She is a bashful, smiling enigma
Courteous to others, harsh on herself
With only the slightest trace of melancholy
Flickering almost imperceptively
Across her face.
Only a rare few ever see beyond the pleasantness
She gladly defers to others to avoid herself
Deflecting questions like a super power
She will listen for ages about anything
But the depths of herself.
Deep down she yearns to be understood
To share her dark chapters as if to unleash
The rise of insecurities born from her mistakes
But her past feels to her like anvils
Carried too far, too long,
Instead of letting them go,
Unraveled but still standing,
Off-kilter but determined,
We pull ourselves from the depths
Like warriors with one last breath,
Truth illuminating our shadowed minds
With both the sting and the promise of one more day.
We can no longer remain stagnant
Now that we see, now that we know
No avoiding realities in broad daylight
Now that our souls have kept the score.
Dear soul, what will we find when we climb
Out of the mire of our heartbreak?
What path will present itself to us
When we surrender to what we have ignored?
There is liberation in no longer avoiding
What our hearts have always known.
What if we could bottle up joy into little jars?
Placing them carefully on our cupboard shelves
Where they would glow in patient anticipation
Of our inevitable need for a burst of felicity.
In the darker hours, days, months, years,
We would, with gratitude, unseal a jar of joy
Watching as it illuminates our shadowed places
Sending sparks into the dark of our broken hearts
A balm for the wearied soul to carry us through
The heaviness of our melancholy days.
For so long, I lurked on the outside of human experience
Observing but never stepping inside, a bystander looking in
So afraid the good would never last, I could not welcome its light
Without the fear of losing joy before it even materialized.
Now, after a slow recovery from the depths of self-deprivation,
Whether an act of rebellion or a desperate race with time,
My gaze is lingering on the magnificence of late summer evenings
When the sun drenches the trees with golden, encompassing light
Autumn so close, I can sense it in the air in cooler undertones
Apples speckled through the orchards where I love to wander
Sunflowers bobbing along a background of mountains and blue sky,
And I feel it, in small waves, this awakening of heart and soul
A beckoning call to enjoy the moments so fleeting, so small,
Before they fade into melancholy over what could have been.
The summer is slowly turning into the golden days before autumn
Longer days shorten like quicksand, and I have missed them all
Absorbed in the rush of demands and the tide of expectations
Waiting for the unrest to finally rest; for the paper walls to fall.
So much time sifted through the hourglass of a worried mind
I don’t want miss the last of these shimmering, sun-drenched days,
So let’s meet at the harbor of our past disappointments
Into the smooth sailing waters of here, of now, of today.
Shed the old skin of unworthiness clinging to your soul
There is nothing but transparency, there is no story left untold
Fall into the reassurance of what it means to be embraced
For all that you are, for the earnestness of a considerate face.
When I close my eyes,
For a moment I am transported
Away from the tug-of-war of life
Breaking free from the pull to give
And give and give until I am nothing
But a vessel of snatched offerings.
Dear soul, the only peace I know,
Is when I lie awake blissfully dreaming
Of what it means to give and receive back
The way you taught me to do,
And for a moment I am myself, alive,
Until I feel the pull begin again.
Tune me in to the underlying source
Plant me beneath that burst of sunlight
Take me from the shadows of uncertainty
Into the sweet relief of unquestionable right.
Pull me away from the fear of failure
Always clinging to my timid, doubtful mind
Show me what it means for me to be enough
Replace my inner critic with words that are kind.
Open up the windows of this protective prison
Let light pour in to this diminished space,
Like a starburst across a canvas of ink
Help me find belonging in a benevolent face
On this ship, we cling to the ropes
Even when the sun is gleaming overhead
Even when the water is tranquilly still
Even when a breeze swells the sails
Even knowing our boat withstands the gales.
On this ship, we forget to recognize peace
After weathering through so many storms
Always clinging to the possibility of chaos
Even when our pain becomes a source outgrown
We are always seeking to illuminate the unknown.
On this ship, we have already arrived
At the destination we so desperately seek
And even when the waves rise from beneath
We have the fortitude to withstand once again,
Placing trust in what our minds cannot know
To enjoy the beauty of this voyage as we go.
Do not spare my naive heart from being crushed
By the harsher realities of what is and what will be,
I have lived long enough in oblivious innocence
I have worn the lenses of idealism when I should have seen
The truth in all of its abrasive, gritted glory
I have closed my ears to the sound of imminent catastrophe
Choosing instead to hear hope ringing through empty halls.
Do not spare my naive heart from understanding
What it must to allow the natural course of life to flow,
For I can live a whole life subsisting off of dreams
Floating like a cloud through a wasteland of lost opportunities
And in blissful oblivion, I would never know.
There must be a soft place waiting nearby
Where I can rest this heavy head of mine
Yet it’s as if I am ever-searching in vain
Under rocks, in briars, through thorns and rain
For the safety of shelter where I can weep
For that dry spot of Earth where I can fall asleep.