Just Another Day in the Life
I’m proud to announce that I’m ready to go public with my most recently completed piece. This was written back in March when my older brother was arrested. He was given a mild sentence and has already served his time, however he is now living with a friend and I rarely see him. This piece had to simmer for a while before I was ready to put my thoughts out there. I was a little apprehensive about exposing my vulnerable side, but after much consideration I’ve decided to share. It’s nothing special but I feel like it captures the true heart of a writer. Enjoy!
Just Another Day in the Life
Today is just another day – Friday, March 02, 2012. It has been two days since my dearest brother was arrested on POM charges. Two days since I’ve been embraced in his warm hug. Two days since I’ve bumped my shoulder against his the way we always did to greet each other. Two days since I inhaled the smell of my sweet brother – the scent of generic bodywash, sweat, and toothpaste blended with subtle undertones of marijuana. That’s how he always smells. It’s strangely comforting.
I don’t know when I’ll see him again. I believe this is his 6th drug related offense. There’s no way my family was willing to pay bail – he made his own choices. He even instructed his friends to inform us that he didn’t want to be bailed out anyway. Good. My mother is hoping and praying that the judge has mercy on him…she’s also hoping he doesn’t end up being sentenced by the same judge who sentenced him the last few times…the woman is tired of seeing his face. She will undoubtedly push to give him as much time as she can.
I don’t want my brother to be locked up in the pen for too long. I want him home. I want him here with me. I want to sit on my bed and chat about music and girls and life. I want to curl up on the couch with him and sleep like a couple of pups in the summer sunshine. I want to sit on our cold kitchen floor at night and eat cereal as we talk about his crazy ex girlfriends who still stalk him. I want to go back to autumn when we sprawled out on the picnic table on our back porch and watched the stars twinkle in the night sky. I want to sit beside him as he takes a smoke and taste the sweet summer breeze blend with the nicotine from his cigarette. Memories flicker through my mind and I realize it will be a long time before we can make new ones. I just want my brother back.
Part of me aches that he’s gone, but part of me knows it might be for the best. He needs time to get clean and stay clean. When he was released at the end of summer 2011, he was a different man. He still lived the same lifestyle and hung around the same type of people…but there was a twinkle in his eye that I hadn’t seen in years. He told me how he’d gotten plugged into a prayer group while he was locked up. They had teachings, and prayer meetings. He was mentored by the older men who encouraged him to dig deeper into his faith. When he got out, he was frequently seen with a copy of The Purpose Driven Life. He went back to working at his old job – a sandwich artist at Thundercloud Subs. He would tell me about how he wanted to show his customers that there was something different inside him…and that there was “more to life” that there’s was a “bigger force working in this world”. He greeted everyone with a warm smile and an easy going attitude. Although he never said it directly, I think he was trying to show the world the light of Jesus in his own little way. He hinted at it vaguely and whenever I asked him directly he’d smile and wink, “Maybe.” Then he’d walk away grinning.
Then there was his other “job”. He talked openly with me about his “connections” and how they were almost like a family to him. He told me about how he always used honest measures and was friendly in his dealings (no pun intended). He talked about how his “boss” would try to help the younger guys get real jobs, even going so far as to help them fill out applications and drive them to interviews. The understanding was that they would never judge someone for their marijuana use, but merely supply the need weed. They know that people smoke for many different reasons. Some people smoke purely for recreational purposes…but others simply want an escape from reality.
I know plenty of people who smoke. I know their home lives and the horrific things some of them have seen. When I think about it, I really can’t blame them for wanting an escape. They’re people. They’re weak and flawed just like me and you. When I need an escape, I crumble in prayer and talk to God. He’s my best friend and just being near to Him is enough for me. I have a relationship with my Creator and I know where I can run when I need rest…but what about the rest of the world? Where do other people run when they need to get away from everything? Many people turn to sex, alcohol, and drugs to numb their pain. These people are only looking for a distraction from their problems (which are very abundant). I’ve heard the common argument, “We all have problems, but that doesn’t mean we should all smoke weed. People who smoke pot are mentally weak.” I agree somewhat, but that’s a little bit of a hasty judgment to make. Most people, who are quick to judge lawbreakers, haven’t lived a life that would prompt such actions. Imagine growing up in a home where there is no daddy…because he’s buried in a cemetery in another city – his young death undoubtedly caused by gang involvement. Imagine watching your mom and sister receive beatings from their boyfriends and not be able to do a thing to stop it. Imagine never having a home-cooked meal, but rather living on microwave dinners and fish sticks. I’ve heard stories that would make your stomach turn. No wonder those kids roam the streets like wild men. Their homes offer no refuge or inspiration, so they take to the streets to find adventure and excitement.
Anyway, that was a long tangent for no apparent reason; I guess I just needed to get it out. So here I am sitting on my bed typing away on my laptop. The familiar clicking of the keyboard provides a little comfort – I haven’t really written in months. There’s something about writing that makes me feel alive It’s like that part of my brain has been jarred from a deep sleep – somewhat like the feeling of stretching your legs after a long car ride. It’s like the feeling of your tendons being extended once again and the sensation the blood rushing back into your legs; my brain is free to move and breathe deeply once again.
There are a few main reasons I started writing to begin with. Writing provides a listening ear and a sanctuary – As a kid, I desperately needed an outlet; so I clung to my notebooks like they were my best friends. Writing is a snapshot in time – Thoughts that were once ideas floating in the air are now anchored into a tangible piece of writing. Something I can refer back to when I’m *older and more mature. Writing removes the threat of forgetting – I have always been weary of forgetting important things, not car keys or paperwork…but the truly important things – lessons learned, moments shared, flavors tasted, sensations felt, aromas smelled, hands held, inspirations ignited, and wisdom grasped. There’s something comforting about being able to capture a moment in time and revisit it years later.
I want to follow another thought for a moment – *“older and more mature”. I occasionally leaf through my old work and shudder at my immaturity. I think that might actually be what put a wrench in my writing to begin with. It wasn’t due to lack of inspiration, but rather what I feared would happen to me. Was I sharing too much with people? Where do you draw the line about privacy? Who is going to read this? What will my work say about me in five years? Will I be embarrassed?
I took a break from writing for a handful of reasons. I wasn’t sure I had developed the discretion to word my opinions properly without sounding like a loose cannon or a crazy witch pointing my finger at anyone who opposed me. I was partly afraid of being judged by my peers or reprimanded by a “grown up” for sharing certain details of my life. I wanted to let time season my mind and allow my filter to grow stronger. I needed to realize that, although I am young, I still have a voice and I am my own person. I can make many of my own choices and formulate my own opinions. I had to understand that although sharing certain details is something I should be weary of, it isn’t necessarily inappropriate to share some personal things. The real trouble was deciding what my reason was for sharing certain things and what the reasons might be for not sharing those things. I needed to figure out how to decide what risks were involved and who would have access to my personal life (wouldn’t want a crazy ex girlfriend to discove