HAIKU: HOMESICK

Homesick: longing not
for a place on a map but
in your lover’s arms.

BUOYANCY IS OVER-RATED

Art by Toni Frissell

Art by Toni Frissell

“Can you imagine your life without him? Do you want to?” Mom softly prodded.

“My life is not defined by who I am with; it is simply enhanced by that person,” my well-rehearsed response rolled off my tongue.

She pursed her lips with dissatisfaction at my answer. Despite her decades of wisdom and several broken relationships, at her core, Mom was still a romantic. She believed in a plan for everyone–a path intended for us. That’s not to say work–real, hard work–isn’t involved to stay on that path. No, Mom believed in a special mix of elbow grease and destiny to make a forever love possible.

“I want you to find someone you can’t imagine living without. Someone who makes your heart feel so full and complete, you want to hold onto him with everything you’ve got,” she said with motherly tenderness. “You deserve an all-encompassing, uplifting love.”

I didn’t believe such a thing existed. Moreover, if it did, I didn’t believe I deserved it. And we accept the love we think we deserve, right? Man, I must have some really fucked up self-esteem issues…

My heart felt like a fishing bobber, the line cast out and left adrift to catch what it may in open water. Something heavy tugged from below, threatening to pull it under. Part of me wanted to silently watch it drown, succumbing to the cold, dark peace of seaweed and sand. Buoyancy is over-rated and exhausting.

“Maybe one day, Momma,” I murmured after a long pause. “Maybe one day…”

ADVICE ON WRITING

As Anne Lamott turns 61, she published a reflective post on Facebook. The whole post is worth a read, but I found this bit to be especially poignant:

Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart–your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it’s why you were born.

ELEGY FOR A SNAKE OIL SALESMAN

Photo sourced via CC, credit here.

Photo sourced via CC, credit here.

This is where I laid it to rest,
the loyal heart dead in the breast.

This grave needs no marker:
The memorial is the scar.

The fresh earth calls for a eulogy,
the air heavy with want for an apology.

I buried all the lies you told,
poured out the bottles of snake oil you sold.

I gave last rites to my naïveté
and trust that succumbed to decay.

The obit will read a polite tale,
but you and I know the truth well.

Cause of death a stranger,
a casualty of your shit wager.

Here lies your integrity,
along with several pieces of me.

What is the going rate of a soul?
Nearby, the funeral bell tolls.

2015: THE YEAR OF RECONSTRUCTION

HOPE

Several years ago, I stumbled across this idea of ditching the standard New Year’s resolution in favor of one word to focus on for the next 365 days. As someone who already dislikes resolutions (be honest: how many of them have ever worked out for you?), the concept of one word intrigued me. What opportunity! That single word could be anything–anything that inspires us and propels us forward on the path to our goal(s). It could be a small word, big word, or something in between. It’s whatever you need it to be.

I don’t remember what I’ve chosen in years past. I tried searching Facebook, but the data could not be found. However, years are often marked by a single word for me, even if I didn’t commit to those words in January. My 2013 was “The Year of the Dragon” with a focus on challenging myself and dominating things that scared the hell out of me. My 2014 was dubbed “The Year of the Phoenix” in light of rising from the ashes of divorce and starting over.

This year, I’m trading in the mythical creature theme for something more basic: reconstruction. I wrote about this back in April, but I wasn’t ready yet. I’m ready now. It’s time to roll up my sleeves, grab a shovel, and start removing the shit that doesn’t matter.

stock-vector-work-in-progress-icon-vector-139828192

I’ve been hemorrhaging money since 2010. Much of it went to paying for a wedding, buying a house (and things to put in the house), graduate school, living on my own after the divorce, and medical bills–all things that generally accrue a little debt. But some of it was spent on shit I don’t need, experiences I don’t even remember, and fair-weather friends. I worked my butt off to diligently pay down my debt for 2+ years to have almost no credit card balances in the beginning of 2010 only to become a victim of the debt snowball–a snowball that turned into an avalanche that is crushing me.

But it’s more than just money. I’ve saddled myself with the weight of insignificant BS: caring too much about disappointing others; the fear of being wrong; unanswered questions from my divorce; loss of some of the greatest loves of my life; beating myself up for not being more of this, that, or whathaveyou… At the heart of it, I’ve packed my life full of emotional junk, and it’s time to drop the dead weight.

The fire of 2014 consumed much of everything I had, but like the phoenix, I was reborn in the flames. Now, I’m ready to rebuild my nest with the things that matter most in life: an unshakable foundation of self-knowledge and self-worth; sticks and twigs consisting of financial security, moving forward in my career, and professional development; and a soft lining made of good times, true friends, and helping my community.

I welcome you, 2015, The Year of Reconstruction. Hard hat optional, but keep your eye on the prize.

What’s your word for the new year?