What if I can’t be the light

Lately I’ve not been who I want to be.

This year has been challenging in so many ways: a tough relationship with I man that I cared for deeply and had much in common with, but we were up against his drinking problem, a general lack of long-term chemistry for us both, and my inability to trust; my insomnia; healthy weight loss followed by gaining it all back; yet again losing myself in a relationship and thus losing sight of what’s important to me; an all around personal lack of self trust and self love; a diagnosis of anxiety and being medicated on Zoloft for it, which may or may not be related to a scary amount of hair loss and thinning; my closest friends moving thousands of miles away; the struggle to balance being kind and having grace with speaking up for myself and being myself, and the fear that perhaps I’m not as kind as I thought; weekly physical therapy appointments for far too long costing more than I can easily afford to try and fix the knots in my back, ulnar nerve entrapment in my elbow, and a labral tear in my shoulder; growing pains and growing frustration at work; the realization that my parents are growing old and deteriorating in health; fear of being a woman in a city and country where sexual harassment is rampant and where our own human rights as women feel jeopardized; and the feeling that I am letting myself down, over and over and over again.

I so desperately want to be kind, to trust myself, to believe that I am enough, to be able to love and trust a man, to not be terrified of the possibility of heartbreak, to truly believe that I will be okay, to be able to deal with my anxiety, to be able to sleep at night, to do what I say I’m going to do, to not be living paycheck to paycheck so that I can pay my bills on time and pay off my credit card debt, to not let others down, to be a loving and caring friend, to grow, to eat healthy and exercise, to be smart, to challenge myself and not fear failure, to write, to finish my novel, to travel, to find my soul, to feel at peace with myself, to enjoy time alone with myself without feeling lonely, to run fast after my dreams, to try spoken word on a stage in public, to excel at my job, to be a good example for others, to help those in need, to be happy, to do the things that I love doing, and to be the light.

My life is a complete mess right now and with all I feel I’m up against, I don’t know where to start or how to do it. It seems exhausting, and what if I don’t succeed?

What if I can’t be the light?

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I am enough

Sunday.

This week, I am going to choose to be happy. I am committing, now, to making a choice or a decision or doing something special and particular once a day for the next five days that *I* want to do and that will make *me* happy. This is a practice in self care, in self love, in trusting myself, being okay with myself, and being proud of myself. This is a practice in being the best me. This is accountability to myself. This is learning and growing. This is being strong. This is me living life. This is me learning to cherish myself. This is me teaching myself that I am enough. 

Each day, I’ll update this post with what I did to choose to be happy that day:

Monday. It made me happy to me kind to the other people in my life, and I challenged myself and put myself out there by going to a write-in for National Novel Writing Month and meeting new people. The healthy beet salad I had for dinner also made my happy – it was delicious!

Tuesday. What a day. Election Day. I got to vote for our country’s first female presidential nominee. It was a powerful and beautiful feeling that filled me with joy. I also did a short run and it felt good to be active in the sunshine and in short sleeves in November.

Wednesday. It was hard to be happy this day and I cried many times. I got very angry, and not only at the election. But seeing how much my friends and the people in my life were there for me and for each other, seeing how the women – and some of the men too – that I know where banding together, standing up strong for what they believe, and offering to help others – that gave me hope and made me find happiness in all the sadness.

Thursday. Good conversation with new close friends, the kind of conversation where the hours just melt away and it feels like no time at all. 

Friday. Doing new things, and doing things you always wanted to do. Being there for your friends and being a good friend. Walking, strolling, and saying hello to people. 

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I’m Writing my Novel!

I’m finally writing my book!

November is “national novel writing month” (check out NaNoWriMo they are a stellar literary nonprofit!) and I’m finally going to do it. I’m finally going to jump off the proverbial cliff, write more than just a few lines of poetry, and put down on paper this epic story that’s been living inside me for 28 years.

I’m tremendously excited and also terrified. I feel like this is it. If I can do this, if I can crank out a messy, error laden 50,000 word novel in the thirty days of November, which is my favorite month of the year, then I’ll finally have something and I can finally think of myself as a writer.

I’ve started sketching out my story/plot, which scares me and exhaust me and I’ve never done before, but I have a smile on my face the entire time because I know I’m doing what I love.

So if you see me in November, please, ask me if I’m writing. Help hold me accountable. Encourage me to keep trying, to be brave, and not to give up.

I’ll be keeping track of some big picture writing stuff each day here.

Here’s to writing, and to running blindly after your dreams.

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Letter to the Universe

Let me be all that I am:
stand me up on mountains
so that I can stand for myself,
teach me to scream, loud,
so I have something to say
and say it well. Show me staircase
after staircase
so I never get tired of climbing.
Give me days of rain so I fall in love
with the sun. Give me nights of loneliness
so that I appreciate love.
Let me feel heartache
because maybe hearts were meant to be broken.
Show me fear and death and sadness and brokenness,
strength and heaven and hell and wisdom.
Show me that I am invincible.
Show me that I am not invincible
because comic books aren’t real.
Cause me to bleed and cause me to heal.
Create in me a child of your reflection:
of the blue skies, the ragged sea, the wildflowers,
the mountain streams. Beat me up, turn me over,
make me give it everything I’ve got.
I know you do this because you have made me strong.
And I know you won’t give me anything I can’t take.
But sometimes I wish you would show
a little grace.

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345 West 15th Street

Heat lightning, my Nana’s
lullabies and her gentle snoring
in the other thin bed across the room,
gulls with names and stories that we gave,
like George, like Tom the ice cream man
who gave me a ride around the block
once in his ice cream truck,
who would give us the damaged ice cream
for free. Mistakes, lessons learned,
my first kiss that tasted far too salty,
so much so that I ran to the bathroom
to wash out my mouth. Picking up
buckets full of snails from the Bay,
feeding stale bread to the ducks,
swimming up and down the lagoon
training for a lifeguard job
I would never get, sending messages
in bottles no one would ever read.
Chocolate ice cream cones with sprinkles,
watermelon lips and sunburnt cheeks,
learning to ride a bicycle for the
first time and running head on
into my neighbor, sun bleached
hair and cigarettes.
But none of that is there anymore,
it was all washed away, covered in mold,
sold for so much less than it was worth.
And my grandmother lies at the bottom
of a hill in Philadelphia,
still waiting for her headstone.
I can’t hear her snores anymore.

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My own lion

I don’t wear jewelry.
Perhaps it’s because
it feels unnecessary
or like I’m flaunting something
that’s not my own good heart.
Perhaps I don’t like standing out.
Perhaps I’m scared.

Today I bought myself
a $78 dollar necklace.
It’s quite beautiful
and I do love the way it looks on me.
It makes me look thin
and fabulous,
two things I am not.

The necklace was meant
to be a reminder
to myself to be at peace,
to stand up,
to be first
to be selfish
to love.
It will be okay. I will be okay?

Today I typed into my
computer as it glowed in
the midnight air
“how to practice self love,”
like it’s a magic trick
I could teach myself overnight,
like some clown in some circus
that frightens little kids.
that runs from lions.
It doesn’t work that way.

I need to stop running from lions.
I need to be my own fucking lion.

“Rise, like lions after slumber…”

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Where did they go

Where did the day go-
the day was had,
had by the smiles on your faces,
the black coffee in your cup,
had by your graces and your fear,
your trust and mistrust.

Where did our time together go-
and is it over
or are we beginning again-
again into black holes,
sunshine and kisses,
holding me in bed,
staring at the moon.

Where did this life go-
this life was lived,
lived by my fingers and toes,
my full heart,
my soul,
let this life be lived by my soul.

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Like you write

Write with a vengeance
write like this is the last poem you will ever have
that these are the last soft spoken words that you’ll
put onto paper
write like the sun won’t set tonight
or won’t rise with the morning
write like you don’t believe in regrets
that you don’t believe in fairytales
but rather you believe in life
write from your fingertips
write from your toes
write the most truthful thing you
have ever felt
write like you are the sun and the moon
write like you are the sea
write with so much strength and
trust in yourself.

Love, like you write.

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I’d be your poetry

If I could be anything, I’d be your poetry:
I’d be the words on the tip of your tongue
the sound that rests on the soft spots of your lips
I’d be the phrases you remember and too soon forget
before you can write them down into your own eternity
I’d be the lovely sentences that come to mind
when you’re standing naked and vulnerable in the shower
and when you just start spouting poetry –
the words that are lost down the drain with the dirt of the day.
I’d be the smile on the side of your face
the pillow under your head when you sleep
the freckles on your back
the sunshine that lights up your eyes when you first awake
the softness that frames your days –
the poetry that makes up the love buried down in your heart.

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