Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Smiled at You

I smiled
at you
today; I couldn’t help
it. That means it’s genuine,
you know. And I can still feel
it in my heart:

I felt my heart
and my mind
I looked
at you—
noticed your body.
Your face;
your eyes;
your cheeks;
your smile.
It was all so familiar.

I listened
to you. I heard
the bitterness
that you passed off as a joke.
I heard
the bitterness
that you passed off as a story.
I got defensive
toward the first.
Toward the second
I merely looked through
the façade
and sadly
noted your own miscalculation.

But my heart
stayed still.
the familiar
The sense of knowing
and being known.
My heart
wanted to stay—
wanted to bask forever
in what is only momentary
and fragile

My mind
is ever watching—
ever guarding
my broken,
My mind
the news:
“You cannot
stay here. You are not
truly connected. This moment
will not
last. The façade will drop.
The smile will fade.
And the warmth will turn cold.
It is time to leave.”

My heart
obeyed. She walked away. “But
I can still feel
the warmth,”
she whispers. “It is genuine.”
My mind
must sternly
reply: “It was genuine once,
but what you feel are only remnants—
of the genuine, and remnants
of my façade.”

“I will always believe,”
my heart
whispers, “Always feel the warmth;
always hope;
always love.”

My mind
gives its final
report: “She is hopeless.”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Beyond the Shadows

I feel it before I can see it.

The pulsations begin at the tips of my fingers. They slowly travel to my palms. Sweat breaks out. The tiny spiders broach my arms. Each hair follicle prickles in turn.

Ringing in my ears. Steel clashes against steel. The hairs on my nape rise in alarm.

I clench my fists. And open my eyes.

Breath gets caught in my throat. My vision is blurred in the flood. Flashes of silver. Hounds and horses. Shadows. Shadows everywhere. With each shout, yell, blood-curdling scream, the spiders jump upwards upon my arm.

I am cold and hot at once. The shadows—the men—are getting closer. They ring me, and they are closing in.

Steel against steel. Grunts. Shouts. Screams. The screams do not discriminate. Men. Women. Children.

Bodies lunge against one another.

My heart is beating faster—faster—faster. The spiders release their webs. They spread, interweave, covering my upper body. Constriction. Squeezing the air out of my lungs. My heart. Faster—faster—faster.

The bodies threaten to brush against me. I know if I reach out I will penetrate the shadows—piercing flesh and blood.

A face materializes in front of me. A woman. The smear of muddied blood does not hide her ferocity. Her teeth are bared. Her eyes wild. A flash of silver in her hand. She lunges toward me. My heart. Faster—faster—faster.


Everything freezes. The screams. The shadows. The thrusting arm. The webs. The spiders. The throbs. My heart.

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

My breath returned. I raised my eyes to the hill. The cross stood tall.

Weeping filled my ears. I lowered my eyes.

The blood-stained field was littered with bodies. There was no discrimination. Men.  Women. Children. Broken. Bloodied. Weeping.

I took a step forward, and something brushed my ankle. I looked down to see a woman. Her face smeared with muddied blood. Her eyes shed tears of weariness and hopelessness. Her lips parted once and closed. I bent down to her. Placing my ears to her charred lips.

“What?” I asked.

The hoarse breathe finally took form: “Help.”   

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Give Me Wings

I haven’t been nicely put together since June 29, 2008. You know what that day was? High School graduation. I was on top of the world. I had been with my first boyfriend for 9 months; had my first genuine best friend; had been in a musical; ran track for the first time, and had made it to post-season; been accepted to the Honor’s College at Stony Brook University; and on that very day—June 29, 2008—I graduated valedictorian, breaking the school’s record for highest average. I was a damn fine pot.

But then June 30 hit. You’ve heard the cliché, “Once you hit rock bottom, there is nowhere else to go but up.” Well, the formula works in the opposite direction as well. Once you hit mountain top there is nowhere to go but down. The cracks began. And then the cracks began to spread.

I was away from my best friend. I broke up with my boyfriend a month into college. I was no longer the smartest student. I gained weight. I held it together for about a year. But a pot can only sustain so many cracks. Mid-August 2009 I crumbled—my first experience of potsherds.

I was admitted.





Finally, momentum.

After a year of potsherds, I thought I was well enough to rebuild.

Vanity of vanities!

All I did was fall

And so I quite.

I gave up.

God hid me away at Davis.
I didn’t push.
I sat quietly for three years.
Letting God slowly put little tiny pieces back together.

But now it’s time. Now there needs to be more. Now I need to be a full pot again. God isn’t moving fast enough.

And so others are trying to put me together.

Ask me if I’m mad. Go for it. Ask me.


I’m mad at me. I’m mad at you. I’m mad at him. I’m mad at her.

Am I mad at God?


But not really.

What I want most is for everyone to be quiet—including myself—so I can hear. I want the world to stop turning.

But see, that is impractical. The world doesn’t stop. People don’t go away. And my mind doesn’t shut off.

Am I bound to be potsherds forever?

How long, O God??

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him.’
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.”

David finished it. I cannot.

“Sometimes we heal by living life.”

I remember what it took for me to let go of my anorexia. I threw everything to the wind. And I ate. I ate with abandon.

Can I live like that? Live with reckless abandon?

I want to.

Forget the pot that I formerly was.

I want to spread my wings. And fly.
(Will God be the wind that carries me?)

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Glue Dries Clear

He touched me. Not in an inappropriate way. I’m old enough to know the difference. He probably thought it was harmless, friendly, carefree touching. No. He touched me. I didn’t ask him to touch me. I didn’t want him to touch me. I don’t feel safe. He touched me. And then he was gone.

But me—I was still there. Fractured pieces, crumbling to the floor. Fragmented. Disintegrated. Potsherds.

I shared my broken self once. I revealed myself. I exposed myself. And I got a slap in the face. “That’s dangerous,” was the only consolation I received. And up went a wall.

I felt the wall when she talked with me. I want to connect. I want to love. I want the exchange of warmth. But it’s that wall—it stands in the way. Isn’t this supposed to be safe?

“All I saw was a black hole.” He could have stolen the words from my mouth. Didn’t I say that a few days before? Perhaps— “This is my family,” he said. No. It’s not possible. The walls are still too high.


Such a foreign word. Supposedly, God has given me that ministry. But how can I minister to others when all I am is potsherds?

See I know it in my head. I know I need to reconcile myself to God. But then I can hear the repercussions: “Perhaps you haven’t given your life to Christ!” Well, in a way you would be right. But it’s not that simple!!

Remember who you were.
I’m drowning!
Remember what it was like.
I can’t breathe!
You are not there now.
I can’t reach you!
I am here.
I am going to die!
Trust me.
Why are you not pulling me out?!
I am here.
I can’t stand!
No! The water is too—
I can stand!
I can breathe!
You didn’t pull me out.
You didn’t need to be.
You could stand the entire time.
I can breathe!
Remember how it was.
I can stand!
Remember who you were.
I’m alive!
You are no longer she.


Such a foreign concept when I feel I am falling apart.
It overwhelms me; these potsherds that I am.

Look to me, says God.

Look where? I can’t see you.

I’m drowning.