How I Was Designed

Sometimes it feels like I have spent my whole life trying to be someone that I am not. I'm not sure why, but I think it has to do with a few things. 

First, when you are a female and your heart is made of fire, you are not in line with how others think you should be. So, instead of learning how to harness my fire like a proper warrior does, I've tried to be air because I'm afraid of being hated. So afraid. Air women look like they're always happy and having fun and wearing makeup to the gym. Air women feel so safe and loved. I want to be one so bad! (Not really, but honestly sometimes, really.) 

Second, I have a deep fear of being alone. I fear that if I am truly who I am I will be left with no Thomas and no Braedon and no Lily. 

Third, I am afraid that in order to make money, I have to act like someone else.

So I think three things are enough for now. Here is why I am sharing. I have spent the last few weeks crying around the clock. I am not depressed. I am not hopeless. I am none of those things.

I am waking up. 

I am acknowledging how I was designed. 

I am setting those fears to the side for a second because they are not the truth. 

The way I explained it to Thomas this morning was like this. If I were a boat, it would seem obvious that I belong on water. But what if I was a boat who just really, really wished she could be a truck on a flat backcountry road instead. Just miles of smooth traveling, no waves, no storms, no unknown depths below filled with haunting scary things that can bite you. So I, a boat, spend my life dragging myself up and down this road like a ding dong, wearing myself down, making a mess, getting so. damn. angry. at the actual cars zooming by. I know it sounds so non-poetic but that's now I feel. Like for the first time in my life I'm like, "Wait a second. I need to learn how to sail the damn seas like a master captain instead of wasting my time over here trying to be something I will never be." 

Today I am offering myself grace that it took me 38 years to arrive here. I am offering myself forgiveness for the mistakes I made along the way. 

And I'm raising my sail. 




I don’t remember what the life I once dreamed of tastes like. I know it vaguely smells of pine trees and smoke and the sweaty brow of a child who played outside all day, and sounds like the song of solitude rushing through the beds of rivers and creeks. I know it feels like sunrise drenched skin and mountain top lungs. But the taste is alluding me lately. Was it honey-thick and golden on the back of my throat? Was it raspberries off the vine? Did it include the spices of a thousand worlds laid out on my tongue like a woman arching her back to the rules? If only I could pause this life of living inside someone else’s bud vase to remember, just for a second, what it felt like to be planted in my own garden of soil and secrets and sovereignty. Maybe it was gold dust hitting the roof of my mouth like a cathedral collapsing, or maybe it was a tea made from the tears under the waters that flowed beneath all the bridges I’ve burned. It’s a strange thing to wake up one morning with too much gravity, forgetting what it used to be like to sip on stars and galaxies.

This is not a sad post. I am often so confused when I share honesty and it's met with an apology. No. Please. I hold many things at the same time. I hold grace and gratitude and grief in one grip. That, to me, is the art of Motherhood. I know how to dig under the surface of things to get to the sweet potatoes, just like my Grandmother showed me with her nails manicured only in toil and soil and root. I do not want anyone's sympathy because I am privileged beyond the boundaries of what I ever thought possible.  

But I am a poet. I spin my truths on a wheel made from the spines of divine ancestors and they refuse to sit down and behave. Obedience was not in my inheritance and silence is not a language native to my tongue. 

I haven't shared many photos in awhile because winter is a season of incubation for me. I burrow myself deep in the arms of unseen daydreams and let them have their way with me. 

But this morning as I was in bed reading, I heard a voice tell me to share. I've chosen a mix of images from recent River Stories. I sat with their galleries and asked and then paid attention to how each image felt in my body. Maybe your soul was the one whispering that you need to see something below. 

I have always listened to that call. So here we are. 

When I close my eyes the soundtrack of my inner life is the tapping of typewriter keys, ocean tides smoothing over sand, and my children’s sighs after they’ve found sleep. This is in contrast to the sounds of my outer life. The city traffic, the electric buzz of digital technology, the clutter of clogged downtown gutters blocking the rains flow.

But I am not going anywhere. There is nothing here to fix. I sit in the mud and I embrace the teachings of my discomfort. And I create from that space. 

I may not know what the dreams of my youth taste like, but I know nothing goes down smoother than looking fear in the face and sharing art with the world. 

As long as I have my camera, I am free.