The Story I Need

 

What if I were one of those people who could write just to write and not for anyone else to read? What if I didn’t need the feedback and the affirmation?

 

I want to read a story like mine. I want there to be a queer woman who was married to a man, who tried to be (and for a minute convinced her self* she was mostly) straight. I want to read about how she didn’t like her self, not as a second grader who wished she hadn’t been born, or a 12 year old who waited and waited to be special, or a youth group kid who prayed and struggled. I want to read about her apologizing for being fat– really saying the words, “I’m sorry I’m so fat”– to her fiance. I want to read about another third grader trying to make her have sex with him; who even knows if he had any idea? I want to read that she was afraid, too, when a grown man masturbated in front of her, standing in his front doorway, watching her play in her friend’s front yard.  What about all the other men? All the other times?

 

I want to read about how she resigned her self. Over and over, she decided that good enough was good enough. She was motivated to this little acquiescence by religion, by knowing that God, actual God, the actual creator of the universe and the human circulatory system guided her or required it of her.

 

I want to read about how she thought she was in love. People around her warned her that she was too young and that she didn’t know him well enough. She knew that he wasn’t everything she’d ever wanted, but she took vows and committed. She was sure her life would be beautiful and sweet and full of good things. Time went by; it was, and it wasn’t, because life is never just good.

 

I want to read about her marriage ending.I want to read about her coming out of the closet. I want to read about her losing her religion and her belief in any higher power and especially in church folk.

 

That’s where I really, really hope her story differs from mine.  For this story to be exactly what is necessary to soothe this ache in me, that has to be where she learns to like her self. She finds her worth. She invests time and resources in knowing who she is and valuing that person.

 

She falls in love. God, I need her to fall in love. I need to see that someone else loves her. Someone else sees her worth and her glow and her grit and falls head over heels into her. If she is a pool, some other beautiful soul needs to jump into the deep end of her, and she opens herself to it.

 

I haven’t found a story like this. Today, I’m disproportionately disappointed in the internet for this.

 

There is no blogging like angsty, wine-drinking blogging.

*Misspelled intentionally.

 

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In His House

Recently, my mom told my dad that I consider myself a lesbian. (That’s how she put it. “She considers herself a lesbian.”) I’d intentionally not told my dad because of his staunch adherence to evangelical Christianity, including Bible verses like Luke 14:26. I might write about that in a more straightforward way sometime. We spent a weekend all together after the outing, and my dad said nothing about it to me.
If my imagination is correct, that’s probably beneficial.

 

x-x-x-x-x-x-x

In His House

 

Sometimes when I’m alone

I pretend I’m finally having the big conversation

With my dad.

The one where we finally talk about

My sin that he hates

While loving me

The sinner.

I don’t need to guess what he’d say.

I lived at home til I was 19.

That’s not quite two decades

In my dad’s house,

And it is his house.

We just lived in it.

 

I always end up crying

Alone

Usually in the car

But sometimes in bed

Or in the kitchen

Where I’ve said my side

Of a conversation

About me and my life and my choices

And, of course, his opinion on them.

 

In most of my imaginings

He says something about

His never knowing

And if I were really

That way

(I don’t think he’d  refer to me as gay)

Of course he’d know.

And then I say something about how

He didn’t know everything

And remember that time

I told him I’d been

A suicidal second grader

And he’d had no idea

 

Of course

The Bible plays a part

In these masochistic daydreams.

He’ll quote Paul the Apostle

So I know

What Paul in the first century AD

(And by association, probably, God)

Thinks of me.

He’ll use words like

Unnatural

Condemn

Deceit

Abomination.

“You have been lied to.” he will say.

Confused.

“You have believed it.”

 

 

I respond with words, too.

I insist, half-yelling at my sunroof

Yes, always.

Always

Secret.

I tried. I tried, I tried..

And happy.

Finally. Finally. Finally.

Happy.

He used to yell at me

To grow a backbone

But

In my angry imagination,

He pushes against it.

Again

He’ll break me

Again

He’s determined

God dammit.

 

The conversation ends

When I arrive

To where I’m going

Or when I’m all cried out

Or when, in my mind,

He tries to force my hand

And pushes me

To admit

Some lie

Some wrong.

Or he wants me

In my mind

To agree to try harder

To change

Because this is his house

And there are things

And choices

And behaviors

And sins

He won’t allow

In his house.

 

Sometimes

In my mind

There is pleading.

It isn’t usually Dad.

Sometimes

My mom pleads with him

To see reason

To not push me away.

 

Sometimes

In my mind

He is determined that

I will see his rightness.

That somehow

I have to expel Satan

And the precious woman

Who can’t wait

To have a half-adventure

Half-boring existence

With me

From my heart.

He might say that he’s sorry

That I am sad.

Then he’ll say that he’ll never apologize

For standing for righteousness.

 

Sometimes

In my mind

I am so outraged

That I call his bluff

And I walk out his door.

I don’t have to listen

To what he thinks

Is wrong with me.

I don’t have to be hurt

And pretend not to be hurt.

I don’t live in his house anymore.

.

 

 

 

Rain on the Roof 

This isn’t finished, but I thought I’d post it anyhow. 
Turn the radio off. 

I don’t want to hear

What that singer says about love. 

The rain on the roof 

Sounds more like my love for you

Than anything some lyricist can capture.
Don’t accompany the ache

In my chest with guitar chords. 

This is older than stringed instruments.

It’s deeper than an electric bass. 

You can’t record this intensity. 

It can’t be played back later, anyway. 
A yogi told me 

When the universe was first formed 

Its first sound was the “Om”

Like you hear in meditation groups. 

Maybe that’s what hums through me

Sitting with you while it rains outside.

Scars and Baggage

Once upon a time, I went on the best first date of my life. Here’s a poem about it.

 

She gave me butterflies immediately

And unceasingly

And she knew it.

She wasn’t afraid of my baggage;

Maybe her baggage went with mine.

She didn’t get the RENT reference,

But she thought we’d coordinate

Even if the patterns didn’t totally match,

So we each drove farther than we should have

On a work night.

It was the best first date of my life.

It was too bad they didn’t have karaoke,

We agreed.

We ate

We drank

We flirted

Without embarrassment

We revealed ourselves to each other

A stitch and a scar at a time,

With a crazy abandon

And it made sense to us

Then

To just jump on in

With eyes wide open!

With both feet!

No lifeguard,

No floatation device,

Just a deep breath

And a plunge

Into the deep end

Of that sea of broken hearts

And maybe-empty promises

And the faint possibility of love,

Of love,

And safety.

Security.

Not drowning

Because this is what

Meant For Each Other

Feels like

Right?

I kissed her and I knew.

I knew what it was like

To need to touch

And feel

As much of someone

As I possibly could.

Suddenly there was nothing

Nothing

For me

Anywhere else,

With anyone else.

She kissed me, and I knew.

I knew how it felt

To melt

And to burn

And to need

To be known as thoroughly as she could know me.

Her teeth scraped my neck,

And all those love songs made sense.

My fingers found her skin,

And I understood how

A lover could commit a crime

Of passion.

It hurt when

She touched a sore spot, but

I wasn’t afraid anymore.

I couldn’t think of how to ask her

To baptize me in her fire,

But while I struggled with the words,

She said it was getting late,

And I needed to go home.

I hurt so much

Already

That I couldn’t hear anything

Over the sound

Of my startled heart.

I left the car radio off

And I drove home.

I express myself better in writing

Than I do speaking,

And I couldn’t find a way to say

That I was sorry

For my scars

But also

Fuck you

For being mad

That it still hurts

Sometimes.

I wanted to ask her

If she’d maybe

Consider

Letting me explain

Why I can’t promise

To follow her to Arizona

Or drive the traditional

Second Date Transportation.

She didn’t want to hear it.

She hung up.

 

Heartstrings, or Something Else

She says she’s not a musician,

But if she drew her bow across my heartstrings,

I know I’d sing a sad kind of love song

And it would be stuck in my head til it filled me up and overflowed my mind and dripped off my eyelashes

And slid down my face to the fake it til you make it smile

That I perfected for Sunday mornings.

At seven years old, I bought my first insurance policy

To keep me safe from hellfire and guarantee that I’d see my dead grandparents again.

I was trained up in the way I should go,

But I’ve always been unsteady on my feet

And church shoes have always hurt.

I rolled my ankle and quieted my joy on that straight and narrow path

And when my eyes fell upon a girl with doe eyes and Geena Davis lips

My heart damn near broke my ribs trying to burst out of my chest.

I dreamed of the depths of her ocean, the altitude of her clouds.

The bends in my knees were a nightmare that nearly broke me.

In fractured thirds, I wanted to know

The Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost,

And her.

And her.

And her

Whatever made her smile stretch across her face

Or what she’d say when she was full

Of anger like Jesus Christ

Turning over tables in the temple

And decrying desecration.

I may have always feared damnation

But if this happy heat I feel near her

Is anything like hellfire

God damn, do I really have to choose?

The music in her hands

And her heart

The way her words sing

To a wretch like me,

My heartstrings hum with the vibration

Now I’m found

Now I’m found

And I’m afraid of what I see.

My eleven year old heart

Wrapped up in rules and what my mother says,

My heartstrings were knotted

In the nicest ribbon,

My one and only heart

A broken gift

For God?

I never told her.

I was sure

That she would never

Sit next to me at church again.

I Hate to Ask

I need to ask you something.

I need to ask you if it’s okay

If you never meet my dad.

Is it okay if we always have separate addresses?

What if my mom just thinks we’re friends?

What if we never send my sister

One Christmas card

With both our faces on it

With my kids and yours

And “Merry Christmas from all of us!”

And snowflakes across the bottom?

What if being with me

Means that I make a space for you

In this closet?

I’m so sorry.

I’m not ashamed of you.

I’m proud of you!

You’re like a miracle

That tumbled into my life

And made me do a backflip

Into a happiness I’ve never conceived of

Before now.

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid that the circle

Of my family

Where my heart was formed

And my anxiety grew legs

And I learned to love one way

And never to question

Isn’t big enough

For our tumbling dance.

Is it okay if I am still,

Still,

Still not ready

To force the circle to expand

To welcome my truth

And my heart

And the woman

Who sends a shiver through me?

I am so sorry,

But I can only hide

On this side of the closet door.

It hurts

But please…

Please don’t leave me

Alone.

 

Her Storm

If she leaves a mark at all

You won’t notice it.

I didn’t.

It was like the ring left

On a saucer after a weak cup

Of coffee.

I could see through the mark,

But I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t there.

I don’t think I’d want to anyway.

Anyway.

She confused me.

She used all the wrong words

To describe a sunset.

I wanted to travel to where her eyes wandered.

I wanted to see the light bend

Across the atmosphere with

Her rose-colored glasses.

I wasn’t ready.

She was like a storm

I watched on the news

And everyone who knew better

Warned me that I’d better not

Go near her.

She was a gale force wind

For which I was not prepared.

No one understood though

That I would gladly have let her

Flood my Main Street

Undermine the foundations to

My most hallowed halls

Break down all my walls

Until the swell of her

Swept me away.

But I never ventured into her storm.

She never let me in.