The Cost of Authenticity

When I come here to this blog and write what I write, I purposefully place a shimmer of my soul in every sentence…the rhythm of my heart rests inside the construction of each poem,  the weight of who I am makes the call between an ellipsis and a dash.  Simply put, I have never posted anything here without forethought.  I readily strip myself down to the undressed essence of all that I am and  I do it with enthusiasm like I have never known before.  I do it because I feel safe here.

On Thursday, September 11, I almost decided not to do that anymore.  Someone dear to me took me to task on something I wrote called, I Used to Be, and suddenly this place, my blog, did not feel safe to me.

I hold nothing back here and I enjoy that freedom.  As someone who was caged for so many years, unable to be me…here, in this place…I am always totally an unhindered, authentic me.  On Thursday, I wondered if I had made a mistake.  I wondered if I was enjoying my liberation too much.   After all, who shares everything in a public place like a blog and feels safe doing it?  Ha…me.  I do.

I share myself here because I can…because I choose to…because it’s important.  I invite you into my space and you either walk in and look around or walk on by without a glance.  The choice is yours.  However, I was cautioned that the above-mentioned post could lead others astray and that I should be careful what I say.  Well, I can’t do that.  I can’t be careful of what I say because to censor myself, to pretend my life is something it isn’t would be death to my creative spirit…death to everything I battled to become me.  I refuse to do that.  And, if I did, what would I write about?  Nothing that matters to me.  Nothing that anyone would choose to read.

I am an evolving person.  And there are those who will not like the changes in me and that’s okay.  I am really okay with that.  But that will not affect my freedom to share the stories and poems of my life here in the bare bones honest way I have from day one.  Literally, day one.  I am not trying to change anyone else anywhere at any time.  I respect your path… whatever it is.  I seek only to share my path with those who care to know about it.

I will be writing about this journey I am walking and I will delve deeper than I did in I Used to Be.  It will be a personal account as is everything I have ever written here…personal not proselytizing…just personal.   I will do this because I can…because I choose to…because it’s important.

The Slip and the Groove

Sometimes I slip and slide into the

grooves of well-worn static patterns

Canned speeches

slip from lips to sustain you…

 Smothering under the rote emotions

that slip and slide into me

I slip on the tune and beg you

to slide with me

but the melody hurts so you don’t

I try to hold you with arms

slipped into the sleeves of another time…

why do you slip me into that outdated dress…

I clutch and claw at you till we both

slip on the tick of time…

My slip…

Your trip

Together we could rip

away

apart

from where we are

to where we were

and reality’s grip would loosen

and leave us in the

static groove…

The tear

drips…

wetting the groove

 letting us slip out of the static…

The best dance ever to be danced

slips in and out of silver shade

tripping the light so fantastic

free of the swirling ball

expecting  us to catch a swivel

and demand it for ourselves

dance it with each other

dance it for each other

because we like it

because it’s pretty

because we look dashing doing it

because it stirs us

because…

NOW is the best groove

 

Complete

Oh, how I’ve missed you

I hear myself marvel, then say

She breathes her understanding

And takes my hand in hers

 

It was lonely without you

I hear myself reflect, then voice

She nods in accord

And strokes my hand in hers

 

Oh, how I wondered if you’d ever return

I hear myself consider, then admit

She shrugs off shared fear

And embraces my hand in hers

 

It was a lost time without you

I hear myself mourn, then confide

She silences my moan

And puts her hand

My hand

To our face

And says

I was always here

you only had to choose to see

I turn from the mirror

And walk back into the world

Complete once again

Glass Dinosaurs

Originally posted on The Fever Dream:

I remember dinosaurs of glass

Filled up with colored sand.

And our tradition, long revered.

Bringing you pine cones twice a year.

And learning to read in simple steps.

Your patience rooted in the farthest depths

Of love. Of innocence. Of Grace.

And how you lifted us.

How you held us down.

How you managed to sweep the pain from your face

And turn that wheel to save your life

When the demon inside you was driving you over

The wall and would have seen you die.

You taught us not to just listen to voices

But to seek out for ourselves the veins of proof.

You told us the one who makes the most noise

Is not always the one who’s telling the truth.

That killing is wrong and defense is honor

A man is not judged by the sins of his father,

That a man’s greatest duty lies…

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My Angel, My Heart, My Dahlin’

I see you in your cowboy hat and boots

I see your easy smile

against your sunwashed skin

I hear your voice

a thousand times

in a single night

pouring into my heart

a thousand love songs

in a single melody

I hear your words of love

and they strum like viola notes

up and down my strings of pain

I look for you

with eyes that cannot see

I find you everywhere

with eyes that only see

I see you in your cowboy hat and boots

I see your easy smile

and I can’t help but smile back…

 

Written to my precious uncle, my Angel, my Heart, my Dahlin’, Alvin Doucette, Jr. laid to rest on this day.

I will see you again…and we’ll both be smiling…

I Used To Be…

 

I used to be a Catholic. I believed in venial and mortal sins. When I had to do something difficult or something I did not enjoy, I was taught to offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory. I was taught to pray to saints and to do that by using novenas. Other than novenas and praying in church, I never prayed. Well, I said the rosary sometimes, but I never prayed to Jesus. I don’t remember being taught to. Prayer, within and beyond the stained glass church windows, was rote. My prayer life, if you could call it that, was a wasteland without a whit of intimacy or insight. I never learned about relationship, only rules or should I say tradition. I never learned about love, only sin or should I say my need for a Savior.

 

However, I thought I was lucky to be a Catholic. After all, I could eat seafood every Friday during Lent, I got to choose a name I liked when I was confirmed in the 8th grade, and every Sunday I could go to church and savor uninterrupted daydreams about the boy I liked. So, I was born a Catholic and thought I’d never be anything else. But I think I needed to be that.

 

I used to be a born-again Christian. For me, that meant two primary things. I was no longer Catholic and I was assured acceptance into heaven because I believed Jesus died in my stead. I became a Christian at quite a burdensome time in my life. I had made decisions that were clearly wrong, but I felt stuck in them. I needed to be right about something. Nearly all of my focus became directed toward the afterlife. I thought that was where I would finally be safe, that was where I would finally taste happiness. I had hope for the first time. Anyone who disagreed with me or just had a different point of view had to be shut down or ignored. I had to keep my hope safe from question, from further seeking, from even the shadow of doubt. See, it was all I had to hold on to.

 

I made it my business to instruct, I mean share, with others that they were on the wrong path. I needed to let people know that they had to do certain things, believe certain things, and denounce certain things so they could go to heaven. I had to tell them that everything they needed to know and would ever need to know was in the Bible. Every other holy text, every other path of faith or belief would lead them directly to hell. I didn’t say it, the Bible said it. So, I became a legalistic inerrantist. But I think I needed to be that.

 

I used to be a wonderer. Not quite a questioner. Certainly not a seeker. But I began to wonder about things. It was my oldest son who would engage me in conversations that brought me to a place where I could dabble in wondering. But I fought it. Oh, I fought hard. Anytime, he mentioned that he had read parts of the Koran or had learned something about other faiths or cultures just for the sake of learning, I would become defensive and argumentative.

 

But then came the first break in my seemingly impenetrable doctrinal armor. My son had a few homosexual friends that would visit sometimes, both boys and girls. It wrenched and rent at my very heart that these sweet, precious kids on the brink of adulthood were damned unless they changed their lifestyles. Then one day, suddenly, I wondered why… why did they have to suffer for eternity for being who they are? It was the first time I allowed a challenging question to enter my mind, but I only went that far for nearly 2 years. Baby steps for me. Maybe I’m just a slow learner or just slow to give up the doctrine that had first spoken hope into my life.

 

I continued on as a marginally wondering legalist, and then, I met a man. On our first date, he called himself a seeker, said he didn’t have it all figured out. I thought to myself, “Wow! What luck you have because I do!”

 

Our relationship was the beginning of a beautiful growth lesson for me. I had no idea how much that lesson would be needed or how soon. He planted the seed that maybe people had to find their own way. He planted the seed that maybe shoveling my dirt onto the seedlings of others only served to smother the sprouting they would experience without my interference in their life cycle. He planted the seed that maybe, just maybe, rigidity was not what would best serve me in my life or in the lives of those I love. I thought I was going to show him the way with all my so-called answers when in actuality he showed me that sometimes seeking can be answer enough. So, until that point, I had been bent toward egotism, elitism, and legalism with just buds of wondering. But I think I needed to be that.

 

I became a questioner. My second son began to share his doubts with me. I did a lot of blaming myself and wringing my hands because my baby was going straight to hell and I couldn’t let that happen. I resurrected my old Catholic guilt and bullied him with my Christian fear. And I pushed him farther and farther away every time.

 

He said things that made sense, though. Things like wanting to be good to others because he felt that was the best way to live, not because he thought he had to appease God or to avoid eternal damnation. Somewhere along the way, he had begun to think for himself. Where in the world did he get that from? I couldn’t tolerate his doubts or even his feelings and ideas openly, but in my heart I started to question just a little.

 

Eventually, I happened upon Dr. Wayne Dyer who led me to Eckhart Tolle who led me to Thich Nhat Hahn who led me to Marcus Borg who led me to Progressive Christianity. I investigated the Lost Gospels, early Christian mysticism, near death experiences, even pre-birth planning (a little too out there for me), but the point was that I began to be open to other ways, other faiths, other ideas. I found so much common ground where before I could only recognize differences. I found many things that sparked fires within my spirit like nothing ever had. I felt frightened and liberated, confused and oh so clear. But, I need to be all of that. Yes, I need to be all of that.

 

I am now a seeker who, of course, still has questions. I will never have it all figured out, and now that I have left black and white thinking behind, I know I don’t have to. My ideas are exceedingly different than anything I ever would have thought possible. But my life, the life I want to live has become an evolving one, an open one, an accepting one. I do not miss the locked door mentality that I so staunchly held for so very long. Although I still battle with the letting go of things I once believed, I have never had such moments of peace as I’ve had once I laid down my blind beliefs and realized that Jesus is radically different from the image I accepted and passed on all these years. And so is God.

 

I am grateful for all my “used to be’s” because who would I be without them? I am grateful for this most recent journey that has led me closer to Jesus, closer to God. I am grateful I have found friends and a place within the Progressive Christian community. I guess I am not completely free of the need for a label. Perhaps, one day I will be. But today, I will enjoy who I need to be now.

 

 

***Disclaimer (of sorts): This is only about my experience as a Catholic and born-again Christian. It is not meant to be a condemnation of any system of belief as it relates to the paths of others.

 

 

 

 

Circle Me Sad

Originally posted on Wild Heart Scribe:

Pop another quarter in
Go on and ride my back
Saddle up
and
settle in
It’s gonna be a long one
Depraved dimness
explosively exaggerated
in blue up and down
brown mall circles…
Syrup calliope cadence sticks
you discolor what makes me tick
and how it makes me sick
But you’ve
lashed me now
masked me now
trashed me now
The sad circle slows…
you try to get off
but I won’t let you.
Ride’s not over…
I have succumbed.

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Maybe I…

Originally posted on Wild Heart Scribe:

Maybe I should have let life
harden me till nothing gets
out or in
Maybe I should set a table
for the notion that
the kind of love I serve
will never pull up a chair
and sit beside me
Maybe I should give up on
my fairy tale dreams
and read my real story
Maybe I should stop expecting
happy endings and just
expect endings
Maybe there are those who
are meant to be alone…
maybe I’m one of them…
Go on, Life, have your way.
My battle against you
has
been
proven
bottomless.
Make me hard where I am soft
Make me cold where I am warm
Make me dead where I dream
Change who I am…
just protect me from hope.

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Forever Watching

Originally posted on Wild Heart Scribe:

The tip of my nose
clears a spot on the
cool, frosted window
watching you leave.
Always watching,
a forever spectator of someone’s departure.
When do I get to leave?
Where is my dramatic exit?
Who will watch me walk away?
No one.
I like to stay.
The clock keeps cruel count.
My pain pathetic
tick tocks to poetic.
You round the corner.
I fire the engine.
I drive away
and wish someone was watching.

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