"Are you closer for the tears, or has the weight of all these years left you hollow?"

Tapping my fingers against the table to the rhythm of Someday by the Strokes which is playing in the tinny overhead speakers, a little gift to ease the longness of the day.
Three Mexican men are talking in voices that sound like music, the smell of their strong coffee wafting over to me, and even though it's far too late, I crave a refill on my own cup.
Catching their words. Wishing I'd finished Spanish.
Watching people in the reflection of the windows that look out across the parking lot, little mirages of humans, like when you turn the opacity really low in photoshop and can see the layer beneath showing through.
Laughing into my books at text messages. Shoulders. Shaking. Face. Covered.
 Making a fool of myself in public as per usual.
Have you ever realized that there is such a fine line between your movements when you are laughing or crying? The same shoulder wracking, face reddening, sounds of a person who is feeling.


Thanksgiving. And the weeks leading up to it and following after it.
I have felt this distinct numbness around my soul that I cannot describe.
As if I am an actor in my own life. A spectator, watching my family during the holidays.
Their laughter and stories and quiet triumphs. Felt hollow.

Without rawness there aren't any words that I can write that come out sounding real.
They are like the glue that you encourage to dry on your fingers, just so you can peel this paper thin carbon copy of your fingerprint. Those words are fragile, flimsy.

Two weekends ago I sat on the edge of my worn red velvet seat, holding my breath. Waiting for the music to start. The theater was beautiful, the ceilings high. Something out of a different century.
When Vonnegut and F. Scott still wrote books and people went dancing at ballrooms, men with their newsboy caps, charming eyes, women with pin curls and coy smiles.

Ray LaMontagne came out onto the stage. His music was like a prayer. His guitar reached down and started the numbness thawing, like the bright sun in March melts snow off of asphalt, water vapor rises like mist, catching the sunlight.

His speaking voice was beautiful. How do you describe a speaking voice? He spoke like he sings.
Like every word that leaves his lips is a wish. He struck me as a person that understand loneliness.
And how it feels to be afraid and want to hide from the things that are too scary to explain.

Like Rock and Roll and Radio.
This song, which I had never heard until that night, made me cry, sitting there in all awash in wonder.

"Are you still in love with me?
Like the way we used to be?
Or is it changing?
Does it deepen over time
Like the river that is winding through the canyon
Are you closer for the tears, or has the weight of all these years left you hollow?"

Slowly the shell is coming off. I'm learning to feel alive again. It's a slow process.

These next few months are going to change my life dramatically. I want to become new.
Feeling alive seems like an important first step.

Also, I'm in the process of writing a lengthy "Year in review". I encourage you all to do the same.
I want to hear about your years, and the changes that have come to your life.
Your stories are so important to me, and so are your comments.
The top photo was just me playing with my camera's self timer. They all came extremely out of focus.
My guitar playing is really bad, just so you know. I've just been trying to learn Like Rock and Roll and Radio. The photos are for Sam, who requested them. Also, justsoyouknow, I usually reply to comments.
Love from Jillian.


  1. I'm first today :). School is out for the semester, but i might be more busy for it, at least for a few days.
    I love the style of this post. Especially at the beginning. It draws me in and gives me clear picture, while keeping my brain engaged to figure out the rest.
    Thank you for sharing and thank you for the challenge. I will write you one of those.
    <3 Sara

  2. Thanks for this little (but at the same time, very complex and beautiful) snapshot into your life (and into mine). I just started listening to Ray LaMontagne songs again earlier today- they are so captivating, but that gem is new to me. I love the way music seems to humanize and revive things for you- I hope it continues for a very long time, with that same kind of fierceness you expressed here.

    Mac :)

  3. Your honesty is very encouraging! I really like your blog. Thank you!

  4. I too wish I knew Spanish, it sounds so interesting to me. :)
    Thanks for the comment, it cheered me up knowing someone actually read my post.
    And very true about the fine line between between laughing and crying.

    For me when I laugh I always have tears rolling down my face, so afterwards I'm smiling, but all red and puffy.

    I'm glad you enjoyed that concert!

  5. I cannot get enough of your writing. it's so captivating and unique and beautiful. the way in which you describe things leaves me feeling like i was there with you.

    x jana.

  6. Your writing is so beautiful. It felt as if I was there in the coffee shop.
    There are some singers that are blessed with the ability to sing to the soul. Mumford and Sons have spoken to me in so many ways.

  7. Okay so I'm listening to "like rock and roll and the radio"!! Thank you so much for taking those pictures for me!! It made my day..seriously lol. That was so awesome of you! Reading your blog is so refreshing! Thanks for all that you share. Oh and I so do the shoulder shaking, bent over, face covered, out loud laugh when I read something funny or read a text that I just recieved also. It's great tho because people always know i'm not that serious person across the room lol


  8. This post was awesomely done, kudos. You've got a gift.

    Sorry about my long absence. I've been busy. And lazy. Mostly busy. It's good to get back on the blogger wagon again. Hope you've been doing good.

  9. i think i've written 3 comments... but every time something happened, the computer froze or when i tried to save the partial comment onto word it screwed up... but whatever. we'll see if this one gets through =P i wonder how much truth can resonate within us before we're left too shaken and drained to do much other than stare into darkness and stumble after a swifter sleep. sore muscles that protest movement and prevent motion allow much more freedom than a sore heart. Grace shines through rainbows and glorious mist... corrupted beauty our eyes couldn't appreciate still blazes in wonder... but so often we want to be God. and be the fixers, the healers, the creators, the revealers, the levelers and revelers. but we need to be fixed, healed, created, revealed to, leveled and reveled in. I've never been fully spent. But i hope i get close. now's as good a time as any to see how much i can overflow from complete dispossession.

    and a much repeated note on rawness (this is the only part i've written before in a failed comment)- it shows who we are, where we've come from, what we've seen, how we think, why we live or are dying. it is effortless in it's halting and harder to forget when recorded in listeners' minds. (actually, i hadn't written that about it... i'd just written stuff about rawness. which was completely different) hope you're doing good =) i am cuse i will be.

  10. oh, holy cow.

    your words are wonderful. warmth held in your hands like coffee on a winters day, the sting of sun on the snow, deep breaths during sunset.

  11. I found your blog by accident through another friend. and im glad i did. i dont read other blogs much, nor do i write long blogs very much. mostly because i tell myself that i dont have time. but sometimes i dont read much because i seem to like to think i am the only one with words of at least partial wisdom about pain and numbness. or maybe its just experience with or learning how to deal with them.
    as i read this post i felt the sinful side of me probing me to think, "i have thought of that before, no need to read into it." where really i was identifying with the truth of that you were saying so much that in order to avoid the pain i tried to read quickly. but i want to go back now, and read slowly and let it resonate.
    you write beautifully (which im sure you have been told) and the truth of your words shake me. thank you, for being courageous enough to write these blog posts. weather for you it was courage or not, i know that it is from lack of courage that i have not. but now i wish to write longer and deeper. so, instead of timidly touching the surface of the fears, pains, healing, and joys, i wish to dive deep into the sea and pull these things out to look at them in the light of what others have gone through and through the light of the great truth of Him.
    so thank you, for inspiring me (if that really is the word...though it feels much deeper than that). and i strangely understand completely your feelings (or lack of feeling) of being hollow while in the midst of family joy and wanting to feel alive. this post i see is a little old, so you may now be closer than i am. but im feeling a little more alive as the days go on. though i have had bursts of it like you had with the song. and each time those bursts fill my heart up completely and then leave the next day. But they always permanently affect at least a small part of my heart, bringing it to life again. a kind of living and feeling that is sensitive to all around and will cry at the smallest prick but jump with joy at the slightest ray of sun.
    im not good at writing comments on posts. and i usually dont (maybe for the same reasons i have not blogged long things or read many blogs) :P but i was moved to write one on this one. thank you for your patients if you have read this comment all the way through. for i know the thoughts were not very orderly or clear sometimes. :) but mostly i want to express gratitude. you are a light. :)

  12. Abby,
    Your comment made me cry. Tears rarely surface for me, but you words sliced through all the layers I've put up for protection.
    We all have this little voice inside our heads that insist we have the monopoly on pain and suffering.
    That our experiences belong to us, and somedays it seems as if that's all we have to show for survival.
    Numbness, and the fight to feel alive makes you a stronger person. Swimming against the growing current of apathy takes courage.

    You said I was courageous. Most days I feel like a coward, hidden behind words.
    Any small little bit of guts that it takes to write these posts comes from the need to make a dent in the overcoming loneliness of facing these things myself.

    Have you ever been in a crowd of people, and looked at their faces, and the way that their words leave their mouth and felt so completely detached from the people that you love the best.

    Your words are powerful. You are the reason I bother writing. I started crying when you said I am a light.
    Because I don't care about much in life. I just want to be able to use the scars, the bruises, the tears to make others feel on fire with the need to tell their own stories, to fight their own battles.

    So. Thank YOU.
    And all the best on your road to becoming alive.

    1. I started out with not knowing how to respond but as i started writing it all flowed out and...*cough* i seem to have gone over the character limit by a good 300 words. so, if its alright i will post it in two comments, but vow not to say so much again and be more conscious of the character limit because im sure it is there for a reason. :P

      I'm at a loss for words. and usually it is rare to find me in that state because i talk a lot. but it seems to be happening more and more recently these past few months.
      all i can say is, i understand. especially with the anticipation that comes with family holidays. you finally get to see them again, and you cant find the words to explain yourself. And you dearly want to understand their hearts and feel connected, but there is a wall there. weather this wall is something i have created or not im still not sure of. i think there may be part of that. it is horrifying to feel like you are detached from the people who know you the best and who love you the most. and yet this fear and pain is mostly one that is felt in anticipating the future (at least it is for me). For in first realizing this disconnection the overwhelming fear that it will always be that way, and that i will forever feel alone takes hold. i have felt that fear intensely in years past. but this year i decided (for sometimes one must decide these things and fight the feelings in our own body) to reject that fear and push past it. i opened up myself and the hurt i had experienced. the most touching response i got from a loved one was the return of their own painful story of feeling alone. but this very same person was one i thought had finally arrived at the point of feeling contentment and constant fellowship as she was newly married.
      from all of these random thoughts and stories of the past i wish to convey one thought-we are not alone. you spoke of overcoming the loneliness in facing your hardships yourself. but it is precisely that thought of being alone in your hardships that make them so much harder isn't it? you also said my words were piercing and powerful. i didn't try to make them so, but i think when any human reveals a part of their soul to another it changes and affects us because that's how we were made. whats the point of all this life if we can't share our weaknesses and joys and grow together? and by grow together i dont just mean you grow and i grow at the same time. no, i mean we grow because of each other. two dead hurting hearts can come together and because of each other start living.

    2. and this is what i have been afraid to do. because there are times when you open up in order to grow with another person, and they dont want it. this hurts, and stunts your growth. but if you never have the courage (courage meaning...pursuing those relationships even if you know you will get hurt at some point along the way.) to start revealing (through blog, conversation or other means) how will you ever grow or feel alive. (and this is a general you, that you including myself)
      so in conclusion, you sharing your story, hoping somebody would share theirs is a huge step of courage in my eyes. (though courage rarely feels like courage to the one being courageous...usually it feels like stupidity.) there was the chance that people would just say you are wonderful and never open up themselves. but your vulnerability has helped me.
      So as we fight our own battles its important for us (meaning me) to remember they are not just our own. for as soon as it becomes only us and the enemy its no longer a battle, for there are many of them and only one of you. and you will be won over. you need an army to fight so that when you are hurt there is somebody to heal your wounds. but also so you can get past your own hurt by seeing the hurt of another and rushing to their aid.
      i started out saying i was speechless but it seems i found a few words to say. ;) although, there is so much more i wish to say that can't be said over the internet. mostly because its not words. Over the internet you cant communicate the heart throbs that come out as expressions in the face or the little smiles and nods of the head that mean so much more than the words "thank you". so for now i will end here. though its not really an end but a beginning of many new thoughts and potentials. but the bad thing about potential is the possibility of it not being fulfilled. anyway, im overjoyed that i touched your heart the way you touched mine. :) crying is a blessed thing and one i wish would surface in me more often. so in some sense i am greatly honored that i made you cry. and in another i hope for you that any more tears in the future will spring from laughing to much or just pure joy. (although we know...that wont be the case but i wish it to be a big part of your "crying" experience. :) )


"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.