The Time I Gave Up


I was searching for myself

In a mirror that was blind,

But my reflection stood behind me.

Yet I would not turn around,

For fear of what I’d find,

So I closed my mind to who I could be.

I wrote this poem several years ago during a time when I had decided that happiness was more of a suggestion than an actual state of being.  I only just recently came across it, and it left me both humbled and amazed after I finished reading it.  I felt as though I had peered back in time and found the exact moment when I gave up on myself.  The point when my head dropped down, chin tucked into my chest, while shallow breaths betrayed my wish to disappear.  It was a time when I was filled with more than just sadness and shame.  A time when I struggled and fought to understand it all until one day I finally stopped, convinced that I would never be the light that chased away the shadows that fear and regret had smeared across my floor.

I have reached a point in my life now where I can look back on those days, and I can finally, with so much compassion, properly grieve for that girl who felt more comfortable crying on the bathroom floor than smiling in a room full of people.  I can see how much she struggled, and I can finally understand why.  I can also see that it wasn’t her fault, regardless of what she thought.  And I can, with absolute certainty, see that she did one day discover how to be the kind of light that washes the darkness from the room.  With the softest of exhales, she did one day find the courage to turn around, and she shone so brightly when she did.




A Breath Waiting to Exhale


Sometimes in life there are moments that come together so beautifully that we can’t put into words just how it all came to be.  This evening, for me, it was the perfect song, a stunning sunset, a savory glass of wine, and a supper that came together so beautifully it hurt.  And yet, it was more than that.  I have lovely nights like this all the time, but this time it was different.  It was powerful, and I can’t explain it.  Maybe it was me.  Maybe it was that inner peace I’ve been searching for, and maybe somehow I’d gotten all tangled up in it.

Unfortunately, for me, moments like this always bring dread.  I wonder how many others feel this way.  Whenever life becomes too beautiful, too breathless or perfect, I begin to worry.  There is a small corner of my mind that trembles with fear.  It’s an odd combination, fear and joy, and they don’t compliment each other well.  Perhaps it is born from experience; a knowledge that all good things come to an end, and an understanding that if I let to much happiness in, my guard will drop and I won’t be ready for disaster when it strikes.  Because it will.  It always does.

So, my beautiful, effortless night is not what it seems.  My smile, my casual laugh and lighthearted twirl are not as genuine as I would like them to be.  They are laced with doubt and ambiguity.  Perhaps this is just who I am.  I am happiness laced with sadness.  Joy filled with fear.  Peace flushed with turmoil.  A woman in motion who sometimes drops to her knees just to feel the stillness of the earth.  A contradiction.  A breath, waiting to exhale.