knitting

I can’t seem to find

the end of the threads

they tangle together

unraveled from what

they should be

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when I dropped the dish

this kind of broken vessel might just take

less time to fix than I originally thought

because though cracks graze the surface

and water keeps leaking from my eyes

somehow the sweet fruit is still contained

and ripening for that right toothsome bite

when broken becomes a matter of opinion

and beauty is found in flawed things

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on breaking and entering

someone told me to guard my heart

because so many times its been

robbed of kindness and love

but I don’t like acts of aggression

or possession

the building of walls and fences

the rules that ensnare me

and leave me safe, but alone

so I leave the door flung wide open

for you to take what you want

hoping that when you see

my graciousness and trust

you will wander in gently

settling down in comfort and joy

to stay for a very long while

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empty postbox

you once wrote words for me

long and languid and lovely

black ink on creamy paper

that carefully crafted scrawl

that felt like a ribbon

around my wrist

and held me near

you used to turn a phrase

and turn my head

and turn me right ’round

baby, right ’round…

I digress

or do I

the words still come

but clicking, ticking time

there’s no quickening

just a reminder of the absence

of warmth in an empty postbox

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on turning 40

Today is my birthday.

I turned 40.

*gasp*

Don’t worry. You aren’t going to be getting any dumb poetry from me about it.

Instead, I’ll ramble while I drink another cup of coffee and elaborate on words I wrote last night, in anticipation of this momentous day…

For the past few weeks I’ve felt a lot of trepidation about this birthday. Like it suddenly makes me into something I don’t want to be. But there isn’t much I can do about the fact that time rolls on away from me with every breath…

I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be at this age. Honestly, I don’t even know how to wrap my mind around the idea that I’m so damn old. I vividly remember being the same age my kids are. Hell, I’m still friends with a couple of the people I loved most at 16!

I still get nervous when I go buy liquor… like the guy behind the counter is gonna bust me for using a fake ID.

Its not that I think I look that young… I see the laugh lines around my eyes. There is a rather deep crease that’s developed in my forehead in the past two years.

And yet I still get zits.

Damn, life isn’t very fair, is it?

At the beginning of 2015 I decided it was my year to be BRAVE.

I was exhausted. I felt old beyond my years. I was overwhelmed by the life I’d found myself in… But I knew it was time to face it all with more courageousness and find a way to beat the decade of little things that had made me feel so incredibly overwhelmed and anxious.

I wrote myself a note (“Be Brave”) on a red sheet of card stock, and put it on the fridge.

Then, exactly six months later, my life was turned upside down.

And I was scared as shit.

When he walked away (while I was at the dentist, with no warning, just a text message to end our ten year marriage, and threats of financial ruin if I kept trying to get him to fix us… because the truth was there was already someone else and he didn’t care to try) I had to summon every bit of brave I had.

And I bit my tongue, and kept my peace, and didn’t say all the things.

Instead, I went to therapy.

I learned how to be brave in the places I needed to be.

And discovered that it was already there…

All the brave I needed.

I spent the next six months making the best of things, moving on, and learning exactly who I really was after so long being lost to myself.

I bravely made a life out of the disaster… it’s a beautiful-messy-crazy thing that I love.

I rang in 2016 in a gay bar, with lovely dancing friends, and the promise to myself that my new word would be AUTHENTIC.

And authentic is exactly what I’ve been, dear friends and strangers.

I’ve told you the truth about all my feelz. I’ve cried in my car. And in front of you. And in the rain. I’ve slept in your house when I drank too much. I let you come over when my house was a mess. I’ve driven to far off places with you. I’ve learned to go where I want to go, alone. I’ve written all the words for you to read. I’ve pulled old words out of hidden notebooks and shared them with new vulnerability. I’ve wandered in the woods without much to say. I’ve drowned my sorrows in mountain waters, deep and cool. And I’ve talked all night long about the vastness of love in the universe.

I’ve gone on horrible dates. I’ve kissed strangers. I’ve gone to bed alone. I’ve met new people who are instantly old friends. I’ve lost old friends.

I’ve gone back to church, and abandoned the faith I once professed… only to have it replaced with a new and living hope that’s far deeper and braver and more authentic than anything I claimed before.

And now, at 40… (as I wake and not so much is changed, maybe it’s really not so bad after all?)

I’m going to claim the word JOY for this year.

Because I intend to squeeze every bit of it I can out of this one crazy life I’ve got.

Maybe this idea makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you know me, and don’t think I’m living my life “right” as it is. Maybe you are bracing yourself to be disappointed in me and my choices over the next year. That’s ok.

I’m tired of my head and heart being at odds. They don’t need to be.

Call it a little midlife crisis if you will… but I think it’s more like waking up to see that the life I want is not just somewhere “out there”  –  but right here and now. It doesn’t require me to do anything but live it. To take all that brave authenticity and do something with it. Right now. Because we aren’t guaranteed another year – or even just another year like the last one – for good or for bad. We aren’t guaranteed a better job, or a lasting relationship, or a retirement plan, or anything but this breath we’re taking right now.

So, I’ll take this breath… and however many next ones I’m granted… and see how far they get me as I leap off a few cliffs and live with joy.

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This is my actual real life, no filters or makeup or fancy clothes, suddenly having all the big feelings about getting old moment in time… standing in the hallway… very late at night… waiting for a teenager to hurry up and clear out of the bathroom so I can brush my teeth before bed…

because even though we have two bathrooms, for some reason they prefer mine…