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.
I love like my father.
I protect like my mother.
He showed me an open heart
And she taught me how to protect it.
As a child I would get lost between the two
Not knowing how much of me to give,
Regretting when I gave too much,
Scolding when I did not give enough,
Never really finding a balance between the two.
He smiled at me freely
While she chose carefully when to embrace,
Confused by which way I should love.
As I grew, as I hurt, as I pained, as I learned joy
I found myself landing somewhere between
Wanting to love freely in the way he smiled
But not wanting to lose my poise like her.
I wish I could have allowed my heart to open
Without having it had it crushed so many times
Just as much as I wish I could have flowed
When I shut it inside so tightly.
He was kind and honest and ready to break
And she was strong and solid and ready to fight.
Somewhere in the middle I landed
Willing to love, willing to give, willing to embrace
Yet always terrified to truly be that vulnerable
But I find the balance in these words
In these lines I find my place.
This safe place where I can love freely like him
And own exactly who I am like her,
Knowing exactly that the words I pour out of this heart
Come from the most vulnerable parts of me.
I feel him every time my heart skips a beat
And I hear her every time I take a deep breath,
Their lessons somewhere in between the sighs
In this path that life has taken me.
I don't know if his way of loving was better
Or if hers gave me that much more strength.
I do know that love was always given.
I love like him
I protect like her
And somewhere in the middle I have landed
There is light even within the sometimes gray I find myself in, In the dust that swirls
Because I have felt love's embrace in the deepest of holes when I didn't believe my own existence.
I feel its warmth seep through the scars left in the aftermath of my destruction, my many falls,
And I smile when it shines through.
I know that light, that sometimes faded light, is just the lovely from pain now gone,
Blooming into something more than what you will ever see.
I have sat in the corner for so much of my life
Because I became terrified of the dark,
the monsters under my bed,
the tiny creature that would steal my breath if I closed my eyes
After the world around me became so cold,
Shutting too many doors for me to keep open
And taking away so much of my light,
Suffocating a once boundless spirit
To become a suety version of a less appealing Cinderella
Because I didn't think the light would ever find me again, it was easier to sit quietly,
Sit quietly in that corner and hope the monsters forgot I existed, until I forgot I existed
But I exist and I know that now
Even if still get lost in a corner within the dark that I know I will never truly shake.
I don't find that as paralyzing anymore,
Not as suffocated by the embers that no longer shine because I know, I see, I feel,
I am those embers that still light so fiercely inside me,
That push me along and hold my hand
When I get lost in the gray that still beats in this heart, this worn and beautiful heart.
I wish there were words to explain
Or a picture I could draw to make you understand
The chaos that sometimes happens
But I know I will never draw just the right line,
Will never figure out the right order of words,
Making me feel like I am still alone in my corner,
Screaming but no one, not a soul hears me
After all these years, after all this time.
And then a light shines from somewhere within me, warming my heart, cradling this spirit,
Telling me that it's just a matter of gray
Before I find that light once more,
Reminding me that the softest, purest parts of me were nurtured by the dust that fell around me,
That protected me when the light was too bright,
Settling into the gray and blooming towards the light of my own little corner in my own time within my own shine
somewhere inside these dusty embers.
A smile and some winks over some creamy pasta
Talking about this bubble of a life we created
And I couldn't help but to feel this warmth
That we've woven when it's just us.
Through this dream of a life we live
We've stumbled, we've fallen, we've failed
But somehow in the clutter we've become, too.
I think about the moment I knew there was love.
I recall the instant I knew he was forever.
I will never forget that face at the end of the aisle.
All of these moments led us to that creamy pasta.
It just takes a smile through the fog
To remind me that every misstep was for something, was for us, for me to understand what love truly means.
In the twisted tale of this hard life
A happy living was in store for a girl like me,
This woman I've become
Who still feels at times out of place in this skin
But I'm starting to fit into the wrinkles.
These moles have become mile markers
For every minute I've been lucky to breathe
Next to him, this man who somehow found me.
This man who somehow silenced my feet
And smoothed my once jagged heart.
I sipped my coffee, my bitter addiction,
As I looked over the table
And I couldn't help but to laugh to myself
Because for all the things we don't see eye to eye on
We see each other so very clearly.
I know the minute he falls to sleep
And he knows the second I wake.
Somehow on this earth I've found a haven
Sitting across from him, this man.
We've got goals, we've got plans, we've got this journey we've plotted out together.
I don't know how these steps will fall
But we know our direction, standing beside the other.
We will grow weary, we will become tired
And somehow that does not frighten me like it used to
Because he will be sitting across that table from me when I need a rest, when he needs to be still
In our beautiful little bubble of a life
With a smile, with some winks, with a bowl of creamy pasta.
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.