if we talked about anxiety then,
the way we do now,
in our separate lives,
in different cities;
with our separate pals,
in different threads,
would our worlds have continued
instead of disrupting over
is it still “giving up”
if the choice is made
with good intention?
hands clasped in prayer,
right at the heart.
innocence and religious,
hoping something greater is listening,
somewhere above us,
hidden in the pink-grey clouds
at golden hour.
holding an opal crystal,
tracing a bracelet,
repeating an affirmation,
talking to the one you lost too soon.
whether organized or personalized,
hope is defined by the hopeful,
dreams by the dreamer
and wishes by the wishful.
alive, dead or in-between.
in time, you will not fear the shape of your face,
or the hair on your arms,
or the bump and crook of your nose.
soon, you will not wait for his approval,
because you will learn the only acceptance you need is your own.
in a few years, you will get better at laughing at yourself,
ignoring when others laugh at you.
you will build barriers around things you know will hurt.
i know you will learn to say no, or yes,
and not feel guilty.
the world doesn’t end for you,
you’ll want to create for it, with it, in it.
once, a boy told our classmates we had done things we hadn’t
because i broke up with him.
he said i was good with my tongue;
though my tongue had never touched him
or his greasy braces.
we “dated” for a few weeks; i don’t count it.
when his lies didn’t catch on as fast as they could’ve,
he started telling people things that were really true:
“she has hairy arms. really hairy arms.”
someone pushed up the left arm of my green fleece uniform sweater
and said, “woah, he’s right.”
i waxed my arms for a long time,
naired them and scarred them,
got grounded for making the house smell like chemicals;
never wore t-shirts, either.
do you see what happens when we automatically
give boys more power?
there are the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
there are the lights at night, twinkling brightly.
there are the snowflakes, sticking to rooftops,
’tis the season for coconut-chocolate and fried dough.
there too are the to-do lists and gift lists and naughty lists.
there too are the credit card bills and dinners you’d rather avoid.
there too are the busier streets and louder sounds.
’tis the season for questioning how and why we sprout,
energy levels low, no patience (no doubt).
why value yourself just on
your time spent at work
and undervalue those you love
for staying at home
to be with their seeds
as they grow into
sprouts and flowers?
why define work
as only what you feel is hard,
what keeps you up at night,
and roll your eyes at those you love
for losing sleep nurturing
their baby bird;
one they made with their own
flesh and blood?
love is when you look up
and see who’s shown up.