Blog, My Thoughts on You, Uncategorized

Precautionary Landing

“We are about to make a precautionary landing. Pull out your emergency brochures and make sure you are familiar with our procedures. Tighten your seat belts, make sure your tray tables are locked and all of your luggage is stowed. Also, make sure there is nothing sharp out that could stab you. When we land, you’ll need to grab your legs and tuck your head between them. Let us know if you are unable to do this. You will need to leave everything behind, and when we say “Get up,” quickly head towards the nearest exit. Please take a look to make sure you know where that is. You will fold your arms over your chest when you jump down the slide and step away from the aircraft.”


Some people laughed a little, and not seemingly uncomfortable, perhaps more in disbelief. One woman was angry that we were going to try to land in fog. But this wasn’t about fog. There was a problem.

I was alone. No one sitting next to me. I looked around to make eye contact with the people around me, but they didn’t look back. I was sweating and my stomach felt that tight sensation you get when you are really late to something really important. I closed my eyes to pray — nothing. My thoughts were blank. So I looked around me at my stuff.  A purse full of shit — and grabbed my iPhone, tucked it in my pocket and made sure it would stay, and then I took inventory. I had my computer and some dumb clothes, my wallet – should I grab the credit cards? No I have my ID, that’s all I’ll need. My phone and my ID. How are my clothes, will I be able to maneuver? Will that protect me? My clothes are OK. My shoes – flip flops. I don’t have anything else, it’ll have to do. When I jump down the slide, I’ll take them off so I don’t lose them.

I’m so glad my laptop with all of my writing in it isn’t with me. Does anyone know that I’m even on this plane? I think work knows. The plane started to descend and we put our hands in front of our faces, on the seat back in front of us. Dead silence and calm. And we closed our eyes and held our breath. And we touched down with ease and taxied into the gate, where not until the doors open did people start to clap or move.

Not once did I think about not being ready to die. At that moment, it really wasn’t up to me, or anyone else for that matter. Total random chance – chaos and collision. It didn’t matter what my thoughts and prayers were, or who would miss me or what I had left undone. But it did feel good to know that if it had happened, no one would cease to exist simply because I did. Nothing was depending on my survival. I mean, sure, people would be effected, but nobody needed me. But everyone on that plane needed the pilot.

It didn’t even occur to me until now. I didn’t even say thank you.

The good news is, when being tested at a moment at the end of all moments I was calm and logical and thinking about survival. I always wondered what I’d be at the end of days: a zombie or a zombie killer. Human instinct at the edge of all inhibitions must be shear survival. I took inventory of what was around me, the people. I looked around for who was going to be my survival buddy. A girl about my age one seat up and to the left.

I looked at who was going to slow me down. An elderly woman, to my left, two seats in. I could get out before she did.

I took stock of the items I had. A phone. I put it away. And then I took it back out. No babies around. I’d need my ID in case they need to identify my body.

It wasn’t even that I didn’t know what to expect with the landing. They told us exactly what to expect. A crash. So when we actually landed and it was smooth, the surprise wasn’t in the lack of turbulence, it was in being alive 5 minutes past the time you expected.

I never once thought, I should have written that book. I’m not ready. I have so much more to do. Because what was left undone wasn’t up to me. All that was up to me was what I had done before then – that random moment of no control – and it had been good. It didn’t even matter if I had been good. But that it had been good to me.

Blog, My Thoughts on You

Can’t stay like this forever, kid.

Gradually the distance between your person and your childhood grows apart. You start thinking about what your parents think less. You’re beliefs start to mold to your situation more. The time you find for church is really based on your own time. The time you find for anything – is based on your own time. And your money is your own, the responsibility of your wealth becomes your own.

While we, some of us, maintain the knowledge that if it all fell through you could always go home to mommy, you don’t. Because you psychologically can’t anymore. You’re self worth depends on coming out of hardships on your own dime. Or you do, and you revert back to a childlike state indefinitely, until you can once again muster up the courage to leave home and break the inertia.  Inertia you never had to break to begin with because it was just written. You went away to college because that’s what you do. Or because that’s what you did.

But as time passes, and your bad decisions become your own burden, childhood’s distant memory either becomes a source of inspiration or it becomes a truly distant memory that you only revisit in a dream-like state or when you are around others that remind you.

Things that remind you of childhood like your dog, your house, your friends, your pictures or t-shirts, trophies, notes, letters. But even then, all that stuff is not really representative of what you were like as a kid.

All at once, childhood seems to disintegrate with time. Sometimes this decomposition happens due to your own changing perception or mentally you block out memories. Or it happens because you change. It can’t stay like this forever. But in your 20s, all you know is what it was. And it’s hard to imagine being any older than you already are now. Like in your 40s or your parents age.


I feel like your entire being relies on what memories you choose to hold on to from your past. Which of those matter now and which won’t ever matter again.

Interestingly for me, the ones I thought would be the most significant memories never have affected my being and the most minimal have become stories I remember and repeat to anyone of value.

When my parents decided to sell the house I grew up in, I had to return home to decipher which of my childhood’s most precious belongings got to continue along in my adulthood. I had to go through and pick out the memories I thought were the most significant and throw the rest away. Maybe not throw, but certainly dispose of the physical evidence. And then what happens, when the evidence disintegrates with time? Do you ever find subtle reminders of times of yore? Or does that memory truly die with that Friday’s trash pickup?

Because certain things that live in my time-capsule room of my childhood are only subtle reminders of my most innocent and favorable memories. But there is no room for them in my adult life, in my small adult apartment on Little Raven Street.

There’s no room in my dresser drawers for my first pair of soccer shorts – Umbros — that were slightly too short, which I wore on my first soccer team that was made up of all boys. One of the boys saw my underwear one day and from then on I was dubbed “Claire bear star underwear”.

There’s no room in my current life for endless t-shirts of soccer, basketball, softball team jersey’s from high school.  Or decorated socks from home games and shrines to Scott Bradley from 7th grade.

There’s nowhere to put my endless amounts of trophies from swim team at Westwood Country Club in Vienna, Virginia. Or a place for Kevin Chakin’s photo I kept from swim team pictures circa 1996. Or what about the little sheets of pink paper that told you where you were in line in swim team for the races. For good luck, we would tear off a corner and put it in our suits for the race. To those races I won, I still have those pink corners.

I’m not sure where I’m going to put those beanie babies that Scott gave me, or the endless amounts of dried flowers I kept from my endless amounts of boyfriends. Prom, homecoming, Valentines Day, birthdays, Christmas. It didn’t matter – I always had a guy at every holiday corner. It was my thing. And each one was special. So special that I kept every single rose I was ever given.

I was never given a rose Brian Fischer though. His memory will forever be burned in the pages of my leather diary aging from 6th-9th grade.

And what about my diaries. My books. My notes. Everything I’ve ever written. My pen never turned to gold. And those wistful wishes of becoming a coveted writer, where my childhood brilliance would be forever archived in a museum – those wishes are but distant memories now. So who will ever want to read that stuff now? My children? My grandchildren? What if I die before I ever even have kids? Then all the stuff will sit in a trunk that doesn’t exist, like some sad old ladies memories that turned out to never be important to anyone else buy her.

But if you throw them away, they are gone to the wind.

Does our stuff make us who we are? If my house burned down and I never had the luxury of deciphering the worth of my valuables, would I be a different human? Would my memories completely fade with time and only date back 5-10 years? Would I still have dreams of frolicking in the field with Sean Settle as kids, making up stories about hunting mad-men that would snatch you if you went past the line of the meadows?

If I died and my house burned down, would my soul then disintegrate with the ashes?

I always felt as a kid that my only value was in the pages of my journals. My journals that I declared independence, faith, values, morals – all of which I never kept once faced with actually having to choose my alignment. My journals declaring my deep passionate love for whoever, or my deep gushing sadness about whatever. If a fire were to come and take back my belongings – take them all, I’d say: But spare my journals which I never cared quite enough about to actually place in a safe or fire proof box – though the thought had crossed my mind on more than one occasion.

But there is no fire. Only change. My parents moving on with their lives. Molly, my childhood dog passing away because she didn’t have the energy to move on to a new set of memories. Change of beginning the adult portion of my being, where success and time are only defined by what I physically make of them and never more. Change affecting all portions of my being, and already displacing portions of my physicality.

So what, with change. It’s the purging of your soul. Catharsis from your used to be. Distance between your reality and your unrealized plans. Change is where you get to silo off that which made you who you are and that which almost did.

Blog, My Thoughts on You

Cynicism and the Sadness Shield

To discard emotion from my life would be an interesting task. I’ve realized that with time, you have to disconnect from certain things or else you’ll explode. My mom feels so much for other people, I wonder where all that space in her heart comes from. Not to say that I don’t feel or sympathize, but I have a hard time connecting with pain. It’s exhausting. I often disconnected with my own pain and feel very little on the side of sadness.

I think a lot of that is inspired by the people in my life. Most of them are either highly in tune with suffering, and the other half are completely separated from it. But me, I can feel so self absorbed that it’s hard to even talk to sad people. I avoid them almost, like their sadness will rub off on me. And then I get mad at them for being that way, treading in dark murky water that has no right to interrupt my sunshine.

It’s the same anger I feel for people who take their own lives versus good people whose lives get taken from them. I guess it would be trite to say, but it’s completely unfair.  The only reasoning I’ve ever heard anyone say is they had to die so I could learn XYZ. We try so hard to rationalize everything sad in our lives because we would go insane if we didn’t have a reason for everything. And thus a perpetual cycle of sadness continues. There’s no reason for it, which is enormously depressing, and those that can no longer rationalize became sadness zombies.

So there’s me. I can’t deal with sadness, so I don’t. But I’d be lying to you if I said that I don’t feel skepticism and pessimism, cynical, untrusting, dark thoughts all the time. I don’t have sunshine shooting out of my ass. In fact, I’ve been told that I’m a dark human that people would be scared to see what the inside of me looked like. On the outside, if you ever met me, I don’t come off this way. I think my outer appearance is actually starting to win because the darkness is turning to grey – into dismissive disconnection with sadness.

Also, sadness is boring. Have you ever noticed that? If you sit and listen to someone cry, do you not feel completely restless? Like when is this going to be over and how can I make this person laugh again? I can’t take it! I mean seriously, don’t lie to me. If you are completely honest with yourself, you know you feel that way. Being a shoulder to cry on is exhausting, it’s boring, it doesn’t have to do with you, and you can hardly wait for your turn to talk.

We are all assholes. Okay, there are some people who aren’t assholes. I don’t think my sister is an asshole. I think she genuinely cares when people are sad and crying and I don’t think that she feels like leaving when they do so. I think that she actually feeds off of it. A sadness eater. She loves it because it makes her feel useful. But to my point, it’s all a selfish pursuit.

I just think about time. All we really share together is time. Everything functions around it and lack of it, everyone’s fears all stem from the same place, a perpetual lapse in something completely out of our control. You cannot control the passing of the days and their continual movement towards the end of something, the day, week, month, sun. We are all moving forward, but at the same time, we are all expiring. So this is a large burden to bear for a race that feels things like guilt, need, hopes, and rationale. It’s huge, because you cannot break the cycle, you cannot stop it, you have no choice but to move with it.

In religion, devising a barrier between reality and the continuation of time can only get you so far. It can perhaps make you fear it less or accept its absence by belief in the after-time. But mostly it gives you comfort that we are all running out of the same thing.

I always wonder how anyone can be so frivolous with his or her time. There is no amount of rationalizing that can slow it down or make it stop.  And because of that life provides the same conundrum. And that’s what sadness is – what it is, and tragedy and death, and fear and regret. It’s all there for you to make with it what you will. So I have a hard time understanding what people decide to make of it.

Is cynicism my sadness shield? Hating time wasters? I don’t know how else to feel about them. Bad people are time wasters, people who know there is something better and choose not to achieve it. People who understand how to get from A to B and choose F instead. You’re brain is strong and smart and able. It has the ability to rationalize and to believe, it also has the ability to choose. To choose how you spend your valuable, limited time.