Perfect Skin

“If I feel this feeling, will you crawl out of your perfect skin and climb into mine?” ~Black Lab

There was just something about the rain that captivated her, that steady drumming on the tin roof of the little house, the water occasionally finding imperceptible holes, forcing its way inside. She could sit in the mud room for hours, on that little bench that used to accommodate her so well. But time moves in mysterious ways, an hourglass bolted fast to the floor, and she squeezes into the well-worn spot on the bench just enough to sit still and ponder the rain.

Her reverie is broken, however, by the sound of tires squealing to a stop in the driveway just beyond the front door, and she realizes she has been sitting there for far too long. A dip of her head, a tap of her foot on the floor, and she rises from the bench before the door opens, knowing that every moment counts. The slamming of a car door sounds closer than it could possibly be, but it arrives muted to her ears as she melts into the house, just another puddle on the floor on a rainy afternoon, just another silent scream waiting to explode.

As she waits in her hiding place for the series of moments to pass, for the footsteps to fade away, she absentmindedly touches the scar on her face, the one blemish on her entire body. She often stands in front of the bathroom mirror and tries to figure out ways to make it disappear, to be perfect like she used to be. Perfect is now merely a dim memory, a faded yellow photograph that doesn’t seem real anymore, like it was taken by ghosts. She pulls herself into a ball while she waits, no longer scared like she used to be. Just hoping to survive.

The rain comes down heavier now, pounding relentlessly against the tin, hammering firmly on the little house like an implacable beast, suddenly ominous in its ferocity. The storm has begun. Her fingers worry themselves like cricket’s legs, friction mounting as they scissor back and forth, trying to force herself not to touch her face again, because she knows she will open her mouth and let loose a guttural, primal yell, and she cannot afford that small solace. Instead she imagines perfect skin, an endless expanse of smooth, unadulterated skin, a beauty without comparison that she wishes were hers.

She hears him approaching her hiding place, the sound of his feet slapping across the tiles, and she knows that perfection is a lie parents tell their children to make them obey, to make them think they can thrive in a world that wasn’t made for everyone. Her fingers stop the twitching dance of their own volition, and she can’t seem to help herself as they flutter to her face, one touching perfection and the other jagged ridges, existing in equal measure.

Which is all she can say for life. As she opens her mouth to scream.


That Taylor Swift Narrative

111114-taylor-swift-blank-space-embed-1-480There’s this young woman who just can’t seem to keep a man. Either that or the men she’s attracting just aren’t good enough for her. She’s really great at most everything else in her life, but this one problem seems to keep rearing its ugly head, and I just have to wonder when she’ll find that one man who will be good to her, who she can rely on, and who will understand that all the love songs she writes will be about him from now on. Because she deserves all good things.

And as I thought about her the other day, I realized that she has written many songs about heartbreak, but she has also set forth a blueprint of what not to do for the guy who will eventually win her heart for good. He just needs to listen and take notes. You know, not like a stalker, but like a man determined to win the girl. Okay, so that still sounds like a stalker, but you get my point. Now, on to the lyrics…

“Did you have to ruin what was shining? Now it’s all rusted. Did you have to hit me where I’m weak? Baby, I couldn’t breathe.” ~Bad Blood

“No apologies. He’ll never see you cry. Pretend he doesn’t know that he’s the reason why you’re drowning, you’re drowning, you’re drowning.” ~I Knew You Were Trouble

“All that I know is I don’t know how to be something you missed. Never thought we’d have a last kiss. Never imagined we’d end like this. Your name, forever the name on my lips.” ~Last Kiss

“I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale, I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet, lead her up the stairwell. This ain’t Hollywood, this is a small town, I was a dreamer before you went and let me down. Now it’s too late for you, and your white horse, to come around.” ~White Horse

“So it’s gonna be forever, or it’s gonna go down in flames. You can tell me when it’s over if the high was worth the pain. Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane. ‘Cause you know I love the players, and you love the game.” ~Blank Space

“Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street, faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly. Loving him is like trying to change your mind once you’re already flying through the free fall, like the colors in autumn, so bright just before they lose it all.” ~Red

“Well maybe it’s me and my blind optimism to blame. Maybe it’s you and your sick need to give love, then take it away. And you’ll add my name to your long list of traitors who don’t understand, and I’ll look back and regret how I ignored when they said ‘run as fast as you can’.” ~Dear John

taylor-swift-1989-album-polaroids_53And I can’t help but think that beneath all of that scar tissue still lies a tender soul waiting for a love and an acceptance that has been a long time in coming. Maybe it’s all because of the celebrity factor, because being a female in a demanding business where it’s difficult to tell who’s for real and who’s not means having a thicker skin, or at least appearing so. Or perhaps it’s simply that she’s young, and she gets caught up in the whirlwind just like the rest of us did at that age. Regardless, the way she pens the sadness and pain onto paper could be a catharsis of sorts.

Which is the same reason why I think she’s so successful, because we can understand those emotions. They run deeper than anything else could possibly run. Because we’ve all dealt with heartbreak and the difficulties of relationships, while they’re happening and their aftermath. So while the Taylor Swift narrative is one of trying to get past the past, and forge a new future with Mr. Right, maybe it’s even more about understanding what she wants, and more importantly, what she doesn’t want.

And that second list keeps getting longer, but I hear she’s got a blank space just waiting to be filled in.


Black Ice

black_ice_500Black ice
Dark as night
Thick like tar
Consume my soul
Rend me apart
Fill me whole
Then disappear
Leaving scars
Red and angry
Blazing hot
Like salty tears
Rolling silently
Into oblivion
This obsidian
Flowing like waves
Leading away
From innocence
My ravaged spirit
Left to decay
Then trapped in ice
So I can’t feel.


This is Love

Love Is Pain HD WallpaperThis is love
Patiently silent
Expressively still
Waiting to move
To feel pain
A wakening of the soul
Vibrations from beneath
Folding in from above
A diligent love
Awash in guilt
And latent promises
Begging for redemption
Solidly stagnant
Forced into submission
By anyone but you
These molten tears
Darkening into shadow
Blending with anger
This push and shove
Fighting for relevance
In a discordant world
This is love
Shaken to its core
Born from dry ashes
Exploding into bloom
Waiting for a sign
That already came
And left in pieces
Shuddering in the rain.


Dear Journal: Streaks On My Heart

Dear Journal,

You know how it is when you haven’t thought about something for a while, and then someone shows up from that same time period and you’re thrust back into it? And it usually happens with negative things instead of positive things, like some kind of twisted irony machine tuned to a certain frequency only you and dogs can hear. Somehow two of those things happened to me today that triggered emotions I didn’t realize I still had, but yes they are still alive and well. Maybe they’ll never go away, and that’s a whole other story.

I used to have this convoluted view of emotion, like we’re all born with these squeaky clean hearts that haven’t been broken yet, that haven’t really done anything yet except keep us alive and keep us happy, just like little babies who smell so perfect and who have no blemishes on them. But then just like those little babies our hearts grow up and get some scrapes and bruises, some light or heavy streaking that helps to define our individual hearts from those of others around us. I imagined when I died the coroner taking out my heart and commenting to his assistant. “This is an abnormal heart,” he would say. “The individual who possessed it didn’t take good enough care of it. Notice the streaking.”

Even though I know that view is convoluted it still somehow rings true on some deeper, base level. There’s just something about our hearts that, while fragile, can sustain a lot of wear and tear. But even so, the streaks are tactile, a memory mechanism like scars that can jumpstart history that we thought was buried in our subconscious. Just one little jolt can bring it all back, meaning I guess we’re not as strong as we seem to think we are. Or maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. But I’m hurting right now, and no matter how much I know it’s not here anymore, my heart doesn’t know.


Brevity of Life

11060329_10206365585243611_3574390560280793056_nWhy do you think it takes someone dying for us to finally realize the brevity of life? I mean, we can be blissfully ignorant most times, can’t we? Someone we’ve known for our entire lives is someone we’ll know for the entire rest of our lives, or so we think without consciously thinking it. It’s just the way things are, but in the blink of an eye things can change. A diagnosis can happen, and we put on a brave face because how can it possibly be? It’s surreal… until the unthinkable happens and we have to cope with the loss of someone we thought couldn’t be lost.

I admit I fall into this trap way too often, thinking that the status quo will always be the status quo, but things change, and I am forced to change with them. People die and I’m challenged to deal with it, to keep on surviving. Because that’s what we all are, don’t you know? We’re survivors each and every single day because none of them are promised to us. The end of today isn’t even promised to us, but we live our lives as if it is. We waste too much time doing nothing of consequence, not spending time with people we love because we’ve slipped into these patterns of taking each other for granted.

Then time is up and the aftermath wakes us up, as if we were the ones who were dead and we’re finally coming alive. The mourning sweeps through us like a wave, toppling us from the ledge where we felt we were safe. Now it’s fair game, and we know we could be next, or the people we love. Isn’t it sad that it takes death to remind us that we should be alive? We go to the funeral, to the wake, to the calling hours, to pay our respects to the family that is shell-shocked no matter how long the person has been dying. We pay our respects to them, so why not pay those same respects to each other when we’re both still alive? Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today. I need to take my own advice.

Because life is short, no matter who you are.


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