read (verb): to catch syllables with one’s eyes and hoard them in one’s heart.

Where to begin, where to begin?

Inch closer to that person you adore so they can suck the oxygen straight out of your solar system, because you said it all along: you wanted to be left breathless at the end of this: Time can be such a showy, boisterous little thing. Teasing you with endless tomorrows before morphing ever so suddenly into something that you cannot catch with your butterfly net.  Suddenly, so suddenly, you are down on hands and knees looking for minutes and seconds like lost keys in the mud. Like Pennies On The Ground. Like Sequins Left Behind on the Ballet Classroom Floor.

Passion. In three parts. Or Puddles. Whichever you prefer: Lucky for me, I live and breathe within a city that defines Passion. People come here to follow Passion. People claim their Passion lived here first, before they ever sought out their name within the skyline.New York City needs an ark builder, another Noah, because soon enough the floods of Passion are going to wipe us all out. And we will need a boat to stay above surface in this city.

Learning to Date Amazement: A How-To Guide that Cosmo Mag missed: Amazement in a fine, fine suitor. The debonair skips right over the chocolates and flowers and ties the whole wide world and all its brilliant possibilities up in a silky white bow. “Here you go,” Amazement says at the door. “And by the way, you have a very pretty face.”

You Your Best ThingHow often do we forget that we are indeed our best thing? Even worse, we insist on comparing ourselves to others. I am not as good as her. I will never be like him. I will never get as far as she has. What a terrible, terrible disservice we do to ourselves in knocking ourselves down all these notches. We think, why should someone ever look to me or want to be like me?

Everytime I move, I make a woman’s movementBut I call myself a feminist for other reasons. Because of a radical cry that quakes the depths of my heart for other women, for those who have the same insides as me— the same inner weavings of heart, strength and vulnerability—and yet we are forced into separation.

The Story of a Yellow Sweater: In the most perfect of worlds I would never need to give you my yellow sweater. It could stay hung up in my closet and I could take it out sometimes and wear it when the weather was perched upon gloomy forecasts. In the most perfect of worlds I would never need to lend you that cardigan because we would find another way to bridge our distance, our gaps, and make it so we never needed a quarter-sleeve frock of sunshine to stay woven to one another.

Stay a Lover of Little Things: Be unafraid of your heart: Whatever & Whoever makes it beat. You could keep it sheltered forever if you please but hearts become more versatile the more we use them. Better that we risk them breaking through good use rather than breaking them from never using them at all.

I am scheduling a phone interview with the creator of the saying: “Everything happens for a reason…” :Of course I would not literally interrogate the innocent creator of this quotation, but I think sometimes its (for lack of a better word, or the fact that this one is begging to be put in this sentence) hard to just roll with the punches or hang tight for the reason behind meeting someone. Someone who changes our life. Someone who makes us think a different way. Someone who makes us feel like maybe we need a new color palette for the pictures we paint because the other ones look dull now.

Welcome Back, I have missed you so: She is me. I am her. The one sitting next to me, with the crossed legs, she and I share the same name. But lately I push her out. Lately I don’t let her come around. Lately I cannot understand why I am like this, how I got to be like this, but I miss my true self. The One Sitting On The Table Next To Me.

For friends…

She knows my heart. And she does not judge me for any of itMy mother always warned me not to pick and choose my friends like colors out of a crayon box. She feared the ease I found in becoming bored with one and moving onto the next in such a natural manner. I always replied that it was best to have a lot of friends. “A lot of friends, Hannah?” she would ask. “Or real friends?”

Ways to stop poverty. Step 1) Acknowledge your own: But lately I think I might just look down at my hands, the very hands that will do good, good work in the next ten months. Not notice the hands, but notice the gaps. In Between The Fingers. They are welcomed gaps. They are not there by coincidence. The gaps exist for the fingers of another to fit perfectly inside of them. Be it the Love of my Life. A Friend of my Soul. The Ones Who Raised Me. A Stranger. No matter who, the gaps do exist for another.

Best Friends: They live in our hearts but they always pay the rentThis is a best friend.Most of us have these people in our lives, the people we can call at a moment’s notice and they will be there without a second thought.To Sweep Up Our Broken Hearts. To Bottle Our Sobs. To Skip Through Life’s Wonders Alongside Us.

For the broken-hearted and those looking for the pieces…

For years following that night I thought I might tell people that closure was smashing a teddy bear with your father’s hammer until the voice box inside gave out: To close, for good, would mean to stop telling a story that we know by heart. Not to forget the beginning or the middle or the end, because that won’t ever happen if we are thinking practical. But to silence our heart when the story comes up and threatens us with sadness that perches like gargoyles on old, beautiful cathedrals.

Don’t worry miss, we all got this kind of baggageI am talking about toothbrushes and towels.She is talking about misguided directions and failed friendships.  We are both talking about baggage and so we resolve to meet somewhere in the middle amidst a tangle of toiletries, Heavy Feelings and carry-on items.

It is days like these that make wish Humpty had a formspring: I get Humpty now. I bet he was lying on that ground, his frown still intact, begging all those King’s horses and men to kindly back off. “Guys, let’s be real, you know I am just going to climb up this wall once more and fall off all over again,” he said with a moan, contemplating just how he might climb back on his wall and NOT fall this time.

Things that should break. Things that should not. The beginnings of a listWe should be so careful in becoming experts of the things in life that should and should not be broken. We can be very quick to say that a promise should never be broken, and I fully agree with that. We might gesture that eggs certainly are made to be broken and that bones can take the breaks because eventually they strengthen and renew themselves. But hearts? Ah, hearts are entities that we immediately assume belong under the list of things meant never to be broken.

For the young at heart and the dreamers dreaming dreams…

Our dreams were always meant to belong to the world but have we forgotten that we must raise them first?: We need to treat our dreams like human beings, that is, if we really want them to mean something. We must first acknowledge those dreams, believe in them until we are convinced we can never stop. We need to baby those dreams like infants, understand their weak beginnings but covet the progress. No Matter the Size. We need to smile at the baby steps.

My talents are topped with a big white bow and my gifts are for the world: When we are given a talent we are faced with two paths: we can hoard and hide it away from the world, in fear that someone will tell us that we are deluded to think we ever had a right to call it a “gift,” or we can send it out into the world and just see what happens. Perhaps we fail. Maybe we go beyond proportions of failure and measure up to a fiasco, no one can say for certain that this won’t happen. But I don’t believe I would ever be content with just settling for the first option.

And I will write my dreams with purple chalk upon a giant chalkboard: A lot of the time we want to draw our dreams upon a chalkboard that is bigger than the sky and then painstakingly erase them ourselves. Why, because we don’t deserve these dreams. We are not good enough for these dreams. They are stupid. They are unrealistic. They are childish.
So long 34th street, I was born for more than one miracleI am dressed in a sequined black mini skirt and red pumps amidst a crowd of young people mercilessly hitting on one another and I am thinking about Mother Teresa’s feet.

A guru at equipping souls with a Simultaneous Sense of Eating, Praying & Loving, once wrote that we cannot expect to win the lottery if we don’t first buy the ticket: You see, one day our dreams being labeled as “unreachable” won’t cut it anymore. They will grow stale. They might fall apart. They will tire from us putting “Cannot” and “Should” in front of them in line. And they will slink into a slot just as forgotten as the lone sock, abandoned under the bed and left praying for some sort of companion who understands their wool & texture

For lovers and secret admirers and people who easily give their heart away to concrete and skylines…

Not every story is a love story. Not every kiss comes with melting capabilities. But let’s not rule them outI know that at the age of seven I would not want to be lulled to sleep by a storybook about a broken heart and broken dishes leftover from a fight that took place at midnight.

And for a short fix of time, he and I were just two children sleeping in your arms, cradled by your transit line: I have long labeled you as a heart breaker. You broke my heart when you made me leave, you broke my heart when you let me stay.  But you healed my heart in my stepping away from trying to hold everything that you hold in my own arms—the success, the prestige, the titles—and finally surrendering to the fold of your arms. The soft features in your Face. The soft sounds in your Voice; the ones that do exist beneath a storm of Car Horns & Sirens. “Take solace in me you,” you said.

No Hacer Ruido: Some love letters stay silent: And so we sit at the table and you highlight your travels for me. I grow jealous of the borders that will keep you in their arms. I grow bitter at the oceans. The rivers. The lakes. “I am a better basin for his tears,” I want to tell them. I am a better basin for your tears.

Operation Fall in Love in a Coffee Shop: Post a sign that reads “Hopeless Romantic” across my back, but I have often wondered what it would be like to live a life skipping from Saturday to Saturday. To be so content to just sit in the presence of someone else as they sip their cappuccino and read their New York Times, someone that literally does not even know you exist.

Falling in Love: When did it become more complicated than calculus?: Falling in love is not meant to be so complicated and cluttered by our emotions and our sciences. Take away the “in love” part and you are left with just “falling.” And do we ever really intend to fall in the first place? Falling is something that we don’t really ever see coming, so lets reattach the “in love” but keep it simple just the same. Don’t think, just fall.

For the peace makers and world shakers… the activists and the Flower Children in all of us…

My mother taught me never to talk to strangers. She said NOTHING about holding hands with themWe tote our Stranger stigmas and we miss out on a great deal of people with the potential to Shake Our Souls, Push Our Limits, Plant An Idea In Our Head That Won’t Soon Go Away.

Reading between the lines of a message written on cardboard: “What do you think it’s like?” I asked her as we walked along our usual route, weights in both hands as we pumped our arms back and forth in sync with our jogging shoes. “I mean, how do you think it feels to know you have reached a point where you need to ask for help on a piece of cardboard?”

Dancing so free. Let the sequins fall off of my costume and fall into the worldThis is my hope. To leave glimmering sequins of all shapes and sizes all over the place, to entice people to pick up my words, to inspire people through my compassion, to change people through my actions. And hopefully my sequins will be picked up, passed along, always cherished and always serving a purpose.

For those who are learning to love themselves better…

Relearning Loveliness: Not ten pounds lighter. Not two weeks later: If I had two extra hours to my every day, I would surely dedicate the 120 minutes to tracking down a scholar who could point out to me just where women started missing parts and cutting themselves off at the knees. Where it began… Where he believes it might end…

“I want to be my person” The real story behind the quotation: I find myself crying out to be lonely. In The Way That I Once Was. I want to take “loneliness” and twist and tweak it into a good word, an acceptable word, a word we want on our team. I want to make it o.k. to say, “I am lonely today,” and people will nod their head and say “Oh yes, I had one of those days on Monday.” And it would o.k.

Killing Marsha Brady: What would it take for us to spend a single day being completely happy with the way we are right now? What would it take to forget about renovations to our Bodies & Minds & Souls and pay ourselves a few compliments today?

Beauty that comes in six shades of red and seven different sizesWe are fed this idea that the key to true satisfaction and real happiness is somewhere amidst a butt-toning workout and a cream that makes cellulite vanish. We stay hungry over the fact that we can chalk life up to being obsessed with outward appearance, to Always Needing to Fix Something.

You are a marvel (with or without your bright orange socks)So let me be unpopular if it means I traded it in for happiness. Let me be imperfect it allows me to know that I serve my purpose just fine.  Let me be, just let me be, if at the end of the day, that means I am me.

For those lifting rocks, looking under the coffee table or up towards the sky, searching for something larger than themselves…

Are you there God? It’s me, Hannah: I grow giddy at the prospect of meeting God at the end of all of this, just like Miller writes. I’ll bring my notes and God will bring His. And we will sit in sun chairs with a fresh pot of coffee between us. Perhaps Pumpkin Spice. Maybe Hazelnut. Together we will sift through a tangle of memories and mishaps like a Good Will bin filled with all the best finds.

2 thoughts on “read (verb): to catch syllables with one’s eyes and hoard them in one’s heart.

  1. Hi Hannah ! I’m Huy Nguyen – a student of university in VietNam. You know, I love handmail very much. And know you through TED, that ‘s very interested ! When i was young, i wrote letters by black-ink pen for my friends 🙂 And now for my girl, so romantic ! I ‘m very happy about your project ! Hope can help you if needing me 🙂

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