Black: A Poem About Hiding

It’s National poetry month, and I’ve resisted posting any of my poetry mostly because I’m don’t consider myself a poet. But as I reread this poem, it opened my eyes to a path I was tempted to walk again…this week. Even as I head into surgery in a few days.

Some explanation is in order, but I’ll be brief. This poem is a part a series based in colors. I pushed off saved the colors black & white until I’d done a host of others. Knowing myself, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, when the two starkest colors produced dark poems (Seriously. Who writes a dark poem about the color white?!). But I am surprised at how easily I fall into the habit illustrated here:

Black: A Poem about Hiding

Warm. Safe. Contained.
.      In the dark corner
.             I can’t see them,
.                   hear them,
.                          think about them,
.                               or deal, cope, hope.
.                                    I am mine
.                                                               Alone.
.                                    Narrow band of light
.                               from them
.                          peaks through,
.                    reaching.
.              Golden in promise,
.        deadly in delivery.

But I’m hidden
behind folds and corners.
Breathing darkness
the warmth of my own breath.
Hidden
Alone.

 

This poem’s sentiment is something I adopted as a kid and fight against as an adult—hiding from people. But I’m beginning to learn:

People aren’t always safe, but I miss something when I hide my true self. Tweet This

As I’m headed into surgery later this week, the desire to go into hiding is strong. I want to pretend it’s all okay, that I’ve got it all together. I’ve even cracked jokes and then went home and cried.

I promised myself I would be honest here. So I’ll say that putting myself out there has  been a successful experiment in some regards. The light from the other room fulfilling its golden promise. I found folks stepping up to help that I did not expect.

But boy, did it ever confirm what I’ve suspected in other places. And it hurts…and makes me want to find the nearest closet.

Here’s the thing I’m learning. Folks don’t know what they don’t know. We’re all hanging around in life—heads down; doing what we need to do. Those folks I expected to be there, they’ve got stuff. Just like I’ve got stuff. And you’ve got stuff.

And sometimes the stuff just gets all up in the way.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m just as guilty (if not more so) than anyone else. I’m truly not blaming them.

But it’s still there:

The desire to hide is all mixed up in hurt and hope.

So what’s a girl to do?

At the moment, my stuff (surgery prep and eventually post-surgery pain meds) prevents me from driving; lifting more than 10 pound; and doing, writing, or saying anything coherent. But part of coming out of the darkness is opening the door to the light of another’s presence.

So here’s my door open wide. Hoping the light will move from me to you. And that, my friend, is a beautiful thing.

Conquering Fear and Following Your Calling

conquer-fearSome of you probably know that I spent the 30 days of November writing 50,000 words on my next novel—that’s about 200 pages…basically an entire book. It was a challenge for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Writing with that kind of speed is NOT how I normally write. I’ve always been a little like Ernest Hemingway—reading over what I’d written and editing that before moving forward bit by bit every day.

I thought going for speed might be a good exercise. Help me learn new skills. Stretch me. You know, make me better.

And it might do that yet. But at the moment, with everything that was going on in my family, I wonder if the story I started was worth it.

Every novelist knows that there are points along the way where you hate what you’ve written. But I fear this is different.

Did I push myself into a place I wasn’t called to go? And now I’m overwhelmed in the quicksand that is my book. I’ve too many elements, perhaps not enough research.

I feel as if I didn’t give myself the space to do it right. Sure, I can go back and fix it… maybe.

fdr-quoteIf this character hadn’t been haunting me for 5 years, I might give up. But the more I think on it, the more I think my fear of the character has everything to do with why I veered off in a direction I hadn’t intended on.

Isn’t that like life?

The things we fear most are often the things we’re called to do. Tweet This

So today, I will again tackle the book. Reworking, rewriting, replotting.

I will look straight into fear and walk into it, if for no other reason than most fear runs when it encounters confidence.

I will hunt fear today and invite you to do the same. Tweet This

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When You’re Standing at a Crossroad

crossroadI’m standing at a crossroad. A place where I’m trying to make choices. Responsible choices. I’ve too much going on and I want to simplify. But then I’m confronted with brokenness, and I ache to help—to do something tangible. Sound familiar?

I suspect some of you are with me in the struggle. Often I find that I only see one step ahead, but strangely others can see more clearly than I. Perhaps, just maybe, together we can work out the next step.

As I struggle through decisions—what’s best as a mom, a writer, a wife. I’m called to be purposeful; to demand a higher level for myself; to be a clarion call of beauty, goodness, and truth—I started processing through the written word. I am, after all, a writer! What came out was the poem below.

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe*

Continue reading “When You’re Standing at a Crossroad”

Broken Barn Philosophy

Broken Barn PhilosophyThis last week we traveled up and around a million back roads in Northern Michigan. Gentle turning through hills and miles of meadows tucked between towering evergreens and unblemished white sandy beaches.

As we took time to breathe as a family, thoughts and words tumbled out of me like a fountain. Snatches of beauty took up residence in my heart. The snippets I took hold of might just last me weeks.

But one of my favorite sights were the leaning-sideways barns—the ones that were red, but have slowly slid into grey.

What is it about a broken barn, slowly overcome by wildflowers, that’s so beautiful? Or that one fence post nudged over in tall grass that catches our eyes.

We take pictures of the not quite right. But when it comes to our lives, we hide the things that are not what has been deemed good by . . . well, by whom? Continue reading “Broken Barn Philosophy”

There’s Something About Bravery

BraveryAwhile back, I spent the weekend with a good friend who had moved away and some other women who I didn’t know well, but I still consider friends.

We spent a lot of time telling the stories of our lives. I didn’t think about it at the time, but, as I look back, I’m struck with how brave each of these women were and are.

Several traveled with friends when they were young. One moved out when she was seventeen. One scuba dived with sharks.

If I had asked them to tell me about the bravest thing they’d ever done, they would have told those stories.

But what captured me wasn’t the exciting actions of their youth, but how they dealt with the junk life inevitably deals out: Continue reading “There’s Something About Bravery”