Since we've now lived in our house fifteen years, and since I'm on the threshold of Serious Personal Change, I've been cleaning and reorganizing the house.
This is not a cursory cleaning/reorganizing project. Indeed not. I decided I'm ready to clean out my file cabinets too.
I have a file for every paper I wrote in high school that I thought merited keeping. I'll probably get to those later.
I kept the file habit into the college years - only in some sort of sadistic enhanced mode. Not only did I keep the good stuff - I kept the crap.
I found some creative writing stuff. It really is stuff - crappy stuff. I should be embarrassed about the quality of this creative writing. I can't be though. Reading this creative stuff is like a journal of my early adulthood.
From Being Eighteen
Music thumps a heavy beat that shakes the foundations
Clothes fly around the room and burst into the hallway
Karen calls asking what to wear
We talk and laugh and decide together
Ready at last, I wait at the door, tapping my toes
Finally screaming at mother who wanders barefoot
We exchange hateful words and uncomfortable warmth
Spreads through my body and leaves my heart heavy
I call Karen for a ride to this last-year-of-school event
Mom must feel the scorch of my hatred as I wait, sullen
As the white junker finally pulls in the yard
Mom rushes out of the back room
She hands me an envelope and ten dollars
Like every other night, her expression is "havefuniloveyou" sorry
Clutching my ten and the car, running out the door
Wondering how I can be six again... beloved and safe?
Catching a glimpse of her watching at the window
And turning away from her and riding away.
Mom and I have had issues for a long time. This wasn't even close to the only time I wrote about her.
The class must have occurred in spring because I wrote about Lent too.
In Church on Passion Sunday, Alone
deep in the pit of my stomach.
It's like the fall
from the peak of a rollercoaster
or the sickening lurch
when the fire bell rings.
My body leans toward it
I stand on my toes til they bend
and stretch out my hands
until my fingers get numb.
Yet it is beyond my grasp.
for the sight I am denied.
I hear the love that said:
"Ache and yearn for Me
no other can blind your eyes
no other can reach your grasp
no other can fill your ears
"Only I spread my arms
The ache never fades.
If I recall correctly, I was taking another class simultaneously and we were reading Native American literature at the same time.
Proof? I wrote a poem about that too. I was always a big believer in the Humanities-style of study.
The Sacred CircleFor some reason though, it's the poem about secrets that's my favorite. I think because it's maybe the one poem that reveals how very different I am now than I was at 20. It's about secrets.
They build us churches out of brick
And tell us to learn the Golden Rule
We are confused by the Rule
Loving our neighbors has always been our way
They teach us about God and Jesus the Christ
We try to love this vengeful God and
Understand the blessed Heaven and fiery Hell
But with our eyes we see the beauty of Mother Earth
They provide us with wooden houses and sticks of furniture
But they take away our homes and the warmth of our families
They stand us in a line and break our hold on one another
Life is barren and empty when the circle is broken
They say our children must go to school like theirs
We like this opportunity for our cultures to mix
But they take our children away from the earth
Learning is meaningless without reverence
They offer us dignity we already possess
Those who refuse to honor us suffer penalty of law
Yet it is not what we asked them to give us
All we ask is to maintain sovereignty
They give to us that which we have
And take from us that which we need
We could show them the peace and beauty -
The sacred circle that is our life.
ForbiddenI must have been a secret-keeper at the time - even though I'm not really sure what secrets I was keeping. The juicy secrets didn't happen until later. And now? I've come to the sure knowledge that sin is born in secret. I have no time or inclination to neatly fold and tuck away any secret. Thank God.
I tuck all my underwear
into the back of my drawer;
no one will ever see them there.
I make sure that on washing day
they are well out of sight
even though they are pretty.
Silk panties trimmed with lace
Bras in soft pastel hues.
They are safe in their drawer -
most don't even notice
they are hidden in the drawer
I guess they don't look
and they don't ever ask
about my underwear or me.
So I think it's a safe bet
not to mention that I keep
my underwear in that top drawer.
The best is yet to come.
Tucked away in my English 201 and English 301 folders, I discovered some stream-of-consciousness journal entries. These are awesome - WAY, way better than any poetry ever. Mostly because I hate poetry. Honestly, just tuck in some punctuation and make full sentences and (for God's sake) say what you want to say.
I wish I would have dated these journal entries, but I'd guess they were written in 1990 at the same time as the poetry. I picked a couple excerpts and the last full entry to share here.
Tonight we bought my wedding dress at the same place my mother bought hers twenty-one years ago... When she bought hers, she said "I have eighty dollars, do you have a dress that I can buy?" The lady said, "You love this one, don't you? I've seen that look before. It's ninety-six and you really love it so take it." Mom did. They must have stopped giving brides who really love their dresses breaks. Mine was full price. It's made out of what must be thousands of yards of satin. It has a unique scalloped hem that looks feminine and delicate. The train is super long and all down it are sparklies. When you look in the mirror everything shines like diamonds. The material is white like the snow before dogs pee in it and cars driver over it. Joe's mom said Joe would be entranced no matter what dress I chose - good answer from a soon-to-be Mother-in-law! Joe's best man is the guy who introduced us five years ago. I'm scared about that. He can be a poop-a-loop.I don't recall every calling someone a poop-a-loop using my out-loud voice, but who knows...
A few days later, I wrote:
This morning I did the dumbest thing ever. I sat down on the toilet, only to jump up screaming. My sister'd left her hot curling iron on the closed toilet seat. I guess I would have been in trouble even without the curling iron sitting there. Hard to pee with the seat closed. When I stood up, the curling iron caught in the crease between my butt and thigh. Holy crap. I could smell the flesh burning. Half an hour later there were two huge blisters right in the spot that gets a wee workout every time you stand and sit and walk. Mom had some goo from when Scott burned his feet, but it smelled like a combination of doggie doo and air freshener. Do you ever wonder why manufacturers don't get that not everything can be made to smell good? And trying just makes it worse? I had to wipe that stuff off. You know. I've complained about cold toilet seats before, but they sure beat hot ones. I have to type now with my elbows on the floor and my butt in the air. It's awfully pathetic, if you ask me.And the final entry:
Cory tried to eat the diamond out of my engagement ring today. It's a good thing I get it checked regularly. What if he'd got it out and swallowed it. His mommy would have to check his poo for diamonds and the wedding pictures would sure look dumb with a ringless bride. He goes, "Whassat?" and I said "It's a sparkly. Pretty. Be nice." So then Cory kissed the ring. It was really sweet. Except for the baby slobber that got all over my hand and my supper. Crap. This is going to be a short entry because everyone and their sister is now disturbing the peace.I wonder when I stopped noticing things? Stopped thinking about things we pretend don't matter when they really do? Stopped taking the time to sit with a baby on my lap looking at a diamond? Stopped being smart?
I like the young me.
I no longer plan to just toss the contents of my file cabinet. Instead, I'm going to take a detour down good ol' memory lane, sharing some of the things I find worth preserving here in my blog. Not sure if that holds value for anyone except me, but at the end of the year I'll print my blog in a blog-to-book format so my future grandchildren can one day read about my apparent fascination with poo and butts.
They may find they like the young me too.