I Want

I want to be the one who knows you.
Your likes and dislikes,
your preferences,
and your little idiosyncrasies.
I want to be the one you can talk to
about anything and everything
without fear of judgment.
I want to be the one you run to when you’re sad
and laugh with when you’re happy.
I want to know all your favorite foods
and how to cook them
just the way you like them.
I want to take you to all your favorite places
and do all your favorite things with you.
I want to grow a garden with all your favorite flowers
and paint pictures for you
and surround you with beauty.
I want you to make me curse
and yell
and laugh
and cry
with the fullness of your emotions
without fear they’ll ever be too much.
(they’ll never be too much.)
I want to dance with you in the kitchen
and sing with you in the shower
and laugh with you in the bed.
I want to kiss your neck while we’re folding laundry
and rub your back while we’re watching TV
and brush your arm as you pass me in the hallway.
I want to fold your sheet back just the way you like it
and put your laundry right-side-out
and save you the last of the cereal.
I want to walk your dog
and wash your socks
and help you find your keys (again.)
I want your clothes on my bed,
and your hair in my drain,
and the dishes you never wash cluttering my sink.
I want you to steal my covers
and put your cold feet between my legs
so I can keep them warm.
I want to leave gifts on your nightstand,
so they’re the first thing you see
when you wake in the morning
and love notes on your pillow
so they’re the last thing you see
as you fall asleep each night.
I want to rearrange all the clothes in your closet
and all the food in the cupboards
every now and then,
just to drive you a little bit crazy.
I want to work to make you smile,
every single day,
for the rest of my life.

Rina Marie

30 days of Poetry, Day 26

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Two Years of Journaling in a Nutshell

Someone told me recently that writers tend to present their best selves in their work, so I thought today I would invite you into my crazy and publish a little peek into my not-so-great self.
Elizabeth Gilbert once wrote that her mind is a dangerous neighborhood: “I have a particularly muscular storytelling instinct, but the dark side of my gift is that my mind is also capable of generating terrible, frightening, life-annihilating stories about myself and about the world. I can scare the living shit out of myself, and—in the process—destroy my life.” I can relate to this, and often use my journal as a place to work through all my crazy so it doesn’t see the light of day. This “poem” is taken entirely from journal entries and actual thoughts I had over the span of an almost two-year relationship with the first woman I ever dated…

She called me twice; I feel so loved! She didn’t answer my text; I feel like she doesn’t care. She wrote me a card; I feel so appreciated! She got off the phone early; I feel so rejected. Does she want to talk to me? Does she want to see me? Does she want to be with me? Does she love me? I worry she thinks I’m demanding. I worry I may be too much. I worry she will get tired of me. I worry I’m doing something wrong and don’t know what. Why hasn’t she kissed me? Why is she sitting so far away? Why won’t she hold my hand? Why am I so damn sensitive? I am so sad. I am so happy. I am so blessed. I am so hurt. Why did she say that? Why did she do that? Why is she so quiet? Why did she make that face? Is she angry? Is she happy? Is she sure? Is she confused? I’m afraid I’ve come on too strong. I’m afraid I’m not doing enough. I’m afraid this is limerence and not love.
I’m afraid I love her too much. When is she going to text? When is she going to visit? When is she going to tell people about us? When is she going to take the next step with me? I worry I overwhelm her. I worry I bore her. I worry she’s only with me because I make her feel loved. I worry she’s going to leave me because I make her feel like crap. Where has she been? Where is she going? Where does she want to be? Where do I fit into her life? I want her to be free. I want her to commit. I want, more than anything, to be her friend. I want, more than anything, to be her partner. Who is she talking to? Who is she visiting? Who is in that picture? Who is she sharing that with? How do I love her as she is? How do I accept things for what they are? How do I make her happy? How do I know what to do? What does she want? What does she feel? What does she see in me? What do I have to offer? I feel like I can’t tell her anything. I feel like I tell her too much. I feel like I’m not good enough. I feel like I would be perfect for her…
If it weren’t for the fact that I’m me.

Rina Marie

30 days of poetry, Day 25

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Evergreen/Chiaroscuro

*The shorter version of this poem (found below entitled Chiaroscuro,) and this one are excerpts from the larger work entitled Evergreen that I have since submitted for Tell Her Summit’s upcoming Anthology Pause and Pivot. I’m sharing both here, mostly for posterity’s sake so that I can look back and remember what, exactly, I posted for the challenge.

 

—Evergreen—

All my life, I’ve been told I’m “too.”

Too sensitive, too intense,
Too emotional, too chaotic,
Too idealistic, too impulsive,
Think too much, read too much, write too much.

And today I realize that my desire to be liked,
My constant seeking of assurance,
My need to understand,
My need to be understood,
My attempts to fit in,
My longing to belong,
It all makes me small.
It makes me forget who I am.
Who I want to be.

I restrict the number of dreams I share, for fear I’ll seem obsessive.
I censor every thought I share, for fear I’ll seem absurd.
Every time I’m faced with a blank page,
I’m certain I have nothing left that’s meaningful to tell.
Every time I’m faced with a blank canvas,
I’m terrified today will be the day I’ve forgotten how to paint.
I’ve created entire galleries of unshared art,
And composed entire studios of unshared photos,
Certain none of it is worth reflecting the light in someone’s eyes.
I’ve written entire books of unshared poetry,
And entire libraries of unshared chapters,
Which never escape the binding of my journals for fear that I’ll be chastised once again.

A friend advises me to “stop reading such depressing things,”
Not understanding that from the bottom of the valley
I most clearly see the stars.
Another suggests that I “stop picking at scabs,”
Not understanding I’m not tearing my wounds, I’m sewing them closed,
And the needle which hurts also heals.
Another chides me, shouting: “Just be positive!”
Not seeing that I am.
But my dark is equal to my light,
And no tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell,*
And I intend that every one of my branches be full
And tall
And wide enough
To become the billion pages
Of all the books
And all the poems
And all the paintings
I’ll someday use to scale the sky.

We’re all growing,
Stretching,
Reaching for clouds,
Dropping our leaves with the fall of our faith
And budding again with the spring of new hope,
Trying so damn desperately to belong
That we haven’t yet learned how to stay evergreen.
But if the only place we ever belong is to ourselves,
And the only peace we ever make is with ourselves,
It is enough.
It is everything.

Rina Marie
(*Carl Jung)

 

.

.

The title of this poem comes from an Italian word which describes the use of strong contrasts between light and dark to achieve a sense of volume. The underlying principle of chiaroscuro is that solidity of form is best achieved by the areas of light and dark falling against it…

I had a friend who once advised me to stop reading “such depressing things,” not understanding that from the bottom of the valley I most clearly see the stars.
I had a friend who once suggested I stop “picking at scabs,”
not understanding I’m not tearing my wounds, I’m sewing them closed,
and the needle which hurts also heals.
I had a friend who once chastised me, shouting “Just be positive!”
Not seeing that I am.
But my dark is equal to my light
And no tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell,*
And I intend that every one of my branches be full
and tall
and wide enough
to become the billion pages
of all the books
and all the poems
and all the paintings
I’ll someday use to scale the sky.

Rina Mare
(*Carl Jung)

30 days of Poetry, Day 24

Inspired by the poem Panic Button Collector by Andrea Gibson.

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Submission for National Poetry Month

Hello, friends, I need your help! Those who are participating in Tell Her Summit’s 30 day poetry challenge have been invited to submit ONE poem from the challenge for something special they’re putting together (we don’t know what, yet.) I’ve narrowed it down to four and would love help choosing between them. Please leave a comment here, or on facebook, or email me at [email protected] with your choice. If you’re willing, please also let me know WHY the poem you choose is your favorite. This will help me in my decision.

Thanks so much!

 

—It’s Okay To Leave—

It is okay to leave people
Who don’t inspire you
Who make you feel less like yourself
Who can’t help you become all you dream of being.
It is okay to leave people
If their presence will keep you from sharing the way you want to
Or living the way you want to
Or loving the way you want to.
It’s okay to leave people
If they make you question things that matter most
Or doubt who you are and want to be
Or feel bad about yourself
Even just a little.
It’s okay to leave people
When staying will crush your soul.


—Making Love—

Barriers down, clothes off
Body and mind exposed
Trusting you’ll meet me in tenderness
Turning to the fullness of you in welcome and reverence
Embracing your heart with my own
Entwining my spirit with yours
Communing with a language more than words
Caressing all within a single touch
Breaching the boundaries of our bodies
Breaking beyond all barriers
Till our souls meet within that ancient circle
And we know the ecstasy of recognition
And drink from the wellspring of the deepest love


—Evergreen—

We’re all growing,
stretching,
reaching for clouds,
dropping our leaves with the fall of our faith
and budding again with the spring of new hope;
trying so damn desperately to belong
that we haven’t yet learned how to stay evergreen.
But if the only place we ever belong is to ourselves,
and the only peace we ever make is with ourselves,
it is enough.
It is as it should be.


—To Those I’ve Loved
And Will Love—

Show me what you like reflected in the mirror
and what you hate
and what you’re proud of
and what you try to hide.
Show me the clothes you’ve bought but never worn because the colors are too bright
and the patterns are too gaudy
and the sequins are too shiny,
but you can’t bring yourself to part with.
Show me the journals where you write your darkest secrets
and the storyboards that hold your biggest dreams
and the lyrics to all your favorite songs
and the poems and pictures and paintings that you’ve never shared.

I want to know your doubts and where they came from,
your beliefs and how you’ve nurtured them,
your fears and what they’re made of,
your courage and what has given you the strength you’ve needed when you’ve felt you can’t go on.
I want to know what makes your heart soar
and makes it fall,
which parts of you are numb
and which are excruciatingly, agonizingly tender.
I want to know what you’re proud of
and what you’re ashamed of,
what you brag too much about,
and what you’ve never told a single soul.
I want to know where you’ve been inflicted by pain
and where you’ve inflicted it on others,
the ways you’ve been hated
and the ways you’ve been hateful,
and what scars are left from all the hurting and the healing.

Give me your fractures and your lesions,
your gaping lacerations,
your bruises, bites, and burns,
your open heart bleeding red with the wounds of everything that’s ever threatened to destroy you
and beating crimson with the vitality of everything you’ve ever had to overcome

And I will wrap them in my love so truly and so tenderly perhaps someday you’ll understand:
That scars are just tattoos which tell a better story
and shadows are the very things which emphasize the light
and you, my love, my life, my dark, my light,
my brilliant perfection, my terrible mess,
You.
Are a masterpiece.

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I Listened

I see a lot of people talking right now about quarantine weight gain. We’re posting funny memes and joking about how we’re going to roll out of our homes when all this is over, and I get it. There is a certain amount of tragic humor in the fact that so many of us are stress eating right now and many of us (myself included) are gaining weight we’ve worked hard to lose or keep at bay. But I share this today in hopes that we’ll all take a moment to remember: Our children are listening… 

They asked me why.
Why did I start purging food?
And taking diet pills?
And gulping laxatives?
And swallowing sleeping medicine each day after school
just to keep from eating?
Why did I carve an “A” for “anorexia” into my wrist?
An insignia.
A reminder,
A hope for a new identity?

Why?
Why?
Why?

Because…

I listened.

When you asked if the clothes made you look fat,
I listened.
And learned that “fat” was ugly.

When you said your breasts were too small, thighs too big, and arms too flabby,
I listened.
And learned that beauty has a standard.

When you praised your latest weight loss diet,
I listened.
And learned that food was an enemy.

When you praised me for losing weight,
I listened.
And learned that attractiveness only comes in certain sizes.

When you asked “am I thinner than her?” I listened.
And learned to compare myself to others by the measuring stick of “thin.” When you dismissed the opinions of “ugly” women,
I listened.
And learned that only the attractive deserve to be heard.

When you called her “hot” and hung on every word,
I listened.
And learned that beauty is the currency with which to buy respect.

When you said she was too heavy to win the race, play the lead, join the team,
I listened.
And learned that only the thin are capable.

When you said you’d “never date that fatty,” I listened.
And learned that only the beautiful were desirable.

When you said he couldn’t have raped her because she was ugly,
I listened.
And learned that, to even the basest of men, only the beautiful are desirable.

I listened.
And lived my life accordingly.

 

Rina Marie

30 days of Poetry, Day 23

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We create our own joy or misery according to the goals we set

“What’s your goal?”

My friend used to drive me crazy with this question. Any time I’d ask for advice, express frustration, or tell him my thoughts, he’d respond the same way: What’s your goal?

I had no idea how to answer. No idea what he was talking about.

I spoke of goals in my last article, when I mentioned the conversation with my loved one. I knew I couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t hurt their feelings, and as I faced this truth my friend’s question popped into my mind: What is your goal?

See, I’m finally starting to understand what my friend was getting at when he kept asking about my goals. I’m realizing that I create my own peace or misery according to the goals I set. For instance, as I mentioned yesterday, my goal to be liked was a bad one. Not only did it cause me to be dishonest in many of my interactions, it also–because I can’t control what other people think or feel–guaranteed my own failure at least some of the time. So I’ve spent most of my life striving to achieve a goal I had almost no control over. What a miserable way to live! But that’s what we do, right? We set ourselves up. We pick goals that are dependent on the actions/thoughts/opinions of others and feel terrible when we don’t achieve them. We practically guarantee ourselves failure, or at least frustration, and we do it over and over again.

I think this is what the bible refers to when it says “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” I don’t think it’s advising against hope itself, I think it’s telling us to pay attention to the things we hope for. I remember when I first told Jon about being in love with a woman, I was terrified but later blown away by the peace I felt, afterward. I told friends: “I have more to be worried about now than I’ve ever had in my life, but I feel more peace now than I ever have.” I didn’t understand it, then. I think I understand it a little more, now. In that moment, I was focused more on revealing who I was than about Jon’s reaction. I achieved the goal of transparency. And the result was incredible peace. I think this must be part of what Jesus meant when He said: “the truth will set you free.”

The goals we set will either guarantee our failure at least some of the time, or guarantee our continual success. For instance, if I want to ask someone out and my primary goal is to get the date, there’s a chance I may fail. Knowing this, I’m probably going to have some feelings of anxiety (beforehand) and rejection (afterward) if they decline. But what if I flip the script? What if I make “Be Brave” my primary goal? That doesn’t negate the fact that I also hope to get the date, but suddenly I’m not wrestling with so much anxiety because I’ve guaranteed myself success—no matter the outcome—if I just ask. We can do this with virtually everything:

Breaking up with a girlfriend/boyfriend?
Be Honest vs. Don’t Hurt Their Feelings

Playing a competitive sport?
Learn From My Mistakes vs. Be the Best
(I would be willing to best that most people who are the best in their fields didn’t get there because they were focused on being THE best, but focused on doing THEIR best.)

Seeking publication for an article or book?
Steven King once said his goal was to collect so many rejection slips he could wallpaper his house with them. What a fantastic goal!

That’s not to say we should never choose goals we can’t guarantee our success in, but they ought to be nestled within larger goals. I can be honest and try not to hurt someone’s feelings. I can learn from my mistakes and hope it leads to me becoming the best. But the primary goals we set will determine our focus and our resulting successes or failures. If I hurt someone’s feelings or even lose a loved one as a result of being honest, I can live with that, because honesty–and not the maintaining of the relationship–is my primary goal. And with the goals we set, we can guarantee our own success, each and every day.

We create peace or discord, freedom or bondage, joy or absolute misery according to the goals we set. So before every conversation, every practice, every decision, ask yourself the question:

What is your goal?
And set it wisely.

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Related Articles:

Confirmation bias – how our thoughts shape our reality and how we can use this to create a better life

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It’s Okay to Leave

It is okay to leave people
Who don’t inspire you
Who make you feel less like yourself
Who can’t help you become all you dream of being.
It is okay to leave people
If their presence will keep you from sharing the way you want to
Or living the way you want to
Or loving the way you want to.
It’s okay to leave people
If they make you question things that matter most
Or doubt who you are and want to be
Or feel bad about yourself
Even just a little.
It’s okay to leave people
When staying will crush your soul.

Rina Marie

30 days of Poetry, Day 22

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