The Way

I heard today that the obstacle is the way.

So true, and yet, how difficult.

I know what I must do, and yet, I don’t.

I remain married to a man-child who drags me down in every way: he drains my finances with his selfish actions and poor decisions, he uses up my time as I endlessly provide for his needs and clean up after him, and he exhausts my energy with incessant fighting, judging me harshly at every opportunity.

Though likely no one would blame me if I left him, women always get shamed no matter what they do.

Now I have our daughter to consider.

My grandmother said that she stayed married for her children, then her grandchildren, and then felt too tired to do anything new.

That was her path.

My path has a long way to go still.

I see the pixie dust sprinkled amidst the pebbles and pine needles.

Opening myself to the unknown, I sparkle back.

Raw

Sitting at the edge of my sanity

Gazing into infinity

Holding stones from the river

Life’s sharp lessons

Artfully crafted to dull my ego where it juts out

Where I’m going, I won’t need an ego anyway

Shards of criticism cut into me, the searing pain leaves me speechless

I never had much to say anyway

Truth like light pours into my wound

My darkest places are exposed and there is nowhere to go

I sit with discomfort

Tears burn my cheeks

With each rejection, I remember every rejection

I feel my feet sink into the emotional quicksand of my childhood

I gaze enviously at those who seem to have a solid foundation of love, safety and belonging

Memories like a breeze carrying the debris of letters from ex-lovers written to hurt me because they felt hurt

They wanted me to be their foundation, not knowing I was treading water myself

We all feel the sting of salt

I am so grateful for the time and space to cry, to gaze into the crack in my mind

Realize that I demonstrate all the qualities that I judge in others

Heal my wound with poetry, raw emo poetry

I’m not trying to suture this closed, I’m not trying to rush this

I heal by secondary intention, from the ground up

Fill up your cup

Good

I no longer strive to be labeled as ‘good’ by others

Like a trained fucking dog

I don’t want to act sweet
When I feel salty and bitter
I never wanted to fit into a box
Or stay between the lines
I don’t even belong indoors
I am a wild, free woman
If that means I’m not the angel you thought I was
Then light up the fire and brimstone
Too long have I carried the burden of trying to save the world while looking cute and put-together
Always satisfying other’s needs like plugging holes in a dam and I’m about to burst
I tremble and ache to let go of the many ropes which bind me
So many roles to play and expectations to meet
No wonder I have no time or energy left for me
I am the only person I can save, and my liberation doesn’t require fake smiles or insincere social pleasantries
To live my best life
I must aspire to be more than simply good
I must liberate myself from the ribbon I am wrapped up in
Rip off the docile doll’s dress and burn it,
Warming my hands and illuminating my night
I must feel my body and ride the waves of my emotions with shuddering ecstasy
You want me to be good
But I want to be better

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

Please don’t judge me for being a sex worker in order to make ends meet
You taught me how to dissociate from my body, how to put other’s wants ahead of my needs
You were my first violator and my first pimp
Remember molesting me at night throughout my childhood and adolescence?
You opened the floodgates for countless rapes
Remember forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do my whole life?
Pimping me out to abusive children who you ‘felt sorry for’ because they did’t have any friends
The reason why they didn’t have any friends is because they weren’t good friends. Like you, they were trapped in abuse
Oscillating between abuser and abused
Remember commanding me yet never asking or listening?
I told you I was depressed, you told me I was not
The middle school guidance counselor called you to pick me up from school because I was suicidal-
All you did was yell at me
You found out I was a sex worker by violating my privacy
You yelled at me to respect myself
Yet you never respected me and actively taught me to disrespect myself
How can you expect me to fly when all you ever did was drag me down and break my wings
You raised me in poverty
Gave me no financial resources, no guidance
I was hungry, I had textbooks to buy and rent to pay
You want to take credit for my success
I became who I am in spite of you, not because of you
Though I see the crucial role you played
At the end of the day all I can say is namaste

The Sting of the WASP

I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, it’s just that

I have some long-standing frustration to express.

My personal experiences with the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture which I was born into are not meant to characterize everyone who identifies as a WASP.

The WASPy culture of my home community is one in which
everything is wrong, but nobody talks about any of it.

This illusion of perfection only fools ourselves

In reality, we are just as lost, anxious, depressed, alcoholic, drug addicted and trapped in abusive relationships as any other community.
From the outside, everything looks fine:
Picket-white fences, freshly mowed lawns
The house has been painted and the windows washed.
On the inside, our bodies are ravaged by insecurity and fear, leaving us worn down and raw like the bulimics that we are: caught in the binge and purge of a life of vanity.

We’ll do anything to keep up appearances even as we disappear further from our authentic selves.
Putting such effort into pretending to be what we are not is a tremendous waste of energy.
We strive to keep up with our neighbors in an empty shell of consumeristic existence, even though it costs us the true richness of our souls.

We go to church and recite prayers monotonously like mindless drones.
Can any discernible note of true worship be heard when we are only regurgitating printed words without feeling?
In our daily lives, how much are we really doing as Jesus would do in our thoughts and actions?
From what I have seen and heard, we could do much more.

Even as a young child I felt that attending my WASPy church was a time and place to desperately try to save face-
Emphasis was put on what to wear,
Instead of how we felt on the inside, in our hearts and minds.
We went to church to trick ourselves into feeling like we were living our lives right.
When actually we were living quite selfishly,
Without true regard for the suffering of others.
Our capacity to give was far greater than what we actually gave.
Even in giving, we were narcissistically trying to feel better about ourselves.
The same people who faithfully vowed to ‘judge not’ in church
Could be heard loudly judging their neighbors before and after the service.
I don’t want to judge WASPs on being judgmental.
I know they have suffered a lot and are doing the best they know how.

In a sincere wish to help them live their happiest, most fulfilling life

I want to gently remind them that they will suffer less when they judge less.
I’ve noticed that when I judge others, I only hurt myself.
Mentally separating ourselves from other humans by labeling them as ‘other’, ‘inferior’ or ‘defective’ only separates ourselves from our own humanity.
No wonder we often feel that our lives are insanity.
This rings true for judging ourselves too.

I judge myself and others every day, and every moment is a new opportunity to practice non-judgement, which to me is the highest form of spiritual practice.

I feel the heaviness that judging leaves in my heart, and I am ready to lessen my load.
Changing mental habits is a practice, not a perfect.

I feel lighter and happier when I connect through my heart to humanity.

I pray for spiritual awakening and liberation from suffering for all.
It is a goal as lofty as the tallest church steeple-
It is my dream, big enough to include all people.

The divine light within me bows to the divine light within you.

Finding Sukha

Sometimes I feel angry
I could blame my parents for the anger they passed down to me through their nature and their nurture
But they are only survivors of abuse and neglect themselves, victims of inter-generational psychological torture
I like to think that they were doing the best they knew how
With limited resources at the time
It was a different world back then;
There was little awareness and poor preparedness,
Less information and more isolation

Sometimes I feel sloppy
My movements get choppy
I crash, splash and make a mess
I only hope that I don’t take anyone down with me
When I slip and fall
Reminding me that in my haste, I don’t save time at all

Sometimes I feel on edge
I am irritable and my mind carves a ledge
Off of which I can easily slip
Into a hellish well
Of memories echoing back at me
Little things that seem big disproportionately when viewed at close range

Like the time an ex gave me condescending lip
When he proudly pronounced the word ‘dukkha’
Then judged me on how the Sanskrit word (not the concept, mind you) was unfamiliar to my vocabulary at the time

Dukkha is commonly translated as ‘suffering’, which is an important concept in Buddhism because the Buddhist path was designed to liberate people from suffering by helping them first overcome their desires/selfish cravings

I am all for liberation, but his elitist attitude was not resonating with me
That fool tried to school me on suffering like I’d never suffered a day in my life, when I’ve suffered every damn blessed day of my life

So I gave him a lesson in letting go of attachment by leaving him

I thought he could stand to benefit from the lesson and

I don’t need to take shit from a privileged prick about fancy words that I was too busy earning a living through sex work to have the time to learn from a text book

Books are hella expensive anyway

That’s why I gladly share my writing freely

Cuz I want it to reach people like me

People who were born into economic or emotional poverty

Through these simple words I string together

I humbly hope to help alleviate suffering in others

Perhaps it only helps alleviate my own suffering, but even that would be enough

I am a person, too

Also, writing feels like free therapy to me

I’ve still never been to actual therapy

I hear the prices are crazy

But I digress…I don’t have the energy to deal with fits of vanity

from spoiled boys who get off on looking down on me and the rest of the world

I think that instead of judging anyone who hasn’t heard the word ‘dukkha’
It would’ve served him better to find sukha
Sukha means ‘ease’

My point is this:
Everybody experiences dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness or stress) and hopefully sukha (happiness, ease, pleasure or bliss) in their lives
Everyone around the world attends the school of life; we are born, live and die in that classroom
But not everybody has access to the luxury of learning outside of their immediate human interactions
However that makes them no less educated than those who have the resources for recreational reading
At least in my book

So I’d tell that ex (if I could stomach the thought of communicating with him, which I presently don’t)
That if he thinks he is superior to others
Because he’s so well-read
Then maybe he should know
How to fit his ego back inside his head

With compassion, I recognize that fear of inadequacy lies at the root of his speaking boastfully

Here are some lessons that I’ve learned, and they aren’t in Sanskrit:
The ego inflates easily but deflates again eventually, and when the ego balloon gets stabbed by a needle it can be a long, hard fall down to the ground                                                                                                    Liberation from our egos and freedom from our desires is the ultimate gift
Money can buy a book but it can’t buy wisdom
Material wealth will get you inside the ivory tower but it won’t shelter you from suffering

Just look at my ex; he was rich in his wallet but impoverished in his heart-mind
Leaving him so that I could be poor but happy
Was a decision that put me at ease,
At ease like sukha

Sometimes I need a lesson in letting go too

Sometimes I find sukha

Worse Things

Sometimes when I drink alone-
One cold beer on a hot summer’s night,
At the end of a long day,
to wash lingering anxiety away
I wonder if I am an alcoholic
But then I think
There are worse things to be

Like those who destroy the earth
To feed their insatiable greed

Like pedophiles and rapists
Serial killers
Users and abusers of women and children

The dramatic and manipulative
Who are unnecessarily cruel to their loved ones

Those who blame everyone but themselves for their own egregious behavior
Instead of looking within

The judgemental and cold-hearted
Who raise their voice when they should be listening

Know Peace

Know Peace

I’m not perfect
In my human life I’ve been known to lie, steal and cheat
But at least I don’t judge everyone I meet

We’re all just trying to get by
Killing time until we die
Doing the best we know how

I never meant to hurt you
But apparently I did
Though I tried to tread carefully around the minefield of your heart
And did my best to leave you intact as we parted
You intentionally tried to hurt me back
With your scathing attack

Anything personal that I had shared with you
When we were together,
You tried to use against me
In your illogical reasoning
After we broke up (after I broke up with you
for the second time, let’s not forget)

You stabbed me in the back,
Your bruised ego lashing out
Like a child who has yet to learn
That they are not the pivot
Around which the world turns

But honey, I can forgive you
Because I try not to judge
Even those who judge me unfairly
Which is anytime I’m judged

I haven’t walked a mile in your moccasins
But I know how rough the trail can get
You can’t imagine the wear and tear on my soles
You don’t know the first thing about me yet

I try to understand you
Even as you refuse to understand me
I give you empathy
Even as you deny my humanity

So go ahead, immaturely throw your words
They’re just your own mental turds
Landing back on you.
Though you try to smear them on me,
They only stain the tiny glass box
Which imprisons your mind

Because truth is true,
Your thoughts are not my reality
I won’t pretend to know you
Because you sure as shit don’t know me

Remember as you rant and rage, loud and proud,
That whatever hard feelings you have towards me,
Whatever labels you try to put on me,
I felt towards you first.
Only I didn’t try to put you down unnecessarily.
You never knew the depths of my disappointment in you
But you know who broke up with who
Don’t get it twisted

I’m not perfect
And neither are you
Just remember that the next time
You want to throw your insecurity’s poo
Which comes from within you

It is not entirely your fault that you are the way you are
You are a breathing symphony of your life’s experiences
I hope you can acknowledge that I am just that as well
May you and I and everyone
Know peace