Thump, thump, thump. Thump, thump, thump.
What is it about an airport,
that everyone’s soul shines through?
I see it through the little holes in their socks,
and their bare feet at security.
Who doesn’t think to wear socks on airport day?
I see it through their sweet voices,
explaining to their five-year-old,
why must we go through this security line –
“to check if anyone has snakes or spiders in their bags, dear”
I can see a world in which that is why we must all bare our feet
for TSA to peek through our shoes
and find our secrets.
I can see the soul in the woman whom I’m begging
to switch my middle seat to an aisle seat,
I see her long day, her long future,
I’m tired, but so is she, and I am not the first, nor the last, to beg her for something that is not in her control.
I see the soul in the man who sits beside me,
who talks about the old days
when corporate airlines didn’t charge for hot meals
I smile at him and I reach out to buy some headphones because I’m not doing this middle seat flight solo.
What is it about airports?
They say airports are a no-mans-land, no country can claim it, and perhaps that’s what it is.
None of us are home, yet none of us are lost, we are all in between the beginning and end of a journey.
And we’re in our socks.
For some of us, it’s bare feet.
And we all hope there are no snakes in someone else’s bag.
Next June will be here before I know it, and I’ll be marveling again, and all I pray is that come each June, I have the joy of marveling at how much beauty, how much good, how much growth traveled the days with me.
Some weeks are for looking inward,
Twenty-two years ago, a little girl was born in a hospital in a small state, the air frosty, the wind blowing, a blizzard heading their way.
I was whisked home from the hospital the next day, as the first flurries fell of what would become a three-foot springtime storm, coined the April Fools Blizzard, perhaps most fondly remembered by my mother, with a brand new baby and five additional children home from school to welcome her.
This was how I entered the world, and it’s a story I tell proudly, for absolutely no conceivable reason.
That’s how long I’ve been hanging around on this planet, scraping my knees, putting Band-Aids on, exploring my world and hiding under my blanket.
Having been born just a couple of years before Y2K, my life has been pretty centralized around the internet and the emergence of technology. I didn’t get my first iPhone until I was 16, but computers were a big part of my life since my young childhood days, filled with watching my bigger siblings play games and then morphing into the big sibling that got to play the games, but with a much smaller, less attentive audience.
I made my first Gmail account in August of 2006, promptly shooting off an email to my entire family announcing my brand new form of contacting them, and over the next few years, contact them I did.
With tears of laughter streaming down our faces, my sisters and I dug deep into our Gmail archives the other day, reading my diary-like emails sent to everyone and anyone who would listen.
At one point, I chanced upon a recording, something I sent out weekly (I only followed through for approximately two weeks), coined “Etti’s Update.” An early form of today’s popular podcasts, I would record myself discussing current events in my daily life, and sent it out to classmates and family. I listened to it, just the other day, laughing at what an over-sharer I was as a kid, before I realized – oh my gosh, I haven’t changed.
From my earliest days, I have been a sharer, seeking connection, reaching out in whatever form I could find.
A few years ago, I decided I wanted to change how I celebrated my birthday a little bit by doing tiny acts of kindness for others. Paying it forward at a Starbucks, leaving a post-it note with some cash at an MTA machine, or just simply leaving an encouraging note somewhere I knew people would need to see it. It’s so easy to become unhappy on your birthday, looking at the marking of time as a reminder at how little you’ve progressed, or how quickly the years are going by. Changing the perspective has reminded me that a birthday is simply a reminder that I am lucky to be alive in this world for another year, and I have further opportunity to bring joy to others.
As a spiritual person, I do use this day to look inwards, to give extra attention to the important things, to use it as a time to reflect on the year past, and make stronger resolutions and goals for the year ahead.
I’m obviously thrilled to accept the sweet gifts and lovely messages from my friends and family.
Yet, like I previously said on this blog, the key to my happiness is remembering that it doesn’t end with me.
Reaching outward, just like my emails from my childhood show that I have always naturally done, is what brings this day to its completion.
Remembering that we live in this great big world, filled with humans that are more similar to us than different, a world ripe with the opportunity for connection, for smiles, for kind words shared – this is how I like to celebrate being alive.
Remembering that no matter what language we speak, what country we were born in, what food we prefer, we all know what loneliness is, what love is, we all have dreams and aspirations, we all can recognize a smile and an open heart.
So, in honor of my twenty-two years, I’ll be working on giving back towards twenty-two people, in whichever way I can, if that just means listening to someone for another moment, or helping someone with their stroller, or smiling at a stranger, or sending a heartfelt message to a friend.
Twenty-two years ago, I joined the mass of humanity on this earth, and I’ve spent nearly every day since talking and letting my voice be heard.
I don’t intend on quieting down any time soon, but I hope to channel all that sharing and be able to continue using this blog as a way to connect with all those who read.
I think 8-year-old me would be pretty darn proud.
Writing is an escape,
A place to feel at home.
Writing is a way to build,
Stories and poems,
Worlds that may not exist.
Writing is communication,
A way to express
What is clogging my heart.
Writing can take a moment,
A deep breath,
A bit of time off.
Writing can step back,
Have to be woken from its slumber,
When I must write.
But this week
I’ve been living,
I don’t need words.
And words don’t need me.
But I made a promise.
Whether words and I
Or taking a break.
Here are my words.
it’s important to live
To be able to have
What to write.
Words must sit inside my heart
Before I can allow them to live
Blog Post: 29/52
Featured Photo by Jelleke Vantoogeghm via Unsplash.
This week in my class, I discussed slavery. Well, I asked my students to discuss it. Real slavery, not metaphoric slavery. What does it mean to be someone that is held against their will, abused and forced to do something everyday that they are not receiving wages or benefits for. I asked them to each write something that depicts slavery in an honest way, that forces them to think about it is as a real experience that real humans struggled through. We talked about how in our heads slavery is a thing of the past, but slavery is still happening today, in 2018.
The specific reason I brought this discussion to my class is because Passover is next week, and it is a time that we spend celebrating our freedom, but more in theory than in practice. I wanted my students to take a moment and realize – woah. I’m not a slave.
We discussed. We wrote. Some more than others. The realization was had, I hope, by everyone.
I managed to be able to write my own poem during this class, and it’s been awhile since I’ve had the chance to do the same assignment I’ve assigned. But I thought about it. And I realized that I am no slave, metaphoric or not. I am the one who holds myself back – I hold my own key.
This poem is not my best, it was written hastily and mid-thought. But perhaps it will spur more of you to have the same discussion we had in class, because it’s a conversation worth having.
My legs are not in shackles,
My hours are my own.
No whips are taut above me,
No gates keep me contained.
Freedom of speech is granted,
Freedom of growth allowed.
I am not a slave in Egypt,
I am not a slave at all.
They say it is our prison,
They say we must break free.
Do I feel as if I’m broken,
Have I secured my fate?
Have I hidden my own key
Or am I truly free?
Blog Post: 27/52
Featured Photo by Evan Kirby via Unsplash
On September 11th, 2017 I decided to write a blog post every week.
He is writing as fast as He can.
Blog Post: 26/52
Featured Photo courtesy of a birthday gift from a very thoughtful friend.