I get lost in my own sleeves, attempting to pull them further and further down
As I sheepishly cover my face so as to not be seen
But then I sit in front of you
And desperately wonder why I'm so invisible
Because I can't make up my mind whether or not I want to be that real.
Then these words start to form in my head.
Sometimes they make it to paper
While other times they get lost between my ears,
Losing the courage to put them on your bookshelf.
I feel these feelings coming back around,
The ones that come around every so often
When I don't know how to form them properly
But I want you to read my mind
And instantly know what I want you to say,
Knowing logically life doesn't work that way.
I wash my dishes and talk to my cats and listen to my music as my thoughts drift somewhere,
Swirling around me, questioning me why haven't I taken flight yet?
But I know I rarely touch the ground these days.
I know my head has been lost to dreams that line those clouds I stare up at every morning.
I know my heart was never really mine to begin with, not after all the times I broke it all on my own
Because I thought the ground wouldn't hurt so much.
The old woman said to me today as I washed the windows that I would just have to do it all over again.
I smiled at her and laughed to myself,
Knowing there has been so much in my life I have had to do over and over again,
Knowing that so many of the things in this life will inevitably be smudged over and over again
But again I will wipe and again I will try
Even if I end up getting swallowed up each time.
My sleeves stretch but my arms don't grow
And one day maybe I'll find a way out of my own self doubt.
Maybe one day I won't cover my smile.
And maybe one day when I sit at the table with you I won't be so afraid of all those things I wish you would say.
I won't be so afraid of all the words I wish I could share in return, the words that get stuck just past my elbows.
When I sit, I get lost in the follies that have become me,
Telling myself mistakes are to be made
And learned from.
That's what makes them important
But too often they don't leave my table.
They sit on the edge of that bed staring at me,
Idly talking about how I should have done this better
And mumbling on about these things that I cannot change about myself, about what is around me.
The phrase, "This is stupid," runs through my head too many times during my day,
Knowing I will continue the stupidity
Because I'm not quite sure I can fix this stupid
And laughing at how stupid even that statement is.
So, here I sit with these stupid mistakes
And headphones on to maybe drown out my own idiocies that won't get out of my way.
A picture of the cover of my first poetry book sits on that wall.
Between the ghost sitting on my bed
And the doodle of that girl sitting on that rock,
I can't seem to figure out how to quiet them.
One tells me to give up, hang up my hat,
I'll probably just get stuck in stupid for the rest of my life.
But that girl on that picture smiles even though I never draw a face on any of them
Like the creepy angel statues that my husband mocks
And yet to me every single one is just another version of me that I wish I could let go of, hold onto, sometimes burn to the ground...
But that girl with no face that sits on my wall
Tells me someday someone will pick up the light that I shine in the dark,
Blindly blinking like a faraway star.
I keep drawing her, hoping that she will come to life
But I know, the hope could just be another stupid,
Another stupid I just refuse to let go of.
So I sit, allow my hands to dance across this keyboard to find with you where I end up.
I allow them to speak all the things my lips won't say
Because I'm too afraid of hurting your feelings,
Of offending her, of disappointing myself,
Knowing that all the things I swallow
Don't really mean much to anyone else at the end of the day.
I take the inhibitions off these fingertips
And I allow them to breathe every stupid doubt
That plagues me,
Quieting the ghost at the edge of my bed now
And feeling the arms of the faceless girl wrap around me
Because I need to sit among my doubt to feel my light
Even if it's just another stupid thing my life has become.
Today will end and tomorrow will come.
I will get caught in another round of why,
Another web of maybe I should just stop,
Knowing I will only push myself harder,
Accepting the fact that no one really notices either way.
I will come back to this seat,
Stuck between these mumbles
And her faceless encouragement
To only have this conversation with myself all over again.
I go back and forth between these moments,
These precious, beautiful moments
Of absolute clarity, of perfectly placed chaos.
I can look in that mirror and see,
See every touch that caressed my face
Both gentle and harsh, both sweet and unkind.
Feel every word slapped across these rosy cheeks,
These rosy and aging cheeks
But I don't get so light headed by them any more.
Perhaps time has given me a gift,
A sweet resilience that has left me partially numb.
No longer terrified of the tears,
These lovely, lonely, life dripping tears.
I get up in the morning like I do every day,
These bright, intoxicating mornings
That sometimes fill me with doom, gloom,
Still somehow terrified of my own shadow
When it waves back at me from the wall.
I get lost in the abyss through out my day,
Getting swept away in thoughts that don't matter,
These morbid, unyielding of all my worst case scenarios,
Finding some kind comfort in my darkness,
Knowing my sun somehow always manages to come out.
I smile and and laugh, winking at the man who complimented my hair.
I fill up my bubble and save it for later
When I get caught in my own spider web
Of doubt, my seductive self doubt.
I close my eyes and imagine a cloud,
A calm, peaceful cloud that I doze off on,
Hiding in my runaway imagination,
These wings that don't exist but I feel too often.
I lock myself away and I see her in that mirror
With all the twitches I'd rather not mention
And I smile every time we meet,
That innocent, untouched version of me
Who I keep safe, who keeps me sane.
I can take the bitterness of the world
But there has always been a part of me that cannot.
And I get lost in these moments,
These versions of myself that I haven't quite figured out,
These brilliant pieces of every me I've ever been
That sometimes can't remember how to fit back together.
I sat deep in those waves,
Feeling all the loss, the hurt, the anger.
I allowed myself to sink low
Below the water,
To embrace all the negative that swarmed
And then I kicked my feet.
I swam to those shores,
Looking back at the doubt that tried to drown.
I saw him smiling at me,
Waving at me,
Reminding me that his arms were always ready,
How I have to let myself drown from time to time
To figure my way back out.
I said hello to my darkness,
The tiny whispers that plague me.
I let them speak, let them doubt.
I gave them their moment
And then I told them to shoo
Because I would not allow them to stay forever,
Just for a moment.
I would taste them
And spit them out
Like the wine I don't like to drink.
Even the darkest parts of us need to breathe
If only for a moment.
I thought about my father,
How he's been swept out of my life
And I wondered how much of him I still carry,
Knowing that I haven't quite let go yet,
Wondering if I ever will
But I know he's smiling at me,
Waving at me from those shore lines,
Shaking his head at me like he always did,
Never understanding why I'm so stubborn,
Making myself laugh, thinking,
"I learned it from you."
I laid in bed and thought of the most poetic words to string together last night.
I imagined how the ink would look against the paper,
The birth of these words that I let drift away
As my eyes faded into sleep.
I awoke this morning, unable to recall them
But I still felt every syllable.
My heart still beat with the periods that I didn't put down
And now I sit in front of this screen,
Hoping those words will find their way back
Knowing they won't.
Instead I will create something new
Crossing my fingers that I find the point
Of all those feelings that taunted me in the night.
She looked at me and I felt myself sink,
Triggered into self doubt that made no sense,
Inspired to do what I try not to anymore
But I knew I would run away.
I knew I would close up, shut you out, say those annoying words,
"I'm fine," knowing that I wasn't.
My hand hit the paper this morning,
Fingers flying across those lines
As all the things I can't tell you poured rapidly out of me
As I sat at my small desk, releasing your demons,
These demons that I pick up along my way
Because I feel every ounce of your darkness
Whether you mean to pass it along to me or not.
Sometimes I feel as if I'm drowning in my own empathy,
In my strange, unwanted need to be your martyr
Because in reality I don't, I can't, I won't
Though if you need me to fall on a sword
I would in a heartbeat,
Knowing I will always say those dumb words,
"Of course," when all I want is to do is sigh
And tell you to fight your own battles.
He came home, frustrated and angry,
Wishing again I could absorb all of his angst,
Knowing he wouldn't let me,
Feeling my heart sink because we can do better
Than where we are right now
And I know we will eventually.
I feel myself fall down, knowing I will pick myself up
Because I always do
Saying to myself the words I always whisper
When I think no one is listening,
"I am a rock," believing every time
That no matter what this life is mine to make
And in this life, my evolution is ongoing.
I sit and observe, watching their moves.
She sits, twirling her finger around her hair
And I notice her strap has fallen,
The way the gentleman sits behind her,
The way he stares at the bareness of her shoulder.
Sometimes there is a cattiness that swirls around my head
And I feel slightly guilty for wickedness
That sighs underneath my breath.
She is oblivious to his thoughts
Though the volume in his silence screams
At me from across the room
But I sit, watching how this silent film plays out
Because, for the moment, he is just a stare.
So many stares, looks, unspoken words fill the air.
I find myself the keeper of these observations,
Safely tucked into the back of my mind
And analyzed for further dissection
When I sit down to spill them all out here.
I want to fix her strap, to shoo him away
But I sit, always watching the room.
He smiles at me, looking up,
And I smile back,
Both retreating back into our own corners
While the girl with her bare shoulder is oblivious.
When I think back to all those times
When my mind said so much
While my lips spoke nothing
I realize my heart wins far more often than my head
Because I would rather be kind than to behave harshly.
Sometimes I question it is that more for me than you,
Knowing it doesn't matter much.
I bare my shoulders in other ways.
I know how tender my skin can be
And I know the stares ready to devour it just the same
But notes I take, building a wall of words
To keep it all out, the wickedness of these sighs.
I retreat back into headphones and observations,
Watching the silence that falls around me
And cataloging it for another day.
Sometimes there is humor in our tiny tragedies,
A sweet comfort in our moments in between
When we think no one is looking.
Sometimes I have no words to share.
I have these feelings, these swirling feelings
But I have no way to describe them
Though I know I must get them out of me.
I walked down that aisle last night,
Enraged at my current plot in life,
This song my father sang to me when I was young came on.
I walked down that aisle with beers in hand, felt the tears
Because I knew he was telling me I was all right
Even if all I wanted to do was sit in a corner and cry
Though if you asked I couldn't tell you why.
I like to tell myself that I am a rock, an island.
I am unbreakable, invincible, indestructible
But my stiff hip keeps me in check.
I get mad at the fact that I get angry.
I get annoyed that I hurt, that I get disappointed
And my agitation strikes in unhealthy ways
But you ask me what's wrong?
I'll never really tell you, just brush you off
Because sometimes I don't know why,
Don't know why it hurts or angers or disappoints.
The expectations I have for you, her, him, them
Are the same expectations I have for myself, always too high.
Sometimes I just don't have the words,
The right words to paint a picture.
Sometimes all I have these unexplainable feelings,
These tedious little tornadoes that make me feel chaotic.
I pick up this pen and I try to navigate,
Try to navigate my way through my maze
So I can understand my own madness,
Knowing that I'm not alone in this abyss.
I have images but no words.
I have a picture I want to draw
But my hands quite draw the lines right.
He asked me what I wanted and I laughed.
What do I want in this life?
I just want to find the right words, to draw a lovely picture,
To calm this unknown fire that burns,
The one that I can't explain,
The one that swirls and never quiets,
Understanding that these swirls inspire me to write these words, to draw that picture
But I don't know always how to speak them.
Sometimes I feel so much I shut down,
Knowing it's easier to feel nothing
Then try to explain what I feel staring back at me.
And sometimes I sit down at this table,
Staring at a screen,
Feeling all these feelings I can't describe,
Wanting nothing but to write them out but nothing comes,
Leaving me with a heavy heart, all feeling too overwhelming..
Sometimes I share too much.
I shoot for the sky and miss more than I like
But it never stops me from trying over again
Because I am a true testament
That eventually I will stick.
She looks at me as if I am the enemy
Where she once looked at me like I was her hero
Knowing that I must brush her off
I must ignore the looks, the smart comments
Because one day I will be her hero again
And I know I will never stop aiming for her sky, too
I push myself beyond my means
Because for you I would do anything
For him I would go anywhere
And for her I will never allow my knees to touch the floor.
I want so much more
But I know I may only taste half of that
Because life has jaded me enough
To accept the reality of my part in this life
So I will play this part with honor
Knowing one day my applause will come in.
For you I give you this smile
And for him I offer my open arms
But for her I will give my life
Knowing one day she will understand this love.
I wish I could do nothing but laugh all day
Bounce on those clouds that float above me
Dance along side the wind
That whispers to me when I close my eyes
And sing to the cartoon birds I only imagine landing on my shoulders
But I know the difference
Between what is in my heart and my head
Accepting my struggle is a badge of honor.
Nothing to be ashamed of
Because in that darkness I was given a gift
This gift of flight but not in the way I imagined it to be
I soar every time I stand, every time I breathe.
So for you I offer you these tiny pieces of me
For him I invite in
And for her I keep on shooting towards that sky
Knowing I fail more than I succeed.
Sometimes I lose the sound of his voice.
I forget the way he used to laugh
And it saddens to me know the way time erases little pieces of him as it goes on.
I see the way my husband looks at our daughter,
Reminding me of the way my own father looked at me,
Giving me hope that I will never truly lose his memory.
I sit in his car and I feel him when my hands touch that steering wheel
But I know that he is not really in that car,
Just the comforting idea of him sits beside me.
I'd like to think that he's still watching over me
Rubbing his chin at me in the same way he once did when I didn't always behave
Making me laugh at the memory of his exasperation at my stubbornness I inherited from him.
It is another Father's Day without him
And I think I should go visit his grave
But I know I won't
Because there is a part of me
A part of me that doesn't want to see him there
Terrified that his spirit will come sit next to me on that bench while I stare at that stone.
And I wouldn't know what to say to him
But if I could find the words I would tell him thanks.
Thanks for being the best he could to me for 35 years
And thanks for every disappointment he ever had in me
Because in these last few years without him
I realized those disappointments were about much more than what I couldn't do
But about what I wouldn't do.
Somehow he always saw more in me than I did.
For so many years I held onto those disappointments as failures to him.
I drive in that car with him,
This ghost of him that I won't let go of still
Thinking about all those conversations we had
Missing poking fun at his sometimes absurd ways.
I catch myself rubbing my chin in his way at myself,
Laughing at myself
Tearing up at the loss of him
While knowing that in that loss
The lessons he left became crystal clear.
One day I will be able to stand in front of his grave
And leave his ghost there.
I will tell him thanks for all the love he gave me
That I am sorry for all the love I pushed away
And I will forgive him for those times
He didn't know how to help me when I fell.
The sound of his voice may fade from my memory.
I may forget the tone of his laughter
Or the way his eyes would twinkle
But I will never forget the way he loved me.
I will see that love in the way my husband looks at our child
The way she smiles at him the way I once smiled at my own.
I have been alone, surrounded by many
And stood by no one at all.
Times the only friend I had was the one in the mirror but I never faltered.
Times where there were too many to count
but I never knew where to land.
I have had nothing to my name
Plenty to give
But I have never felt as if I could breathe.
I turn my head behind me
And I still feel the struggle in those footprints
But looking forward I know they won't be as deep.
Still I cannot shake the uneasy feeling
Of somehow not being enough
To the people around me, to myself,
To that little girl who now rests
In the journals that line that plastic container.
I wish I could calm the storm that chases me.
Somehow I've become the twister I seek
But I realize that turmoil that brews within
Has always been the fire that keeps me alive.
I could take it easy if I wanted to
Allow people to help me in the way
They have always wanted to
But I don't know if I will ever shake off
This need to do it all by myself
Because so much of my life has been spent
Two steps away from everyone else.
It has never made me sad or angry
Just uneasy, always restless,
Worried about things I know I cannot control.
All I want to give you is a smile
I want to embrace you and love you,
Understanding that to do that
I often give too much of myself
But there are no regrets for this life.
I have no fears of the things that lie inside of me
I can be thankful for knowing what nothing feels like
And I can be accept that these feelings I feel are sometimes too much to bare.
I have been strong while still feeling weak,
Been shattered but too stubborn to show my pieces
Because when you look at me
I know, have always known, that I must remain steady.
And I know there are times when you want to shake me because I won't stop.
Sometimes when I look back at yesterday
I feel the days that chase,
The old versions of myself that I was
And all those versions of myself I will never be,
But now I understand my short breath
I understand that stopping has never been me.
At the end of the day, I'm just a girl who has been in love with writing her entire life. I am full of quirks, anxieties, fears, joys, laughter. And all I have wanted to do was give the world a smile.