Making the Connection

I listen to the poets as they pass

one by one across the stage

Sharing insights on their lives,

their hearts open to scrutiny.

Even with subjects personal and traumatic

They project outward positive thoughts

Dealing with the lingering effects

of shitty circumstances life had handed them.

 

I had arrived feeling devoid of inspiration,

looking simply for distraction.

That desire was certainly achieved

Yet more surprising,

Were the emotions wrapped in the words,

Both quiet and boisterous they spread.

Flowing out from the stage to blanket those below.

Subtle nods and barely audible ummm’s

Confirm the connection has been made.

 

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Baring an Untold Story

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
                                            - Maya Angelou
The years of my youth,
long ago dissolved into history.
Only a vague awareness of their relentless passage remains
Undefined longing,
born of the story I lived each day, but never knew
Left ghosts of uncertainty woven into the fabric of my existence.

Ever present and seemingly unchanged across the years,
These longings linger
like the smell of wood smoke from last night’s fire
Clinging to my skin,
wrapping themselves about each stand of hair,
I could feel them, gripping my heart,
whispering in my dreams.

I see their shadowy form in my reflection,
even though others could not.
Part of my soul, they are my story,
one never spoken aloud.
A lifetime of grappling with their shadows
has brought understanding,
the why of their existence,
a final acceptance of their truth.

That I was to live my life as a transgender woman
was no longer deniable
Yet I remained cloaked in invisibility,
unable to summon the courage
to face the inevitable consequences
certain be unleashed
Yet my words, as an animal in a cage,
long to break free of confinement, run free in the world

Fear calls upon every argument,
no matter how thinly disguised
To strangle my voice,
to preserve the status quo of silence.
Hope rises in resistance, growing stronger bit by bit.
Until the resistance finally crumbles
and the words pour forth.

In defiance of fear,
swaddled in the words of my story
A lifetimes labor comes to fruition,
truth in physical form.
With this realization came courage, came visibility.
And the woman that is Rachel was born into this world.

A Curious Thing

Did you ever want to do a thing?
emotional-health-drawing-28But don’t really know why
But don’t really know how.
I have.

Did you ever want to know?
Why you want to do a thing
But don’t know how to begin
Not sure if you want to begin
I have.

Did you ever want to figure out
The why of this thing
But are afraid of the why of the why
Not sure what’s hiding in the why
I have.

Did you ever wonder
If the thing is really a thing
Or something else entirely
I have.

Did you ever wonder, could it be one thing,
Masquerading as another thing
Just to throw you off the trail.
I have.

Did you ever wonder where?
The thing would lead you
If you could find the courage
To follow the path into the unknown

I have,
I will,
I am.

Random Thoughts

I need to release these words, these emotional triggers, they’re bound up in my psyche like moths in a spider web, I need to cut them free, let them drop to the ground

But to deal with the feelings I have to deal with the pain that comes from confronting them, without any assurance that it will do anything other than make me feel bad.

I had a dream the other day, the phone rang and when I said hello I was surprised to hear my daughters voice.

In a sweet bubbly voice, she said “we’re having a cookout for the 4th why don’t you join us for some grilled hot dogs and beer.”

I immediately woke up, struck with the realization that this was a dream, because this would never happen.

The disappointment will surely linger all day

———————————————-

This morning I watched a program on PBS, an in depth look at gay history and profiles of individuals and their personal histories and struggles. Each of them discussed the people and events that were instrumental in their acceptance of the fact that they were gay. Looking back, they realized how it was a pivotal moment that kept them from living their lives in darkness.

In most cases, the moment in their history that proved to be life changing wasn’t significant in isolation, yet even the largest explosion requires a spark.

In one case it was simple as acceptance. A friend, the first he had come out to said, “none of that matters you’re Tom and we’re friends.” Now 40 some years later he sought to reconnect with her to tell her how important that moment in his life had proven to be.

I never did find out if he had success in finding her, I couldn’t watch anymore, I was crying so hard. It was natural that I would take each of their stories and compare it to my own. The results left an ache.

All those years, how would my life have played out if I had had a friend that made me feel safe enough to be honest with. Could their simple acceptance have nourished the awareness of who I actually was and released me from a lifetime of darkness?

Lousy Timing

Sorry, you just missed it, or my favorite,gymnastics-bars
Damn, you should have been here yesterday.
That doesn’t make me feel any better, try again
If timing in fact is everything in life, 
as the cliché pundits would have me believe,
Then I certainly can make a claim
As a spokesperson for lousy timing.
In retrospect, 
it seems as if life has seen fit
to bestow on me an overabundance of lemons
So as is the suggested solution, 
I made lemonade,
It soon became apparent though, there was one minor oversight.
The Universe has neglected to supply any sugar,
Was this an additional lesson?
Ever had lemonade without sugar?
I have, gallons and gallons in fact.
Left with lips in an almost perpetual pucker,
eyes pressed tightly into squinty slits
I’m shouting this is a joke right, but the answer is obvious.
Some, it seems, are always in the right place at the right time,
me not so much.
Such is life….
My decision to deal with my transness and
Begin transition was steeped in positive timing.
Society had grown more accepting;
marriage equality was moving swiftly forward.
Trans people were more and more visible every day.
On magazine covers, on TV, they proclaim their truth.
Ultimately this wasn’t the reason I began to transition,
Because truth is, nothing short of death would have stopped me.
Although it was slightly reassuring that “shoot on sight”
was no longer society’s top priority.
Lulled into the false assumption that social change
Moves in only one direction I stepped out of the darkness.
No sooner had I abandoned my invisibility
It became profoundly clear that promising social progress isn’t linear,
Reality strikes like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky
The spin of the Earth has suddenly reversed, 
black is white, up is down
Persecution is official policy, hate is a viral contagion,
and religion is the enemy.
Rapid advancement has been replaced by equally rapid retreat
Yet there is no going back for me,
there is no longer any back to go to.
Invisibility, which I had always clung to desperately
No longer exists as an available refuge,
my truth proclaimed for all to see.
The intervening years have strengthened my
Rising in defense of those like me,
for only together will we survive.
If martyrdom is the cost of visibility, so be it.
I have made my stand,
I will not apologize nor take a step backward.
I raise a glass of sour lemonade,
to all trans people everywhere.

Strong Woman and What They’ve Taught Me.

 

We didn’t meet until my declaration was recorded historyconfident women
The crossing of our paths, serendipity.
Proof of the Universe’s ultimate awareness,
Once again providing what I didn’t know I needed.

In a childhood wrapped in the fear of sexuality, I withered.
Adolescence spent in a world where enjoyment of one’s body was shameful
I cowered in search of invisibility, consigning myself to perpetual silence.
crawling toward the finish line on hands and knees
Assuming the end wouldn’t end in triumph but darkness.

But things have changed, with transition came enlightenment
and introduction to a circle of self-assured women
That proved that fear was not a universal truth.
Shining examples of what self-confidence looks like
Suffering no stuttering hesitation, in discussion of a sexual self.

Their effect on my life was entirely unintentional.
Growing from fundamental honesty and unassuming presence
An aura of acceptance, a lack of judgement
Imparted understanding by example.

It pains to imagine how much different life could have been
To have learned that my body and sexuality are a gift.
To be cherished and enjoyed to the fullest.
Pleasure for pleasures sake my new mantra.

Connections to the Past

While I was cleaning up my contact list on my phone I came across several names of people that I was once close to. People that have passed beyond the vale into the dimness of history. I pause at each one, being carried backward into the memories of the times we shared. Some are happy some sad but all generate a feeling of loss and longing, a feeling that cannot be soothed.

My finger hovers above the delete button while all these stories play out in my mind. In the end, I can’t push the button, can’t erase the tiniest link to their existence. Maybe some day, but not today.

 

Her Name Stares Back

Her name stares back at me from the depths of the pale electronic glow.
What began as a simple exercise in housekeeping on my phone
Has come to an abrupt halt, now taking on a significance never intended
Powerless to break from the memories her name draws forth
The gentle ghost of her voice, calling my name from that time before,
the echo of her infectious laughter drawing tears from my remembrance.
The desire to speak to her, just one more time, grips my heart.
But there is no cure, no comfort for this longing, 
no letters to recall her words.
There are no photos to reconstruct a moment, No yellowed clipping
Marks the day of her passing or what small piece of this world
Might have given her rest. 
All that remains is what I carry in my heart
And this name staring back from the screen I hold.