A small flame flicks into existence. The yellow, orange, and blue hues sway softly as the breeze blows softly by. As a gift, the small flame is given to the wood. The cold wood accepts the flame with a sense of urgency, and even wonders quietly how it ever lived without the precious spark. Once united with the wood, the flame multiplies and bursts into a passionate dance. Shadows that normally go unnoticed become overwhelmingly present as the shadows join in the flame’s dance. The love the wood and flame share is comforting to those that sit and watch. Their love is harmonious, gentle, and warm. Time doesn’t exist this night; the wood and flame are completely lost in each other and their dance. Too soon the morning comes. The only evidence of last night’s dance is the pile of warm gray dust, and the glimpse you catch of a smiling shadow before it disappears into the corner.
Dear Garth Brooks,
This weekend while driving 15 hours from Dallas to Illinois, I realized I owe you a deep and heartfelt thank you. Truthfully, this letter of gratitude is long overdue. I don’t think I fully realized how much of an impact your music has had on my life. Allow me to explain:
In my earliest memories I remember pink couches in the living room, a large family van complete with interior Christmas-like lights throughout, and a Disney’s The Little Mermaid pillowcase. There are many childhood memories I have of transitional homes, different vehicles, new furniture and toys, but there is one thing that very clearly resonates in almost every childhood memory: your music.
My mom didn’t clean the house without music turned up loud on our black boombox stereo-most likely purchased at Wal-Mart. We would move the boombox as we cleaned room to room. More often than not, Garth Brooks Southern twang could be heard coming from the speakers.
If anyone were to ask if I listen to country music, I would without hesitation give an emphatic “No!” But that answer would be very untrue, because I know every lyric to most of your songs. Which I proved on Friday evening when I played Thunder Rolls for my boyfriend during a very long road trip. I actually felt sorry for him when I realized he didn’t know the song.
When I realized I could carry a pretty OK tune around the age of seven, it was to your music that I learned to harmonize. I can’t tell you how many times as a child I turned up Unanswered Prayers and We Shall Be Free and pretended to sing them in front of thousands of people. And let’s not forget Standing Outside The Fire; it’s pretty much the perfect song to sing loudly while driving alone with the windows rolled down.
So Mr. Brooks, thank you. Thank you for strengthening my love of music at a very young age. Thank you for being the only country artist I feel has influenced my musical tastes. Thank you for creating music that I was able to use as a teaching tool. Thank you for singing such catchy tunes that even years without hearing a song, I can still remember every lyric.
I hope the current music scene treats you with respect, because you sure do deserve it.
We all know why certain emotions emerge and how to describe them. For example, sadness: This emotion might emerge after someone steals your candy, or tells you “you suck”; you feel grey inside, like the world doesn’t care about you.
I think there’s a crazy phenomenon that happens during some emotional events that do not have an available English word to fully describe the emotional turmoil occurring. If you’ve ever remotely felt what I’m about to attempt to describe, you’ll know what I mean immediately. I say I am going to “attempt” to describe, because I’m not sure exactly how to describe these feelings.
I’ve had this happen so many times, and I’ve tried to explain myself, but I usually stumble and get looked at like I’m the only one who’s ever experienced this. So, here’s my first example:
You’re walking in the park. You see a duck in the pond. The duck starts to swim towards the middle of the pond out of the shrubbery. As she moves you realize she has a small hoard of little baby ducks following behind her. Your insides begin to swell with happiness. A small burst of excitement escapes your lips. Your entire face breaks into a smile. You’re happy. You’re full of joy, but all your emotions are so extreme that it’s no longer just emotion happening; you are so damn excited about how cute those baby ducks are, your emotional state begins to take a physical road that has no immediate end. By physical I really mean that your body hurts because you see so much cute. I mean your lungs hurt because you forget how to breathe in and out. Your heart is beating so fast you think you’ll explode. Your stomach aches, and your back probably hurts a little too because your body is actually stressing out over cute emotion overload.
That’s what I feel almost every time I see something that’s TOO cute or that makes me TOO happy: holding small puppies, warm cotton candy in one hand and the hand of your love in the other, hamsters shoving food in their cheek pouches, kittens licking my hand, a bright colored balloon given to you without explanation.
Second example of physical emotions: If you’ve ever seen The Office (US) episode where all the high school students have graduated and are getting ready to go to college and come to Michael to get their new laptops for school that he promised them many years before, you know EXACTLY where I’m going with this example… And if you haven’t seen the aforementioned episode, don’t; it’s too painful to watch. Here’s a true story of when the opposite of cute physical emotion happens.
A couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and I walked into one of our favorite bars-The Amsterdam Bar in Deep Ellum. We were having a rare night of beautiful nighttime weather in Dallas, so we decided to take our beer outside. A few sips in, an amateur stand-up comedy show began. We were completely unaware that there was going to be any comedy show, but we thought, “What the hell, we’ll take a free show!” Not knowing how terrible the amateur’s jokes were going to be, and not at all knowing that a drunk heckler would be in the extremely small crowd of maybe twenty people, we stayed.
The show started slow, and before the first comedian ended his first joke, we knew this was not going to end well. The show would have been bad enough if we just had to sit and listen to each of the amateur’s bad jokes, but there was more. We had to listen to the bad jokes, listen to the heckler YELL that the jokes were bad, and then watch the now completely flustered amateur attempt to continue telling the bad jokes. The show was so terribly uncomfortable and awkward, I physically became sick.
In the first example of cute overload excitement which emerges as a physical emotion that makes you want to explode, the feeling of being so overwhelmingly uncomfortable makes you want to physically implode. As I watched the want-to-be comedians falter, stumble, and drop their jokes, the whole time being heckled, my body slowly shrunk deeper and deeper into my seat. The awkward feelings put pressure on my chest. I held on to my breath, afraid that if I exhaled I might blow away the show that was hanging on by an extremely loose thread. My body wanted to shrink into a small ball and disappear into the dirt. I felt so terrible for the comedians, and felt even more terrible for aligning my opinion with the drunken heckler. My disappearing into the dirt act didn’t work, but the implosion was definitely on the brink of happening.
So there you go, emotion you feel so strongly you begin to have physical symptoms. Please tell me you’ve had this happen. If you have, maybe try and explain how your body reacts to the overwhelming feelings, maybe you’re better than I at explaining what it all feels like.
By the way, the thought of going home today and taking the love of my life to meet my family, or the realization that in about one week we’ll be picking out our new puppy, these are things that easily make me physically emotional right now, and I mean the explosion kind.
I don’t remember the situation, and I don’t remember the direction of the post, but I do clearly remember writing Aside. I actually wrote this draft while lying in bed sometime around 3am. I remember that I had spent the entire day mulling over a situation and how the situation was making me feel. I remember feeling so distraught that I couldn’t sleep, and finally turned on my phone and started to write.
I used to get so angry with my mother when she’d say something like, “You’re a teenager, and someday this won’t mean anything to you.” And she was right. And sometimes now I repeat to myself, “Someday this won’t mean anything to you.” And I’m right. This post proves that.
Most of the time, the situations we think are going to be the death of us, are actually nothing more than a quick, albeit perhaps harsh, emotional beating and then we move on.
And so I’ve decided to give the official published title of this post: Aside Then Onward. Because often in life when we receive those short-lived emotional beatings, after a quick time of reflection (or time aside), we move on. We’re not meant to live under constant grueling stress, and even when we do encounter stress, we likely won’t even remember in two months.
So when the crazy comes, look at it for what it is and how it makes you feel. Encounter it. Step aside and reflect, learn, or make changes. Then move onward.
If you give a man a pancake
Make sure it’s bland and tasteless
Real healthy; add some raisins.
Whatever it takes to make him vomit, do.
Because if it’s delicious, he’s sure to up and leave you
If you give a man a pancake,
That’s fluffy, light, and soft,
With pure vanilla extract,
And cooked to lightly golden,
Don’t be surprised when you open your eyes and see who he’s chosen.
If you give a man a pancake,
That’s delicious and tastes like heaven,
You’ll be at work when you receive the text,
He’s making love to vanilla buttermilk confection.
And all alone you’ll cry out, “Why can’t I live up to Market Diner’s perfection?!”
* This post is in memory of the boyfriend I loved very much, who left me for delicious vanilla buttermilk pancakes from The Original Market Diner in Dallas. To be fair though, if I’d had more free time during breakfast, I may have left him first. Damn you and your delicious pancakes Market Diner.
Want to know what’s better than going home to your family for Christmas? Going home for Christmas without your family knowing you’re coming. BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER.
Thanks to a super special person (you know who you are), I was able to go home this Christmas. Instead of just telling my family, “Hey guys! Guess what?! I’m coming home!” I decided to play a game with them. I call this game: Lie to your entire family and make them think you’re missing the second Christmas in a row and make them all super depressed when in actuality you plan on surprising them all by showing up on their doorstep just days before Christmas. It’s a really great game. Don’t believe me?
Things for my game worked out so incredibly perfectly: I was able to surprise each of my family members, one at a time, AND catch their reactions on video.
So for your enjoyment, and also for my future enjoyment, I give you, the Great Christmas Surprise brought to you by the Lee family. These videos were taken without consent, and are probably being posted without consent, but hey, their reactions are worth sharing…
Caity’s Christmas Surprise
Caity was first. I secretly asked her good friend to come and pick me up at the airport, and somehow get Caity to come too. It worked great, as you can see. I was the only one recording this time, so footage on this one isn’t A+.
Mom’s Christmas Surprise
It took my mom a long time to realize I was actually standing in front of her. I have no idea why I felt the need to lean in front of her and yell “Merry Christmas!” like she’s five.
Dad’s Christmas Surprise
Dad’s double take is the best. Second best is how the first thing he says is he wants coffee.
Michelle’s Christmas Surprise
Michelle’s reaction was best.
Micah’s Christmas Surprise
My eight year old brother noticed us before I was able to start my video rolling, but we did get the awesome first glimpse of his incredible excited face.
I hope each of your Christmas’s are as great as mine. Merry Christmas. =)