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There is a place where I feel love.
It is simple, but special.
The walls are filled with imperfections,
Yet that’s part of what makes it whole.

There is a place where I feel warmth.
It is small and bright,
with light moving through the rooms,
carrying the sun to my soul.

There is a place where I feel safe.
It is calm and steady,
and wraps me in its protection
so I may sleep with a new peace.

There is a place that gives me life.
It fixes all the wrongs,
with the past at its doorstep,
allowing entry only to release.

 

I moved from my home in North Carolina back to Michigan this past winter, and I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I spent nearly 6 months in an apartment while we searched for a house. I spent some time away from this blog because we not only found our perfect house, but we have been furiously busy working on making it even more special. While I knew that I would take some time off of writing for a while, what I originally thought might be a couple of weeks turned into a couple of months – and that is just unacceptable. I’ve been back at it each morning, committing to myself to either write poetry or a list of things I noticed every day. No exceptions. Writing every day is something that gives me life, and so is this new house of ours.

The love of this house isn’t even just about the physical space, although the light from the windows and my view of the sunrise from my office each morning gives me great joy, but this house has provided such a sense of peace in a short time. It’s an older home and needs a lot of care, but there is something about it that just feels right. The months of completely changing my world by moving back across country and living in limbo for a time led me here. I knew this was coming, I just didn’t know how right it really would feel.

There Is A Voice

There is a voice that lies deep within.
A voice that sometimes gets lost
amongst the crowds of others wearing thin.

It has to shout for you to hear it.
It has to scream to make you notice.

There is a voice that pleads for you to bleed.
To put your soul on the line,
cast all doubts and fire up a need.

It urges you to push forward.
It calls on you to make it happen.

There is a voice.

We all have it. This voice inside of us, this one that wants more for us. We have a dream, we have thoughts of something we want to do, but it gets buried beneath the rest of life and it fades away in the background.  Often, that voice grows tired of hiding in the shadows and starts shouting at us to do the thing that we are hungry for. To turn that idea or thought into something tangible. To push through and force ourselves to do the work and make that thing become something so powerful that it’s no longer a distant dream but instead becomes something we must achieve – a need.

We all have this voice. The question is, will you listen?

Social Anxiety at a Coffee Shop

Passing through the threshold,
The faces all turn and stare.
Boring holes
Radiating insults
Questioning my entry.

Moving into the crowd,
The squeeze aches the shoulders.
Clamps the jaw
Sweats the chest
Blankness in my brain.

Feeling their better beauty,
The eyes cast superior.
Pointing fingers
Laughing mouths
The lesser don’t belong.

Grounding into the scene,
The sight becomes palpable.
Lowered eyes
Careless nods
Notice does not exist.

Do you ever walk into a space and feel immediately like all eyes are on you, and not necessarily in a good way? Have you built a story in your head that you are somehow inferior to everyone else in the room? They are better looking, better dressed, more confident, cooler – whatever it is, they are doing it better than you are. While not everyone may experience this, I believe there are a great deal of us who do at some point in our lives, even if it’s subtle. Then there are those of us that carry that story everywhere we go.

For me, it started with childhood. I was never taught a sense of belonging; confidence didn’t exist in my home. Instead, I learned the weight of shame and fear on my shoulders. I lived under the roof of my father, the addict, and an unfortunate byproduct of his struggles was that we frequently moved. My early days were met with countless treks across country and into new schools at least twice, sometimes three or more times in a year. None of this lent itself well to my social development and, as a pre-teen, when things are challenging for even a well-adjusted kid, I quickly became a target of teasing and bullying. My shy demeanor, Goodwill clothes and an unusual religion that I had to wear like a badge, made me something to be mocked by other kids. I knew I was different and no matter how much I tried, I was certain that I would never be as good as they were.

Today, I’m in my forties, living in a happy home, smart and relatively successful, enjoying my life and knowing my worth. Yet, the things we carry with us from childhood still manage to amaze me. Even after years of hard work in therapy, the inferiority story that rooted itself deep within my brain, still likes to show up from time to time. Just as it did in the moment I walked into an unfamiliar coffee shop recently. When I’m certain that everyone is staring at me and on the verge of making fun, I simply remind myself that I belong wherever I go. This mantra is grounding. It shifts my story from that hurt child surrounded by cruelty to the strong adult that I am. It gives me power.

We all carry stories, some are on our shoulders and others are locked deep behind walled off spaces. These are stories of hurt, of love, of trauma or triumph. I like to think that for all our glorious differences, we are all basically the same. We all belong everywhere we go.

Choose Differently

Look at this differently.
Embrace the surrounding.
Open the energy,
and succumb to the now.

Shine in this space.
Give breath to the rooms.
Lean not only forward,
but touch what stands beneath.

It’s easy to get caught up in the wants of life. To be thinking so much about what we believe we need to have in order to be happy that we lose complete sight of all that we have right here, in this moment. There can be so much negative energy wrapped up in the constant battle for what we are hungry for and sometimes just shifting that energy can change everything.

At the end of March, I had over three months of living in this temporary apartment, surrounded by boxes and feeling very unsettled. I didn’t want to fully unpack yet, knowing this was just a brief stop along the way to the dream home that my husband and I were searching for. My entire world was about finding a house, but not just any house, the right house. It was frustrating and growing heavy on my shoulders because nothing was showing up. My mood was changing, I was experiencing a lot of ups and downs and wasn’t really taking care of myself, as a result – which only perpetuates the cycle of negativity. Everything was on hold. It was as if our lives had completely stopped, yet time was still passing by, and passing by so quickly that I started to feel like I was in the middle of a black hole that was sucking a huge chunk of life experiences right out from under me.

So much of my energy was being spent within the want of a house and hating where I am living, that it left me feeling absolutely miserable. On the day that I wrote this poem, I changed that energy. I made the decision to look at my circumstances differently. Instead of hating what was around me, I began living in this space as if it was the home I had been dreaming of. I started each day by envisioning what it was to feel like I was already living in the place that I had been searching for and paid my respects to the roof over my head with nothing but gratitude. Yes, it took some work, but by making the choice to see my current circumstances differently, I was able to completely shift the energy surrounding me. I stopped letting things hold me back. I planned a vacation, took trips to the zoo, made plans with friends and started living again. Two weeks later, after I had let it all go and stopped obsessing about the house hunting, there it was. The one that was just right for us popped up on the market and we will be calling it home in just a few weeks from now.

Music is Magic

Days without music go by,
unnoticed.
There is something missing
when you don’t hear the song. 

There is nothing to set them apart,
uninspired.
Bleeding into the next
when silence is the way. 

The world changes with a note,
unraveled.
It pries through closed doors
when distinction becomes enough.

Music is magic. I believe that is a quote from Trent Reznor. It’s one that sticks with me and a message that I lost for a while. I’ve been living in a temporary situation, in a dark apartment in between the sale of one home and a search for another. There was much that I gave up while living in this place and no, it isn’t some awful hovel like saying the words “dark apartment” probably sound. It’s just literally not filled with much light. Windows are few and only on one side. I am a light seeker in more ways than one, so this place has had a tendency to me feel crowded and claustrophobic on top of being a major life change. But it wasn’t just the light that I gave up, it has been music. Without having my turntable set up and easy access to my records, I stopped doing something I’ve loved my whole life. I stopped playing music in this place – not even playing it from my phone, and that is something I’ve never encountered. I can’t explain what happened, other than being here made everything feel different and I let parts of myself fade away.

The effects of no music were greater than I realized. One recent afternoon, after 5 months of being here, I popped on a playlist from my phone and I was almost immediately changed. I got lost in the songs, danced around the room and fell into what might be described as a state of bliss. A joy arose in me that I haven’t felt in many months and it was all thanks to the music. A seemingly simple thing, yet so complex that it can open doors and alter moods. While this may not have shone a physical light on me, I reacted to it as if it had. Music should never go unplayed, no matter the circumstances. It truly is magic.

Commitment

Commit. Do the thing.
The thing that calls.
That pull that won’t stop tugging,
the whir scrambling ‘round your brain.

There is no refusing
When all distraction is hushed;
which is a feat in itself,
but a necessary one just the same.

I’ve written my entire life. I’ve been blogging or online journaling in some fashion since it first came onto the scene (I’m definitely dating myself here). But before that, there was poetry. My first love. My early poems started when I was about 7, and I kept writing through my early twenties, but somewhere along the way I got distracted with life. Marriage. Jobs. Family. Friends. Therapy. Seeking. Religion. Moving. That is life. Poetry was always in the back of my head, but had faded significantly, to the point where I didn’t think I would ever write it again. Then one day, just a few weeks ago, I rediscovered it. I was reminded about a passion that has been a part of my for nearly as long as I’ve been alive (at least as long as I was capable of forming simple written prose), and it started pouring forth from me again.

So here I am, off and running and committing to this next step in my journey.