Read Me

What can I say?

How do I explain?

Not every little thing is pointed your way.

I catch words as they spiral down like snowflakes falling from the clouds.

Baby won’t you smile? I’m not trying to run, I’m not going to leave.

I might be falling. I might be fallen. But I’m yours to keep.

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I Can’t Compete

I Can’t Compete

 

He likes how I want him so much,

but all I know is that his apathy feels like rejection.

If only I had the power to make him stay,

to imprint the feel of his skin on mine, the warmth of his kiss.

 

I see my reflection, what everyone sees–

I know I can’t compete with the curve of her lips or the way that she moves her hips.

My hair too frizzled, my teeth unstraight,

no dazzling smiles or tinkling laughter punctuate the bounce of my hair.

Others get annoyed with their own flaws but all I am IS flawed.

He likes how I want him so much as if the shape of my desire outweighs all of this.

 

I am all that I am going to be–

all that I am is contained inside of me.

 

When our eyes met there was this spark recognition that stirred a soulfire.

I want, need, that connection–

something that rips and bleeds when torn.

I’m not a thing that has to be done,

not a chore or a duty or some choice that’s made–

I’m not a moral higher ground, loving me is not an altruistic contribution to the world.

I’m desperately love-lorn…

He says he likes how I want him so much,

as if the force of my affection is enough.

 

Surrender

My attitude towards life, for most of my life, could be summed up in a few words: What’s the point?

We all have some points or goals in life: education, sports, spouse, job, kids. Maybe those held for a time, but what happens when you don’t meet your own expectations? You didn’t finish your degree. Your marriage is crumbling. You wonder if your parenting is doing any good.

Do you classify yourself as unworthy? Leading back to …

 

What’s the point?

Even when it seems like anyone else could do it better, you are the only one who can be you. Maybe those 525,600 minutes are heavy, heavier than our hearts can bear. That’s when our passionate side must speak louder than the voices of apathy and pragmatism.

You could die tomorrow.

The majority of people will not die tomorrow.

You are not the majority.

You were born with a unique personality.

You were uniquely shaped by your circumstances.

 

Even when we know the truth, it’s difficult to surrender to it. What does it mean to surrender. So often, we have the wrong impression of what surrender is. Surrender isn’t about giving up and relinquishing our self.

Surrender is pressing forward even when we don’t have the revelation.

Surrender is finding yourself, even when you feel like you’ve never really known who you are.

Surrender is fighting for and protecting what’s right.

Surrender is being brave enough to stand and enter the ring despite the fear.

You are not the majority so get up.

What I Miss the Most

I miss being able to process. Having moments of silence.

I just need (many, many) moments to let life pass by without my drum beating

I don’t care that I play a different beat, but I don’t want anyone to see me drumming.

There’s something to be said about being hidden.

You see, when people think they see you, they offer up their comments about how you breathe, or how you sit, or how you process.

And when your mind is already overloaded — I pretend my cheeks aren’t flushing, that I don’t hear the stutter in my voice — then all the opinions are friendly grenades in the siege of senses.

These things ingrained. Oh, these things ingrained in my motions, in my habits, in my way of thinking don’t allow for pretense. This is who I am. It is who I was shaped to be.

Do soldiers forget their training? If your essence was stripped bare, if your first feeling was fear of bombardment, would you ever be uncircumspect?

You take your moments when you can get them.

The Lost Reflection

I am not looking for a lover.

Simply someone who understands what it is like to have these deep passions and dark moods coupled with an unchanging heart. You know who you are. We cannot find ourselves mirrored in art for we are not the sort of people about whom books are written. If we appear at all, we are in the background, hidden and haunted. Perhaps haunting is the better word. We are a sort of grey lady of life. Our passionate feelings are locked away behind our sense of ourselves.

We are emotional exiles living on the island of our mind. Our own body feels foreign to us. Not because it is the wrong body. But because every ache or pain, every sensation from it invades our mind.

The safekeep, the fortress, the prison of our mind.

If we hide within it we are deemed shy at best, cold or even haughty at worst. And if we seek solace beyond ourselves, seek to somehow share the intensity of our feelings, we risk being perceived as attracted to the one we turn to.

It would be deemed a choked and awkward, juvenile attempt by our stuttering and stumbling and (lack of) eye contact. If we could be looked upon as a whole being, then those judging us would see that our bumbling intensity is simply how we interact with a world outside of ourselves, a world that seems much too complicated to us who are overwhelmed by the internal.

Lonely exiles in self-imposed captivity.

the sweet in-between

The sweet in-between of losing sleep and chasing dreams.

Heedless passion stirs the soul fire while relentless pursuit draws out the desire.

free this love then

 

out flows the

fear that was locked away

and gaining interest

 

I don’t know if I have any fight left in me — it feels as if I’m

still locked inside this room &

I don’t know how to get out because when I look down,

the hands gripping the doorknob tight are my own.

I can’t give him an answer.

I had opened the door but now

I’ve locked myself back inside,

exchanging the key for cheap releases

Do I love him?

 

Forever I’ve lived as if

I believed I wasn’t human.

I don’t know…

 

the earth is breathing

time is beating

much older than the waves of life

wiser still than the hearts of humanity marching forward

How long do we carry the sins of our fathers?

How far before we’re crushed under the weight we’ve borne?

 

the sweet in-between intensity

of losing sleep

and chasing dreams

 

The Invisible Heart

I backed away because I didn’t want to hurt you, yet again.

Nights upon nights I cried and prayed over your pain.

Can I say this?

Can I tell you how my times I held the phone in my shaking hands, your number queued, willing myself to press the button?

I remember so clearly the moment I knew… the blazing morning sun reflected into my tear-filled eyes. I set aside the phone. I knew. I knew that this thing would be the only straw. Something mostly beyond my control in either of our lives would be the nail that split the beam, but how could I ask you to hold it with me?

Can I tell you now, how at the same time I let go of you, that all aspects of my life were crumbling? Work, family, my faith, and my sanity…

Can I tell you that I could barely hide the hormone-induced near-psychosis I clutched so tightly to my chest? I don’t know who I was. I’m barely back to who I should be. The pendulum still swings between “fine” and failing most weeks.

How could I tell you then of my sorrows or my joys? I let you go because I couldn’t hold the weight of wanting. Another crushing weight bearing down on my heart because my joys would add to your sorrows.

My mother told me to never shine too brightly so I locked all the fire away with cold apathy. An ice queen still wears her heart on her sleeve, even if her emotions pass by unseen.

Poverty in the Soul

Why are we so convinced that our own pain is the only pain, or at the very least, that it is the worst? I’ve been writing this post for nearly two months. After reading posts and articles explaining why poor America is too ignorant to know better than to hate from people who have no idea what it is like to live in poverty, let alone the effects of it on the human spirit. (Not linking here, but a quick internet search will turn up plenty.)

The sparks of hate–anger, fear, or pain–know no boundaries, none of us are immune to them. How we express them–and if they do transform to hate–will be tempered by upbringing, life experiences, and personality. The pressure, the struggle of living will expose our inner workings. Think Rwanda 1990s. Tribal genocide from one tribe onto another. Germany 1940s. One man’s lust for power made use of political and religious phobia and the instability left over from the previous war to convince an entire nation of European people to condemn another group of European people.

The pressure, the struggle of living will expose our inner workings.

Noticing and trying to solve problems such as a stains in your shirt or how to best parent each child individually seems frivolous when you have to choose between gas so you can drive to the grocery store and enough food to feed the entire family. Children born and raised in this environment, especially in rural areas*, may have difficulty breaking the cycle. Even if children grow up to break out of their parents’ socioeconomic class, those habits they absorbed during childhood all too often live on in them. Self-destructive, ingrained habits limit their potential in adulthood.

I prefer highly processed foods because my snacks were ketchup sandwiches instead of fresh fruits. I overact to the slightest stress because my body seems to be stuck in permanent flight-or-fight mode. Childhood poverty has forever impacted my life from what I eat to how I dress as I feel each aspect of my life through the urge to care for that little girl I was. Poverty is never something people choose, but do they have a choice when they lack the resources to change it?

And when you can’t change something, you lose hope, and when you lose the hope, you’ve lost the drive to change. When poverty, be it rural or urban, reaches down to the depths of the souls of the people, when hope dies, horrendous things begin to happen. Forget those habits of highly successful people because they topple like dominoes in the wake of generation poverty.

  1. If you feel a spark, you lack the initiative to try because it feels that failure is inevitable. Why go looking for trouble when it will come to you? The other shoe will drop.
  2. How can you plan for the future when a haze of hunger, with no end in sight, clouds your judgment?
  3. Which ties right into the urgent versus the important. If the urgent affects your or your family’s well-being, what could be more important?

… and the list goes on.

Poverty of the soul is an emptiness, an apathy. Poverty saps the ability to derive pleasure from life and the joy from the soul. It intensifies loneliness and blinds to beauty. You accept not only as your own fate, but as the future for your children, continuing the cycle of poverty to the next generation. Parents have immense potential to spark life into their children’s dreams and to empower them to achieve them. What happens when poverty steals that? It leaves room for the sparks of hate–anger, fear, or pain–to burn hotter in them.

If it is difficult to break out of the cycle of generational poverty in the United States, can you imagine how much harder it must be in other countries where children have limited access drinking water or other basic necessities, let alone to any education?

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Hoyo de Bartola, “The Hole,” in the Dominican Republic, 12 years ago. A stream flows around the clusters of houses that are surrounded by mounds of uncovered, smoldering trash.

 

*Further reading on childhood poverty:

 

 

When You’re Not Holy

 

There’s no shortage of people out there ready to point out my mistakes or even just something that I do differently than them. From the shape of my stomach to the size of my thighs, I’m sure they even wonder about my bloodshot eyes.

Sometimes I’m so good at covering my flaws that the loudest critic is my inner one telling me over and over how I am an impostor, that I don’t deserve any of the good things in my life.

I’m learning that I need to forget all of the voices, because no matter which one is the loudest to call out how often or how big I mess up, this life… it’s about God.

And God is still holy.

God is always holy.

It’s so easy to forget that in the light of myself.  You and I have to let go of all that we are not and grasp all that we can be. 

Some people mock God. “He doesn’t exist,” or “That’s just a crutch,” they say. If holding onto a belief in God who is holy–and the loving way His Son Jesus taught–keeps us sane, even if there is no promise of a better afterlife, even if this belief saves us only from the darkness of depression and self destruction in this life, then you and I must hold fast.