Last night I collected a handful of poetry books and read poetry aloud in my dining room, music turned up, alone, with a few kitties making suspicious faces and burrowing into a neglected basket of clean laundry. I didn’t know I missed poetry until I found myself there, reading poem after poem, opening the books at any place and proceeding, yelling the words in caps, whispering the parentheticals.
I feel in some ways that I’m coming back to the person I was, recovering a few of the bits, or maybe it’s just the hurt that makes me reach for the comfort of words, just like always. Break my heart, and you’ll find me settled in, speaking the words to my favorite songs, wine glass in hand, poetry book beside me, along with an overabundance of emotions scrawled across some journal pages.
I think a lot about the person I’ve become, the person I’ve been and the person I want to be. I wonder sometimes if I’m not enough, not good enough or pretty enough or whatever enough, if I’ve spent years misreading signs or making devastating missteps.
I know I’ve made mistakes. I’ve yelled and cursed and pushed. I’m not perfect. But at the end of the day, I really like who I am.
I like that I’m a runner, that nachos account for 13% of my diet and that I giggle at the same things now that I did at 13. I like the way I laugh too loud, that my hair is almost always in a ponytail, that I still don’t know how to apply blush, even at 29. I like the skinny jeans in my closet, the beers in my fridge, the music on my iPhone and the support system I’ve culled from the different parts of my life. I like that I’m crass, that tacos are my favorite food and green is my favorite color.
Would I change parts of me? Of course. I’m not perfect. I’ve got a mean temper, for sure, and I’ve done and said things I wish I could take back. I wish I didn’t leave dishes in the sink overnight and I wish I was better about putting laundry away and walking the dogs and taking out the trash. I wish I could paint my nails without it looking like I murdered a paint can with my fingertips and I wish I could eat the lettuce in the fridge before it goes bad.
But the more time I spend pondering my inadequacies, the more I realize that really, I am enough. I deserve love and compassion and kindness, not games and uncertain sentiment. I didn’t do anything to deserve a trampling. I didn’t do anything to deserve the things that have been said and done and that’s it. I deserve better. Really. Because I’m fucking awesome. Not perfect. Not without faults, but fucking awesome. I’m a good person, mostly, just like most of us are mostly good. I’m the best person I’ve ever been.Â I’m stronger and funnier and happier and more willing than ever to fight for the love I think I deserve.
I’ve changed, yes. I wasn’t this person before. I used to write terrible poetry, and now I read good poetry out loud to kitties and my dining table. I used to eat freezer meals and now I eat tacos and run four times a week because I love it and because it grounds me. I used to stress about every single little detail, like name cards at Thanksgiving and removing every stray bit of dog fur in the house, but life is too fucking short for that. I’m a beer drinker now, and jalapenos and hot sauce have entered my diet and are here to stay. I’m different, but the same.
I’m happier. I’m stronger. I’m braver. I’m better.
And I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry for changing, for learning how to be okay on my own and becoming a happier and better version of the same person I’ve always been. It doesn’t mean my life is too full, that there’s no room for the people I’ve always loved. It doesn’t mean the me I was is gone and dead – she’s still here, only new and improved. It doesn’t mean I want to walk away from the life I’ve been living or that I’ve outgrown it or drifted away from it.
I’m not the one pushing anything away.
All this really means is that some things have changed, like they have been since the beginning and like they will until the end.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.â€
â€• Mary Oliver, Wild Geese