Dream Dream Dream

I don’t like to dream.

There, I said it. And it is true. I don’t like to dream.

I am not talking about the daydreams, fantasies, wishes we all have. The somedays, the lofty goals, the rewards we work for.  I am talking about the dreams fill the night while we lay unsuspecting in our beds.

The word Dream makes us think of fairies and glitter and all things lovely.  Landscapes that are beyond those we see in real life, where people are painfully beautiful, and everything goes as planned-and then some. But I do not have those, or if I do, they are so few and far between I cannot recall them.

I wonder sometimes if I am the only one that wakes in a mood I cannot describe until much later in the day, when something, anything, brings a glimpse of the dream back into my consciousness. When my hand on a dish held just so will take me back to the moment in my mind and for a second I catch my breath and pause-trying to recall more than a blink of it. But I never can.

My dreams are filled with people I can barely recall, moments I wish to forget, conversations I wish I had, and closure I never got.  They follow me to my bedroom and wait for me in that deep, warm cocoon I make for myself every night.  Is my mind trying to forge endings where there were none?  Or tell me to let go of things that I am still holding on to, if only by a thread?  It is hard to say.  And if I had to write for you one dream or another from start to finish, to lay it out so that we could dissect it and discover its true origins, or find within the folds what message it has for me, I could not.  I am left in the morning with bits and pieces that make no sense, have no pattern, and reveal no secrets.

Much like confetti after a party….

I wake and look around the room for clues, for meaning, for understanding and find there is none. The dream is gone without so much as a waft of dust in it’s wake.  I am left with a mood that sinks to my bones and makes itself at home in my mind. I wander and wonder throughout the day, waiting for the clue to reveal itself when I am most unsuspecting.

Perhaps it is a side effect of reading and writing as I do, that I am in fact the one that calls out to these dreams and invites them to join me in my slumber.  Maybe as I coax the words out and onto the page, I am coaxing them as well, out of the shadows and recesses of my memories where they lay waiting to be set free?

If that is the case, then so be it.  If these dreams are the lost fragments of things I no longer need, that serve no purpose in my subconscious and that I will one day trip over if I don’t shake them free now, then so be it. Let me sleep.  Let me write and call to them by name, one by one, until I am left with none. Let me type until my fingers ache.  Until they dissipate and drift away with the morning sun rising one last time.

Until my dreams are full of fairies and glitter.

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Jane Doe

Does it matter who I am

whose words I dare to speak

whose memories I care to share?

The names are changed

to protect the innocent

and those that are not so much.

But why do I care?

Why should I hide

behind a thin veil

as if you won’t see

the gory bits of me

and the tiniest bits of you

still scattering across the page.

Does it matter who I am

or who I thought you were?

Does it matter how I felt

or how it makes you feel?

Should I change my name

and hide out, keeping my secrets?

would you not still see

the truth I share is as it was to me?

Jane Doe is who I am

Jane Doe is who you are

Leave your name tag on the floor

I won’t be needing it

and neither will you.

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Goodbye Kiss

You come to me in a dream

every morning

as the light starts to touch the windowsill.

A kiss as light as air,

gently on my forehead,

my cheek, my eyelids

So soft it is though I imagined it.

And then you are gone,

like the first breeze of spring,

barely there and then,


I wake and wonder

if I felt it,

if you were there

were your lips on my skin,

did my body stir,

or was it just a beautiful illusion

passing through my sleepy head.

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Willy Wonka Takes Me Back

I have been working on another post all night and had to stop. I keep hearing that song over and over in my head and it is far too distracting.

“Ooompa Loompa …”

“But I want it NOW, Daddy!”

I can remember waiting for Willy Wonka and The Wizard of Oz to come on every year.  Back before Netflix and cable and VHS and DVD and OnDemand, back when you had to wait a whole year to watch your favorite movies and specials again.   Truthfully, The Wizard of Oz was always my favorite, but we could not wait to watch Willy Wonka every year either. We sat mesmerized, glued to the vivid imagery, the irresistible lure of candy, the magical tour of the factory. We had no clue how totally creepy Mr. Wonka was, or what wretched brats those children were. We were just enthralled by the magic that was the movie.

We didn’t mind commercials, those were built in bathroom breaks, a chance to run upstairs to get our dessert, for my father to make us a snack. Besides, without commercials, how would we know what to put on our Christmas list for Santa?

We waited for those holiday specials with almost as much excitement as we had for the holidays themselves. They were part of the whole tradition.

Ah…It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. What a love I have for the Peanuts gang, even now as an adult. Just the music can take me back.  But as I tried to share these things with my children, I realized too much has changed.

My kids thought Charlie Brown was boring.  They much preferred the new Willy Wonka to the old.  The Wizard of Oz was about a girl. Enough said.  Sadly, my husband and I find ourselves watching these classics from our youth by ourselves now. Like tonight.

Technology will always have the upper hand.  It will always offer us new alternatives, different options, and I am a fan most of it. But tonight it is making me just a bit sad.  We had fun watching movies together on the sofa in my parents living room. We snuggled under the afghan my grandmother crochet for us, ate the popcorn my father doused with butter after he popped it on the stovetop in a pot. We turned out the lights and pretended we were at the movies and were glued to our 20″ tv.  It was magic. It was not the least bit boring.

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Reblogged Sort of…

I am cheating tonight because I stayed up way to late last night writing. So I am reblogging sort of.  I actually did reblog, but to my photo site, and now I can’t reblog again, so here is a link.


I am going to print it. And highlight it like crazy. And then laminate it.  Because it is amazing. Because she knows just what to say.  Because it took my breath away.

I want to share a quote but I have so many I love, I can’t choose.

Just go. Now.  http://hannahbrencher.com/2014/11/04/this-is-just-the-night-talking/

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On Lessons, Lies and Lena Dunham

I am watching with great interest what I refer to as “Lena Dunham Debacle”.   I was a fan, sort of, of hers until recently. I watched-and enjoyed-Girls, and while I am much older than she, I could somewhat relate to the awkwardness and sadness of all she conveyed in the episodes I watched. (I admit I have not seen them all.) And for some time I followed her on Instagram and other social media outlets. But recently, and by recently I mean before her book came out and the shit storm began swirling, I lost interest in her. Her weirdness was no longer unique an authentic, it felt more like spin, like a persona she was trying on, and while at times I agreed with the message that she was trying to send, her methods were grating on my nerves.

This week she is caught up in the weirdness that she has created and cultivated into her brand. With her new ‘memoir’ hitting the stands she is not just a hero to those that sit a little left of center and the spokesperson for a generation that has no clear identity other than that they just are who they are and that should be good enough, she is now sitting smack in the middle of mainstream America. Perched at the number two spot on the NY Times Best Seller List, her book is being read by housewives and haters alike, by fans and followers, critics and cynics across the globe.

I use the term memoir loosely, since Dunham herself calls herself and ‘unreliable narrator’, and claims that she ‘adds an invented detail to every story she tells’, leaving us to wonder if her memoir should be filed under fiction or not. Regardless, she claims these are her tales to tell and her wisdom should be shared with the masses. And, I should add, while many of her reviews rave about her writing skills, her voice and her craft, just as many wonder what exactly she has learned at the ripe old age of 28, and if she has indeed learned anything, as they were unable to find it in the pages of her book.

The eye of the storm that she has brought upon herself is centered around the admissions that she, by most peoples standards, inappropriately touched her younger sister. That she masturbated while lying in bed next to her, and bribed her with candy for kisses. She even goes on to say that that “anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.”

The media, social and otherwise, the blogosphere, the tabloids and rags are all abuzz with this scandal, and Lena is perplexed and defensive, claiming it is out of context and completely within the realm of normal childhood curiosity. She seems utterly perplexed at what all the fuss is about, and in a odd rant accused the right wing newsies of fabricating the story.

Maybe in her house it was normal-who knows. But here is the thing about memoirs and personal essays, when you hit submit, or publish, post or print, you are opening the door to your house. You are inviting people in to your house, and introducing them to your family and anyone else you keep behind that door. You are sharing not just your secrets, you are sharing theirs, and in doing so you are bringing the storm down upon them as much as yourself.

It is not that I am not a fan of personal essays, I undoubtedly am. I find them cathartic and medicinal. A way of releasing memories and thoughts that so often hold me back, or keep me down. I find writing about something often guides me back to the path I should have been on, helps me find that thing I wasn’t even looking for. But when I write, I am mindful. I am aware that these are my memories, my recollections, and the mind has a way of altering things. The truths we hold in our hearts are often tainted with emotion, weathered with age, fragile and susceptible to embellishment. While I want to exorcise these things that fester in my head, release them so that I can move forward, I find there are things that I will publish, and things that I cannot. There are things that while they are helpful for me to write, would be hurtful for me to post.

I am fans of and friends with writers that disagree. Their raw honesty is amazing to me, but I cannot help but wonder what happens after.   After they publish, after they share, after their mother reads it, or after their children do. Everything we do, or say, or share and post has a ripple effect and we no longer have the opportunity to watch the waters calm into a glasslike film after a time-all evidence gone. Our words are indelible, etched into the Internet for years to come.   When my youngest son Google’s my name years from now, what do I want him to find? What do I want him to learn about me? I can choose (some of) that, I can control (some of) that, but do I have the right to expose my mother, my father, or siblings to the judgments of strangers and worse yet, my children and grandchildren? Is that fair?

Anne Lamott says “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better” and for the most part I agree. I have ex’s and enemies that deserve no love from me, no words of kindness, but what of those I love and that love me? Is it fair to write of their addictions, their shortcomings, their failures, even if it is part of my story? Do I have the right to open the door to their home, and bring out the skeletons in their closet?

Some days I wonder if this makes me less authentic as a writer or as a person, and I admit the balance can be hard. I recently wrote a piece and for the first time ever I let my husband read it before I posted it-it discussed part of our relationship so I felt like I should share it with him privately. Today, it is still sitting in my saved folder. He didn’t judge, and didn’t tell me not to, he just said very quietly, ‘That is so personal’. I couldn’t tell if that was a good thing or not. I was proud of what I had written and it was personal-to me. But all of this is new to me and while I choose grow and heal by writing, I don’t want to destroy and damage at the same time.

I don’t want to filter, I want to own my truth, but with truth comes consequences and this is what I learned from Lena Dunham without ever having read her book. While Lena and her sister and their respective publicists will deny any wrong doing and claim the ‘out of context’ defense and dribble on about normal curiosity (despite the fact that a 28 year old woman just compared herself to a sexual predator), her story is out there and her consequences are just beginning. Just as quickly as she opened her door, she is closing it, telling us to stay out and not examine the skeletons she pulled out of the closet to parade for us, but it is too late. People are looking at her differently; they are discussing her parents, and questioning her upbringing. They are talking about patterns of abuse and signs of molestation. And we will never know the truth-what is going on behind that closed door. What damage has been done to the relationships in her life, with her mother and father, sister, friends or lovers? We will never know if that bit in her memoir was one of those she added fictional details to, or if she was being ironic and sarcastic, a sad attempt at her awkward humor, or if she did in fact molest her sister. We will never know if her sister really is ‘laughing so hard’ or if she will never speak to her again.

The only person that will know the whole truth to all of this is Lena, and it is doubtful anyone will believe a word she says anymore.

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It is bittersweet, the changing of things, the letting go. My life has been a whirlwind the last few years, but I am finally at peace. I am not spinning. I am doing things I want to do, authentically saying yes, and firmly saying no. I have built boundaries and learned how to listen to my heart and my body. These are the sweet things, brought forth by changes I neither wanted nor thought that I needed (and all of which were bitter) but apparently the universe thinks that I did. Need them that is.

On the outside, life is changing around me as well. Specifically I am talking about my boys. My eldest will be 16 this month, in 17 days to be exact, and I can feel the strings of my heart, the ones that connect me so closely to his, one by one giving way, unable to hold on much longer. My golden boy, the funny one, the inquisitive child, the serious thinker, and joy of my life, feels like he is no longer mine. His world is expanding outside of me, outside of our home and outside of the places I can protect him and keep him safe and it is both exciting and terrifying. I look at him out of the corner of my eye and he is nearly a man-it feels so foreign, so strange. I want to hold on, I want him to be mine for just a bit longer. Like forever, is that too much to ask? I don’t want this stranger man-child, I don’t want brooding silence and sulky answers, or worse yet, arrogant debates. I want my boy back, just a little while longer.

My youngest will be twelve just a month later. And while he still has his youthful innocence, his ridiculous sense of humor, and his wide open heart, he too is starting to pull. Not intentionally, not with the vigor his brother does, but I can feel the faint tug of independence starting. He is my baby, there is no other behind him, his moments will be my last moments. And the thought of my last anything hurts my heart in places I didn’t know I had.

This past Friday was Halloween, my favorite holiday-okay, one of my favorites. Before we moved here it was a big to-do; dinner with the neighbors, trick or treating with friends and family…we looked forward to it for weeks. But this year was different. Not just a new town, or a new house and a new neighborhood to walk. This year was the first year my youngest went out without us.

It happened so fast, I felt unprepared. His friends were up ahead on their bikes, loot bags dangling from their handlebars and C asked us to stop the car. Is it so wrong that when we passed his friends on the street, rolling their bikes up the hill, I wished for a moment that he did not see them? Was it wrong of me to be hoping when he ran up to talk to them, that when he came back he would say he wanted to stay with us? Was it okay that my heart lifted a little when he hesitated for just a second?

But he went. He went off on his bike in the dark with his friends to trick or treat for the first year ever without me.

It was bittersweet. I am proud of him-that he has adjusted so well to his new life here, that he is confident and outgoing and just ran up and joined the boys, that he had ‘the best Halloween ever’, even if it was without us. But it means I have to admit that he is growing up. He is not my ‘baby bird’ any longer.

So, I cried. Just a pinch, just the tiniest bit. The approaching holidays are making me homesick already and having my eldest drive away to meet up with his friends did nothing to help the ache in my chest. Watching my youngest step out into the night on his own just did me in. It is all at once so bitter and sweet, and I feel so unprepared.

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The Love Triangle

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942. Public Domain

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942. Public Domain

Katherine flicks the ash off the end of her cigarette absently, her hand shaking ever so slightly. She keeps her eyes on the fellow behind the counter, he seems to be moving in slow motion, and she finds herself mesmerized. She is afraid if she glances over Kent’s shoulder, if she dares to look at the man seated on the corner, she will give herself away.

Outside of her thoughts she hears him thank the young man for the milkshake, a milkshake she neither wants, or needs. A scotch would do wonders right now, she muses. She turns slowly to him, making sure his broad shoulder blocks the view behind him.

“Thank you, love. This is heavenly! And the show, I had no idea Suzette Stanley could dance and sing! It just gave me chill bumps the whole time!”

She could tell she was rambling, and knew her voice sounded shrill in the quiet diner.

“I thought you might like that, I know how much you love her music,” he answers, coming in to nuzzle her neck.

They had danced to her music on their first date. Suzette Stanley’s sultry voice had filled her ears with words she longed to hear and when he put his hand on the small of her back and led her to the floor, it made her all at once feel dizzy and warm. He turned her gracefully into his body, and then they were floating across the scuffed parquet and it was undeniable to her, him, and to anyone else in the room, that she would be his.

“Yes, I still do,” she answers softly, not sure of what she means. Still love the music, or him?

She returns his kiss softly on the cheek, demurely turning away her eyes and her body.

Kent does not give up so easily though. He leans to her, brushing her face with the back of his hand, holding her chin softly and gazing at her with intensity.

Uncomfortable with the moment she brings the milkshake to her lips and wraps the straw in a sly smile.

“You know how much I love you,” he begins, but is cut off by the jarring sound of a chair scraping the floor from across the room.

He turns to look at the man down the bar that he had not noticed before.

Katherine jolts upright. With Kent turned and David standing she can see them both and she feels her heart split right in two. Her love for one and lust for another is undeniable in this small space.

David looks right at her, almost right through her, through her dress, her lingerie and into her heart.

She is struck by the intensity.

Kent turns back to her ready to continue his sentence but she is different. “Are you alright dear, you are positively white,” he asks her.

She blinks and looks for an answer, some time, a distraction to walk through the door but it is 3 a.m. and it is unlikely she will be given that grace. The man behind the counter is blushing and trying to busy himself having caught on long ago to the scene unfolding before him.

David saunters to the cigarette machine in the corner and begins to feed it quarters desperately. He grabs the handle under the Camel’s and pulls to no avail. His anger spills over and he bangs the machine, even kicks it once, blaming it perhaps for the fact that it is not his hand on Katherine’s check tonight.

Kent looks over and calls out “What’s the problem there, fella?”

And the whole room freezes for a moment.

David’s eyes are glued to Katherine, and hers back at him. Daring him, begging him, speaking to him without a single word.

The man behind counter stops mid-wipe of the table in front of him, afraid to breathe, afraid to look one way or the other. He has had fights in here before, but is in no mood tonight. It’s too late, or too early and he is just too damn tired.

Kent speaks again. “Well, what is it pal? You need a smoke? A quarter?”

David is still for a moment. A wicked smirk comes to play across his face. He is teetering on the edge, calculating the options and outcomes. He is suddenly unsure that if he falls on the blade for her, that she will be his reward. If he drops this bomb, will what they have blow to pieces too?

He looks at her for one second more, looks at the tear forming in her eye, her lower lip beginning to quiver. He wants her more in this instant than he ever thought he could, but he can hear now what she isn’t saying.

“Nah man, just a bad day,” he mumbles and pretends to chuckle. “Lost my smokes and my girl, don’t that just beat all?” He laughs again.

The counter man finishes the arching movement he was frozen in, wiping away more than just the crumbs, it seems as if he is clearing the air, the moment.

Katherine looks down and exhales. She wills the tear to disappear and gathers her composure. Her hand nervously reaches out to Kent, rests solidly on his forearm.

Kent is looks at David quizzically, still trying to figure him out.

And then just like that, it is over. The air is cut by the sound of David’s footsteps crossing the tile. When he opens the door to leave a whoosh of cold winds its way up Katherine’s dress, sending a chill up her spine. As he exits, he turns and faces them both.

“Sorry for any trouble. You lovebirds have a great night,” he says to them.

And then the door closes softly, almost silently.

Kent turns to her and searches her for any comprehension of what just happened, but before he can stare too long she folds herself into him, wrapping her arms around his waist and turning her head to rest on his chest. Softly she starts to hum one of the songs, their song, the first one they danced to.

“Let’s go home,” she whispers, her voice full of longing and need.

Certain that both are for him, he leads her out of the diner and into the stillness of the night.

In response to the Daily Post Weekly Challenge, and my need to write some fiction…


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Fear of Missing

When I lost my hearing, I changed. That is probably an understatement actually. It was the final straw for me, for my personality, for the person I used to be. It was the last crack in my foundation. Everything changed. Not just what I hear, but ME-everything about me. There was more than a temporal shift in my hearing, there was a mental, emotional and spiritual shift in my whole being. The slow and gradual change that had begun after my back surgery was hitting full throttle and could not be stopped.

It’s certainly no secret. I honestly don’t think that there is one person in my ‘before’ life that has not noticed, that has not watched me evolve, some days kicking and screaming, into the person I am today. Layers of personality sloughed off like dead skin leaving me feeling exposed and raw; revealing this new person that some like just the same, and some do not.  Questions I could not answer ran through my head in the middle of the night-who am I now? For a long while I fought to reclaim bits and pieces of who I was, I tried to climb back into that skin I was so comfortable in, tried to keep up with who I used to be, tried to hang out with the same friends, and do all of the same things.

But I can’t. It just didn’t fit. I am not that person anymore. I am not the same.

Who I am now is vastly different. While I would still love to be the life of a party or go hit the bar for a night of great music, today it is more a source of frustration and sadness than anything else. A painful reminder of what was lost and left behind. I’d rather meet for coffee or lunch and grab a table outside, or in the corner-if it’s alright with you-so I can hear.

Oh, I still enjoy the energy and excitement of a crowded room-in my ‘past life’ I was a true extrovert, but now it is incredibly draining and difficult to navigate. Tracking several conversations above the din of the TVs and music, chairs scraping and children crying….tracking, always tracking, is tiring in ways you cannot imagine, and I cannot describe. In the beginning I would come home and need to sleep, sleep so deeply even I was amazed. But I was mentally exhausted. Three years later  andI still find myself needing to escape when I am in groups or crowds, to go to the bathroom, check my phone, to look away for just a minute-to regroup, breathe, catch up. I feel awkward and uneasy, constantly waiting on edge, on heightened alert. I need to hear the next word, I need to listen carefully, smile at the right time, nod appropriately. I need to pay attention.

I miss a lot. Not just the words and jokes and things you would normally think of. I miss moments and connections. I keep conversations short out of fear and insecurity, embarrassment and shame; not that I am afraid and want to hide who I am, but because I am afraid will miss part of who you are, part of your story. I am afraid I will look uninterested and disengaged, something so, so far from the truth. I am afraid. I am afraid I will say the wrong thing at the wrong time, laugh when I should not, afraid I will just seem weird or strange, rude or aloof. Trust me, I want to know you, to hear you, to gently touch your shoulder when you share your sadness or to give you that sly smile when you whisper a secret. I do. But sometimes, I miss it.

I am missing moments, and more importantly, connections. There it is. As Oprah would say, there is my ‘aha moment’.           

I returned from an amazing weekend in Vermont a few weeks ago, and I took away from it so many valuable and amazing lessons, along with a bunch of crazy, funny and beautiful memories. I now have new women in my life that shared that spectacular space with me and we are now our own group of cheerleaders for one another, personally and professionally-it was truly magical. But I still feel like I missed things. I feel like I could have made stronger connections, could have reached out more, been willing to try harder. Now that I am distanced from those days, I wish I could go back and have a do-over, or at least a few more days. I wish I could have named my fear and left it there. My fear of missing. Not FOMO, I’m not missing out on anything, It is just a fear of missing. Fear of missing the voices, whispers, jokes, and laughter. Fear of missing the connections and stories, moments and secrets.

But my hearing aids were not cooperating, the wood floors made the voices bounce off of the walls and the windows so they were louder than they should be and speaking as one en masse. The candles on the dinner table in the red dining room barely illuminated the faces and lips I was trying to read, to watch, for cues, for comments. The room was full of laughter and stories and I was trying to isolate the voices and it was so hard. I smiled, nodded, laughed with the crowd, but mostly on cue, rather than out of community. Without hearing aids, voices were muffled, stuffed under the din of my tinnitus.

So I missed. I withdrew. I tried in little ways to connect one on one, the best way I know how these days, over a beer with two fabulous ladies, while sharing coffee with one, during a walk in the rain, while walking with a horse with another. I felt myself shrink when we broke up for the day and the women formed circles and groups and their voices filled the air with laughter. I was afraid my discomfort was written all over my face, scrawled in big letters on my forehead in this room where everyone else seemed so at ease, so at home with themselves and everyone else.

So I missed. I missed opportunities to unite with these magnificent women the way that I would have liked. I missed the chance to accept and trust this journey all the way, to share completely who I am and more importantly to know others for who they are, to hear their stories and feel their connections. I missed the chance to talk to the women that have inspired me and kept me going during the worst parts of my life the last few years. Whose words and experiences felt like my own, who named things that I could not and who shared emotions that I was scared to admit I feel.

So I missed.

What I didn’t miss, thankfully, was the lesson. I am a firm believer in reasons, karma, chances, designs and all things related, and sitting here this morning I am committing this lesson to memory, I am going to remember this feeling of regret for a good long while.  This fear needs to leave me. My fear of missing-words and whispers, let me miss the most important part of that journey, the connections, and that is no longer okay with me. That is on me, I own it. But looking forward, I need to leave it behind. On my next trip, that is what I hope to be missing.

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1. qualified for or having a claim to reward, assistance, etc., because of one’s actions, qualities, or situation:

2. meriting; worthy:

I wrote a letter to myself in the voice of someone that loves me this weekend. It sounds strange, and really, it felt strange. Really strange. To speak to myself in an endearing voice, to tell myself the sweetest things; it felt uncomfortable and foreign. To read them aloud to a group of women I barely know was even harder. But I did it. And in doing so I was offered an insight into myself-a gift that I am still opening.

I chose to write in the voice of my husband. I wrote a letter to myself from him, and it was beautiful. And I didn’t have to work hard, or struggle with the words. He says the most amazing things to me all the time. He is the strongest parts of me, and the softest. He has always given freely his love, adoration and affection. He has always been my biggest fan, my best friend and my greatest love.

I was crying before I even started to read the letter aloud. I was sobbing by the end. It was beautiful and kind, loving and tender. And I was reduced to a blubbering fool just reading it.


Because the voice that comes up out of my chest, that lives in my head and stores all the scary stories and false truths tells me this:

I do not deserve him. I do not deserve this love; a love that people look their whole lives for. I don’t deserve this kindness and compassion, the way he stares at me, the way he takes care of me. I don’t deserve this-any of it, all of it.

I have said as much to him many times, often in that joking tone I take when I am sharing a truth, but don’t want to be pressed. I hide in the humor. But in this circle of women I was not laughing, I was aching. My chest was cracking open and I was sharing the scary parts of myself for real.

I do not deserve him.

He has refuted this declaration over and over during our years together, and I have no doubt he will continue to do so. But it is me, I need to say it. I need to feel it.

I need to ‘bring my shovel and my light’ and dig deep. I need to find the roots, the seeds that started this insidious vine that is running my life, and that has the potential to ruin it.

I don’t deserve this. Any of it. All of it.

How long have I been carrying this with me? How far back does it grow? How long have I been choosing things-the wrong things-because I thought that is what I deserved? The wrong boys, the wrong men, the wrong jobs, the wrong friends. How long have I led myself down paths that I knew would lead to my destruction and better yet, WHY?

That is the biggie, right? Why? Why indeed.

Sometimes I am afraid that I don’t love him the way that he loves me, but I know that is not true. I do. I love him like crazy, and I hope he knows that. Most times I wish I could be 15 again and bathe him in love letters and gaze into his eyes like a lovesick fool, doodle his name in a notebook all day. All of the time I want to let go, feel passionate and reckless and sneak kisses in inappropriate places and say things he wants to hear.

But I can’t. I don’t. Or if I do, it is fleeting and awkward.


He is the reward I don’t feel qualified to claim. He is better than I deserve for my actions. I am not worthy of him.

Or so I believe, so I tell myself. So I have thought since the first night I heard him whisper “I love you”, so quietly I thought I dreamed it.

Perhaps I need to write more love letters. Of course, yes, to him, but more importantly to myself. Maybe I need to write more letters to her, to that young girl I used to be, the one that wanted so desperately to be loved that she got into cars with boys when she was barely 14. Maybe I need to talk to her, and maybe I really need to listen to her. Maybe she has some insight, something to share, some words of wisdom for me. An explanation at the very least.

I am grateful to that letter, to that assignment that brought me to this point. Today I know that what I deserve is an answer.

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