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Posts Tagged ‘self acceptance’

 

 

 

I was fourteen, Richard was eighteen,

and he was Romeo in the high school play.

 

He was Romeo and I was chorus, and

every song I sang, I sang for him.

 

Every song I sang, a love song.

I had never been taught any other,

 

I had never been taught to be hard,

I longed to give him everything,

 

I longed for him to want to kiss me,

to give me everything, and when

 

he kissed me, which he did, he gave

me mono. I was somehow proud,

 

was proud of getting sick because

he kissed me, as if it were a badge

 

that I was worthy of being kissed,

kissed by Richard, Richard Smith, who left me

 

shortly after, who left me crumpled, weeping

in the green cement block halls,

 

halls that rang back all my emptiness.

I didn’t know then love could end.

 

I was a girl who knew only beginnings,

a girl who trusted in happily evers,

 

a girl who wanted to be chosen. Years later

I’d learn there are many kinds of love,

 

how all of them depend on one thing.

Years later I’d learn to choose myself,

 

to show up at my own balcony,

roses and poems in hand.

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after Ellen Bass

 

 

To trust life, that is the thing.

To trust it even when there are gaping holes

in the walls of your certainty.

To trust it even when your foundation

feels like a strange place filled with strange people

who all feel more at home in you than you do.

And when fear enters you like a bear in your basement,

or like three bears, all of them famished,

all of them rummaging through your emergency stores,

yes, when fear offers to give you its name,

when fear brings you a ladders and says, Here,

climb down into yourself, into this chamber

of strangers and bears,

when you would rather go anywhere but in,

that is when you step onto the rungs and go down,

one rung at a time. No gun in your hand.

No bear spray. No knife. There is honey

in here somewhere. And tea. So much here

to offer these hungriest parts of yourself.

And you are ready to make peace.

You are ready to meet them and share.

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Fabulous Animal

 

 

 

Then came the day when the turtle

was tired of her protective shell.

 

Sure, it had helped her survive,

but retreating is no way to live.

 

She flipped through the catalog

until she found the removable,

 

realistic great white shark fin,

dorsal, size medium. Just right.

 

It came with a strap to adjust it

to her carapace and a carrying case

 

for times when she’d rather be truer

to her turtle nature. It was awkward

 

at first, the way the other fish

scarpered when she came around.

 

Yeah, she felt powerful, but

to be honest, the ocean felt

 

a little too lonely then. Of course

she liked feeling safer, heck,

 

even the fishermen stayed away,

but the fin was cumbersome and

 

just plain strange. After a few days,

she decided to give it away

 

to a crab who admired it.

Let the sharks be sharks, she thought,

 

and she reveled in her shell, how

it allowed her body to be so very soft.

IMG_2229 (2)

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I no longer have the shiny black shoes

with metal taps on the bottoms—

 

though if I did, they would perhaps sit

in the back of the closet along with the wigs,

the boas, the long black gloves.

 

How I used to love the sounds they made—

fa-lap, fa-lap, fa-lap ball change—

such a shiny, happy silver sound

that used my own heart as a metronome.

 

I was never much good, but I didn’t care,

I held out my arms with wrists upturned just so

 

and shuffled and clicked and smiled

for no one but myself. I think of that

today as I dance in the office alone,

 

it’s a quiet affair without the right shoes,

and I am clumsy with lack of practice,

but laughter makes a fine music

for everything inside me dancing.

 

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Dear Mrs. Jones

Dear Mrs. Jones,

Please accept my resignation.
I know you have come
to expect me beside you.
What a long time we have
been at this together.
Husbands and houses
and graduate degrees,
children and book deals
and dress sizes.
It would be easy to blame
my torn hamstring.
It’s just gotten so hard
to keep up. Painful, even.
But that isn’t it.
Sometimes I notice
that I forget you, your
perfect complexion, your
six-figure advances, your
obedient children, your yacht,
and life is a whole lot more lovely then.
Mrs. Jones, I get seasick.
I do not want the yacht.

Sincerely,

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scarred, hidden, lost
and still somehow
god recognized me

*

the chair next to me
would be less lonely if
you were in it

*

the lonely in me
would be less lonely if
I would show up

*

crossing the room
I trip on my way
to ask myself to dance

*

I think and think
and think and think and think
about not thinking

*

cradled in sun,
I forget I’ve ever
been unhappy

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Forgive me.
I was hurt
you did not
seem to care
about the story
of me. Ha.
The story of me.
It is not
so grand a thing.
This living, now
living is grand.
This living is
everything. But
the story? It
is just marketing.
Something I tell
myself and others
to believe
I am important.
Special. As if
it could be
any other way.
Every one of us
telling each other’s stories
every time
we open our mouths.
In the end,
which is to say now,
it does not matter
if you read
a single poem
I write. It does not
matter if you
never hear about
the silver wig
I ordered today
for the show
next week I
bought you a ticket for
so you might
be there with me.
Isn’t that funny,
after all these years,
I still long
for you to see me.
As if that act
of witness would fulfill
some mysterious
math in which
one and one
make something blissful
I dream is possible—
the way I try
sometimes (impossibly)
to be that mysterious
integer for you.
With this slight remove
of space and time,
I see it does
not matter if you
hear my story
or miss the show.
But it matters
if I can sit with you tonight
and know in my every breath
that I am enough.
That I have no lack
that you could ever fill.
I am empty for now
of once upon a times,
including the story that says
I need your forgiveness.
Here are two chairs.
They are side by side.
My darling. Here we are.

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