“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit”
It’s difficult to call myself a writer, when I write so infrequently these days. Sometimes I feel like the last kid on the empty playground shouting “I‘m gonna be an astronaut some day, just you watch!” to the dusty nothingness of cracked asphalt and faded lines as the afternoon sun of my youth slinks quickly behind the ever growing shadows and inevitability of adulthood. Everyone else has gone inside and traded in their dreams for something more practical. And I’m a waiter, who writes. But not even the latter all that much.
It’s an empty word. Writer. A thin blanket so many others have veiled themselves to excuse their aspirations of greatness never blossoming into fruition. Writer. It’s a vague and incomplete title. Tell someone you’re a carpenter and they’ll ask to see your wood-shop, or sit upon a sturdy chair you’ve built. I’m a writer. But I’m still working working on my novel. Any day now…
A chair either is– or it isn’t. It exists in either of those two states. Useless wood, or functional-something-finished.
And I think I’ve gotten it tangled up in my head. This idea of the chair I want to make. With the perfect spine and easy arm rests, and perfect legs, so much so that the very thought of constructing it, has me hiding from the shop. But in truth. I just need to touch wood. To touch wood as often as I can, for as long as I can. And eventually… something will come to fruition.
You just don’t listen anymore…
I witnessed perhaps the most beautiful and honest fight of my lifetime. There I was, stuck in traffic with mere minutes to kill before the lazy light gave me the right to go again. And to my right through my window I witnessed a battle unfolding. At first I thought my music was too loud. So I turned it down. And then I lowered my window, every the curious voyeur, hoping to catch the stray shouting wisps of someone else’s misery unfolding on the sidewalk. As my ears perked up waiting for the cacophony of conflict… realizing there was none to be heard.
I was all the more intrigued.
There she blazed, on the walkway of her second story apartment, ready to scorch the world below her with vehement fury. And there at the bottom of her steps, one foot on the asphalt, one foot on the first tenuous-tremulous concrete step, unsure of how to progress from here, HE stood– the object of her fury.
Her hands moved swiftly and deftly, her fingertips cutting through the sparse space in front of her with such veracity the air seemed to sizzle and pop. He stood his ground in spite of his heavy-burdened shoulders, his drooping spine, his head tilted to one side, as if to catch her flaming arcane runes all upon his pale and exposed cheek. And his hands weaving the soft swoops of appeasement and apology.
Her hands exploded in more fury, at her throat and in fists, her eyebrows bent into an angry red chevron in the middle of her face as her dark pursed lips holding back the words her hands shouted. And he, with his pleading palms upturned to the heavens hoping to catch her mercy but instead finding nothing but the endless torrential downpour of her rage.
It was at that moment… the light changed. And I was on my way.
I am gross.
I’ve been living on my own for almost three years, and my bad habits have become exclusively my own. I leave my dirty dishes in the sink, sometimes for days on end. I judge the cleanliness of my clothes by smell more than anything. I change my sheets when I start to stick to them. Sometimes I eat mint chocolate chip ice cream instead of brushing my teeth, because cool and mint, is kinda the same thing, right?
But lately… lately I have someone in my life who makes me want to clean. She teaches me things, like dish soap is different from hand soap, and laundry is something to be done regularly and not when I’m out of clothes. And floss isn’t just for when things get stuck in my teeth. I learned to exfoliate and moisturize. And I use daily sunblock, almost every day sometimes.
And I like it.
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