Drifter

‘I want, I want, I want…’

I hear desires pulse through my mind, and recall past times when I let longing take over my life.

I solved financial problems creatively to fund dreams of housing, food, and philanthropy back when I was a drifter.

My unconventional path to afford life did not require me to limbo under laws in a way that people hear about and then forget, but the sort of scandalous, shameful exploitation of myself that if it were bait, would net the whole ocean.

I feel myself once again consider leaning into the elasticity of my moral fabric in order to garner resources to turn my dreams into reality, however this time I am anchored by roots of wisdom which take hold and reach ever deeper.

Money cannot buy honor or respect, and a reputation is much more easily maintained than recovered.

It seems that my days as a drifter are over.

Someday

I was born pretty, impoverished and good natured.

I knew the story, or thought I did.

I cleaned more than Cinderella, read more books than Belle, and amassed more treasures than Ariel.

All I had to do was stick to the fairy tale script and marry a prince, simple and easy.

Things turned out to be a bit more complicated.

Love didn’t unfold easily: it still doesn’t.

I worked long and hard, and longer and harder still.

Through true grit and hard-won experience, I became my own prince, which is to say I provide for myself.

Now I’d like a princess of my own.

Someday.

In Plain Sight

I spend a great deal of effort trying to act normal.

Long before I had words to explain it, I desperately tried to hide my autism, and still do. The only person I’ve told about my autism doesn’t believe me because of how seemingly successful I am.

I find making conversation difficult and deeply anxiety inducing no matter how much I learn, and I have learned a few things, albeit slowly.

I learned that parroting the words I heard other people say during previous conversations does not bode well, especially when I am confronted about these hand-me-down statements that I am unable to defend because they are neither my actual opinion, nor facts I am able to cite the sources for. Whenever this happens I feel ashamed, like I gave an incorrect answer to a test question in front of my peers, all of whom knew the right thing to say.

Likewise, trying to learn how to have a conversation from watching movies or TV doesn’t translate over into the real world, which is not scripted by rom-com writers. Turns out Prince Charming is a rapist and the mail man lost my dreams after I shipped them off without a tracking number.

Although many people share my insecurities, I still experience imposter syndrome regardless of the circumstances: whether with family, friends, children or strangers, I feel my face blush, my palms sweat, and my heart palpitate simply at the thought of interacting with other humans, yet I push through and carry on, dancing through life as if my feet are not in excruciating pain with every step.

I’m too anxious to let anyone know about my anxiety, about how it feels like an invisible handicap that pervades every moment. All I can do is love the struggle.

The Spill

Torn between love and money, I watch as my hard won earnings bleed into the streets with each frivolous purchase made by my husband, who is indifferent to my suffering.

I panic and feel weak, disoriented and dizzy from shock and ongoing loss.

I fantasize about divorce, then gather myself and remind myself that I have survived worse, that I have more savings now than I’ve ever had before, as humble as my life is at present.

Ever industrious, I set to stitching my wounds.

I don’t want to be lonely and rich, but in my marriage I currently feel lonely and poor because my husband is not on my team and he embitters the fruits of my labor.

I’m not sure how I will ever clean up this spill.

Something like Love

My father gave me something like love except for the swearing and shaming. At least he always worked to support the family, though his money was perpetually scarce.

My mother gave me something like love except for the long stretches of neglect punctuated by outbursts of rage. At least she always cleaned the house, or taught me to do so.

My sisters gave me something like love until they felt insecure, which always happened sooner rather than later. I learned to hide myself in plain sight to let them take the limelight.

My partner gave me something like love except for how he acts with complete disregard for our family’s wellbeing, spending his time and money on whims to stroke his male ego instead of our necessities, but at least he doesn’t beat or cheat on me.

Perhaps the currency of love is like that: always a bit dirty, even if the faults are invisible to the eye.

Maybe I’m blind to the ways that my own love falls short, and those closest to me can hold up that sacred mirror if I am brave enough to look.

I’m sure I’d be horrified to see my own shortcomings magnified in front of me. But underneath my humanly errors, I’d also see the pure intentions of my soul, which probably look something like love.

The Missing Ingredient

I finally found the ingredient that was missing in all my previous relationships: forgiveness.

Besides the fact that I repeatedly dated needy, jealous, dramatic, alcoholic, narcissistic, energy vampire, borderline personality disorder types, my relationships failed because I failed to forgive.

My marriage is infinitely sweeter now that I am no longer clinging bitterly to expectations and resenting my partner when he falls short, no matter how reasonable my requests seem to me.

I give myself and my partner permission to mess up endlessly; to selfishly waste time and money and to be forgiven even for our own inability to forgive.

Newly armed with this panacea to soothe any interpersonal wound, my ex-boyfriends don’t seem sinister after all, but simply in need of forgiveness.

The floodgates of my heart swing wide open and I feel pure love wash our transgressions clean.

When I get lost in the humanness of my life, may I return home to a heart connected to the Divine.

May I be both forgiven and forgiver.

I finally hear you, sacred silence.

Marriage

Behind the curtain of marriage I treasure the single men I know, each one a potential gem who would surely treat me better than my husband does.

I imagine how they would listen to me as we engage in stimulating conversations over a meal they provided, how respectful and grateful they would act, how passionate as lovers, how giving and attentive.

I fantasize about men who balance their check books and clean up after themselves, men who are calm and communicate maturely, who do the damn dishes, who save money or at least spend it on their family, who let go of past hurts, evolve and hold space for me to do the same.

I try to make myself at home within the sound-proof confines of my marriage, though the walls threaten to close in and crush me; both execution device and tomb.

Within the secret tortures of my marriage, my husband and I fight fervently leading up to the moment that we arrive out our friends’ houses, quickly plastering smiles on our faces as we ring the doorbell.

My veins are scalded by resentment for all the ways my husband takes miles without giving an inch.

I scan the horizon for a silver lining, a way to improve my situation: so far marriage counseling, life coaching and me doing the work on myself have all fallen short.

Yet deep below the cracks in our relationship, I sense a fertile humus.

We share more than our sordid history together; we make a home and a family.

We are united in our love for our baby, though we often disagree bitterly on how to raise her.

We share a commitment to our life together and a vision of our future, though we put different amounts of effort and resources towards both: in our relationship, I do all the earning and handle all the responsibilities for our household.

He drags down my energy and my finances, invoking a slow and destitute death.

Perhaps I’m not in a position to judge him: maybe he is the better one and I am the bitter one.

For now, I remain hidden behind the curtain of marriage, bound to my husband and yet alone.

Funeral

To the young amongst me, I hope you are at my funeral

That is to say, I hope you outlive me and that I am worthy of being missed

I haven’t been a saint at all times but I was able to rein in my crazy before committing too heinous a crime

When homicidal or suicidal thoughts drop by to visit, I teach them how to meditate

I’ve solved problems creatively, which is to say, illegally

For the record, if I had a written record of my life I would burn it in order to boil a pot of tears for tea

I like a little salt on my sweet

Swarthy Song

Though we may not know which way to go or much of anything

As long as there is wind to blow, we’ve got a song to sing

We’re salty as the sea and we have hearts that bloom like swords

So raise ye up, lift ye cup, and sing another chord

Though we may disagree when we do not see eye to eye

Our motley crew accepts our fate that the end may be nigh

Though we are not wealthy men, our ship gives room and board

For us to life in infamy, tis plenty ‘nough reward