Recently The Rapid moved the Woodland Mall bus stop and put these notes on the old bus shelters to inform passengers. The notes are full of typos, have no punctuation marks, and have improper capitalization, making The Rapid look sloppy and unprofessional. I apologize for the poor quality of the photograph; the only camera available to me was the one in my ten dollar cell phone.
Isn’t it true? What we lack in courage, we make up for in judgement.
Refuse to be a critic. As I grow more confident as a creator, I find more strength in my connection to other artists. As I become more comfortable in my own skin, I see beauty in other’s. We all have something to offer.
I call myself a creator because I can’t quite call myself a musician, nor a writer. I am not just one, I am both. I also create other things, but the most important creation to me is my voice. Not the sounds that come from the vibration of my vocal folds, but the voice as a collaboration of my written thoughts paired with music, used as a tool to reach. My voice and a collective voice.
It’s not totally understood why I place so much emphasis on this voice. Maybe because my entire life I have found it easier to put my pen to paper instead of opening my mouth. It’s been difficult to wear my heart on my sleeve and connect with other’s. Always a communication barrier; a wall of brick and mortar. Although with age, it seems to get easier but it’s still an uphill battle. So for me, it’s pertinent to overcome these obstacles for others and hope that I can overcome them myself.
There is no doubt that I focus my energy on my music and writing even when most probably think that I should be devoting my time to building my business in the salon. But hair is just that: a minuscule form of art that only incorporates a fraction of creativity that my mind and heart can give. It’s my trade. Music is, and always will be, my heart. Writing is my work. Performing is my passion. Connecting to people is my driving force. My work is fueled by the chance to overcome all language barriers to unite souls like puzzle pieces.
So I am called to share this. I am called to reach out and spread my compassion to other’s. If I can inspire one person to be a better human, to love themselves, respect their peers, love and cherish animals and their relationships and dive deep into their passions no matter what, my work has been rewarded. But the job is never finished - I will work until my hands collapse and my voice box bleeds.
Momentum. Such a great word. Something we must keep. But it must be a controlled motion; a slow, steady burn of a candle, not a holiday sparkler. Those sparklers only come once a year and will dazzle your eyes for a mere 45 seconds until we move onto the next. But that candle? We leave it out year round, adopt it as a daily routine and a regular fixture in our homes. That’s what I want to be. I hope for longevity, not to be remembered as a quick fling. I want to reside in the subconscious of my receivers.
Good work takes time. Hard work is a lifestyle. Only support from here on out.
It’s not quiet enough out here.
There is beauty in the trees but
I can’t seem to find peace
in my soul.
The music sings, but does she?
Everything breathes life around me:
a gentle breeze whispering serenity,
leaves dancing while birds chant their melodies
ever so softly.
Blades of grass trembling while
the sun speaks to a trickling creek, glistening.
If I sit still enough, for just a few moments as least,
through the wood of the park bench,
I can even feel a subtle throbbing of a heart beat.
The flow of electrons surrounding my body
should force me to feel instinctively alive;
but I’m stone inside.
Paralyzed by fear of losing everything.
Stiffened by self-doubt; silenced by worry.
It’s not that I feel I’ve worked so hard to get to
where I need to be; quite the contrary.
In fact, it’s the fear that I haven’t given everything in me
to make this work.
It’s being on the brink of something beautiful,
and losing the race of that swinging pendulum.
I’m terrified that I’ll let go.
That everything I’ve dreamt up
will sink and fade and bury my hope.
I love too strongly.
My infatuation: debilitating.
My passion is a weapon that will
ultimately end me.
But if I can’t make use of my time the way
I was designed to do so,
what’s the point in living?
what is my purpose for breathing?
I don’t want to feel emptiness.
I don’t want to yield resistance.
I can’t let the world kill me this way.
She’s afraid of public speaking.
He’s afraid of rejection.
She’s scared of insanity
and it’s not perfection he seeks,
but the chance of things never
getting better that he’s afraid to see.
So how do we improve things?
How do we think differently
to divert our minds from absurdity?
If we reject our fears and
take back the steering wheel,
will we be able to sing to our family
from the passenger seat?
will we be proud to speak our thoughts
and communicate effectively?
or will we break?
will we lose faith in everything
we were bound to create?
My worst fear is falling.
Falling from heights so high
that my heart collapses and I
lose sight of everything
I set myself up to be.
I’m petrified to the core-
freezing the marrow of my bones-
that I’ll always be just two
steps out of reach.
My dreams of flying are reoccurring
in my conscious and in my sleep.
I’m terrified to lose those wings.
But, I guess when you’ve reached the bottom
there is nowhere to go but up?
At least, that’s what they tell us.
But I was taught differently.
I was told to question everything.
But it seems that maybe my questioning
is becoming a mere disability,
because I have found no greater contradiction
than faithfulness and intimidation.
©Jennifer Bartlett 2011
…what is your worst fear?
it’s like reading a book someone else wrote.
so this is where we come to die
with cement walls and fluorescent lights
chasing ghosts down hallways of white
hoping God will hear our cry
we plead in desperation
as we lay on beds hard as stone
our tears fall in moderation, these days
as our bodies turn cold as stone
we speak to the angels, do they hear us cry?
will they lift our souls when our bodies die?
this is where we come to say goodbye
our fears grow stronger and hopes collapse
as the ticking clocks show no remorse
we cling to every loving hand
as we let death tread it’s course
their eyes glaze over in defeat
as the pain sinks deeper into our bones
stare up at photos of family
only to remind us that we die alone
we speak to angels, but they dismiss our cries
we won’t make it out alive, this time
we’ve come here to say our last goodbye
©Jennifer Bartlett 2011