An Ex Catholic Goes to Confession

 

This poem may still be in the midst of the editorial process. I don’t really know for sure. I like this version, and I think it’s fun to read out loud. I’ve been struggling a little bit lately because I feel that poetry is really best shared out loud more than on a page, or at least that there needs to be some greater dimension of interaction between the writer, the material, and the reader. So, I’ve been using social media such as Instagram and Snapchat to share. The trouble this time is that those platforms are designed for shorter messages than this. Hmm… always experimenting. Always learning.

In case you’d rather read the poem yourself, here’s the full text.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. 
I haven't been to confession since
the fifth grade. 
I came here to confess that I have
left behind every scrap 
of faith I ever had
and I wish to account for it. 
I want you to know that I prayed to your god
and I told him what I was going to do
and he did not stop me.
I knelt twice a week at the feet of that poor man
and sculpted his ribs with my eyes
and untied in my mind
the shred of cloth at his hips. 
I had his blood on my lips
and he did not ask me to stay. 
Sweet child of a man, he rolled his eyes
to God and prayed himself away
so you could take his name in vain -- but
he did not ask me to stay. 
I want you to know that I don’t miss
the Sunday morning fashion show or your
admonitions or the hypnotic repetition
of unthinking prayers in our
monotone drone -- worker bees stoned 
on incense and wine, 
keeping an empty ritual just to fill the time
repeating the spell of our own binding
I believe I believe I believe
we loved our endless litany
of saints and sins all taken in 
the legato of suburban life. 
I want you to know that in the desert outside your home
where you said I’d be alone, I found
an ocean of love like you’ve never known
and I dove right the fuck in and it was good. 
And out here, none of us are who you said we were. 
We are so much more. 
I want you to know I’m going away, 
and I’m not coming back. 

I probably will do a bit of editing, and I’ll maybe change the first line since it doesn’t create quite the tone I want to start with. I don’t actually seek forgiveness, as the poet or as the speaker of this poem, so I find that line misleading and a little cliched. The reason I’ve kept it this way so far is that I don’t know exactly what I want to change it to and that I was trained with great emphasis as a child that all confessions were supposed to start that way. I’ll let it rest for now and see what comes up with a little time.

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write about the question until it reveals your answer

 

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Write about My Little Pony and Smurfette. Write about bath products stores. Write about having to walk down the diaper aisle to get tampons. Write about the 16-year-old stock boy who asks if you need help finding anything. What the fuck are you gonna help me find?

Write about feeling self-righteous in the checkout line. Write about “I’m not judging, but…” Write about the shit people talk about, how they try to sound like sitcoms, how everyone acts like a celebrity on Facebook.

Write about the things you can’t say out loud. Write about the things that don’t make sense. Find the cracks in your understanding and repair them. Write about that.

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The Revenge of Anna and Hannah

I was pretty thrilled about  getting my girls. Yes, of course, the skates are girls.
I was pretty thrilled about getting my girls. Yes, of course, the skates are girls.

I have decided to name my skates Anna (left) and Hannah (right). They’re named after two girls I knew in high school. Anna was my best friend, and Hannah was a girl she met through other friends of ours. When Anna and Hannah met, they immediately hit it off and noticed a lot of things they had in common — starting with their similar sounding names, but they had a lot of little personality traits and physical features in common. Turns out, they were even dating the same guy. High school homedude had been juggling the two girls for a few months it seemed. But instead of getting mad at each other, Anna and Hannah got pissed at their boyfriend for lying to them, and they decided to show him up. Homedude worked at Taco Bell, so the two chicks decided to go in while he was working, sit down and have lunch together, all the while acting like everything was totally normal. He had no idea the girls had met to begin with, so of course he was pretty floored when they showed up chatting like old friends and giving him the kind of knowing “eat your heart out” look that only a smart bitch out for revenge can give. It was cool because they didn’t have to ruin his life or anything, but they clearly won.

So, Anna and Hannah arrived last Monday, and I promptly put them on and began skating around the house. Of course, there’s no room to go very fast in my house, so I just practice maneuvering around without breaking anything (self included), going forwards and backwards very slowly, and turning without stopping. I’m getting pretty good at these things, and it’s starting to make a difference when I do go to the rink. Jenn and I went to a new rink on Wednesday afternoon, and the girls performed beautifully.

On a different note…

 

They say roller skating burns more calories than running, which seems crazy to me because running is such a miserable activity that it really should burn the most calories — there should be some reward for it, I think. However, after skating at least once a week for several weeks and doing a little bit of easy practice at home, I’ve already noticed a subtle difference in muscle tone and how I’m feeling overall. I didn’t know I was looking for a new workout, but I think skating is an excellent compliment to my yoga practice. I’m definitely working in a different way than I’m used to, so I’ll have to adjust my yoga practice to account for it. After Thanksgiving dinner, I sprawled out on the living room floor and stretched for two hours, which felt AWESOME. On the other hand, when I go to the rink and see people doing things I don’t know how to do, I ask myself what yoga pose I could work on to help me get there. It’s definitely a fun challenge, and it’s making me think about teaching a class especially for derby girls or for athletic women in general.

Funny, earlier this year I knew I was ready to pick my next direction with yoga, but I had no idea it would come in the form of taking up derby. I’m pretty happy with the way things are going. Can’t wait to find out what comes next… I guess blogging about derby is officially a thing for me now, as I’ve added a category for it.

xoxo~

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Good News and Bad News on Project Derby

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Happy Saturday! It’s time for another derby update!

We’ve become regulars at the roller rink. The manager knows us, we recognize most of the employees, and last night, I think I got hit on by a 14-year-old. Jenn and I brought her cousin and daughter skating, and while I was out doing a couple laps on my own, a group of three boys skated up behind me. I heard one of them say, “Do it, man,” to his friend, who then skated up and surprised me be by grabbing my right hand. I gotta say, for an eighth grader, homesauce was pretty suave. I wasn’t sure whether to scold him for being inappropriately forward with an adult or encourage him to try again with someone his own age. It was very weird, but then it was over, and I rejoined my friends in the middle of the rink where we helped kiddo practice her balance and I learned to skate backwards for the first time. Gotta admit — I was pretty proud of myself for skating backwards, and it’s easier than I expected.

As for the rest of the week … let’s get the bad news out of the way first: The $10 consignment store skates totally are not gonna cut it for derby. I took them to Department of Skate (a derby-girl-owned skate shop in DC), where an extremely cool chick named Raptor (Velocityraptor — awesome name!) literally begged me not to try and skate in them. I asked her to tell me why, not because I didn’t believe her but because I needed to be educated. She explained in detail the difference between these adorable but totally impractical vintage skates and a derby skate. Key point: the $10 skates had wheels made of plastic, like a Rubbermaid trash bin or a Tupperware dish. Raptor skated around the shop in them and a little bit of plastic actually broke off. There was absolutely no way those skates would survive a derby practice, let alone a bout.

The good news is that I ordered skates, and they should be here Monday! Raptor was super friendly and helpful, even though her teammates were arriving for a meeting in the store as she was helping us. I was actually starstruck as I recognized some of the women from the previous night’s bout. Even though it got crowded, warm, and noisy very quickly, I loved the atmosphere of all those awesome chicks in one room.

So, while waiting on my skates, I’ve continued to practice. Skating with Kiddo last night was particularly fun because even though she had a hard time, she really tried. I admire the adventurous nature of little kids. This girl believes she can do anything, but she got frustrated watching glide around effortlessly while she had to hold someone’s hand or lean on something to stand up — I relate! It was fun to encourage her and see her learning even in the short time we were at the rink. We spent most of the night going slowly to help her learn, but that gave me lots of chances to practice going forward and backward without picking my feet up.

All in all, I’m feeling kinda confident right now. Taking on a new challenge has been really rewarding so far, and it’s fun to make little bits of progress at a time. I feel certain that if I keep skating regularly, I’ll keep getting stronger and better at it. Part of me is chomping at the bit to try out for a team right now, but I have a ton to learn, so I better value the practice time!

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Miley Cyrus Wrecks Your Idea of Herself

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So, I recently watched Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” video, and I gotta say … I know everyone’s still pissed about her VMA performance, and I have some feelings about that too, but this video on its own is actually really fucking good.

People have been saying it’s disturbing or cheap or trashy, and I disagree. Women wear skimpy clothing and dance provocatively in videos for male artists all the time. Every day, we see women in the media used as props to make the men around them look better. A woman’s beauty and sexuality are used as a marketing tool for cars, beer, web hosting, you name it. What people can’t stand is that in this video, Miley absolutely works her stuff in way that benefits herself instead of someone else. She’s getting naked to sing a song and sell some records. She’s making money. Yes, it’s shameless. It should be. If a man had *ahem* assets like that, you bet he’d be working it to sell some records. Why shouldn’t Miley?

I’m not saying I agree with everything the girl does. I think her VMA performance (along with her video for “We Can’t Stop”) was a disaster because it treated black women’s bodies as a joke. I wasn’t fond of the dancing with Robin Thicke because his whole damn song is about date rape. And I don’t approve of twerking not because it’s too sexual but because the mere thought of doing it makes my back hurt. Yeah, so what, I’m old.

Anyway, I’m not some die-hard Miley defender. I’m not really a fan of her music. I think she needs more sane adults in her life. But as for her music videos, I think the strong reactions people have to her are more indicative of our own hangups than something wrong with her. If it freaks you out that much to see a woman acting sexy without a man around, maybe you’ve got some shit to work through. If you’re afraid she’s sending the wrong message to young women, maybe think about what message you’d like your daughter to receive and then have an honest conversation about that. And of course, if you simply don’t like what you’re seeing, you have options. You could go make something better.

 

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