5 Little Successes
Success is the unopened bottle
of white wine chilling in your fridge. The one
that you were so sure you would need
to get through the night, but sits there,
Success is found in the red, puffy eyes you have
the morning after the night you broke down.
The one where panic set in or you were terrified
your heart would never mend. But now, though raw, there are
no more tears.
Success is seen in the silence you keep, though
it breaks both your hearts. You were so sure that
you would never be able to stop shooting words
into space, but now you see the only way to mend is
to make space.
Success is the first time you wake up and you don’t think
about him in your waking moments. He, who used to intertwine
into your very being in as the sun peeked through the curtains
is nowhere to be found, and there is room for
Success is the first boy who makes your heart leap
after the last one. The one you were so sure would
surround your heart like a second skin, that no one
would make you feel that way, but now you see that
we move on.
Even when ghosts of past lives push forward,
their hands making imprints from the
inside of your chest, you must pause.
Breathe. Again. Good.
You are anchored here now. The ties
holding you against crashing waves are
softer, better for your skin than the ones
you wove from lightening-struck ligaments.
Yes, it might feel easier to give in and let
the sea engross you with its power and
barrel-roll your heart to take your breath away
but let yourself be held here now.
Both you and the ocean will be better for it.
The sea will not wait for those who can only dip
their toes in the water. And you, you know that
it is time to lower your sails and head to the harbor.
1) Her impressive use of technology. Mama Beth rocks instagram, facebook, and even has a twitter account. In a world where it would be easy to step back and say “Nope. That wasn’t around for me. I have no interest,” Mom jumps in with both feet. She is always willing and excited to learn.
2) Her impressive ability to make me laugh. She is always funny, a biting intelligent with that she doesn’t share with everyone, but if you’re lucky enough to see it you’ll be in stitches.
3) A few weeks ago, I was home during a tough family time. It had been a sucky week. I woke up, and did something that I’m guessing is strange for most 25 year old women.
I crawled into bed with my mom. Ok, it’s probably strange for really most girls over the age of, you know, 10, but when I was thinking about my mom today, it struck me how calming feeling her near me still is. How, with my father, I am consistently provided an anchor, a support. I am immensely blessed that I never walk a step in this world without having my mother’s hands, spiritually, anchored around my heart. I never take a breath in without knowing that I am loved, unconditionally, by a strong woman who taught me how to love that way as well.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom
I have come with a nomad’s heart and a travelers’s body.
After years of being out at sea— the
twitch-muscles in my calves are so used to
the constant swaying of shaky hands and
fluid commitments that the stability of feeling
safe is so foreign it is almost dizzying. My
internal buoy has been measuring the
up-downs of surrounding ebbs and flows
that simply sitting quietly while he holds
my hand is a level of sea-glass calm that skews
all of my previous internal measurements.
He mentioned that he was surprised at
how much I tossed and turned at night,
and I realized that it’s because
I’m so used to sleeping on turbulent
jetstreams my body doesn’t know
how to rest on smooth skies any longer.
I’m terrified that, in my attempt to get
back to my equilibrium I will throw him
into my tornadoed heart instead. He
will get sucked into the current of my
tossing and turning and get taken out to sea.
It’s ridiculous how quickly the body
adapts to a stormy climate, and
I don’t know how to broadcast that I
am raging weatherstorms untrusting of temperance.
Feel him anchor himself to you as a partner.
Use this new sensation to override the memories
of a powerful Southern palm as it slid, slowly like
cigar smoke, along the back of your neck in a crowded bar.
Admit that you loved the way it massaged your neck
that night, held you in its power like a dog holding a pup
by the scruff of its neck, but all that meant was that you
would never stand side-by-side, only behind.
Feel his fingers press softly into yours as reassurance
of how gentle he can be if needed. These are not the hardened
hands of a Chicago-style dog who painted a red line of
distrust down your back while you lay naked in his arms.
where you should have been safe.
deleted lines (that I really loved) from an upcoming poem, “how to treat the one you’re with, version 5”.
I click-through photos, watching a
face I once knew like the back of my own
hand change with time. As you, as we, move
forward so far from the path we once
tread together, the face has hints
of the nose I once knew, the cheek
whose temperature I could recall at
once, but is now no longer a part of
my life. It morphs, grows older, changes.
The eyes that I once looked into
each day now look into another’s.
Yet these lines are not filled with
anger, but with joy. As I click through
the photos I see how well she fits into a
world that I have long since outgrown. Or
maybe “mis-grown,” since it’s not that
I am too “mature” for it, but rather that
we grew into different shapes. The puzzle
pieces of our lives once stitched together
with entwined fingers and kissing palms
have long since mis-aligned. I see now
how much better you are with a more well-fit
piece, how the “things you loved” are so much better
suited as the “things WE love.” And I cannot
help but feel both happiness and relief— because
it only serves as a reminder of the things I
never wanted, the things I never loved, the
things I could never give you.
That’s a two-way street, though, and I see
now how you have grown into a way that would
no longer have fit into the larger picture
of my life either. How blessed I am to finally
feel empowered to paint my own vista
across a canvas I had to build all
on my own. How the pieces have finally
start to fit together in a way that feels
good, and the hands of someone new whose
fingers fit my own feel so warm and right
it’s hard not to feel happy.
Last year, I gave myself (and other’s) this challenge:
This Valentine’s day, don’t just tell the people in your life “I love you.” Tell them “Thank You.” Tell them thank you for sharing part of your life experience with you, for the lessons they teach you, and for the love and light they bring to you.
In that spirit, a short and incomplete list of things I am thankful for in this moment:
I am so blessed. Happy Valentine’s Day.
I opened my palms and
said, “Here, see?
They’re empty. No tricks
or games. Just me.”
The thing is, no one
comes now with their
palms unscratched or
their arms unscathed.
We all come with scars
wrapped around our limbs,
invisible little roadmaps to
our pasts wrap like gossamer
spiders webs around our
forearms. The memories, hidden,
glint quietly in the light.
And it’s frustrating, because
I think it might be nice to try
and hold you, without my
past indiscretions coming in between—
getting caught on your shirt and
scratching your neck as I
wrap my arms around you.
And it’s distracting, because I can’t
help but be curious about where your
scarred maps led to, and know what
your memories look like— if only to hope
that on yours I might see one like mine.
The “eureka!” moment where a fork in
the road makes me say “Oh! You’ve
been there too!” And the common
traveler-bond could bring us closer.
Trust me, though, I’m not perfect. I’m
a whole mixed bag of hidden tunnels,
rusted gates and trying neuroses with
a whole a lot of “trouble” dashed
into my past. I’m consistently making
the path more difficult for travelers,
and the scars on my arms and dust
on my shoes have been my only
traveling companions for quite some time.
And no, I don’t know if I believe you’re
some knight in shining armor either. I
know we both come to the table tired and
dusty, the trails confusing and unclear.
But, I don’t know, could we try it?
I don’t think we can cut out the pieces
of our past— they make us who we are,
and the map they made had smoothed
the journeys to follow. But I’m willing to
dabble in cartography and repurpose
the past. Maybe we could lay our forearms
out between each other’s to try what
our gossamer scars taught us in the time before
each other to create an entirely new trajectory.
2012, edited in 2013