Seizing the Morning

This morning while drinking a cup of coffee I realized

I had slept nine hours yet my limbs were still tired and my brain foggy.

I drank the rest of my coffee and dressed for the gym anyway.

While at the gym my legs screamed in protest and my arms cried out loud.

I finished my squats and did my cool down anyway.

My morning passed by with the speed of a snail while I

picked out my favorite shirt and did my makeup

anyway.

See

I learned a while back that if I wanted happiness I would have to

stop waiting for it and instead

go out and grab it.

That meant no longer wallowing in self pity when life

doesn’t seem to be going my way.

That meant waking up and expecting a good day not because the world owed me

a thing but because I would

make it for myself.

 

-CM

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Anxiety

I was never good at math in school but I learned the basics of algebra.

I was taught every step to drafting an essay from start to finish.

I could recite to you four poems I was instructed to memorize and

I could also draw you a picture of the back of that boys head in my English class,

the one I sat behind for a year,

because it was at his head of hair I would stare when I couldn’t breath

but the teacher continued speaking anyway.

It was not her fault. She couldn’t feel my world collapsing.

I can still hear the steady ticking of the clock drowning out the mumble of my classmates,

can still feel my palms getting sweaty when the walls closed in one me –

there was never a class on how to exist in this body.

I was never taught how to breathe when all of the oxygen has been sucked from the room or how to claw these words out of my throat

they tell me it’s anxiety

that I have a problem that can be solved with some breathing techniques and maybe a few pills a day but I still walk down the halls and feel like a ghost of myself

sometimes

I can see myself walking and hear myself talking and feel myself breathing

but I am not there.

They never taught me how to deal with this urge to run

not when the going gets tough but when surviving takes more energy than living.

I can’t walk into a room without scanning the room for exits,

I can’t join a group of people in casual conversation without first convincing myself they don’t hate me,

I can’t ask you how you are because of fear that you’ll return the question.

But at least I can find the value of x.

 

-CM

 

Ramblings to Myself

What? Did you think it was going to be easy? Did you think you’d just wave your hand and get everything that you ever wanted? I’m sorry that this isn’t some fairy tale in which everyone gets their happy ending. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get a happy ending. It just means that you might have to fight for it. Here, happy endings aren’t just handed out to the first willing recipient. So if you’ve come to me looking for someone to tell you it’s going to be okay, I’m not your girl. If you’re looking for someone to say it’s not your fault, that you did all that you could, that’s not me either. I only have one thing to tell you, and that is that I still believe in you. I still believe in you, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in yourself. You can still do it. You can still get everything you ever wanted, you can still have your happy ending, but you have to let go of something first. You have to let go of the past, of this fear that you aren’t enough. You are enough. You can do this. You can have it all. But only if you let go.

-CM

Love Yourself

It’s easy to love yourself on your good days.

When your hair is falling just right, your bones are strong –

you feel on top of the world, these days are easy.

It’s easy to love yourself when others love you, when you are doing everything right,

when your heart is full and every word you speak rolls of your tongue with ease.

You have to love yourself on the bad days.

You have to love yourself on the days when you feel like a fuck up.

On the days your soul aches and every choice you make is the wrong one,

you must still look in the mirror and say – I love you –

you must hold your limbs and promise them safety. You must tell your aching bones you are sorry. Tell your mind it can rest.

Love yourself when you don’t feel like it.

Love yourself when no on else does.

Love yourself when loving yourself is the very last thing you want to do.

Love yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself.

 

-CM

To Every Girl They Tried to Hold Back

An old man told a girl I knew that her dress was too short even though the fabric reached her knees

When my classmate rose her hand more than they liked, our peers would call her a know it all

Boys would cat call the girls wearing shorts and tank tops and mock the girls wearing anything else if it didn’t please them

She was told to shut up, she was told she was wrong, when her opinion held truths they couldn’t yet face

Over and over again we are told to shrink. They tell us to quiet our voices. To make ourselves as small as we possibly can because who wants to hear our opinions anyway –

Stand up.

Rise up.

Grow taller than the tallest mountain

Reach the clouds and when you do

Scream

Open your mouth and let every word you have kept suppressed tumble out and fall at the feet of all those who said you were too fragile

Too small

Too much of a girl

to do great things

 

-CM

A poem dedicated to my father

The First Man I ever Loved – Dedicated to my fatherĀ 

The first man I ever loved is the strongest man I know. When he speaks everyone in the room stops to listen. His voice is like a lullaby when the world is too loud and his chest is the softest pillow I have ever felt.

The first man I ever loved could once scoop me up and carry me around, his arms the safest place to hide, his heart the safest place to land. Too big now to be cradled, he still carries me when I’m at my weakest.

The first man I ever loved wears work boots battered and worn and pants in desperate need of patches, shirts with holes the size of your thumb but he would gladly take that very shirt off of his back and hand it to anyone in need.

The first man I ever loved is always the hardest worker in the room, the last one to leave, and when I feel alone, he’s always standing in my corner, often silent, but always there. When I stumble, it’s his arm that I feel holding me up first, and when I feel like I am going to fall on my face, it’s his embrace that keeps me from hitting the ground.

The first man I ever loved has a laugh that can shake the sadness out of you and a smile that convinces you the world may not be so bad.

The first man I ever loved is as stubborn as they come. He has the biggest heart that’s his best kept secret. There isn’t a thing he wouldn’t do for his family, forgetting whatever they may have done to him. He loves his wife and his daughters more than himself, and you can see it whenever you get a good look at him. Get a good look at him.

The first man I ever loved was not the last. But he was the one that taught me to love. Because of him I know how I should be loved. Fully, completely, as if I am their whole world because when he looks at you, you are his whole world.

-CM

Coming soon – The First Woman I Ever Loved (Dedicated to my mother)

Stay Alive

You say he was your only reason to be happy but there are infinite more reasons to stay alive than because of him – remember

your happiness does not reside in the heart of another.

Stay alive for belly laughs that leave you out of breath

for sunsets so brilliant you almost forget how dark the sky gets when it rains

but also live for the rain because it can bring rainbows and

live for the smiles of children so innocent and pure and for

puppies that just want a bit of your attention and love.

Stay alive for your favorite book that will probably be made into a TV show

and then stay alive to binge watch that TV show.

Live for hugs so tight you can feel the pain easing for just a moment,

for late night talks with your best friend.

He may not love you anymore leading you to question if he ever did so

stop basing your right to exist off of another human being.

Exist because tomorrow has the potential to be so beautiful but

who will know if your not around to see it.

 

-CM

A Short Story

I have built these walls around myself higher than any ladder

crafted towers on which to scout from, seeking out danger miles before it reaches my gates

this kingdom I created needs only my protection

I guard my every dream and wish with the sharp edge of my sword.

How I wish this story had a fairy tale ending

one in which the Prince rode in on his steed and saved the damsel but

I am not a damsel in distress and this warrior doesn’t need saving

this story doesn’t have a happy ending with hearts and red roses just one of

triumph and overcoming and

I will cut down every army that tries to defeat me

 

-CM

Stranger

When I saw you from across the cafe I recognized not you but the sadness behind your eyes was one I knew all too well

I know we have never met but I want to take this moment to sit next to you and tell you not my name but something far more important like

we are strangers but not even a stranger deserves to be alone and I will sit here with you all day if that means you decide to continue fighting

you are struggling to hold on to the last strands of hope you have left and you are hiding it so well but your eyes give you up

your eyes that tell stories of defeat, loss, heart break

I am reaching across the table now to hold your hand tight and confide in you that I too have been in the same place you have been and I know what you are feeling

We are strangers but allow me to hold onto you, allow me to take away some of this pain and hold it on my back for a while, allow me to take a shift of this long work day

allow me to help you find your way back home or maybe just back to yourself

life is hard and it will beat you up and hold you down until you can’t fight back but everything is easier when you have a friend

please allow this stranger to be your friend, all friends start out this way

you see I don’t have anything to get out of this but your happiness and I know you can fight back if only you knew you had someone in your corner so

let this stranger stand on the sidelines and tell you

you are not alone.

-CM

Every Girl

The girl sitting on the bench across from me at the mall has long black hair

her ears are plugged with the noise of music and she is silently nodding along

her lips moving ever so slightly to a sound only she can hear.

Across from her is a woman with curves wearing a crop top

and high rise jeans strutting with a confidence beyond her years

she knows she is beautiful and dares every wandering eye to challenge that.

I used to work with a girl with electric blue locks and tattoos along her arms

she spoke her mind and lived fearlessly even while

the shadows danced behind her eyes she never asked for permission to exist.

There was a girl in my school with braids down her back wearing

skirts that dropped to her feet her body always a secret

she kept to herself like a promise.

The smartest girl I know has blonde hair and wears bright red lipstick

on her mostly silent lips

when she speaks you always learn something new –

she is years younger than me.

The mirror shows a girl I will never see as the world does but

her blue eyes glisten and I know she means well when she leans close and whispers

‘you are enough’

I want her to scream those words so that every woman may hear her

you are enough

shouted from the roof tops of every building in every city

each girl sitting straight and standing tall

knowing her body is her body and her mind is her mind

and she is and always will be

enough.

 

– CM