I picture Jesus cupping my face so often. My cheeks rest in his hands and he makes me face him, our eyes aligned. He speaks truth to me there, says things with emphasis to try and make me believe them. It feels a bit like how a Grandma looks at you, like you’re precious and she needs you to understand it, like she’d give you anything you asked for because this face in her hands, this face, lights up her entire day. I think that maybe Jesus feels that way about me. I think maybe he looks at me and mourns a bit because I look in the mirror and wonder why I didn’t try harder today, I look in the mirror and think that I failed again. So he tries again, he pulls my face away from that mirror and makes me stare at him, tells me again how much I matter. He tells me that he made me to matter, he made me with purpose, and nothing I do or don’t do can change that. I usually believe him for a moment, get teary-eyed and nod and we hold each other, but the next time I’m in front of that mirror I forget. I can’t possibly matter, I didn’t do any cleaning today, I didn’t read enough for school, I didn’t show enough love, I got angry at my customers, I watched too much TV, I didn’t pray enough. How can someone with so many flaws matter? How can someone that needs medication to think straight matter, really? I only matter when I’m properly medicated and I’ve had enough sleep and my mind is thinking straight, because that’s when I can actually contribute to the world.
And he comes and cups my face again. He stares into my eyes, an intensity in his own. He says, “I died for you. I died for you when you watched too much Netflix. I died for you when you yelled at your sister. I died for you when you cursed at a passing driver. I died for you when you slept all day. I died for you when you contemplated suicide. I died for you when you lusted. I died for you when you hated others. I died for you with your bitterness, your brokenness, your pride, your shame, your flaws and imperfections. I didn’t die for a perfect person—there would have been no point. I died for you because you need me. Look at me.”
Help me look a little longer, Jesus. Keep holding my face so I can’t turn away. Can we smash the mirror? Let’s smash the mirror. I just want to look at you.
1/12/18 – Five Minute Friday Free Write
I wish my brain would stop
talking for a minute
so I could get a word in
Maybe I’d say something like,
It’s okay if you made a mistake today,
you’re only human,
You’re enough even if you aren’t perfect
Please don’t worry about tomorrow
today has fresh air and flowers and sunlight and
they’re all trying to smile on you
if you’d only stop to notice
I’d say such sweet things to myself
if my brain would let me
1/10/18 – “Unknown”
I left my self-worth
in an unknown location
I can’t remember when I lost it
1/8/2018 – “Muddle”
I haven’t been in my right mind in a
couple of days
My mind is in a muddle and
I can’t keep my thoughts straight
It’s a merry-go-round in here
of must-dos and should-haves
And I’m on the outside getting dizzy
trying to keep my eyes on one thing
Somehow my mental illness
followed me 10 hours to Virginia
It must have been an exhausting trip,
but no matter
That anxiety was up at dawn
ready for an adventure
And I’m just along for the ride
I have no say in all the ways
my brain tells me to panic
I’ve lost track of all the times I
said sorry for messing things up today
See, the chaos never quits but
there’s clarity in one thing:
I must have failed and
muddled up something
Author’s Note: Man, muddle is a hard word to use. Pair that with the fact that I actually did have a very bad day mental health-wise, it was hard to write anything today. This poem isn’t good by any means, but its proof that I’m pushing through even on the hard days. And I’m proud of that.
1/7/2018 – “You”
I wrote several poems to You
back in 2007
Seems fitting that 10 years later
I’d pop in to say hello
How have you been?
Still lying to all of your friends?
Still tricking girls into loving You
and then disappearing on them?
You really gave Houdini
a run for his money
Your disappearing acts at least
always had me buying another ticket
The older I got the more I realized
every bit of it was fiction
You’re a story-teller, Aaron
I should be able to forgive that
You just couldn’t help spinning stories
I understand the appeal–
spinning stories is how I got through my teenage years
Stories that you really loved me
or our song wasn’t one you played
for every naïve 14-year-old who’d listen
You had me
and I promised that last poem
was the final one for me
I guess breaking promises
is another thing we have in common
Author’s Note: I really did write several poems titled “You” for this person in my teenage years, so it seemed appropriate to go back to that theme. I know it makes it less relatable for readers, but hopefully you all enjoyed it nonetheless.
1/6/18 – “Silence”
There used to be nothing but silence
An expanded canyon filled with
all the times you lied and
all the times I let you
I couldn’t speak over the echo of that silence,
the weight of it on my chest
Now you tell me to say how I feel
don’t hold anything back,
you can take it
You practice honesty and I
do my best to believe you
in the back of my mind
it still echoes, “Shh, shh,
you’re safer in silence”
1/5/2018 – Five-Minute Friday Free Write
Is writing just a pity party?
Is that what writers do?
Invite all of our past hurts,
give them party favors
and tell them the cake will be worth it.
Remind ourselves with slide shows
played to sad songs
about all the times we’ve been wronged.
Drink too much and
go on and on
about how we never got a real childhood?
Why do people come to all these gatherings
when they’re always the same—
a memorial of pain.
Maybe daily life is just
a masquerade ball
and we’re all so sick of wearing masks
a party relishing the horrors of reality
is almost a relief.
My guests should be happy,
I have so much material
this one could go on for years.
Author’s Note: This one was just kind of for fun. I was having a hard time thinking of what to write about and this is what came out of it. It’s not spectacular, but I’m realizing that doing a 31 day writing challenge means some days are simply going to be forced. But that has to be okay, because at least I’m writing. Thanks to everyone who has been keeping up with it for the first five days!