Friday, April 20, 2012

Check Your Mirrors

Dear: Five two, permed and dyed, freckles, period breakouts, eyeliner drips, and scarred heels:
                I have some tough love for you. Some insight. Some advice I know you won’t take and you know you should. Remember, I take care of you like no one else does. I acknowledge I am your toughest critic, and we have had our moments of hatred, but know I expect you to take every word personally.
For starters, don’t let laziness become habitual. Show up at seven fifty to your eight am. Work every weekend. Worship your days off, but never ask for them. Do your homework. Go to class. Make dinners and eat slowly. Go to the gym and go on walks on the same day. Drive out to see your parents, even if you’re tired. Don’t miss birthday parties or baby showers. Give everything 100%, and when that isn’t enough, work till what was 100% is only half as hard as you can go. Then go harder.
Keep loyal to your loyalties. Appreciate Daddy and Mother. Appreciate your teachers. Thank your bosses. Appreciate every single Subaru that ever waved you into traffic, but don’t be ashamed to say you drive a foreign vehicle. Think about how undecided, poor, and idle you would be without the people who help you. Tell them you need them. Then pick up more shifts. Do more extra credit. Buy more Christmas presents than you did last year, every year. Do everything you can to be the kind of someone that someone will appreciate.
Drive safe. Seatbelts and speed limits aren’t suggestions. Don’t hug the center line so much. Don’t even touch your phone. Take turns slowly and less aggressively. Speed less, (I would say not at all, but let’s be realistic, and it is important to live a little). Sit back further and up straighter in the car. Clean out your backseat more often.  Avoid California Rolls at stop signs. Always yield. Listen when they tell you to pump your brakes on the ice. Check your mirrors every day every time you get in; you lean forward when you’re sad and sit back when you’re tired. Check the air in your tires and get a jack for your trunk. Keep being a good passenger and offer to drive more.
Be a better housekeeper. Burn more candles for less spiritual reasons. Vacuum more. Stop sweeping without a dustpan. Do laundry before you run out of cute dresses. I understand you struggle with dressers, so make an effort to keep clothes in the closet. Keep journals closed. Don’t fall asleep with pens or plates in your bed.  Keep your vibrator in a drawer. Do dishes in hot water and rinse them well. Clean counters with soap. Don’t use dirty mop water, but don’t cut grease and stains with straight bleach-even if you like how it stings you.  Fold blankets carefully. Make your bed, and use your sheets. Try not to spill. Fold socks. Recycle plastic bottles and old mail more often. Don’t hoard as much. There is enough that you can’t touch in your life to hold onto, clean everything else up.
Spend money carefully. Never let your accounts be so empty that you can’t afford to have lunch with your best friend at your favorite steakhouse. However, you do not need to eat out every week.  Keep receipts of your checking and saving account, and update them every time you go. Limit how much cash you have in the ashtray of your car at any given time. Deposit your tips, even if you are embarrassed by what all those ones could imply. Coffees and sodas count as luxury expenses.  Avoid drive-thrus as an excuse to waste gas and time. Bike more often, or walk with someone. Drive someone else’s forty-miles-to-the-gallon whenever you can. Buy clothes second hand. Donate money to charities to sponsor yourself. Do the walks and the Zumbathons that accompany those fundraisers, and go to them with a water bottle you didn’t buy at the gas station on the way. Buy presents altruistically. Every two things you buy for yourself, buy something for someone else. No gambling. No occasional lottery tickets or scratch offs because you need a bookmark. Be in charge of your own financial success. Be prolific and generous, but be aware.
Be a better friend. Forgive people for being busy. When you need someone, don’t be so distant. Expect less of boys. Expect more of boys too, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartbreak. Never be afraid to say no when you have to, but keep a little sensitivity and guilt every time you do. Forgive your friends for being in love. Forgive your friends addictions. Don’t dwell on character flaws, even if you think they are endearing. He can’t help it that his nose is his big and her hair is straight, and no matter how much you love those things they frown at them in their mirrors. Don’t imitate your friend’s voices as much. Be understanding and compassionate, but don’t be so self-sacrificing. Let people keep their secrets. Trust people enough to give yours up. Love people unconditionally. Mean what you say. Remember birthdays and anniversaries. Call before you visit, but visit frequently. Write letters on paper with purple pen. Listen to your messages. Keep pictures. Have an excess of friends.
Most importantly, forgive yourself. Do so slowly, and seriously. All of your accidents were pretty minor in the scheme of things. Do not make the same mistakes twice, unless youre sure that they were worth it the first time. Don’t blame yourself for other people’s problems and be accountable for your own. Don’t cry about the bill you didn’t pay, know you will have many more to make up for it. Do not hold too tight to rejection, it is just a story to write on the way to success. Don’t chide yourself for doing what you love, even if it was not suggested. Do not hurt yourself. Look at your eyes and hair and chest in that mirror, and forgive yourself for those thighs and that gut. You are holding up okay, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
This is your life. Just keep trying. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012


She says “goodmorning” to her mother. Her lips barely part, her words are barely audible. The gesture however, indicates that the rising and shinning and walking and working and living that needs to follow may begin. She always says “goodmorning” to her mother.
She says “Lets stop for coffee” to her sister. It means, I appreciate you. I am not ready to say goodbye yet. We have something in common. I owe you one. It mean,  continue to give me reign of this passenger’s seat and I will continue to give you three dollars. It means I am trying to make up for all the pleases and thank yous I have ever forgotten. She says “lets stop for coffee”.
She says “im sorry” when she walks through the double doors to grades and friendship and lies and truth. It never means what an apology should mean, and maybe because she knows that, shes sorry for her insincerity. It means you just hurt my feelings. This just became about me. I cant deal with you anymore. It means I need you to notice me. It means I don’t know how to give up. It means no. It means I don’t want to touch you, I don’t like you, I need some space. She says “im sorry”
Her mom says goodmorning too. Her sister stops for coffee. And you say “it’s okay” because it might as well be her fault. 

If I Knew

I know you, boy.
I’ve held on to all your secrets
So they could safely cross the street.
I know the lines on your palms,
The veins in your feet.
I know your mama’s hair
I know the triggers to your daddy’s yell-
I know everything about you, boy.
I know more than you can tell.

You don’t know my parent’s names,
You dont know my cat’s stripes,              
Or my car’s scratches.
You would not keep my trust, boy
You scattered it like ashes.
You don’t know my sister’s sicknesses
Or my mama’s poverty.
you don’t know I can drive standard.
Boy, you don’t know enough about me.

I know you, boy.
I spit out all your insecurity
Like it was venom beneath your skin.
I know your bedroom here
I know all of the places you have been.
I know the tint of your lips
And the melody mixed in your eyes.
I know the honesty in your vulnerability
I see the truth in your lies.

You don’t know below the surface.
You don’t know my middle name
You’ve never asked about my birthday.
You don’t recognize my tears falling before you –
You don’t know what to say.
You don’t know the dances I take
Nor the cities I have called home.
You don’t know who has shared these blankets and these four posts
On the nights I haven’t spent alone.

I know you, boy.
I can tell aggravation from anger in your voice.
I know sincerity in your exhales.
I know all your past successes,
I know where your future fails.
I know how you look when you’re lying for me.
I know who you wish you were-
And as much as I love him, I know you’ll never be.

You don’t know how I take my coffee.
You don’t know where I keep my change.
You don’t know my handwriting.
You don’t know my body-
At least not in entirety or in proper lighting.
It’s too dark, too excused, for you to tell my eyes are blue.
You don’t know my height or weight.
You don’t know I eat everything with a fork,
You don’t know when I’m angry I brake plates.

You know me, boy.
You carried my heaviest secrets
To help them feel thin.
We skipped all the details-
And skidded out into letting you in.
You know when I’m up and my bedtime
And youre always around to tuck me in.
You know I’d love to know more of you-
But you’ve got places to go and im just somewhere you’ve been. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Sometimes, I want to drive my car right into whatever the fuck is on the other side of that guardrail. Sometimes I want to be reckless and out of control so that never again will I have a desire, or an ability to be in control of anything. Sometimes I wonder how many pills I have to take to get my stomach pumped, how many more I have to take to end it. Sometimes I think about how bad it would hurt to slit my wrists and how long I would have to think about what I had done. Sometimes I think if I was prettier, I would hang myself in that bay window in your apartment.
Your apartment. The one I helped you move into. I helped you move in there. I helped you shatter the plaster of the ceiling carrying a bed frame neither of us were built to support. I helped you hang curtains. I sat up with you when he was gone and I slept over when you were too tired to go out. I windex-ed that bay window a million times, a swept your floors and wiped down your counters. I sealed your checks and stamped your love letters. I have your spare key on a chain right next to the key to your Honda Civic, in case something happens and you call. What the hell would happen to you, if I was on the other side of a guardrail and didn’t answer the phone.
I think about you at work the day I went to the ER. I remember your hands shaking as you sliced watermelon, and I remember the juicy pink overflow on your polo. I thought for a second you would cry. I thought for a second, in that stupid Nike hat, and that work polo, that those blue eyes would water for me. I remember sitting knelt over with my head against the floorboard as I rode to the hospital, and I wished you were driving. I wished we were in my car, that I always let you drive, and I wished you were telling me about how you shouldn’t have hooked up with that girl at that party. I wished I was helping you write a paper over the phone and I was comfortable in my bed. I wished that we were still at work together, and what had happened hadn’t happened, and that I was starting your coffee and stacking your trays. I wished I was helping you, I wished you weren’t worried and I wished we were together as I rode alone to the ER. I wonder now, if those blue eyes would water at the hospital if they said they tried to pump my stomach but it was just too late.
I think about holding your hand. I think about the way that your nails were chewed even worse than mine. I think about your calluses and your long fingers. I think about that time we pretended to be together to protect you from some other girl. I think about the time I sat up all night memorizing that stupid song so I could sing for you while you caressed keys with those hands. I think about you told me you needed me the only time I ever told you no, and then all the handsey procedures that followed. I wonder if you’d find another hand to hold, it mine was bloody and cut to the bone.
Then I think about your apartment. And how your bay window has blurred the lines between the world and me, between yours and mine, between you and me. I think about how I need to do something for me just a little bit less than I want to do everything for you and thus I tie a rope to your curtain and not to my neck. I hope you like the favors and contributions I’m trying to give to you. Maybe they’re worth hand holding and can persuade you to care a little bit about me. The little things I have given you are all I have…
it really is too bad I’m not just prettier after all. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Saltine to be Specific

A Saltine to be Specific

I ate a cracker this morning. A saltine to be specific. Dammit. It was only eight-thirty.Devoured the entirety. Perfect, complete, but so gluttonous. I had not intended to eat it,when i think of it, i didn't want to. It was like a reflex, a breakfast reflex. The first bite was anyways. That’s my biggest problem I think, I start something and I’m in it for the long haul.
One touch of teeth on teeth. All of a sudden my  body was rolling on the most hardcore drug in town. Sinful. Goodbye clean body, toxinless temple, and goodbye caloric record. I should have known you would come back for me blood sugar. That’s what you do isn’t it sir, come in, infect me, tell me I need you, tell me it’s a cracker, tell me its not that bad- you come in and you make me like it, tell me i need it. you're telling me you keep me alive sir, but i know it is you thats killing me. You’re the forbidden fruit of Eden Mister, and you come right in and take my innocence and purity.
Maybe with all that euphoria and a bite of saltine in me, I lost all my coherency. Maybe Blood Sugar was already working his black magic, maybe I had already lost control. It always happens like that. I took just one one bite, of a damn saltine, and then i had to take another- like I said, im in it for the long haul.
I took another bite. It was smaller to avoid indulgence. That time I paid attention to the every contraction and relaxation of chewing. I concentrated on how it felt. I personified my teeth. They liked it. It was different from the gum they had been given yesterday, and the day before. Gum is like a four speed bike: enjoyable, better than nothing, but more work than reward. If I chew gum for two hours, my jaw alone burns sixteen times the five calories I ingest. Besides, I spit gum out, and my boyfriend always says, it doesn’t count if I don’t swallow. So gum, like I said, is like riding a four speed- because at the end you're tired and hungry, but you got where you needed to be. A saltine is just a pleasure cruise. Three bites and my body hoards three calories.
Three calories. Like the ones from a saltine, are actually three kilo-calories. That’s thousands of calories. So compact, so bland, so substantial. I ate thousands of calories this morning. three thousand six hundred is a pound. how close i had cut it, how reckless i had been.
Two bites in I just stood there in my apartment kitchenette, with one bite left. A little bite. It looked so innocent in my hands. It always does. Saltines are the most malicious cracker i have ever come by. temptation in the rawest form. you always want the little bit that remains. i know i didn't deserve it, i know three days of gum and four of hard salsa classes and sleepless nights being used for crunches gave me no right to indulge. I did it anyways. thats the thing with me and food, i know whats good for me, and i know how to get healthy and that i shouldn't do what i do, but i keep on doing it anyways. So I took my last bite.
It felt like such a binge after I was done. I could hear my mother’s voice in my head from way back when telling me: “don’t feel like you need to finish that honey. Never eat when you’re not hungry. We need to control what we put in our bodies.” I don’t know what hungry felt like anymore. I cried then, I had been waiting to for a while I think, and maybe that saltine gave me just enough energy to let it all out. My mom would be disappointed in me. And she would probably blame herself or some equivilant craziness.She would miss her daughter and fear the monster replacement. All that time and all that effort, and I still don’t know how to eat.  And to top it all off, I have no control.
 I convinced myself what was probably just nerves and upset, was bad digestion and stayed home today.  I spent three hours at the gym repenting and trying to burn some of the kilocalories I had for breakfast. When I got home, my boyfriend asked me what was wrong and offered to make me dinner like usual. something is always wrong, and he like everyone else always eats dinner. I refused and said only, “I had a big breakfast, I don’t feel good.” I am shameless.
So today resulted in three hours on a treadmill, a morning of tears, a sick day, a million lies, and thousands of calories. I have weeks worth of guilt i'm building now, toxins in my temple, and a probable blow to my figure to deal with. All because I ate a cracker this morning. A saltine, to be specific.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

filling up and leaking out

My shower was small and the water had gotten cold. The walls were cheap and plastic, and peeling from caulk against the pale pink plaster that defined the bathroom. Every light was on, and the curtain was opened. There was a white rug on the floor, and it was turned grey where the water had skidded off my skin and soaked it. I watched the rug as it got more and more wet, and thought about how alike we were. Both of us stone cold and still in that bathroom, slowly filling up and leaking out.
My right arm was bloody and dripping. I settled to the knees on top of the drain and I watched my blood hit the water and dissipate like food coloring before it slid down the drain. My knees pressed into the grate and I felt the imprints of the cold hard metal force into my skin.deeper and deeper, harder and harder. The outline engorged me. It felt good,  it was sustenance in the only form that I appreciated it. There I was, on the floor of my shower- filling up and leaking out. And that is the only way I ever feel good.