In Regards to the Dear Matron of the Colony

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To the dear Matron,

I fear I must apologize for some things. I admit that I judged you too harshly upon our first meeting, of course, this was because of the way you judged me, but the manner of my wrongdoings is of no matter. The end goal of my harsh judgment was a result of fear for who you are, the power I foolishly believed you held over me, and much more. But those things aren’t the reason I chose to write this.

I chose to write this because I fear I have held you to a standard that I haven’t held another to before. If I am to judge your vitriol and deem it unworthy of some kind of love, then my own poison will be left lonely by the same scale. Despite everything you’ve been through, and everything you’ve done, I think that deep down, you are just as scared of the world as we all are. Afraid of the big bad wolves that hunt the meek sheep through the night time. I’ve since had time to meet some of your colony. Of course, those meetings were vaguely insincere as each of the generals you’ve appointed have been dipped into a pool of alcohol, disallowing their bodies and their words to speak with complete honesty. Those meetings were revealing to me. I admire how powerfully your colony will defend you, despite the things you’ve said or done. The nature of people never ceases to amaze me. The extent some will venture to in order to protect their status or what relationships they must grasp on to in order to assure themselves that they are worthy. It was enlightening to see, because I learned much of myself in these short meetings.

I first learned of you, in the aftermath of a decision that no mother would never make. I will spare the details, as they don’t matter to anyone but you. They shouldn’t matter to me, and yet they did. The actions that you took in the short time I allowed myself proximity to you frightened me. They did so not because I was worried that you could do anything to me. They scared me because I saw someone who was drunk with power and from the outside I could see the void of that power. It made me reconsider my own position in this grand life, where I felt as if I had some kind of agency. I could control those around me with only the way I spoke to them. That power isn’t one I would trust myself to have.

To speak and distill fear into the glass frames of those around me, people who were once sand before the bombs went off. Did you know that? The miracle of sand becoming glass. It’s a phenomenon I’ve always enjoyed witnessing. The concept that lightning strikes a desert and the area around the blast will be superheated and become glass. I have marveled at this miracle for much of my life, hoping to witness it first hand at some point, in a safe condition where I wouldn’t be hurt by the blast.

Turns out, I did find this, because I saw your castle and the court, filled with glass knights and pawns, each of whom marched around your quarters and trembled, their glass bones clinking against one another out of fear for the moment another strike would come. I came to find that the miracle I had wished to witness for so many years was not so magical up close. In truth, watching lightning strike the ground before you is a terror to behold. The way it changes those around you, the sound of the powerful boom roosting in their ears, echoing through glass bones over and over.

I’m sorry that this happened. I’m sorry that I judged you so harshly for this. I, of course, don’t understand your position or your power. How hollow I see it may be a difference in my perspective and I accept that. Out of fear I have said a great number of things about you and your practices, I have decried many things + openly spoken about the duties of a guardian, but I accept that this is a position of privilege, because my mother and father are amazing. My colony, just as small, just as influential, did nothing but show me love. Don’t doubt that I have a great deal of sorrow inside of me that the same cannot be said of what happened to you. I can’t know your history, or your life, just as you can’t know mine.

But I apologize for mistaking you, in the first place, as a series of thunderstorms brewing overhead. I hope that one day those clouds disperse, and the true love I have felt can find itself in your home, in your heart. The past is the past and moving forward I will consider this more. That I have unlimited power on some days, when my stomach doesn’t ache, and my ankles don’t grind against the bones in my feet.

I was called to walk, despite these pains and I was called for something more important. To love, despite the pain I’ve felt. Some days the scars that decorate my heart pulse and ache, and I let that pain jump out to others, I lash out and I find myself relieved in the displeasure I can cause to the random passerby I question and disgrace in public.

In some ways, I understand you, but in many, I don’t. I have no desire to, not because I think you aren’t worth understanding, no not anymore. Had you asked me a year ago the answer would have been the worst I could imagine. Nothing but words meant to rip you into pieces.

But I can see that your ant hill is much higher than mine, and I don’t have a reason to disagree. I don’t have a desire to understand because I don’t want to see what changed you firsthand. I’m afraid I would lose the calm I’ve spent years collecting and managing. Having lost that calm upon the first strike of lightning and taken months to recollect it, I choose to politely decline and step away from your presence. I will choose to do what I adamantly speak about and turn to show you kindness if I am ever faced with the displeasure of meeting your demons.

I have no reason to hate you, and I found my thoughts devolving into such. Just know, that I know. I hope you forgive me, if you hear the thoughts within my head. They are not kind, loving, or healthy. There is no excuse for what I’ve thought. I apologize that I’ve gotten in your way on your conquest and I will excuse myself, in an attempt to allow you to seek the answers you need on your own. I can’t help you, because I can so easily become you. I’m sorry that I cannot help you, but I am nothing but a bag of sand, afraid to be turned to glass. Without these warm stones I will be unable to shelter those I want to shelter, I will be unable to build my own ant hill. I hope you can forgive me.

That is all there is to say. I will part from your mountainous anthill and find a nice meadow to lie down in. This will be the last time I reach forward to say a thing. You have caused me too much strife, and I’ve realized recently that it wasn’t you at all. It was what has become of you. My heart goes out to you, truly. I cannot act upon the thoughts within my head, lest I forgo the promises I’ve made myself for years. But I will pray for you, and I will pray for me. I will pray for those we’ve touched, and I will be sure to consider the terrible power you’ve shown me that I have. I will work to fix it, because I am not strong enough to control this terrible thunder.

I fear that no one is.

Condolences, Terrence Amber,

The Ant Hunter.

 

P.S. I haven’t seen a species such as you in quite a while. I thought you had gone extinct. I must call my friend Indigo, she will know much more. She has lived through the time in which your species grew fruitfully. Perhaps then I can help you, but even so. I am still afraid. I will send Indigo to seek you out one day, when she is ready, I will call for you again upon that day. Until then, I hope this letter reaches you with ease. Of course, I don’t want you to read it. I’m not even sending it to you. It will stay in this lockbox until you or I have found the strength to move forward. With grace, and with love.

With lots, and lots of love.

I’ll be releasing more fun writing as next month begins, keep an eye out! I’m excited for all the stories I have to tell.

www.linmtba.com

Also, if you haven’t yet, I’ve been releasing videos on YouTube! I’ve had to reupload the first two, and I’ve begun posting bi-weekly, but if you’re interested in writing I have a lot of information and advice, what you should do, what you shouldn’t (lots of what you shouldn’t) and some exercises to keep your writing ability sharp!

Misery Fish/Sad Aqueduct (Poetry)

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Maybe there’s something more to find, maybe there isn’t.

That’s for you to decide.

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www.linmtba.com

You’ll probably want to check in for my next post, out this Friday:

“To the Dear Matron, I’m sorry…”

A Man Smoking a Cigarette

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About a week ago, I sat down with my mom and talked to her about my life. The things I am happy with, the things I am not happy with. Mostly for the purpose of evaluation. I wanted to make sure I was still on the same path I had set myself on at the beginning and during this conversation, many things came to light.

It’s important to talk to someone about where you are at, especially when you feel downtrodden and struggling. They can check and balance you against the things you say you want. Having that is such an important aspect of growing and changing.

As I left, I felt refreshed and more in tune with myself. Knowing that I was failing some things and succeeding at others, I went about my night with my girlfriend and we stopped at Maverick to refill our water bottles as she asked me about what my mom and I had talked about. I started to tell her, and before I realized it I was spilling deep seeded fears and frustrations I wasn’t even aware I had until then. I was revealing all of these things about my life in a Maverick parking lot with my window rolled down when one of the employees came out front to smoke a cigarette.

He was tying up his apron and puffing along on his smoke while I ventured dangerously close to mental breakdown territory. When it was all said and done I watched this man turn and look at me, and smile.

It was brief, if I hadn’t been paying attention to him I wouldn’t have noticed. But it was just a short moment after I had finally finished venting and being excited about the future that he looked up and flashed that smile at me.

Now, I could never know why he did or what reason he had for smiling at me, but if you ask me, it’s because he watched a young man through the corner of his eyes as this young man fought off the evils of his own mind. Aloud, for everyone to hear. That quick glance was all I needed to see that everything I do, even the venting and the frustrations I release are seen by the world. He listened as I talked about how scared I am of the future, how ashamed I am of the things I’ve failed, how much pleasure I get from writing and how I have bound myself to a contract I can’t escape from and he watched a young man, on some level, come back from the dead that night.

I think that’s why he smiled.

We never know what we will see or hear, and sometimes it can be horrible. Somethings in life are disastrous. Some things make us want to curl up and die, but sometimes, we see bright lights flashing. Bright fires burning inside the souls of others, finding a new path or reconnecting with the path they had once walked.

But regardless of what we see, a smile is important. It is the thing that can change someone else for the better, and all you need to offer is a split second of your time. Flash them a smile. Let them know that you are there and that things will be okay, even if your presence is a flash in the pan.

It is still something, and something hopeful is better than nothing at all, I’d say.

http://www.linmtba.com

Bloodbark/Poison Bread (Poetry)

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Thank you for reading. I appreciate any kind of feedback or just a conversation. Let me know what you thought. If you liked it, what it means to you. Anything is welcome.

Tremble

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Colossians 2:10

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

Since Chance the Rapper dropped four (FOUR) new singles last week, I thought it would be good to talk about faith again. It just seems right, especially given the circumstances of my life right now.

It has been a difficult month, I’ve watched friends lose loved ones, the threat of lost loved ones looms over others. I’ve spent time with friends for the last time in a while, I’ve suffered in private and in public and all these things hearken back to something I don’t remember as often as I should.

I should be spending much more time praising my Lord than I do.

This week, I returned from visiting my Godmother with my girlfriend. We just hopped up to say hello and I hadn’t seen her in some time, she’s been dealing with an autoimmune disease that was hard to identify and difficult to deal with. As I laid in her living room and spoke to her for a while when we arrived, I could do nothing but thank God that we are given the lives that we are given.

Some would say lucky.

I think I could agree to that, but it is so much more than simple luck. I’ve believed in a Creator since I could perceive the world around me. There is something to be said about the terrible things that happen, and I wish they wouldn’t.

I recognize that I am in a position of privilege when I see the chaos and destruction happening in the world around me. I recognize that blessing when I see people taken before their time, when I see tragedy without definite reason, I recognize that I am blessed beyond measure, and I can’t take that for granted.

My life, despite the struggles and the hardships, is so fully packed with new blessings every moment. I can’t count them all. They number more than the stars in the sky.

It’s a difficult thing to do, when we are suffering, to look to God and still worship him. To praise him. It’s so easy for us to say we should, because that thing isn’t happening to us, but is that the case? Can we praise God with the “me before you mindset?”

I don’t think so. Not truly, not wholly. I can thank God for every blessing I have, but when I thank Him by regarding the curses or sufferings upon the heads of others, am I not inherently disrespecting the body of the church? Am I not distracting myself from the reality that we are one body in Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

To pray and to say “Thank you for not putting me through that, Lord. I would never want that to happen to me.” Is disregarding this biblical teaching.

It’s something I find myself trapped within occasionally. It isn’t the subject of my prayer, but I’ve noticed often, that I find myself thankful to God that I don’t have some suffering, because others do. I am not thankful because it’s suffering and it’s horrible. I am thankful that the suffering in question has not afflicted me, without considering the implications. It’s a short-sighted thing to pray for, don’t you think?

In essence we are saying “Thanks for not cursing me, but cursing another.”

Because when we look at our hardships in that light, we disregard the purpose of hardship and struggle. That we are to see these things for a reason.

Philippians 3:10

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

When we look to another, we see it as a curse, a plague upon someone that, while we can feel the pain of their suffering, we are still quietly glad that it isn’t us. Yet, if this is true, then why are we one body? If we are supposed to be separated in our faith, why would we silently celebrate the suffering of another? We suffer for a purpose.

I’ve been asked why I take so many things so personally over the course of my life, why am I so troubled about the pain in the lives of my friends? Why do I care so much, when someone is plagued by something that I can’t fix? Why is it that I shed tears for the dead that I don’t know?

It is because of this. I am one with them. Each of us, children of God. When your finger is broken, your arm feels the pain. When your neck is kinked, your whole back aches. When you are blind in one eye, your hands know not where to go.

1 Corinthians 12:15-20

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

I seek to praise God when my life is going the way I want it to. I seek to praise Him when my friends and my loved ones are in good health, with good faith I sing praises when the body is celebrating, when we are rejoicing and it is so easy to praise God in these moments.

But what of those with broken hands, shattered hearts, or infected brains?

Will we abandon the praises to God then? Because we are scared? Or is it because we are selfish? When the finger becomes infected, we don’t sever it from the hand to save the body. We apply ointment, we take time to seek it out, to care for the infection and heal it that our finger might be capable of writing once more.

The dreadful knowing that I am guilty of this, makes me tremble.

But the calm knowing that my Lord is bigger than it all, that He will see to it that we will be safe and protected, the reminder every moment that those in pain, those suffering, need me to remain steadfast more than ever before. Those in moments of plague and pestilence should not halt my praises to God. They should not stop the song from my heart. They should strengthen it.

Because we are one, fulfilled in Christ. We are wrapped in the arms of a God who cares for us all. We were never meant to be left alone, to wander in silence, with no one there to hold on to us.

We are connected, and when one of us feels pain so deeply it makes us shake, the rest of the body should shake along with that pain and let it lift our voices in praise.

Because we didn’t deserve this life. We were given it.

And in awe we tremble at the King who offered it to us.

Cut Up Towel

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Everything you do folds into everything else you do. Each moment of your life you are acting or reacting to other things, it is up to each of us to make the best out of what we have available to us.

The other day as my girlfriend and I were cleaning our house, we dragged a bunch of stuff out and cleaned up the bedroom, I worked on my office and we had decided to take a break, the following day in an effort to drum up some more inspiration to continue the cleaning project, she went to go clean my truck as how dirty it has gotten has begun to bother her. While she did this I went to work on some projects for Salt + Iron and she pulled this pink towel I’ve had for years out of a box. In it’s past life I’ve used it to wrap my consoles in when I brought them to other places. Since I’ve moved out and purchased a laptop, that isn’t necessary any more and It’s laid in the bottom of a backpack for a number of months. She asked if she could cut it up when she was cleaning and use the scraps as rags.

She went ahead and did it as I continued about my day and later that evening I went shopping with my mom, just to spend some time with her and talk about future plans for my life and my business and to get in some quality momma bear time. When we got back I invited her up to the apartment so that she could look over what we had been talking about and we talked about it briefly. Before she left, she noticed the towel still on the plastic table in our living room and turned to me. Her voice almost quivering as she asked me.

“Did you guys cut this up?”

I nodded and said yes, when she told me that it was a wedding present from her brother. 30+ years she had held on to that towel and the rest of the set he had gifted him, long after Montie had passed away and she had shared the stories of his life with her.

As she was explaining that it was a gift from my late uncle I felt a sudden burst of anger, a feeling that I should have known better. That I should have had my girlfriend rip up a different towel, or a T-shirt I don’t wear anymore. Anything but that towel.

I apologized immediately, furious with myself because I should have known better. There was a reason I dragged it around with me and didn’t ever get rid of it. I should have trusted my instincts. I didn’t, because I didn’t remember. I didn’t recall the importance of the towel, if any resided within the cotton still. I had no idea why I dragged it around, assuming at the time that it was just there because it was ratty and old and I didn’t feel a need to use it for drying myself off anymore.

Still, I apologized. Knowing how much small things mean to me, I could only imagine what it meant to my mother that these towels would remain intact. It was a physical representation of her brother and I had given my girlfriend the go ahead to slice them up.

After momma left the apartment I talked to my girl about it, she was really upset that we had ruined something that held so much intrinsic value to my mom. I was upset too, and somewhere in my heart there was this thing tugging at me, knowing the feeling of making a mistake as it clawed at the inside of my head.

I returned to my office to continue working and sat down at my desk, unable to focus on my work. It was a towel, of course, it was silly, but it wasn’t just the fact that it was a towel. Just like my grandfather’s pocket knife. It wasn’t just a knife. It was my grandpa’s. I try to take delicate care of those things in my life, because I know how much the memory means to me. I don’t often keep pictures. I keep fragments of memories that rest in shelves or in cases, between the pages of books that tell stories of my grandfather and my friends. The concerts I’ve been to reborn as bookmarks to keep the new stories I read wrapped tightly within memories. The shirts I wore to concerts worn down to slivered threads with each wash as I keep them and drag them to shreds, remembering what I did as I wore them. Hats and beanies my mother have made stick on a rack until I need them again to hold my unkempt hair together.

Memories surround me. The stone I keep in my pocket that I panic when I lose was given to me by my mom years ago. My tools a gift from my father. My words, each and every one, a composed structure that was given to me by my family. The small bead keychain I don’t keep on my keys because I’m afraid I will shatter it. The tickets from dates with my girlfriend and more all revolve around my life. Many of them hung and pinned to the calendar hanging above my main computer where I do my writing. All of them hung there as memories and keepsakes of moments in my life that I look back on often when I am lost and when I am afraid.

How could I have thought so carelessly about a towel? I wondered.

So I penned an apology to my mom. Promising that we wouldn’t cut it up and we would use it with great care in the future. When she responded, I didn’t expect the answer, though I know my mother well enough now to know that I should have.

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It made me think about my life and how I just use things. I use people’s kindness to my benefit when I need assistance. I use their trust when I want to gossip. I use the items I’ve been so graciously given by those in my life like they are just similar pieces to an ever-expanding puzzle. I allow things to come and go freely between my heart and mind without consideration of where it came from.

I thought about the weight of the towel as I held it in my hands the next day and realized that I don’t carry the weight of what we all do quite enough. Each word we say and each thought we entertain creates who we are. As time goes on, we become worn and battered, meant to be a gift to those around us. Not one to be squandered and tossed away. We aren’t impractical. If the life we share is a wedding. We are not picture frames, not ceramic vases. We are not these things that are meant to hang on walls and be looked at. We are so much more practical. We are towels to clean wounds, to rinse the rainwater off our friends. We are rags to soak up oil and we are much more simple gifts to one another. In their eternal search for purpose and meaning. We are a simple gift, sent from one home to the next to provide a service to them that they cannot get elsewhere.

Will a bookshelf soak the tar of life from the carpet of your home? Will a cell phone clean the wine stain from your dress?

Will an unused word grow the hope of another bride or groom, wandering the soil alone and searching for purpose?

No, it won’t. It never will.

Not until we look at one another as the truly simplistic and still incredibly complicated gifts that we all are. The gifts we all have to give are wildly unique and special. We cannot see it any other way if we want to live meaningfully, with purpose and most importantly, with immeasurable hope.

The next time you brandish scissors in your hand, consider your own use. Are you a gift, practical and useful in your application? Can you survive the next 31 years doing your duty, or will you wither on the shelf as you fill your soul with temporary decorations that can easily be destroyed by a rampant fire of pain or a few days without the water of life?

If your answer is the latter, consider my uncle’s towels for a moment.

Find your purpose.

Pick the scissors up if you need to, but whatever you do. Whether you slice apart the towel or not, consider what it came from. The life that it gifted and the worlds it changed so effortlessly with groundbreaking thoughts and compassionate speech.

Cut the towel, or don’t.

Whatever your life will have you choose,

Live it with a smile.

If you enjoyed this, consider checking out my website where you can see when I will be uploading next! (Every Wednesday + Friday.)

www.linmtba.com