Spontaneous

FREE
I plan to be spontaneous.

It will be
so fun
so free

I will be clever and alive

Perhaps I could dance
at the local park, race
go-carts or zoom
out of town and drop
in for a sky diving lesson

Which shall I choose? while
I keep out of trouble, arrive
home on time, avoid
a well meant reproach
and the guilt that comes
with misunderstanding?

Spontaneous

To be free, joyful, carefree, alive, excited; to be wrapped in the moment, present to the thrill of doing something amazing. Spontaneous.

The act is foreign to me.

Despite being well into middle age, I tend to live by common sense and the threat of reproach. I have a home of my own, a grown son, and an established career. Yet vestiges of censure by authority figures remain. There are many such folks; family members, former bosses, women I’ve been with. Did you get your work done? Don’t you need a warmer jacket? I need this done today. Did you pick up the milk? You idiot, pay more attention! You work too much. You don’t try hard enough. Speak up!

Continually, I am engaged in the battle between acting on impulse and being careful. Stay out of trouble. Don’t speed! Don’t be late! Don’t say the wrong thing!

I have, at times, been wonderfully, gloriously spontaneous. I made my first dinner invitation to Shiloh after a work lunch, on the spur of the moment; a pulse-pounding moment of insanity that sparked an amazing relationship and so many happy times.
Dancing in the rain with Lynette after a meeting came on in a flash; a momentary impulse to play, which came quickly to realization.

But largely, I fail to be spontaneous. My thought-to-action button sticks regularly, mired in bad-things-that-could-happen scenarios. I remember vividly, the times I felt the urge to do something sharp and crazy and exciting and those feelings were countered, squashed by the memory of previous debacles, or internal fabrications showing me the crash and burn ahead.

Those unfulfilled times stain the eyeglasses with which I see my world. How can I think this time will be better, that today will be different?

But I do think so.

A friend recently suggested that my thoughts are not always right; my head can be turned around; I can reframe that drip drip drip of errant thoughts and turn them into free-flowing radiant loving thoughts, created in a conscious way.

By me.

I tried this approach with my most prevalent thought: I’ll get into trouble.

Reframed: I trust myself. I’m not going to do anything really stupid. Besides, the world is perfect, and there are no mistakes. If I decide, spontaneously, to go off on an adventure when others may be wondering what I’m doing, I will address their potential concerns with honesty, at the earliest appropriate moment. I will trust others to be responsible for their feelings, and I will handle mine.

Like a sudden light in the darkness, I feel this will work.

But then I remember the time a group of us car pooled to see a movie after work, and Tiffany was driving alone and I wanted to ask–ached to ask–if I could ride back with her afterward. I longed for one-on-one time, away from work, the two of us together. I didn’t ask. I almost did, and that almost has been stopping me ever since.

So, here is my reframe: I made a conscious decision to say no, and it saved me from things I didn’t want to feel at the time. The path I took brought me here, and it’s a cool place. The lessons I learned, help me now. Anytime I want, I can choose to say yes, live differently, and draw to me a new world.

It appears there’s a tangled mess in my head; some things I tell myself keep me from moving forward, living free and having fun. I will reframe them. I will tickle them into humanity, dance them into place, and vibrate their colors, one tile at a time; a gloss, a shade, a shape until a group becomes a cluster becomes a mosaic becomes a mural.

And it will be beautiful.

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About Christian Belz

Christian Belz has been a practicing architect in Metro Detroit for 28 years, and is a member of Detroit Working Writers. He won the Grand Prize in Aquarius Press's 2011 Bright Harvest Prize for his short story "Chambers." His fiction has appeared in Writers' Journal, The Story Teller Magazine, and Wicked East Press's anthology: "Short Sips, Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection 2." He is currently seeking publication of his first two murder mysteries, featuring architect sleuth Ken Knoll.
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