You are What You Cook for Me

I’m easily lured by food
bad for the body
but good for the soul
You are what you cook for me

I’ve never had the self-control
To choose what is good
Over what feels good

Sweet, and savory
Spicy, and so soul comforting
You really are what you cook for me
And I will ever over-indulge

***

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Written in response to The Daily Post Prompt: Fry

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Five Minute Friday // In the Slow Time

Nothing feels slow anymore. I’m rushing to work, rushing through the day, rushing to get home, rushing to clean up, walk the dog, eat dinner, watch tv, and go to bed where I rush to sleep, to rush back to work the next day. Going, going, going, but getting nowhere I guess.

There are some slow times in there, and I savor them. They mean the world to me and when I guard it fiercely. So often it feels like that is all I have.

My favorite is every evening when the time comes for me to stretch out on my side of the couch, and the lovely woman who loves me back sits close by. We might not be paying much attention to each other, we may be looking at tv screens, iPad screens, laptop screens, or phones but it’s ok. We are together. The world is outside of these shitty, shabby walls and none of it can get it. This is our slow time.

There are pillows are piled up, and more blankets than we need. There are snacks, and drinks, Netflix, and chargers for every device. The dog joins on the far end and the cat squeezes in wherever she can. There is everything we need right there.

I stretch my feet out to rest on the lovely woman next to me, and she asks me what we ought to watch. We chew our dinner and enjoy it, not like the breakfast that comes in liquid form or the lunches that may not come at all. We talk about the day and finally find our feelings for it. At work, with others, there is no time to decide what you should have done or felt, but it all comes out in the slow time.

***

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Written in response to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday prompt: Slow

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Embracing Uncertainty

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting nothing more than to crawl back into bed and escaping the world.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a fresh start, every week. Mondays are our do-overs, our reset buttons, our first days. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

For me, this Monday is a super easy one, and, hopefully, if I can focus, a productive one too. It’s the first day of my winter break from work, and I hope to spend it writing as much as I can since I blew off the whole weekend laying on the couch or visiting family. I still have to work a few days over this week and next but today I am home. I am relaxed but focused. I have coffee, and I have set up shop in the spare bedroom, far away from the TV.

I am trying.

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

— Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to grow up and grow old with another person.

I feel lucky to have lived as close to a fairy tale as most people can ever hope. It has been—and continues to be a roller coaster ride of emotion and uncertainty by as time go one the highs are less high and the lows aren’t so low. It’s a good thing to be slow and steady and secure in each other. We are like one person with two brains. We fight, we confess, we whisper sweet nothings, and sometimes we want to get away from one another. It is all very lovely and typical.

We wanted to be secure with each other, but we became too confident in the trajectory of our lives. Lately, things are beginning to feel repetitive. Lately, things have started to feel like they are over.

We wake up, we work, we come home, we watch Netflix, we go to bed. We grocery shop, we see family, and we go to the movies. We pay our bills, we have food, we have a roof, we have water and heat. We have fun, and we laugh, but we have fun and laugh in all the same places with all the same people. We love each other, and we love the life we built, but it’s beginning to feel a bit too insulated I think.

There is no more uncertainty, and we have found that instead of making us any happier, it’s actually driving us a little insane.

Last night, just before we fell asleep, we had a bit of a joint existential crisis and decided that life feels too much like life is already over like we did everything everyone is supposed to do, or that we can do, and now we are just going through the motions until the end. It was sad, and I realized that to be feeling like this before we’ve even lived half of our lives is so awful. We are not supposed to be feeling like this!

So, I proposed that we make a joint New Year’s resolution. We will resolve to start, right away, doing all the things we’ve always wanted to do. All the places we’ve wanted to visit, all the experiences we’ve wanted to have, all the things we wanted to learn, they are going on the list. Some of the things on the list will be easy, trips and classes to take, some will be big, like changing our careers big.

Life may become a little less certain for us, but just thinking about this list and where it might lead us feels so exciting. It feels like life can begin again for us, together, as it should.

Life should never feel stale, and I regret letting things go on the same day after day the way I have. I grew up in chaos, and so this calm felt good. It felt like I could finally breathe. I could stop and look around, I could get my bearing and figure what it meant to exist, to be me, and to love, and suffer, and learn. But I have done that, and now it is time to shatter everything I think I know and let my life become something new again.

This week, we should all start thinking about what your life has become and what you always meant for it to be. How do you feel about where you are and what you might have thought was good and it turns out was not what you wanted after all? Think about what you have learned over your life and what you still hope to.

Think about how much time you have left and how you might feel when the end comes, and you have continued just as you are for the rest of the time you have. How might you feel?

Make a list of the things you want to do, see, and learn. Put them in whatever order you like and make it your mission to check off whatever you can—however you can—until you can’t anymore.

Think about how good that will make you feel, when the end comes, and you had the courage to let go and give into a little uncertainty so that you could really live!

***

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Quote via Austin Kleon

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Winter Dreaming

Her warmth snuggled against me, deep under covers
Scents of honey and cinnamon from wide-mouthed mugs
I sigh, sitting at work, dreaming of sweeter snow days

***

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Written in response to Ink in Thirds Three Line Thursday Prompt: Quiet

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I Hope I Die Before You

When you are young, and you say you will love someone forever, you have no idea what that means.

You never imagine that this beautiful fairy tale could ever end. Nothing could sever such a rare connection. You know, somewhere in the back of your mind, that people die, that people you love will die, and so will you, but your brain somersaults around logic, and you believe the rule does not apply to you, let alone the one you love. Love transcends all. Love makes all things possible.

So, with forever to look forward to, you build a home, you make a family, you share bank accounts. You fight, and you forget each other because you have all the time in the world. You never stop to consider the pain one of you will feel when one of you will leave this world and the other behind. You realize what you’ve wasted only after it’s too late.

After 31 years on this planet, and 14 years with the girl of my dreams, it is sinking in, one day one of us will be alone. Forever isn’t quite forever, not the way I thought. Life seems so much shorter than it used to and even if I got 100 more years with her it wouldn’t feel like enough.

***

I am scared.

I often dream that I am roaming from room to room in our home calling her name and searching, but I can’t find her anywhere. Sometimes I dream that I am in choking and sobbing telling her story at her funeral. Sometimes I am calling to her from some kind of white afterlife where I am alone and afraid, but she can’t hear me. Sometimes I hear her calling to me, but I cannot get to her.

I suppose my mind is playing out a trauma I might one day experience. Somewhere inside I am working through what I think it will feel like to be torn from her.

I talk to her about my fears of course, because talking to her is the only way I know how to work things out in my mind. I tell her that I can’t stop worrying about her and that my heart hurts when I think about one of us dying before the other. She tells me not to worry about it. She tells me she will be fine. She tells me we have plenty of time before we need to worry.

I tell her she doesn’t know that.

***

I become obsessed, trying to work through what will happen to each of us when the other is gone.

I tell her that if I die she has to go live with someone, preferably with family. I know her, she is very private and will try to cope alone. Someone will have to make sure to gets enough sleep, eats enough food and doesn’t work too hard. Someone will have to do all the things I do for her now. Someone will have to stand up to her for her own good, but I don’t know anyone who can.

I tell her that if anything ever happened to me, I want her to date again and find someone who will love her and take care of her when she is ready. She says the same back to me. I feel relieved. At least neither of us will have to worry that the other wouldn’t approve.

I tell her that I am afraid if she dies first my heart and mind won’t be able to handle it. There is no way I will be able to stay in our home, or throw away her things, or go back to the job where we both have worked for so many years.

I am certain I will lose my mind. I am certain I will self-destruct in one way or another. I will be desperate to find her in the place we all go when we aren’t here anymore. I will be desperate to escape. I know I will not recover.

She tells me again and again, we have time, we are okay, she is okay, everything is okay.

I only become more anxious.

***

We bury the pain that comes with facing mortality in jokes that aren’t jokes at all.

We laugh about double suicides and imagine ways we might die together. What will happen to the house and the animals if we are both in a car accident, a plane crash, an earthquake, a bombing, anything! Dying together is the best case scenario, and these are our secret hopes.

One life without the other makes no sense. How could the world will go on spinning? How could people keep doing what they have always done? How can we wake up again in bed alone? This is impossible. This is insulting.

Laying in the bed, both of us staring at the ceiling through the dark she squeezes my hand and tells me this is how she would like to die.

It is sweet.

***

More and more often these thoughts come to me, and when I look at her, I want to cry.

She is so beautiful and so strong. She has shown me so much love and made my life something truly good. I am sad that such beautiful and rare things have to end. I am angry there is no way out or around the inevitable. I am angry she would be yanked from this world, and me, the one who loves her best.I am angry that I must go too. I don’t want to leave her lost and alone in this world.

I tell her I hope I die before her.

She doesn’t know what to say anymore.

I wonder if I am crazy. I wonder if I am the only one trying to cope with the future. She never seems to be as scared, but I do notice that, from time to time, she clings to me at night too after dreaming I was lost to her. She lays on my chest and cries because it felt too real. I pat her back and try to soothe her, but I don’t know how.

I say the only thing I can.

I tell her I am here, I am fine, and we have so much time before we have to worry about anything like that.

***

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Look at How You Love and Have Been Loved

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t supposed to be good days, but let’s imagine for a moment that they are. Let’s imagine that Mondays are the days when we get to start all over again. Let’s imagine all the bad things that happened last week don’t matter anymore and that we’ve been given a second chance to do it all again, and this time maybe even get it right.

Monday’s are for making the changes we want to see in ourselves and for thinking about the changes we want to see in the world. Monday’s are exciting!

For me, this Monday is flying by much too quickly. I am late for just about everything, I’m even late getting this post up! I thought about just giving up and trying again tomorrow but that didn’t feel right. I felt I should still give my all and try to do everything I set out to, including writing this post anyway.

Better late than never.

“..it’s awful not to be loved. It’s the worst thing in the world…It makes you mean, and violent, and cruel.”

― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

This week I am finishing up John Stienbeck’s East of Eden and I just know this is going to be a book I am going to be thinking about for a very long time. There are a lot of lessons in it about love. About everyone’s need for love and what can happen to us when we grow up without that love.

What particularly struck me was the time spent on people who on the surface did look like they needed love but on the inside both craved and gave an immense amount of love.

Sometimes those people, because they hadn’t gotten the love they needed, acted in ways that prevented others from loving them easily. They felt inadequate and unworthy. They felt inherently bad and incapable of attaining the beauty and perfection of othere they saw getting the love they so desperately needed.

In contrast, the one who were loved easily grew to take it for granted and could not look past other people’s perceived flaws and mistakes in order to give love in return.

I have been thinking about how these scenerios might have played out in my own life, or how I might have acted or felt similarly.

As a child I was deeply sensitive and craved love from the adults around me. Unfortunately the adults in my life had their own problems and lacked the emotional capacity to give the kind of love I needed. I went through many fazes trying to get that love. I tried to be perfect, that didn’t work. I tried being bad, that didn’t work. I tried not caring, and that didn’t work either. Eventually I had to leave behind the people who couldn’t love me to search for people who could.

I found that love, and later the people who couldn’t love me found me again and they had grown and matured enough to try again. I am lucky, some people never get that love. I wonder how I might have turned out if nothing had changed for me?

I wonder how many people around me, people I have written off or not taken an interest in because they are not easy to be cared about or wanted, are filled with a need for love they’ve never had and love they’ve never been able to give?

This week, look inside yourself and look back into your past, all the way to your childhood. Think about all the way you have grown and been shaped by the presence or absence of love. Think about who has loved you and who you wish had. Think about the love you have now and whether it excites or scares you. Think about the ways you accept love and the ways you give it too. Think about the kind of people who think deserve love, and the ones you think don’t, then ask yourself why?

This week take a little time to look around yourself. Look at the people who aren’t perfect who aren’t easy to know, the people who might’ve made mistakes or who might be hiding behind a facade to avoid pain. Try to see the beauty in them. Try to see them as a person, a whole human being like yourself with all the same needs and pains. Try to find love for them, in your own way. Even if it is only a secret love.

It’ll keep you from becoming too cold and cruel.

As always, try to be the change you want to see. Examine yourself and those around you and adjust accordingly.

***

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Writer’s Quote Wednesday // Trista Mateer

Hello, hello, and welcome to the middle of the week, dear readers. If you are feeling a little run down or if Friday is feeling a bit too far away, I encourage you to check out Writer’s Quote Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading and Ronovan of Ronovan Writes.

For my contribution this week, I have chosen a quote from the poet Trista Mateer.

image
Fuck

Trista Mateer is a 25-year old writer currently based outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Known for her eponymous blog, she is also is the author of three collections of poetry: HoneybeeThe Dogs I Have Kissed, and Small Ghost. She believes in lipstick, black tea, and owning more books than she can ever possibly read.

She is currently working as a contributing editor at Words Dance literary magazine.

I stumbled across Mateer’s work while scrolling Tumblr; most user can’t scroll very far before coming upon her words on love and queerness.

Her metaphors are brilliant, and her writing is direct. Everything she says is relatable, universal, and she can tell a story and fill you with emotion in a very small amount of words.

She is my newest obsession and role model. She is the first poet contemporary poet who I have decided must grace my bookshelves and she has been a shining example of how self-publishing can lead to success.

“Write about what you need to write about even if it’s just love poems. The world could always use at least six more love poems. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise”

— Trista Mateer on advice to aspiring writers in an interview at The Wild Ones Queer Lit Rag

It feels like everything has been said already, and that can be discouraging
I was born too late to say anything for the first time. Maybe I should just give up? Maybe we should all give up. I am positive you were born too late to say anything for the first time too.

Some things resist being said again and again while provoking the same response, but there is one thing for which I believe there is an infinite number of things to be said and perspectives to be shared. That thing is love.

That thing is love.

There are countless poems professing that love has been found, and the happily ever after is in sight or already grasped. Some love poems aren’t happy poems. So many of them are sad poems because for so many of us our love ends in pain and suffering. Even a love that endures experiences moments of hurt and doubt, all of which can be translated into words that capture our unique experience and transcend time.

Love improves us and brings out the worst in us, both of which make more some of the best writing motivation you will ever find.

The lack of love hurts us, and there is much to say on that too.

Like any good writing, a good love poem tells the truth about love. It captures the way love blinds, distracts, and consumes. It brings forth a remembered or hoped for passion in the reader. It translates the desperation of jealousy, the heart-clenching pain of abandonment, and the emptiness that comes with a love lost to death from one heart to another.

Even the love poems that tell sweet lies have their purpose.  The greatest epics on love have given us the most unrealistic expectations, and if you believe them, you will surely fail. But I can’t help but think that without their promise of happily ever after we might never have enough hope to brave the possibility of pain and loss time and again to find that perfect soul mate.

There is never enough that can be said about love. There is no end to the ways to say you love someone so much that it fills you with a kind of energy you’ve never felt. There is no end to the ways to say you love someone so much that it hurts. There is no end to the ways to say the sight of that person awakens your whole body and fills you with a passion that scares you.

So write some love poems and don’t for one moment think they are too cheesy or unnecessary. All love poems have a place, and this world needs them more than ever. In a time when the rise of hatred and loneliness threatens to push us past a point of no return, write a love poem and do your part to remind the world that love is beautiful and even in the pain it causes it will always be the greatest force for good and happiness in this world.

Write a love poem and remind yourself that the time of romanticism is not over.

I’ll write mine too and remember the same.

***

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