Go the Distance (Poem-A-Day Challenge Day 4)

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Last night I had a dream.
I was travelling somewhere.
The sky was clear.
The road was ahead.
People were waiting for me.
In the seat next to mine,
my mother asks me:
“Do you want to go?”
I really wanted to
At the same time, I was scared.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“That’s okay,” she said.
“We can go home and wait until you are.”
So the car started up
and I woke up.

How I wanted to say “Yes.”
Because I wanted to go the distance.
I know that I was scared.
I know that I’m still scared.
What we don’t know is always scary.
And yet whatever was waiting for me
Calling to me
I wanted to go.
I still want to go.

I know that the future is uncertain
The way isn’t clear, but the light shines brightly
I enter back into the dream
This time I say “Yes. I want to go.”
All I know now
is that I’m gonna go the distance.
Whatever else happens,
let it be done unto me.

Defying Expectations: A Poem In Honor of Autism Awareness Day

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The diagnosis began with a test.
I was called out of class
and was asked a lot of questions.
The results of that test were kept hidden

Until a classmate did a project
and the questions began their resurrection.
My mother revealed I had Asperger’s
I didn’t really know what that meant or what to do with it

Years later, I came across an article
about a model who had this strange condition
I watched her story play out, her struggle resonating with mine
It was as if she was saying “You are not alone.”

In time, I became more open about my Asperger’s
And found people who understood or were surprised
I guess I was more “high functioning” than I thought
But even so, there were dark clouds looming on the horizon.

One dark night, I was caught in a tidal wave of anxiety
Screaming for help in the riptide, I drowned instead
I washed up on the frozen shores of the Ice Queen’s land
Where she exiled me and wanted off with my head

For years I struggled with nightmares and wandering
Trying to find myself again through something, anything
I almost ended up losing myself entirely
Through the lies of someone else’s manipulative words

But I broke free of the lies that she said
I started my journey of finding myself again.
My broken dreams were scattered behind me
And all I could do was move forward out of the woods

Diagnoses and cold judgment were their short-sighted expectations
I ran from that insanity and with time, I found my way out
I ran out of the woods and made a leap of faith
I fell down into an ocean that became my cocoon

In the ocean, new words taught me to swim
A new voice became my light in the darkness
In the deep waters, I grew wings
And one day, suddenly, I found myself flying

From the ocean to the sky, I soared
The words of the naysayers a distant memory
The ghosts of the pasts can no longer bring me down
I defied the gravity of their expectations

I Am A Woman: A Poem

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I am a woman facing uncertainty
Sometimes my best laid plains are just castles in the sky
Other times, my desires are like flowers
I learn to bloom where I’m planted

I am a woman like a tree covered with scars
I am not broken by those who caused them
Like a soda bottle, I get shaken a lot
Like a vodka martini, I never get stirred

I am a woman whose feelings stir her heart like the currents of the sea
I’m caught in their riptide, but i’m not drowning
I’m swimming for my life in an ocean of grace
More often than not, I find myself sinking

I am a woman who sinks down at the party, wearing a mask
Acting like a monster to scare people away
Sometimes I do this to see who’s left standing
Other times I do it so that they’ll leave me alone

I am a woman who feels lonely a lot
Trying to find belonging from anywhere and everywhere
Getting nowhere with my charade
Wishing for companions like how girls wish for horses

I am a woman who knows what she wants
My dreams become stories and I write them all down
Hoping that my words will resonate with others
I’m writing in the hope, in the knowledge that I am not alone

I am a woman

A Retreater's Poem and Litany

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So for the past few days, I’ve been away on retreat. It was an amazing, wonderful experience. I wanted to share a poem I wrote while I was praying at Adoration during the retreat.

Trust Fall

How did this happen?

My body was so weary

My spirit so weak

I just wanted to fall

And I wanted you to catch me

So I ask You to catch me

And into Your arms I fell

All of a sudden, I am awakened

Getting a second wind from the song of the Spirit

All of a sudden, I find myself strong

In your presence I find my life, my joy, my strength

Thank You for making me strong

 

Also, since the retreat ended on All Saints Day, I want to thank the saints in a litany of gratitude.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Bernadette, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Catherine of Bologna, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Paul, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Maria Goretti, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Augustine, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Cecelia, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Mary Magdelene, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Veronica, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Therese of Lisieux, thank you and pray for us!

Blessed Mother Teresa, thank you and pray for us!

Saint Faustina, thank you and pray for us!

Saint John Paul II thank you and pray for us!

Saint Joseph, thank you and pray for us!

Blessed Mother, thank you and pray for us!

All you holy men and women, thank you for your prayers. Keep praying for us retreaters as we return to our lives.

Amen

Hollow Vessels

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When is it ever gonna be enough?

Why can’t nice ever receive real good?

When can fear protect instead of leading to hate?

Why does love always end

before it ever begins?

How much of ourselves do we have to give

before we can begin to receive?

 

Too many times have we been burned

and yet strangers look at us-

These hollow vessels

and call it beautiful?

 

We are but shells

All we do is take in emptiness

and pour out love that was never ours

We give and give and give

until I can’t give anymore.

We are hollow shells of armor

knocked over by the slightest unexpected wind.

 

When can we let our walls go down?

When can we stop being afraid?

How can we ever be ready

when all we feel is pain?

 

How To Be An Adult: A Sonnet

You think adulthood starts when you turn 18

Or when you move out or graduate college

You look for work, you primp and preen

But finishing education didn’t give you much knowledge

About how to file taxes or pay the bills on time

Or finding the right significant other

Being happy seems like a steep hill to climb

Nights are haunted by the naysays of your mother

Eventually, however, things start balancing out

Life becomes the school you never really had

You learn on your own and you forget your doubt

Finally accepting that growing up isn’t all bad

All adults make the rules as they go along

You learn how to make your own, you learn how to be strong

 

The Wreck of the Day On Red Hotel Paper

A Found Poem of Lyrics from Taylor Swift, Michelle Branch, and Anna Nalick

 

2AM

In my room

I’m still awake

The lingering question kept me up

Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?

I think of you

Feeling like I just lost a friend

Remember that fight in your car

The memories start

You say I’ve been driving you crazy

 

I see your face in my mind

as you drive straight ahead

Away from the wreck of the day

I’m calling on Jesus

I’m cursing your name

He’s everything I know

that makes me believe I’m not alone

He’s the teardrops on my guitar

His love doesn’t hurt so I know

I’m not falling in love

I’m just falling to pieces

I’m tied together with a smile

And I’m coming undone

 

I’m sitting on the citadel

On the outside looking in

I screamed so loud

Don’t worry about this heart of mine

Let me love you, let me want you

You’re gonna break my heart anyway

Hey can you talk a little louder?

I don’t think my heart is broken enough

But no one heard a thing

 

You just see right through me

You saw me there, but never knew

But if you only knew

I wanted everything

A part of this, a part of you

I’m the one who understands you

Why can’t you see?

Don’t just walk away

pretending everything’s okay

Cuz I don’t wanna lie

That I’m okay and I’m alright

 

It hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time

I never planned on you changing your mind

I want you, but I’m not giving in this time

I don’t wanna be the only one who’s drowning in their misery

Someday love will find me

 

No one can find the rewind button now

I cradle my head in my hands and breathe

Let it fill the space between

I have to breathe without you, I have to

 

JMJ

Two Poems, One Retreat.

These are two poems I wrote during my first time staffing Bayou Awakening. Think of it as a “before” and “after” of what it means to learn humility.

 

Like Water

 

Dripping

Running

Flowing

Giving life yet getting nothing

I am poured out into an unknown place

Not raging

Not calm

Now flowing

A river constantly running

Like water, I am unseen

I am giving, yet I receive nothing

And I’m not sure where I’m going

I want to be still

Find the ocean of grace

But like a waterfall

I am poured out

Fading into the mist

 

Like Water

 

Poured

Running

Flowing

Giving life and receiving love

I am poured into His embrace

Not raging

Not still

But flowing

I am a waterfall

Giving all that I am in His name

Although I don’t know where I’m going

He is always with me

I flow to the ocean of His grace

Poured out

And filled with Him

The Monster In Me: A Poem

As a child I wanted to explore everything

Wanting to understand all I saw

Following stories of scientists and detectives

My role models were the kinds that wore uniforms and lab coats

But one day I got lost

I followed a rabbit where I shouldn’t have gone

 

All of a sudden, I started falling downward

Down, down, down

In love

In drama

In worlds far beyond my reach

I got lost in the stories

And in the stories I found a monster

The monster lashed out at my own friends

for not acting in a certain way

The monster despised the world I lived in,

preferring the chaos of her wonderland

Illusions became more valuable than gold

And all I could do was write

Write the monster’s laments as if they were my own

How little did I know, how quickly did I grow

 

In a large barren dust bowl,

my monster told me her name

Autism was her species

Aspergers, her claim to fame

She wasn’t the result of faulty software

but built by the creator with a different hardware

She processed my thoughts, filtering them like coffee

Strong and harsh and bitter at times

until I added some milk or some artificial sweet

to make some version of me complete.

I denied this monster’s existence for a long time

Still lost in the harsh blinding sun

Far from what I used to know.

I put her in a drawer,

hoping she’d be forgotten,

falling for the lies of different monsters instead.

These monsters came

in the form of handsome men

And it wasn’t until they were gone

that I realized they never saved me.

 

My monster came back with a vengeance

as I transitioned from high school to college.

We walked on a tightrope

between the dark wonderland we knew

and a land of a thousand stars that shined in the distance

My monster and I fell down again

but landed in a safety net

in the land of a thousand stars

Stars that shone brightly in the dark, black sky

But I loved each new day as much as the night.

I started introducing my monster to my friends

who were surprised she even existed.

Little did either of us know

that this starry paradise had hunters in the foxholes.

 

One night, I was caught in a tidal wave

and found myself naked for all to see

My monster took over and started shrieking

singing out her agony

We drowned in a torrent of negative thoughts

with no one to save us

Nobody helped.

As the tide washed out,

the Queen of Foxhunters took us to court

and commanded my monster to chop off her own head.

Instead, we ran as far as we could

away from the heartless queen and her hunters.

 

We made a plan to work together.

The monster learned to be more like the others

And I hid safely inside a white tent

until a knight in shining armor

came and asked me to dance with him.

My monster was puzzled by this new man

And sometimes she would cover my mouth.

While I worried about why my white knight

seemed to be walking a tightrope of his own.

 

Then all of a sudden

Everything started falling away

Changing too fast for either me or my monster to handle.

The white knight got on his horse and rode off without us

Then we lost a beloved friend

Then we had to leave the starry land

No more games in the clean, white tent.

No solid ground, no safety net.

 

Wandering around, we got stuck in a rut

Lost in a maze with no way out

A little maiden in the maze started stringing us along

But when we came to a dead end,

the maiden became a minotaur

My monster couldn’t handle the minotaur’s strength

With a pierce of a horn, my monster lost

She fell down again

Shattered

Crying

And I limped along with my monster to safety

Not looking back, fearing the minotaur’s chasing.

 

Out of the labyrinth, we got caught in a storm

Constant rain pouring down on us.

But we stayed in the storm and let it wash us clean

It became the source of our growth, the source of our healing

The water healed my monster and stopped the bleeding.

Then the rain was gone and the sun came out.

I saw a reflection of the monster in the water

Except the reflection was that of my face

The monster was inside me all along.

Like a softer Hyde to my little Jekyll

or a female version of that big green thing

The monster’s still in me, being sought by the hunters

Too bad they don’t know I have the strength to protect her

After all, she’s a part of me

 

She’s the armor I wear and the tears that I shed

She’s the sword in my hand and the thoughts in my head

She’s my curiosity, insatiable in her hunger

Devouring knowledge and building new dreams

She’s a part of me without being all of me

And I wouldn’t want it any other way

 

Things I Did Without You: A Poem

The chain of your lies

Kept me in a dream

Until I found a crack in the wall

And finally woke up.

 

On a dark rainy day,

I let out a silent scream,

Declaring once and for all

That we were done.

 

“You don’t get to decide what I do or how I feel!” I yelled.

“You don’t have the right!”

And the first thing I did without you

Was learn how to fight.

 

It took time for me to regain my strength

Haunted by what I still remembered

But just as I started to fall apart,

I said a prayer and put myself back together.

 

The second thing I did without you was learn how to speak.

With you, my voice was something beyond recognition.

No word off my tongue sounded like my own

So I sang His praises while going through the transition

 

I sang of how fortunate I was to fall

How He shattered the darkness and brought me back to life

In my awakening I found my confidence

But when I thought I was safe, I got stabbed by your knife

 

Even though I kept my body safe from harm,

I could still see scars in my heart and in my mind

So I sought help from a friend who was strong like an Amazon

Not realizing all the things I would find

 

Beyond the apocalypse, there was a brave new world

Wide and open, glistening and effulgent

 

I used to think that living without you

Would be the hardest thing

But now I found out something new

I’ve finally learned to live.