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.


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.

Finding a Foothold When Life Is Slipping

footholdThere’s an enormous rock that thrusts into the creek behind my childhood home. I remember lying on my back, stretching fingers and toes long and not even touching the edges. Above it, the sky hung endless blue with the tips of the trees a dark parenthesis on either side.

The rock was my younger brother and my pretend house when we played castaways, our kitchen table when we played house, and my refuge when I was escaping the terrors held inside my real home.

I’ve always been a collector of stories so I know that my “real” story is better and worse than everyone else’s. It isn’t in me to compare anymore. My past made me who I am.

It isn’t my past that scares me. I’ve moved beyond it…mostly.

I have this random file of character sketches, snippets of scenes. In my file there’s pages and pages of a character I’ve resisted for years now. She scares me because I recognize her. She’s trying to pull back from the edge of insanity and her feet are slipping. The hot breath of evil tickles her neck. She needs a rock, a refuge and I don’t know if she’ll find one in time. And I’m afraid of what that means for me, for my kids, and my marriage. Continue reading “Finding a Foothold When Life Is Slipping”

Oh the Irony!

Oh the Irony!Life is full of irony. Things that look one way, but are, in fact, something else entirely.

Creepy or helpful? Spiders are rather, well, creepy, but they also keep down the level of mosquitoes buzzing around our heads.

Destructive or productive? Forest fires destroy huge swaths of woods, but the ash makes the land more fertile and without the smoke and heat, some seeds wouldn’t sprout.

It’s something I’ve found in my own personal life. Right isn’t easy. Sometimes being nice isn’t kind.

This week I realized that I spend a lot of time looking for, praying to find the place where I’m comfortable. And I’ve often equated that with being content. But it’s not.

Comfortable does not equal content.

I’m discovering that the things that make me uncomfortable, the weaknesses I fight, are sometimes my greatest strengths.

Like a lot of artists and writers, I fight negativity, depression, the ugliness. But, if I choose, the darkness that hides inside me forces me to see the goodness in others and the world around me. It drives me to be content.

It doesn’t make sense. But all the same, it does.

How about you? What are the ironies in your life?

Into the Darkness: A Story

Flowers in sunset blurredI lay in the darkness. Eyes closed. Willing myself to sleep.

But rest would not come. In the next room, I heard the baby cough. I held my breath, body tense, wondering if she’d need me.

Glancing at the clock, I groaned. The red numbers read 5:32. I’d fed her, changed her diaper, and put her back in bed an hour ago. But I’d been lying awake since then, bracing myself, trying not to wake my husband, not quite sleeping. It was easier to get back up if I didn’t fall asleep. And sometimes, sometimes, I had to get back up.

Continue reading “Into the Darkness: A Story”