here is my mind, my whole mind right now: love is the worst thing i've ever met.
right now, i could choose to pull a switch from the heavens of my head and turn that grey cloud into white. rather than poke the bruises that love seems to eternally intend to cover me with, i could choose to instead recall the innumerable ways in which love manifests, the bits and pieces of brilliance it brings to life.
i could remember when my mom took me to the mall in 7th grade and bought me an outfit from the "fancy" store, the limited. an entire outfit. this was big. the love in it wasn't about the purchase, of course, but about the effort mom made and the time we spent together. my outfit had a t-shirt, maybe purple? a silky, multicolored vest, and pleated, linen pants the color of the kroger-brand dijon in my fridge. afterward we went to the cookie company, the one that had a case full of supersized birthday cookies loaded with white and chocolate icing. i coveted them but never had one because my cakes were made by the cat-collecting baker up the street from our house. i wonder how many cat hairs i ate over all my years of childhood birthdays. while in line, mom told me i should wear flat shoes with my pants because "that's how they're wearing it." i asked her who "they" were, knowing exactly what she had meant yet unable to resist the recalcitrance urging my lips to assert that "they" would not dictate anything i did. my mom, as far back as i remember, has never been one to turn away a blunt word or two when the occasion comes knocking, but she was more careful toward me and therefore refrained from calling me the little shit that i was. nowadays, no longer. she's become her mother—my short, round, crinkly grandma, who birthed 17 children and had no time for beating around a bush.
right now, i could choose to look at love right in front of me. in a thrift store in memphis, i found a bulletin board in a wooden picture frame; someone had drawn a choo-choo-type train on it with a sharpie. it sits on the back of my desk, resting against the wall. tacked to it are are a few of the many love notes my parents sent me from 2006-2011 and an airline luggage sticker with a handwritten note from my soul-sister friend erin who came to see me in 2009. i could go into my laptop photo files and recall the best moments of her visit, among them a pool party where we drank bud light from cans and failed at hula hooping. my favorite is a close-up of erin after she crashed into a bush, wearing a bathing suit, a hula hoop, and a smile.
i could walk to my tv stand and flip through the photo album from my baby shower, an unexpected gift from a cousin whose extensions of helpfulness during my pregnancy belied the fact that we hadn't seen each other much since childhood even though we had gone to high school together. my "you're wearing all black to your baby shower?" baby shower. my cowboy boots were not black but an orange-y tan, and my necklace had bright orange beads. as the facts of my life tend to do, these did not sway my mother's wry disillusionment. all is as it should be.
love in memory—i can make that as pretty a picture as i want. love in the present, i cannot. this week, love has not made me smile. has not given me hope. this week, i have felt bewildered by love. i choose not to elaborate, because five seconds ago i realized that if i did indulge the thought, i'd be staying in a moment too long. all moments aren't created equal, you know. there are ugly moments as well as beautiful ones. feel it all. know when to get out. for if i stay in a moment too long, it ceases to be a moment and begins to be the past.
right now, here is my whole mind: stop blogging and start working. get that web-writing project done and get a paycheck so you can get more projects and more paychecks. maybe you'll make enough money to take your son to the beach this summer after all. maybe you'll make enough to buy that mountain bike with the kiddie cart that rolls behind it. maybe you'll start a music festival for kids. maybe this is the beginning of everything you've wanted.
this is a beginning.