Driving

Over the years I’ve experienced a bunch of different people while driving. You’ve got the people who have major road rage for no reason, the old person who goes 25mph in the fast lane, and the impatient person who weaves in and out of people. We’ve all encountered them, but what about the people who make you smile?

Every time I go to my job and pay the toll I go in the same two lanes.  One has an older lady who greets you with a smile, tells you to drive safe and to have a great day. She instantly brightens my day by how warm she is. The other toll worker is a younger guy that always has an inviting smile and looks a little to long at me but not in a creepy way. No matter what I look like he’s looked at me like that, no makeup or full makeup. It’s nice to know a small interaction like that boosts my confidence for the day.

I remember years back I was driving home from breaking up with my boyfriend at the time and I was stopped at a red light with tears rolling down my cheeks. I felt the person next to me looking and I faced them. She mouthed, “Everything will be okay,” and gently smiled at me. A small gesture like that eased the pain a little and I was able to calm down. I said thank you and she nodded back. I never forgot that because I remember thinking, there are kind-hearted people in this world.

A couple years back I was on the highway and this car matched my speed. We made eye contact and he mouthed, “You’re beautiful”. He then proceeded to roll down his window and ask for my number as we kept driving. I laughed and speed away. That dude had some balls. I felt real good about myself after that.

I’ve also been on the other side of these encounters. I was stuck in traffic with no rush to get anywhere. I forgot what song was on the radio, but I was jamming out to it and the person next to me going the other way, who was also stuck in traffic caught me. I wasn’t even embarrassed and I continued to sing and car dance. He laughed and said thank you. I’m glad I made someone’s day turn around, because we never know what is going on in other peoples life. Maybe they need a quick pick me up to change their mood and just by being kind or goofy you can be that.

So forget the rage, rush, and go around the older people. Remember that you can make a difference in someone’s day in that couple of seconds of eye contact.

-AMP

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The Norm

Enter a room with heads looking down,

atmospheres deadly trying not to get sucked in.

“Hi”

Click click click click

Send. Scroll. Swipe.

Seated.

“How was your day?”

Upload. Download. Reload

Waiting……waiting….

Exit. Tap. Scrollllllll

Ignored.

Swipe.

Across the table you’re face is a glow.

Tap tap tap.

I order.

Food comes.

Snap, snap, filter, upload.

Waiting……..

Likes, comment, eat.

“Good?”

Nod.

Check, card, leave……

Repeat.

-AMP

The Darkness Within

 ALBANY PSYCHIATRIC CENTER, ALBANY, NEW YORK-DAY

July 16, 2017

Woke up today hoping that what happened last night was just a nightmare that faded away like the ones before. Instead reality blinded me with bright white walls. I’m in an isolated room where no outside light can filter. These four white walls stare at me, not a picture in sight. The only furniture in the room is a black desk with a chair and a bed. My head is on the opposite side of where it should be and all I could do is stare at the ceiling and get lost in the events that just happen to get me here.

 

WELLS MANOR, ALBANY NEW YORK, LAST NIGHT

“They’re not real….they’re not real….just wake up…. just wake up… It’s all in your head.”  I opened my eyes to see a dark figure in front of me and yelled, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHAT DO YOU WANT?” On the other side of the door I could hear my brother shout, “Lacie what’s going on? Open the door and talk to me!” All the blood rushed to my head and all I could hear was the pounding of my heart.

No one would believe me if I told them what has been going on ever since I was little, so I’ve always kept it to myself by writing about it. Now everyone is going to think I’m insane for just thinking I saw something that wasn’t the norm. Why now have they come out of my dreams? Did I fall asleep? Am I dreaming?

I felt a tear drop down my face before the flood of anxiety hit. “Open the door Lace! Tell me what’s going on?” he pounded at the door. Finally kicking it open Devin tried to pull me in his arms but I thought it was one of the shadows grabbing at me, so I started flailing my arms. “Open your eyes! Lacie! Open your eyes! It’s me Devin!” I kept swinging hoping to leave a mark or something, but the next swing was blocked and he threw me on the bed forcing me to look at him. “What’s going on? What happened?”, he asked breathlessly searching for answers I couldn’t give him. My eyes became wider as I saw one right behind him, but by the time Devin jumped around it disappeared.

He walked around the room looking through my closet, bathroom, and even outside the window as I sat on my bed in a catatonic state. “I don’t see anyone Lace. What did you see? Talk to me”, he sighed frustrated at the fact that he couldn’t help. Trying to shake the images of murky shadows from my mind, I covered my ears and started humming. I felt Devin scoop me up, making me feel even more helpless and pathetic than I did before.

In the grand living room the works of Rembrandt, van Gogh, and Monet snickered at the sight of me like they knew I was just as crazy as they were. Mary, the maid, wrapped me up in a blanket and brought me a cup of tea. I couldn’t look either of them in the eyes so I concentrated on the flames in the fireplace instead.  Devin walked into the room, his jaw clenched tight and his eyes low, after getting off the phone with the family psychiatrist. He sat by my side with a million questions in his head, but he could see that I wasn’t ready to give any answers.  Instead we just sat, the silence dancing between us.

I could tell that he was assessing my body language as soon as he stepped through the door. I could only imagine what’s going through his mind about my emotional stability. “Hello Lacie, how are we feeling today?”, he was talking to me like I was a 3 year old. I took my focus back to the fire. His rebuttal was pulling out his pad and taking “notes”. “You gave your brother quiet a scare. Can you tell me what you saw in your room?”, he paused looking from Devin to me, “You’re brother said you were yelling at someone, but when he came in there was no one. Was there someone in your room?” He was staring at me so sternly like he was trying to pull the thoughts out of my brain, but I couldn’t tell him….not yet.

She hasn’t said anything since I brought her down Dr. Hartnet,” Devin chimed in when he realized I wasn’t going to budge. The doctor’s bald head slowly turned to Devin, “It seems like she’s in shock. She looks spooked and in order to get to the bottom of this I’ll need to bring her in for some testing.” I flinched when he said that and he continued to write down his accusations as if I were a science project. Devin and Dr. Hartnet walked into another room thinking that I wouldn’t be able to hear them. I’m “crazy” not deaf.

“It’s that serious? Are you sure she’s just not having a bad day?”, he asked once they got out of the room. Dr. Hartnet flipped open his notepad and stated, “By the way she’s resisting talking about it, her body language, and the fact that you didn’t see anything, she needs to be brought it. We have to see what is going on in her head to diagnosis the problem.” Looking at the calendar and trying to buy more time Devin replied, “Well my parents won’t be home for another couple of days. I tried to call them earlier but their phones went straight to voicemail.” Dr. Hartnet nodded and they both headed to the door. Taking one last look at me like I was a circus freak he instructed, “Well as soon as you get a hold of them have them give me a call.”

I heard the click of the door and saw Devin and Mary making their way back to me. Looking into my tea I said “I didn’t want to talk to him….I’m not crazy I swear. It’s just no one would believe me if I told them what I’d seen and I don’t want to end up in the loony bin,” I looked up at that moment and pleaded, “Please don’t let that happen to me.” A tear rolled down my cheek as Devin embraced me, protecting me from the world and whispered, “Everything will be okay. You’re just going to have to open up to us.” Taking a deep breathe I stammered, “I…I can’t Dev….not yet.”

ALBANY PSYCHIATRIC CENTER, ALBANY, NEW YORK-PRESENT DAY: EARLIER

With our parents being out of the country Devin was the only one who could take me for my “tests”.  All I could think about is how that word alone makes me feel like a lab rat. We’ve been here all morning at the Albany Psychiatric Center. I’ve been studying Dr. Hartnet’s office. There are dark wood cabinets, an OCD organized desk, and The Rorschach test, aka ink blot tests, as artwork hanging on the white walls. In my mind the best word to describe it was “sterile”. Devin hasn’t stopped pacing since we got here. He’s more nervous than I am considering the fact that I’ve been sitting here quietly waiting for my results. My body stiffened as the doorknob clicked.

“Okay Miss. Wells, Thank you for your patience,” Dr. Hartnet came stone faced into the room. Noticing my brother he called, “Devin please have a seat.” He snapped out of his jittery state and calmly said “I’m good, just lay it on us. Is she gonna be okay?” I looked straight at Dr. Hartnet this time and cut him off, “Before you tell me that I’m clinically insane. I’d like to just say I didn’t need test results to tell me so. I’ve been seeing these shadow things for a while now, but this was the first time they were present while I was awake. I figured it was just nightmares…Is it possible to see something so many times that you start to think it’s real?” Devin’s eyebrows peaked because this was the first time I mentioned anything about last night.

“The mind is a very complicated thing Lacie. Trauma is usually what sets off something like you’re experiencing to happen, but you haven’t been in any accidents or lost anyone close to you. So I’m not sure what is triggering these “shadow things” you’ve been seeing,” Dr. Hartnet’s strong voice explained. I rolled my eyes and thought, as if I didn’t know that already. Devin finally took a seat, putting his hand on my shoulder he asked, “Lace, why haven’t you said anything before?” I voice was meek, “Because I knew once I did…. I’d end up here.” My eyes shifted toward my lap. That’s when I felt the room closing in on me and the floor started to spin.


Here’s what I’ve been working on…any thoughts?

-AMP

Saying Goodbye

How can you be so connected to someone you watch all the time, but barely had any interaction with? We act like we’ve known them for years and when its time to say goodbye, well…it’s gut wrenching. A sadness takes over you as you watch them one last time before they step away. I know what you’re thinking. Stalker right? You’ve got it all wrong.

I’m talking about athletes. I’m sure most of you can relate to this post. In the past few years being a Devils fan has been pretty crazy emotionally. Losing Martin Brodeur to St. Louis was, well pretty shitty. A lifelong Devil, or so we thought, chose another team for a chance to play a few more games. Now some of you will be mad at this but I have to say I’m pretty disappointed in Marty and hurt as a fan. Three Stanley cups, record on top of record broken, a rule added just because of his talent and he couldn’t end his career as a Devil? I’m still pissed about it and I’m glad he’s still involved in the hockey world, but again, not with the Devils. Tell me you’re not a bit peeved by it?

Anyway this post isn’t about him. It’s about Patrik Elias. A true Devil. A guy who loved the game on and off the ice. He recently announced his retirement and had his Last Lap as a Devil. He is the few who stood with one team throughout his career. He is a record holder with the Devils for goals, assists, and points. He was part of the infamous “A-Line” who alone made Devils fans get out of their seats and cheer. He gave hope every time he was on the ice of a goal being scored to the fans. His passion spoke volumes in each game.

Yeah I don’t know him personally, I only met him once. He was the only player I became stars struck with (not even Marty). So why when he skated on the ice for his last time did I get emotional? Why did the whole crowd chant “PATTY!” and “THANK YOU PATTY!”? We don’t know him. We don’t hang out with him regularly.

I’ll tell you why, because we’ve grown with him, we’ve gone through the ups and downs of his career and the Devils seasons with him. Maybe because watching hockey took us away from our everyday life and by Elias getting a goal or an assist it made our day a bit brighter. Maybe some of us were there when he scored a milestone goal or played in a milestone game. Not to mention anyone who was ever at a playoff game, where the atmosphere buzzes off your sweaters, the crowd becomes one entity and a win by your team feels like a win for yourself. You weren’t on the ice. You didn’t score the GWG to advance the team. You didn’t send a blind pass to Jason Arnott in double overtime of Game 6 to win the Stanley Cup in 2000.

No we didn’t do any of those, but we were there. We felt the energy, we held our breath every time a shot was aimed at Marty. We became one with the players on the ice. Patty became part of our community. He showed that last week when he watched his former team play in regular seats. Not a suite. Not the black seats. Regular red seats, like he was one of us. For those of you who are thinking well he is a normal person, think about that again. Maybe you’re not into sports, think of siting or seeing your favorite author, TV star, or movie star. They aren’t fully normal. You’ve connected with them wither it was their character who they played or wrote. If anything athlete’s are more down to earth than any celebrity. Let me rephrase that, hockey players, are more down to earth than any celebrity. May not be all of them, but I’m proud to see Patty as one of them. He will forever be one of the greatest Devils players and hopefully soon to be HOFer.

So yeah, we may not know him personally, but he’s touched our lives in more ways than the average person. It sucks to say goodbye, so with that Thank You Patty and enjoy retirement!

-AMP

Let It Go

Being extremely unhappy is an issue anyone can fix with just a flip of their attitude. All you need to do is change your perspective of life as you see it. 

For example: In NJ it has been gloomy for the last couple of days. People can head into the day in a crappy mood or wake up and smile, thankful for being alive another day.

Now I didn’t have any near death experiences for me to shift, I jut realizes that instead of moving through life we should enjoy it. You never know what will happen tomorrow so book that vacation you keep putting off. Take a couple of me days just to get in tune with yourself again. Do something adventurous just because. 

I’ve don’t simply things like after waking up just smiling for a good 2 minutes or so before getting up. My friends and I are finally taking that mini vaca we’ve been wanting to. I’ve started researching for a book I want to write. Lastly, I’ve written down every negative thing that holds me back from living a happy life on a piece of paper and burned it. Letting the negativity drift out of my hands and far far away. Simple things like that have made a huge impact in my life. Having things to look forward to that are in the near future is way more exciting than things that are in the distance future.

Another reason I’ve decided to pursue this outlook on life is because of a Netflix show called No Tomorrow, it really puts how you spend your time here in perspective. Seriously check it out! Why keep life uneventful and repetitive? Get out there. Do something on your bucket list soon instead of later because you never know where life is going to take you.

-AMP

8.44

That’s how much was in my bank account earlier today. What a huge wake up call that was. I have goals for myself and I’ve been putting them on the back burner for other people’s happiness. It took an email from my bank to make me realize that I need to get my act together.

I want to get a place, something I can call my own for once. A place that I can decorate and splash me across.

I want to get a newer car so I don’t have to worry if it will breakdown every other day.

I want to get a job that I don’t have to worry about losing money if it snows. To be fair I think I’m taking directions in the right step with interning.

A friend of mine wrote me a “letter” through text about me finding my fire. Well, dance has always been my fire, yet teaching these young students is becoming a chore more than a passion. I love to perform, but I don’t have the confidence to put myself out there enough. Before it was because I didn’t want to miss anything family wise, again putting others before my happiness, but now in the dance world I am old. I can only urge my students to put themselves out their if they want to be a dancer. However, I never want to stop teaching completely.

I feel most free when dancing at a club, wedding, party. I’m not afraid of someone judging me for having a good time. I don’t feel pressured to dance like an eighth grader because I just want to do my own thing. I feel alive. I find that in writing now. Although I am not 100% confident in my work, no artist is, I am confident enough to ask for feedback from close friends and family.

Today I was driving to work and an idea for a story colored my mind. I am pursing this as a next step into my new life. I want to put my whole self in writing this to prove that I made the right decision to go back to school. I’m excited to see where my imagination will take the story as well. Hopefully I will be writing soon about sending samples to publisher’s, but let’s not get ahead.

From now on I am making conscious decisions on saving money to get the things I want most and to have a growing relationship with the ones I love. So if I say I can’t go out, it’s not against you, it’s about putting my priorities first this time around. Oh yeah and I got paid today.

-AMP

Creative Minds

This hiatus had me thinking about how creative people are their own breed. Artist’s especially.

I have been a dreamer all my life. Creativity has always come natural to me. I started choreographing full dance solos for myself at a young age (thank you home movies for capturing that). I grew up in a time where you still could be anything without people crushing your dreams. I realized at a young age I wanted to be a professional dancer. I wanted to be a backup dancer for Michael Jackson, because if your going to set standards for yourself, you mind as well set them high. Those dreams got crushed when he passed so the next star of choice was Justin Timberlake…and who knows if he’ll return to the touring world again. The limits I set for myself were to the moon and beyond.

I went to a community college, which let my creativity in dance skyrocket after being asked to choreograph for the dance ensemble my second semester in. During my time there I expanded my knowledge in dance and also got to know more about my mind and how I created my dances. I rarely came to rehearsal prepared with anything because I could just make up movement on the spot (a gift that I am now acknowledging to be something special). I’d come up with storylines for my dancers to connect to or bring in a piece of art that I got inspired from. I auditioned for America’s Best Dance Crew season one with the dance team, I performed at Six Flags with a friend I met in the ensemble, and even after college my connections with dancers and my professor led me to more experiences in the “real world”.

If you have a creative mind then you already know how it doesn’t shut off easily. For those of you who don’t, let me help you imagine what its like. Say its 10pm and you’re laying in bed ready to sleep. BAM! 5,000 ideas and concerns just flooded your brain and now you’re wide awake. No matter how hard you try you can’t sleep, so what do you do? Well for me I start to make lists or write, put music on and dance it out, or binge watch something on Netflix until my eyes and brain give out. Sometimes it takes only a couple of hours and other times I’m wide awake until 7am. If you live with someone and you are still up as they are getting ready for work, you’ll most likely get this, “Everything okay?” and you’ll respond, “Yup, I’m just not tired.” Most of the time I don’t want to concern anyone with my insomnia and to be honest most of the time its because something sparks my creativity and my brain doesn’t let it go until it is released.

There are downfalls of being a creative person. Well, it’s not necessarily a downfall, but some people can see it this way. Most of the creative people I know are quirky characters, including myself. We can be overly emotional about the simplest thing. Perfect example: I love classic rock (I swear I was born in the wrong era), whenever certain songs come on I have to stop what I’m doing and just live in the song. To hear a guitarist wail their soul out in the notes that they play is a thing of beauty. To listen to the pleading voices of that era is magical in itself and some people relate to how I’m feeling and others just think I’m crazy. There are songs today that still do that, but its getting rarer by the generation. You just happen to get lost in the music rather than just listening to it. You might even cry because it was that beautiful or soul wrenching.

 Creative minds are often attached with being over sensitive also. This I believe is because we are often misunderstood. If there is something we are passionate about, its not 100% it’s 1000000000% that we will stand up for it no matter what. We can be irrational in conversations because our love or hate for something is so strong that we want others to see what we see. It can be extremely annoying to those without this gift and if you’re dating someone like us God bless you.

Patience is key if you are in a relationship with a creative mind. We are up all hours of the night, we express our love and hate for things that normal people can see the black and white of. We often voice our opinions not asking for others but just to put ours out there. Our love for all humans is inevitable. We don’t see race or gender we just see people. Guaranteed, we’ve been in a show with people who become like a second family and understand us more than anyone else. Being a spouse or significant other, you have to ride our rollercoasters…and there’s many: withdrawal after a show is over, having people who don’t understand our passion or us, being sleep deprived, being messy not only with our scattered brain but in real life and on and on. For those of you on the other side, our second half to our whole who aren’t “like” us, you are a strong and patient human being and we appreciate your willingness to love us no matter what. We appreciate that you don’t fully understand how we operate, but don’t push us to ignore our emotions. We are grateful for those of you who support everything we do, even if you don’t 1000000000% agree with us. You don’t squash our creativity with realistic statistics because you know that we are determined to break those odds. You eventually bring out your own quirkiness and we love every second of it!

Now I’m going to get brutally honest for those of us who have been in relationships and the person you were with tried to pull you out of your “fantasy land”, you are the kind of people we dislike. You try to change something that comes natural to us and turn us into another ordinary person because maybe you feel inferior to someone who has such a passion for life. You are the dream and confident killers. You make a creative person cripple in a world filled with so much inspiration. You have no right to tell another human that they are wasting their time dreaming of things that will never happen or only last a short time. Creativity is something that should never be contained and allowed to explode whenever and wherever it can. Do not suffocate it let it flourish.

Final thoughts: Be with someone who aspires you to run with your dreams. Never let someone dull your love for life. Always, always, always, be your quirky crazy self.

-AMP