I turn my cheek and take a long sigh
But I know that's not always how I used to be.
I know the fight to fight just to fight has faded
And yet because I no longer throw fists
I am resented for the kindness I choose to show instead.
I don't know how to explain that the anger,
That anger that once consumed me
Murdered me more and more with each breath
But still you say stand, you say fight
When I know the battle isn't worth the price.
How do I explain how much I lost because of it?
I was tough because I had to be tough.
I was loud because I needed to be heard.
I was closed off because I couldn't afford to let anyone in.
And then life changed, grew, enlightened me,
Realizing I didn't have to be ice cold,
How refreshing it felt to sit with you and smile.
How intoxicating it felt to sigh out of happiness
Not out of frustration at the world around me.
But still the clouds move in.
I can't understand how I am supposed to be.
There have been so many versions of me.
I can say this is the best one yet
But I still get berated.
I choose to hold my tongue
Because why let that beast free
When I've finally learned how to tame her?
Then every now and again I open the gates.
I allow myself to make a stand
And I am told to sit back down,
Making me feel like nothing about me matters much
Because either way I am weak for it.
So many miles I have walked in this skin.
So many troubles I have seen,
So many people I have encountered.
Through all of these things I have learned,
Picked up pieces to put in my broken bucket
To figure out what this all means
And when I looked in that broken bucket?
I realized that it was the kindness in life I chose to keep.
Those were the parts of me that people would remember,
Not the girl who hid in a corner,
Not the girl who screamed so loudly,
Not the girl who wanted to be forgotten.
I realized that being kind was worth the price
I now understand that I am paying.
For all the things I am not, I am grateful for lovely inspirations I have become.
So much in this life doesn't matter.
I've been scared that I've become one of them
But maybe that doesn't matter either.
Maybe turning the other cheek is my strength.
Maybe choosing to stay soft and kind
Takes more courage
Then being the flame that will eventually burn out anyway.
We try to mold ourselves into these frames
But we spill over
And we assume the spillage is what we should toss.
Then I look at what's in the extra
And I see the things that I'm trying to shave off
Are the things that created what sits in this chair.
I realize that some of my wreckage doesn't always appeal to the people around me
But at what point do we stop cutting off our own heels to fit a shoe?
Sometimes I don't do the things that make me happy
Because someone might judge me for it.
Sometimes I walk away when I want to sit down
Because I fear that I may not get back up.
The older I get the more I become aware,
Aware of these unnecessary knots I tie myself into.
The more I understand sometimes you have to let the whales save themselves,
Knowing there will always be that need within me to self sacrifice.
I watch and I observe and I decide.
I shove myself into this vision of what I want to be,
Spilling myself all over the place.
I am a perpetual wet floor sign
And I laugh at the amount of grace I will never have
But I think I'm finally learning to embrace,
Embrace that I will constantly battle myself,
The me I think I am versus this me I want to be
With the me I never will be mocking from the sidelines,
Stewing in the lovely extra that never will quite fit right.
And then I sit back, let myself wash over me.
I file all the negative away.
Then I let them go.
Maybe I just need a bigger frame
Because the leftovers are the most interesting parts of us.
When I sit down and look at these hands,
all these things that they have touched,
all the tears they have wiped,
all the blood that I've left like crumbs in my life,
I wonder are the things that I no longer hold worth it?
And I make myself sick with dizziness with the webs I spin
Because all those finger prints I have left behind
Don't matter anymore
But I try to remember that they once did.
My knuckles hurt now when I bend them.
My wrist creaks when I turn them.
The spots seem to grow every time I look at them.
I try to remember when they were smooth, silky
But that skin has long been shedded
And I have come to terms with getting older,
Just not the lack of accomplishment that I leave in my wake
But still even the dreams that couldn't quite make it don't mean that much either.
All that really matters is that I once dreamt them,
That once they had life breathing inside them,
That I never forgot what it felt like to sit at the windowsill and imagine my "one day"
Because if I forget them, surely I will start to wilt.
It gets hard these days to keep some lights on,
The ones that push me through,
That remind me to be kind and patient,
That all my ill fated good intentions mean something when they haven't in a while
And I guess I have to accept the martyr I make myself is on me, not on anything else.
I close my eyes, listen to the world around me
When I start to become overwhelmed
By all the things in this life that push me around.
I clench my fists, tell myself that I don't have to listen when people try to make me feel less
Because after all these years
Haven't I at least learned my own self worth?
But I make myself dizzy making excuses,
Making excuses for other people who slap my cheek
And I shouldn't, I shouldn't...
I look at these hands, feel the fingernails dig into my palms,
Reminding me that I am alive even if lethargic,
Trying to remember all the prints I've left behind still mean something
Even if no one remembers, even no one wants to.
I do because I used to be more than a ghost,
More than something to walk by,
And I haven't lost all that I was.
I just took a long rest, hiding within the fear that was me
Because it was easier to accept that my time ran out
Then these hands could still create beautiful.
In this skin I still breathe, sitting on the windowsill of my "one day".
Uplifting, uplifted said the woman to the young boy
And I thought her glass was filled higher than mine.
If I could fill my pockets with every sun shine and rainbow I've ever seen,
My seams would indeed be bursting
But instead I've stuffed them with shadows and all the ghosts I could find
Because carrying around the heavier baggage seems more interesting.
We are the martyrs of our own lives,
An orchestra of the tiniest violins that we constantly play
To convince ourselves our plights are worse than others.
The old man tells the young girl to keep her chin up,
Making me laugh at his forced encouragement
But still it keeps the girl smiling.
If I could close my eyes and remember all my good times,
My heart would explode from all the joy that I so easily forget
Because it's clouds I allow to stay over my head.
The drizzle seems somehow more comforting
Than ways that shine too much light on the beautiful things I try to hide,
My dark seems to be more inspiring than all my good,
Using all my tragedies as some ill fated muse.
I said to the kid it's just ranch and laughed at his confusion
But I decided not to explain my inside metaphor.
If I could count how many times I realized that so much of this doesn't matter,
I would be a better adjusted person
But we are the creators of our own misery
And the solution to our own worst selves.
I buried him three years ago
Into the ground he went.
And I'm fine
But our song came on today,
Crushing the thin facade of fine to pieces
Because I wasn't
And I'm not
But life goes on without him.
Three years have gone by
Still I sit here and cry just like it was yesterday
His spirit moved on
I get angry that he had to go
Though it is selfish and stupid
Because he couldn't have stayed
Even if his body hadn't broken so harshly.
Our song came on today
And I wasn't fine
Because all I could hear was his voice
And all I could see was my little girl self
Smiling on his lap
Laughing about the flowers he said he wouldn't cut for me,
Giggling about the phone calls he wouldn't make,
Realizing in that moment he will never call me on the phone again just like the song said.
I wish I could hear that song
And be fine.
That these triggers wouldn't crush me so
When otherwise I am perfectly fine.
I have accepted that I will miss him for the rest of my life
I have accepted that fact that I will never see him again
But the hole in my heart that he left
Still hasn't quite been able to be convinced.
Every year this day has come since.
Every year seems to get harder than the last
But my life goes on without him
And I will be fine if not a bit battered.
Maybe one day I'll be able to listen to this song
And not become an instant mess.
Maybe one day I'll actually be fine
But for now I'll just say the words
And pretend to believe them.
The line "I should have known" runs through my head
I should have known better to think it would be that easy
I'll just work a little harder and then life will work like magic,
Easy Peasy like my mother used to say
But I was made a fool
And now what to do with this pickle?
Do I know better next time? Do better next time?
This cruel, stupid circle..
I said to him that I was the meanest person in the world
And he just looked sideways at me,
Knowing I was full of shit.
I'm far too much of a pushover for all that.
I should have known better this time, right?
I should have known better when I could feel how fake the smiles they threw at me were
But I walked away too late
And I guess I didn't care to look at those sugar coated grimaces much more after that.
So I sit here now at this little desk.
I write these words knowing whatever you take away from it probably won't be what I meant at all,
Knowing the subject will be completely oblivious either way
But you know what?
If I don't write these words, that line will keep taunting me.
I'll be stuck in this game of self blame,
Blinded by their mistake and my good intentions
Because that's all I got going for me,
These dumb good intentions that spill out regardless.
I can't look at you and think anything but what your shoes might feel like
Even when I know you could care less how mine fit.
I should have known better because that's what this life is, one disappointment after another,
But I can't stand that statement,
Can't accept that way of thinking
Even if I know reality is full of sharp edges.
Shame on me for still thinking on the bright side of life.
Shame on me for still be disappointed when people let me down when I want nothing but the best for them.
Shame on me for still getting hurt when I know you will, in fact, hurt me.
I should know better.
Yeah, I guess I should.
She looked at me and told me to stop.
And she was right.
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."
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.