Archive for October, 2012


October 31, 2012 Leave a comment

I was talking to someone today who I don’t know that well. The content of the conversation was thick and difficult. We were talking about the future, but we also kept coming back to what was happening now. The future, though, it seemed to cling to us, for good or for bad. This person had thought a lot about the past, what was at stake in the present, and what the future should look like. This person said to me:

“You know what success is to me? Success is walking down the street and not caring what anyone else thinks of me. It’s not about money or anything like that. If I could walk down the street and feel good about myself, that would success.”

I can’t add to that. It’s too beautiful.

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Haikuesday 10.30.12

October 30, 2012 2 comments

I thought I’d be deep,

but instead I’ll drink coffee

and watch dumb movies.

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October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I didn’t prepare,

but I do have a lantern

and dark chocolate.

What a gift.

October 27, 2012 5 comments

This past Friday was my brother’s birthday. Although my brother died nearly 14 years ago, it wasn’t until last year that I realized how difficult the end of October is for me. I didn’t do so well on his birthday last year. I tried to be positive, but, yo, I kind of lost it. Five days later on Halloween, I found myself in the emergency room only to learn that a case of Shingles took advantage of my wavering, stress-worn immune system. It was jarring for me to realize I wasn’t as OK with losing my brother as I thought.

As October started to go by faster and faster this year, I think in the back of my mind I was aware that my brother’s birthday was coming up; however, I pushed all that far away so I could pretend like I’m an invincible Xena robot, as I’m likely to do. But Monday, I had really intense, emotional day. The next morning I felt pretty sick. I left work early, which was painful for me since I’ve only been there one month. Much too soon for a sick day. One glace in my planner before I left the office reminder me that Friday was Scott’s birthday. I started freaking out. What if I fell apart again? What if I can’t keep it together at work? What if I lose it in front of client? What if I can’t even leave the house that day?

I spent Wednesday and Thursday panicking intermittently about Friday. While I was getting ready for work that morning, I felt the sadness creep up my throat and I choked it back as quickly as I could. After I got to work, I kept waiting for something to set me off, like last year. But nothing happened. Well, nothing horrible happened. Instead, I got to see a beautiful example of human resiliency unfold during the work day. I helped co-teach my first women’s self-defense seminar with two of my judo buddies. I had a series of silly G-Chat sessions with one of my favorite buddies. I went to bed humbled, hopeful, and content.

I know part of the reason I felt so lost last year on Scott’s birthday is that I felt disconnected  from my dad. He’s one of the few people that really knows what that day can be like. But this year, although we didn’t have a flat out discussion about it, something felt different. We’ve both been trying hard the last couple of years to be honest with ourselves and each other. I think this is why now, at least for me, I feel more comfortable with my dad than I ever did. We hung out tonight, and the simplicity of our time together, how calm it feels, just floors me. All my dad and I did was go eat some Vietnamese food and then chill out on my little pseudo-balcony. He smoked a cigar and flipped through a photo book of Cuba. We talked about books, history, student loans, and David Lynch movies. That was it. But what a gift.

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The pile of clothes at the foot of the bed.

October 24, 2012 1 comment

This morning and again tonight,

I looked at the pile of clothes growing at the foot of the bed,

reminding me of each day that had passed, and how I couldn’t make myself stop.

This morning and again tonight,

I looked at the pile of clothes growing at the foot of the bed,

and I tried to remember what I wore that day.

I couldn’t remember at first, until I looked on top of the bureau

and I saw the clear plastic pink earrings,

and I felt embarrassed by how girlish they looked.

Those pink earrings used to remind me of an ex-boyfriend,

my favorite TV show,

and the birthdays I had in my early twenties.

How silly of me to put those on that day.

This morning and again tonight,

I looked at the pile of clothes growing at the foot of the bed,

and I remembered how he seemed so much like a child,

while I sat there with my pink earrings.

And we were both scared,

though only one of us was allowed to admit it.

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Haikuesday 10.23.12

October 23, 2012 4 comments

It’s only Tuesday,

and I had to go home sick.

Sports drinks and Wheat Thins.

Categories: poetry Tags: , ,

Ten hours.

October 22, 2012 5 comments

When I woke up this morning, I was feeling uncharacteristically relaxed. I had an amazing weekend with friends, Italian food, sushi, and birthdays. I got certified to teach women’s self-defense. I felt like my life was exactly where it should be and I was rocket-launching into the kind of future I’ve always wanted for myself. I felt calm and in control. And then I arrived at work.

I think for a lot of social workers, most days posses a certain degree of intensity and urgency. For me, my day was such that the level of intensity and urgency required me to stay at work for ten hours instead of my typical eight. It was the kind of day where I let myself cry briefly in my office and then completely fell apart once I got home. I did not feel calm. I did not feel in control. I did not feel like I was rocket-launching anywhere, except maybe into a nebula of incompetence.

However, on my bus ride home and then while I lost it when I got back to my apartment, I tried to understand when I saw today. I think what I witnessed today was the process that some people go through when they redefine what strength can mean.

Strength is not silence; in fact, strength is revealing the parts of yourself of which you are most ashamed

Strength feels like weakness.

Strength is extending your trust to someone, even if you are afraid they may hurt you.

Strength is accepting who we are even if it feels like no one else does.





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