Time Inside a Dresser

Time Inside a Dresser

I emptied out a dresser today.  Most times, dressers are filled with clothes, but mine was filled with memories.  The school, drill team, and sports pictures were enough to make me cry.  It was the handmade Mother’s Day cards and artwork that had me sobbing.

I ask all of you, how is it possible that all of this life passes by us in a few short years?  I know you don’t have the answer, just like me.  The ultrasound picture of my youngest child growing inside of me alongside the framed print of my daughter’s ultrasound carrying my grandchild doesn’t make sense to me at this moment.  For, Time does not appear linear in this moment.  Einstein once wrote, “For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Julian Barbour, a British physicist, describes time as “a succession of pictures, a succession of snapshots, changing continuously one into another. I’m looking at you; you’re nodding your head. Without that change, we wouldn’t have any notion of time.”

So time continues to be an illusion for those of us who resist the belief in linear time and reject the idea that time is understood past the moment of now.  Our brains struggle to categorize moments in static configurations, to support time being linear, yet it only illustrates linear time as it flows from the changes it senses.

Barbour goes on to outline “Nows” as the true explanation of time, ”We have the strong impression that things have definite positions relative to each other. I aim to abstract away everything we cannot see (directly or indirectly) and simply keep this idea of many different things coexisting at once. There are simply the Nows, nothing more, nothing less.”

I absolutely love how he outlines these nows as taking place simultaneously, outside of linear time, the very moments when you experience a memory alongside today and feel the coexistence.  This simultaneous existence describes my emotional state.  Time cannot have possibly passed, only by feeling the time that is now, unsure of any other moment beyond.  It is the present I feel.  To explain this by such a powerful intersection makes complete sense to me.

This explanation is deep, I know.  My father’s words written in a birthday card to my son when he was only three, as we awaited the arrival of his little brother awakened my memory of his continuous deep examination of time, questioning whether relative or illusory.  And I sense him here with me “Now” although he’s left us years ago.

To me today, I feel as Barbour did, when he stated: ”If you try to get your hands on time, it’s always slipping through your fingers.”

And if that’s true, I understand why I’m unable to grasp this moment in time because it was once there, I feel it now, and as the succession of pictures attempts to move me to accept the change, equal to the notion of time, I choose to hold tightly onto an illusion.

-Erika K Rothwell

Step Back

Step Back

Sometimes we just forget to take a step back in order to move forward with intention.  It is in the space between what is, what was, and what will be that we gain the objectivity to make the next plan. 

The business of life clouds our intentions and our way, and the storms can sometimes blind us as we run for cover, unable to intellectually navigate, using survival instincts only.  When we slow the pace, just for a moment in time;  a weekend, a day, or even an hour, recovery happens.

As writers, deeply enmeshed in a world of our own making and subjectively critiquing our work, we can experience burnout.  Depleting our storage with forced extractions of thought, molded by perfectionism, will never quite satisfy us like simply allowing the free flow of our inner spring to fill the page.

And yet, that spring can dry up.  So I embrace the need to step back and recharge to gather perspective.  I am content knowing the work is still being done beneath the surface. 

-Erika K Rothwell

The Gift of Time

The Gift of Time

I haven’t written in a while.  I must admit self-seeking endeavors came between me and you.  Life continues to provide me with powerful excuses to distract me from the matter at hand.

Yet it keeps gnawing at me, daily, the abyss of thoughts intertwined with feelings attempting to escape as a word canvas, wherein the artwork can be rendered.

The selfish part of me wants full attention to my words, and it is at this moment I recognize that I rarely give my full attention to any outside thing.  My art craves an outward positive glance and even a simple like.  The lesson stares me in the face, “to be liked, you must like first.”

I wrote something for you today, but the reality slapped me in the face, you are busy.  Busy like me.  You struggle to rise to daily challenges, and there is no time left for a meandering review.

Gifts exist in the name of time.  And so few of us have the luxury of having any left to give.

My post is short.  It was written just to let you know I’m still here.

-Erika K Rothwell

Fake Flowers – Search for Petals of Authenticity

Fake Flowers – Search for Petals of Authenticity

Captured by compelling visual subjects, I often instinctively reach for my camera.  This particular visual delight was a bouquet of hot pink lilies surrounded by periwinkle blue delphinium stems artistically arranged in a clear glass vase, a focal point on an entry table in an office building.

As I centered my phone camera on the colorful display in awe of the intense color fusion, I recognized my error.  Believing in the authenticity of this arrangement, my mind’s eye was fooled, and I found myself duped by a lifelike impression.  After seeing the humor in the situation, I quickly switched to a deep reflection followed by questions.

I’m on a search for authenticity.

Is there anyone else who ever finds themselves fooled by fake impressions?  

From a distance an arrangement may appear real; but upon closer examination, we may find it lacks authenticity.  Our world is filled with simulated and seemingly flawless representations of natural elements with the intent to enhance our environments, and yet all they do is detract from our overall sensory experience.

As nature’s images entice me, I find hidden beauty when I move in closer, as close as my camera will allow, to clearly focus on a micro-view of life that remains unobserved by the naked eye.  These unrevealed authenticities are unknowingly passed by every day as we may find ourselves distracted by “life-like” illusions displayed in counterfeit settings. 


And now I go deeper, the petals unfolding…How much does my own life reflect this phenomenon?  How authentic am I? 

How much better would it be to reveal my natural self in my interactions rather than staying stuck sharing a generic impression, like fake flowers, a dust-collecting replica of who I only wish to be, devoid of flaws and authenticity, a life-like fantasy?

As an exercise, I opened up to a trusted confidante and shared an error in judgment, a perceived flaw in my character.  I wanted to bloom, allow myself to be vulnerable with the admission, and walk away feeling whole rather than unclothed.   Although it wasn’t comfortable for me, baring my truth encouraged deeper personal inspection and a revelation.

Watching my words wisely in self-protective conversations, I may be giving the impression of confidence in my self-assured aspirations; but, I may also be lacking authenticity by omitting the finer details of a messy aging process.  Within the constraints of self-imposed societal expectations, I am clearly missing opportunities to expose the authentic me.

Because impressions are perceived by the eye of the beholder, I recognize that I cannot impress everyone, just as I cannot always make a good first impression or a lasting impression. 

What I can do is slowly allow my petals of authenticity to curl open and welcome closer examination, as I embrace each new step forward, on the path of discovery.  I invite you closer, through my work today.

-Erika K Rothwell

Please read my simultaneous post, an expose’, “The Beautiful Eccentric.”



The Beautiful Eccentric

The Beautiful Eccentric

How do you picture beautiful?  How do you describe eccentric?  I was drawn to her, but slightly bewildered.  There was an awkward dance between us, our words seeming to miss the receiver on both ends.  As I kept speaking, the words rolled out without much thought as my behind-the-scenes analysis was processing and slowing the intellectual output.  I believe she intimidated me in some unusual way.  She had a depth beyond a normal acquaintance.  I wanted more.

Her questions dug deep, unearthing my own questions.  How do you answer when you are so entranced by examining the question?  Opening up my pandora’s box of unknowing, I blabbered.

The writer in me was bewildered.  I wanted to show I knew something.  The more I write, the more I feel the enormous weight of unlimited potential.  Endless possibilities exist.  All I could do was express a lack of clarity with my response.

She exemplified a quiet and reserved wholeness from within.  Her carefully constructed questions gave me a glimpse of a life without self-judgment, an identification with her deepest and rawest self.

This human in a natural state struck me as beautiful.  If I described her in this way, most would hand me a pair of glasses.  Describing her as eccentric was a safe appraisal, or so I thought.

That word haunted me all night, as soon as I let it escape from my lips.  Could I have been misinterpreted, as I recalled the recipient of my description responding defensively and protectively?  Was it said in admiration or mystification?

Words often motivate those evocative feelings.  People don’t.  She did.

My eccentric nature was being exposed, by the magnetic pull of defining another.  I have discovered my own tendency to meander in “curiosities”.  Often when I speak after being provoked by deep questions, the glazed eye response I receive exposes disinterest along with a feigned smile that says, “I’ve lost you.”  Where my mind goes, not many follow.  There is a checklist to determine eccentricity.  What I do know is…I’m on the scale. 

I may or may not be comfortable with that discovery.  The questions that define eccentricity swirl in my head.  Do I see myself in someone who provides tantalizing mysteries to ruminate on?  How much do I care how I present to the world?  And am I content with just being me? 

When I present the non-eccentric semblance of the norm, I find my deep insecurity fueling my desire to impress. And this, I now believe, is when true beauty hides.

The gift of her example claws at my heart.  Labels incessantly follow us, attempting to define our deepest natures.  We are often judged from an outward appraisal.

Each person’s life follows a unique path, sometimes artistically rendered in an aged appearance, molded by the tides of time.  And beneath it all, the layers are pulsating with living history providing a sharper definition of distinctness.  True beauty is found close to the core of the humanness when it strikes your heart, something that cannot be measured by outward appearance alone.

In reality, we all exhibit some eccentricities; but what I have learned through this reflection is when I meet someone I feel compelled to label eccentric, from now on, I will just call them beautiful.   

-Erika K Rothwell

If you want to rate your own eccentricity, take this fun Quiz – A Different Drummer.