one-hundred-sixty-four.

sitting on the curb
just to feel the sun.
eyes closed,
no headphones.
a reminder that the heat,
the brightness
and the way your eyes flutter
when the light coats your centre
are real,
unlike the typed out problems
in your inbox,
explaining tasks to complete
with weak
direction.
something the giant star in the sky
would never even think of doing.

one-hundred-sixty-three.

i don’t have one identity.
i am instead a layer of multifaceted bricks,
each level a different chapter,
each hue a new idea,
each bump a unique thought
and each shade a valuable step.
i am a combination of passions and possibilities,
i am not a static two-dimensional wall.
i can take risks, feel regret
and still carry on.
i can be flourishing personally
and still want growth professionally.
i can feel too tired, yet content,
and strive for a harmonious status quo.
i can be happy with what i’ve built
and still manifest a steeper climb.

mantra.

one-hundred-fifty-four.

how hard it must be for you
to dress yourself in your best,
each day,
thinking your charm, broad shoulders
and your expensive taste
will make the world bend their knees,
let go of personal beliefs
and fall into you and over you,
fall for whatever
you want us to believe is truth.

how hard it must be for you
to laugh and flirt out of error,
to give up your seat,
and be the “gentleman,”
simply to bypass glass ceilings,
that were never even installed
for people like you.

you’re not used to people like me,
questioning your activities,
encouraging humility,
so you spend more time wishing me
a good morning, a lovely weekend,
thinking it’s working,
thinking you’re as smart as your suit.

a crooked smile,
a few shiny teeth,
but you still haven’t figured out
that while i’m sipping on tea,
saying, “have a good night,”
i’m furiously analyzing
how you secured a job
at a higher level than me.

you invest in your business relationships
the same way you buy your belts,
leather stitched together
by an underpaid worker
in a third world country,
all to make you feel important.

and you’ve never had to use your brain
to succeed.

one-hundred-forty-three.

i thought i wouldn’t get through you.
i was stuck at the start, in a pool of hot
tub water, stuck to one of those water jets.
you were attacking me —
or was i letting other people do that?

my friends said, “your eyes are dark,”
and, “i’ve never seen you this low.”
i was drowning in that pool of hot water,
i was stuck there,
dreading the air free from my bed.

i learned: i have to be strategic
about what i give myself to.
i love so hard and so deep that
when i’m forced to give something up,
i crack more than a broken joint.

i learned: i define, “career,”
and my job doesn’t define me.

i learned: i can still do good and do well,
without being hollowed in hell,
surrounded by people who won’t lift me up,
who will tell me i’m failing, only because
it will guarantee them the raise
and me: the same job with bad pay.

i learned: you’re just a year and you aren’t forever,
but with lessons
and hurdles
and journeys uncovered.