Growing Pains

Old ghosts sometimes come back as you start something new. The street you walk down to get to work reminds you of somewhere you were last year. The man who waves hello to you reminds you of someone you once knew well before. The ghost plays hide and seek. Memories replay in your head.

You may think it’s like a movie or like The Carpenters’ song – “when they get to the part where he’s breaking her heart, it can really make me cry.” But then the lyrics of Regina Spektor’s “Birdsong” come to mind – “Hearts always hurt more while they are learning.”

When we first experience pain it really does feel unparalleled. But when we experience it the second time – whether it be a scraped knee or a broken heart or bruised pride – it doesn’t seem to hurt as much. We grow calluses atop our scars.

And that’s the irony of life. We need this pain that we so assiduously try to avoid. We need to touch the fire to know what not to do and to have the burn marks as a reminder. We need our ghosts.

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“It’s a hard truth when your heart”

It’s a hard truth when your heart is made of satin ribbons

to be wrapped around another like a present,

But do not keep your ear to the ground,

Because he isn’t calling your name across the shore

And certainly isn’t whispering that he loves you.

Don’t keep your eyes peeled either, because he’s not

In the crowds or standing on the mountains,

And you don’t have to wear contact lenses today

Or tomorrow or any day to see him,

Because even though he was right when he said you can see the stars in your irises

And you’re worth more than gold,

If only you could untangle your stretching heart from him,

Take a moment to see beyond

And remember that today’s gold standard is 1285.60 per ounce

And yesterday it was 1283.80 per ounce –

But that you are priceless everyday.

I know it’s hard to see when you’ve got the entire sky in your eyes,

But it’s just like in those cheesy campfire love songs from your 14th birthday party,

If only you could see what I can see, you’d understand that looking in a mirror

Doesn’t reflect just how beautiful you really are,

Because beauty is on the outside,

not inside your head or his head or anyone else’s –

It’s the way you walk, the octave of your laugh, and the nod of your head;

It’s your satin ribbon heart not wound tightly around another

But tied up in a rosette in the palms of your hands –

And you don’t need to wear contact lenses to see that.

Written January 9, 2019.

Parameters: Lyrical poem, fragment, theme of moving on

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Rebuilding London Bridge

London Bridge is falling down, falling down…

London, like 2018, is complex for me.

Two years ago, I came to London on a 3 day trip with my once-friend. It was a rich cultural excursion filled with lots of fun activities and sites, but it was also a lesson. I lost someone whom I once considered close and started doubting myself on that trip.

2018 was similar in that sense. It was an emotionally turbulent year, but filled with unique, unparalleled experiences. I did not doubt my choices – on the contrary, I built my confidence in them back up – but I started doubting other things. Dreams. Identity. Relationships.

It’s now 2019 and I am starting off the year in London.

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