Saturday Scribbles

risk

 

Watching love stories take shape and ignite has always been fascinating to me. It’s both terrifying and inspiring. Of course, I have many beloved stories that play out in my favorite movies and books… the list is quite extensive. I love a good story full of epic battles and grand gestures and the kind of love that fights and stays. The more cynical in my circle of friends may call these stories fairy tales or nonsense, telling me to get my head out of the clouds…reminding me that kind of love doesn’t exist.  And I honestly can’t fault them for their skewed perception of love. The truth is people can be selfish and cruel. The insane number of break-up songs and self-help books out there is proof alone that broken hearts are more often the rule than the exception.

But some of the most fascinating and inspiring love stories I’ve come to cherish, the ones that give me a glimmer of hope in humanity, I realized recently are ones I’ve witnessed in real life. I’ve seen real people who stay, who fight, who struggle, who choose to love even in the face of darkness and uncertainty. I’ve witnessed real love fly across the planet to just to be with the person that makes their heart beat faster, real love still holding their lovers hand on their death bed, real love holding together their spouse at the death of a child, real love choosing to stay even after the ultimate betrayal, real love carrying the burden of a difficult decision for another, real love weathering the storm of another’s nightmare…. It may be the exception…but real love does exist.

You can never really tell at the beginning of a love story if real love is what you’ll ultimately find. Maybe that’s why I love these stories so much, why so many of us do. Both in fiction and in real life, someone had to risk the possibility that it would or wouldn’t work out. They had to explore something potentially heart shattering, in hopes they would find what they were looking for. And so often these “someones” found both heartache and joy.  I’ve had my heart broken and learned the hard way that when you shut down and never risk the what- if’s of love; it’s not a full-proof way to never get hurt. It’s simply a way to never experience love at all… because it does exist. If it didn’t we wouldn’t love these stories like we do.

I know that’s an awfully long explanation for today’s tiny little scribble. But I’ve been pondering this scribble for the last few days since I discovered it in the notes app on my phone. It’s about the very beginning of a love story ( I won’t tell you whether the story is fact or fiction, but the ending is quite marvelous 😉 ) and it encompasses so many possibilities for me. It’s something I want for myself and in my grand quest for courage and adventure, these words inspire me to risk love…

 

It was dangerous to love him…

Like standing in water surrounded by lightning. She was bound to be burned.

He was a force she could not resist.

And he never saw her coming…

 

A Day Late …. Saturday Scribbles

rain3

I woke up early yesterday to another day of glorious rain (rare in these parts); the second day in a row actually. After a restless night and the weight of a rough week still burdening me, a morning full of heavy rain was exactly what I needed.

Stormy skies have always been my favorite kind. They’ve always been strangely calming… the sound, the smell, the beauty of lightning illuminating angry clouds. On days like yesterday, I feel like I can breathe deep and let go, whether I’m watching from my front porch or from my car window on a lonely stretch of highway.

I had to drive out to a friend’s house about 20 miles outside of town to check on things while they are out of town. So with a dark roast coffee in hand, I set out early into the rain. I ended up spending much of the morning driving aimlessly, chasing empty roads and dark skies. And with each drenched mile left behind, my struggles from the week before came into sharper focus, as I knew they would, before the weight of them melted away in the storm. I needed yesterday so much.

As I was pulling away from my friend’s house, I decided to stop at a curve in the road before heading back to face the responsibilities of my day.  I’m not sure how long I sat there just listening and breathing and watching, but before I pulled back onto the road I snapped the picture above and scribbled the words below on the back of an old newspaper I found in my floorboard. So even though its a day late, here is my Saturday Scribble.

The staccato beat of the rain on my roof

soothes the rage inside…

 

The road opens up before me,

Dark and slick and full of breath and clarity.

 

This is where my mind is truly free.

 

This is where I heal.

 

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Saturday Scribbles

eye

 

I found a scribble this week that I wrote a few months ago. This one was written across the back of my check book (which obviously I don’t use very often).  It was written about a significant experience that both broke and revived me at the beginning of this year.

I’ve been thinking this week how important some of the most painful moments in my life have become to who I am today. All because I made a choice, unconsciously perhaps, a long time ago that I would not stay broken.

Everyone has pain in their life and we will all be broken at one point or another, sometimes over and over. But most extraordinarily, we have the choice to rise from our own pieces… again and again and again, if only we have the courage to be changed.

 

You broke my heart.

So completely…

So beautifully…

I shall never again bend back straight.

I will forever be twisted in a direction most other,

Irrevocably altered most exquisitely…

For the better.

Chelsey Whitlow

 

 

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Saturday Scribbles

20140510-142722.jpg

I found today’s scribble while sorting through a pile of old photos and cards. It’s a piece of a prayer I wrote for the children in my life, jotted down on the back of a baby shower invitation.

I’m reminded with these words how precious life is and how important it is to instill in our children equal parts hope and perseverance. Life isn’t easy, but some of the most beautiful things come from even the harshest of journeys. And we could all use a few good words spoken over us now and again.

 

May you have strong wings
to fly wherever life may carry you…
And the good sense to always know your own direction…

May you never let fear cease your dreaming …
And may you always find the strength to stand.

Chelsey Whitlow

 

 

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A Short Story

cafe

To Be Seen

By Chelsey Whitlow

 

Annie huddled protectively over her book and cinnamon tea; tiny curls of steam escaping through the cracks in her fortress. She chose her position in the small bookstore café unconsciously; always in search of out of the way corners at an attempt at invisibility. Years of insecurity had rounded her shoulders and taught her eyes their downcast habits.

Tucked away into a dark corner table, she buried her chin deeper into the folds of her floral scarf, releasing a heavy sigh. Inhaling then the spicy cinnamon steam, she prayed it would somehow magically transform her into someone beautiful and courageous…someone who didn’t slump in corners or shy away from passing glances. Her insides had always felt like so much more than the bent shoulders and armor of layered clothing on her outsides; she just didn’t know how to uncover them yet.

Carefully opening her book to the bookmarked page, she sank quickly into a world where confidence became her second skin…instead of the fear of being discovered.

James watched her quietly from a book shelf nearby, pretending to straighten the row of books at his fingertips. Long red hair, the colors of a desert sunset, washed down over her hunched shoulders and concealed her face. He’d seen her walk by moments earlier. Anxious eyes met his for only an instant as she hurried past him. That instant was long enough though, to catch a glimpse of the most incredible eyes. They couldn’t really be described as a singular color, but more a portrait of a thunderstorm; all swirls of gray and green and blue brimming with electricity and ready to crash out over the universe.

Beautiful.

How easy it would be to get swept up in that storm…

Standing a few inches over six feet, James could just see the curious red-head over the top of the bookshelf, without making it too obvious he was staring. He watched as her shoulders lifted in a sigh, her head burrowing deeper into her book. Silently, he willed her to turn those stormy eyes in his direction. “Just lift up your head…” he whispered to himself. “Let me see…”

He’d never wanted a girl to see him so terribly.

Annie felt the weight of a stare pressing between her shoulder blades, tearing her from the safety of the story beneath her fingers. She froze, like a rabbit cornered by a wolf, her breath catching in her throat. Her heart beat picked up, reverberating loudly in her ears. Blinking at the now unfocused words in front of her, she wanted so badly to look up, curiosity scratching at her eyelids. “You’re just being paranoid.” She reprimanded herself. “No one would be looking at someone like you.”

A squeal of laughter broke out over the café. Forgetting her paranoia, her eyes snapped up in the squeal’s direction. The source turned out to be a tall, gorgeous blonde, unabashedly flirting with the slack-jawed barista. She’d seen her before. “If only ….” Annie thought, envious of the blonde’s particular brand of confidence and beauty.

Sweeping a strand of hair behind one ear, Annie absent-mindedly scanned the room on the way back to her book. Just before her eyes returned to the safety of her story, they were captured by warm honey colored eyes and a shock of shaggy, dark blonde hair, peering out over a bookshelf. Her heart stopped for a beat, a tiny gasp escaping her lips.

Someone was watching her.

“Whoa.” James exhaled in a rush; not realizing he’d said the word out loud. Though her face was plain and her build slightly bigger than average, the force of her thunderstorm eyes and sunset hair struck him deeply, nailing him in the chest. A potent combination.

He couldn’t breathe. Drawn to her, he slowly edged around the bookshelf, desperately hoping she wouldn’t run.

She couldn’t look away. Frozen in place, she knew she was caught.

Time stilled around them.

Unable to stay away, he took the first step in her direction. Something told him those eyes held a secret begging to be unearthed and he wanted to be the one to uncover it.

Unable to even blink, she watched him approach as if in slow-motion. Something told her she wouldn’t walk away the same as before.

 

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Saturday Scribbles

i am

 

Found this scribble the other day stuffed in between my couch cushions, scrawled across the back of a junk mail envelope. This week I’ve been really trying to embrace the parts of myself that I have kept under close guard (there are quite a few of them). I’ve feared some of these pieces for a long time, and they are, in fact, beautiful and deserve a little daylight.  This scribble was a little gift, written who knows how long ago… a note of wisdom appearing at just the right time.

I am reminded this morning, when we forget we are a collection of beautiful and tragic and wonderful and broken pieces, and start to hide away the less accepted bits, that’s when I believe we truly lose our freedom.

 

I am a collection of

broken hearts and

wounded souls.

I am both

tragedy and joy.

I am scarred and

grateful.

I am both

acquainted with the dark

and a force

fueled by light.

I am a passionate spirit

And a good heart.

I am both

guarded

and

endlessly curious.

And I will not cease.

Chelsey Whitlow

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