Soul Searching

How many of you are there?

Did you know the person reading this is not the only version of you?

Who are you with your best friend? Who are you with your friend? Your family, coworkers, strangers you meet on the street?

How many dialects do you have? When do you know when to switch between them? Does one dominate the other?

As for me…. the search party for myself is a party of many.

It has made soul searching confusing..

It’s as though every part of what makes me who I am sit together at a round table and we all stare at each other in silence, waiting for the first to speak up but instead, the silence drags on.

People use the term soul searching too loosely.

The truth?

Soul searching can be downright terrifying.

Momma says “don’t talk to strangers”

Does that mean I can’t talk to myself?

Life Without Adventure.

Let’s imagine you live in a box.

This box isn’t too spacious. On one wall, you have a window; though it’s extremely small so your view is limited.

Now, let’s envision color scheme.

What colors accentuate the walls? The furniture?

Let’s say everything is one color (of your choice).

Now let’s move on to entertainment. We all love TV, yes? Think of all the channels you love. Now imagine your favorite show…

What would life be like for you if you had to watch re-runs of the same show every time you wanted to relax in front of the TV?

How long would you last?

A year? 6 months? A month? …a day?

This is what life is without a little adventure.

We live to communicate, we thrive to learn new things and see different places. Staring out that window is the equivalent to standing still.

One color, is a life without color… you’ve limited yourself.

Too much of a good thing becomes bad. The show you used to love so much has now become the largest nuisance.

But… you can turn that off any time you want. You can’t turn off life.

You might come across something that stands out to you, and you’ll let it play out to see how long it keeps your interest.

This new channel of life, it excites you! A new experiment that added a new color to your world.

This new color is beautiful to you.

You want to see more. You want to learn more.

Curiosity might’ve killed the cat, but it liberated you.

Before you know it, your room becomes a house. One window turns into twenty, and a wall made of glass that looks out onto the sea.

There’s so many colors, you’ve lost count of them. You can’t even put a name to some of them.

For the first time ever, you experience something, you feel something, that you weren’t even aware you were waiting for.

The void you knew you had, but lacked the knowledge on how to fill.

How closed to the world we truly are… How small our boxes are; without a little something called… Adventure. 

 

 

By Virginia LaTourette

 

An Occupied Mind

It’s quiet on the outside, but on the inside, it’s the loudest it’s ever been. Everything is scattered, comparable to a stack of papers blown out of sorts by a gust of wind. 

It isn’t too dark, but it is dim. At certain times throughout the day, lights begin to flash, and it’s a beautiful sight. It becomes brighter, if even for just a moment. 

You would believe this to be a good thing, yes?

What used to run smoothly, has turned into something chaotic. 

The flashes of lights are intended to be warnings, but go unheeded. Instead, we lay in this pile of papers. We stare at the lights when they come.

And we wait.

We wait for whats dim to turn black.

Virginia LaTourette

ESCAPING TO OUR BEDS

dreaming

When the moon rises and darkness falls, we look forward to diving into our sweet beds that will allow us to drift off into a dream far away from the troubles of reality. We cover ourselves in sheets, blankets, and quilts as though they’re a shield created to protect us from the stress that lies within our lives. We lay, and we think about the events that transpired throughout the day and thank the man above for the ability to live to see our precious solitude. It’s interesting, really. We yearn for the unconscious to take over our bodies, and what lasts for eight hours only seems like five minutes once we wake up to the world that has the ability to take away all that we love and cherish. Still, we look to our beds at the end of the day for comfort in escape. If even for a little while. 

Though, I cannot relate. If there were ever a wish to be granted by a magical Djinn they speak of only in tales, I would ask for the same comfort, the feeling of bliss as I drift off. You see, when the sun sets outside and the natural lighting no longer accents the inside of my apartment, a feeling of dread washes over me the way nausea sets in after an unsettling meal. Everyone around me will have a break from the world, the life that now welcomes me into it’s wretched arms. You see, the world is not a very nice place for those like me. It’s even harsher to others. The world we know is one big library, full of wonder and knowledge and adventure; but there is a price to be paid throughout it all. You must be willing to pay dearly if you are unwilling to pay forward for enjoying yourself over the limit that life gives to you. Everything you borrow, everything that may bring you joy, and whatever it is you hold dearest to your heart, will one day be taken away from you. This doesn’t  mean it will be taken away from you right away, oh no, it can be gradual. 

You can meet someone. This person you meet will be the embodiment of what you’ve spent your life searching for up ’till that moment. You won’t realize it right away, but the time you spend with them will linger with you even after they leave. Their smell will stick to your skin, their words will drill into your brain to settle and inhabit and haunt you. The experiences you share will remain with you as memories from the times you opened the door of your cage and let the bird explore the world that it had once been scared to discover. He/she can become your comrade, the one you can count on to be there when you turned your head to the side. You will share secrets with one another. you will share fears you hadn’t dreamed of speaking aloud. That’ll be it. The brick walls you’ve dedicated years to building brick by brick, betrayal after betrayal, heartbreak after the other. Each experience that tormented you like an earthquake, that motivated you to use these tremors as inspiration for each heavy brick you lifted to protect yourself in this wall you’ve built around you. Every moment you spend with this newly welcomed comfort is another brick that begins crack and fall, and you’ve no preparation nor awareness of what’s happening because your vision has adapted to the light on the other side that became bright enough to shine through the wall. The strength you had diminishes. 

This person can be a lover. They can be a friend. They can be the in-between that you refuse to label or clarify because you don’t understand what’s in front of you anymore. One day, on a day that you wake to this treacherous world, you will see that person brighter then ever. Their light will blind you, as it should, given that you no longer have that barricade to protect you. It’s done, planted into the floor with every step you took together like seeds in the soil that never grew, but were planted in hopes of it one day becoming a beautiful sunflower. One day, this person you come to favor will lie to you. They’ll betray you. They’ll no longer see your light the way you see theirs. At this moment, their light will become red. A scarlet shade that screams danger at you, but you won’t pay it any mind because the light is coming from a familiar place. This person, this thing, this life-change that was everything and nothing you could have expected, begins to slowly drift. The scarlet red light screams your name, all in the while the brightness dims and you become confused. Your nerve endings frantically prickling your every pressure point and slowly courses throughout the rest of your body. Once this light disappears, you panic because the world becomes an unfamiliar place to you. 

Once on a journey into the future along a new path beside the person you deemed your equal, becomes a lonely walk in an unfamiliar wood. Your days become slower, the voices you hear speak your name no longer turn your head. Your children cry for your attention but you yourself don’t know where your attention is, and you start losing sight of what needs it, who needs it. You lose focus, and everything around you falls apart to the floor to lay beside the broken bricks that you spent your life stacking – one on top of the other. And yet, they crashed in synchronization. At the end of the day, when this treacherous world has dug it’s claws masked in hope only to rip it out of your skin to bleed until you can no longer, you look to your bed. Your precious paradise, messy with sheets that need to be changed and pillows have become flattened over time. The fade and discoloration reflects the drainage of color within your life and it begins to comfort you, the imaginary friend who understands you, lays with you and hugs your body throughout the night. If you are lucky, you can escape the demons that trail behind your every step throughout the day and drift off to a world where your clothes become brighter, your skin gains color, and all that has ever gone wrong in your life takes an opposite turn if only to last for five minutes – and you wouldn’t even have to open your eyes. 

All until you wake.

Oh, but can’t you see how lucky you are? The sheets of your domain welcome you, the pillows you pull against your body become the extra padded protection you longed for while you were away. Your soul leaves your body and behind you leave the flesh that becomes immobile as your brain waves reach rem. Please, do share, I yearn for the ability to escape this wretched world. The ability to shut out the voices of the unknown that surrounds me in the silence. They ask me questions I don’t know the answer to, they remind me of the failures I’d endured and whisper beautiful rhymes that bring me back to my childhood. My thoughts begin to show me the lights I yearned for, the bricks that fell from every wall I’d ever built, and I begin to wonder why my bed no longer welcomes me. It’s as though my shelter is shared with memories that hold daggers to my feet, urging me forward while playing reminder. I walk to the bed and yet my daydreams dance around me like chicks around a cartoon character. Nothing is real anymore. I lay down, and the mattress refuses to accentuate my body. The pillows lack volume, and my body stays below temperature no matter the layers of sheets and quilts I tuck to my sides. I cannot sleep, because the strings attached to my limbs are keeping me from going deeper. It’s as though I have unfinished business at the end of my day, and life as I know it won’t allow my soul to experience the adventure that awaits me in the next world because this one still has work to do. It’s dark outside, and as I peer outside the window, there are no bright lights for me to turn to take my hand and lead the way. Only distant lights, lights ever so dim that I need to squint my eyes until they hurt to grasp the scarlet red that I know all too well. I knew it well because these lights used to console me. Now, this shade of red has become the only color within my life. A reminder of what life truly means. The brick walls we build, what we call trust… 

         Trust was never meant to be shared with one another. This is a lesson that life teaches you far along when your skin loses its elasticity and your armchair becomes your 8 year old son. Trust is the basis and the foundation of how the bricks you build your protective barricades with are created. Their robustness lies in the trust you have within yourself. It is this thought that crosses my mind as I lay in a bed of discomfort, trapped behind bars with every word I have spoken throughout my life carved into the metal. My fingertips graze these words, and a rush of regret, as well as triumphs, send chills to my overly exhausted body. I become one with the woman inside me that screams internally yet is never heard. She and I become a light that shines brighter then any light I had ever encountered. I begin to fall in love with her, a mirrored image, a woman who knows pain, heartache, loneliness, as well as happiness, smiles, and content. She shows me her collection of memories that keep her going through dark times, and I think back to the days when my fragility had reached its peak. We hold hands, her and I, and we whisper promises to each other as we lay in the bed that has rejected us. She tells me to trust her, and I do. A sudden warmth takes over my body, and our smiles join. The demons in the dark no longer taunt us, as we are bonded. The bed reads our conjoined mind, and understands the newfound breakthrough of self-love. My body maneuvers around the curvatures of the mattress, and pillows welcome me with a cool, soothing touch. The quilt has decided to keep me warm throughout the night, and the fear I held within me can be seen drifting out of the window towards the specks of red lights that are close to disappearing. The societal strings of the world detach from my limbs and I become the free spirit I yearned for, and the trust I share with the woman within me manifests bricks larger and stronger then any I had ever stacked. 

I close my eyes, and all that once was, was no longer. I drifted off to the world of the subconscious, protected by the comfort of my bed from the reality that is the world we live in. 

By Virginia LaTourette

 

I will tweak a few things later. Enjoy!

 

 

When I was younger…

When I was younger, I remember the envy that would take over me when visiting a friend’s house, or watching them indulge in a gadget my family couldn’t afford.

When I was younger, I’d imagine waking up in the body of a girl with a more fortunate life than my own, and I’d have been fine without saying goodbye.

When I was younger, I would lock myself in a room, sometimes even the bathroom, and read to escape the life that I no longer wanted to be a part of.

When I was younger, I was told to take life with a grain of salt. I felt as everything thrown at me were encumbrances, heavier and heavier. I looked internally for strategies to cope with the stress.

When I was younger, I’d relied on my family as well as my peers around me for happiness, and in return I was granted nothing but Sadness. I was granted frustration and crushed hopes. I looked down a dark path for solace.

When I was younger, I resided with 6 other occupants yet I felt alone. Family, but it didn’t feel such.

When I was younger, I’d dream that my struggles would become controllable and I’d learn to be free with myself.

Today……… now that I’m older…

Now that I’m older, although the meaning of life is to each it’s own, and I’ve yet to discover the meaning of my own, the path to my internal destiny is clearer to me then it once was years ago.

Now that I’m older, I look forward to life, and I count my blessings. No longer do I lock myself away.

Now that I’m older, I no longer find myself envious of others, rather I become envious of my future. “When can I achieve the success that I know awaits me?” “How long do I have to wait for this?”

Now that I’m older, my confidence has become the guardian of the soul who lost her way years ago. I’ve risen beyond the barriers I once thought I could never overcome.

Now that I’m older, I appreciate the battles that life has bestowed on me, what I once believed to have been my downfall revealed itself to be triumphant.

Now that I’m older, I look into the face of the woman staring back at me in my reflection and I become my own inspiration. I reach higher just to see light in her face glow brighter then it did when I’d seen her the morning before.

Now that I’m older, I’ve come to enjoy my presence and it alone, leaving behind the bottles of poison that once made me dizzy, and the plants of which distracted me from the world that I once felt had no place for someone like me.

Now that I’m older… Now that I’m stronger, the only fear I possess is my dearth of success.

With the exception of the dark. 

Now that I’m older COPYRIGHT by Virginia LaTourette

Why do we fear camaraderie?

llonesom e

WHY DO WE CRAVE ISOLATION AND YEARN FOR SILENCE,

When we cry in despair due to loneliness? 

“NO, I DON’T WISH TO SPEAK TO ANYONE RIGHT NOW.”

“NO, I CAN’T ACCOMPANY YOU BECAUSE I’LL BE BUSY THAT DAY.”

-Doing Nothing-

NOTHING.. EXCEPT ASKING OURSELVES 

Why do I prefer my own company? Why can’t another satisfy me?

What resentment could we possibly hold against a camaraderie?

The most logical explanation would have to be fear.

But what do we fear?

Clearly, one mustn’t think of anything aside from laughterpromises, and adventure when we hear that word.

So what could you fear?

Is it the counterfeit laughter, broken promises, your lack of adventure?

 

COPYRIGHT By Virginia LaTourette

The Value of a Pencil

pencil1

It was a lonely night, and I remember sitting on the bed of blankets my mother put together because at the time, we couldn’t afford a bed. It was me and five other family members who occupied the space on the floor, and everyone was fast asleep… everyone but me. I stood up, and stared at the ray of light I could see seeping through the curtains from the street lamps outside. I focused solely on the light and allowed my mind to wander. In the midst of my imagining mystical fairy tales that would only exist at that moment for as long as insomnia possessed me, my grandpa had opened his plastic divider that separated our spaces. The light protruding from his room didn’t wake the others, instead it temporarily blinded me since it was much brighter then the light from the window that guided my daydreams.

“Que tu hace, mija?” which means, ‘what are you doing?’.

“Nothing, I can’t sleep” I whispered back. I didn’t want my mom to wake up, she’d be upset that I hadn’t fallen asleep, and she would be under the impression that I woke up my grandpa. He gestured for me to come to his room, to which I quickly jumped up as quietly as I possibly can to escape the boredom that entrapped me. I tiptoed, lightly stepping over my families’ feet and scurried into his room past him. He closed his divider and came to sit down beside me. He was watching something on his vintage black and white TV (you know, the ones you need to operate with a dial to navigate through the channels.) I asked him what he was watching, although his answer is one I can no longer recall. We stood there for a while, watching the silent TV. I remember there being a man in a suit dancing with a ballerina.

He rose up from the bed at a certain point, turned to me and said, “I have something to give you.” He went in between the TV and the board holding it and retrieved a barely sharpened, halfway-used pencil. He sat down next to me once again, although this time on the other side. He held the pencil in his hands, palms facing the ceiling as though he was presenting the finest diamond. Little to my knowledge at the time, this gift would be worth more then any diamond a woman can possess. Puzzled, I looked at the pencil, back to him, and then back to the pencil once more. I reached for the pencil, but before I could take a hold of it, he took my hand and placed the pencil onto my palms.

“You see this? What is this?”

“It’s a pencil?”

“Yes. This is my gift to you. It isn’t new, and it didn’t cost me a lot of money, but I’m giving it to you from the bottom of my heart. That makes this pencil valuable. When someone gives you something from the bottom of their heart whether it be big or small, you APPRECIATE it and hold it close to you because that person thought of you, and it’s the thought that counts. You will love this pencil like it’s a piece of jewelry, because I am giving it to you as a gift, mija.” I gazed down at this pencil that was barely sharpened and used halfway, instantly feeling as though I was holding the key to the city. I felt so happy, and we smiled at each other. It was at that moment, probably the last sentimental moment I had with my grandpa before he passed on, that I learned a lesson that couldn’t have left a bigger impact on me had it been taught to me by anyone else. I gave him a big hug, and he the same, and I thanked him. He gave me a kiss on my cheek and afterward, we continued watching the black and white images dance on the screen in silence. To him, he taught his grand daughter a lesson. To me, it was the day I received a pencil that would represent something grand for the rest of my life.

I held onto that pencil for quite a long time, I felt proud of writing with it, as little as my name on the top of a paper. I told everyone I knew, although no one could see the significance of the pencil that I seen. Nobody could understand what it was that made me feel so proud to hold it, to write with it… Nobody could understand The Value of a Pencil.

 

COPYRIGHT The Value of a Pencil by Virginia LaTourette