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Archive for June, 2013

Dear Douchebag:

June 28, 2013 10 comments

 

So, here’s the thing. I’m a friendly, nice, polite person. I say hi to people of all genders, positions, and whatnot. I like to be nice. This, unfortunately, seems to be often mistaken for flirtation. Because, clearly, you cannot just say hi to man without wanting him to take you to dinner or drop his pants. I mean, right?

*face palm* Here’s the other thing: subtle clues are, actually, very important. If someone is walking very quickly, not making eye contact, and is obviously busy – it’s generally best not to deter that person. It’s generally wise to assume that person is busy or uncomfortable—or both.

Eye contact, or directly looking in a person’s direction, is a pretty strong signal. If that signal is absent? That is also a strong signal. If you strike up a conversation, and I’m only give you one word answers – this is a sign that I reallllly don’t want to be talking. If I keep WALKING as you are talking, this is not a subtle hint to pursue me, even if you genuinely DO want to discuss the weather pattern and if it will rain later on.

Additionally, if I don’t look in your direction when I walk past you, I’m deliberately doing that. If I say hi to you and three other people, I’m just being a nice person. This is not an invitation to inquire about my shoe size, living arrangement, and if I’m “seeing anyone special.” You know the reason that you don’t know any of that? We are not friends. When you ask me fifty entirely personal questions, it makes me very uncomfortable. It makes me wonder if you’re secretly digging a dirt pit in your basement, complete with a nice Chianti. If you’ll notice, I did not ask YOU if you lived alone, keep your doors locked at night, or if you are attached. For one thing, my dating life is not your business. It’s not up for grabs. And for another, asking that is just CREEPY. And I do not care if you’re secretly involved with a real doll named Jane who lives in your closet. In fact, I’d much prefer NOT to know anything like that.

The truth is, darling, that if I AM flirting with someone? He will, without a shadow of a DOUBT, know it. He will also notice that I am not edging away as he is talking, and I’m probably closing the gap between and finding a reason to touch his arm. When I’m maintaining separate dance spaces, this is not a peacock mating ritual. I’m not trying to see if you can cleverly quip about the usually long day. I’m trying to flee in the nicest way possible, because I don’t want to be an asshole. But if you keep pushing me, I’m not going to be nice forever.

Sincerely,
The Girl Who is NOT Flirting With You

Don’t run. Stop holding your tongue.

June 26, 2013 Leave a comment

 

I want to be brave. I am not always. There are moments, things that reach back from our past, that remind us of who we are – of who we’ve been – and how fear changes over time. Something odd occurred to me, today. There’s a parallel situation from over ten years ago, a little thing. Just a whisper of a shadow. Different time and place, but the same shade. Then: I was fearless. Then: I refused to allow myself to give in to the ghosts. Today: I caught myself wondering. Today: I caught myself talking myself out of an idea.

I was listing all the reasons why not. Except, they weren’t really reasons. They were excuses. They were that little idiot voice that lives in the back of a person’s head, rubbing salt in every wound that you forgot you even had. If, ten years ago, I was brave – what changed? What is it about growing up (okay, growing older) that erodes our fearlessness? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s that we fail to nurture that part of ourselves. Perhaps it’s the day-to-day grind that wears us down. Perhaps it is the endless list of responsibilities, instead of laughter. Perhaps it’s the have tos instead of the want tos. Whatever it is, whatever the root cause, it stops here. It ends now.

Sometimes, you have to do the exact thing that you are afraid of. Sometimes, you have to prove it to yourself. Sometimes, you need to be a little less You Now. And a little more of your past. The truth is that even the most spectacular disaster teaches us something. The truth is that there really aren’t mistakes. There’s what you do and what you don’t do. There’s how you feel or don’t feel. There’s love or there isn’t.

And there’s being brave. I can’t help but think of Sara Bareilles’ new song, Brave. There’s nothing worse than letting words fester underneath your skin. There’s nothing worse than letting fear – of anything – win. So, it might be crazy. It might be ridiculous. It might be the foolish idea born of a mad moment. But it also might be real. It also might be true. It also might be the best thing you almost didn’t do.

This, I suppose, is why I love the word yes. It opens doors. It breaks down walls. It punches a hole through a window. Yes begins everything. Yes teaches us. Yes reveals us. So, when faced with a choice? With a scary thing? Don’t let fear steal your yes. Don’t hold back, because life is wonky and difficult. Don’t hold back at all.

Be brave.

beautifully broken things

June 18, 2013 4 comments

 

There are moments that are just…right. There are days where you wake up and you know. There are times where everything is a song, and the lyrics are at once beautiful and indecipherable. In those moments, the beauty is enough to sustain you. You don’t need to understand. You can let go and just be. Because everything is right. Because sideways or not, things feel perfect and hopeful. Because you have a reason that’s wordless and wild, like a heartbeat that’s thrumming its way through your body.

Some things are what they are. Some moments are born of a different skin. Some mornings, you wake up — and you just smile. Because love is love. Because things grow out of ashes. Because there’s no reason to look down when things are looking up. 

A sprinkler went off this morning. It wasn’t something I knew was going to happen. One of the sprinkler heads was broken, so it shot up like a geyser. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have even seen it — because the others ran too close to the ground. But it was the broken one that brought my attention to the moment. It was the broken one that said this is happening. That, my dear hearts and darlings, is the best metaphor I have for pretty much everything.

Despite the surprises, despite what might seem like insanity or chaos, things are right. Things are good. And this is everything that’s beautiful about life. *raises coffee mug* Here’s to today, my dears. May yours be as full of beautifully broken things — and odd moments full of such strange chaos and grace.

the heart is quiet

June 12, 2013 2 comments

Earlier today, I found a note on my phone. I’d written it, obviously. Unless my phone has developed Gremlins. In which case…don’t feed it after midnight. But this note – I don’t remember writing it. I don’t know when it was written. I don’t have anything to go on, except what it says.

You are worth it.

That’s it. One single, brief sentence. And yet, it sparked a whole wave of thoughts in my head. Because we all what to be worth it – whatever hardship and troubles are in the way, between us and something else. Between us and someone else. Everyone wants to be worth the trouble, the risk, the difficulties, and disasters.

You are worth it.

Take a tough situation. Conjure one up from your memories. Think about your last, great, difficult relationship. There’s a moment, always, where you think: is it worth it? Is this person worth the trouble? [Whatever that trouble may be.] There’s that turning point where you look at all the chaos, weigh it, measure it – factoring in emotions with the facts – and you decide. It might not be a conscious thing, but it always happens. You always choose.

You are worth it.

Some situations are rife with fights, emotional shrapnel, and razor-wire that’s found its way into words. In instances like that, people often lie to themselves, convinced that it’s easier to stay, easier just to deal with it, easier just to keep on keeping on. That, darlings, is a lie made of someone else’s broken glass. Somehow, you swallowed it, and it’s torn up your throat. That makes it hard to talk, hard to move, and harder to fight. Harder to make the changes that you – in your heart – know need to be made. Hell, when you’re in any kind of pain (physical, emotional), it’s hard to make any kind of decision. Fire, bad. Tree, pretty.

You can’t do something like that (change your life; change your job; follow your dreams; chase a person) for someone else. That kind of thing isn’t something you ask another person (unless you’re Meredith Grey. Pick me. Choose me. Love me.). You’re not borrowing a car or a cup of sugar. But you’re standing in front of someone, vulnerable, open-hearted – saying, I’m right here – am I worth it? (Possibly, I might add, in the figurative sense.) You can’t change for a person, but you can change because of a person. Because that person woke you up, gave you something when you needed it, and maybe saved you a little – when you didn’t know you needed saving. And loves, we all need saving, now and again. Anyone who tells you differently is probably a little too Gollum (hiding in the dark; a little effin’ CRAZY; fond of raw fish. Wait…that’s sushi).

Here is what I know. Here is what I’ve been thinking about lately. The people who love us – who truly love us – they point out the things we’re obviously trying to ignore. They do this with love, but they do it. They look at you when you’re at your worst, but wearing a smile, and say – hold up, this is wrong. This is not a selfish act – to fight for someone else, for that person’s own wellbeing. It is easy to buck against, though, because it’s easier to hide. Because hiding means not having to face what it is we’re hiding from. It’s easier to stay in one place. But no matter how pretty the prison, it’s still got bars on the windows. You may get three square meals and a roof over your head – but that’s not all that life is. That’s not all that life should be. Choosing to stay in a moment, a situation, like that? Well, you become your own jailer. But I digress.

Someone who loves you – not your wallet, not what you can do for them –  will fight for you, even when it means fighting you. Even if it’s ugly. Even if it hurts. Even if it’s terrifying. Even if it seems crazy or impossible. I don’t believe in impossible. That’s just a challenge wearing hard work like a hat. I’m okay with that.

What we often fail to remember is that the ‘right’ thing isn’t always the sane thing. That the definition of right cannot be defined by anything other than your heart. Sometimes, the crazy thing is the best thing. The insane wild leap. Given yourself permission to be happy (strange, that we need to do that, no?), to pursue what makes you happy, to better your world. That choice is like magic. Because, yes, you are worth it.

When you need to hear it – and who doesn’t? – you are worth it.

 

“He isn’t interested in simple. He wants what he wants. No matter how much trouble she is and no matter whether he even understands it himself.” ― Deanna Raybourn, A Spear of Summer Grass

“The only problem is the heart is quiet. It takes a very special kind of person to hear what the heart says. Most can’t hear it at all and they have to guess. There are a lot of people walking around just guessing.” ― Suzanne Palmieri, The Witch of Little Italy

What to Do When the Gloves Come Off

I am tired of waiting –
tired of saying please
only to hear no,
a hurricane of excuses
wearing circumstances like masks,
wearing fear like too much lipstick,
wearing the ghost of someone else’s
mistakes –
his are not yours,
you are not him,
and this is not the same history.

I am tired of polite, tired
of clean, crisp, barely
staying on the road, leaving
heartbeats like breadcrumbs
hoping –
oh, fuck it.

I want to be free, flawed, dirty
and wild and selfish –
I am tired
of playing nice
and sitting still, legs
crossed at the knees or ankles –
that is a lie,
that is an image,
that is grey
instead of red,
spark
instead of fire,
a closed-mouth kiss
instead of tongue –

enough. Enough, now.
No more rules and regulations,
no more softly asked questions,
no more circling like hawks,
like wolves, wanting.

My mouth holds your name,
my hips hold your heart –
this is a confession
you once recanted:
come, take your name back;
come, steal your love back;
come.

You are everything I want
need
love – a name
I almost never say aloud.

This is challenge.
This is a promise.
This is my miracle,
a willing sacrifice
of strength, fragility
in a smile; vulnerability
in a laugh:
say yes.
say now.

Because I am tired of waiting.

Categories: Poetry

My head is full of questions. My heart is full of stars.

This is an object lesson in chaos. A distilled grace that, without warning, leads to madness. This is a secret door. A road that does not end. The deep breath of a great, consuming wind. Somewhere, lightning sings in the distance. The song itself is a storm, a warning, and a weapon. Love – oh, it is like that, too. A ruin of ash, a perfect mystery. A glance across a crowded room, and all the waiting in the world.

This is an object lesson in chaos. Desire ripped to shreds, then reborn. An endless thing. A feeling that burns, begging to be fed – begging to be challenged. This is the truth, unreleased. This is all the words curled underneath a tongue. This is love with its hands bound tight – too tightly. Yet, love does not struggle. Some things are too powerful to need to speak.

This is an object lesson in chaos. This is how a mermaid pretends to drown. This is how someone else’s spell breaks. This is a gauntlet, thrown down. This is how fire becomes ice. This is nothing. This is everything.

My heart is a blind assassin. Yours is a thief.

How did this begin? It doesn’t matter.

How will this end? Don’t you already know?

Categories: prose poem

on these days, I promise you things you didn’t ask for

June 3, 2013 1 comment

 

Today, I am too proud.
I tell you I need you,
and then ask for nothing.
I let the space fill up
between us, an endless river
of fear shivering
through my bones –
you say I want to see you,
and I believe it.

(But I need more,
I need to feel it.
For that, you need courage.
For that, I am your prayer.)

Today, I am too scared.
I let the phone drop.
I listened to the dial tone
as if it might answer back,
as if I could find meaning
in its mechanics –
I found nothing.

(I need more.
My soul is in the walls.
Get a hammer.
Be my wrecking ball.)

Today, I –
no, let’s start over.
Dig up our last true moment:
my leg over yours, a laugh
as we kiss, hands
somewhere, everywhere,
the wind chime
of your fingertips telling me
everything I need to know.

(I need more.
I need us.
I need you.)

Today, I am too proud
to ask if you need me,
if you love me
back.

Categories: Poetry