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Archive for July, 2016

on broken dishes

July 24, 2016 1 comment

Snapshot of this morning: coffee in a Wonder Woman mug, messy braid (because I was too lazy to wash my hair last night), grey Belmont Park t-shirt that was given to me by my grandpa.

 

I haven’t been sleeping lately. I say ‘lately’ like it’s just been a week, but it’s been longer than that. It’s not the worst thing in the world—but I’m getting pretty tired (literally, I guess) of waking up at 4:30 in the morning for no reason. Only crazy people wake up that early, an hour in which chickens are likely to exclaim, “You’re crazy. Go back to sleep, fool.”

 

But here we are, right where we are standing. It’s funny, sometimes, to look back on the progression of things—to clearly see all the steps, missteps, or whatever—that led to a moment, a situation. It’s stranger still to look at all that and still wonder how.

 

Like breaking a dish, for instance. You can see all the pieces. You know how they used to fit, what it looked like. No one can tell you it wasn’t a dish. But it certainly isn’t functional anymore. You can, maybe, glue it back together—but it won’t serve the same purpose. It can’t. It’s changed.

 

People are like that, too. Something happens, and you end up on one side of a dividing line between Old You and New You. There’s what was and what is. No in between. No going back. Just a new, bizarre—often times, unwelcome—reality.

 

The difference, though, is that when a dish shatters, you know it. There’s an unmistakable sound, a discernable wreckage. With people, it isn’t always that obvious. And if it becomes that obvious—outward negative behavior, observable unhappiness—that’s often a sign of desperate progression. Especially if someone isn’t prone to outward shows of actual feelings.

 

Let’s face it: we all know that one person whose walls we constantly run headlong into. They may even seem outgoing, but there’s always that part of them that’s cut off, closed down, walled off. Inaccessible. The thing about people with walls isn’t that they don’t feel things. It’s not that they’re cold. It’s that a) they’re desperately trying to protect themselves and b) they feel too much. The dial is almost permanently cranked up to 11.

 

They’re a cracked plate trying to resemble a whole one. (I’m deliberately using they as singular and gender neutral, so this applies to everyone. Savvy?)

 

The truth is that we all have our baggage, but it’s really more than that. It’s not just things we’re carting around. It’s scar tissue—a place that was hurt, then healed over. And sure, sometimes, things don’t work quite the same. But it’s important, too, to remember that scar tissue is strong. What breaks us doesn’t own us. It doesn’t define us. It’s just a step on a journey. A thing we lived through.

 

Life is full of setbacks. It’s packed with obstacles we think we can’t get through, surprises we could never have accounted for. And the truth is, there are times where everything has to break down and break apart at the root, the foundation. When something isn’t working to the point where it’s harming us or keeping us still. When something isn’t just unpleasant, it’s downright toxic.

 

At that point, what’s called for is bravery. And maybe stubbornness. But sometimes, you’ve got to walk out of a house that’s on fire—even if you set that fire yourself.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Attention Must Be Paid

 

I can’t remember the last time
I woke up
and the world wasn’t terrible—
and this is my privilege,
me, a white girl
who’s never had to run
from bullets, who won’t
take the late train
home,
who always parks
under a street light,
and carries keys
as a weapon (just in case).

Me, a white girl
who doesn’t
have to be afraid
to wear a black hoodie,
to have a broken taillight,
to sell CDs,
to hold a toy gun,
to buy cigarettes,
to exist.

I can’t remember the last time
I woke up
and didn’t want to look away
from everything. Instead,
I make myself look,
watch, take note,
speak up
even though it hurts—
this, too, is my privilege.

I am not under fire.
I am not someone
anyone is afraid of
for arbitrary reasons.

Too many men
eat fear like candy.
Instead of teeth,
it rots souls,
seducing them
into action, greedy
as any addiction—
don’t let it win.

Do you hear me?
Don’t let it win.

Categories: poem, poems, Uncategorized, Writing