Posts Tagged ‘self-worth’

i should write a poem when i’m pissed off,

the words will spit fire from the page,

the images i conjure will illustrate my rage,

but writing a poem when i’m pissed off makes me smile…

and then i’m not pissed off anymore.

i should write a poem about my heart being battered and bruised,

the things i say will tear at your soul,

i’ll lay out all my pieces and you’ll try to console,

but writing a poem about my bruised heart makes the pain go away…

and then i don’t feel so bruised anymore.

i should write a poem when i know i have truth on my side,

the more words i write, the more suspicious it sounds,

even i will start to question the truth that’s lying around…

but writing a poem with truth on my side makes me question,

and then truth isn’t on my side anymore.

i should write a poem when my mind can’t settle down,

the thoughts will be jumbled and completely confused,

the words will leave you more than bemused,

but when i write a poem when my mind is jumbled…

i don’t question the clarity anymore.

i should write a poem when i’m happy and content,

the sappy words would be oh so sweet,

the sticky taste is just a deceit,

but writing a poem when i’m happy and content leaves me bored…

and when i’m bored i’m not happy anymore.

i should write a poem about the cruelty of silence,

i should write a poem about the helplessness of being misunderstood,

i should write a poem about the bravery of just being.

i should write a poem about…

 searching, finding, losing, struggling, holding on and letting go…

 falling down, getting up, being stuck and daring yourself to move…

 being depressed, being relieved, learning to lose and learning to love…

i should write a poem about how we are always always becoming, always…

i think i’ll write a poem…

i got no other plans.

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… and still, I live

I wake up, I breathe, I cover myself with words from a friend.

… and still, I live

I laugh when I shouldn’t, I sing way too loud, I go when I should be on pause.

… and still, I live

I listen for the silence, the beat fills my soul, the echoing around my heart.

… and still, I live

I dance in the rain, I laugh at the storm, I yell at the thunder coming near.

… and still, I live

I stare at the sun, I stand near the waves, I sink into the sand of my thoughts.

… and still, I live

I live.

I love.

I breathe.

I trust.

I wait.

I scream.

I cry.

I move.

I laugh.

I live.

… and still, I live

I jump from this cliff, a smile on my face, I’ve seen the bottom before.

… and still, I live

I soar in my dreams, my wings expand, evolution’s not stagnant here.

… and still, I live

I’m standing in this rain, I’m still thirsty anyway, let it puddle on this new-found path.

… and still, I live

I battle the waves, I balance on the shifting sand, I dig my toes in deep.

… and still, I live

I dare myself to move.

I love with an innocent heart.

I fall but I always get up.

… and still, I live.

… and still

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You see it, a deep recessed cave, the ugly side of love.

Where the whirlwind of emotions take over and try to throw you away… again.

Where the train blows its whistle but your feet are planted firmly on the tracks… again.

Where the waves break so hard they pull you under… again.

You live here, just outside the reach of a broken heart.

You can hear it knocking… so loud, but you cover your ears because you think it can’t possibly be coming for you, you can’t possibly be the one it stopped everything for, you’re surely not worthy.

I want to be breathless and afraid.

I want to be torn and confused.

I want to be living so close to the edge that one false move will leave me tumbling down the hill towards the ugly side of love.

From this distance, you seem okay,

but the darkness of that cave hides the smile of your blushing cheeks.

“Come outside!”, it screams at you as you crouch down to make yourself small.

“Stop hiding!”, it bellows as you wrap your arms around your bent knees.

“It will be okay.”, it finally says and you look up, the fear leaving your body, tricking away and you reach for it, you don’t want to let it go so you grasp at it like a child trying to gather the mercury from a broken thermometer and you try…

You step away from the dark and you balance on that edge and then you jump and the smile on your face is so beautiful and you recognize the cliff you’re rolling down and it feels so soft and you know this is where you should be…

rolling down the messy, scary, ugly, beautiful side of love.

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No more lying in state… waiting, always.

Trapped by the mind,

A never-ending procession.

Circling by… glancing down on the body apart from the mind.

“Wake up!”, I yell.

Lying in state,

A prison… a cave… a road leading to nowhere.

And yet…


Slowly at first,

… and then,

the eyes open — blinking,

the heart beats — steady,

the breath comes — in, out,


Gathering speed,

Stepping over the trap door.

Tired of waving the arms,

Whispering, “see me, or don’t”.

The quiet rejection of a smile,

The quiet smirk finds its mark,

The quiet kills.

And yet…

Squinting and looking to the sky,

Listening for the sound of the beating heart,

Forcing the cold air into the collapsed lungs,

I am not merely alive,

I am no longer lying in state.

Alive, and living.

See me… or don’t.

Photo by Annie Q. Syed

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I know how to save myself… I learned when I was in undergraduate school. My senior year I was in need of a PE credit. I perused the course catalog (yes, back then it was an actual book you read) to try to find something that would interest me. Aerobics and dance and jazzercise all seemed a little too girly for me… when I finally caught a glimpse of a course title that read “Advanced Life Saving”. Wow. I knew this was the class for me as I was about to embark on a career as a Special Education teacher… I wanted to be prepared.

On the first day of class, I felt very nervous and out of sorts when I walked into the classroom and the instructor was in her swimsuit. She began to describe “Advanced Life Saving” and how, when we completed the course, we would be the best lifeguards in the area — “What? How did this happen?”  I was admittedly a good swimmer, as a tomboy athletics were my natural default position. But, I was very unsure about whether I was good enough to be a lifeguard — saving a life seemed a bit too superheroish for me and saving a life while your own life hangs in the balance, while you’re treading water, was a concept beyond my comprehension.

I’ve never been a girl who passed up an opportunity to show-off for the boys, for the girls, for the squirrels perched in the near-by trees. Since the  town I grew up in was surrounded by lakes, many of my “I’ll take that dares” involved water, but, I was never the first one to plunge off the rope swing dangling from the rickety old tree branch or jump off the bow of the boat in the middle of the murky water or jettison myself from the bridge as my friends cheered below — I did all those things, but I did them at my own pace. Now… in my senior year of undergraduate school, I was about to face several months of daily prods to submerge myself and my fears in the pool that would be my classroom.

The first day of class, we had to swim 500 meters in under 10 minutes… or do it again. The second day we had to tread water while holding a 10 pound weight for 5 minutes (we had to start over if our shoulders went below the water). The third day we had to hold the 10 pound weight at the bottom of the deep end until the instructor tapped our shoulder. I was scared and thrilled and over-whelmed and energized and weak and small and… scared. I wasn’t sure I was cut out for “Advanced Life Saving”. But, I kept at it, twice a week for five months I walked into the changing area, shaking, nervous, stomach in knots over what might take place on that day in the pool. I jumped in the pool each day as if I was exactly in the right place — and I survived.

I have often forgotten that lesson. Life has a way of presenting itself so that we think we are out of air, that we are stranded on the bottom of a pool with the weight of the world chaining us in place, hoping someone comes along and taps our shoulder so we can surface and breathe again. When all we need to do is aim ourselves in the right direction and kick with all our might and reach for the fresh air waiting to fill our souls… always at our own pace. No one, no matter how much you look up to them or care about them, can propel you in a direction you aren’t ready to go. But, still, having someone willing to tap your shoulder when they see you’re running out of air is comforting, it’s human, it’s the connection that gives us life. What we do with the connection we have with others is left up to us — with it, we save ourselves… and sometimes, each other.

What I learned most in that class was that I could save myself… even when I thought I was out of options or air or strength, I could save myself. I have often forgotten that lesson.

So, here I am, a girl whose stomach is in knots, whose hands are shaking, who’s questioning her movements — but I am jumping in, like I belong here.

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I’m carrying them around,

like stones in my pockets.

Discarding the small ones as I go.

The big ones are so heavy, they don’t easily fall,

they cling to my skin,

to my thoughts,

to my heart.

I pack you all up, in a matter of minutes, whenever I need to go.

You travel so well, weighing me down just enough,

you’ve been my excuse when forward was simply too far to travel.

I’m walking around from memory to memory and dropping these stones along the way.

Hoping no one sees what a pile I have amassed.

Hoping no one sees the holes they’ve worn in my heart.

I sit down at the edge of this cliff, weighted down by my pockets filled with stones.

I can’t stand up.

I can’t jump.

I can’t take another step forward.

I reach into my pocket and grab a handful of you and toss you out of my life.

Throwing stones this way and that with a smile on my face, as I watch them disappear over the ledge.

I turn from the edge and with all my strength I stand and I walk away.

I’m not packing you up, in a matter of minutes, I’m leaving you far behind.

These pockets filled with stones have secured me too long to the bottom of this ocean floor.

I want to believe in me as much as I believe in…

These pockets filled with stones.

I’ve scattered these stones, far away from my thoughts and my heart finally beats.

These pockets filled with stones are smaller and smaller, each day I throw a few as far as I can.

Reminders of the life, beckoning you to live, surrounding you with love all around.

Don’t forget…

that I believe in you.

Don’t forget…

how much I care.

If ever you start to doubt, just read these words and hear my heart,


filled with pride,


Don’t forget…

that I believe in you.

You are a magical shell, waiting to be found, sitting where the waves break against the shore.

You are a whisper, spreading through the world, shining your light all around.

You are a scream, bouncing off a mountain, spreading through the valleys below.

These pockets filled with stones that try to hold me close,

to scare me to stay in a world of afraid.

I’ve deposited them around, here and there…

emptying these pockets filled with stones.

Freeing my hands to hold on to you and my heart and my soul and my hope.



Check out all the poetic goodness at The Gooseberry Garden and at dVerse poets!

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Do you know me?

Did you look around the grocery store and see me comparing prices and values and after much deliberation I put the store brand into my cart because it was nine cents cheaper?

Do you know me?

Did you see me sitting in the corner of the coffee shop surrounded by friends, laughing, drinking a much too hot latte on a cold October day as if I belonged there and not in the confines of my own lost mind worrying about how to pay the soon to come gas bill?

Do you know me?

Do you watch me jogging around the block in my designer shoes and my name brand running clothes because I fit into them perfectly and you’ll never know they came from the thrift store you never go in?

Do you know me?

Did you hear me cursing under my breath at the gas station when I realized I couldn’t fill up the tank because somewhere in the world men in suits are arguing over the price of my life?

Do you know me?

I’m the one screaming in the corner of my mind that’s reserved only for me and the voices that keep me sane. I’m the one smiling so big because if you knew how close I’ve come, how much it hurt, how long and steep this road has been… you would run away because you aren’t that strong.

I’m the one writing it all down.

Do you believe in me?

Did you know I believe in me more than you will, ever. I believe I can and I am. I believe the fire was burning so hot and all I wanted was to jump in with both feet… no hesitation. I believe I can move forward without looking back but I believe I need to know.

Do you believe in me?

Did you know I feel a rush of emotions, like I set myself on fire, each time I think about the time I spent thinking about all the things that are scattered across my mind?

Do you know you should believe in me?

Because I am taking a tiny light and I am setting myself on fire with it and you need to stick around when the flame starts to dwindle because I believe you can help me burn.

I believe in you.



Many thanks to the poets at dverse for all their support!

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Wandering… alone.

Walking through the thoughts that hold me together,

keep me connected to your soul,

tether me to a place that allows me to breathe.

I want to stay here.

I want to never leave.

I want to drown in this rising current.

I want to slip under the wave of emotions that have eluded me for so long.

Wandering… alone.

Drifting with the undercurrent that once threatened to pull me under,

smiling at the jagged edges of my own heart,

laughing at the possibility of another missing piece.

I am moving forward.

I am swimming in the feelings of belonging that pushed me away for so long.

I am whole.

I am real.

I am broken and mended, I am childish and wise, I am piece-milled together and I am perfectly imperfect.

I am remembering how to swim and not just float.

I am learning how to live and not just react.

I am reaching out  and not retreating to the dark cave of my stoney heart…

I am polishing my stoney heart.

I am thinking.

I am feeling.

I am wondering.

I am loving.

I am pausing.

I am hesitating.

I am rushing forward.

I am wandering through this sandy beach and feeling the warmth of the sun…

I am reflecting, not dwelling.

I am learning, not reliving.

I am just a girl,

who once was scared,

who once needed company at the bottom of the water filled cave,

who once lost herself.

I am just a girl, who wandered… alone —

and found a world.

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It’s all so confusing,

wondering why,

wondering how come,

wondering about the parts I’m left to discover on my own.

It’s all so confusing,

wishing I could remember,

wishing I could piece it together,

wishing I could break through your hate.

It’s all so confusing,

knowing I’m right,

knowing I’m wrong,

knowing I’m worthy of the love that so easily flows from your pen.

It’s all so confusing,

being the only one that’s left off the list,

tapping on the window in hopes of a chance,

standing in the open for all to see.

It’s all so confusing,

beginning again, and again, and again,

walking away,

turning around.

It’s all so clear,

doing the right thing,

not shouting it from the rooftops.

It’s all so clear,

nudging yourself forward,

not waiting for a superhero.

It’s all so clear,

just beginning again,

… in the end.



Visit Jingle Poetry for lots of great poets!

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She stares in the mirror trying to see it,

… reflections of the girl they all know.

Trying to see what they all say they can see.

She looks deep into her own eyes, nothing.

Just brown… there, in the reflection.

As if there were any more ordinary unassuming color than “just brown”.

She sees nothing.

Her reflection is clouded.

She slowly scans upward to her brow, nothing… still.

She lowers her gaze to her left cheek, just below her eye, nothing… still.

A reflection she can’t see,

A beauty she doesn’t know.

A life she can’t feel.

A small beauty mark, that’s not it, she’s sure of that. Her mouth, maybe her mouth. She looks intently at it in the mirror, her smile… she has a nice smile. She sees it, but it’s not what makes her special. It’s not what they all say they see in her.

What they see is beyond her skin,

beyond her “just brown” eyes,

beyond her obscured beauty mark.

Still, she can’t see it.

She panics, a little.

She squints.

She wants to see her reflection.

 She questions the realness of it… of her.

She blurs her gaze, looking straight through the mirror, keeping her eyes just out of focus — maybe now she can see it. She sees what she always sees — a little girl running away but from nothing to nothing. The same thing every time.

A chase, but she’s never caught.

An enemy, but she never see’s.

The safety, but she never reaches it.

But it’s there… in her reflection.

They all can see it…

and for now, that’s enough.

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