From Tracie: Ordinary Nothingness Into the Void

Friday, August 05, 2011

Ordinary Nothingness Into the Void

I read for entertainment.
I read to learn.
I read to immerse myself in the beauty of words. 
I read to pass time.
I read to gain insight.
I read to feel the heartbeat of other's passions.
I read to see the extraordinary.

When I was 11, I spent most of a summer with family in Arizona. My grandma, ever concerned that vacations should be scheduled and planned and full, went to a library sale and picked up some books for me to read.

In those books was a story about a girl with a butterfly tattoo on her hand. I don't remember all of the intricacies of that story, but I remember that the girl had a mysterious past, a wall around her heart, and a butterfly tattoo on her hand as the only outward sign of feelings.

I felt her story strongly, as if it were my own. Even though my life contained no real mystery (only secrets held tightly) and my wall was not so visible, and there certainly was no butterfly tattoo on my hand.

I pull stories into my soul. Even after the book or blog post or newspaper article has long since been read, the stories sit there, waiting to come out of the dark cobwebby places and into the light of my mind to be mulled over and remembered. That girl with the butterfly tattoo lives in my mind.

I do not dream. I don't play the "what if I won the lottery game", or imagine myself with a super power. I am too much of a realist (a pessimist), or a believer in my own state of persistent ordinary. Deep, deep within my soul, I yearn for the extraordinary...for butterfly tattoos and mysteriousness, for passions realized, for triumph and overcoming, for travel, for a story. But I don't expect. I don't allow myself to dwell on those thoughts. I don't wish. I never dream. I stopped asking.

Is it wrong that at 28 I have a list of things I'm too old to do? I am sure it might be.

I can not seem to make myself understand how someone picks up and changes their life. I tried it once, and it didn't work.

I have too much time with quiet, with my thoughts, and no time to - become a ballet dancer, or build a passion for roller derby, or get a butterfly tattoo, or do a back flip, or become a Trekkie, or build something, or learn how to work on a carburetor, or train dogs, or be mysterious, or model in an art class, or leave the country, or ski, or learn Russian, or grow my own food, or...

I sit in the nothingness of ordinary.

I know as bloggers, we all say we write for ourselves, or to make friends and build connections, but I'm not doing any of those things today. I'm hitting publish on this post because I want to send my words out there into the void, and maybe let a little bit of myself go along with them. Proof that, even for the second it takes to hit that button, I was alive.


  1. Well hell yes, it's wrong! You are certainly not even close to too old to do ANYTHING and you won't be when you're 48 or 68. Well maybe 68 you'll drop a FEW ambitions. :) But honestly, you feel old now because you're the oldest you've ever been. But I'm older than you are so I can tell you that in ten years time, when you look at 28 you'll be like "What the HELL was I thinking, I was a baby!" and you'll see it. So for the love of all that is good, keep planning and start dreaming and do some of that stuff you'd love to do. You're YOUNG. You're younger than you'll ever be! You can do anything. And you don't need a stinking tattoo to prove it. And even if you don't get to do some of those things for another ten or twenty years, you'll STILL not be too old.

    There. Pep talk over. I'll go back to being disgruntled now. :)

  2. Love this, as always. Your fab writing is just proof of how very *unordinary* you are. Go get that butterfly tattoo if you want (wanna know a secret? I have a great big ol tattoo across my back ;) ) You are lovely and anything but ordinary my friend! :)

  3. Ah, lovely Tracie, you are anything but ordinary. You say you are sitting on the 'nothingness of ordinary', which is amazingly poetic by the way, but have a second look at those words. The fact that you realize where you're sitting provides a door in which to enter (or escape, depending on your perspective) into new and unordinary Wow, I really butchered that one. In other words, you know how you feel about where you change it.
    Easier said than done? That's the excuse I always used. At 28, you don't have health limitations like arthritis (that would be me) and who knows what else. There's really nothing you can't do. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out what you really want to do and go for it with everything you've got. You will FEEL then, I promise you!
    (stepping down off the soap box. Thanks for listening)

  4. This line, in particular, resonated with me, "Is it wrong that at 28 I have a list of things I'm too old to do?"

    I'm 29 and never really thought I'd live to see 30. Now 30 is around the corner and I feel like my life must be over, like I'm too old to do much of anything. Which, of course, is ridiculous. I feel young, I am healthy, but still, there is that mental block.

    I've only been reading for a short while, but I want to tell you you are young, smart, talented, and capable, you have an entire future ahead of you. Rather that writing what you're too old to do, I'd love to see a post of what you still want to do. :) All the best - Megs

  5. The killing of dreams/expectations is the worst thing to come for Suvivorville (my word). If you don't dream, you aren't disappointed. I understnd this feeling.


    If you don't dream, you are blank. We have to dream! We must dream! TAKE BACK YOUR DREAMS. Start small, move up.

    Tracie, you are sooooo NOT ordinary. You are funny and smart and your writing makes me think (which says something, since I think most people are full of it).

    Embrace yourself. Yeah, you probably have oddities, weirdness, and bad habits. WE ALL DO! It's the quirky stuff that makes us who we are. Hello Ms. Quirky! I don't like most people but I like you.

    I double down dog dare you to do one thing you think you are too old to do.

    I'm going to have breakfast with the Princesses at Disney. I've always wanted to do that, i'm 46!!!!! Believe you me that my inner Committee tells me at least once a week that i'm too old for this and people will laugh at me. LET 'EM LAUGH COMMITTEE. *blowing raspberry*

    actually Kathi pushed a bit and took a bit for me to visualize and embrace it. I'm having breakfast AND wearing a tiara!

    *gentle push push*

    *SQUISHES* to you Tracie. Is there a small dream you might like on in the very near future. One never knows when a shiny new red chariot might show up at your door.

    The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance - and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.
    Oprah Winfrey


  6. I appreciate that you hit the submit button on this post.


  7. I absolutely LOVE this post. Not like it or think its sweet or even feel like it wasn't a waste of my time to read. My heart is pressing up against my chest wanting to escape, to fly like that butterfly, to say something to you that makes you know that I, too, feel this way. Something inside me is longing to be communicated, to be felt, to be understood. Only I am afraid or can't find the words or am afraid of the words I will say. I love this post.

  8. Your writing and ability to accomplish deep, personal reflection are anything but ordinary! I love this post. I think many of us, especially thoughtful writers, experience these feelings of ordinary. It's difficult for us to see the extraordinary parts of ourselves, and we often rely on others to reflect that back to us. And when "the others" are not there to reflect our "extraordinariness", our beautiful uniqueness, we forget and think we are nothing special. I also hope you'll rediscover your youth and become open to learning all those things you want to do. I learned to snowboard at 28, and I LOVE it. You're worth the investment. You are extraordinary because you exist. Found you on TRDC, and what a great find it was. :)

  9. The fact that you published this post (and all the others) tells me that you are actively reaching (if not dreaming) for something.

    I sometimes feel like my life is small and beautiful. Maybe it is the simple pleasure that deserve my devotion.

  10. I don't dream much either. I just DO. Sometimes I worry that if I'm only dreaming, those dreams won't become reality. So I just do.

    Love this post.

  11. I agree with what the others have said - you are far from ordinary! You make a huge impact on people through what you write and being who you are, so please don't think you're nothing more than ordinary.

    That said, I can completely understand why you don't dream or why you struggle to try again. I hope that one day you are able to dream and plan and find things you want to do that are extraordinary, because you deserve that and because Tracie, you are extraordinary. I have a huge amount of respect for you and what you do here. Your blog is a source of hope for many people and I hope that one day you are able to wish and dream again. You deserve to live and experience life in all its fullness, and I hope you will. :)

    PH xx

    ps. you're the same age as me - and I don't think you're too old for anything. ;)

  12. To fight this, I hold VERY tightly to Psalm 103:5


  13. ballerina might be harder at any age past 6 but the rest seem utterly doable in your 20s, or 50s.