An Ode To A Writer

Maya Angelou was not just a great thinker or writer, she was a doer. Active in both imagination and equality, she embodied the essence of social change. Her words leave us inspired and reflective. Maya was the first poet I ever truly enjoyed reading and not just because Oprah told me to.

 This afternoon, I discovered she had died when I read the headline under some story about the Kim and Kanye wedding. At first, I was irritated and insulted, and part of me remains bewildered, but such a travesty is now the essence of our culture.

 I could ruminate more on the time and effort we put into caring about celebrity lives- and believe me I am guilty of such behavior myself- but the significance of celebrating such a life lived deserves more than just a casual throwaway mention.

 In some ways, what inspires this post is an effort to provide Maya with a more dignified response to her death. I am not a poet, and a lot of what is on this blog is not serious. But I want to try to let my sorrow and appreciation for one of this country’s finest writers shine.

 When I was in high school, I participated in a poem reading where students were asked to read their favorite poem and explain why. My choice was Maya’s “Touched By An Angel,” dedicated to my Nana. My interest may have originally been sparked by the matching title to the TV show my Nana and I used to watch, but the words spoke a deeper connection of what it means to love and to lose.

 Within the poem, Maya tells us to be brave, to break free of the loneliness that threatens to imprison us, and to relish the power of love. Love is the driving force of bravery and to accept it, is to take risks and to live a full life. I need daily reminders to be brave and confident, to allow kindness and love to flow rather than get caught up within myself and stressing over the small things.

 What I have learned, and what this poem believes and reinforces, is not to avoid doing the things that may scare us. Often, those are the best moments and choices in our lives. We are the ones who imprison ourselves because we allow fear and doubt to stall our progress or success and calculate our futures.

 With love, we can find the strength to be brave. We have stronger faith.

 Thank you for your words and for your actions Maya Angelou.

 

“Touched By An Angel”

 

We, unaccustomed to courage

exiles from delight

live coiled in shells of loneliness

until love leaves its high holy temple

and comes into our sight

to liberate us into life.

 

Love arrives

and in its train come ecstasies

old memories of pleasure

ancient histories of pain.

Yet if we are bold,

love strikes away the chains of fear

from our souls.

 

We are weaned from our timidity

In the flush of love’s light

we dare be brave

And suddenly we see

that love costs all we are

and will ever be.

Yet it is only love

which sets us free.

 

Is it now too cheesy to say that we have truly been touched by an angel? You can pretend that you didn’t read that if it is.

Quirky Quips

I’m not exactly sure why I watch Grey’s Anatomy because I don’t like blood and can’t stand seeing fake body fluids being moved around. It’s addicting though.

My cousin Erin doesn’t seem to mind seeing squishy, bloody parts being played with. I suspect she might even like it. Anyways, when I suggested that one day she might have her own autopsy, she said “Well, I’m a spirit, I’ll just float away when I want to.”

Touché.

In other quotable moments, it appears that using incorrect words in sayings runs in the family. When telling a story, my brother claimed to be a wee little tad. He did try to make up for it by comparing himself to a tadpole and calling older people frogs, but we all know he was pulling at spoons.

Yes, that was a joke.

My appreciation for the day goes to quotable moments and the brains that say them.

Rain Rain Stay Until I Finish My Homework

Since making this promise to post every day in a positive way, I have met with resistance in the form of poor weather, traffic, an influx of confusing assignments, allergies, and stomach troubles. On this Friday, I have been given the unfortunate task of being productive in my schoolwork, so of course for the majority of the day, I napped, worked out, and watched the entire first season of Grey’s Anatomy, with the past hour being the only time I actually worked.

But with Bandit beside me, going back and forth between wanting to be pet and merely tolerating my presence (though I was here first), I have made some progress, so my entire long weekend will not be shot.

As my appreciative note, today I choose: procrastinator. It’s fun(isn) spending a rainy, dreary Friday searching the web and tweeting nothing at all, re-finding a show I once enjoyed in its hey-day, and being able to sit and veg on the couch, knowing that soon enough, the assignments will be no longer.

One of my chosen tasks procrastinating today was taking a Buzzfeed quiz testing my crayon-identifying skills. Considering my older sister’s penchance for standing over my shoulder and watching my development progress as a child, it’s a wonder I know the basic colors at all. When my mom would go over the color orange, my sister would stand there and assure her it was “vivid tangerine.” The same girl who once tore through all her Christmas presents, tossing dolls and toys aside, but finally finding just what she “always wanted” in her stocking…a giant box of crayons. It’s on tape and may be paid tribute to in one of her upcoming wedding celebrations.

P.S. If you caught the above reference to what she always wanted, you deserve a cookie.

Sick of Me Yet?

I’ll be honest, this whole post a day thing is harder than I anticipated. Despite any challenges, I made a vow and cannot succumb to laziness on the second day.

Not much happened to me today because I had to sit through a 3-hour class, but I suppose it is important that I had a cookie, got rained on, and maneuvered myself to school in time to get a quick workout in before it closed at a new early time.

What part of me do I appreciate today? Cousin. All the snapchats I get a day from my cousins Erin and Mikey because they always make me laugh when I need it (and even when I don’t). So happy we’ve been spending more time together!

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And I now have a Godbunny named Declan Caitlin Buckley.

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Things I Come Up With When I Can’t Sleep

I’m trying this new thing that I’m calling “30 Days of Me” where I am aiming to post everyday for the next 30 as a means to make me more consistent and also to try and appreciate at least one thing about myself and my life every day. You might ask why I’m starting on a random Wednesday in the middle of a month and not on the first day of a 30-day month. Some of it wants to be defiance against the norm and make a stance saying that all beginnings do not have to begin on a “calendar” pace but your own. But really it’s just because I was having trouble falling asleep last night and thought of this. I promise that every post will not be long rantings mostly because I’m not certain I have that much to say. 

Let me explain more in case you are more of a visual learner. Though today after my walk with my mom, a run on my own, and basketball with my brother, I felt like this:

 

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When really I should appreciate the fact that I have legs that will carry me through and a mind that perseveres even when I would rather roll down the hill. So I mustered a smile:

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I’m not going to put any rules on this for myself because then I’ll just find it stressful. If you want to join, please do! And even if it’s going to rain for the next couple of days, I’m just happy that there’s no more snow on the ground and the sun is shining!

Make Em Laugh

One of my greatest joys is making people laugh. Sometimes, this means I have to be shameless. I might fail miserably and just look like a goon or I could garner some sympathy laughs as people look at me with mild-to-no interest wondering why I’m still talking. Then there are the times where I can’t help but laugh along with the person I made laugh because I think I’m particularly funny and I have no poker face. To be fair, laughing is also contagious and something you do when you’re happy- and if making people laugh makes me happy then of course I’ll laugh. Stay with me here.

I’m not opposed to going in for the obvious pun that everyone else is too afraid or classy to say out loud. I’m also not above pulling out all stops and performing physical acts that make me look ridiculous, i.e. when I reenact the scene from Miss Congeniality where she keeps falling. Falling is just funny- unless you’re old then it’s funny AND scary. Just kidding…kinda…

I’ll take it all though because if you know me, and you get me, then odds are you laugh and we both feel better. Life has shown me, no matter how many times I still struggle, that not everyone is going to like, appreciate, or respect you. But the people who do are worth far more to you. 

When I was younger, I was much more shy and was afraid to speak out loud, let alone make myself known to anyone I didn’t know well. In college, I learned that presentations were part of the experience and it’s better to just take a deep breath and do it with confidence than be hesitant and look like you don’t know what you’re talking about. Now that I am (almost) done with graduate school (YES I graduated NO that doesn’t mean I’m done with classes) I’ve learned to ignore all fear of standing in front of people, whether for a presentation or just in life- meeting new people is scary. 

But be brave because you’ll find it’s worth it.

On a related note HOW can I upload my song I wrote for one of my classes that I want to share??

Do You Want To Build A Sand Castle?

I love Spring time, I really really do. I love smelling the flowers and seeing them bloom again after a long winter. Running outside compares to no other exercise when the sun is warm but there’s a slight cool breeze keeping your endurance up. Eating melty ice cream tastes better even if you have to keep licking your hand to stave the drip. A fresh seafood picnic with the scent of the beach lingering and the sun shining in from the windows promises the cusp of summer. Just being outside, playing basketball with my brother, walking with my mom, cutting down trees (ok watching someone else cut down trees because let’s be real) with family and neighbors, and then enjoying a cold, crisp glass of champagne sangria with my sister, is divine.

Spring appears to have a love-hate relationship with me. My allergies are killing it this year and I have constant raccoon eyes due to the intolerable itchiness. Every so often, I struggle to breathe and can’t keep the window open above my head because my nose clogs and runs. My skirt might have blown up over my head in the wind, and even though my family’s (and my own) first inclination is to laugh so hard that we can’t see straight never mind fix the situation, my sister eventually got a hand on it and minimized the damage.  My mom aspirated on a sprinkle laughing so hard, but I just wanted her to get a good ab workout in on Mother’s Day, so you’re welcome. 

I’ll take it though, every part of it, so long as you promise that the only shovel I have to pick up within the next five months is to build sand castles.