creating me [using words]

Archive for the tag “courage”


Is confidence the hardest
thing to grow in the soul?
And is that why we settle
for arrogance?

Presumption easier
than humble strength.
Those who wrestle truth
walk with a limp
(Jacob knew)

Maybe only the lame
Know how to carry
the weight
of the world,

how to make dark notes
how to speak truth
with grace.

Is confidence
hidden deep?
Is that why we freeze
in fear?

False humility easier
than courage.
Those who wrestle by night
see the day with different eyes
(and are oft’ misunderstood)

Maybe only the night-wrestlers
learn how to live the day
how to honor light
and choose the right, so:

Water your confidence.
Its roots must grow
and grow and grow,

fighting rocks,
finding nutrients,
before the sprout will rise
one inch.

That inch might crack
the hardened plates
of earth,
for all you know.

Your only job:
to grow.


Soul Garden

I have so many molds to break before I find real me. So many expectations to disappoint before I’m free. So many pressures to ignore before I see. So many lists to abandon before I can be. So many lessons to unlearn before I am she.

I have gathered all into my soil like seed and now I kill to see what sprouts–a weed? Plant, bloom, exotic tree? Necessary beginning, that seed, yet not the truth of me, you’ll see.

Bloom Her Sooner

I had to learn to be aggressive. Nothing about stealing the basketball from an opponent, scrambling for a rebound, or using my body to thwart someone else’s movement came naturally to me. I had a knack for shooting, which I inherited from my father. Ball-handling, speed, and teamwork found their way to me easily enough. But aggression was like a foreign-country, and I did not speak the language.

Even after I got good at the game, defense included, I still never fouled. I could play every minute of the game, accumulate points, steals, assists, and even a couple rebounds and walk away with only one foul. Never, in all my years of playing basketball, did I get in foul trouble. I could fully engage, exert aggression, hustle, compete, and scrap, but I did it without breaking any rules or injuring other players or getting out of control.

To this day, it is my special life skill I think—I can be feisty without assaulting anyone. I can score without getting the whistle blown. I engage life, but I never blow my top and get thrown out of the game.

This is so very handy as a woman, because the world doesn’t like angry women. The world likes women to be sweet and polite and gentle and skinny. In the early part of the American Women’s Movement, there was some controversy over dress: whether the spokeswomen should express their liberation by dressing more like men (i.e. bloomers) or whether they should disarm the crowds with their feminine charm wearing traditional genteel dresses.

For the most part, I dress genteel, so to speak. I don’t appear this way on purpose; it’s just who I am. In other words, I am non-threatening in tone and appearance almost all of the time—that wiry little player with the awkwardly thin legs you expect won’t need much guarding until she sinks a three-pointer in your face, and even then, you assume she got lucky. It’s not sneakiness on my part; it’s just me to be this way.

But I am a player, you see. Behind this tiny voice and beneath the brim of my feminine hat, I’m all game face. I am tired of seeing my sisters in bloomers get blasted all the time. Constantly benched for too many fouls in a game designed, officiated, and rigged by men.

I do think there is merit in knowing how to restrain your anger, how to show kindness to others, even your enemies, how to be aggressive without directly assaulting another person. But anger itself isn’t wrong—anger is often legitimate and begging us to pay attention to the alarm bells it keeps setting off inside us. It also isn’t wrong to make other people uncomfortable, (which is one of the most startling realizations of my life. I actually don’t need to worry about how being me will make other people feel. I cannot tell you how life-changing that is.)

Metaphorically, I’ll probably keep wearing skirts, because the skirts fit me better than bloomers. But what I want to say to my fellow women is: Wear what works for you and don’t look back. Quit letting men or your mother define what is acceptable behavior; you’re a grown woman now and you deserve to get to live like one.

I’d like to see my fellow women bloom. That’s more important than staying in bounds, or keeping a foul-clean record. Foul if you have to foul. Fight if you have to fight. You can make amends later if you take it too far, but you can never regain a life you forfeit living. Err on the side of listening to your own life, your own heart, your own wisdom, because you are the only one on the face of the planet who has been given this life, this identity, this story. So know who you are. Don’t be afraid that who you are may not be who-everyone-thinks-you-should-be. Who ever found their life purpose by following the norm and meeting expectations? Your good manners will never be noteworthy. Proper etiquette just isn’t a game changer, but I can tell by the glint in your eye, you are a player, so play.

Bloom under the shade of your delicate white hat or bloom and pull on some pants, just bloom, preferably sooner rather than later.

Toddler Legs in the Race to Freedom

(This is for Glennon, and for myself)

The truth is supposed to set us free. What I want to know is why being set free can hurt like heck?

I am starting to feel scared of the truth, for the way it burns. Truth, when hidden, causes ulcers (I have discovered). Truth, when released . . . well, I am still finding that out, I just know it is scary and searing and jarring. Like everything you propped yourself up with is now knocked away and you have to stand on your own two feet, but you have toddler legs that wobble and fail you. This just doesn’t seem fair at all: that you, beautiful you, with all your important jobs and all your serious efforts would wake up one day with toddler legs of all things and then discover the marathon starts today and you haven’t even trained. You can’t even run for goodness sake, what with these legs, but the race begins anyhow, without your consent.

Maybe freedom isn’t free and you will move so slowly it will hurt you as you toddle and trip your way to the first mile marker. But somewhere along the way you learn new skills, you find your own strength, you pick up speed. Someday you run, with the wind in your hair and the world both at your back and before you. It is such a surprise to discover just how many times in one life you can come back alive.

Being awake and alive is so much more painful that staying asleep, but we keep choosing to wake up and live. And our friends cheer us on from the sidelines.

Befriending My Fear

I am afraid of many things.

I am scared to enter an auto-parts store (they might expect me to know what I am doing). I am scared to make phone calls. I am scared of grown-up things like insurance companies and retirement packages and sorting the mail and solidifying a budget and talking to men.

I am scared to try new things. I am scared to go to new places. I am scared to meet new people.

I have decided to quit facing my fears. That whole confrontation thing never works for me. Instead, I shall treat my fear like this:

I will it take it by the hand and say, “There, there, hon. There, there. I hear you. I hear you, I promise.”

Somedays we will be emboldened and who knows what we will accomplish together, what with all that fierce energy, and we will feel like heroes.

And other days we will slam the door on every frightening intrusion and curl up on the couch in a blanket with a wild book, and we will feel like heroes.

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creating me [using words]


creating me [using words]