perhaps you are my secret
left in the darkness of a closet
filled with dry bones
that rattle like fallen leaves
on pavement on a crisp and windy day
yet unlike those drifting leaves
I can not sweep you away
because you are alive
with beating heart
a memory I revisit in the silent night
with hope
that I may somehow change the past
rinse you clean and bright as dawn
bring you back to Innocence
and into light


Presently I am alive
but I’m feeling rather dull
as happens when you shoot for the moon,
miss the mark and find yourself
crashing down without a safety
burned to the point of numbness
and wondering when the pain ended
and limbo began
then the epiphany…
there are bills to pay
and mouths to feed
an alarm clock shouting orders
and a bladder full of yesterday
screaming to be emptied
so with quiet, masterful care I
sit on the edge of my bed
forgetting to remember
what it means to really live
and with one great heave
propel myself into the routine
that keeps me here


All I do is scream
Even my conversation
is a shout, unbearable
to my own ears
Who am I?
It seems anger has taken over
speaks for me in my dreams
and waking hours
In harsh tones and insults
An axe blade to chop down
Feelings of vulnerable me
that later show themselves as hot tears, salt poured on wounds too deep to heal
A headspace I want desperately
to leave…

Tight Rope

It’s not so easy
But it’s easy to pretend
To be anyone at anytime but me
Off balance
Knowing that the wind can send me toppling

That the line can break
And leave me grasping hopelessly
Torn veil
Judgment passes through
As effortlessly as the sun blots out the stars upon rising

Before the dawn of understanding
The voices in the background will always play the loop
It is my choice to listen
And let the tight rope hold me
Or simply let go

When the tears fall…ask yourself why

Schools are closed and the office is closed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m home with my kids, and when I woke up with them this morning, the first thing I did was ask them “Do you know why you are home from school today?” Of course they gave the right answer. They’ve been learning as much as a 3, 6 and 12 year old can over the last week about Martin Luther King and his legacy at school. I wanted to start the day with a lesson on the truly backbreaking and often dehumanizing work Dr. King and all who struggled and fought for Civil Rights in this country endured. I began by telling them a little bit about how not so long ago, people were separated in this country because of the color of their skin; that they could only live in certain places, go to certain schools, eat at certain restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised to see them all really listening. It was quite a moment for me.

I talked to them about standing up for what is right, about Dr. King’s stance on non-violence, and about the ugly reality of racism, hatred and segregation. How people faced dogs, fire hoses, being spit on, beaten, battered, all because they believed that everyone, no matter what the color of their skin, deserved to be treated equally. As I was speaking about the bravery of the people who had endured so much, I could feel my throat tightening, my chest hurting…and I began to cry. I struggled through, talking more about Dr. King’s legacy and how it lives on today through us, and about how we should always feel gratitude to those people who fought and died for what is, by it’s very essence, truth. We are different, that is true. But we are all human and no one, no matter how many letters they have behind their name has ever been able to define race in a way that denies that fact.

When the lesson was over, I began to reflect. Why was I crying? I cried because I want to be that brave. I want to be that strong…to sit in the face of hatred and anger and know that I am on the side of justice. I am humbled at the bravery of all those men and women. I am humbled by their grit, their honor, and their knowledge deep in their hearts and minds that they were struggling for something bigger than themselves…

I am humbled by the knowledge that they weren’t afraid to die.

I will end this with one of my favorite quotes from Dr. King. It’s a reminder to me to always speak. I do, for the most part. It’s time to make my voice louder. Time to do more. Remember:


Fear, the other F word

One of the things I’ve been pondering lately is the role fear plays in my life, and how it affects the decisions I make, especially the decisions that are life changing. I was scrolling Pinterest a few days ago and I saw this quote:


Everything? Really? Because there are some things that I want that have absolutely nothing to do with being afraid. For example, I would like the laundry to magically wash, dry, fold and put itself away without ANY effort on my part. Laundry is exhausting! And it’s NEVER done. I have no fear of laundry, unless of course, I haven’t been able to get to it in over a week and I know that the mountain of clothes gathered in the laundry room will be damn near insurmountable!

I realize that I have taken the quote out of context but I do it to show how silly some of the quotes we take to heart and use to guide our lives can be. Is the quote important, sure. Should it be a guidepost for some of the struggles we face in our lives, sure. Does it apply to every aspect of our lives, no. My point in all of this is that there has to be some line, some balance, some critical thought so that we can apply this wisdom to our lives in a way that makes sense and is actionable. I see a lot of quotes pinned on Pinterest. I am guilty of pinning a number of quotes that I read and think “Wow, so true!” and then never really think about again. I am almost positive the majority of chronic quote pinners are guilty of the same. But, back to fear.

I thought I’d try to take this quote and make it actionable by applying it to some of the concrete life decisions I am faced with over the coming months. One is applying for a position at my job that requires me to speak in front of a room full of strangers. I HATE public speaking and I am sure that places me squarely on the bell curve of the majority of people reading this. I am no outlier when it comes to speaking in front of people I don’t know. I’d rather not. But the fact is, I have a dream I’d like to see come true (a higher paying job with unlimited potential), and speaking in front of strangers is a stepping stone toward that dream. I’m scared shitless to be honest. But I did it.  I applied to the position because in this case, something I want (not everything because my laundry still lies waiting for ME in the laundry room) IS on the other side of fear. And in all honesty, if I let fear continue to guide the decisions I make, well, I’m fucked. You can only move forward if you push through your fear. Words of wisdom made actionable. That’s how life changes.

Lessons from a thief

So yesterday, I went to work. It was like any other work day in Chicago, except that yesterday was bitterly cold. I didn’t park where I usually park. Strike one, because I had a thought that I should just park in the employee parking lot as usual. But it was so FAR. And it was also so COLD. Did I mention how cold it was? Anyway, I parked on the street and something told me as I got out of my car to make SURE I locked the doors. So I did, I made sure that I locked my doors and went along my merry way, believing I had taken the care I needed to. Strike 2. Did I mention that the office is in an industrial area, and the street I parked on is not that busy, generally? Strike 3.

Cut to hours later. I’m leaving the office and as I approach my car I think, “Wow, that’s weird. My door is open”. You’d think seeing my car door open would be a clue something wasn’t right. But no, being the naive person I tend to be, I just thought maybe I hadn’t closed it right getting out of the car. I open my door the rest of the way and WTF!!! My radio is gone! Gone, gone….GONE. Nothing but a hole and wires. My immediate reaction was no reaction. Just shock. After a minute of standing there in shock I started to get irritated. Who would someone steal something that didn’t belong to them, from someone they don’t know?! You don’t know my struggles. I am a mother of 5 kids! I have food to buy, clothes to buy, shoes…school fees, BILLS BILLS BILLS. Then I wondered why? Why on EARTH of all the weeks and all the cars on the street and all the days and all the times (I mean, CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!) would you break into someone’s car and steal a radio. Note: also stolen was a bag with paperwork for my job, and 2 bags of shoes I had planned to give to charity. I imagine, somewhere in Chicago, a thief is currently trying to get rid of little girl’s shoes, size 2. Red and sparkly. That was just one of many pairs of little girls shoes in those bags.

But, I digress. I am still mildly irritated at the loss of my radio. I mean, how am I supposed to maintain sanity driving in rush hour traffic to and from work in CHICAGO without my radio?! However, I have decided not to make a big fuss about it. To understand that this happened for a reason. What lessons can I learn from this thief?

Lesson 1: Follow your instincts. Yes it has been said time and time again and yes, I am sure we ALL know we should be following our instincts. However, if I had followed mine, I believe my radio and I would not be dearly departed.

Lesson 2: Don’t get too comfy. I can definitely say that I got a little too comfy…parking on the street is generally a safe thing to do but NOT WHEN YOU WORK IN AN INDUSTRIAL AREA and definitely NOT IN CHICAGO. Always remember where you are, and keep that at the forefront of your mind when you are making choices.

Lesson 3: Speaking of choices, this is a prime example of how our choices can affect our lives for the good or the bad. I made the choice to park on the street. I was robbed. Seems like going back to kindergarten here, but I guess that’s life. We have to go back to kindergarten to be reminded of the simple lessons. Hope now I can move on to Grade 1.