The Big Thing

I used to think that he was the Big Thing, the key to my happiness.

I fell for my teenage crush like he was the sole source of ecstatic love in the world.

When my feelings were not reciprocated, my thirst for the Big Thing all but destroyed me.

Now I know that no one can give me the Big Thing.

Nor is the Big Thing to be found in any book or food or herbal supplement, not in any class or retreat, and not in any one place or experience if it is not in equal distribution throughout everything, everywhere, all at once.

I am the Big Thing, and so are you.

Eve

I loved you because I loathe myself.

I blindly pushed through the red flags you were covered with, armed with an explanation for every asinine decision.

‘You did what?’ you asked me, eager to pile on the shame men reserve for the women they dishonor with their advances.

I accepted that I made a mistake but I was mistaken that I owed you anything, let alone my life.

By eating apples, I realized that I am the universe experiencing itself.

I am the fruit of the tree of life.

Out of the Closet

What if we are all so closeted that we do not allow ourselves to know ourselves?

This may make you balk, but hear me out.

Who among us has not admired a physical attribute of the gender we haven’t habitually spent time in bed with?

Who can deny beauty?

What if we each stepped out from our usual hiding spots, the social roles we were groomed for without our consent?

What if we acted upon our misery and tried something radically different today?

I dreamt that a student of the romance languages asked me if a word was masculine or feminine.

I leaned toward them with a knowing smile and whispered, ‘It is a little known secret that everything is both masculine and feminine.’

Now you know.

The Missing Ingredient

I finally found the ingredient that was missing in all my previous relationships: forgiveness.

Besides the fact that I repeatedly dated needy, jealous, dramatic, alcoholic, narcissistic, energy vampire, borderline personality disorder types, my relationships failed because I failed to forgive.

My marriage is infinitely sweeter now that I am no longer clinging bitterly to expectations and resenting my partner when he falls short, no matter how reasonable my requests seem to me.

I give myself and my partner permission to mess up endlessly; to selfishly waste time and money and to be forgiven even for our own inability to forgive.

Newly armed with this panacea to soothe any interpersonal wound, my ex-boyfriends don’t seem sinister after all, but simply in need of forgiveness.

The floodgates of my heart swing wide open and I feel pure love wash our transgressions clean.

When I get lost in the humanness of my life, may I return home to a heart connected to the Divine.

May I be both forgiven and forgiver.

I finally hear you, sacred silence.

Marriage

Behind the curtain of marriage I treasure the single men I know, each one a potential gem who would surely treat me better than my husband does.

I imagine how they would listen to me as we engage in stimulating conversations over a meal they provided, how respectful and grateful they would act, how passionate as lovers, how giving and attentive.

I fantasize about men who balance their check books and clean up after themselves, men who are calm and communicate maturely, who do the damn dishes, who save money or at least spend it on their family, who let go of past hurts, evolve and hold space for me to do the same.

I try to make myself at home within the sound-proof confines of my marriage, though the walls threaten to close in and crush me; both execution device and tomb.

Within the secret tortures of my marriage, my husband and I fight fervently leading up to the moment that we arrive out our friends’ houses, quickly plastering smiles on our faces as we ring the doorbell.

My veins are scalded by resentment for all the ways my husband takes miles without giving an inch.

I scan the horizon for a silver lining, a way to improve my situation: so far marriage counseling, life coaching and me doing the work on myself have all fallen short.

Yet deep below the cracks in our relationship, I sense a fertile humus.

We share more than our sordid history together; we make a home and a family.

We are united in our love for our baby, though we often disagree bitterly on how to raise her.

We share a commitment to our life together and a vision of our future, though we put different amounts of effort and resources towards both: in our relationship, I do all the earning and handle all the responsibilities for our household.

He drags down my energy and my finances, invoking a slow and destitute death.

Perhaps I’m not in a position to judge him: maybe he is the better one and I am the bitter one.

For now, I remain hidden behind the curtain of marriage, bound to my husband and yet alone.

Field

In the field beyond words

Our spirits meet

I’m not too blinded by the light to see your energy and delight in the way the wildflowers sway with us

Physically, I am bound in this life

In spirit, I am boundless

That field beyond words is our playground, filled with passion and joy, gratitude and care

It is easy for relationships to seem perfect when they aren’t actually happening

I wonder if you have a sense of my spirit’s desire to bond with yours

I used to think all beings were one spirit, but it is more fun to flirt with another than with self

I used to take for granted that a spirit bond was enough, then I lost the one I loved

His absence taught me the importance of being there, of showing up

I stand here in the field with so much love to share

Sweet Tooth

I’ve got a sweet tooth for untruths I speak when I think he is too bitter to handle new answers to old questions.

Part of me doesn’t care what he thinks of me because I’d be better off without him, but I don’t want him to bring the full weight of religious shame crashing down on my body.

Why do I find the forest more sacred than any church?

In nature, I can be a woman.

I try to maintain a semblance of integrity amidst the corrosivity of saccharine lies

Like going to bed without brushing my teeth after dessert, I know this is only wishful thinking.

What am I to do when he prods me with questions about my life that are none of his business?

I’ve already overshared and over cared.

Every time I repeat a lie to him because he is demanding that I relive painful experiences out loud against my will, it makes it harder to tell the truth.

He doesn’t treat me right. Even on our best days, he makes me pay for everything and do all the work to take care of him, so what do I owe him?

He has not demonstrated himself to be worthy of knowing my most personal memories, given his previous reactions.

Perhaps it is true that the truth will set me free, however I am too terrified to change my habits tonight.

Paradoxically, while I have not yet changed the habit of wrapping myself up in a protective cocoon of lies, I have changed the pattern of no longer flooding my body with sugar, which is a victory.

Guys I’ve Dated

I’ve dated guys whose eyes watered from the burn of undiluted wasabi

Thinking they were Japanese cuisine purists, they were only fooling themselves

He judged others for cutting off their chi from wearing their socks too tight while his own panties were in a bunch

He took me to a restaurant where the jazz was so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves

He didn’t intend to listen to me anyway, I found out later that night

I’ve dated guys I could only wash down with an unhealthy amount of alcohol

Guys who made gourmet meals taste bland with their predatory presence

I’ve dated guys who tried to shame and control me

They must feel so ashamed and out of control themselves

I was never into that scene

I’ve dated guys who believed their suffering was unique, artists who didn’t want to feel understood

I’ve dated guys who made me feel special for a time, until I realized that they only wanted me to make them feel special

They didn’t see me as a person, but a tool to be used, an addiction to leave them unsatisfied

I’ve dated guys who drank too much and called out for me in the middle of the night like a babe to its mother

Like a mother to a babe, I gave them my teat

The narcissistic and manipulative, the accusatory and dramatic

Guys who implied suicide if I ever left their side, yet somehow they are still living

Guys who stalked me and threatened me with their bodies

I prayed for boundaries

My man isn’t like those other guys

But he wants to know how many, and why

All I can do is bask in relief and sigh

Grateful, deeply grateful

Plunge

I want to plunge into you

Get lost and find my way through

If I dive into your deep blue

I don’t want to hurt me or you

Though I know that diving into someone’s heart is not without risk

I wish I knew how to plunge gently

I like having you around, at least for now

But when we’re inside out and upside down

I hope I remember that you were a good friend

That gives me courage to plunge into your eyes, your arms, your mind, your charms

I want to surround myself with you, to take and to give

Please, plunge in

The Thirteen-Handed Man

Man, you got me writing in this journal like an adolescent girl

My heart gushing forth while my mind’s in a twirl

I haven’t crushed this hard since I can’t remember, and probably longer still

You’re half comedian, half musician, and 100% enlightened genius skill

You must have a lot of girls climbing up your hill

There’s so much I wanted to say to you, but I hold myself back still

I wanted to dance to your music wildly, sit next to you in the circle

Be the first to hug you, jump into all of your arms

My inner alarms played their broken-record tune, ‘you’re shy, you aren’t worthy, it isn’t safe to follow your heart’.

Your voice sang smooth as the moon, and I swooned

There is so much I wanted to ask you, about where you’re going and where you’ve been

So much I wanted to applaud about you, to share and offer you

Helping you is the least I could do

Even the man with thirteen hands could use an extra hand sometimes

Should you need them, my hands are here for you