I wrote a handful of poems (and countless letters) while pregnant. I have decided to share a couple that I feel comfortable sharing here. I have also written and published a poem about the boys I birthed in the collection “Under a Blushing Sky”.
(Never an accident, never a mistake,
an unexpected twist
but the road of life
is always circuitous,
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
your daddy asked.
Before I knew,
you to be a boy.
(Who knew we’d be right?)
We cried over you
so many nights
(never an accident,
never a mistake,
always a miracle).
We love you with such strength,
We’re in love
since Day 1,
since the test came back
since the first ultrasound
where we looked at your tiny little toes
and studied your tiny little fingers
(scrutinized) your tiny little wave.
(Your silly little wave I now emulate
to your daddy
to make him chuckle-
hand plastered to your tiny little forehead,
tiny little fingers poking out and wiggling.)
The technician said,
“It looks like he’s trying
to give you the Loser sign.”
(Your index finger and thumb in the shape of an L
on your forehead.)
“That’s his daddy in him,”
and laughed a little bit.
I’d be lying
if I didn’t say
I cried a little bit
I’d be lying
if I didn’t say
Daddy and I talked
I wrote you letters.
(Daddy used to laugh
because I wanted to make a plaster
of my stomach
and have you crawl into it
a baby in a bowl.
I wanted to paint it with you
Daddy held me
and held underneath my big tummy
(big with you)
like it was a prize
in a Cracker Jack box.
He’d hold you and talk to you.
Just know we’ve loved you all along.
“Upon Seeing You for the First Time”
Upon seeing you,
I know my heart will skip a beat.
Upon seeing you,
I know my heart will grow weak.
I fell in love
from the start.
(Your hand cupped around my lone finger,
your eyes staring beseechingly
into my own.)
I go through these photographs we took
I can’t believe how much
I miss you.
I took a week to write this post because I wanted to make sure I chose my words carefully. I write a lot of poetry about my own experiences because it is cathartic for me, but I also write it so people who might be in the situation I once found myself in know that they are not alone. Therefore, I write poetry that touches on various traumas, abuse, mental illness, and more. It is healing for me, and I hope, some day, healing for my readers.
I have explicitly said to fellow authors that I do not want my blog to become a diary. [The Anna Nalick song “Breathe (2 A.M.)” comes to mind…] However, I am aware that I am transparent in my poetry, and as a result, I want this blog to also be fairly transparent.
Mother’s Day is not an easy holiday for me. I was raised by abusive parents with my mother being diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder later in life and my father being diagnosed with ASD. As I touched on in a previous poem Silly Girl: a Poem, I have two sons I gave up for adoption. Therefore, the holiday (Mother’s Day) is fraught with emotional overload for me.
I treasure the boys I created in my womb for nine months at a time. I adored how it felt to take care of myself because I was busy creating life, a life-that as it was still inside me-that loved me unconditionally. I remember reading at the time, if a pregnant spider feels fear, her baby too feels the heightened sensations that the pregnant spider feels-this might not be true, I’m not an entomologist-yet the message stuck with me. If I began to feel fear, I thought of that little baby spider.
But nonetheless, the adoption process is emotionally draining. I decided two months before giving birth to place my first son for adoption. It wasn’t an easy decision nor one I made lightly.
We agreed to an open adoption, yet through the agency policies, we weren’t allowed to know their last names or phone number. That changed over time. I was also only allowed to see him a maximum of four times a year. That changed too.
Last time I saw the two boys, they were becoming so mature. The one dictated a short story on my typewriter explaining every event that happened that day, making sure to include that “painting with Izzie was the best part”.
He also asked me my favorite color while we were painting. Off-guard by the question, I responded purple. Then, he snuck into my art studio before dinner and painted me a heart on a purple background.
I found it after they left and cried.
The youngest typed a story too, but he’s hurting so his was all about his adoptive parents and their pets.
He needs answers. Answers that aren’t easy to give.
Why wasn’t my birth dad at the hospital when I was born?
Why do we never see him?
Does he love me?
I originally had some answers prepared, but he caught me off-guard. I fumbled with awkward responses.
This brings me back to Mother’s Day. Most people wish specific women a happy Mother’s Day, usually women with children, or women of a certain age, or even women who look like moms.
As a birth mother, I don’t often get wished a happy Mother’s Day. It’s one of those taboo topics people still struggle to understand: like abortion, gender identity, or addiction. I encourage people to ask me questions about the adoptions.
I sat on a panel a few years ago, answering questions from prospective adoptive parents. It was rewarding to be able to help them through the process and give an accurate, honest look into the way it all plays out.
Yet despite my openness and willing to discuss this (as I think being more open than it being a taboo subject would help erase the stigma around adoption), I still have days where it hurts…like Mother’s Day.
This, coupled with a mother who abused me for not being perfect, makes Mother’s Day difficult.
Let’s not forget the nontraditional mothers next year: birth mothers, adoptive moms, foster moms, mothers of angel babies, expectant mothers, single mothers, moms who don’t talk to or see their children because of estrangement, et cetera, et cetera.
All mothers should be cherished this day.
That being said, I dug around this past week and discovered a couple of poems I wrote for Baby.
Hopefully you’ll be interested in reading them as they further open up the issue I’m addressing in this post.
My heart has been wallpapered in love letters,
and its hinge that was once rusty and worn
now gleams like new.
(When we exchanged glances that evening,
you provided me with a heart transplant–
trading in the antiquated
for something fresh
still in its packaging.)
The peppermint scent of you inflates my lungs.
(The inhalation is so much sweeter
for having known you.)
Your breath curls around my ear, warming the core of me.
I taste your passion as my lips lock onto yours
like a zipper catching.
Your whispers blade through me,
sending shivers crumbling down my back.
Romance is a beautiful death
(one in which I don’t mind dying daily).
Your eyes are as turquoise blue as the seas
& I never thought that I would feel at home
in a sailboat.
My quarters have been wallpapered in love letters.
When my stomach quivers,
I don’t know if it’s anticipation or nerves.
I used to fear intimacy-the dark corners
and hushed voices.
The taste of nightfall & midnight always suited me
before you came around.
(It is the glow of constellations that I see spark
from your own starry, starry glances.)
You are like a painting by van Gogh,
and I am not one to roam the Saint Louis Art Museum,
searching for love
(yet I would wander every corridor
if it meant seeing your face at the end of the hall).
-painting “Cafe Terrace at Night”, 1888, Vincent van Gogh-
Today, I made an interesting observation while working on my self-assigned art therapy homework. I am doing a design of what it looks like when my Inner Healer and my Inner Artist emerge, hence, the words Healer and Artist in the bubble. This work is not finished by any means, but I paused because I had a moment of self-reflection that I’d like to share with y’all.
When I was making my dancer’s skirt, I was using an outdated thesaurus page as the base, and though it’s just an old book, I still find myself looking through it. When I glued down a specific piece, I saw it said “powerless, weak” as two of the synonyms for the particular word. I paused, thinking to myself how in the past, I could have seen myself as powerless and weak. Having a controlling mother and being in relationships with possessive and abusive exes took away a lot of my power. Recently, though, I have added a mantra to my morning one. The new mantra is, “I am in control of my life.” Pretty powerful stuff coming from someone who felt as though she was victimized for years.
So, this is where it gets interesting, in my opinion. Out of curiosity, I flipped the scrap of paper over to see what words were on the other side.
Those are words I would rather associate myself with. So, those were the words I chose to face out to the world. But funny, if I had not chosen to look at things from a different perspective, I would have still been facing down “weak” or “powerless”.
My mother often comments on certain events would make good things to reflect on and meditate on, and as I was doing my homework, I was thinking about how powerful it is to change the script of what we believe about ourselves. Sure, I could continue to think of myself as “powerless” or “weak”, but instead, I chose “lively”, “vivacious”, “frisky”, and more.
Just something I was thinking about this morning.
Have a beautiful day, y’all.
I have unanimously decided (with the help of some social media friends) that I will be doing a semi-regular feature on my blog describing my dreams. Since my novel so frequently mentions dreams, I think it’d be fun to share some of the more interesting dreams I’ve had with y’all. Don’t worry: I won’t be sharing the boring ones like where all my teeth fall out and I’m sucking on my gums.
Last Saturday, I dreamt I was homeless and wandering around abandoned construction sites. I traveled with a girl who had violet eyes and a dark violence to her appearance. We broke into a library one night and shattered a projector that shot images of stars at the ceiling.
I scribbled down quotes about life in a small notebook I carried with me: quotes about being alive and being in the moment. One quote I wrote down was, “Behind all the madness is you, your life, and what you want.” (Upon waking, I scribbled that down first; it seemed crucial that I remember this.)
I walked the streets of Eden, asphalt and concrete under my feet, feeling like there was no time left so all we had to do was make the most of it.
Golden-white fairy lights twinkled down from people’s balconies as the girl with the violet eyes and I walked. It was like being barraged with glimmering stars but not so bright. It was a warm glow, and it made us feel safe.
Suddenly, as dreams aren’t known for their smooth transitions, I stood in an intersection with cars coming at me from all directions, but they bounced off one another like bumper cars at an amusement park.
I wandered away from the cars and the loud noises of traffic into a construction site. It was after-hours and poorly-lit, but I begged for something to give me a clue that I was on the right track. As I walked, I remembered Christmases before I was homeless. I remembered my family and Christmas trees and the smell of anise. Home.
I walked along scaffolding and the horizontal beams and joists, but as I walked, the beams broke and I crashed through the floor to another level, then to another, then to another, continuously falling.
When I finally stopped crashing, I was in an assisted-living facility with my grandma. She was as beautiful as she was before the Alzheimer’s got the best of her, but even as beautiful as she looked, she still forgot who I was. We went into a dress-up bin and dressed up as other people. The girl with violet eyes was there, and all three of us pretended to be different people as we dressed up in their clothes: mink stoles, party dresses, three-piece suits with pocket watches on chains.
Because my first novel is about dreams and dream interpretation–and because I’m fascinated by dreams–I was thinking it might be fun to feature some of my dreams and possibly include their interpretations on my website.
I like the idea of having regular content, and while I do enjoy sharing my poetry and short fiction, I think it could be an interesting addition to my blog.
However, I know dream sequences can be boring to some people…that being said, could you please comment below (or like this post) if you would be interested in reading about my dreams?
I don’t think the descriptions would be as long-winded as the previous account, but I can’t swear that.
I already had one interesting dream last week about a girl with violet eyes and living on the streets of Eden.
Let me know what you think!
As you may or may not know, the novel I am currently revising is about a young woman whose dreams begin to interfere with reality.
This idea germinated in my head for years and finally, I have been editing it and revising it so I can submit it to agents.
The reason this idea came to me is because I am enthralled by dreams. When I was twelve, I had a series of intense nightmares, and my brother bought me a book on dream interpretation. Ever since then, I have studied dreams and bought a lot more dream interpretation books; I even have an oracle deck, which features common dream symbols and their interpretations.
Here’s a dream I had a while ago. My friend Dlvan and I were talking about dreams this afternoon, and I remembered this one I had several months ago. At the time, I thought it was more like a vision than a dream, and I had a professional dream interpreter interpret it for me.
I thought some of you might be interested in reading about that dream.
Life was a whirlwind: people deserting me, families I used to work with shaming me, friends leaving and spreading false rumors, etc. My family was angry with me because I owed them money.
Interpretation: This represents my anxiety, what I am feeling presently.
Everywhere I turned, people were mad. This part was semi-lucid because I kept thinking, “I’m in bed. I’m going to remember this and write it down. I’m going to learn from this. I’m in bed. I can feel the night breeze.”
I ran up the stairs through a class in a lecture hall.
Interpretation: The upward path I was on represents success.
At the top of the staircase, there was a figure I could not see. He apologized for putting me through trials. I told him that I nearly died. I told him that people rejected me and hurt me in many ways.
I told him that he was responsible for things being messed up.
Interpretation: This figure represents a scapegoat, a person who takes the blame for the uncertainty I have in letting others down.
The lecture hall represents the feeling of being “lectured” about morality.
Furthermore, my explanation to this figure about nearly dying and people rejecting me represents that I cannot handle the rejection he is placing on me.
This figure represents a lesson I must learn.
The figure smiled, emanating a powerful, white glow. It was so luminous that I could not see beyond him. I ran through the light and entered a cafeteria.
A girl I knew when I was younger stood in the doorway. She was a friend who later became an adversary. I told her what I told the unseen figure, “I withstood all my trials and found that I am my own hero. I did it all on my own, and I’m still standing. I discovered I can do it on my own.”
Interpretation: The cafeteria represents a place of nourishment and nurturing. I am trying to please this person who stands in the doorway, Judgment. She does not represent Good nor Bad. She is my Experiences. Because of her, I have taught myself to be cautious.
She tells me though I can do it on my own, I don’t have to, then hands me a stone.
She tells me I must polish the stone. She did not give me any further instructions on how to polish the stone, simply that I must polish it.
Interpretation: Her lesson is twofold. She is both advising me and giving me permission to reach out to others. Though she has failed me in the past, others will not necessarily follow suit.
The stone represents Truth. How does one polish a stone? By tumbling it and removing the dirt.
What remains is Truth.
She told me that I will know when my task is done. She told me, “You will know your destiny after you polish the stone.” She also told me, “You saved him from his own noose.”
I held the rock as she faded from sight. As she faded, I heard her say, “Put it under your tongue.”
Interpretation: I saved him by telling him he needed to heal himself. Holding the rock represents me holding my truth. She is telling me to keep my truth a secret.
I saw a beautiful man like no one I had ever seen before. He emanated a radiance, and I felt my heart swell.
“Not this one,” a voice said.
I kept walking and arrived at a staircase that sloped and curved beyond my line of vision.
I walked down the stairs to arrive at a landing. From the landing I could see, the stairs led to a hallway with a door.
I began to choke on the rock under my tongue. I nearly swallowed the stone (the Truth) that I held in my mouth.
Interpretation: The voice is that of Judgment. She has returned to warn me that the first man was not the right man. The sloping staircase represents an unclear path. It could lead to a great success or a terrible downfall. The hall leading to a door represents the unknown as well. The door could be an escape out or a prison within. I do not enter the doorway, so, whether it is an escape or a prison is unknown.
As the stone tumbled around my mouth, a man with dove-white skin, dimples, and an amazing jawline ran up the stairs to meet me. He watched me gag on the stone, wanting to assist me but unable to help.
I finally coughed and choked up the stone (the Truth). It had tumbled into a glimmering tiger’s eye. The man too transformed but became harder to see. He was still beautiful, just harder to see.
Interpretation: I walked down to meet him, yet he walked up to meet me, but we still met in the middle. By walking down to meet him, this represents I must lose something to meet him.
He held in his hands a noose, and around his neck, he wore a placard that said his name.
The voice said, “He is the one.”
Interpretation: He has removed the noose (a leash), and by doing so, the man is finally free. Judgment has again presented itself to say he is the one, but something has changed. He is free, and of his free accord, he ran up the stairs to meet me and underwent his own transformation.
The dream is saying I must hold my truth until it is polished and clean. When the time is right, I must choose between speaking it-freeing it from my mouth-or swallowing it.
Wow, that is a powerful dream; I originally wrote about last September, and yet, as I rewrite it, I can remember the exact details of the dream as though I dreamt it last night. My main character has some fascinating dreams as well; some of them based on dreams I have had over the years, but none of her dreams are quite like this one.
If you like dreams, be sure to keep following my blog to hear more about my characters and my original debut novel.
Is anyone interested in buying an autographed copy of Phobia? It’s an awesome anthology all centered around things people are afraid of. If you don’t like horror, don’t worry, they’re not all horror stories!
My story is a short fantasy story about a guy named Thomas and a startling revelation he makes at work.
Let me know if you’re interested. Please send me an email or drop a note here. I’m ordering copies this week.
In the world of writing, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch advised students to “murder their darlings” in a lecture, and as I revise, I find I am reluctant to murder my darlings, but I’m doing my best to be brutal.
Some lines, no matter how beautifully they’re phrased, must simply be abandoned.
I keep a small notebook with phrases I adore from my murdering stage of my writing. I call it my Homeless File. It’s where lines that are homeless lay their heads to rest, a small trashcan fire burning to keep them warm.
Today, as I revised my novel, I came across one:
Ghosts of an unremarkable past haunted her.
Those words are beautiful to me and conjure up images of a mundane life now gone, but alas, the sentence was unnecessary, so it goes into the Homeless File.
The beauty of the Homeless File is that I can discover other beautiful fragmentary thoughts that add to my appreciation of language and maybe some day, can incorporate into a story or poem.
Ribbon my soul/and graft/the missing pieces onto your heart.
These words, alone, might not sound like much, but they all hold a place in my heart because though I might have given up their ghosts in their earlier works, this does not mean they will not find a home elsewhere.
I have lived so many lives/you might as well call me/a matryoshka doll/(Stacked inside of each other/to keep warm & cozy/we can be our own best friends./Whoever needed anybody else?)
I feel every author should have a Homeless File.
What do you think? Do any of my fellow authors keep the darlings that they kill?
I’m starting to wonder if it’s more of a morgue than a Homeless File.