Letter to My Future Children

When I decided I was finally ready to give my body over

to the creation of another human being ,

to devote my temple to the formulation

of a heartbeat between my hipbones

a new soul placed carefully inside of me;

to become one with their making

it was then that I realized my body is not a temple

it is, instead, a pile of garbage

a consuming vacuum of fast food and too much television

and how could I ever expect to be anything better than the sum of my parts

than the pathway the generations before me had carved into the gravel

my toes sunk into while walking

You see, we birthed the idea of the existence of our daughters

of our sons

of a future full of our kind of legacy,

of exactly the kind of religion we hoped would permeate this earth like dandelion seeds

twisting itself around the hearts of those we loved the most

so that someday we might be able to look back and say: “Here is a family

that knew how to love God over all other people”
Yet somehow, while mapping out the future of our unborn children,

we started assigning their names to jobs and schools,

began giving them characteristics and personalities

before they even came out of the womb

before they were even placed in our arms in the delivery room

cold and hungry and needy for our love

for our unabashed open arms

ready to accept them as they are,

as they were created to be

We spent so much time attempting to show them

a mirror image of who we imagined them to be

tried to tell them not to color outside of the lines

not to see how it felt for the lines on our hands to be open to receiving anything

but what was already given to us.

It was then that fear became the only oxygen in my lungs,

terrified that maybe I would never be able to raise a child

that broke the cycle of abuse,

that no matter how much we wanted to create another creature

capable of loving and giving and sprouting wings like hope,

maybe I didn’t have all the tools yet;

maybe I needed another decade or two

to see how I would eventually measure up

to see who I am beneath all those layers of expectations

piled on me as a child, all those fears and dreams I still can’t decide

if they are my own, or some predestination placed on me when my parent’s signed my birth certificate with the name of a child

they had spent years imagining would be just like them.

And don’t we always do this? Don’t we always imagine what our children will be like

decades before we actually have them,

practicing with our baby dolls scenarios in which they grow up to be strong like trees

unbendable, unbreakable, able to weather all storms.

Yet I look at my mother, and I look at my grandmother

and see that both were so wrapped up in trying to find inner peace

that they forgot the sanctity of their own bones

sprawled out like a cradle,

ready to hold the heart of the one they spent nine months creating

with their own flesh and blood,

a creation birthed out of the desire to make something better

than what they had as a child,

but forgetting that expectations often curl the same as a noose:

tight, and unforgiving

and often so familiar it feels like home

a second away from taking your breath.

So, little one, I vow that I will love you

more than I ever have learned to love myself

to give you every part of me that goes beyond any dreams those before me told me I should have for you

and I will carry you so that every day my heart beats stronger

until one day you are able to rise up and see

that it was your heart beating all along

it was always you

my heart will always beat for you.

The way grizzly bears are more like fire flies.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what love looks like. And how often that word carries with it the weight of a thousand definitions and reasons and complications. Too often we make love selfish, and wear it on our wrists like a fashion statement, when love is the most beautiful, astounding thing I have ever seen. Someone who is really attempting to live a life full of love–now that is truly a sight to behold, because once you really begin to try to love the way love should really happen, your heart becomes a wellspring. It’s indescribable. 

I just think of the inside of a person who is learning to fight is a nighttime in summer. Within lies all the potential and greatness, floating around as lightening bugs, waiting for the moment they can pour out of their mouth and shine. 

Last night I learned a powerful lesson. It was a difficult lesson, but I knew something was changing inside of me the moment I chose to find peace instead of anger at the position I had been placed in. Let me explain. I was working my job in retail and a woman that has been known to cause trouble in our store came in last night. Generally speaking, she’s downright mean and bitter. Nothing you say will calm her down or make her compliment you. She just gets a rise out of her harshness. I am definitely not one for confrontations. Especially from people I don’t know. Last night, she unloaded on me, big time. Her ranting and raving lasted for quite some time. But something inside of me screamed louder than anger and told me to bite my tongue, stand up for myself a little in a kind manner, and let it go. 

After she left I was kind of overwhelmed. As the minutes ticked on, however, I wasn’t angry, I felt sorry for her. I had seen her in our store before. She looks lonely and miserable. And honestly, as I began to ponder the circumstances for her arrival last night, I began feeling regrettably empathetic towards her plight. 

I have been addicted to watching the show Hoarders for quite a while. I quite enjoy psychology, and comprehending the reasons behind the way people behave when they have had difficult challenges in their life. One of the things that is a common theme in the reason why I have observed people hoarding is their desire to keep people out. They have been repetitively wounded in various ways for so long, that in their desperate attempt to deal with the pain, they hoard stuff that is useless to build barriers between themselves and other people. That at least the objects would love them always, that it would be there when they cried. That happiness could be found in another sack of papers or useless shirts. But no matter what they could somehow manage to find peace in something that couldn’t hurt them. It’s not that they didn’t want people in their life, because honestly most of the time the stars of these shows are so lonely you can see their breaking heart worn in the crooked way they smile. They are just so damn afraid of letting anyone in that could hurt them, that they feel keeping then out is the only way. 

And this is exactly what I felt about this woman last night. It was like she had been wearing the weight of generations of pain and all of these traumatic things that had happened to her in the direction of her step, in the cut of her words, in the bite of her anger. There is one thing I have really learned these past few months, and it is that most of the time, that anger is all a front. It keeps the people out. Anger does a good job of scaring others to stay away. It’s a defense mechanism. It happens when we are afraid to see or deal with what we are capable of inside, when we don’t comprehend that healing can happen. 

When I started thinking about the incident after, all I could do was be humbled by the prospect that she is still in the darkness with a blindfold, feeling around the cave. Something settled on my heart and made me feel stunningly aware that anger was not the appropriate response. Love will bring light. Pray for your enemies. Smile when it’s hard. And for goodness sakes, be brave. Love is never easy, but it’s worth it. I will probably not change her, but she changed me. Even if it was just because she was angry for the millionth time. 

Like I say, there really is beauty in everything you see. 

Until next time,

Rosie

Beauty–the ugly truth

I’m not a big fan of the title. It needs some adjustment. For now, I’m very excited to have the first draft of a concept that snuck up and took my soul by surprise last night–society’s standards of beauty. I’ve gotten in a lot of deep conversations regarding the idea of beauty and how it’s applicable to that person’s ideology about women and men’s designs and nature. Here’s a little rhetorical piece about my feelings towards that concept. 

 

Too often I’ve been told,

between worn out words

and conversations stuck

to the bottom of too many regrets:

“a little paint

on the old barn

 never hurt anyone.”

But I’m telling you, I’m am not

weathered,

though this ship

has wrestled enough

hurricanes,

twisted itself free

from the rocks along the shore

enough times to know

it no longer wants to see

the inside of the barrel

of a sawed off shotgun,

no longer wants to feel the poison

of revenge

pulsing in the space

between soul and spine.

 

I know what the inside

of a concentration camp looks like

for  I have been aprisoner

inside my own tower of bitterness

for far too long.

My mind has fought off scarlet fever—

infectious to the crewmembers

trying so hard to breathe—

long enough to try to dig holes

in the spaces where good memories

should live;

and clearing it out

took every ounce of strength,

took the backhand

of a machete

in the deep woods of anger

to knock down the walls

that asphyxiated freedom

from bursting in my heart,

exploding as a rose

growing through the rocks

in the desert.

 

So I pulse this prayer,

clinging close to some-day hope

that this world will comprehend

that beauty’s definition

is expansive,

it does not run with fear,

it cannot be expelled by naysayers,

and that only when we add “I”

to beauty

do we find freedom,

for we cannot be free

when this oppressive world chooses

so desperately to callous our hearts

with ill-chosen ideologies that revolve

around the correct curvature of the spine,

the proper part of the lips ,

or the sly way in which a smile

creeps along the face

after low blows to the intellect.

 

Sometimes true magnificence

is found marginalized,

marketed by few,

for society’s standards

spell implosion,

suffocation,

and does not comprehend

the definition

of redemption,

and the beauty that comes

from battling our demons,

not hiding them beneath

layers of makeup,

and false advertising

to make the barn pretty.

 

Our souls slither

between the space

of soul and intellect,

initiating realization

that fairytales

do not always come

pre-packaged,

they burst forth beaming

from circumstance.

Rise forth, queens of pain

summon your strength

for you are strikingly stunning–

surreal–

and society only serves

to suck

self-esteem

from the ones who know not

that their beauty is deeper

than any critic

could ever tell them otherwise

so let’s become a pandemic,

and strike this world confused

with our hearts heaving,

beating beauty, with every breath. 

 

(meth)enhim

I’m not going to lie and say this is my best work. I’ve had trouble writing for a while now, but I just needed to get some thoughts, some things out on the paper tonight. If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been reading a lot of Ellen Hopkins lately. 

 

Schllliipp

the noise of matches

in the darkest hour

of his existence,

crushed up against

the inner workings

ofa glass tube

hoping to find

the last drop of innocence

oozing in the empty buzzing space

that lies

inwhatshouldbe

brain matter.

 

Teenage doubt

is not the only stench in the air,

wafting from alcoholic lips,

emotional fingertips

and too much cologne

hoping to cover the sweat

of too many monsters

found under the bed.

 

There’s a party going on

in bedroom closets

where sevenminutesinheaven

has tick-tocked into

a life-time of regret

and the reek of need

is stronger than the

perfume of confidence

and holy things like

his lips on her curves,

toes wedged in floor cracks

as they rock back and forth

in the celebration of too many

canvas paints

spread together into one color.

 

Rainbows have come

from more haunted spaces

than the cavern

that dwells beneath

aching atriums

and twisted tongues,

clinging to the mass

of the last shipwrecked

dream

America fed him,

mama singing nighttime

lullabies between

tears,

trusting this time

willbe better,

that his smile

wouldwreck the world

wash wicked souls

into the ocean

of fire.

 

I wish I could tell you

that at least this part

was true,

butI still

have not found yet

who decides

what holes need plugging

first

when a ship is quickly sinking

into the sunset,

leaving memories burning

in the opening of your mouth,

shattered in the scent

of his high-

tened need,

crawling into the teeth

of the monster. 

 

Poetic Fragmentations

Today I sat down to write. Not unlike every day of my life. I sit there straining and tugging at some mysterious heartstring, hoping to find something that connects to something real, and to be able to pull on it until it bursts, breaking forth from the abyss of my memories.

It’s been like this for too damn long. I’m sick of struggling to come up with anything that is inspiring. Or earth-rattling. Or explosive. I just write snippets and segments of ideas and than the drains in my brain get clogged. And I give up. I close the document. Slam the lid on the computer. It’s time to stop thinking I’ll get somewhere. Sometimes.

This afternoon. I shuffled though the documents section on my computer. Ya’ll should see this disaster. Seriously, it’s pathetic. You’d think after a year of not being able to push anything out of my mind but journal entries, I’d be ready to push forth into the great divide. It’s just not happening. Believe me. I’m sick of talking about all of this nearly as much as you are about hearing it. Promise.

So, in commemoration of my non-ability-to-write year, here are some snippets I found on my computer of poems. Which ones do you think I should pursue. What do you like better?

#1

spent themorning

writing

until myveins

could nolonger bleed

ink

#2

you speak asthough

beauty only belongs

to those willing

to weigh their intentions

against their actions

making sure they

hash out

to an even number

zero

#3

and for that second

in time

i was totally

and positively

helpless

to your love

#4

like a lit cigarette

thrown out

of a moving vehicle

at top speeds,

you hit the ground

burst

into a showof flames

and extinguish

smoke rising

towards the clouds

a moment of judgment

gone awry

#5

sometimes words

don’t make sense,

wrapped around

our tongues like

brillo pads,

scraping at

our intellect,

eating away

our last chance

of ever transforming

from an ugly insect

to a rainbow of color

waiting to delve

into the flowers

and blossom.

…and this is the current poem I was working on today:

#6

can I kiss you with my scars?

would it make for a better story

when our souls go out at night

and you are left with nothing

but the pale shadow form

of your sweat left behind

in the shape of your heartless body

from the night before?

and when I make sense

of all these tribulations

will you extinguish them,

or will you peel back

the exoskeleton

and add me

as another slash mark

splayed in your wallet,

as another discovery

conquered,

nothing more?

I want to be what moves you

when the world is full

of languid desire,

a restless form

sprawled neatly

across the pillowcase

as time ticks ,

disintegrating our heartbeats

in brilliant unison.

Finding peace in a world full of hate.

It always brings the demons back.  Sometimes I can hear the memories in the floorboard, slipping along the sunsets like a burnt out cigarette end. I can feel the pulse of the restless creaking, for it does not lull me to sleep any longer. It only signals the rising unrest felt between the sheets at night. Been this way for a while now—life has been all too frequently resembling something like poison-laced heroin. Oh god, it feels so good going in, rushing around the stem of my brain like the most beautiful sludge of ungodliness, until time settles in.  Until I remember that I don’t know what I’m aiming for, all I know is the vision of the future and I don’t know how to get there. And my toes curl at the joy I feel until I remember the choke of depression, tight on my vocal cords, shutting out the desire to speak. At all. To anyone. It has always been this way.  It’s like a rhythmic pulse of the underlying current in my life. For a while I can hold my head above the wreckage, until my bones become dry from not being plunged beneath the water. Sometimes I play around with my sanity, listen to it clanking boldly against the inner workings of my brain and realize deep down that, thankfully, at least I am not much like this world. I don’t need to breathe in the pollution to know what fresh air looks like, but maybe I’ve just been trying this whole time, too hard, to not feel senseless. So I fill myself up with all these memories of happiness, try to hallucinate on images of star filled skies and childhood laughter to make up for the deep sea of bad flashbacks I sometimes find myself consumed with.  I remember when my mom used to tell me that some suitcases were too heavy for me to carry as a child. Would shut me out when all I wanted was the truth, and she used to explain to me that sometimes children aren’t meant to know everything, we just have to wait until we are older to understand those burdens we carry around with us like boulders. Then a wildfire consumes my soul and I am reminded that she gave me the greatest burden of all to carry, and I wonder if she even saw the luggage she kept piling on my heart in the darkness. The irony life sometimes tosses our direction. It’s like an iron being pressed on your heart to smooth out all the wrinkles, but finding wretchedness in every corner, and you are left to wonder why it takes so much starch to make things right in your life. The realization that sometimes it takes a lot of heat and pain and suffering to make something beautiful again. To find the masterpiece that is found beyond the imperfections. Such a wilderness we find sometimes in the crevices of our brain when we delve into why we feel such wreckage at a sound. Curious things we find behind closed doors, or traps we thought we closed a long time ago. And then I remember that last week, God told me that he never meant for me to carry those burdens, but they were given to me, and He was sorry. And I wept, deep into my lungs I felt the heavings, the mending I have attempted a million times with friendships, late nights kissing necks in the dark, and desperate failed realizations that the bottom of a barrel of vodka isn’t a healing agent. The tears on my cheeks felt like rain in a desert, a well that needed escaping from the confines of life to burst forth and be free. I laid that baggage down at the cross, my last desperate attempt to be removed from captivity as a slave to the mind.

 

I can’t say that healing has been found completely. Or that I don’t look down at the insides of my heart and don’t see a little super glue still oozing from the stuck-together shards of my recently formed being. I still wake up a lot of mornings and try to pick up that familiar luggage again, hoping to breathe in the scent of pain again so I have an excuse to hold close when life is too hard for me to handle. So I can lean back on these past wars deep in my veins to explain to others why I sometimes struggle, as if struggling isn’t somehow innately human. I guess that somewhere along the search for healing I began the quest for everlasting perfection. I’m not the only one who has done so. The more people I meet along the way who have a checklist of pain sprawled in their sock drawer, the more I come face to face with the understanding that perfection is often looked at as a substitute that might suddenly be the beginning of an immaculate, beautiful existence. Suddenly. Why do we try to find such wholeness in attempting to complete ourselves with a mixture of insanity and impossible, unattainable goals? It’s just one more thing my mind haunts me with at night when I squeeze my eyes tight and try to rid my spinal cord of the weight of a million pressures I waged against this afternoon. Another scream flinging itself at my ear drums violently, hoping to make me aware of the hundreds of ways I fell short again. Today.. Somehow, our humanly feeble attempts at finding flawlessness in a world oriented in hate, only makes us more desperately cognitive of how far we fall short. I have to believe somewhere inside of me that God knew we would try to find healing in the way we run our lives. That we would try to find grace in the way we handled ourselves in public and that deep down we would hope it would fix those charred remains of our forests just before the fire. And He knew he had to make us imperfect, or we wouldn’t need help living our lives to the fullest of it’s capabilities. We would think that because we could win the war, we didn’t need people or relationships or to feel connected to anything else in the world that wasn’t neat and orderly and perfect puzzle pieces of sanity to tie in with the beautiful white floor in the kitchen. Maybe when we all stop trying to attain these unnatural expectations of beauty and health and imagination and just start being something other than insignificant, is when we actually begin to be memorable. And maybe at that exact moment when we allow ourselves to be set free from all of the unnatural expectations placed upon us from the moment we shot out of our mother’s womb, we are able to find ourselves amidst the rubble, we are able to expand our minds to accept the necessary connectedness each one of us is made for. There is music in your voice and the only way it can be heard is by unlocking the shackles around your feet and dancing amidst the tribes. Joining in the call of nature to love and to end the hate we see all around us like a virus.  And there is beauty in admitting our inadequacies, slamming our fists along the pavement, and finding life in the revolt. I dare you, to live walking against the current, even if that means coming close to being run over by traffic. Because at least, honey, you dared to live a little. 

The life goal of encouragement

Tonight, I’m filling out online applications for a new job. The task is daunting. I hate doing this. I always get so nervous filling out applications. Nervous if I am making the right decision, nervous that I might sound like a fool once I hit send and they read my answers to their questions. 

One of the questions for the job was this: “What is your goal in life?” Ugh, seriously, that is a tough one. My goal is to become an activist poet who stands in front of audiences that fill rooms up, and spread love, not hate. I want to be able to use the power of words to bring others to life. To make them aware of their passions. Obviously, when applying for the job of a hair salon receptionist they do not care about these life goals. They want to know that you will be a good fit to answer the phones. To make their guests feel good about themselves in every way upon entering that door. To know that a bright smile and wonderful personality would be shown to everyone regardless of their attitude or outlook on life. 

So, I came up with this crafty answer: “To inspire others to be the best person they are capable of becoming. So many of us are lights, but are unaware of our brightness until someone shows us the switch.” And really. This is my life goal. I want to be able to make others feel as inspired as I do when I see the joy they spread to me. I want others to feel welcome in all situations, to know that they are loved, even if they refuse to see it. I wish that more people in life could see the potential and power of their words. I wish they could see that they have the ability to impact hundreds, maybe even thousands if they could find the courage deep down inside of them to share their opinions and ideas with others. 

Spread the love, let others know you care, today. Post an uplifting comment on someone’s wall today. Send them an encouraging email or text. Call them and let them know how much of a blessing they are in your life. We need to stop looking at our own lives, but open ourselves up to those around us. We were made for relationships, and the moment we forget that is the moment that we do not allow ourselves to be open to a world of blessings.