Sunday, June 21, 2009

I thought you had been planting flowers

New poem. I started this on the plane and finished it in California.

I thought you had been planting flowers

while you were sleeping
I buried you in the grave
I watched you dig for me
(I thought you had been planting flowers).
I shoveled dirt on top of you
in large, angry loads
eager to cover you completely
before you began to inhale the black earth
and the worms came
to eat you like words.

in the silence of years that
stretched around me like
someone else’s house
I liked to imagine that
it had all been buried with you, that
what we had done was biodegradable,
broken down beyond molecules
because even molecules can be mistakes.

but sleeping is not dead
and buried is not gone
and even now after all
the time it took you to
pull yourself through
the dirt into the air,
even after I have
burned over the bruises
and watched myself heal
into something shiny
and strong, and beautiful,
the molecules of my mistakes

Friday, June 19, 2009

Regrets, I've had a few...

Sometimes making a mistake is the right thing to do. We don’t usually see that though. In the aftermath of what went wrong we get caught up in imagining how it could have been, how it SHOULD have been. “Should” is probably my single least favorite word in the English language. “Should” usually causes more pain and destruction than the mistake ever could, or ever will. “Should” is short sighted and tends to stunt growth. Should keeps you standing still, and where you’re standing isn’t anywhere real. Should. Should have. Shouldn’t have. They’re not just words, they’re a force, like an evil gravity that keeps you orbiting every bad decision you ever made. With should as your guide you can look back and see all the warning signs you were oblivious to on your decent, all the emergency exits you missed. I shouldn’t have gotten in that car. I should have gone to college. I shouldn’t have kissed that guy. I should have just kept my mouth shut…

I like to think of parallel universes. It’s comforting to think that somewhere, in some universe, there is a Michelle who has made all the right moves. But, for the first time, I’m glad that I’m not her. I make mistakes on a daily basis. I’m never happy about them. I never feel good about the fact that I’ve hurt someone or broken something or let myself be maneuvered into a difficult situation. But, at the same time, I love my mistakes. Because mistakes are always more than just mistakes. If you listen to what they’re trying to tell you sometimes they help you grow and sometimes they show you how you’ve already grown more than you realize.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Center Field

I was at a party last night talking to a friend I hadn’t seen in quite a while and she asked me who I was dating. When I told her, no, I wasn’t seeing anyone, she went into the typical “I’m surprised, you’re such a catch” spiel that you’d expect from a friend. And she’s right, I am, but that’s beside the point. The point isn’t how worthy of being caught I am, the point is why I haven’t been. It’s not because I’m hideous, or anything; it’s because I’m a freak. Or, rather, because when it comes to the gushy love stuff I have the emotional maturity of a twelve-year-old boy.

I’ve used this metaphor before but it is still sadly accurate: When it comes to love I’m the kid out in center field looking up at the pop fly wanting to catch it and praying it doesn’t come anywhere near.

This manifests itself in many awesome ways in the real world. My favorite is the fact that when I like a guy I find it SO necessary to hide that fact that I will often treat him with what appears to be complete disregard. What’s really fun is this is completely involuntary. And there’s usually a neurotic little “what the fuck are you doing?! Talk to him!” dialogue going on in my head while I’m acting like he does not exist. This frustrates me to no end. See, if a guy’s not into me, I can deal with that. But if a guy is into me and nothing happens because I’M A FREAKIN TOOL and made him think I’m uninterested, well, that kind of keeps me up at night.

I can’t be the only one who does this. I know this because the internet exists and the internet was obviously created by people who share my pre-pubescent courting style.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in my convalescence and it seems to me like evolution fucked up a little bit. Everywhere else in the animal kingdom courtship is about putting your best face forward and screaming “PICK ME! PICK ME!” Even plants have it down. Flowers bloom as prettily as possible and thrust their petals into the air in a manner that says to the bees “you know you want it.” This is what we all should be doing. When you like someone you should be the most yourself and say “this is what I got. If you want it, bring it.”

So why is it that the moments when I should be the most confident and aware of my innate awesomeness are the moments when suddenly I can’t think of a single redeeming factor about myself? This is not productive to the whole continuation of the species thing. Instead of the “that’s right, you fight for me, I’m damn fine” mentality the females of every other species have got working for them, so many of us go into the “run away! run away!” mode that culminates in Jane Austen movie marathons and excessive blogging. And dying alone in a houseful of cats.

I don’t know about you, but creepy cat lady is not exactly my Plan A. So, from here on out, on my honor, I will try to serve God, and my country, by not being so much of a tool. Because what good is the human race if my DNA dies with me? I have a responsibility to keep the awesomeness going into the next generation. And, also, it would be nice if the next boy who kissed me wasn’t gay.