Monday, March 30, 2015

Colors and Questions

I have this book I write in every day. When I finish, it will encompass 1,825 answers given over a 5 year period. 365 questions, one per day, and you repeat them every year, and see how your answers change as you learn and grow. Today asked me about a quote or lyrics that resonated with me today.
"Wait for someone who tells strangers about you." Is what I wrote down.
I go back and read what I've written even a few months ago, and it's fun, because they are things I never would have captured otherwise, and I often find it a bit more introspective than something more in depth.
Today though, was the last day of the Color Festival here in Spanish Fork, Utah. I haven't been in years, and I wasn't planning on going. My original plan had been to work all day from home.
But I had an old friend call and talk me into going.
And it didn't take much talking, because friendship, means a lot to me.
And her asking, meant a lot to me.
Besides that, I never turn down a good time.  

People (myself included) placed their colored handprints, all over the walls of the temple. And I adored it. Part of the reason that I love the festival is the equality that people share - because everyone is pink, and blue, and green and purple. And no one has a skin color. And while it is about the Hindu religion, they speak, at the festival, about love - and acceptance, and that it isn't just about their religion. 
I like, immensely, the premise behind their thoughts of the festival.
No judgment.
This hand mural speaks to that. And - I thought it was a fantastic piece of art.  
I saw a Shel Silverstein quote once.
It said,  "All the colors I am inside, have not been invented yet."
I DIG this quote. And I think about it whenever I see a wash of pretty colors that escape what I would consider the norm.

The Color Fest is actually a lot different than years past - they have live music that has nothing to do with their religion like it did in the past, and they played dubstep/club music.
I died laughing when 'Bend over make ya knees touch ya elbows' came blaring across the temple grounds. Even more comical was some of the dancing. And I LOVED it.
The aftermath of a perfectly lovely afternoon.
Completely unexpected, but it made my heart happy.
For the record, this is what we looked like before we entered the gate to the Hari Krishna Temple.
Pure as the day is long.

Even the trees were colored.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How It Happens

When I decided I was going to travel solo to Spain, I had about 11 days, from the time I bought my ticket until my plane took off.
I had read a quote, as I often do, and it struck me.
It said: "Find what you love, and let it kill you."
Obviously Solo Travel covers both, right?
My family wasn't amused when I used this as an answer as to why I was going. Spain wasn't even my original destination. I toyed with Santorini, Hamburg, Ljubljana, Prague.... there's so many places I wanted to see, and still plan to.
I travel because I love it. Because to let something encompass you so completely that it consumes you... is the entire premise behind 'find what you love and let it kill you'.
Figuratively, I had streets to wander, skylines to learn, and so many strangers to meet. Literally, if something did kill me, at least it was done while I was living the way I wanted, with adventure at my fingertips.

So I boarded a plane, and when the wheels touched down in Barcelona, I did not give one single shit that I hadn't practiced my Spanish like I should have.

Because I was here. And it was going to be everything I ever imagined it was.

Somewhere along the way last year, I decided to begin with a new life mantra - which was "Say yes to everything, especially if it scares you". And that's what I did on this trip. I followed strangers down cobblestone alleyways under the shadows of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, I ate horrifying types of food after being teased and jeered at by the locals, stopped at every single gelato shop I saw, and my favorite.....?

The one when I tell people the details ask me in disbelief if

I got a password, for special entrance to a secret bar, from a guy named Alber, that I met on a bullet train from Cadaques (Hometown of Salvador Dali) to Barcelona.
It's an epic story, ask me about it sometime.....
but I followed this guy's advice and it led me to one of my most fantastic nights abroad that I've ever had. And for the record, I've never seen Hostel, but apparently my story, is almost a word for word depiction of the script, minus the harrowing parts. Go figure.  

I got lost so many times, that I was lost more often than I knew where I was going.
Even with my stash of maps.
My first night in Spain, I was up until 4 am, making friends with a group of guys from Tel Aviv. And I can tell you I learned more about their culture, spirit, dedication, and absolute penchant for jokes and sarcasm than I ever could have anywhere else. I bunked in an actual hostel with two German guys, who were so hammered I was surprised they found their way to their beds.
My second night I spent wandering Guell Park - A Gaudi creation that boggled my mind even though I know I missed more details than I saw.

I was there in Spain 7 days? 8? I can't even remember. But I have a million and one details, cherished memories, and many of them would never have happened had I done this any other way.
I traveled from city to city, and made many friends along the way.

This is how it happens.
How I find myself. How I learn more about everything I never knew I wanted to learn.

In cities that put New York's mantra to shame, I hardly slept, and my feet at some points were so swollen, that at night, I flung my shoes over my shoulder and ran down those smooth cobblestones barefoot. Especially once I hit Girona and Cadaques.

It was a trip of a lifetime as they say.
And I'm lucky because I know it won't be the only one.
I'm a dreamer, and I have more persistence than even I knew was possible. So I latch on to these impossible ideas, ones that tell me I'm going to see "all the things". And it makes me even more ridiculously happy than I am. I let them fill me up, and dazzle me, and with everything I do, I get dreams that surpass all my past dreams. To the point that I don't necessarily know how to share my life any more.

At one point I was a mother, on the verge of adopting my nephew. At another, I was married, with a future set in stone. I've been a student, a teacher, spouse, girlfriend, heartbreaker, broken, parent, and countless other things. I don't know where the divide is. The one that I decide how to merge my life with someone else's. So I create, I build, and I become better at what I do in every facet. And I don't say that vainfully. (Yes I just made up that word). I don't have a switch in me that turns off, that lets me settle, that tells me "You're here". I keep going, and I find that with every year, I'm happier.

I'm finding things, that fill me up. That teach me. Stretch me. That put humanity and kindness back in the world for me. And make me want to dream even bigger.

Find something.
Find something you love, a hobby, a dream, a place, a person.... find it and let it kill you.

Xoxo, Amy Ruth

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thoughts on a Thursday

I let the pages fall and the book lay limp in my lap. 
It was in this moment, while I sat under the trees, listening to the music swell, reading through the past. That I realized, I would never be the same. 

There are some types of memories… that sink through your skin like the stains of Emory’s tattoos. They lodge in the small dark spaces. 
These memories that won’t ever find their way to the surface again.

They just bubble up, at inopportune times, and cause your eyes to smart, and your smile to falter, only to sink back down again, where they don’t belong.

My memories of you, the good ones and the bad ones, are all of my dark spaces. 
And no amount of ink spilled diary entries will ever release me from them. The music rose louder, an intense and happy crescendo that had everyone around me grinning. But it made my insides hollow, my skin sting with chills, and I pressed the book against my legs in response. 

The memories, the song, made those ink stained spaces inside me heavy. I couldn't decide if it was the grief, or the rage, that I felt more of. 

But I put the book down anyway. I stopped reading your story.
 And when I leaned forward in the crowd and the firelight hit my face, everyone saw what they wanted to see. 
            The girl that was going to save them.

In other Amy news, as you can see, my first draft is coming along just fine..... XOXO 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

And Time Passes.. Thoughts on a Thursday

I am a person of great introspection. More so than most. It's a great combination of girl, writer, and soul searcher with a side of OCD.  I'm overly critical of myself, and am aware of my flaws, all of them, even the ones you think I might not be - I am. Trust me. 
There are moments when you look back and think of where you were and where you are. 
Sometimes these moments happen when you experience great joy. Sometimes great heartache. Sometimes nothing at all.  
Tonight I had an experience. And it gave me one of those moments. Where I thought of where I was years ago, and, I thought of where I was not too far away from right now. 

This is one of them. Those moments I thought of. 
The photo below, was taken in 2009. 

It was of a girl who was open, happy.
Who had daydreams of babies, and playdates, and baking every Sunday. Who made up lyrics to every song that came on the radio, and sang louder than the volume could be cranked. A girl who never blushed and almost always felt like she belonged.   
She dreamed of Sundays and writing, and trips every June. And being in photoshoots like this one.  
She spent her weekends doing yardwork, flying kites, helping (literally) everyone she knew, and the world felt like a ladder that only went up.
A girl who was an academic, a reader, a partner, and knew exactly where life was headed.  
It included ten fingers, intertwined, and at least thirty toes. 
This is a photo of a girl who had never had her heart truly broken. 
Who took blame that was never hers. 
Who was never truly honest. 
Who had never truly lived.
Because back then, everything had to be wrapped up in a perfect package. Where you said the right things, and you were the person that everyone wanted you to be. It was lovely, and it WAS me.
And at the same time it wasn't.  

And then, time passes. 

Years in fact. 

The photo below was taken yesterday. 2015.

This photo. Is of a girl who doesn't love so easily anymore, but she has lived. 
It's a girl who has spent Valentine's in Paris. Owned chickens. Stayed up late, and stayed out even later. Drove cars to Vegas with the roof cut off, and ran through the mountains barefoot at night. 
Who has friends in 12 countries, a passport filled with stamps, and a smile that's not as open as it once was. This is a girl who has known death, grief, and the reckless abandon of 2 am's in cities you may not have heard of. Who's danced around fires in the woods, cried at funerals, has a signature drink, and a record for blowing car speakers. 
A girl who has known heartbreak, betrayal, bad friends, and amazing ones too. 
A girl who has loved, and felt, and adventured. 
A girl who can't quite remember to take the space out of the text bar on Snapchat.

And then, time passes.

Years in fact. 

And I don't know where the next six years will take me. 
But I can't regret the ones I just had. 
I am more me, than ever, and I don't think there are many that can say that. 
I feel blessed not to be a "Stepford", with two faces to show the world. 

Maybe in six years, I'll have ten fingers intertwined. 
And maybe they'll be five of mine and someone else's. 
Maybe I'll be the girl who has spent a year in Spain, and a lifetime everywhere else. 
I just hope that whoever she is, this girl in six years, I hope she remembers two things. 

Things end for a reason, let them. 


Before posting lyrics on social media, think to yourself is it worth it? Let me work it. I put my thang down flip it and reverse it. 


Amy Ruth

Monday, January 19, 2015

Because, New York in the Fall

I spend my free time traveling. 
Running toward the things that I can see greatness in. Often I see similarities in places I’ve been, to the same streets and shops I see on the corners where I live. 
I feel like I’m home when I travel. 
And that I find a bit more of myself with every place I go.

This trip was to The Big Apple.

I have always wanted to see New York City in the fall. And so I did. And it didn’t disappoint.

There are horse drawn carriages scattered about the entrances to Central Park. I love looking at them more than I love riding in them, but the romance of it isn't lost on me. And neither is the charm of the drivers. There's just something about a New Yorker smirk that just makes you feel good, 

What most people, who haven't been, don't know about Central Park, is the enormous amount of walking trails there are. Everyone knows about the great lawn, the bike lanes, the hot dog stands.... but it's the giant black rocks tucked away in the trees, and the walking trails that wind through the park, some of them paved, some of them dirt, that I am drawn to. I spent hours this day in October, walking those trails, people watching, paying attention to the details that I had missed on my first trip to NYC a few years ago. There were few things more exciting to me than this moment, where I had all of these golden leaves, crunching under my feet as I hunted down the places I wanted to explore. 

Again, Central Park. You could take hundreds of photos of this place and never guess it was all the same place. The colors were so vivid. Splashes of green and the beginnings of fall. It was everything that I had hoped it would be. There are so many gazebos and pockets meant for exploring. There was a young couple taking their bridal photos right before I had this shot snapped of me. I remember the looks on their faces, he was so nervous! It was a fun and charming memory at this little spot. The red leaves on this gazebo alone made Central Park worth the visit. If you ever have a reason to plan a trip to New York, always choose the fall. At the very very end of October. I promise you won't regret it. 

This tree is on the edges of The Cloisters - a few subway stops up from the park, and a place that's been on my must see list for a few years now, and I've been so excited to go back. An amazing area, with a medieval building made just for a princess. It's walled with stone, and by the time I got to the top from the street level I was breathless. There's a view of the city behind this tree, and it was this moment, not the structure, that I wanted to remember. There are times when I travel, that the thoughts I think are so poignant that they outweigh the impermanence of where my feet stand. This was, happily, one of those moments. 

This is a part of the park in the sky, it's called The Highline, and it's a walking park that's built a few stories up. It stretches along the fronts and backs of the tall buildings and the path, along with the river that runs alongside it, goes on forever. There's seating areas, cafes, and a million perfect benches to stop and rest your feet. It's incredibly picturesque, and urban. 

This is another shot along The Highline,
The landscaping is a lovely mix of plants and bricks, a mishmash of industrial and nature that I adored. Isn't the brickwork amazing? I've been  trying to figure out a way to put a brick wall somewhere in my house where it's actually cohesive, just based on my love of the walls I love all over this city. Silly, I know. 

The view of New York from atop Highline. 
Isn't it great? 
I love how busy everything feels. How much purpose the entire city seems to bubble over with. 
I stood here and picked a few people out, imagining what they were heading to, what kind of life waited for them at the end of their 3 pm walk. 
Isn't it funny, how we are all on the same earth, and our experiences are vastly different? 

I remember how lucky I felt in this moment. 

Everything about this photo, I am in love with. 
Look at the details, the textures, the expressions, 
The window at the top with the two blackened squares, the wire lines supporting the building's overhang, and the trees in the distance. 
Sometimes I stood there, like a jerk I might add, in the middle of a sidewalk, just to see these details. 

I will never love the subway. I've always been a bit directionally challenged. And I've yet to have a trip where I haven't had to get on and off a few extra times. I end up going the wrong direction, take the wrong train entirely, or..... sometimes I don't even know what I've done wrong. But I always get lost at least once, or five, times. 

Big cities like this are made for small town girls like me. Bent on running from everything they know, only to finish with their adventure, relieved to be returning home. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I would choose gothic or medieval architecture over anything else. But the metal and stark lines mixed with the old brick, new concrete, the trees, it just GETS ME. This city, like any big city, is a glorious mishmash over new and old. Where nothing seems to fit, or go together, and that's what makes it so perfect. 

My decision to go back here, came from something I've been telling myself, for a while now.... 
"You know all those things you want to do? You should go do them."
But things generally are, simple, and we complicate them with timing, and emotion, excuses, fear. And suddenly a month has passed, and the summer is gone, and by the time the leaves change and come back again, you're in a different place, with the same wishes. 

So I'm doing all of those things, the ones I've been wanting to do. I already have quite a bit under my belt since this NYC trip, and I'm definitely a better person for it. The things I've seen make my heart skitter. This world is a massive and beautiful place - whether I'm home in bed, typing as I am right now, or half way around the globe as I was a few weeks ago. 
And the only reason I need to continue, is any reason at all. 
I mean,... do you need a more logical reason than "well.... because.... New York in the fall?" 


Thursday, January 15, 2015

She Was One of Them

There are women whose words come easily.
Quick wit that falls from red lips
                                      and laughter that spills too fast.
She was one of them.
A hair twister, spun too tight
                                               around mismatched painted nails.
A shot of whisky when just hot chocolate would do.
And she had a way of looking at you
That made you feel like an unlaced shoe,
                                                                    and the world was a bit off balance.
The kind of woman you wanted to catch in a hug,
                                                   just so you could feel like you had her.
And maybe you did.
                 For a moment or two.
Like the sparks in the trail of a comet.

                -Amy Ruth

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thoughts on a Thursday

It’s that big breath of cold when I open the door that shocks me. It wasn't the crash. It’s never the crash. Or the heavy green truck that shoved my car across three lanes and pressed me softly into the trees.
I remember, and it wasn't those things. 
The air inside took pause, and my hair swirled up in the air around my head. Like a mermaid’s under water. In the seconds it took me to be slammed and spun, I saw things. The way the dust motes sparkled in the light and the faint lines on the pads of my fingertips as they passed my face.
When the windshield crunched and the pines flew through, I saw the spiderwebbed cracks snake toward the edges. And a lifetime passed when my ribs met the airbag and the seatbelt stripped skin from my neck. But it wasn't those things.
It’s the big breath of cold when I open the door that shocks me. My legs give as my feet touch the pavement. Bits of gravel and ice press my knees as my hand slips from the door.
This is the way life is supposed to happen. When you've reached the pinnacle.
When you have everything you ever wanted.
It’s supposed to shock you. To make you remember who you are, what you are. Utterly human.