23 Dec

I was raised to be a hard woman by a hard woman. I do have a tender heart, but I’ve always fancied myself to be a bit of a bad bitch. Lately, though, I have realized this sad truth. I have been selling myself to the lowest bidder my whole life, with a sort of quiet middle class desperation. I’ve been taking and getting what I can, when I can. It makes me feel, summarily, like shit. I’ve gotten little money and less love for all my time and kisses and good humor and hard work. Tonight, I am tired in my head and tired in my heart and I have decided – firmly – on my worth. No one on this Earth is required to meet my price, but my dying ass if I’ll be giving any more discounts.

 

I Sure Do Hope

7 Dec

That one day I feel as pure and unblemished as I did before I met you.

Seeing the Future

30 Oct

Like most reasonable people, I try to divine my fortune from songs playing on the radio. They are 3 minute omens and I pay attention. Joe Cocker means I need to call my Pa. Justin Timberlake predicts that my heartache will soon lift. Sometimes I think I can conjure particular songs if I am in a particular mood. I’ve been haunted by “Father Figure” lately, but my real good luck song is this one. Even when I was like,12, and heard this song, it reminded me of me. It portends good things and good people coming soon, and they are welcome.

If It Ever Gets Really, Really Bad

25 Oct

I still miss you so much. I am still in love with you. But I have been able to concentrate a little more the last week or so. I am so grateful that you let me go before I gave you too much. I think you know that I would have fallen all over myself to keep up with you, if you let me, and eventually I would have been humiliated, no closer to you than I am today.

I feel less shameful about falling in love with you, because how could I not love someone who chose to be so careful with my heart? How could I not adore such a good man? You are good and you cared about me enough to leave me be. I don’t know if you will get this message in a bottle, oh lord, but I hope that you do.

Haven’t Slept A Wink

14 Oct

That’s not entirely true. I do sleep, but it comes in fits and starts. My hair and sheets are both in knots when my alarm goes off.

In my dreams, I plead my case. I try to prove to you that I am worth loving. I try to convince my mother than I am smart. I persuade the Easter Bunny not to murder me.

My waking hours are the same, I think. I have been trying since I could speak to show that I am good and also good enough.

When I was a little girl, I was never good enough to get out of a beating. I promise you that I tried. I promise you that I was very, very good.

Children carry their anguish and fear with them. At some point (maybe puberty? I don’t know) it turns into something else. And so my chest held a heart full of rage that, most of the time, I could keep at bay. I was furious with myself, with my childhood, with every single thing that moved in this world. I had taken enough and I couldn’t possibly take anymore. My sharp tongue was my only weapon and I was not always gentle. I remember feeling like two women, neither of whom I liked very much. One of me was awful and the other was weak. I didn’t like living in my own skin. It did not feel like home.

I reached a breaking point in my own mind and decided that it was time to set aside childish things. I confronted every ugly thing about myself and my origins. I spent time and money I did not have on help that I could not live without. And ever so slowly, the two flawed and frightened women that were me became one pretty good woman. I’m happy to be this woman almost all of the time. I have a kinder, more tender heart. I am no longer on the run from myself. I don’t see everyone around me as a potential aggressor. I still fight my natural instinct, which is to protect myself at all costs. I allow myself to be hurt if it seems worth the risk. I clear my mind before I lash out.

I have worked very hard to get out from underneath myself. I have made, and continue to make, a great effort to walk out the front door of my childhood. Sometimes I wish that it were easier or that I was just better.

I am immeasurably proud of the woman I have become and I am deeply ashamed that it took this much work to be this ordinary. I will never deny that I am flawed and have always been. I have made mistakes and I have hurt people beloved to me. I cannot flagellate myself every single day for the person I used to be.

I will not allow anyone else to beat me over the head with person I was. I will not take any more beatings for the trespasses of a truly sick and overwhelmed girl. I am better now. I have been punished enough. I promise you.

If You Find A Way Out

5 Oct

The summer I was 21, I bartended up North by night and missed my sweetheart in Grand Rapids during the day. I burned up the highway between his place and mine, stalled in 31 miles of construction every single week. I chain smoked and listened to this album over and over, and then once more. I still have the car I drove that summer, though I am no longer in possession of any of my sweethearts.

The way I look at it, is this: if I absolutely must be heart broke (and I do insist that I am) then at least I am in good company. We are all a building burning, I reckon. We should take greatest care with one another.

It’s Just My Heart That’s Rejected By My Veins

29 Sep

I dream about you every night, a fever tangle of sheets and sweat. There is no plot or resolution, just you and me and nothing. I am tired for the next night before the day has even started.

I direct all my unkind thoughts at my own heart and wonder why I had to talk during that guitar solo, why I expected you to be on time, why I thought you might care. Of course, I think to myself in the shower. Of course he didn’t want you.

The alternative is to give you my unkind thoughts and I am not able to do that. I am comfortable salting the Earth almost always, but with you? I can’t. You made me gentle and pliable. I am soft and also hurting.

I am afraid to have a good day because that means my feelings are going away and I want to keep them for a little bit longer. I feel ashamed that even existing on such scraps of you, these feelings grew. I am shameful that I burdened you with my silly heart. I had no right.