Newspaper Blackout Poem

In marriage, freedom is a mystery of mishaps and beauty.

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Bathroom Break

Oh God, I have to pee. I should’ve peed before getting dressed for this stupid family photoshoot. I’ve never had to pee so bad in my life. Should I ask mom if I can stop posing and go quick? No, no. She’s already angry because I took too long to get ready and Anthony won’t stop crying. I wish she hadn’t yelled at me to hurry the hell up and get outside. I am not fast enough. I can’t tell mom I have to pee. I wish she hadn’t gotten mad at me last night when I asked to be excused to heat up my dinner because the mashed potatoes got cold. I shouldn’t have taken so long to come downstairs because I didn’t put my toys away earlier. I am not fast enough. If I ask to go pee now, she’ll yell at me again for taking too damn long with every damn thing. I am not fast enough. I had trouble getting these socks tucked underneath my bunched pants just below the knee. I can’t tell mom that I have to pee or that these socks are making my knees itchy because what will she tell me? I should have gotten downstairs earlier, and that way she wouldn’t have had to rush to help me before the photographer got irritated as she impatiently waited. I am not fast enough. Oh, Anthony, please shut up. Mom yelled at me for that too because I was supposed to have my brother ready in time for the photographer but I needed help changing his diaper. I am not fast enough. I hope Anthony doesn’t grow up like this, too. Maybe he won’t because he won’t have a little brother like I do. A little brother that his mother makes him take care of but can never satisfy her desire for getting things done quickly. I am not fast enough. My cheeks hurt from the grin turned grimace because Anthony still hasn’t stopped crying because he is hungry. Apparently, it was my job to also have fed Anthony. I should have known to give myself enough time to get us both dressed and ready while also leaving enough time to feed him before the photographer was ready. I am not fast enough. I am not good enough. I really should have gone pee. 

 

Do You Ever Just Struggle With Greetings?

Do you ever just struggle with greetings? I find myself feeling awkward every time I am asked “Hey what’s up?” or “What’s going on?” in passing. Do you actually want to know what’s happening or what’s going on, or do you want my response to be a simple “Not much, how about you?” only to have you reply “Not much.” Seriously? How lame is that? Quite sad if you ask me. Walking past each other on our way to meetings, class, or meals is not when I feel like someone should ask me these questions.

Recently, my responses have been “Hey, how are ya?” instead of replying to their question. Not that you can find out how someone is actually doing by asking while passing each other, but it’s better than ‘not much’ in my opinion. Clearly, something is always up or going on, even if it’s something as silly as ‘oh, just walking to class’. But do people really want to know as they walk by you? My other issue is that I feel rude when I don’t reply. I hear you ask me, I just don’t know how to respond quickly enough as your shoulder meets with mine as we go opposite directions. How can greetings in passing cause so much thought and slight awkwardness?

Stop and have some meaningful conversations when you can. They can go a long way.

Just some thoughts on this lovely Friday. Happy weekend and have some meaningful conversations. Find out what’s actually up. 🙂

“Make yourself at home.”

How many times have you heard that from someone when you visit, sleepover, or move in? My guess is that your answer is countless. So, you know how it goes despite this warming phrase. You hesitate. Do you take off your shoes? Do you not? Will they hang your coat or can you do it yourself? Endless questions and awkward encounters while you might feel like walking on eggshells, wanting to make yourself comfortable but not invite yourself in completely.

It’s funny, I had anxieties and nerves about facing this type of encounter a couple months  ago when entering a completely unknown home to me, but it was quite the opposite feelings of being in this home that was, honestly, nothing like mine. Yet, I felt like it was my home, just like those who always lived there.

At the end of May, I went on a service trip through Stonehill’s HOPE Program to Apopka, Florida with seven other women, one staff leader and six fellow students. On this trip we learned about the process of immigration and citizenship, and the working conditions for migrant workers on farms. The eight of us were split into pairs and stayed with four different host families, all immigrant families who had been involved with the HOPE CommUnity Center in Apopka, who helped create our immersion experience.

My friend Colleen and I stayed with a family of five- a mother and father, a twelve year old boy, an eleven year old boy, and a five year old girl. I won’t go into too much detail about what their home was like, but how I felt staying with this family in their home. In one word – welcomed. Like the girls and their host families, Colleen and I had breakfast and dinner that the mother cooked, and she packed our lunches for everyday when we left for our different sites. We played with the kids after dinner, and talked with the family about their life and immigration stories. Although we were entering their home that is normally just the five of them for a week, Colleen and I weren’t an inconvenience; they were excited for us to be there and to give up some of their home to make room for us.

It was incredibly comforting to stay with this beautiful, open, welcoming family for the week- especially after being worried about the complete step out of my comfort zone. This trip, while making me return home with knowledge, friends, and experiences I will never forget, taught me about how much to appreciate when someone welcomes you into their home.

When someone tells you “Make yourself at home,” know they truly mean it. That phrase can go a long way.

Coffee for a Princess

are you pleased?

is this all you ever dreamed it to be?

castles, princes, and flowers in the sea

oh, my dear, don’t settle for tea

you are strong dark coffee

you give others energy

more powerful and moving than a princess’ glee

leave the castle be

you are not the shadow of the prince to be

step out of the shadow and be free

push the lilies to the side and explore the sea

your destiny is more than the crown will ever be

via Daily Prompt: Pleased

 

What Does It Mean to Call a Place Home?

Do you ever take comfort in the fact that some things just almost always stay exactly the same? Every time I drive home from college, I hit this one stop light almost always just moments after crossing town lines to arrive in Millbury. I drive past the supermarket and put my car at a halt at the light by Dunkin Donuts and the auto repair shop. For some reason, this is the moment I take in the fact that I have arrived at ‘home’. I’m still a few minutes from my house, but I always hit this stop light. This is where I notice how everything looks exactly the same as it always does. Same cars, same people, same buildings. It’s comforting. I continue up the street when the light turns green and think about what it means to come home, what it means for a town to be almost the same whenever I return.

But ‘home’ is not always a location. As Dory says in Finding Nemo, “I look at you, and I’m home.” Is it really the fact that everything looks the same when I stop at this traffic light or is it the moment I realize that in a few short minutes I’ll be pulling into my driveway and being wrapped in a hug from my parents. They are home. Stonehill is another home (although, my mom might yell at me for calling it that). Like my house, Stonehill is a place I feel safe when coming onto campus, and it full of my friends that are like family. It’s not Stonehill’s super-duper green grass that makes it home, it’s my friends and the community that welcome me ‘home’ when I arrive onto campus.

So what does it really mean when we call a place home? Does location mean anything or is it the people that make up the town and those that welcome you back that make it home? We feel at home when we feel safe, comfortable, accepted, and loved.

We always find comfort when things are unchanging. It is peaceful in a world full of change, full of surprises, disasters, and yet, also happiness, adventure, and opportunity. In a world where things are never the same, my town is something that doesn’t. Although that stop light can’t embrace me in a warm hug, or tell me, “Welcome home,” it doesn’t have to. It makes me feel that way without having to do anything, by staying exactly the same. Home, at least for me, is somewhere comforting. I’m thankful my town always welcomes me home.

Beauty in the Cracks

We tend to like the evens

Liking the ability to perfectly divide

No halves, only wholes

No odd ones out, nothing remaining

Even numbers are easy, perfect

While odd numbers seem imperfect, problematic

But there is a beauty in the uneven that may appear as inconvenient remainders

What is a life if it is only perfection?

A life is never even

Never being able to perfectly divide your friends for dodgeball

Or never being able to make things exactly as you plan

But the uneven

It can bring a beauty that lies in the halves and cracks that come from those divides

The divides that are imperfect are perfect in themselves

 

via Daily Prompt: Uneven

For a Friend Who is Forgetting their Worth

Worthy of the World,

Oh, my friend, how you bring so much joy into the lives around you. You are worth so much more than those who put you second. You are worth so much more than those who think your love is not enough. Never lower your standards of what you think you deserve because you are absolutely deserving of the utmost love, attention, and respect of others.

It hurts those who care about you to watch you degrade your worthiness. We love and care for you so deeply that we get frustrated when you do not see that worthiness in yourself. Stop putting yourself down and start making it clear to others that you are not accepting of anything less than genuine love and care. Your fellow friends and I are happy to remind you at anytime of how we think you are worthy of so much, but damn kid, you’ve got to love yourself. I know it can be hard to start to love yourself, but if you love yourself, you won’t be accepting of anything less than the love you know you deserve. I want you to understand and believe that YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THOSE WHO TREAT YOU AS THOUGH YOU ARE NOT WORTH THEIR TIME, LOVE, OR ATTENTION. They’re the ones missing out on all you would have give them.

Your worth is not for sale. You cannot degrade your values or expectations for how other perceive you or how you see yourself in order for someone to love you. They’ll love you for exactly YOUR worth.

It’s not only frustrating to watch the ones you care about depreciate their worthiness, but it saddens us, too. We only want you to see for yourself what we see for you. You are worth everyone’s time, love, and attention, but you do not decrease your worthiness because someone does not appreciate or treat you as though you are worthy. You are worthy of so much more than you may see for yourself, and I hope you see that soon. Because, it’ll make you happier and more self-loving in the long run.

“Stop trying to prove your worth to people who don’t value it. Go where you are celebrated not where you are tolerated.”

Lots of us love you, kid. We just want you to see it for yourself.

All my Love,

One Who Knows Your Worth