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Poem In Your Pocket Day April 29, 2010

Posted by phoenixhopes in Friends, Holidays, Poetry.
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Today is Poem In Your Pocket day and I almost missed it! Unfortunately it’s an easy holiday to miss — no one gets the day off from work to celebrate (although, ironically, if I didn’t have today off I wouldn’t have taken the time to read the posting on another blog that mentioned it and would have missed it entirely again this year), there isn’t any special Poem-related holiday food, no decorations sold in stores. In all honesty I think I’m a bit too introverted/shy to actually pull a poem from my pocket and read it to someone. That just feels too awkward and geeky. Instead, I’ll share it with you!

I can’t remember where I first read this poem but lines have been stuck in my head for years and years. For a long time I thought it was in the Golden Book of Poems I got when I was in Fifth Grade.

Edited by Louis Untermeyer and illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund, I LOVE this book. It’s one of the few books on my shelf from my childhood and I pick it up much like eating comfort food. The pictures are sweet (how could Joan Walsh Anglund be anything but sweet?) and the poems are memorable. Someday I’ll share more of my favorites but the poem that stuck in my mind isn’t found there.

Over the years I searched the internet. I had no idea who the author was or even the title of the poem, but the first four lines stuck in my memory. Recently I googled the first line again and finally I found it!

Young Love

VIII

The world is cold and gray and wet,

And I am heavy-hearted, yet

When I am home and look to see

The place my letters wait for me,

If I should find one letter there,

I think I should not greatly care

If it were rainy or were fair,

For all the world would suddenly

Seem like a festival to me.

Sara Teasdale

These lines run through my mind regularly when I’m headed home at the end of a long day. I may have been among people all day on the bus and train, in the office and cafeteria, but they aren’t my heart-friends. I’m sociable but there are no real connections. The real me is hidden behind the office persona. But when I get off the train, tired and dragging from the day, and start the 7 minute drive home, I think about what is waiting and the day gets immediately brighter.

First are my real, physical connections — are any of my children home? Has the cat missed me? Who might I see tonight at music practice or in the store? And then I think about my friends inside “the place my letters wait for me”, my computer. Did anyone send me a personal e-mail or post to my Facebook page? What updates will I find on my favorite blogs? Did someone who knows me, the real me not just the office persona that most of the world sees, send me something personal today?

Today my friends, I share my poem with you. My world is brighter because you are part of it.

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Christmas in April April 22, 2010

Posted by phoenixhopes in Christmas, Holidays, Kids, marriage, Procrastination, thoughts.
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Why is it so freaking difficult for me to box up and put away the Christmas stuff? Here it is the end of April and the stockings are still hung on the bookcase with care, the few ornaments I used last year and other items are still piled on the coffee table and all the boxes of decorations are sitting in plain view to the right of the TV where I put them weeks ago when I was filled with good intentions.

I know at least part of the answer is that I’m a procrastinator and a clutter-bug with selective vision. I simply don’t quite see what I don’t want to see. It’s rather easy for me to think and say I’ll get to that next weekend. And yet, how many weekends since New Years Day? I don’t think I’ll count them.

Bottom line, I just don’t want to address the memories. I’ve had quite a bit of success cleaning my life of the junk from my marriage. I have new furniture (especially a new bed and everything that comes with it), new location, new music, new friends, etc. I’ve gotten rid of or avoid the things that hold bad memories. If it makes me uncomfortable, I’ve moved on. But the Christmas stuff involves more than just me. These boxes also hold my kids’ memories and so I can’t sweep them into the trash.

Christmas is a time set apart from the rest of our life. The memories found there are segregated from the rest of the memories. It should be a magical time and opening the boxes of decorations each year should be a time of anticipation and joy. For me, the past few years opening these boxes has brought so much dread that for three years I avoided it completely and left the boxes buried in the garage. I’m reminded not so much of the bad times but of the bad man. My memories of Christmases Past are intertwined with memories of my ex. It’s like an inoperable tumor — I can’t cut out the bad memories without cutting out the joyful ones.

I may be dealing with selective memory here, but I don’t have many bad memories of Christmas.  Oh sure, there was stress and expectations, trying to do too much, trying to meet everyone’s needs–but I don’t remember many fights or much anger. Too much alcohol and dealing with a drunk guy– that I do remember that but then again, that was all the time, not just Christmas.  There are ornaments that remind me so much of my ex that I want to burn them, but I can’t get rid of them. I wonder what they might mean to my kids, if they have good memories attached that I have no right to erase.

In the eight years since he has been out of our lives I have spent little time facing the memories with my kids. I’ve come to terms with many things on my own and listened to them when they have wanted to talk, but rarely have we discussed it together. I’m still guarded, careful not to influence memories of their father. They know little of the details about what it was like to be married to him. I tell myself it’s not appropriate or important to share the indignities, the awful things he said. They know how he treated me at home and in public but don’t know what went on behind closed doors or how it all affected my core.

Today I am again choosing to delay dealing with the memories  However, I do have a day off work and my other plans fell through so I will finally get those boxes out of my line of sight. No sorting, culling, organizing or embracing the memories, simply box them up and put them in the closet. Maybe it’s denial but I prefer to think of it as healthy postponement. I’m not pretending this part of my life doesn’t need to be examined, I’m just not ready to face it. It is a difficult job to look my past life square in the face and I’m simply not up to it yet again.

Discovering my path April 22, 2010

Posted by phoenixhopes in Uncategorized.
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“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.” ~~ E.E. Cummings

I’m not sure about how courageous it might be, but it certainly has been a challenge to first figure out, and then live out who I really am. I wonder sometimes why I often feel compelled to share my private thoughts on this blog. In person, I tend to be fairly private. I’m willing to share my thoughts and try to be as transparent as possible, but I tend to keep things to myself unless asked.

It is easier to share here. I’m not forcing my thoughts on anyone — if they find their way here and want to read, that is their choice. I’m sure this also has much to do with my introverted tendencies. Even though the blog is open to the big, wide world of the  Internets, it feels more like a one-on-one conversation. I’m talking to myself and letting others listen in.

I totally understand the following quote found in the Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (fun book, by the way)

“Many things I would not care to tell any individual man I tell to the public, and for knowledge of my most secret thoughts, I refer my most loyal friends to the bookseller’s stall” ~~Montaigne

Given the opportunity to visit over a cup of coffee (or maybe something stronger) I would share in person what I share here and certainly much more. Unfortunately, the ones I would most enjoy that time with are spread across the globe and life hasn’t provided us with those coffee breaks. I’ll continue to share my thoughts here as I figure out who I am and hope you’re listening over a cup of your favorite beverage.