6.18.18 So, So Glad That We Did

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“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
― Jane Austen

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Friendship is the place for absolutely

for let’s do this,

let’s try that,

and I can’t believe we actually did.

Friendship is for

did he really just say that?

she didn’t –

and for are you serious right now?

Friendship is never saying no to a weekend –

a dinner

a drink

a dessert

or a midnight snack.

Friendship is the comfort to have uncomfortable conversations,

it is the assurance that no topic is unapproachable,

it is the reality that you’re never too far from one another’s truth.

Friendship is the belly-aching laughter you cannot contain …

the giggle you can’t suppress …

the middle-of-a-memory snapshot you’re forming every minute that you’re together.

Friendship is the ability to let time pass without offense,

without guilt,

without the need for recompense.

It is ageless … a mural drawn in portion each time you’re together –

a story

lengthening like an epic,

yet steady in its delightful character choices.

Friendship is never allowing one moment to be stale,

cliche,

or tired.

It is always new, learning pieces and parts,

bits and actualities that ever clarify the reasons you chose one another.

Friendship is the place for without a doubt,

for let’s do this again,

let’s try that next time,

and I am SO, so glad that we did.

 

Go love your friends, RIGHT NOW!

Elle

6.11.18 Three Words Seem

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It wasn’t love at first sight

it couldn’t be

because your heart wasn’t free 

But you saw me

and in seeing me

somehow

knew

that later …

that someday –

someday might be ours

Within the turn of three moons

within the shifting of stars

the constellations hung bright

over a gated garden

Filled to the brim with silent secrets 

exposed

You kissed me then,

but someday

still didn’t belong to us

A walk in the forest later

safely tucked beneath shadowed branches

atop a bed of leaves let down to soften our footfalls

truths were exchanged …

scars were bared …

and we gave one another the gifts of our darkness,

In doing so, who could have known

that touching the broken places

illuminated the light 

that always tried to surface beneath the cracks

That was my someday –

you became my someone

My anxious fingers trailed over white lace,

waiting to be stilled in yours

waiting to carry the new weight of a promise

sealed with a ring 

and a kiss

and a covenant

I promised

and I meant it

We have had many seasons since,

our trips around the sun have bathed us in both shelter and storm

Some adventures are met with bravery and joyful defiance

others are met on our knees

but we face them with a legacy that sustains us

On our worst days you ask me if I’d prefer it were someone else

and heart full of frustration 

I am crestfallen

Because always, 

even then, 

even there, 

even when we are surrounded with ashes and maybes …

You are my person

and this is our someday – however raw and real it may be –

and I am yours

There are two sets of eyes that blink back at us now

setting our hearts and minds ablaze with glimpses of the future

And regardless of reflected personalities –

the set of his jaw,

the line of her brow,

they are the multiplication of us …

twice the benediction of grace 

the result of passion personified

In them – you made me 

a whole new rendering of what I used to be

How can I thank you enough for that gift?

The capacity of being more through you and with you

than I could have become a thousand times over alone

I cannot ever

adequately describe how light 

three

words 

seem

When I need them to carry the weight of the world

my world –

you

So while it wasn’t love at first sight

because time didn’t belong to us 

yet

You will forever be my

love in foresight

owing to the fact that all my tomorrows 

in this life

and any someday’s beyond …

belong to you

5.23.18 Brave

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I want to be brave 

because 

I so 

admire 

the way it looks on other people

There are times in my life that I thought I was … 

but looking back –

the reflection of those memories seem much closer to 

seeking adventure

than requiring bravery in its truest form

which is – Necessity

Brave isn’t a character trait, 

it’s a state-of-being

and the bravest people I know don’t get credit for life

they just live it

So to:

The under-appreciated, marginalized, minorities in society

The citizens of nations who didn’t choose to be born unblessed by geographic happenstance 

The ill of body or mind in a world that makes you feel disposable for being “un-perfect” 

The overstressed, single parents who didn’t ask to do it alone

The children who’ve become accustomed to seeing themselves as an interference

To me? 

You  

are 

the 

brave 

ones. 

And I’m sorry. 

I’m so sorry that every day you don’t have a choice

but to be brave.

This wasn’t the way the world was supposed to welcome you

This wasn’t the life to which you were intended …

Precious little though these words might do

I want you to know

that I recognize the weight of your armor 

and when I see your tired faces

weary with

expectations

insinuations

and constant

degradations

I wish I could 

be 

more

So that I could 

do 

more

for you.

But I’m just me

and I’m not brave

because life never trained me

on battlegrounds like yours

Still, I want you to know

I see

I care

And the one thing I can offer – the truth?

God didn’t plan this part

In no cosmic design were you ever meant to be

less

than the children of divinity 

you are

Your purpose has a place 

and the cartographer of the stars in the heavens Himself

has charted the course of destiny you were meant for

But we are fallen

and life

is acutely unfair

I still want to be brave 

because 

I so 

admire 

the way it looks on other people

I’m just sorry

that wearing brave

was never a choice

you were given to make

 

Always,

Elle

5.9.18 Out Once More

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“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” Norman Cousins

Two weeks ago the unthinkable happened … the young daughter of some friends of ours passed away after battling cancer for a year. I thought I was prepared for the funeral, after all, I’ve been to my fair share of them – I wasn’t. Though funerals were literally something I grew up with, I’ve only been to one other child’s funeral, and they were equally, agonizingly, heartbreaking – both for seven-year-old girls.

I don’t have words really, to describe how it feels to see their parents … it is surreally painful because instantly I’m forced to imagine myself in their place – and I am lost. So although I have no right to even pretend to know how it really feels, this poem is what came out of my emotions. All my love, all my prayers, casting hope to anyone who understands this pain. All my love to anyone who lost anyone whose lost life matters to them as much as their own. I so desperately wish this void was not a burden you must carry. We were not intended for separation. God knows … this is not the end.

Elle

Out Once More

In.

Out.

In again.

Out once more.

Breathe.

Breathe.

Breathe.

I think that it’s “returning to normal” that I find the most offensive.

Things like …

casual conversation

filled with, “How are you?” and other equally unpleasant

pleasantries.

In those moments I feel every too-quick heartbeat

and it seems supernaturally unfair that involuntary responses

are not, in fact, involuntary –

because I literally need to remind myself to breathe …

to release.

Sometimes I can’t stand the sun’s arrogance – that it has the audacity to rise when I,

when she

no longer can.

And it hurts in places I can only describe as

the absence

the empty

the lost.

And I cry with a voice I don’t recognize as my own,

because “we” no longer are …

and I can’t remember how to find who I was

before.

Returning to a “normal” place in this life is somewhere I can’t find.

And so it seems I’m chasing a new normal –

something I’m seeking but am not sure I’ll be able to recognize

being in the state-of-being that I am,

or am not.

But even now,

even here

in this

in-between …

I can’t bring myself to hate the world,

because she loved it …

and I can’t hate my life,

because she was a part of it –

and as I live on

in some way

so does she.

It’s not in the way that I hoped for,

but she believed in hope,

and so must I.

In.

Out.

In again.

Out once more.

Breathe.

Breathe.

Breathe.

 

 

4.25.18 Change Never Is

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“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there.” Philippians 3:20

In the past three days, I have been confronted with a series of challenging perceptions,  presuppositions, misrepresentations, misunderstandings, and multiple-perspectives on ethnicity, racism, and personal identity. From literary discussions to student issues, faith-based revelations to immigration conversations, it has been a heart-swelling week of looking hard at myself, my beliefs, my unintended biases, and my intentions. Revelation? I am still learning. Most importantly? I still want to.

My poem “Change Never Is,” is dedicated to every individual who maybe, like me, is still trying to discover how to be their best, most loving, undeniably compassionate self through it all, albeit imperfectly … and who is willing to step through the broken glass of shattered hearts, in the hopes of finding all the pieces to put us together again.

Go heal where you can,

Elle

Change Never Is

And suddenly … it’s different.

Just like that.

With the flip of a switch,

or the bat of an eye.

In the space of a heartbeat.

You realize something new about yourself.

Or maybe it’s old, but you wouldn’t admit it before now –

when actuality is staring back at you

clearer than the reflection of the mask you’ve grown so comfortable wearing,

you’d actually forgotten your own face.

You still might not want to deal with the truth of how you feel

but you do feel

and that’s the problem

(or some sordid beginning of the solution)

You can’t ignore it anymore –

and it’s jarring,

this knowing that you can’t go back.

Suddenly the innocence you had only just before,

is nothing more than a fantasy you can’t find your way back to

because reality demands accountability –

and there’s no longer room for the callousness of pretend.

We grow in stages,

but sometimes it feels as if a lifetime of lessons are hurled in our direction

faster than we can absorb the shock of their blows.

There is hardly a line between villain and victim –

the pain is dolled in equal measure,

whether it is deflected or digested? That depends on the user

and the used.

And as much as you thought that you knew who,

and how,

and what

you were …

everything can change

when you’re challenged to accept as fact

that what you wished was just the remnant of a bad dream.

You’re awake.

So now what?

There is no rest for you in dreaming … only in shaking off your slumber.

It’s time to breathe in slowly,

acclimatize yourself one fiber at a time …

There are thoughts to be sorted –

film reels of clouded memories to look at with new lenses.

The past may not align with the present,

but the future is yours to discern.

Endow a legacy stronger than pride.

Entitle yourself to an awakening.

That shifting in your bones … that thickening of your skin …

it’s not comfortable,

but darling,

change never is.

 

4.11.18 Apologetic

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“If the explanations amount to something, I will tell you.” – Joanna Klink

Sometimes I feel inclined to apologize. I don’t have a specific reason … it’s just an open gap between emotions that feels heavy; a call to respond to something beyond what I am capable of finding words for. Maybe it comes from the apologies I should have made throughout my life, but wasn’t mature enough to own at the time. Maybe it is the unspoken words I cannot give to the people who are no longer there to hear them. Maybe it is the result of a look that said more than I meant it to say, or the absence of a look that needed to happen. Whether it was in words being cast as arrows or shields … I apologize nonetheless. And this poem is to anyone who has felt the same, or to whom I should have apologized to long ago.

Apologetic

Apologetic

I am scarred

and stained

with the unused ink

of un-penned words

I never wrote

of unuttered phrases

I didn’t say

And I’m sorry

now,

and then

that I wasn’t

brave enough to speak what you deserved to hear

I may have given voice to my thoughts

but chances are they were not filtered with love

and truth,

without empathy?

Honesty,

without grace?

They are nothing but empty condemnation.

There are some things time doesn’t erase,

and the absence of an apology is the epitome of unalterable

How, after all, do you undo what was never done?

So I’m sorry –

from somewhere between quiet thoughts and trembling hands …

amidst the need to be vindicated and the desire to be free …

in the space that separates accepting defeat and willing myself to try once more –

I’m sorry.

For the hurt you feel that was my fault,

and wasn’t

For the comfort you needed,

but didn’t find in me

I remain,

here

and now

apologetic

3.20.18 My Paper Pretend Reality

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Tonight my son gave me an acorn, and told me it was a kiss.  Here, it is not yet Spring, and so this tells me he has held onto this “kiss” for a time – just waiting to pass it along when the right moment came. In my heart full of opinions, it was perfect timing, because as the Peter Pan inspired gift reminded me … I think I’d like to escape this world for a bit, and live in pages for awhile. I hope you’ll share your stories with me, and our chapters will meet in the middle.

Elle

My Paper Pretend, Reality

I want to live in pages for awhile,

between the safety of clever beginnings

and tied-with-a-bow endings

not stuck in a plot line

that feels more like it’s spinning than rising

toward a climax I can neither see

nor predict
I want to live in pages for awhile,

where I can be the hero –

without being judged for my strength

or the damsel –

without being judged for my weakness

needing

and needed just the same

I want to live in pages for awhile,

and dwell in the possibility

that decisions have more to do with heart,

than logic

In a place where there is always time for the edge of a romance,

the curl of a mystery,

where adventure is never further

than a few precious lines away

I want to live in pages for awhile

where the strength of my spine

is defined by the words cast upon it

and yet safely,

tucked and protected within,

I’ll never hear anyone judging my book

by its cover

because I’ll be too busy living my life

on the inside

to care

I want to live in pages for awhile

so that just for a moment …

to appease the sensitive yet strong-willed character I’m sure to be –

Once upon a time,

someday,

and even happily ever after

have to exist

Simply because I wish it

as it is my imagination that requires tending to

The only question remains …

will you come with me?

 

Elle

3.6.18 I Write.

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“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

I am deliriously happy to announce that I have a new piece in Bella Grace Magazine. This poem was really special to me because it epitomized what it means to find rest … not always the easiest of pursuits. “Because of Sundays,” is about delighting in the times you can wake up, just to fall asleep and dream again. I hope that you are able to visit Bella Grace online to purchase a copy, or, like me, steal away to your nearest bookstore just to see this lovely publication on the shelves where she belongs.

I have to say that the happiest moment of this particular piece was stealing away to see myself in print at the bookstore before receiving my copy. There was a sweet lady who was interested in what I was reading, and I told her all about a magazine that wasn’t filled with adds or tabloid stories, but pure, real pieces from the heart of writers, photographers, and seekers of living life with intention. Watching her shuffle away with her copy felt like extending a tiny legacy in some minuscule, but meaningful way.

It’s not always easy. Writing. There are endless rejection letters … pieces that go unfinished because of the reality of living between imagination and Mondays … and the ridiculous business of revising things you could’ve sworn you got right the first time. Still, I cannot seem to shake this love affair with words. And though it is ever-so-much more a give than take kind of relationship, it is one I am willing to work on for all of the reasons I relayed in the poem below. Please let me know your thoughts dear ones!

All my love, from my pen and page to yours,

Elle

I Write.

I write.

To hear the sound of a pencil speaking to it’s page.

I write.

For the hope that a story that needed telling gets told.

I write.

To connect my whispered thoughts to fellow dreamers across the world.

I write.

For the undiluted joy of marrying words that belong together in a line.

I write.

To share memories my mind is too slippery to hold on its own.

I write.

For the beam of radiant thought I cannot ignore inside me.

I write.

To hear the promises of better things I will into being by creating them.

I write.

For the God who commanded my heart to dance at the sight of words.

I write.

To reach for the immortality of lines that will outlive me.

I write.

For the ones I have raised with the truth that stories hold power.

I write.

To feel.

I write.

For joie de vivre.

I write.

To inspire.

I write.

For there is simply no way I could not.

 

 

2.20.18 Await

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Gently

and slow

We step into the fractured moments

of each day

with one infinitesimal breath

shallowly followed by another

And in small ways

we give calm permission to chase chaos

Sometimes it is enough

we are enough

But other times,

the ability to realize our frailty

is braver

than determining our strength

introducing ourselves to our weakness

allows us to appreciate the humble beauty

of what it means to need

to depend

 

Instead of being depended upon

Light has the most potential

in the darkness

Beauty that comes from broken can be blessed

Gently

and slow

Embrace now

whatever it maybe

for then

where hope remains

and you

on the other side

await