A Face on a Train

She’s just another face on a passing train,

searching for a smile when she reaches her station.

But there’s no destination on her ticket,

there is no one waiting for her on the platform.

You see, she’s on the one way train that never stops.

She’s on the one way train that never stops.

 

She sits on the train going nowhere.

The blank ticket is clenched in her fist.

She struggles to remember that far away name

of that station from where she came,

and to where she’s going

on that train that never stops.

 

Her face flashes past station after station,

Never slowing down,

Never speeding up.

Different Strangers claim the seat next to her.

Different Faces claim her heart.

There was the freckled-face girl and the sun-kissed boy.

She laughed with the girl and giggled with the boy.

But sooner or later, as they always do,

That freckled-face girl and that sun-kissed boy

Found their stations and on the platform was the smile.

 

And she sits on the train going nowhere.

The useless ticket clenched in her fist.

She struggles to remember that far away name

of that station from where she came,

and to where she’s going

on that train that never stops.

 

The tracks stretch endlessly before her.

The tunnels are forever dark and bleak.

The empty seats surround her,

every one of them filled with ghosts from her past.

Broken promises crackle over the speakers.

Fresh wounds cause pain to her back,

as the train speedily carries her away

down, down, down its rusted track,

and she finally realizes that

her metal train can never stop.

 

Anger furrows her brow as she

rips the false ticket to bits.

One tear for the cowardly boy.

Two for forgotten promises hanging in the air.

Three for the ghosts suffocating her.

Four for the friend who forgot—

That wily freckled-faced girl who forgot.

 

Alone she sits on the train going nowhere.

The useless ticket shredded to bits.

She’s forgotten the name, ‘cause it’s so far away,

of that station from where she came,

and to where she’s going.

She’s on that train that can’t ever stop.

 

With a loud cry she sinks to the cold, hard floor

joining that ruined ticket on the ground.

Resentment, Bitterness, Pain swell up inside her chest,

and come bursting out in the form of lonely tears.

 

And the ghosts press forward,

And the secrets grow louder,

And the tunnels will never end.

She cries and cries and cries among

the ruins of her ticket.

Salty, thick tears flood her face.

Hot, painful tears blind her eyes.

Wet, thick hair sticks to her hands.

Yet she sees every face and feature

of the Faces and Strangers who left her.

 

She was not wrong for crying for so long.

She was not shallow, whinny, or weak.

For she stared every Face and Stranger in the eye

and and them “Why?”

 

Why did you leave me on the one way train going nowhere?

You knew this ticket was useless in my fist.

You knew I struggled to remember my own name.

Could you not look at me and see?

I promise to no longer hide.

Will you stop and stay with me?

 

How long she must wait for an answer she’ll never know;

maybe someday her soul might heal.

The Faces of the Forgetting can never fade from her sight,

but each new tear heals her painful heart.

 

Raising her head, she looks at her ghosts.

They return to their empty seats around her.

Their vocal secrets become a background noise

as the throbbing pain in her back fades.

With tired arms she pulls herself up and picks a new chair,

the empty one whose back used to face her.

Tired yet determined, she gazes out her window

as the barren landscape flashes passed,

and thinks that this one-way train,

that barrels away,

it will, someday, stop.

Asbury Musing part 2: Studying vs. Learning

I found this post waiting in the draft section; I forgot all about it, oops. Even though I wrote it way back in January, my thoughts on this subject haven’t changed and I wanted to share it with you now, with an added post-script at the end. 🙂

Yesterday [January 13th] was my last first day of school. In a little over 4 months I will be done with my college career and school in general. An unsettling feeling comes when I think about how I’ll be done with two decades of schooling. Going to classes and studying is the only life I’ve known, and it’s all about to change. Yes, I could go to grad school and continue my education, but honestly I don’t want to go. I’m thankful I have been blessed with an education, especially a college one, but I’m ready to be done. Maybe that’s the senioritis talking, but I’m ready to put what I’ve been learning into practice. I’m ready to put the books down and make my rookie mistakes so I can gain experience in my field. Books and homework can only teach me so much before studying becomes stale and the joy of learning has faded.

Once I saw a quote on Pinterest attributed to Natalie Portman that said, “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. Learning is beautiful.” That quote sums up where I am right now: I am ready to be done with studying but not learning. I want to continue learning about anything and everything throughout my lifetime. My soon-to-come diploma does not mean I will know everything I need to in order to survive and succeed in life. I understand I still have a lot to learn, and that doesn’t scare or bother me. I’m actually excited by it! Even though my time at Asbury will be complete, I don’t want to stop learning. I want to learn from the wisdom of others, what life has taught them and how they refused to be defeated by the roadblocks in life! Because I will no longer have classes that will keep me accountable in my studies, I will have to create time to learn things on my own.

Does this mean I’m not going to try to study this semester? Of course not! I do still want to be a good student, and will take advantage of this time to sharpen my skills and talents. I’m going to continue to give my best in my schoolwork because I only have a little time left here at Asbury, and I’m not going to miss it for the world.

Like I predicted above, now that I am done with college it’s harder to for me to find the time to continue learning. So when I went to the Natural History Museum with a friend and I decided to look for things there that could help make me a better filmmaker and storyteller. That simple new mindset completely changed my experience at the museum. I picked through all the information presented and learned things I personally found interesting, such as bioluminescent creatures and the simplified definition of a mammal (hair + milk + special ear bones = mammal) and a number of different types of butterflies (one even landed on my friend’s head in the butterfly pavilion!). It was so much fun! Never again will a museum trip be just another museum trip; it will always be a new learning adventure.

Self-Respect

At the start of the New Year, I was falling asleep when a strange thought pop into my head: I don’t respect myself. This surprised me because I love who I am, but I sensed there was some truth in it. Since I was tired, I wrote it down in my journal so I wouldn’t forget it. The next morning, I sat myself down and contemplated on the truth in that phrase. It still surprised me since I love who I am, where I’m from, what I look like and what I’m interested in. Then I realized there was a difference between loving myself and respecting myself.

I don’t respect myself because I don’t believe I’m smart. I’m also impulsive, incredibly naive about pop culture and life in general, and yet I think of myself more highly than I should. I also have a hard time respecting myself as a woman because I still see myself as a girl, a kid who has yet to understand the gravity of life. I’d rather play than work and because I live in a culture that values a hard work ethic, it’s easy to see why respect is hard for me in that area. But if I have a hard time respecting myself the people around me will sense that and can’t respect me. The irony of all this is I try so hard to show respect to my friends, classmates, professors and family. I want people to know that they are worth something, they are important and are worthy of respect. Yes, it is easier to respect others because I know my faults better than I know theirs. I live with my faults in my face everyday. How can I look past them and see that I am worthy of respect too?

After I realized this, I didn’t know what to do. All I knew what I needed to change my way of thinking. So I wrote down a list of reasons why I should respect myself. It wasn’t easy, and I still have a hard time believing all of them, but it’s a start. I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am beautiful; I am God’s child; I am smart; I am funny; I am creative. That is my list. But I couldn’t stop there. I needed to find ways to change my way of thinking.

I am a very sarcastic person by nature, though not everyone realizes it at first because I am more on the quite side. The person I use my sarcasm against the most is myself. Whenever I forget something, don’t understand the situation or mess up big time I brush it off by making a sarcastic comment about myself, mostly along the lines of, “Nice one, Anna,” or “Way to go.” If I’m mad at myself, I don’t hesitate to call myself ‘stupid,’ ‘dumb’ or ‘idiot.’ The more I say them, the more I believe them. So, I decided to stop calling myself names no matter how upset I am with myself. I’ve been trying to do this for the past two months, and it’s not easy. Sometimes I forget that I promised myself to stop and then other times I remember right after I called myself a name, which of course makes me more frustrated with myself and often leads to more name calling. But it all comes down to a choice. Will I choose to stop beating myself up every day, or will I continue to do so? As hard as the path will be, I choose to respect who I am-faults and all-because I am worth it.

Five Minute Friday – True

Not going to lie, when I first saw the word for today I hoped I was looking at the wrong post. Being honest and truthful with myself is very difficult for me to do, mostly because I don’t always know what that looks like. If you were to ask me what my “true self” was, I wouldn’t know how the answer. I hope I would answer “Daughter of Christ,” but who knows if that would be the first thing that comes to my mind.

When I tried to answer that question, I tried not to think about it.

I am not an open person. It can take me over a year to warm up to someone and trust them completely. Even then, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Maybe it’s because I’m scared of getting hurt. Of getting abandoned. Of being rejected. But mostly getting abandoned.

It’s happened before, I just can’t remember by whom. I just know the scars are there. People will move in and out of my life, as I get older I’m learning this more and more. but there is a difference between moving in and out and abandoning a person. The latter kind hurts more than anyone knows. But the thing is, I’m scared I do it to others. I don’t want to, I don’t mean to. But sometimes I think I get distracted by my own busy life and forget to care about the people around me.

And for that, I’m sorry.

 

 

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This is me writing for five-six minutes without editing and with honesty. It’s not easy; but I won’t stop being honest with myself and others.

Linking-up with Lisa-Jo and other fmf ladies is something I’m starting to look forward to every week. Enjoy.

Confession: An Overwhelming Week

The other day I was at Wal-Mart when I happened to grab THE CART. You know that one I’m talking about, the one with the gimpy wheel that forces the cart to constantly turn to the right. Never had I experience driving such a stubborn cart. But did I switch it out for an easier one? No, because I am more stubborn than that cart, and by golly I was going to prove it! So I grabbed that sucker and forced it to go in the direction I wanted to. I proudly grinned to myself when I finished my trip, knowing I had won. However, victory came at a cost. I was frustrated the entire time I was at the store and the carpel tunnel in my wrist started to hurt badly by the end. By the time I made it to my car I was proud I made that cart obey me, but deep down inside me I knew the frustration and the pain in my wrist wasn’t worth it.

There are days when I feel overwhelmed and frustrated. I feel like I am behind on my homework, staying in touch with people, and life in general. This past week I have realized that I am an indecisive perfectionist. I want things to be perfect, but I never know when they are (Advanced Screenwriting homework, I’m lookin’ at you). So what do I do? Take charge and make a decision? Heck no! That’d be too easy! I wait around until I absolutely have to make a decision, and usually that ends up stressing me out even more.

Why do I do that? Because I don’t like the easy route because, well…. it’s easy. I like to challenge myself and will often purposefully pick that harder route so I can feel awesome when I accomplish it (hence my shopping cart adventure). But usually I don’t feel awesome. Instead I feel worn out because I spend the entire journey stressing out over how hard it was, and then beating myself up for picking the harder homework assignment (or the stubborn shopping cart). Why? So I could prove I’m awesome. To who? I guess just me; but if other people notice that’s fine too.

When will I learn better? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I still have a lot to learn, but living in God’s grace helps me to forgive myself. So I’m going to keep trying my best, telling myself I don’t have to be perfect and then give myself grace when I don’t listen to my own advice. That’s part of what growing up is, right? Learning to give yourself grace? At least I hope so, because I’m going to need a lot of it because that’s not the last stubborn shopping cart I will encounter.

Confession: I Don’t Like the First Page

I have a confession to make: I hate first pages.

Typically when I’m writing a paper for school, the introduction paragraph is the last thing I write. This is simply because I hate it so much. I would honestly rather jump into what I actually want to say then spend half a page leading up to what I’m writing about.

Why? There’s something about looking at the first page and not knowing where to begin that overwhelms me. While I love writing stories and creating worlds, making a point to sit down and write the first word of the first sentence for the first page is like nails on a chalkboard. The first page sets the tone for the rest of the story. If I mess that up then what’s the point in continuing?

But that is the point, isn’t it? The first page opens the door of exploration and discovery. Yes, I may do the introduction last. Yes, it may not be perfect. Yes, I will probably mess up on my first draft. Beginnings are hard, but we do them anyways.

There is a certain type of risk involved with beginnings. Beginnings signify the start of something new. Maybe for you beginnings don’t ruffle your feathers; if so, let’s talk sometime. However, for me, beginnings are not easy, but they are worth it. They are worth the uncertainty because somewhere deep down I know something good comes out of beginnings. I believe they help us grow and challenge us to be bold and adventurous. If we live our lives forever scared of the first page, then we will never experience the joy of the story.

I have another confession to make…nope, that’s a lie. First pages still intimidate me, but I’ve found beginnings are worth the uncertainty and risk.