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Splitting Apart the World

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split apart.”
Muriel Rukeyser

My words yearn to be spoken,
and my ring yearns to shine,
but the others before me
cause me to hesitate:

Tippi McCullough,
who received news of her termination
on her wedding day.

Kristen Ostendorf,
who had the courage to be herself
to a room full of colleagues and friends.

Al Fischer,
who simply decided to spend
the rest of his life with his love.

Trish Cameron,
who actually believed
in supporting equality and justice for all.

If they all share their voice,
after years of sharing their knowledge,
and are left in the dark to rot,
where does that leave me?

In the dirt, with their stories by my side,
habitually starting from scratch,
and knowing my voice 
will never be afraid to be heard.

She gives me butterflies.

Prompt: Tell me what gives you butterflies. Write for ten minutes writing down anything and everything that makes you nervous. Choose one and write for ten more minutes describing all of the different feelings that happen in your body at the thought of doing that one thing. You can take it one step further and put it into a form of your choosing if you like.

<3 10/6/2013

 

Love. It’s a strange word.
In French, c’est l’amour.
Somehow, adding apostrophes and a string of letters
gives a four letter word an immediate
sense of elegance and class.

I can recall the first time I fell in love,
or at least the first time I thought I was in love.
I sat on a stoop,
watching the sunrise,
talking about nothing and everything
until almost 4 am.
My heart beat faster and faster
until it burst, broken, defeated
two years later.

At the start of this new year,
a few years after my heart had finally burst free,
I discovered what love actually was.
There was no anxiety
or hot, painful tears,
or even sleepless nights wondering if the feelings would last.
Instead, I felt complete.
The part of me that I didn’t realize was missing
found its way into my heart, my eyes, my smile.
Our story unraveled like a fairy tale,
and the collective 22 and 30 years it had taken us to meet up
seemed less like a lifetime apart
and more like a lifetime of forgotten pasts,
for the past no longer mattered,
and the present was the future.

Now, we dance the dance
of knowing our hearts beat as one,
that we want to declare our love–
a four letter word I had come to view as a curse–
to one another in front of our family and friends,
and that one day, we, too, may actually have the opportunity
to march down the aisle
and live happily ever after.

 

I want to hug 11.5 year old me.

Last year at this time, I was student teaching. I taught a lesson on September 11th to my students, and, while I may be mistaken, I’m pretty sure I was required to.

This year, there was an announcement on the PA system commemorating the anniversary. I had to force my students to be quiet during a moment of silence. The moment passed, and nobody seemed reflective of it. They seemed pretty unaffected by it, which is normal I suppose– to them, September 11th is something that happened in history. They were too little to understand or even remember it, and that’s how it will be every year that I teach.

So, instead, I started our Culture unit in World History with a lesson on cultural groups, stereotypes, and diversity, and, as my students worked in groups, I ended up silently reflecting on my own experiences over the past 12 years.

I’m 23.5 years old. For more than half of my life, I have lived in a post-9/11 world. I’m part of a generation who is one of the last generations to remember a time where airport security wasn’t beefed up, when September 11th used to just be another day in the first or second week of school, and when the Twin Towers were part of the NYC skyline in real life, not just in “old” movies.

When September 11th happened, I was scared. I was convinced World War III would be starting, and I spent much of the months following September 11th believing unexpected warfare and death was lurking around the corner. I also said “God Bless America” a lot, even though I wasn’t a particularly religious or patriotic child. I think, like a lot of Americans, the phrase provided some sort of unity and comfort that I needed at that time.

I was a scared little girl, and I coped the best that I could– I discovered writing.

So, for the generations to come that will only view September 11th as a day in the History books, much like I grew up viewing Pearl Harbor, I share with you my diary entry from September 11th, 2001, and my follow-up entry on September 11th, 2002. There were plenty of panicked entries in between, and I tried very hard to write like a journalist– I think I was attempting to create a time capsule of some sort in case the terrorists “got us.”

I wish I could give 11.5 year old me a hug and tell her everything would be okay, just a new sort of normal, but I don’t think a hug and words of reassurance could have calmed my nerves. September 11th, 2001  was– and is– a scary, emotional, life-changing day, and my raw feelings are something that my students will never be able to understand.

So, hug a loved one tonight, and remember not only those who were lost, but the moment your life was changed or touched in some way.

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Somehow, I thought this spiral notebook would survive the end of the world. I really thought my words would be a time capsule for generations to come in a post-9/11 world.

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