Misconception

Misconception hides around the corner from me as I navigate through alleys of my heart.

Usually, it leaps out just after I pass, falling flat on the broken pavement behind me while I focus on what lies ahead.

Sometimes I feel wind move behind me, rustling hairs I’ve shaved off the back of my neck.

I don’t turn around.

I don’t want to hear sympathetic murmurings of those who think they know me.

I don’t want to see the confused gaze averted when it locks on my stoicism.

I don’t want to taste the stinging heat of shame dripping from your tilted head as you pass judgment even as you claim to be trying to understand.

I can clear the air, I guess.

I can lift the veil and show you who I am today, right now with my heart so full and my soul settled in a rhythm I wrote all by myself.

I can let you in enough to stop the rationalizing group discussions and mental gymnastics your misconception uses as a dance floor.

I can take misconception on, my sword of words ready to duel; I know in the cage where we battle I win.

I can be explained.

But you like the way misconception feels.

You like the mystery and drama surrounding unanswered questions you don’t think to ask me.

You like the way it screams at you; tantalizing blows to your core.

You like the stories you tell, connecting you to me.

So you don your misconceived mask, crouching in the shadows until I pass, never knowing there are no corners here.

I see you, Misconception.

Triggered

Triggered.

You laugh at the word and point out how overused it is these days.

You sit in your leather chairs, backs comfortably reclined as you swivel behind the glossy desk proclaiming your entitlement.

It is so easy for you to roll your eyes and then apologize for your reaction. Your genitalia allows you to retract at will. It hangs between your legs, launching you onto the high horse you barely even know you’re riding.

Yes, yes, she was compelling. Attractive too. Surprisingly believable.

You marvel at this circus and flare your nostrils at the injustice and casually wonder how all the other women are taking this.

You ask them politely, giving them the floor as though they suddenly matter and you are very cautious not to assume you understand, even as your head tilts gently to the side and nods in misplaced solidarity.

You don’t even know what we’re talking about.

Some of you try. There is sincerity in your attempt to open eyes conditioned to see only half the world. The best of you lower your voices and open your ears, acknowledging this moment as the start of change, even as you are reminded that it is deja vu all over again.

Over and over and over again.

Triggered.

One in 5 stare at their screens and watch their personal hell parade in front of their eyes in varying degrees of burning shame. Four in 5 have had their eyes peeled open since they were taught to beware, beware, the beast is always out to get you; your virtue protects you from becoming another statistic. One in 3 tasted it. Two in 3 witnessed it.

Triggered.

You sit with your knees spread, airing out the sword you hold above our heads while our thighs squeeze together and our bodies clench in collective resistance.

Triggered.

We hashtag our anger and air your dirty laundry because we are done.

Triggered.

We march and we stand tall and we proclaim our strength and you pretend to see us.

Triggered.

You laugh at the word and point out how overused it is these days.

Triggered.

Your laugh is uncomfortable because you see us rising up as a solid wall of broken women triggered by memories of generations of your betrayal. The trigger she pulled when she stood before the world and yanked the comfortable rug from under your feet, revealing mountains of naked truths hiding beneath it cleared your vision long enough for you to glimpse the ugliness of your desire.

And you are triggered.

Originally published on The Times of Israel.

Resume Me

I write the cover letter, attach the file and hit send.

For the hundredth time, I sigh.

My resume travels across the interwebs to be reviewed by someone who will not read between the lines. I will be drawn out and imagined as someone I will not recognize, and a door will be closed in my face because I don’t fit.

I will be classified and shaped and discarded.

I will be ignored.

The words I carefully constructed to define who I am will carry no weight on a screen.

I wonder how I define people.

Do I also see them as their experiences? Do I judge their lives by the stars that aligned the moment they were born?

Maybe I do.

Maybe my bias is just as devasting to others as the emptiness I feel when I wait for someone to open that file and draw the lines that I know do not define me based on the way my life, full of unexpected curveballs and experiences out of my control, is spelled out on one page.

I cry out, “Meet me first; hear how I view my shape before I list my virtues and wait for approval!”

I cry out to the ruffling pages of people who mean so much more than the words and the outside reflection of things they have done because that’s where they were or because that’s what they thought at that time. I await in the silence of one-page profiles of people filling the air around me, falling to the ground in a heap where they will be stepped on because their resume said that they were not worth a look in the eye.

I cry out to a world that will not hear because I speak in a tongue made for the street and trip over the one used by those sitting at a desk in an ivory tower.

I click send and I lose another line in my shape and I know that if I need to do this another minute more, I will have erased the best of me.

When the Children Cry – Rise Up!

There is a soundtrack to my life. There are an endless amount of lyrics and tunes stored in my brain and the second something happens that triggers a feeling, a song begins to play.

Today, I heard the White Lion ballad stirring around as I listened to an audio clip of children crying out for their parents in a US Customs and Border detention facility.

“Little child, dry your crying eyes…how can I explain the fear you feel inside…”

continue reading on Times of Israel

I am Writer

I have been pushing off my destiny for years.

I have been afraid of it – afraid of the walls that could close in on me if I ever drew a line around me – that I would somehow end up with wobbly ink straightening out to form a box that would snap shut and slowly compress me down to a shape I would resent.

I avoided my destiny because my seventh grade English teacher told me it was mine and she also criticized my hastily penned assignments and told me to take things seriously.

I didn’t learn the rules well so I thought I couldn’t play.

My commas don’t go in the correct places and my sentences run ahead of me almost as fast as the thoughts that spin through my ever-churning brain. My words read the way I think I say them: randomly strung together, coming off as less intelligent and definitely uneducated. I am a high school drop-out. We don’t become writers.

Lately all I’ve been doing is thinking in text and I’m stuck with all these thoughts and ideas and words strung together and I have a burning desire to let it out all the time.

Writers are writers because they write.

Maybe I won’t get paid and maybe no one will ever recognize me as a writer but if I write; I am a writer.

I sit and I write and I don’t know what I will write before I write it.

There’s beauty in that.

Sometimes it is brutal and raw and makes me gasp when I read it back. Sometimes I surprise myself with something profound. Always I know that whatever it is I have written may be read and it fills me with a sort of excited dread that maybe someone out there will peer into my soul and see me.

When you see me, know that it is my destiny to be seen in this way…it is my destiny to rip my heart out for you to devour…it is my destiny to write and have my words soar out into the abyss for your amusement…your shame…your utter misunderstanding.

Defining Me

Recently a friend asked me what I was looking for.

I’ve been searching for a job for the past few months. I joined all the groups on Facebook and I tidied up my resume. I let people know I’m looking and created a LinkedIn account. I sent out my resume to a few relevant places and I called to set up an interview for a job that is in a field completely different from what I thought I wanted. I’m exploring options for working at home. I’m actively looking.

“What are you looking for?” he asked.

I didn’t have an answer.

For the past two and a half years I was a cake decorator. I didn’t think I wanted to be one or that it was something that could interest me, but I took a part-time job close to my home and it turns out I’m good at it. A few hours a week became a few days a week which became full-time and then I was at a managerial position, taking charge and overseeing operations in a business I hadn’t ever thought about.

A few years before that I opened a small drop-off daycare service in my home so that I could stay home with my two-year old. I thought I would have a few kids here and there but the parents wanted more hours and I found myself on the floor every day laughing and singing with the greatest little group of humans who went home happy to satisfied parents.

Before that I wrote an article for a magazine because my mother didn’t want to do it and then they called me to do an editorial piece.

Before that I did some part-time work for the therapeutic school I had gone to and became an integral part of the program for as long as the school was able to survive in a struggling economy.

Before that I was a failure at everything, especially at committing to drug addiction and alcoholism.

Before that I dropped out of school and roamed around looking for meaning.

Before that I had a lot of potential and no one knew how to help me actualize it.

“What are you looking for?”

What am I looking for?

I can decorate cakes because I am an artist.

I can run a daycare because I am a leader.

I can create articles of substance because I am a writer.

I can connect with teenagers because I am real.

I can overcome failure because I am a fighter.

I can search for a life of meaning because I am a believer.

I can actualize my potential because I am adaptable.

“What are you looking for?”

Maybe I should answer with an explanation about how I didn’t get a degree because of a broken system. Maybe I should say that my needs are so immediate that you can hand me a broom and I’ll clean for you if it means I can feed my kids this week. Maybe I should explain how I freeze at the thought of starting over at this point in my life when it feels like I am constantly knocking down doors only to find that the hallways opened up for me end in another concrete barrier.

“What are you looking for?”

I don’t know.

I know what I am.

I am an artist. I am a leader. I am a writer. I am real. I am a fighter. I am a believer. I am adaptable.

“What are you looking for?”

I’m looking for a job that doesn’t define me.

I am looking for me, in a job that embraces me.

“What are you looking for?”

A dream?