i’m not sure what it says about me

that it took five years of marriage
before i stopped believing
that you loving me
was just another joke
set up by the girls watching
from behind the trees
so they could jump out and scream
“GOTCHA AGAIN YOU STUPID FUCKING IDIOT”
one more time.

But today
today i was able to believe it
wholeheartedly
down to the very darkest places
where i hide myself
wrapped up in the safety of my voices
wearing me out like a rosary
protecting me from the outside
and i opened the door a little,
letting the rays of light in,
feeling their ghosts dissolve
without worrying if the fading laughter
was a punchline to some whispered cruelty
that I’ll never know the set-up to.

the reason i’m so desperate

to be needed
is because being wanted
never lasts and
i wish i figured this out
about 100k in psych treatment ago.

i could have taken a trip
some far-flung destination
five star accommodation
in the heart of everything
a tourist could want,
so i could fire up my laptop
and spend the time watching
friday night dinner again.

sort of how my life is now
except more interesting
and aesthetically pleasing
for the Instagram grid.

It seems all my friends are posting

New year’s resolutions –
Less calories, weight
Less regret, judgement of others
Less alcohol, sugar, fat, carbs, meat
Less screen time, technology, ideals.

Even though I usually don’t fall into the hype
I find myself feeling like I should
But everything I consider isn’t less
It’s more –
More kindness to myself
More time with family and friends
More culture, movement, confidence

And while the trade-off is ultimately
an accumulation of less
It seems easier to embrace a positive
Rather than a negative.

There is nothing beautiful about me

Nothing that is unique anymore
I’m no longer an adventurer
driving across the desert in the dark
Wondering how I’ll get through the monsoon
If I should pull over under the overpass
Hoping to be spared while the rain floods into the road

I’m not waking up and watching the frost burn away
from the wheat fields in my backyards,
Like so many bonfires burning away
Everything holding on to me
Keeping me from turning to ash

I’m not the woman who was mysterious
Driving to Newport Beach
With the top down
Like so many Midwest dreams coming to life
Running into the waves crashing into the sand
Alongside my brother
While the sun drops down from the sky
Behind the edge of the world that I’ll never see again

Never again will I be brave enough
Wearing torn lingerie while the time warp
Plays across the screen
And I forget everything I hate about myself
For a few hours
Pretending life is wonderful
And worrying about where I’ll end up
Later that week

I’m not capable of going to concerts
Without a major anxiety attack
When I used to not be able to go
Without meeting the band
And I can’t spend time after two am
In some afterhours bar
With beautiful musicians
Playing beautiful sounds
While I sing along
Or honestly anything that used to spark
The magic inside me
And I wonder if I’m already dead
If I’m already a ghost and you
Are living as a widower
I’m not a woman anymore but just a shell
Formed out of regrets and anxieties
Covered in half-closed scars from piercings
Thin ribbons of scars from all the moments I knew too much
Damaged ends of bleach and a bloated
Makeup collection designed to cover up
The holes in my identity in this season’s
Glitter metallic silicon-based shadow

Everything that made me interesting
Is nothing but Facebook memories
From two years ago (delete this post)
Three years ago (delete this post)
Five years ago (delete this post)
Nine years ago (delete this post)
(Delete your account?)
(Delete your existence?)

(Maybe it’s time to go back to the doctor)

obviously i can’t leave

i have a child & husband
no family threads to speak of
nothing that would miss me
but i also know
i don’t want to start again

the idea of rebuilding
it’s exhausting
rationally i don’t want to destroy
everything i’ve stabilized
all the progress
the lack of symptoms

but it’s just this time of year
after thanksgiving
before the end
and i find myself cruising Craigslist
looking at jobs
i wonder what housing looks like there

because we know this can’t last
why would you saddle yourself with me
i’m only going to destroy her
our marriage will implode
simply because i don’t know
suppression – only immolation

and maybe that’s the discomfort
the creeping silence
of a self that hasn’t been torn apart
shredded examined sifted through for lies
in far too long, falling headlong
into the winter of my discontent

Listen –

I’m not saying that
all the white woman wellness messages
are right or wrong –
that I should start
using designer vaginal gemstones,
guzzle smoothies spiked with ancient herbs
or surround myself with wabi-sabi pottery
to reconnect to the earth-mother
and my inner child.

However-
I did spend seventeen years
mourning Conan O’Brien’s
Successful marriage and the circumstances of
time / wealth / social class / intelligence
that conspired to keep us separated,
only to be at a point today
where my husband is a 6’5″ redhead
with a impish smile
a refreshing lack of cynicism
and a ridiculously dry and surreal sense of humor
which means he thinks I’m hilarious.

So –
Maybe be mindful
of the energy juice you throw out
into the void of the universe
and the next time your friend starts in
with the cedar burning or the salt lamp
whatever it might be,
try not to laugh.
Everyone deserves a shot at their Conan.

Just as I notice

the leaves on the ground
and the annual return of
pumpkin spice everything,
i notice my thoughts return to you
and what you might be doing today.
No longer do the feel the urge
to google you,
to find your mugshot from age 19
and a shoplifting bust
when you needed to desperately escape
your life in Florida
but I still wonder about your happiness.
Are you an old lady
writing poetry on your front porch yet?
Or did you give up that dream
like I did
simply for the sake of avoiding the cliche?