Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On Being Yourself...

It was Autumn, and I was a sophomore in college, living at UMass Lowell. I had homework to do, sorority projects to work on, friends to see, and beers to drink. But I’m over 18 now, I can do whatever I want, I’m a grownup, I thought. So I did what most new adults do when they have all the freedom they ever dreamed of right in the palm of their hand: I proved my age to the world.

I had my boyfriend at the time take me to get my first tattoo, and I sat through the pain like it was nothing more than a mere tickle, because adults don’t cry, I reminded myself. After the tattoo was finished and I paid the $90.00 I had been saving, we drove to my parents' house where I showed off my newfound rebellion in the form of a black Pisces sign on my left hip. “Mom, Dad, look what I did. Isn’t it great?” Surprisingly, they liked it. I didn’t know what to think. Was I secretly hoping they’d be disappointed, so I could come back with some strategic tale about how I’m old enough and can make my own decisions? Or was I happy with the fact that I just realized I had the coolest parents in the world? I couldn’t decide, but over the next four years, I got four more tattoos and proved to the world that I was myself, dressed proudly in my new ink, each tattoo symbolizing a different piece of my life.

It was Autumn again, except this time I was 26 driving home from my full-time corporate job, feeling much more like an adult than I did when I sat in that first tattoo parlor.  I picked up my cell phone, knowing I shouldn’t be using it while driving, but I can do whatever I want, I’m a grownup, I thought.

“Dad, I really want to get a new tattoo”, I boasted, thinking I’d hear “honey, you already have five, isn’t that enough?” in his typical I know you’re 26, but I’m still your father and have been around the block type of tone. And within the three seconds it took him to respond, I didn’t have time to plan out an emblematic-Holly-fashioned comeback. “Well that’s cool, sweetheart. Whatever you think is best. You’re an adult, and your mother and I know you make wise choices. However you want to express yourself is fine with us.” What?
I guess when I was a teenager, I never noticed how lucky I was. Taking the time to appreciate the freedom my parents gave me wasn’t something I really noticed, or held above other lessons they taught. But I’m a grown up now, I’m thinking, as I sit here and type this, and I have a little more experience under my belt. I can now reflect on the best lesson my parents ever taught me, even if it took hundreds of needles and permanent ink on my skin (which I will never regret) for me to learn.
So here’s a promise I can make to keep : people will always judge you. They might judge the way you dress, they might judge the friends you keep, they might judge if you’ve had one too many beers on a work night, have too much ink on your skin, or have made decisions they can’t even begin to understand.
But here’s another promise I can keep : what they think of you really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Your life is your own unique fortress to build, to break, to mess up and to live as chaotically and as colorfully as you want to. It’s your decision if you want to race through this voyage as rapidly as you can, or trail along unhurried, counting stars and grains of sand. If you want to focus on every breath you take, or want to pretend you’re not breathing at all, then do it. If you want to tattoo a f*cking novel on your skin, don’t let anybody stop you.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Today, I believe....

...that the skyline of Boston is a sight I’ll always be thrilled to see, with a drive consisting of thirty minutes, jagged streets, busy lives, and so many possibilities,

 … but that Nashville is still my favorite city.
... that every once in a while, it’s okay to turn off my cell phone and re-connect with myself.
... that I can relate to so many songs on the radio and sometimes find myself saying out loud, “this must have been written for me”.
... that my gut feeling is always right.
... that there’s something insanely breathtaking about the chill of Autumn mornings.
... that one of the most difficult lessons is to learn the balance between comfort and risk.
... that road trips  with no destination, next to the right person, hearing songs with captivating lyrics, is a perfect way to use all your gas.
... that my parents really know a lot about life.
… that I should use my singing voice to my advantage and perform in public places.
… that tattoos are beautiful expressions of yourself, and you don’t need to listen to people who tell you they’re a huge mistake.
… that everyone you meet is dealing with their own problems, so try to take it easy on them.
… that Sam Adams’ Octoberfest is probably the best beer ever created.
…that my dream will always be to write for a newspaper or magazine, live in a high rise apartment in NYC with a view of the bright lights, and go for coffee meetings while wearing high heels on busy city streets, and meet friends for drinks at wine and vodka bars.
… that it’s okay to have these types of dreams.
… that sisters are the best gift you could ever receive.
… And that sometimes --- maybe all the time --- I need to let go, and let God.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hopeful Girl

Hopeful Girl
I don’t care what it takes, 
I’d like a faultless world,
They say that can’t exist
And I’m just a “hopeful girl”
But hopeful girls, they’ve seen the most
Their hearts have felt real pain, and
They’re the ones who sing the loudest
Under pouring acid rains
But I don’t care how much it burns,
I’m gonna dance on every star
I want to swallow up their fire, and
Let their flames engrave a scar
They used to seem so small, I laugh
Each tiny blazing tear, but
Now a million specks of glowing light
Are dripping starlight in my hair 
This is where I’ll live, I think
To the constellations, I’ll exclaim,
“I’ll never judge a stranger”
‘Cause up here, we shine the same… 
See, the Earth just seems too shallow now
For hopeful girls like me, and
I’d rather bathe in waves of bright red freedom
Than in a superficial sea.
Holly A. Wolti 9/13/13

Friday, September 6, 2013


"I get weird when the seasons change,” I said. And then I thought about those words.

I wondered why my heart both sinks and soars, simultaneously, on the first cold morning in September. It never makes sense. How can I be so eager to jump head first into a new season, full of so many unmade memories, while feeling like I just can’t let go of the one that is about to pass?

What if I didn’t give Summer enough of a chance, I worried.  Maybe I got too wrapped up in focusing on not focusing too hard, that I didn’t pay enough attention to summer’s details and hidden messages. Is it possible that I asked for too much out of one season? Maybe summer really isn’t the masterpiece we all think it is. Maybe it’s just a few months of preparation for what nothing except autumn’s fiery passion can deliver.
September is tricky month, I thought. You look back and wonder what you could have done differently, what you missed out on, and you watch an entire season close its doors before your eyes. Looking down at the city streets, I realized that soon enough, they would consume the beauty of the next season too, sweeping each leaf up, one by one. Why do the leaves look so beautiful right before they’re about to die, I marveled. Is this how everything should look on their last days? I promised myself to appreciate their elegance until they fall.
I questioned how many late nights and secrets all the summer leaves had seen…. maybe that’s why they’re always blushing red when autumn begins. This time, I wanted to keep a piece of summer with me, something that would remind me that it will be here again, just in a different form. I wanted my stories, my memories, and my nights to stay mine, without the cold air blowing them away into someone else’s yard.
I then picked up the most intricate, brittle little leaf from the ground, put it inside a book, and said, this one is just for me.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

When the Seasons Begin to Change...

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months,
 the fullness of the seasons.
As you grow older, you learn to like the in-between times,
the months that can’t make up their minds.
Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things
can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”