I wish I could make my bed on the center of a sunflower so my head could rest on petals and I could soak and swallow
yellow, green and orange even in the darkness.
I wish I felt the warmth above and below me opening my tight chest and melting my shoulders when they can’t unclench.
I wish I wore polka dot pj’s all day without apology.
I wish I sang, hummed and swayed in the kitchen making homemade food which never burns.
I wish I loved offensively more and defensively less.
I wish I didn’t treat relationships like tennis games where I studied the serve and return so often and just lost myself in the play.
I wish when someone tossed love my way I used my catcher’s mitt to improve my chances of holding on.
I wish I didn’t see kindness as a trap, good fortune as luck and people like a mind-game puzzle I’m being challenged to figure out.
I wish I said more sooner to some – and promised less to others.
I wish I could let go of the last word and didn’t use the full force of my weight in tugs of war.
I wish I covered my own shoulders and didn’t use my skin as an umbrella to absorb water or pain when raincoats hang within reach.
I wish I didn’t use myself to body block the self-destructiveness of others as though I am a soldier enlisted in a fight that is not mine. I wish I realized more quickly how helpfulness can be intrusiveness or control.
I wish I walked sooner from men who made me laugh out loud or only in bed if they couldn’t tell time, show up for mundane chores or the sublime.
I wish I knew when younger how much practical traits are non-negotiable for me as woman, mother and once scared child.
Showing up and returning remain sexy and adventure seekers can make others drained and tired.
I wish I knew I didn’t save to be saved so often as though it is an investment in my future self. I wish I realized it’s o.k. to invest in myself in the present.
I wish I didn’t spend so much of my life as a spoon in the garbage disposal of someone’s metal machinery cycling and cycling and cycling. How many times did I get myself bent, dented and dizzied?
I wish I had been grateful the second I saw the light at the end of the tunnel rather than spending so much time wondering why and how I fell in the first place.
I wish I wasn’t hurt or scared so often as a child. I wish I felt safe where I am when I am in fact safe now.
I wish I could save my daughter from heartache and make her know that anyone who treats her dreams, personality, goals or feelings as foolish isn’t respecting her soul. That those people are optional but her treasures are as necessary as water.
I wish I could tell her to shake off haters and nurture those who adore her. I hope she doesn’t waste time trying to fight for attention and affection and learns that working hard to earn love won’t earn her bonus points but will just dim her shine.
I wish I could make her know that those who offer open arms, ears, minds and hearts are the shoulders she should lean on and stand with up and by and for.
I wish I had a strap on lie detector I could place on others and install in my skin that it would blare like a car alarm in the presence of bullshit words or hot air intentions. Mine.
I wish I expected less and was grateful for more.
I wish I was believed the first time as a child and didn’t learn truth is a case that must be made – an argument to win. I wish I never knew truth as optional and that lies sometimes butter the bread I needed to feed off of.
I wish I tried out again for basketball and drama. I wish I was proud of myself for the times I tried rather than ashamed for where I failed.
I wish I said “yes” less and “back off” more.
I wish “thanks” and “help” and “sorry” were easier for me to say.
I wish I hadn’t shut so many people down or out when it was pain I was avoiding.
I wish I didn’t forget directions, appointments or hard won knowledge.
I wish lemonade was as healthy as water and I could drink nine cups a day.
I wish I worried less if I am too sweet for some and too acidic for others. I wish I realized that there are some who crave my blend who don’t need me watered down or sweetened.
And most of all – that, at least, can be one of them.
And I am.
You Matter Mantras
- Trauma sucks. You don't.
- Write to express not to impress.
- It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
- Breathing isn't optional.