jobs

But what about when it is the manipulation of just one person

One boy who just wants you to “come over and go swimming”

With all sorts of ulterior desires and motives hiding under his bathing suit

What about when it is one professor who “really wants you to succeed”

With dreams of tenure and awards floating around in his brain

When it is the one girl who “would love to catch up”

But really just needs money for an upcoming mission trip

 

Am I just a cynic? Seeing through all the motives

Am I being selfish? Using this as an excuse to avoid what I don’t want to do

Am I being hypocritical? Because of course I am no different

Surely I, consciously and subconsciously,

Intentionally and unintentionally,

Jumble my motives

Contaminate my acts of love and friendship

With selfishness and greed

 

So what?

What now?

 

 

 

On Using & Being Used

[the start of] a scroll

collaged.jpg

Someone whose work I admire was rather obsessed with a concept similar to this.  While I didn’t really understand it at the time… as it has marinated in the back of my brain I am intrigued by this idea… something of a scrolling narrative perfect for a scrolling generation.  In a way, it functions like the scrolls of old…just revealing one part at a time with the read portions rolled up on one end and the unread rolled on the other.

scrolling

Which may seem pretty obvious… But I think there’s still a lot to be gained from experimenting with this format.  Because an image (or text) that is viewed this way is, by necessity, viewed differently than an image whose entire frame can be seen at once (and remains unchanged). There’s process here.  There’s sequencing. There’s pace. The more I think about this, the more I am understanding one of the projects that was assigned in one of my college classes… But enough for now..

book_reading-abook_is-this-a

[the start of] a scroll