This is a really simple sentiment, but a poignant one. It inexplicably stings when someone close withholds or omits pieces of the truth from the picture, no matter what their reason or excuse. What's funny about the whole thing is that it doesn't seem like it should nettle so insistently - it seems like something that's easy to shrug off - and yet, it does. Insecurity, hurt, jealousy, suspicion, and paranoia can all mount to dangerous levels when we feel like someone isn't telling us the whole truth, especially when that someone is near and dear.

Besides remembrances of outright lying, I think it's probably tough to pinpoint an instance where you held back little bits of information about yourself, just to keep someone from grasping the complete picture of who you are. That's because it's involuntary; it's a reflexive way to defend yourself from whoever you think might end up hurting you once they're savvy to your complete identity.

It's odd that we can be so afraid of revealing something that isn't really a secret at all - who we are.


good winter

I recently found a new album on iTunes that has really made me think. Usually it's the music that touches me, makes me take a step backward and take another look, but this time it's even better. Not only is each song bluntly emotional, to the point of being harsh (which is a nice diversion from other indie music...no offense, indie bands. I still love you), but the whole idea behind the band and the album is just plain awesome.

Justin Vernon, the guy who started the band, grew up in Wisconsin in a small town. He had a girlfriend in high school who supposedly he never got over (her middle name is Emma, hence the album name For Emma, Forever Ago), went through some bad times that no one will talk about in the years following high school, and basically split town unannounced one fall. This young, angsty kid up and dropped out of life, pretty much. He went to this old, tiny hunting cabin in the middle of the woods somewhere in Northern Wisconsin and stayed there for months on end, throughout the whole winter (the band, Bon Iver, is French for "good winter"). It was a pretty Holdenesque move, an admirable one, I think. So after being sick of life for so long and moving into this teeny cabin in the middle of nowhere, he finally emerged in the spring with his psyche intact, his heart healed (or at least reconciled), and a head full of song lyrics. Thus was born For Emma, Forever Ago.

I realize I find this so fascinating because I can really easily relate to it right now and I'm also pretty jealous of this huge self-discovery, but nonetheless, isn't that pretty awesome?


family tree

It's amazing how much you overlook in the name of familial ties. A little example ensues. I go on annual camping trips to the Adirondacks with my two male cousins, waaaay up in what is redneckishly known as bear country (I kid you not), where your nearest neighbor is more likely an unmarked grave than the people who own that cabin six miles down. My cousins and I sit in our one-room, candlelit hunting cabin and play cards until three in the morning. We get up at 4:30 AM to go fishing in canoes. We obtain ridiculous amounts of welts from various kinds of bugs. We eat more junk food than should ever, ever be allowed. It's usually the highlight of my summer.

There are a few details that threaten to give my utter enjoyment a little pause, however. When my cousins laugh when a pickerel saws open their finger with evil needly teeth, for example. Or when they demonstrate how our rifle really isn't that safe after all - by pointing it at each other. The famous game of let's-see how-close-we-can-get-this-lighter-to-your-eyelashes/hair is another interesting attribute. Humorous but worrisome tales of drinking mishaps send a little shudder down my spine. Even the fact that the first thing they do when they see an animal is to squint one of their eyes shut and yell "Blam!" gives me a twitch.

Usually, these things would undoubtedly make me tweak out, hugely so. But they are my cousins. I love them to death, and I love spending huge amounts of time with them, whether at the cabin playing poker or on the couch watching unrated comedies and eating Doritos.

We have an unbreakable and undeniable bond that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world - even though my eyelashes are still a little singed.