I don’t want to talk about Uvalde. I don’t want to talk about the thwarted Patriot Front riot. There are half-written, angry-sad posts talking about Uvalde in my drafts. And none of them will see the light of day. Because it’s no my tragedy to talk about. It’s not my story to share.
It’s difficult to talk about it without bringing up what I was doing that day. And how the news gnawed at the back of my head.
Instead, I leave you with Andrea Gibson’s poem, “Orlando.”
No National Poetry Month celebration is complete without me forcing Andrea Gibson on to those around me. Their poetry speaks to the younger parts of me, and reminds me why I embarked in this medium in the first place – as a way to speak to my younger self, and in hopes to reach out to the young people in my life.
Several of us are good at holding grudges, determined to be right. This is not to say we should forgive and invite those who wronged us – physically or emotionally – back into our lives, but not push out those who’ve only made a mistake. To not hold something over someone’s head for the rest of our relationships. Because grudges are an emotional waste of time and energy.
I’ve never in my whole life been levelheaded, but the older I get, I’m more level-hearted—
These are the words I aspire to be as I get older. After an age-old grudge came to an end nearly three years ago as I spoke to my father on his death bed, I realized how much time and energy could have been used doing something good in this world. Instead, I squandered resenting the man who I never gave myself the chance to know.
“The Year of No Grudges, or Instead of Writing a Furious Text, I Try a Poem” is featured in their 2021 collection, You Better Be Lightning.
We have entered another year, but we’re still dealing with the same shit. As COVID rates are climbing up, resignation takes hold. COVID is seen more as an inevitability than something we can avoid. News coverage from last year’s insurrection increased around the anniversary. And quite frankly, I am tired of this shit. Though I am not ready to give up. Not ready to raise a white flag. Because I didn’t survive through this muck to lie down.
I don’t have any resolutions, but I haven’t made one in a while. But I do hope that this is the year we all become lightning. That we remember that we have more in common than we do differences. That in spite of what we’re told, we’re in this together.
It’s an ugly road toward enlightenment, but let us travel it together.
I once said that you gave me strength. That every time I spoke out, it was in your voice. So when I left you in the past, I became lost. And this lost-ness is how I defined myself. As I gained weight, I lost the urge to dress like you. To seek out if you were still lingering somewhere inside me. I was a teenager the last time I wore a dress. It belonged to Jessica and she had left it behind in my room. And when I wore it, the comfort I felt shocked me. Scared me. I saw you smirking in the mirror. I took it off and that was that. I buried you in a chiffonier-shaped coffin.
I begin a weight loss program. My meals are timed. 10 minutes for eating. A 5 minute break. And if I’m still hungry, another 10 minutes. I slow down my chewing. I allow myself to savor the food. I begin exercising. I begin tracking my weight. It’s a slow process, but the weight begins to dip ever so slightly. It’s not a restriction of what I eat, but how much I eat. And how I eat. In the end, I will learn how to stop myself from stress eating. I will drink more water. While I miss the laughter of children, and reading to them on a weekly basis, I am happier in my new job and all the perks that come with it.
I begin to schedule walk breaks in my daily tasks at work. And I hold myself to them. Each morning at ten and in the afternoon at three. Those times are the trend, it seems. I find other library staff as I walk around the campus. And I encounter faces that become familiar as the weeks go by. My mood is elevated. I’m no longer stress eating or eating due to boredom. My weight is on a decline, slowly but surely. V and I hang out on most weekends. A sense of normality has returned to this COVID world.
And I see her face almost every day now.
Our book club prep meetings begin. We’re working closely with another department, hoping that this will build a bridge within the campus community. This may help build our collection while also giving back to the community. The man has kind eyes. His voice brings peace to my heart. An old feeling begins to resurface. And I feel young again. A schoolboy crush that’s all.
I meet S for the first time. Our camaraderie begins.
On my walks, I see her again. And the motion picture of my imagination starts churning.
During an LGBTQ+ Training, I begin to question something I haven’t thought about in years.
We host our first Get Lit! Book Club meeting. The students each get a turn to discuss a book they have read pertaining to the theme – LGBTQIA+ History. As I speak about the book I selected – Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson – I begin to question why this book mattered to me. Even as I say, “These are the poems that I so desperately needed growing up”—Why do I feel that way?
For the month, I watch a movie day. And I plan to do the same for November.
My weightloss continues. I’m exercising daily, taking walk breaks at work and walking longer distances afterward. I begin to track my water and daily activity in my bullet journal. I also look for new templates to use in the journal.
An idea forms in my head. And I see her again.
I don’t like the new bullet journal calendar template. I decide on reverting to the old one for December. I host my first program at the university. I put a pause on listening to audiobooks and return to the world of podcasts. I start The Heart from the beginning, relistening to an episode entitled “Movies in Your Head.” I remember missed connections on Craigslist.
Our bathroom is renovated. Mom gets the shower she’s always wanted.
My seasonal depression returns, but it’s easily pushed aside. My mind is focusing on everything that I can do. I’m reading more. Listening to more stories. Writing again.
And each time I see her as I walk, a little narrative begins to play in my head.
I meet a cat on my walks. Ash gray, and big. I secretly name him San Marcos because he reminds me of the blankets. He is the second cat that I encountered, but the first I approached. He allows me to pet him, which I do every chance I get.
I have lost 20lbs since July, though I am now having an issue of keeping it down. I make sure to mindfully eat, but I may have to make some alterations to my diet. Cut out the fast food. Try to focus on home cooked meals, instead.
I like the new bullet journal lay out that I have chosen. Some things will be carried over into 2022. I begin to track my mood, sleep, stress, and water intake on a graph. I keep track of the minutes I spend walking and my steps. I begin to prepare my first bullet journal volume for 2022.
The missed connection post is slowly written, but it’s not what I intended it to be. This post needs to stand apart from my previous posts.
As I pet San Marcos, he catches them in his sights and walks over to them. This is the first time that I speak to her.
I begin to question my pronouns. My gender.
I smile whenever I see you looking for me on Pinterest. When you window shop outfits I’d wear. As you read book after book trying to understand those little feelings you keep hidden so well inside you. Aren’t you a little too old to be this lost? We’ll find each other again. One day. And when I embrace you, know that I will not let go so easily this time.
I made a conscious decision scheduling this post for the tail-end of Pride Month. For starters, today is Pride Day. It just seemed appropriate for the post. I chose today because it feels that everyone makes the bigger deal at the beginning of June. That’s when we see the most corporate marketing for Pride. That’s when we see influencers beating their chests about how much an ally they are. As the month winds down, people who aren’t a part of the community just stop caring. There’s no financial gain to it.
With that said, this is not the original intro to this post. The original intro consisted of a story of a friend coming out to me. While I kept that friend’s name secret, I nonetheless began to have second thoughts. I only have so many friends and it wouldn’t take too much a detective to figure out who I was talking about. While I know this friend’s family is fully aware, I don’t know where our mutual friends stand.
In short, while this story does contain me as a character, it is not my story to tell. Most of the post remains the same. The ending has been altered to because it tied back to the introduction.
I’m often drawn to the works of Andrea Gibson. Perhaps it’s because I’m a closeted romantic. Although, if I’m a closeted anything it’s not a romantic. Just ask any of my ex-girlfriends and former love interests. It’s just that their ability to sketch emotions, craft pictures with their words has been something I have been striving to do with my own poetry.