Tag Archives: self confidence

Ten Poems (12-10-17)

1:
Let’s go find lunch.
Like it’s hiding in the bushes,
Like it will appear if we can seek it out.
If we say the right incantation, poof, it appears.
Only a few of a restaurants have it.
This lunch thing.
You must find it first.
Find my lost lunch.
Is it in my bag?
On the grass?
In my hat?
I don’t know. We must seek it out.

2:
What is this hope of new romance?
Aren’t we too practical for this nonsense?
Here I am talking to my friend on the phone while I’m wandering my room,
Folding laundry, cricking my neck, friend in my ear,
What are you supposed to do on a third date?
She googled what to expect.
She says it’s going well.
That he’s shy, so each time she learns something new.
And she likes him.
And he likes her.
I tell her that’s great. I’m so happy for her.
Even if they can only meet at weird times because he works the night-shift.
I tell her I went dancing, and ate pho with a new boy.
I like him I think.
Like the nervous you get when you know a painting is going well,
You don’t want to ruin it.
So you proceed very slowly,
And try and shush down the hope and the future plans your brain has decided to spring on you.

3:
I play a video and get told to use headphones.
But they can talk and make tea unencumbered.
I am the one to subdue because I am the interloper,
The quiet person who pays rent, and won’t be staying,
Don’t make room on the bathroom counter,
Or in your daily routine.
Let us find a box for you and your things.

4:
I haven’t applied for new jobs.
I think about it, and chicken out.
I get home and cry because I have no energy left.
I can do it on the weekend.
Yet here I am.
Reading instead.
Trying and failing to make a list of what I need to get done.

5:
Here is this woman,
This wonderful woman,
Sitting across from me, sipping her cider with spices,
In a black coffee mug,
Snacking on Norwegian wreath cookies,
Telling me about what she studies,
With passion in her voice, and no shame.
She’s telling me engagements are different in Egypt,
In her culture,
Because there is no premarital sex,
They are often shorter,
But also less serious.
It is not a sure thing, once you’ve been engaged.
But the man is still expected to provide financially,
Basically afford a flat,
So the time engaged depends on money more than anything else,
And the expense of the wedding.
She doesn’t get to tell me more,
I have to drive the people who invited me along home,
And I think,
We could have been friends.
Those funny, subtle shifts, of timing, friends, and circumstance.
We should be friends.
I want to hear about her fiancé, who cannot see.
I want to hear about growing up in Britain,
I want another chance from fate, to sit down in a green plush chair caddy-corner to her,
And hear more about life, from someone else.

6:
The boys I meet now,
I cannot just trust my own opinion,
I use the other people’s voices in my head as counterbalance.
What would my mom say of this person?
Would my best friend turn up her nose?
If I introduced him to my people,
Would he fit in?
This is what I ask myself,
Because, suddenly, my own opinion needs bolstering,
And my own thoughts need support braces.

7:
Here I am in the car again, so I can talk privately.
Yes, I’m cold, but I can’t be overheard.
I made it home from the party okay.
I got pretty claustrophobic, but I made it out.
No, I don’t know why I still talk to you either,
I think you’ve always known you liked me more than I liked you.
I’m hanging on now because of my abandonment issues.
I will leave you once I find someone better,
You know it. I warned you. I gave you a chance to stake a claim.
I think I’m your out too,
I give you someone to think about when you’re tired and lonely,
Which is better than nothing from afar without your glasses on.

8:
Hello, it is I,
The person hiding in the tread of your shoes,
Congratulations, I have finally shrunk to the size you think I need to be,
Leave me alone now please.
Let me do things wrong or right in my own way,
Way down here,
Out of your notice.
Let me fail, please, without commentary,
It’s so hard to keep my shields up at full maximum for so long,
To repeal all the insults, jokes, teasing, and jibes, that I can and could do better, if only.

9:
She says she only wants to date,
She’s not taking care of anyone.
So many men, she tells me,
At that age, are only looking for someone to take care of them.
She’s done that already.
But who will take care of her, I wonder to myself,
But her mind and body are good,
So maybe, she takes care of her.
A nice thought.

10:
I can think to myself,
People are all the same,
As often as I want.
But when I was driving in Texas after the snowfall,
No one slowed down over the bridges.
When I called my friend to tell him how to steer out of a fishtail,
He ignored me,
I have front-wheel drive he said.
No one here knows how to use defrosters.
And again, I had those stranger’s thoughts.
I don’t fit in.
I have no home to go back to.

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Poems from My Day (7-23-16)

i’m having trouble getting past the it’s okay to make mistakes phase of writing

1:
It’s an old wound,
Annoyingly, still hurting.
But, she knows the name of his roommate,
And what classes he’s taking,
What food they serve at his dorm,
What he’s doing with his money.
She’s planning to pack a first-aid box for him.
They’ve ordered his laptop.
He’ll pay them back.
She’s rearranging her schedule around for his move-in date.
To my heart, the mundane details she knows,
Are quiet proof that she loves him more.
Her time, the thing I always wanted from her,
She gives so freely to the last of her kids.

2:
Sure, there are other people out there being lonely too,
But you can’t have a cup of tea with them
And take apart your day,
Piece by piece and song by song.

3:
If you don’t say what you’re thinking,
Are you still being yourself?
If you stop yourself enough times, do you keep thinking it,
Or have you changed your ways for good?
If I never say the snarky thing I’m thinking,
Do I become the quiet thing I’ve always tried to be?

4:
I remember in college a boy with Justin Bieber hair,
Telling me to stop saying sorry,
I could only say sorry in response.
Really I wanted to say,
I can say whatever the hell I want, to whomever I choose.
But I didn’t have the balls.

5:
Doughy. I feel like a whale.
Like they only look at me because I’m new in such a small town.
And female.
But on the other hand, none of the women here have that beauty complex you see
In the lower 48,
The constant, I’m not thin enough talk, just doesn’t happen up here.

6:
Useless. I’m useless.
These hands do nothing.
This brain, such an expensive brain, sits there on idle.
This body has started decaying,
And I can’t bring myself to care.

Poems from My Day (6-26)

my god have i been writing poetry for two years now?

1:
My house in Alaska has run out of gas.
No hot showers.
Cold water to clean with.
And the day in late June, when the temperature drops below 45,
I have no heat.
To get gas, I have to call a guy to come pick it up from the fuel station and bring it to my house, and pay him $20 and find the lock on the tank.
I can’t bring myself to do it just yet.

2:
How do I tell my sister what I want for my birthday,
How do I say, spend this on me,
When she’s as poor as I am.
Do I give her options, but then I sound greedy.
This is something that needs to be done over the phone.
But then I’d have to call her.
I’d just rather not bother with.
Maybe she’ll forget.

3:
I can write like “Frog & Toad Together.”
Short sentences are easy to read.
They make writing difficult.
A lot of emotion fits in simple ideas.
Many feelings squeeze into short stories.
Mr. Lobel tells powerful, human stories.
I would like to do that too.

4:
He says I could fix me if I wanted,
I’m not trying hard enough.
He says I don’t want to have more confidence,
Get better.
But he also says he loves me,
So his word isn’t much to go on.

5:
I confided in my mother,
So I felt supported and connected to humanity for a minute.
But everything I tell her will come back to bite me,
Take a big chunk out of my heart later,
“Well don’t you remember two weeks ago when you said …”
I knew that going into the call.
The need to talk to someone
Outweighed the need to feel lonely.

6:
I want to be lost in the world of a crappy romance novel.
So I don’t pay attention to food,
Or weather,
And the problems of my day to day life.
I just can’t start reading.

7:
It hurts so much, having no one to talk to.
Who I can open up to completely,
Without fear of repercussion.
Someone who’s here with me,
Who already knows my story.
It’s so damn hard,
And I’ve been under the impression that friendship isn’t something you force,
So I’m sitting here waiting for it to happen, naturally.

8:
I’ll go to a new small town, village, thing,
Where I’ll be self-supportive, and not need anything from anyone,
That’ll be better.
I’ll be able to be myself,
And I won’t have to answer to anyone,
I can be rude, and snotty, like I am in my heart,
And I won’t care if people dislike me,
And any friends I get will be real friends, because I’ll be being myself.

9:
My roommate took a bunch of kids to Costa Rice for a senior trip.
She wanted them out of this village, to see the world,
And also to have a passport, a passport that’s good for ten years.
This reminded me I have a passport. I can go wherever I want.
If I can afford the plane ticket.
I moved to Alaska by myself,
I can do anything.

10:
Start peddling.
That’s what he told me on the phone.
I liked that.
Maybe that’s what I’ll start doing, once my bike works and stuff.
I’ll get a helmet and fit in that way.
Up and down the hills.
I’ll bring a camera, my camera, and I’ll travel all around.
With a cell phone of course.
People will recognize me then.

Be Yourself

They told me. They said, just be yourself.
I’m not sure you know what that means.
If it means don’t hold your tongue,
If it means, don’t be shy,
If it means, only be your good self,
Then I’ll never be that.
Because if I were to be just me,
I would hurt feelings,
Lose friends,
Make people uncomfortable,
But most of all,
I’d be crying, because that’s what I hold back the most.

Thoughtless Gestures of Love

A story for you, written in 20 minutes
3:06 a.m.

We drove from my Mom’s house to my Dad’s house. This was my Friday night. Headlights going down the highway in the rust polka-dotted, old geo-prism. My sister wasn’t with us. It was just me and Dad and NPR. I passed the time by road ogling for an hour fifteen.
I think he was trying to bring up a woman’s issue. I was in 8th grade. About to be a real teenager. About to be in High School. He brought up the importance of self-confidence for young women. He didn’t mean me specifically. He meant, young women as he knew them, as the idea ideal. I said, “I have like zero self-confidence.” I’m not sure if I was joking or not. Self-confidence isn’t something someone tells you how to acquire, they just seem to measure. My Dad turned his head from the highway to look at me. He usually spoke to you like he was a recording, and when you were talking he was only on pause. But this time, he seemed to look at me. I knew I’d done something wrong.
From where he drove, I was his little girl. He didn’t get to spend enough time with me. I was just growing up so fast. I seemed happy enough. I talked about my friends. I was good. He had nothing to worry about. I made my grades. Not the grades he wanted, but the grades I worked for. He wasn’t sure about my school. The history teacher seemed to have his facts and opinions too close together. But I’d be fine. Grades don’t matter till high school. I seemed to care.
He must have read a book about this somewhere. Mom told me once he was so nervous about being a Dad he read those books. A good student till the end. A student of black and white in print. And this self-confidence thing, now that was something bad. He had to fix that. That couldn’t go on. Self-confidence was very important for young women. I was a young women. He had read this is important. He must have decided he knew he could improve my confidence.
On the way home, we stopped at the library. I picked out a couple movies. At the checkout counter he said, “these are for you.” He handed me a stack of books. I walked out to the car with them piled in my arms. I read the titles once we were half-way home. They were themed. Improve you self-confidence, how to be a better you, how to love yourself the teenager, find the good inside everyone.
Right then, I think, no I know, I saw my Dad for his faults. First time. How did he not know this wasn’t how to fix me? How did he not know his own daughter well enough to know when he did something to upset her. Worse, when he upset me, why didn’t he care? He never should have told me there was something wrong with me or my confidence. He never should have given me a book. He never should have tried to fix me. I learn through talking. Why didn’t he talk to me instead of past, over, and to my sister? I put those books down. In one of my first acts of teenage rebellion, I never touched those books again. He condemned me with a library card. If he would have said anything to me, I would have been better off.
He scared me. In retrospect, he might have asked those questions, and I probably wouldn’t have answered. I was just nerves. I worried whatever answer I gave might not be the right one, and I’d get a lecture, or he’d raise his voice. So I started not telling him. He couldn’t hurt me that way, if I didn’t tell him something might be wrong. I can’t be fixed if I won’t tell you anything important. So I stuck to safe topics. I learned to have non-issue opinions that would keep him talking. No one could tell me something was wrong with me. I’d be perfect in the middle of the road, normal. You can’t suggest to the perfect.

Another One Told Me This

Don’t tell me to think I’m beautiful,
Like it’s a gift,
Like I should,
Because you’re the first to say it, you think.
My strength comes from me.
Don’t lecture me about how pretty I am.
I’m not very pretty.
It’s fine.
It doesn’t bother me anymore.
It just is.
You can say all women are beautiful.
But it’s a line you think you should say.
You don’t know me well enough to say I’m beautiful.
You think all women should think they’re beautiful.
Like all people should have confidence.
And that you’re God’s gift because you can tell this girl
This one right here
How pretty she is.
And that will make it all better
You can fix her sadness if she knows she’s pretty.