we’re flames

There’s a raging battle inside me between complete detatchment and investment. I know which one my life was truly built for, so why is it often so difficult to shake the dreadfully independent and rebelious spirit that wants to take control?

The last week or so has been incredibly humbling. I’ve been looking back over my time here and thinking of the various people I’ve met – ones I’ve known days and ones I’ve known hours. I’m ashamed to say that I could list far too many with whom I wish I could have a re-do. Either I lost my patience too easily or my pride was hurt to quickly and I reacted. Even today on the train I replied a bit rudely when one of the conductors switched to English. She was only trying to be helpful when I’d asked her to repeat herself, but my ego was bruised when she switched languages and I replied in Spanish that “no, I can understand [just fine] if you speak a little more slowly.” I bet she wanted to slap me. I would have had the desire if I was in her position. On second thought, she probably has more grace than that.

I could recount to you all the ridiculous things as such that I’ve done in the last two months, but I’ll save you the hours. Just know there are plenty and ‘m not proud. And my humbling realization has been that… (drum roll please)…

I leave a mark

Right now you’re thinking “ding ding ding. Way to go, Calais. What a realization!” But somehow I’ve tried my best to ignore or deny the fact for awhile. Sometimes I wish it weren’t true. Sometimes I wish I could walk out of a room and everyone forget that I was ever even there. Often actually.

Of course as soon as I think it I know its not fully true – only part of me wants that. The childish selfish part that doesn’t want the reponsibility of being called to something greater than myself. The part that doesnt want responsibility for my actions. The part that doesnt want a history simply for the fear of what effect that history might have had on people and the consequences thereof. The part that knows I’ve hurt people and have the potential to do so again. Oh child…when do you grow up?

A few years back I was learning how to paint and my first few were absolutely excruciating. Finally I got so fed up and decided to buck the system and do it MY way (aka totally wrong), but I finally started painting in a way that felt real (regardless of whether or not you can objectively call it “good” or not.) My second painting was this woman seemingly gliding forward without effort. Behind her she left a streak of color that could just have easily been fire as a celebratory banner. Its one of those times that something just surfaces on my canvas or paper and I have to disect it later…often for years. It came to mind a few days ago as I realized this is ME (read…”this is you and you and you, too”) As I move I leave a streak. A flame. But flames can burn as well as heal. They can destroy as well as cleanse. They can ignite and illuminate or leave piles of rubble, ash, and flowing tears.

And while my first thought is to pray that I carry the better sort of torch, I quickly realize that hoping isn’t enough…if I don’t CHOOSE to die to this self and love moment by moment, its almost doubtless that my sort of fire will leave a whole lot of scars.


5 Responses to “we’re flames”

  1. 1 belowatime July 19, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Hmm… this post really resonated with me today. I’m imagining your painting in my mind. Thanks for sharing this, I really appreciate your introspection.

  2. 2 calaismarie July 19, 2008 at 2:39 am

    Bon, I tried to link to the painting but I’m not sure it worked. Let me know would you? And if no I’ll fix it when I’m at a proper computer…not a silly iPod

  3. 3 Jonny McCormick July 19, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Calais this post is great. I love how you are so honest, open, humble and graceful in your approach to writing…it’s a rare and beautiful thing. I hope to see you this summer again? Did you paint that?

  4. 4 Alli Rogers July 22, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    This post made me think of a poem I wrote about you, so i posted it on my blog… go read! 🙂

  1. 1 conversation « out on a walk… Trackback on January 21, 2009 at 9:56 am

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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