Without my husband there to help,
getting a Christmas tree
seemed like a daunting task.
I cursed the tradition
as I arrived on the lot,
and inwardly resented
the happy couples tying their trees
on the roofs of their vehicles,
getting it done together.
But I had help too.
Two young men put the tree on the roof,
and I figured out the ratchet straps
to secure the tree (mostly).
Back home I even managed to carry
that seven foot tall
fragrant Frasier fir
inside my house
AND set it on the tree stand,
Someday, one day,
I may find a new love
who will delight in accompanying me
on Christmas tree expeditions…
can I love the one in me
who was strong enough to get it done
all by myself?
I drank some wine tonight…
specifically to alter my mood.
I was feeling anxious
and exhausted from enduring
the difficult feelings.
I wanted them to change.
I want to escape these feelings.
I wonder why I had children.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t.
I wish I could run away.
My children are the only reason
I’m still here in this part of the world.
I’ve thought about leaving this planet
many times this past year.
I’ve had more thoughts like these
since the holiday season has arrived.
The anger is back and so is the depression.
I wonder how long I can make it
feeling like this.
I don’t want to have to take pills.
I want to lick this on my own.
But it is licking me.
I’m angry at life.
Then I feel guilty for feeling angry.
Then I’m ashamed that I haven’t
fixed my life by now.
I keep working to improve myself,
but the deeper I dig
the more faults I discover.
Why did I start digging in the first place?
I could go on forever,
but you probably wouldn’t read this,
and your reading this is one of the only reasons
I’m writing this.
I thought this was for me,
but really it’s because I long to be seen
and heard and understood.
Thanks for listening.
Falling into the abyss
and there is no one there to see me or catch me.
I try to reach out, to grab a hold of something
to stop the free fall,
but I’m just flailing in space,
air passing through my fingers.
Maybe if I surrender into the fall,
I’ll eventually come out the other side
on a whole new planet.
Maybe I’ll feel welcomed there.
Maybe they will recognize me there.
Maybe they’ll ask
Where have you been?
Maybe they’ll say,
We’ve been looking for you.
Maybe there is a reason
I feel like I don’t fit in here.
Maybe I am not from here.
Maybe I’ve been searching all this time
to find a way back home.
Maybe this falling is the way.
It’s something about the cold wind
and the way the sun keeps hiding
behind the big, thick clouds
rolling through the sky today.
I’m feeling estranged from everything,
as if I didn’t get the memo
for some meeting
and everyone is there without me
while I’m wondering
where everyone else is
and why I’m not there with them.
Like the opportunity to connect
and I need to resign myself
to this feeling, forever.
like I know there’s more out there,
but I don’t know where I’m supposed to go
and what I’m supposed to do.
Feeling exhausted to my very bones,
knowing I have so much to do,
wondering how I’ll summon the energy
for the rest of this day
when my kids get home.
Wanting answers. Wanting comfort.
and knowing I’ll need to give it to myself,
because I am the only one who can
and I’m the only one who does.
It all comes back to this:
When I’m feeling melancholy, estranged,
lonely, uneasy, tired and full of longing,
I am the one I need most.
No one else is here to save me.
It’s up to me now
to be the one I’ve been waiting for.
It feels too hard,
and I don’t want to try any more.
I want to quit, to give up,
to run away,
shut the world out,
close my eyes
and never wake up.
Call a friend.
Let them listen.
Cry even more.
Thank your friend for listening.
Let your friend pray for you.
Cry while she prays.
Cry when she stops praying.
Thank your friend for her prayers.
Now. Make lunch.
A picnic lunch.
Pack it up.
Now take your kids and go outside.
Meet up with a young woman
who has gone through similar struggles.
See that you struggled
so that you could understand her,
Get out of your head
and into your heart.
Think about someone else.
Realize your struggles weren’t in vain,
because you can help someone
move through theirs
with more grace and ease.
Drive back home.
Take a shower.
Read your kids a bedtime story.
Write in your gratitude journal.
Go to bed.
There, you did it.
You made it through another day.
Caught in a story.
I tried for a year to believe.
A year came and went
and I’m still struggling.
How do I keep believing
in a chance for better days?
I always want to find resolve
with my words.
I always want to end these poems
on some kind of inspiring note,
some kind of opening into greater things.
Tonight, I don’t have it in me.
Tonight, the sadness wins.
Caught in the trance of unworthiness*
Wondering what to do, where to go,
what to say and to whom,
which book to read,
what action to take,
how to stand, how to sit,
how to walk,
what to eat,
what to drink,
what to wear,
who will understand
all these questions, these doubts,
There is a darkness,
an unspeakable horror in me,
clawing to get out.
It visits me in my dreams at night
and wakes me up.
I feel exhausted by these nightly hauntings.
I want release, relief, respite
from being tossed around on these huge waves
in the infinite ocean of consciousness,
the surface of which
has been stormy for quite some time.
I’m tired of the turbulence,
tired of this endless transition
from what was familiar
into a new life that I cannot see or fathom.
They say I’m at the helm.
They say I have the power.
They say I can change my narrative, my perception,
They tell me I’m better off without him.
This is just talk,
and I am tired of being thrown about endlessly
on enormous waves out in the middle of nowhere,
no land in sight,
on a flimsy vessel that is sinking fast.
I have nearly drowned a thousand times
in the dark waters of my psyche.
Why do I keep thrashing my way to the surface?
I want a safe harbor, a home,
a place of belonging,
a tribe who knows and loves me.
Why in the moment when I most need connection
does it seem that no one is there?
Why with all of this love around
does it not show up in the way I’m wanting?
More questions than answers,
and afraid to go to sleep
because I know what waits for me in the darkness:
than any human should bear.
*Spiritual teacher Tara Brach talks about the trance of unworthiness in her book Radical Acceptance.