Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Miami marked my second business trip with DRIP. We booked a private performance and I was excited because even though I am born and raised in Florida this was my first visit to Miami. 

Dimitri doing some last minute repairs before packing the van. 

As we headed into Miami I was astonished by the tangled mass of concrete highways. I had never seen so many overlapping layers of traffic. 

A view of the sprawling city skyline. 

Angel looking at Miami through the rain splattered window of the van. 

I spotted this lovely insect by the pool of our hotel. I was never able to figure out what kind of bug it was but I was amazed by its shiny, iridescent abdomen with a flash of red at the tip. 

Our lovely dancers playing on the beach. 

Dimitri applying some sunscreen. 

A peachy sunset on the way home back to Orlando.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Fight

Fights are a common feature of my life. I came from a large and argumentative family. My father gains the advantage by shouting, my mother digs her heels in patient defiance, and my quarrelsome siblings and I were always fighting for rank. Former friends would wear me down with their passive-aggressive tendencies and ex-boyfriends would expect me to bow to their demands without compromise. And I with my strong personality have never been one to let others walk over me.

But you fight like no one else I have ever met.

You text messaged me to cancel the day we had planned. You had just started your shift at work and I was curled up in my sheets trying to sleep in on my precious day off. Never mind that it was five in the morning. I looked at your message with a sleepy broken-heartedness. I felt like our day together was ruined before it even started. I put the phone back down without responding. I didn't want to deal with you. 

A few hours went by and my silence was making you uneasy. You sent another message offering to make other plans but I refused. Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the let down but I couldn't hide my anger any more. I finally responded. 

"To be perfectly honest I feel like I started my one day off arguing with you and I am in such a shitty mood already. I don't want to hang out with you today and it kills me to say that."

I soon as I sent the text I burst into tears. This is the part where I speak my mind and brace for the retaliation. I didn't have to wait long for a response but it was not what I expected. 

"I'm going to call you after I get off work, will you answer?"
I started at the message with a weary smile. I knew you were trying and I felt disarmed.
Without hesitating I wrote back. "Yes, I will answer."

You see, I have been told many times about how unpleasant I am to deal with in a fight. I just wanted to be understood. Anger is just the last resort after being polite has failed. Most people go through life trying to hide their feelings to save friendships. But I was more afraid of the relationships I would have if I didn't fight. I wasn't going to pretend that you didn't break my heart. 

In the past when this happened with others they would storm off and call me names. They would arrogantly wait for me to cool down until I was rational again in their eyes. But you are nothing like them. You jumped right into the fire. 

You didn't do it out of fear and you didn't do it because you thought it would appease me. You did it because you cared enough about us to make sure we were still okay. I am not used to this kind of sincerity on bad days and for that you have earned my loyalty. I am a sucker for someone who keeps trying out of the goodness of their own heart. 

You called me when you got out of work and I did answer the phone. What struck me was that the first breaths out of both our mouths were apologies. Our instinct to take care of each other overrides any pain we may have caused. 

After a brief pause you heard me sniffle and wipe some tears from my eyes. 

"Do you want me to come over?" you asked
"Yes, please" 

You were at my apartment moments later and we embraced in the doorway. We sat and talked for hours. We talked until we were both okay again. It was never about what we were going to do that day, only that we spent the time together. It was not the day at the beach I had so badly wanted, but something about sitting across from you in that tiny kitchen in my pajamas with tear soaked cheeks reminded me that our love is one of the most honest and beautiful things I've been a part of. What a treasure it is it be in the company of someone who fights as hard as I do and for the right reasons. 

The following day we found ourselves at your place. After lunch you brought out your guitar, something you are normally very shy about. You played new songs for me until we were sleepy and sinking into the couch cushions. As I laid there with heavy eyes I watched you strum to the sound of the rain falling on the grass. I know my tempestuous heart is safe in your anxious hands, and what a perfectly unique fit it is.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I took this photo in the backyard of my parents house. This tree was taller than all the others with one large branch reaching upwards towards the clouds.

I love the way the small, spear-shaped leaves create a ruffled cluster against the backdrop of the cotton filled sky. This picture contains a small range of shapes and colors, however, it is bursting with rich texture and depth.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rise Phoenix

I am in charge of doing several of the hiring interviews for my job. Right from the start his resume stood out. And the more resumes I read, the more I kept going back to his. The initial phone interview went well and called him again to set a time for him to come in and begin working.

When I tried to confirm a time he snapped at me.


Needless to say I was taken aback. I ended the conversation abruptly and starred quizzically and my phone.

"Wow" I thought "I guess I'm not going to be calling him back."

Surprisingly he actually called me back later that night but I didn't listen to his voicemail until the following day.

He apologized and explained that he was having a bad day. I was touched by the sincerity in his voice. I called him back to offer him a second chance.

I got to work early with Liz to help set up. We were outside on a break and I told her the new guy was coming today. I told her that I had this inexplicable feeling that he was going to be a smoker and that he was going to be covered in tattoos.

Almost on cue a man walked up to the building. I looked at Liz and said "I'll bet that's him."

"No way" she laughed, "he's not supposed to be here for another three hours".

The man approached and asked if either one of us was named Melissa. I told him that I was.

Turns out he was the man I had interview over the phone. And he was three hours early. Both of his arms were covered in tattoos and he reached into his pockets to find a lighter for his cigarette.

I turned to Liz and smiled "I knew it."

He handled the job very well. At first he was very quiet but I began to realize that he wasn't used to having fun at work. We broke him in with jokes and water balloon fights. We began to laugh about that time I almost didn't call him back.

The truth was his apology showed me that he had character and I was happy to have him be part of the team. His appearance suggested at someone who partied and drank a great deal, but his energy hinted at a powerful transition. He had one foot in his party life that he wasn't quite ready to let go off, and another foot ready to take the leap into establishing a powerful career. I always had the sense that he would do great thing.

One day I was walking behind him when one his tattoos caught my eye. I grabbed his arm and pulled him to a stop.

"This one is your most recent one, isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is."

It was a large tattoo taking up all the space from his elbow to his wrist. It was of a Phoenix rising up from its own skeleton in a fiery blaze.

"Do you know anything about the Phoenix mythology?" I asked
"Not really" he admitted "I picked it because it looked cool."

I looked at him in shock.

"I can't believe you don't know anything about it. The Phoenix is a mythological creature that rises up from its own ashes to be born again stronger and more powerful than before. You are Phoenix."

It wasn't until after that conversation that I learned more about him. His rocky childhood, his parents divorce, and the years of wild partying and drug abuse. He was even in a coma for several days as a child because he had been hit by a car going 70 miles an hour. His doctors tried to get his parents to pull the plug on him because they were that certain that he wasn't going to make it.

Yet the man I saw before me was so different from his past. Still a product of it, he was moving in direction that would take him to such great things. You could tell he was a man who wasn't going to let his past define him.

We would always spend a little time each day talking about his life goals and what he wanted to accomplish. He had great instincts but struggled a little bit when it came to leaving some elements of his past behind. He didn't seem to get too much support from friends and family.

"I think this is why I am supposed to know you" I said to him one day. "So I can be that voice OUTSIDE your head that lets you know you are doing the right thing. You are smart, you are a hard worker, and you have the ambition that can take you anywhere in life. Sometimes you just got to shake that dust and know what's right for yourself."

He nodded.
"I hope I know you for a long time" I added, " You will go on to do so many great things."

One day I happened to be driving past his apartment on the way to work and I called to offer him a ride.

"Actually I need to talk to you" he said. "My friend got me a job where he works and I start training tonight. I don't think I can work with you anymore."

My stunned silence was taking up all the space between us. If I have to be honest with myself I knew this day would come but I didn't think it be so abrupt.

"It's nothing personal" he tried to reassure me. "I just need the money."

He was used to seeing me handle any crisis with grace and fortitude, but this time was different. This time I let the struggle show.

"How could you have so little respect for me and Liz that you would do this?" Tears welled in my eyes. "The worst part is I feel like I'm losing a friend. I've lost a lot of friends over the years but this is the first time I've lost a friend to money and that is an awful feeling. I don't think you realize how many people you beat to get this job and how highly you were respected."

He started to realize what he had done and offered to move his training back. I said no. I could tell his heart was no longer with us.

"I doubt I'm ever going to see you again and it kills me to think that this might be the last conversation I may have with you. I never wanted this to be on bad terms. I've so much respect for you and this hurts."

"I'm sorry" he said. There was a definite sadness to his voice. He wasn't expecting me to cry. I knew he wanted to say something more comforting but he couldn't find the words.

I took a deep breath. "I hope you are happy at your new job".

I was stuck in traffic for over an hour. I was still wiping tears from my face when Liz came out to greet me. She wrapped her arms around my neck and squeezed.

"I am so sorry" she said
"Me too."

My Phoenix, you are such a powerful creature. You are tougher than you realize and more loved that you will ever know. It is much harder to rise from the ashes of a fire that you started yourself, but I will always encourage you to rise. Some bridges are going to burn but that's why it's so important that you learn to fly.

Someday I want to met you again. I want you to look me in the eye and say with pride, "Look at all the things I have done."

And I smile at you and say "I know."