28 Chapters

Free Verse, Non-Fiction

1 I came into this world ass first on March 6, 1990, with a name straight out of a movie. A name my parents found in the credits because my mom’s first choice was a name that reminded my dad of an ex-girlfriend. Regardless, they both said the song that should have been playing upon my arrival was Born To Be Wild.

2 It was a Tuesday morning in Lafayette, Louisiana. A split mixture of Mississippi dirt from my dad and Louisiana swamp blood from my mom. I was just some small porcelain doll that couldn’t control her big green alien eyes and eventually sprouted a weird stick-up hairdo.

3 The second child and youngest of two girls. Sixteen months apart from my sister and soon-to-be best friend. The one-year-old that held me softly in her arms like her very own baby doll not knowing that I would eventually steal clothes from her, play soccer with her, and follow her to college.

4 My family found themselves in and out of waiting rooms because of my asthma. I didn’t let it consume or define me though. I rode down our street on my tricycle with no shirt, no shoes, just a pair of cutoff shorts, and rocking a shaggy bowl-cut while waving to my neighbors who must have thought that my sister had a younger brother.

5 Matchbox Cars and Barbie’s, Power Rangers and Disney princesses, big comfy t-shirts that fell down to my knees and my dance costumes. In kindergarten, I fell in love with two boys at the same time, one I called my boyfriend and the other one was my best friend. The first friend I made in class gave me a sparkly crayon so we played together at recess.

6 My next-door neighbor cried when the moving truck came. My family left for Arkansas in the middle of my first-grade year. It was a week before Christmas, the first time I had ever seen snow stick to the ground was in this new and foreign state.

7 I was welcomed into my new first grade classroom with open arms and I naturally became the teacher’s pet. The one who stood next to the teacher in the class picture, befriended new students, and made good grades. I was on the honor roll, just like my sister, and we ended up on the same soccer and softball teams too.

8 A powerful force that knew no boundaries even when my sickness held me back. I explored nature will riding my bike with my dog by my side. A tomboy at heart and a girl who wasn’t afraid to play soccer at recess with the boys.

9 Raised on girl power and boy bands, Lunchables and Capri Suns, Topanga and Cory. I ran around outside with my best friends until it became uncool to do so. They worried less about grass stains and more about makeup and boys.

10 The month was August, the year was 2001, and September 11th was only a few weeks away. My mom picked me up from school the day my grandpa had a heart attack and collapsed in his art class. Tears flooded her eyes while she whispered his name to me, her body had to be held up by a family friend, an image I’m still unable to erase from my memory.

11 The first time I ever felt depression was my seventh grade year when my mom transformed into a person I didn’t know. The same year I had a Bat Mitzvah with both of my parent’s families surrounding me. A time in my life when I should have been full of joy for all that I had accomplished, but all I felt was sadness.

12 My family soon realized that school was giving me anxiety. I couldn’t walk into the building the rest of that year without having a small panic attack in the bathroom. The pressure of being perfect, a goal I set for myself, and living up to my sister’s standards had taken a toll on me.

13 Once junior high started I lost connections with some of my best friends. It was the year of braces, puberty, frizzy hair, and pure insecurity. Trying to keep up with my sister’s good looks, soccer skills, and advanced classes left me in the dust.

14 The next year I met my best friend while playing flute in the marching band. Her Christian views and my carefree Jewish mom didn’t hold us back from bonding over funny movies, sweet and sour candy, and the love of writing. I tried out for the high school soccer team, made it, but would soon quit and blame it on my asthma. I wore my student section shirt with pride, screamed loud at every football game, and craved a boy that would never like me back.

15 My young body craved snow cones, candid photos, and late nights in my friend’s front yard. My dad taught me how to drive his 1990 Toyota Camry behind the bank in our small town. Little did he know at that time I would inherit his road rage and the ability to drive with my knees.

16 High school was nothing like the movies. I wasn’t beautiful and popular, geeky and unattractive, or athletic and smart. I was sick because the panic attacks would consume my life once again. First dates that ended badly, riding solo to homecomings and proms, realizing I wasn’t as pretty as all the other girls I grew up with, but finding beauty in the power of friendship.

17 I steered clear of trouble. I continued to be that cautious little girl who was afraid of the lifeguards blowing their whistle at me if I went down the slide the wrong way. Abiding by the rules, frightened of getting in trouble, and relying on structure for my sensitive soul. Unsure of what college was going to bring.

18 I stepped into a whole new world. A world I was not fully prepared to roam because it was occupied by unknown creatures. A world only two and a half hours away from home, away from the friends I relied on, away from my safety net.

19 A world where I only knew two acquaintances from my high school and, of course, my sister. She encouraged me to rush her sorority, but like soccer, I quit. I didn’t need Greek letters attached to my friends. I had already found a group of girls who didn’t join a sorority and with that I felt peace and, more importantly, happiness.

20

21 That small group of friends expanded over those four years. We expanded into an intricate family living in and out of dorms and apartments where we took our small trinkets from our individual homes and placed them into new ones. They never took the spots of my old friends, but instead brought a new light into some of the best years of my life.

22 We were each other’s safety nets now. After breakups, failed exams, and reoccurring family issues we’d find each other and collapse into one another’s arms. That rare feeling you get when you know you’re home. The happiest feeling of all; a feeling of comfort.

23 But as most friend groups do, we diminished after graduation. Some got married, moved off to different states, and others just didn’t return your calls. But that’s life in your twenties. The world turns, people grow up, people move on, and you just have to go with the flow so you don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle.

24 I searched for a home many years after graduating. I moved around like I majored in Gypsy 101. I was home for six months living with my parents and then Oklahoma for a year of teaching the sweetest first graders. But I felt a strange sadness creeping inside of me. A sadness that told me this wasn’t home. So I boldly packed up those small trinkets and moved.

25 The state of California and a bright coast brought that exciting new rush I felt when I first entered my college campus. A break from teaching brought me a new role as a full-time nanny. I lived with my sister and her husband for a year but I found no such luck in this new world. I craved that feeling of comfort, the feeling of home.

26 Home came in the form of Arkansas, again. This time I moved to the city and it was there where I taught for another two years. But I was a teacher just as lost and hopeless as her students. A girl stuck inside a woman’s body that wore combat boots on first dates. Born to be wild or just scared and afraid that I had made the wrong choice with my life. Worried to the point that it consumed me and I broke. My breaking point was a boy.

27 A boy that had ruined me. He wasn’t the first to do so but for some strange reason his actions consumed my soul. I stayed in the town we met in for another year but I knew I had to leave, just like he did. I had to leave to another world full of possibilities. I had to get back to my roots and how this whole story of my life started. I wanted to write, be creative, explore nature, and become that powerful force again.

28 I feel old now but I know I’m not. My back and shoulder ache sometimes and I’ve never felt more lost and yet so found in my life; another rare feeling I suppose. I know that this chapter will be ending soon and I can see myself rushing. I’m rushing towards the future, towards the door that is closing on me, and I’ll be stuck in this room I don’t want to be in. But I know this is all just a journey and this twenty-eighth year is just one part of me, a part of me that I’m happy with.

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My Basket

Free Verse

I have a note saved on my phone titled “What I Want to Say to Him”.

Sandwiched right between my “Grocery List” and “Budget”.

And it’s full of cliché sayings like “It’s almost as if fate brought us back together”, “you’ll know it when you find it”, and my personal favorite, “you’re so easy to talk to”.

There are also questions such as, “Do you think there’s more than one person out there for you?” and “Was our match on that dating app a coincidence?” Because I want to know “Why is it that we’ve stayed connected since our match even though we’re 1,000 miles apart?”

Let me explain because I’ve known him since the seventh grade. When I had a terrible haircut and his brace face grin showed off those chubby cheeks. We weren’t close, not even friends, but I knew him and he knew me.

So much so that when I saw him at a college house party several years later he was hanging out with some of my closest friends. We said our “Hellos” and “How ya doins” because I knew him and he knew me.

And when I came back home for Christmas (another) several years later I saw those chubby cheeks on my dating app screen. I laughed because he looked the same yet so different which made my swipe an immediate match because I knew him and he knew me.

I get the sense that we’re friends now. Now that it’s been quite some time since that match. I understand I can talk to him about mostly anything. But what I don’t understand is why I can’t stop thinking about him.

The “What I Want to Say to Him” note is filled with advice from friends. Advice that makes my head into a spiral. Say something, don’t say anything, or wait it out to see what he says.

But he says enough. He says I care about you when I receive a silly picture of his face. He says I’m thinking about you when I receive a picture of a couple and their dog playing at the lake in his city. He says listen to me when I receive another song from his playlist. He says I think this could be something when I receive a video of a carpool karaoke proposal.

But I don’t say much. I’m afraid to admit that I can care and think and listen just as well as him. But my subconscious knows me all too well and sends him into my dreams. I dream of him coming to pick me up and knocking on my glass door. I can see him just as clearly as he can see me. But it’s up to me to let him in.

Because the biggest piece of advice I have received is from myself. From when I’ve fallen and haven’t been able to gather my life and get back up. I tell myself don’t put all of those damn eggs in one basket.

And yet I have my hopes, my dreams, and my deepest and darkest desire to be with someone like you sitting here in my basket.

February

Free Verse

A sea of red is rushing towards me. The color of blood swarms my eyes and the only way to save myself is to close them tightly. But I slowly open them and the more I focus, the more I see the blending of fake flowers, candy boxes, teddy bears, and February.

February. How is it already February?

My shoes tap the tiled floor as I wait patiently to be the next customer in line.

My mind is telling me that he was born in February. He was born only sixteen days before me. Sixteen days before my birthday in March. I wonder what you were like when you were sixteen. I wonder who’s heart you broke then. The month you broke for me was February.

But I met you in April, I met you after each of us had turned the dreaded age of twenty-six. The age most people choose to forget. We had spent our birthdays without knowing who the other person was. But the rest of my twenty-sixth year I spent obsessing over you.

Over the way you made me feel like a person I hadn’t met. I hadn’t ever melted to the floor when I was in anyone else’s presence. I was enamored with our love. Our cliche, foolish, and reckless love. Maybe that’s why you were born in February. You were born during the month of love because you were meant to break so many damn hearts.

A dullness takes over my body. My shoulders droop towards the tiled floor. My head hangs over my chest. I can’t stand up straight. I drag my limp body and bloodshot eyes closer to the cash register. I’m melting again. But this time I don’t want it to take over my ability to react. My body waits in line.

I’m waiting for Spring because I don’t want to see my shadow anymore. My shadow who follows me around and tells me I’m not good enough. I’m not who you wanted. You wanted to leave and I wanted to see the flowers bloom. You see, I don’t want to wait around for you to come back.

Twenty-eight days of waiting. I’m waiting for February to end and it has only just begun. It has only twenty-eight days but I can’t wait that long. I can’t wait for this month to stretch me thin. Stretch me into someone I haven’t met. I haven’t met a day that goes by where I don’t think about you. I don’t think I can do this for twenty-eight more days.

Twenty-eight is now the age we’re both about to turn. We’re both in new phases of our lives. New phases of new people and new states. New me. A me I don’t want to know without you.

Because without you, I’m just a lonely girl in a grocery store. A lonely girl spending her money on Valentine’s candy because she has a case of the February’s.

 

My Secret

Essay

I don’t know what came over me the other night, but when I got off the phone with you I began to cry. I cried until I fell asleep like I was some baby who needed to soothe herself. And then I had a dream that you met my family.

I guess this goes to show that I’m confused and I’ve been this way since the first day I met you not too long ago. After our first date, I didn’t know what to think of you. You were a lot but I was intrigued. I was so intrigued I wanted to see you again and again until I realized this could be too much for me. You and I together could be a lot, a lot of bickering, a lot of stories, a lot of you and not enough of me, and a lot of confusion. But you continued to step up to the plate and open up to me. And for that, I thank you.

I’ve always been with the half-asses. The ones who showed me a good time until things started getting serious and then they slowly backed away until they were gone for good. The ones who talked to me about their life but never seemed to show me any of it. The ones who used my body as a toy for them to play with until a better version came out.

So I’ve always put one foot in the door and left the other one out, just in case. It wasn’t until last year when I put both feet through the doorway for someone. He ruined me after lying and cheating his way into my heart. And just when I was beginning to trust his true intentions he ran away and moved to my hometown. It was your typical heartbreak. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or go a day without thinking of him. And the worst part was, I couldn’t go home without seeing him and knowing he had moved on. I couldn’t go to the town that I grew up in because I knew he was there making it his own home with a new girl who mirrored me in every way possible.

So yes, I’ve been hurt. And this is only one brief story. But it’s the most recent one that hurts the most. I can’t help but think you can do the same thing to me. I can’t help but think that you could not want this and suddenly stop talking to me without any warning and vanish. I can’t help but think that when you don’t respond to me in a timely manner it’s because you’re off fucking some girl, not that you’re just trying to concentrate on your homework. I truly apologize, but it’s ingrained in me at this point.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to navigate these waters. I need you to be helpful and not hurtful. I don’t want to be away from you because it makes me anxious and when we’re together I feel at ease. I don’t want to annoy you with my obnoxious and bitchy behavior. I don’t want to put my past on your shoulders because I know it’s something I have to deal with, not you.

Because the truth of the matter is, I’ve never been in a serious relationship. I’ve never met the parents in a formal manner. I’ve never gone on trips with my “boyfriend”. I don’t even know if I’ve ever called someone my boyfriend in a serious tone. I’ve never said I love you to a guy and I’ve never heard it in return.

You told me everyone has a secret they’re trying to hide. Well, that’s mine. So if you’re looking for me to open up to you, there it is.

A Small Part of Me

Poetry

There’s a small part of me

that lives down deep inside.

A part of me still loves you,

a part of me I thought died.

It thinks about you on rainy days

and days when the sun shines.

It thinks about you in the morning

and late into the night.

I would like to think about other things,

but this small part keeps my thoughts occupied.

It thinks about you when I don’t want to,

and it just so happens to make me cry.

This small part of me remembers the way your hand felt

when it brushed up against mine.

It has a fond memory of when you studied me

to guess the color of my eyes.

It recalls each time you laid me down before bed

and the way our legs intertwined.

What’s weird is this small part of me secretly knows

if you come back into my life.

I would be willing to take every inch of you,

and leave the bitterness behind.

The small part of me says this

even though you messed me up

and left without a goodbye.

But that part doesn’t know this

so it keeps bringing up thoughts

even after all this time.

As I listen to my head

and pretend like everything will be just fine.

I feel my chest rise and fall

but I don’t feel that small part of me tonight.

Two Broken Hearts

Poetry

Two broken hearts have been captured in this bed.

“I shouldn’t be doing this,” one heart says.

But the mental damage has already been done.

The hearts beat rapidly side by side yet still numb.

Silently seeking for the person who caused the cracks.

These hearts are only pining for something to distract.

Lips slip together like smooth pieces of a puzzle.

No words are spoken their time together is muffled.

Bodies raging full of insecurity.

Their dance is nothing close to maturity.

One of the broken hearts has been left behind.

With nothing to latch on to, nothing to bind.

 

White Converse

Free Verse

I want to know why you picked her over me.

I want to know why you picked her over me when you can clearly see.

You can see the parts of me that are hidden inside of her face.

Everything is symmetrical and put in the best place.

But it wasn’t her perfect smile than shined brighter than mine.

It wasn’t her dark wavy hair that suddenly caught my eye.

She wore a flawless pair of converse in the whitest of hues.

Four years younger than me, and everything seems brand new.

Because the curves in her eyes matched the creases in mine.

The twists in her hips and thighs just reminded me of my small cup size.

Her skin has a dark glow and there are no freckles in sight.

And sometimes I wonder if it’s weird to think of what she smells like.

But let’s not forget her white converse that could shine.

She is adorning a pair that looks very similar to mine.

Except mine are covered in dirt and grass.

Because I’ve been through shit but she’s a class act.

I would wear these shoes over to your place.

I’d leave them by your bed on nights that I would stay.

But you don’t remember because now I’m hidden inside of her.

I guess I can now clearly see what you prefer.

You prefer someone that turned out to be…

beautiful, perfect, a better version of me.

 

 

My Wardrobe

Poetry

As I touch a piece of clothing I try my best not to cry,

But every time I look at my wardrobe I’m taken back to a time.

I look on both sides of this small room and don’t know where to begin,

My clothes have memories attached to someone and my patience is wearing thin.

The first shirt hasn’t been worn in awhile, it’s the hardest piece to see,

It’s the loose navy top I wore on a memorable night you got to meet me.

I paired it with skin-tight black jeans and my trustworthy combat boots,

A deathly combination I’d always sworn made me look super cute.

Agreement came in the form of a kiss on that very night,

Hearts thumping like crazy as you held me close under a cliche streetlight.

We kept our bodies near so I liked wearing my soft crimson henley,

You’d fasten me in your arms and caress my ribcage ever so gently.

I fought off my feelings for you because you told me you would not be here long,

When you held me in your sleep I felt you grab at the clothes I kept on.

Holding back my fears was one thing, hoping you wouldn’t string me along,

I took out my skin tight black jeans one night and put those combat boots back on.

I wore my deathly combination of black and paired it with a sheer sweater,

The bar was buzzing but I was only looking forward to our night together.

We drank beer and watched hockey before walking hand in hand back to your place,

And fell asleep watching tv on the couch; when we awoke I saw it on your face.

Rain drizzled from the dark sky as we walked across the parking lot that morning,

You shielded me with your neon work vest which made you quite adorning.

Rain turned to sunshine and I was able to flaunt more of my silky soft skin,

But this time around felt different and I craved your hands spelling out sin.

The hot weather made me throw on a pair of cutoff shorts and show up at your loft,

Falling off one shoulder was the forest green top I could so easily slip off.

Nights like these were simple and picking out my clothes became a piece of cake,

But the impending date of your departure was upon us and my body began to ache.

The same body that wore black trousers and a blouse with tiny white polka dots.

My work attire showed a new side of me and you were there to help drop me off.

We shared two waffles the morning you drove me to school in your truck,

We talked about the ins and outs of work and how you weren’t able to pick me up.

Darkened streets yet I felt safe as you drove us and I listened to your every word,

You stopped in the parking lot and kissed me goodbye with a sweet and subtle smirk.

Something about your gritty smile made that damn smirk the part of you I liked best.

Now I know it was just a joke because you gave it to me the morning before you left.

This time I was the one to give you the kiss goodbye as I crawled onto your mattress,

I was wearing a soft pink thermal when I was left to wonder the state of our status.

I guess now I can say I am pretty lucky that it is no longer warm outside,

So I put away those cutoff shorts that you would so easily slide down my thighs.

Those black jeans have seen better days and I’m tired of the wear and tear.

The black combat boots started to rip so I decided it was time to get a new pair.

But nothing can replace the feelings that my wardrobe still holds dear.

I just wish you’d left me with something that made sense, something more clear.

My fingers brush the hanging clothes and the damp corners of my eyes,

As I continue to look around this closet it is hard to put my feelings aside.

In Between Girl

Free Verse

I’m that girl. The girl I never expected to be. The girl you find during the in-between phase of your life. The phase most girls know all too well. “He just got out of a relationship so he’s not looking for anything serious.” The pain already begins to swell in my heart.

Because I know nothing serious comes in the form of actually being your girlfriend but not reaping all the benefits. I won’t ever meet the parents or siblings but I hear plenty of stories about them. You show me pictures of your childhood home and I’ll pretend like I’ll eventually meet your family someday. Someday when he’s ready.

I’m that girl. The girl that never pushes the girlfriend label. The girl whom you always consider totally cool with just a chill night in. But what you don’t understand is that the night chills me.

I feel the shiver run down my spine when you slowly begin to touch me. I feel like if I let go I will crumble into a million pieces. I have to keep up the image. You use my body like it’s some toy for you to play with, that is of course until a better version of me comes out.

I’m that girl. The girl that never deems herself as the competitive type. Because why care? It only hurts to do so. Like when I played soccer and every girl on my team cried but me when we lost a game. I thought that meant I was heartless.

But like most people, I found out I had a heart just because I felt it break. Now I can only sense a deep hole where my feelings used to belong. A burning sensation of total numbness.

I’m that girl. The girl that’s easy to leave without a trace. Because I was never your girlfriend. I just was the girl who rubbed your back in bed after a long day of work. I was just the friend you would cook for. I was just the girl who put you to sleep. I was the just the friend who willingly stayed the night.

But when you leave me you won’t find another girl like me. You will find the girl that you were meant to be with and she will meet your whole family and see that childhood home I only dreamed of. While I’m still that girl stuck in between.

The Bridge I’ve Built

Poetry

They said to take some time, cry,

but she should also move on.

Build that damn bridge girl

he’s officially gone.

Cliche words handed over to

the girl with a broken heart.

Left alone without a word

her insides have fallen apart.

But here she is one year later

still trying to sort it out.

That bridge she was building

is broken and full of doubt.

The first board she put down when

she told herself this won’t last.

She could hear others whisper

watch how quickly this will pass.

Her bridge-building skills aren’t great

and she has delicate hands.

He held them as they watched a movie

or when he asked her for a slow dance.

Yet she continued hammering boards

without any engineer assistance.

But there are gaps from his absence when

he obviously needed some distance.

The bridge laid out before her

isn’t a very clear path.

Most boards have been broken from

the heartbreak aftermath.

Her head tells her to take the rickety path

and maybe you will learn as you go.

But the heart warns her she could fall

for someone she barely even knows.

The soul demands to strike a match

to burn everything that lies ahead.

She looks around hesitant

and takes another path instead.