X-Ray Mirror

Portrait by Emma
The way in which they treat the waiter/waitress
How they feel about the weather
Whether they dog ear pages or highlight in books
Fingernails and hands in general
Their preferred creative outlet
How much they dread/enjoy talking on the phone
Whether or not they drink coffee
If they ever forget to eat
How honest they are with themselves (and others)
If they correct your grammar
And whether or not they get nervous before haircuts.

Around waitresses or waiters, I tend to be quiet, and overly apologetic. My words run together in a Chicagoan slur.  My "Please" and "Thank you"s are too liberal,  placed at awkward moments in our brief exchanges. 
I'm bad at eye contact, and must come across as being slightly autistic. 
Once in awhile though,  I'll meet someone in this way that I would love to friends with. 
In Independence, Missouri, there was a waitress a few years older than me with long dark brown hair and kind green eyes.
She found out about my vegetarianism, and we talked a little bit about that, among other things.
Asked if she had lived there a long time, a typical out of towner question. 
"I used to live in a town that makes Independence look like a city. It's nice here, though it took some getting used to. Change is like that"
she shrugged. 

Long and muggy summer days are detestable. How sweat adheres a tee shirt to my back.
Lazy looks on the faces of children. The paper fans that women carry around, not for fashion's sake.
Heat coming off the pavement in waves.
Autumn, please come quickly.  With your breezes, and un-ironic beanies. 
So I can skate for an hour and not feel like passing out afterwards. 
Leaves, and National Novel Writing Month. The bonfires and wishes. Excuses to study. Hot coffee that isn't oppressive.

Even Winter, with the snow falling all around. 
Books upon books and flame in the fireplace. Snow that needs to be shoveled from our three car wide driveway. Weekend road trips after school to go snowboarding,  bumping along the freeway in the back of some 12 passenger van, listening to music.
Tea, and holidays. The way the cold nips your nose, and how you can get away with wearing sweaters and boots every day. Photo shoots with cousins. Art class in some nondescript classroom. Running without sweat. 
Everyone complains and hop's around trying to stay warm. The cold of Bree's Jeep's leather seats.
 Sunday afternoon football which is consequently my personal "Sketch-and-ask-completely-daft-questions" time.
And Spring. With my birthday smack dab in the middle of all the trees blooming, and the first whispers of warm air after Winter. That is how I feel about the weather.

The pages of my books, lined up on my bookshelves like soldiers, slightly tilted to one side.
Little tears in their dust jackets. Graphite on the edges of the pages from being tossed into my messenger bag with my art supplies dancing around at will. 
I underline things that resonate as truth, with faint pencil. 
I used to be more conservative with marking up my books, because I thought if one of my siblings or friends wanted to read them, it would be distracting. 
But reading through my dad's old books and seeing notes in the margins always felt special as if I was seeing what he was thinking when he read the book, and I can compare it to the way I am feeling.
 The corners of the softcovers are always turned upwards, and the spines are usually bent so that you can practically fold the books onto themselves. 
Someday I hope to have bookshelf upon bookshelf, filled with all my favorite books and in all likelihood, if you find youself thumbing through one, ou will see my handwritten commentary between the lines.

My finger nails are unpainted right now. 
Usually when I do paint them, I find myself chipped off the polish myself in a bout of absentminded nervousness.
 They have their little half moons, and are only about an eighth of an inch beyond my finger tips. 

When my great grandmother, Catherine, held me as a baby, she looked at my hands and smiled. 
She told my Mom that I have my great-grandfather's fingers, tapered at the ends to practically a point. 
They aren't pretty, but they do their job.
There is a hangnail on my left thumb, and the skin beneath it is pink, and annoyed at me for not taking care of it sooner.
 I have a lot of scars on my hands, that signify some of the life I have lived through them. 
Across the back in large patches, from an a not so pleasant meeting of my hand and the road.
 On my right knuckle, a deep scar from the sharp bottom of the pool, hit while diving. 
I almost always am wearing a ring, and if I'm not, you will most likely catch my rubbing my ring finger,
 feeling for the phantom ring to play with. These are my hands. They allow me to capture all the ideas running through my brain. Without them I would be one frustrated individual.

Writing is my preferred creative outlet. Because when I write I feel as if all the the things that are bottled inside of my head get to see some daylight. Taking photographs that catch moments is lovely as well, although I try not to over photograph things, leaving a little room to remember things with my brain instead. Guitar, though I stink. 
Sketching too, from time to time.

There is something about phones that have always made me nervous. Perhaps this comes from having a childhood where I either played with friends in person, or wrote them long and detailed notes about the books I'd been reading and how our dolls where going to react after such a long separation that in reality was probably only a week. 
Even now when it comes to calling a friend up on the phone to make plans, my palms get clammy while I search through my contact list. 
My voice always falters, and I have a habit of including my last name in the "Hi, this is...."  even when I'm calling people I know really well.
Give me some face to face time, or if that isn't an option, write me an email or better yet a letter that is full of seemingly insignificant details that make me happy.

I do drink coffee. Black or with a little milk. A few degrees warmer than lukewarm. Never too hot.
Never with sugar. Never in a styrofoam cup. Always sipped slowly so I can feel the caffeine  slowly overtake my bloodstream. Somedays, if I forget to eat, though, it gives me the jitters and I ask myself why I drink coffee if it makes a naturally energetic person freaking psychotic.

I skip meals. There are days when there is a long list of things that are infinitely more important than eating. 
Eating seems so... human, on days when I feel that I need to be superhuman. It's not healthy, I suppose, and everyone in my family and some friends make it seem like I'm purposely doing this to harm myself. 
Oh come on, it's not like I'm underweight or anything. I just get preoccupied by things that seem more significant.

Honestly, I sometimes lie to myself in order to keep believing in something when real faith has long been expired.
As far as honesty with others goes, I try.
My answers can come off as obscure. Not dishonest. Just not a very clear picture of what I really think or believe or feel.

Awhile back I made a deal with myself that I'd only correct someone's grammar if it changed what they meant to say in a dramatic way. It's hard, admitedly, and sometimes I need to bite my tongue. I tend to be critical.
I hate it when I make typos.

Haircuts make me nervous. Especially when it's something or someone new.

Credit to Katie for the idea.

That made my day. We're going to email her the answer to her question
"What could someone say that would make you feel like a schmilion bucks?"



  1. As enslaving as the heat seems, it reps all the freedom I long for, even in the midst of it. And the anticipation it brings adds an underlying static of joy, lifting my levels of joy above the norm of zero, broken only by the saddest of sorrows which seem to plague me too often. Memory is a tricky thing.

    Currently, I only have two black marks under my nails, reminiscent of an intense play of ultimate and a forgotten byproduct of summer glory. Other than that, the peeling skin in the crook of my thumb from blisters, other various scars obtained from additional forgotten areas of life, the slight tremor in my fingers -eager for what I know not, but understandably strained and worn by extended lengths of boredom and activity, yet they want more- and a silver ring I most always wear, in the shower and my sleep -thinner than my others and scarred itself from years of life.

    Without writing, I would be a much lesser man and my music would be all too shallow with nothing to guide the stringed tones of rhythm or my voice. As always, a joy =)

  2. Thanks for your comment on my blog! You said you're an INFJ too... and you also live in Chicago! How cool to find another blogger from the same city.
    And I really love this post. I'm a new follower! :)


"Sometimes the world seems like a big hole. You spend all your life shouting down it and all you hear are echoes of some idiot yelling nonsense down a hole"
_Adam Duritz

I love hearing things that aren't my own pathetic echoes.