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.

Voided Life

Drink with me tonight for the stars remind me of a starless life.

 

i am nothing

Nothing,

too much trouble in the phrase “not a thing,”

I am nothing.

I would that it were true.

The waves of nothing have weathered my heart from the beginning of me.

I learned to be nothing–the absence left where a child should have been.

So now when others ask and depend, when they require of me… I falter under the pressure.

I want to be useful, to be helpful and not in the way, but for them to ask me to lead them…

in those moments I see only my weakness–I was nothing–my inability to be what they need me to be.

Expectations, presumably unmet, bare teeth at my sanity, which was already brined in self-aware insufficiency since infancy.

Patterns and tendencies pulsed before me, leading away from stifling darkness to crystallized light and, just beyond down that star-lined path, a world unseen…. to have taken just one breath of it’s open air

No. Too precocious, too much intensity. The only solution to decimate, cancel out, declare void, cut ties to destiny.

Survival depended on the ability to create deliberate deficiencies to hide away the swirling complexities–suppress the memory, push away before comprehending, skip a beat before responding.

I’ve always been acutely aware of the weight bearing down upon me, of my shortcomings,

and of the struggle to cling to the vestiges of me.

How do I process? How do I adapt, expand beyond the thorny cage that tears at old wounds, making them bleed afresh? How does one rebecome who one once, too briefly, was?

no answer yet, the culmination of feigned indifference

The truth is there was beauty there, in the way the salamanders’ slick skin glistened with sunlight as they scurried through the drainage ditch. There was music in the howling and braying of the dozen dogs. There was a sweetness to the discounted peanut butter and a comfort found in ketchup sandwiches. There was a path of contentment, and I would have shared it had they but let me.

 

To blunt the barbs of reality, to feel a loosening of the ropes binding me, what is it to take a drink, a kiss?

Pour another glass, my love, to wash away the salt of crashing seas.

 

 

To the Soul-mate Seekers

When you date (and marry), let it be to a friend.
Someone who can see all the joy and the laughter you have and just by who they are, help you to find that place within you. Life is too short to live unloved. But you have to be strong so find someone who you can live without but you can’t resist.
Someone who sees all the pain and the scars and your darkness but can stand with you in midst of a storm. Darkness comes from you or him or just from the heartache and unanswered questions of the world so find a man who can overcome his own darkness and hold you when you need to be held. 
Find a man who can forgive because he’s made his own mistakes but who’s not afraid to say he’s sorry.  Marry him only if he drives you pursue greater heights, he makes you crazy, and he ignites all of your passion.
Let your love be a river, steady and calm yet still raging and deep. Then you’ll have found a love that holds true when it breaks upon the rocks, that carries you when you jump from its heights, and that sustains you through the dry lands.

Why are Men the Enemy?

Are we not interconnected?

Do pain or sickness or age spare any of us?

None can escape paying the price that the battle of life demands. What if we reconsidered turning on each other?

By exchanging friendly fire, we sap the reserves we must for the trials of life.

If I were a man I wouldn’t have to worry about

  • how the children-should-be-seen-not-heard environment I was raised in is sometimes a detriment, and I would be easily forgiven as a silent and strong type.
  • bantering with men between the ages of 18 and 60 being perceived as flirting.
  • being judged or criticized when the sink was full of dishes or my kid caught a cold.
  • being brainwashed–since birth–to seek out and sexualize male attention.
  • all women’s eyes were on me assessing my competitive prowess for the men in the room.

I’m glad I’m a woman though because

  • my awkward, brooding silence keeps most women at bay so I don’t feel overly inclined to socialize,
  • and since I don’t want to be perceived as flirting with the men, I am free to flit about as I please.
  • the only opinions that matter are of those who live in the house.
  • the environment of my childhood battles against cultural norms and I avoid most people anyway.
  • while I may notice the competitive assessment, I do not feel inhibited by it because the only heart I need is my husband’s.

To put these two lists in perspective, they do not take into account the responsibilities and troubles the typical man faces. They’re written by a typical woman living through the commonplace experiences. Each individual has their own unique perspective, but there tend to be patterns in human behavior. Women and men are who they are–different–there is no doubt about that. That doesn’t mean that we are pitted against each as mortal enemies (“Finish Him!”) or sealed to the tragic fate of Juliette and her Romeo.

It does not mean that one rules over the other because they are stronger, physically or mentally.

No, we are powerful.

Only the weak seek to destroy those who they perceive to be a threat.

We are not enemies but fellow soldiers in this life. If we wound someone in our unit, we hurt ourselves.

If women try diminish the strength of men, they are condemning themselves.

If men try to yield power over women, they are crippling themselves.

Or Maybe Being on the Right is not Always Wrong

Please stop.

To every Trump supporter (overly) basking in the afterglow of a successful campaign: Please Stop. Stop arrogantly throwing around words such as “miraculous” and “prophesied.” I’m pretty sure there are some instances in the Bible that God’s chosen king was chosen for the express purpose of bringing destruction and ruin to discipline his chosen people. Whenever I hear the term “God’s chaos candidate,” I think back to those… let’s hope that’s not our fate.

There are so many people who need their voice heard, who need to know that they will not be trampled. Listen to them.

If we proclaim love and peace but do not show it, we are useless.

To every Clinton supporter bemoaning the fate of our planet with hashtags and staged protests: Please Stop. Stop promoting further division with wails and sensationalist predictions of the apocalypse. Please share your sadness and your stories. Keep mindful. People tend to tune out others who are overly dramatic because theatrics are not needed to express emotions.

Trump is a man. There are checks and balances in place. And despite what is being said, not every white Republican is out for your blood. There are so many of us who do hear you, who will cry out with you if Trump acts unjustly.

To all of you who reluctantly voted when it seemed like there was only evil to choose from: Please speak up. Let others know that no matter what is being portrayed that you are a human, with human hopes and dreams and struggles.

You see, we can vote for a candidate even if we do not agree with all of their words.

  • Maybe you voted for a third party candidate because you wanted another choice, any choice. You didn’t throw away your vote. You voted with your brain and your heart, as we all did.
  • Not all Clinton supports are educated, a minority, or in the millennial generation. Maybe you voted for Clinton but you disagree with her stance on abortion.
  • Or maybe you voted for Trump because of his promises but you can’t stand the delivery. You may be white but that does not automatically mean you are a racist backwater bigot.

We’ve all made our choices. I’m not here to explain my choice. I’m here to speak, to show my humanity. I’m here to listen to yours.

Based on my profile picture, you may guess that I voted for Trump and be ready to chuck aside me and my words because you see only a rural, flannel-wearing white girl. Someone on the right so she must be wrong.

100_1815-4

Please stop.

It’s a photo, staged with trees in the background because I love nature. I don’t actually live there.

And that flannel jacket? It belonged to my late maternal grandfather, whom I came to know as an older teen and young adult, only after grief and alcohol had stolen away most of his years. Who joined the Navy to serve his country and see the world. He spent his childhood dirt poor but found purpose and life and love. Yet in his lifetime suffered more than most of us ever will: his wife died at 42 to aggressive breast cancer, his middle son to addictions, his youngest and severely disabled son before 30, his eldest daughter to the same cancer at the same age as her mother. This photo of me wearing his jacket is all the more apropos because today is Veteran’s day. I sometimes wear it as a tangible reminder of a man I wish I knew.

I can’t do anything about the color of my skin, but no one’s skin tone defines them. Jerks are going to find reasons to be jerks. Most of the time they just are without the reasons. I grew up in the rural heartland at a time when my school district was 99.9% white. My best friend was the girl who wasn’t. But I was born on the wrong side of the tracks with a last name to match. Do you know who the good ol’ boys and girls and most adults rejected, dismissed, and tossed aside? The poor girl in her brother’s stained hand-me-downs. So yeah, I can understand frustration and even anger at being assigned a role you never asked to play.

Your name, your skin, your socioeconomic class does not define you, but neither can you define anyone else by only those things. Nothing on this earth determines your worth or your fate.

We on the right know–now more than ever–that we have a lot of work to do to show you, and the world, that we are not all old uneducated, racist white men, but most importantly to show you that we are listening. If you lean left, we hear you. Please be open to dialogue with us, some of us may understand you better than you think. There is no logic in ignoring us.

via Daily Prompt: Or

For all those times I didn’t say “I love you”

I’m a romantic at heart, really.

Not a love-you-for-a-day, paper-craft project kind though.

No, the love I have for you is the soul-deep longing kind of love that makes me ache when you leave.

The kind of love that makes me want to give up my demons because I never liked them anyway.

The kind of love that doesn’t wait but plunges head first and holds fast, with branches that reach out and roots that go deep.

The kind of love that makes mistakes and can be a jerk and eats pizza, has curves, and stays up too late because you let me be human.

You don’t pin me to the heavens and the stars like another butterfly, dead and still in a glass-pane grave.

But still I wonder why you would ever choose me, why you continue to choose me when I can’t see the beauty for the me.

when I can’t see the beauty for the me

The me who has to walk away. The me who can be so full of pain she can’t breathe.

You give a love that soothes when my emotions implode and threaten to burn it all.

You give a love I can’t explain, that feels so near, yet far away.

My heart didn’t want you but I felt pulled anyway.

How can I explain? It’s as if, at the moment I met you, the path of my life diverged:

become who I thought I was or intensely, relentlessly pursue something beyond my reasoning.

I had to choose you because I wouldn’t be me without you.

I can’t promise forever through another DIY but I won’t lie: I love you too deeply and am too grateful to let myself slip by.

I don’t always say that I love you because it is an integral part of me, a known, a truth, the tatoo my heart beats to.

Iloveyou-Iloveyou-Iloveyou: the tatoo my heart beats to

 

 

to my boys: cherishing the now

I loved sharing chocolate with you while we snuggled on the couch.

I loved listening to crazy stories you dreamed up with me driving trains and you flying airplanes.

I love seeing through your eyes as you watch the world with wide-eyed wonder.

And when life feels too much for you, when it makes you anxious and afraid, I want to hold you in my arms and tell you, “It’s OK.”

I want to dream with you, and you with me, and show you how to reach beyond what you see.

I want you to go wherever I go, but there are some places that you can’t follow…

I hope that the war I face–that darkly pursues–never reaches you, even if it consumes me.

I hope you will forgive me for being your mother, for all my mistakes and wrong choices and character flaws, and that I haven’t turned you from hope.

And when we grow older, I hope you will hold my hands as my eyes dim, recounting days gone but not dead.

My sweet little loves, may you always know you will forever be my heart.

 

I’m not her anymore

I used to be one of those girls. One of those girls who was ready to prove that I was better than all of them, my eyes blazing with challenge.

I was more beautiful.

I was smarter.

I won him.

I was ready to track down his admirers, expose them in all my light that was as “beautiful and terrible as the dawn.” I aware, now, that I realized some time ago that there was no need to fight. I love him, I love him, but if he does not love me, he does not. I couldn’t be both the victim and the heroine. If he didn’t want the other girl, he would have to make the choice to walk away, block her number, let her fade away.

I don’t have to show her, or him, or even you… Who I am has so little to do with the ring I wear or how I don’t seem to care about the mess of my hair. I’d throw out all the mirrors–curse my reflection! My selfies, my ego, the competition is not at the heart of what God sees in me, nor am I mirroring him if that is all I see.