Pause

Lana says: They have no idea what it’s like to seek safety in other people – for home to be wherever you lay your head. I was always an unusual girl. My mother told me I had a chameleon soul, no moral compass pointing due north, no fixed personality; just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean…

I hear the birds on the summer breeze,
I drive fast, I am alone in the night
Been tryin’ hard not to get into trouble,
but I, I’ve got a war in my mind

Lorde says: I’m kinda older than I was when I reveled without a care, So there

I’ve been contemplating what it is to get older, as I get older. I go to the gym and see all the “old people” on the machines, running the track, lapping me, pacing me, meeting my eyes and looking away to wipe the sweat that’s pooling on their forehead. I’m happy getting older, as I start to figure out who I am and what I want and maybe what the world is all about. But you can’t deny the strangeness of it, to suddenly realize you’re not 10 anymore, waking up with the summer sun streaming in around the edges of your closed curtains, stumbling out onto the deck to see your mother already sitting in the sun, turning the page of her book as she enjoys her coffee and cigarette regimen. To realize you’re not 15 anymore and in that awkward bathing suit stage–do I have the shape for this–swimming without a care for the sun that is threatening your baby smooth skin. You’re not even 20 anymore, sneaking drinks of vodka from a Styrofoam gas station cup filled with ice and imitation cranberry juice.

I’ve never had a slow-down button or gear. I have a neutral. I have a pause. I have a shift from reverse or drive to neutral, and that’s always been it. I was taught many things. I was taught to be patient. I was taught to be kind. I was taught to respect your elders and to avoid making direct eye contact with strangers. I was taught to unload your shopping cart heavy things first. I was taught not to eat dairy that’s been left sitting outside of refrigeration for more than 24 hours. I was taught to let off the clutch nice and steady and to press down on the gas just as evenly. I was taught that beauty fades, brains change, and your mind will be all you have when the world stops turning. I can’t help who I am. I can’t help who I’ve become. The person I’ve shaped myself into with all these lessons in my mind. All I can do is apply myself. Apply myself, Morales. One lap at a time. One step at a time. Pace myself and hope I’m at a speed I won’t regret later. My muscles might ache the next day, but I guess that’s how you grow. You push yourself to the limit until your limit moves. Until you push that threshold back. Further and further away. Everything’s going to be fine, though, in the end. That’s the inner peace that drives me. That’s the calm that encompasses the storm, always.

Alfred Hammond, Jr. says: I’m not gonna change till I want to, And I’m free from the world, where I built too many roads

Matt and Kim say: show me the sidestreets in your life, train yards like boneyards sharpened knives, sidewalks are unassuming fields

Lana says: Will you still love me when I’m not young and beautiful?

Again

What can I say? I will say all the usual things. The things I’ve said before. The things I’ve said to the ones before you that are still out there somewhere in the world. “I wasted my best words on you.” Writers’ problems. I know, it’s too much, the words I use and the point I’m trying to make is always buried under the words. I know, I should use less words, and I should just get to the point, but that’s too easy–that’s no fun. I like to layer the words, and I like to make you think. I don’t want you to guess, but I want you to enjoy the work. I want you to find something in the words, make your own meaning if you want, just not the wrong meaning. Ha, see how badly that works? See how I did that. I know. I’m sorry. What was I saying? What do I want you to get from this? 

Will you trust me enough to let me use my own words in the way that I like and keep reading them? Will you keep seeking them out? Will you get tired of my words, like so many others before, and move on. Stop reading. Start skimming. Start skipping. That’s okay. I’ve always got more words. And the world is full of eyes to soak them up. Isn’t it? 

I have to do it this way because this is the only way I know how. I could learn another way, but I don’t know if it would really make much difference. My words will still bounce around and weigh on my mind, even if I’m not weaving them together for you to see in some form of print.