Posts Tagged ‘Life’

In the time it took for me to get used to
You being around
You were already changing your mind
Just when I was allowing myself
To trust you
Again
You told me you were leaving
You filled my head with somedays
And plans of starting a farm
When the time is right for you
But you never asked me
You never asked me
Where I stood
And you would never meet my eyes
You would just touch me
And pull my hair
And breathe I love you’s into my neck
And I fell for it every fucking time
Because when I say those words
I mean them
When I say those words
They are solid and they are true and they are real
But you were caught up in a moment
With having a body to hold and a voice
To tell you that you were adored
I was there to fill the bored and empty minutes
That you lived in until you went
Looking for something better
And you never asked me
Where I stood
Because you knew that I was always in arms reach
You never even looked up to see
That every time your hands were
Sliding underneath my shirt
I was trying not to scream

Copyright © Shonna Rae Bell 2017

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On days like today, when the air is hot and thick and unmovable and the monsters inside my head are being fed by the voices of those around me, I think about what it would be like if I was gone. Absent. Vanished. Plucked from the fabric of this world and sent somewhere else. Would anyone look up? Would I have made anything better by being here? Would anyone feel any great loss? Or would the world just keep on spinning, everyone distracted by their own lives and the universes that they hold in the palm of their hands?

Don’t you selfishly feel the need to touch people and to know you’ve left a piece of yourself with them? Like you were two separate colors before, but a bit of you bled into them and now they’ll never quite be the same shade. We all crave that, the feeling that we matter, to some degree. Whether it be to one person or to a million people, we all have a hole inside of us that we need to fill. We all want to feel like we’ve left a lasting impression in some form. To look around at your life and the people in it and feel completely and utterly insignificant is quite possibly the greatest torture of all.

I am often stricken with the feeling that I have nowhere to go. That there’s nowhere to run. There’s no place to escape to. There is no one out there that would cross heaven and earth for me. I would be ready to lie down and die for the people that I love in an instant, because I often feel that the air inside my lungs would be of better use in someone else’s. But I wonder about the roles being reversed and if there would be any hesitation, a moment of second-guessing whether or not it would be worth it to keep me breathing for just a little bit longer instead of themselves, and that thought keeps me up at night. I’m not saying I want everyone I love to be willing to die for me, but I would like for one person to love me that much. Just one.

I suppose I’m just feeling like I’m not doing enough. I’m not giving enough. I’m not laughing enough. I’m not sharing enough. I’m not dancing enough. I’m not reading enough. I’m not inspiring enough. I’m not exploring enough. I’m not creating enough. I’m not contributing anything to anyone and if I were to disappear, it wouldn’t be a loss that anyone would really feel. It might even be a relief. And what do you do with that?

I am in the desert. There isn’t a soul around. I’m standing in the middle of a crossroads, four marked paths stretching to the ends of the earth. Which way do I go? Straight? Left? Backwards? Or should I just step off the road and run into the nothingness, dodging the unforgiving needles of the cactus plants while trying to outpace the coyotes? Does it matter? Does anything matter so long as you just keep moving?

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I want to live each day like I’m
stealing it from death.
Instead of bobbing my head to
the sounds of being alive,
I want to thrash and scream with
wild abandon
to the feeling of being here
with you
right now.
What’s the benefit of
sitting pretty and
keeping it together?
I want to be consumed with
the knowledge that this
will all be over
very soon.

Copyright © Shonna Rae Bell 2016

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I was standing on the porch when I felt you move from beside me, straight out into the pouring rain. You got about 10 feet away, threw your arms out around you, and looked back at me – wet hair covering your eyes and a smile that I was just getting to know. My heart felt like it was beating with the rhythm of the rainfall, quick and uneven. I ran after you. We danced and screamed at the sky for what felt like hours and minutes at the same time. Thunder crashed and I fell to the ground, my back on the wet grass, letting the earth swallow me whole. You were laughing and saying something to me, but I was watching the water drip from your hair to your mouth and wondering where you came from. You reached for my hand and pulled me up to you, mumbling something about lightening. I followed you inside.

The cold hit me so hard I almost ran back out into the rain, but you had already scurried off to a room I’d never seen and left me dripping wet in your doorway. I felt awkward as I stood there shivering, wondering if I should stay put or try to follow your footprints to wherever you went. But you returned, a ball of fabric in your hands, hair pushed back from your still-boyish face. Your voice was soft and off-balance and you wouldn’t meet my eyes.

“Here’s some clothes. The bathroom’s down the hall on the left.”

Purple sweatpants and a light green community baseball league t-shirt. Red socks. I didn’t even bother looking in the mirror. I pulled my hair into a bun, left my clothes in the sink, and followed the noise to the kitchen. You didn’t notice me right away, so I watched as  you moved around the tiny room. Gray sweatpants. White t-shirt. Black socks. One of your sleeves was pulled up to your shoulder and I remember watching your muscles move as you poured two drinks. Your hair was still dripping water down your neck.

I cleared my throat as I crossed into the room and you looked over at me, your eyes starting at my feet and making their way to mine before you smirked.

“You look great.” Your voice was huskier than before. “Do you like whiskey?”

I told you I had a rule against drinking with people who own purple sweatpants and you said you didn’t own any, that these were your sister’s clothes. I asked your sister’s name and you hesitated just a beat too long. Caught. I took the whiskey, anyway.

We sat on a blanket on the floor in the living room and played “Go Fish” while we talked about James Taylor and how you broke your arm at a skating rink when you were seven. And I told you about the time the ice cream lady was giving away free kittens so I took one home and was banished from the ice cream truck for the rest of the summer. We played “Slap Jack” and you made fun of me for slapping the deck every time, regardless of what card was on top. I told you to stop being a sore loser.

It felt like there were bats flying around in my chest – an excited nervousness that I forgot existed and wasn’t quite expecting. I felt a small thrill every time our hands touched or our eyes met. Like we were 16 years old, flirting at a friend’s birthday party. But then the cards got boring, as they do, and we just sort of sat there in a silence that wouldn’t have been uncomfortable if we knew each other better. But silences are always filled with an unforgiving pressure when you’re getting to know someone, and realizing you’re at a loss for words incites a type of panic. Our eyes danced around each others. You kept pulling at the bracelet around your wrist. I pulled my legs to my chest and rested my head on my knee, eyes still cast in your direction, waiting for you to say something. Anything.

Finally, you grabbed your phone and I reveled in the way the screen lit up the imperfections of your face but somehow made you look even better. I figured you were texting someone, momentarily bored with the lull in our evening, so I stood up to take my glass to the kitchen. Instantly, I felt the whiskey in my face. And I heard it. That song I was telling you about the night we met.

There I was, standing in an unfamiliar house wearing a stranger’s clothes and trying to will myself to stop swaying (Was I even swaying? I felt like I was swaying). And when I turned to look at you, you were just standing there. Looking at me. A dumb closed-mouth smile spread across your whiskey-flushed face. And that song was playing. And none of it made any sense. But then you moved closer to me, your hands tugging at that ugly green shirt I was wearing, pulling me closer. And you kissed me, nervously at first. Testing. Seeking permission. And then without restraint.

We kissed until I couldn’t remember what my body felt like without your arms around it, until we didn’t know how much time had passed. “When did the song stop playing?” You asked. I wrapped my arms around your shoulders and pressed my face to your neck, not wanting the moment to end. Your body felt so solid against mine.

I thought about how I almost told you no when you asked if I wanted to come with you to see your friend’s band earlier that day. The first time we met was so weird, and you were so cagey and hard to understand, and I wasn’t in the mood to meet anyone new. I had just moved back to town and you had shown up while I was away. And somehow we ended up alone on your friend’s kitchen floor and you asked me if there was a song I loved and hated at the same time, one that I would listen to even though I knew it would make me sad. I remember the feeling of your eyes on me. Expectant.

“‘She Belongs to Me’ by Bob Dylan.” I said, finally. You waited.

“Why?”

“The way he seems to be in awe of her, of the fact that she’s his. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be seen that way.” I immediately felt silly and pulled myself up off the cold floor. “It’s stupid.”

You didn’t say anything. You just watched me walk out of the room.

And somehow that random moment at a party I didn’t even want to be at led to a thunderstorm, a deck of abandoned cards scattered across the floor, and a whiskey kiss with a boy that looked at me with purpose, like I’d disappear if his eyes left me for too long.

You truly never know when your life is going to change.

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slorkel.

I’m laughing at you from the couch
The new wine stain on your t-shirt
Travels all the way back up
To your pretty mouth
That is stuck in some twisted state of ecstasy
And as you roll on the ground yelling about
How you can’t breathe
And how your face hurts
I am painting a picture in my mind
Of you looking at me
From across the Scrabble board
With candlelight skin
And purple teeth
And midnight hair
Asking me if I really believe that
“slorkel” is a real word.

Copyright © Shonna Rae Bell 2015

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Dear Shonna,

How are you holding up? I hope you’re taking care of yourself. I know the days seem monotonous, like you’re living the exact same day over and over again. It may seem boring, but one day you’re going to miss the monotony – trust me. You’re going to miss having a routine and you’re going to miss the lack of pressure and responsibility. I know high school seems stressful, and it is, but it’s also the easiest your life will ever be. You probably can’t wait to get out of there and start your “real life,” but this is your real life. Believe it or not, the people you know now will be with you for a very, very long time. The memories you’re making right now will be talked about at parties, you’ll reminisce about “the good old days,” you’ll talk about how much you wish you could go back. Embrace your life right now. Enjoy it. Soak it up.

I know you feel lonely and sort of stuck. I know you’re watching all of your friends enter into relationships and you don’t understand why it hasn’t happened to you yet, and you’ve spent hours and hours analyzing every detail of yourself and wondering what’s wrong with you. I know you crave love and acceptance and it just doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards for you, but I’m telling you right now that your life is going to be filled with so much love. You’re going to make deep and honest and unbreakable connections with some of the people that are surrounding you right this very second. You’re going to share moments and make memories that will remind you what life is all about. You’ll wonder how you ever got so lucky. Stop being so hard on yourself. You are lovable, and you will see proof of that soon enough.

I heard about that boy you saw in the hallway, the one that made you stop in your tracks and wonder what planet he came from. He’ll become a big part of your life. You’ll fall in love with him and it will be one of the purest things you’ve ever felt – an honest, selfless, and all-consuming kind of love. And you will have your heart broken, but you’ll be okay. You’ve got to learn right now what you’re worth and what you deserve, and what this boy puts you through will make you question those things. But you’ve gotta fight and you’ve gotta focus on all of the love and positivity around you and you’ll realize that even though what you feel is real, he doesn’t deserve you. You’re going to hurt for a really long time, but don’t be afraid. This boy is going to teach you so much about yourself and you’ll be a better person when it’s all over.

Your parents are pretty intense, huh? So many rules, so many things you aren’t allowed to do, and I know it feels like you’re suffocating and you’re never going to escape. But they’ll ease up after a while and you’re going to go on so many adventures. You’ll travel and you’ll see different cities just like you’ve always wanted to do. Just hold tight, your time is coming.

One thing I can’t stress enough – keep working on your art! Keep playing guitar and singing – soon enough you’ll be writing songs and people will love them. Don’t question yourself, just put everything you are into what you create. Good things will come from it, I promise. You’ll find a confidence and a meaning inside yourself that you never knew was possible.

One final piece of advice: don’t wish your life away. Be present in every single moment, no matter how boring, painful, or pointless it may seem. Find beauty wherever you are. Enjoy your youth, celebrate it, exist in it, and don’t take a single second for granted. You’re going to experience loss in the worst way possible and you’ll learn how fragile you really are and how short life really is, but you can’t let that scare you out of living.

You’re only a teenager for a second. Make it count.

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beanie courtesy of @charlavail

The past week has been a wild one. I got some really exciting and potentially life changing news that I can’t really talk about yet, but the opportunity I’m being presented with is amazing in and of itself. I also just got home from visiting friends in NC, and every time I’m there I’m overwhelmed with this sense of gratitude and contentment – like my soul has been rejuvenated. I’m so hyper aware of how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life and I can’t even understand why I’ve been so fortunate, but I think it all comes down to positive energy. If there’s anything I’ve learned in recent months/years, it’s that you really do get what you give.

Energy is so important. What you think and feel puts some sort of aura around you and it makes you glow, and that light attracts other people that feel the same way – like a moth to a flame. I’ve definitely hit some rough times in my life, times where I’ve doubted myself or felt bad for myself or felt frustrated and helpless… but I’ve always remained true to who I am, and that’s something that I’m really proud of. I feel like life just wears you down, it tries to strip you of originality or identity, it picks at you when you’re the most vulnerable and tries to change you into someone you don’t even recognize. It tries to make you cold and cynical, and it can become this void that you’re lost in where you can’t see the beauty that surrounds you.

It is crucial to shamelessly be yourself, especially throughout your teenage years and early twenties, because if you lose who you are during those impressionable years, the odds of finding yourself again are slim. Even if people aren’t accepting you or you feel like you aren’t good enough or cool enough or talented enough, you must always accept and embrace everything about yourself. Do everything with love and light, and it may take some time, but those things will begin to come back to you. I promise.

In the last year, I’ve really tried to be the best version of myself. I’ve been actively not letting myself dwell on negative things, I’ve only been celebrating the good. I’ve let go of people that have had a negative influence on my life, who have used me and taken me for granted, and I’ve been focusing on people who truly love and appreciate me. When you rid yourself of toxic relationships and live your life with a kind and loving heart, bad things can’t touch you. They just can’t. The light you give off illuminates the darkness and the monsters can’t get to you. It’s an amazing feeling that I can’t really put into words. It takes a while to climb the mountain of positive thinking, but once you get there, the view is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Once you accept the hand that the universe has dealt you, and you recognize all the beauty in every single day that you’re given and have faith that everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to, life becomes so much less scary.

For the first time in a while I’m really excited about what the future holds. I feel the winds of change blowing and they’re pushing me towards the path I’m meant to be on. I’m excited for this journey and to see how everything unfolds. Not only for myself, but for those that I love. Things are changing, life is happening, and we’re all headed toward somewhere so beautiful.

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