Overload

She told him the truth to stop the conversations in her head, expelling the catalyst before it sparked and exploded, leaving bits of brain stuck to her bedroom wall.   She coughed into her hand, choking up the seed that had implanted in her grace, violating her sophistication like a hijacker, a virus.   He accepted the gift, the honesty wrapped up in a ticking package, listening with the guise of patience, imperceptibly backpedaling away to dispose of the bomb dropped in his lap.   Their eyes locked, both pulsating with intensity, sapphires reflecting the depth of the burden she’d bestowed on his conscience, truths too intense for his heart to bear, her fight, not his.   She recognized his reticence, reaching her hand back out as though comforting a child, a gentle expression of assurance. She thought for a second he wouldn’t let her take it back.

Have you ever had someone tell you a secret you wish you didn’t have to carry? When it comes to my friends, I would rather they unload their heaviest burdens on me and let me support them rather than have them hold those secrets alone. On the flip side though, that often means I’m very honest with opening up about my struggles and I wonder if sometimes I share too much. I never want to be a burden.

I’m of the mindset that we should always support those that we care about, no matter what. The best of friends should never give up on one another, no matter how heavy our honesty weighs. I encourage you to tell your friends you love them and make sure they truly know it, not because you told them, but because you were there to carry them on your shoulders when they couldn’t walk.

–Leanne Rebecca

Integrity

She succumbed to influence, forgetting to trust her heart, realizing she’d never trusted her heart, not with as much zeal as it deserved.   She let them tell her how her heart should beat, how many clicks in a minute it should feel, which minutes deserved her soul and which she needed to let go.   They told her when her heart was wrong and when her heart was weak and she believed them and tried to reshape its lines.   One day, after all the breaks her veins twisted in knots, confused, she realized she’d lost her beat, breathing someone else’s thinking.   In that moment, she was free to fall, but with integrity, to fall poetically, trusting she’d fly.

I’m no stranger to crying. I cry during ASPCA commercials. I cried at the end of the newest Cinderella movie. I cry when they name the winner of The Voice. Rarely, however, does poetry make me cry. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

I usually write poetry as a response to crying whereas few poems have truly moved me to tears. Today as I was sitting at my desk, listening to Pandora like any other Monday at the office, Tom Petty’s song Free Fallin came on and I needed to write this poem, didn’t have a choice.

I reread what I wrote, and suddenly, my throat started tightening. Something about this poem makes me cry, even as I look at it now. I guess it’s because this poem is my heart.

–Leanne Rebecca

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning  She woke with a breath, a single stream of light shooting like an arrow into her squinting eye.   She stretched her arms wide, covering the expanse of the empty bed, hand lingering on the untouched pillow, longing tensing in her stomach like starvation.   She hated the need for him, that he consumed her first thoughts  on a Sunday morning, that he robbed her sanity.  She rolled over, gathering  an armful of comforter, hugging tight, cuddling something other than emptiness, holding on to something other than all the words she’d said to a brick wall.

I like the freedom of Sunday mornings, that I could sleep indefinitely if I wanted, that I can waste the morning making pancakes and then eat them in bed. I rarely make plans for Sundays, just drift through the day and see what happens, let who I see be a surprise.

–Leanne Rebecca

Still Looking

Still Looking   I wanted to find the perfect poem that captured the library in my head, my story inked in proof that I’m not unique.   I didn’t fit in any of the verses, marking my world into their margins, their words not quite what I needed to read.   I asked existentially if anyone understood, if they could help me understand this aimless search to feel grounded in someone else.

I’ve been obsessed with reading poetry lately, scouring the internet for hidden gems, loving the surge of available verse with National Poetry Month in full swing. I’ve found some good stuff, but haven’t yet found one that really hits me. I want to be brought to tears. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

–Leanne Rebecca

Flutter

Flutter  She’d grown addicted to disintegrating, disappearing in bits like a withering sand castle, eroding away until someone would come along and pack her back together, subsisting in transience, never at peace with integrity, a master at sabotaging her own strength, artful almost, fluttering into pieces  with the grace of fluidity, falling again and again in perfect rhythm.

It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve been on here. Every time I’ve tried to write a poem in the last several days I end up cranking out about 2 lines and then “finishing” the poem with several words of profanity before closing my notebook and filling up a glass of wine. There isn’t more to the story. Writing is rarely glamorous.

–Leanne Rebecca

Insanity

Insanity  She imploded into the cavern inside her chest, fizzled from the outside in like a fading ember until he couldn’t see her anymore. She wondered if he’d ever seen her.  She stayed trapped inside the hole, buried as deep as the years it took to dig, knowing only one hand could pull her out, a hand she knew would never come.   From the darkness she yelled his name, pleading with his fear to reach into her heart and relinquish vulnerability, but he couldn’t hear her, had never heard her.   Still she begged, chastised by the echo bouncing off his silence. She wondered how many ways she could write about the same emotion before she exploded.

My dad asked me a couple days ago if I knew what the definition of insanity was. Yes, I said, it’s trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So he asked me why I keep trying.

Some things are worth going crazy over.

–Leanne Rebecca

Chance

Chance  She convinced him with one look to take a chance on her lips, a sideways glance entrancing  hands to wrap around waists and necks, to slip out of the strobe lights and into dark corners.  He wrapped his attention around her mystery, a girl so soft-spoken she almost blended into the wall paint, emerging from invisibility, catching the corner of his eye, her downturned lashes faltering his control.   He needed to know her.  She fed on his intrigue, a vampire preying on his intoxication, his involuntary lust to touch, falling trap to her game, her mastery of magnetism.   But he was just a number, a nameless mannequin to satisfy  a night’s play, a symbol of her fear to  take a chance on love.

I just moved into a new apartment. I feel like I’m starting a new life, starting over, taking ownership of the aspects of my life I didn’t own before. I asked my roommate tonight what her advice to you all would be if she could impart one piece of wisdom. By happenstance, she said “take a chance.”

Beautiful.

–Leanne Rebecca

Storm

Storm  I remember the fear I used to feel when the sky would turn green, huddling under a blanket as hail rained, my parents watching the local news as nighttime ravaged the afternoon sun.  It’s the same fear I feel now, exposed to a vastness outside my window, that even though my parents love me, the Midwestern storm still has the upper hand.   I concede vulnerability to the elements— the ferocity of darkness, the wind raping my cheeks, eyes spilling gallons of anxiety, waking in ruble with splinters in my feet, crippled in unending fear.   I’m not hiding under a blanket anymore. I’m standing in the rain accepting the challenge, knowing the torrent will pass, and the sky will illuminate again tomorrow. I am still afraid, but I face east with alacrity.

I’m often asked where I find my inspiration. Most of the time it’s random, like the color of my hot tea or hearing a song playing at the grocery store, but sometimes I seek out inspiration too. On Thursday I asked a handful of my friends what their favorite word was that day. I didn’t explain why I was asking, which netted me some pretty interesting responses, like burrito or sandwich. One of my friends even made up a word.

There were a few answers however that stuck out: storm, alacrity, and illuminate. The strength behind these words is consuming and even more intriguing are the reasons that my friends chose these. I initially intended to write a separate poem for each word, but then I realized how interconnected they could be, which again, is a pretty powerful discovery.

This poem is dedicated to my friends Kelsey, Charlie, and Cameron.

What is your favorite word today?

–Leanne Rebecca

Always My Favorite Jeans

Always My Favorite Jeans  I tucked your heart into my pocket for hushed safe keeping, to carry with me every time I wear these jeans.   And when the day comes that these jeans are folded in a drawer, when I’m ready to brave the day with a different look, collecting the beats of someone else's heart in the back pocket of new jeans, I promise I’ll still carry you with me.  Maybe not in my pocket, so accessible. But in the nostalgia of all the times I danced  in those jeans, in all the rips and stains of forever love.

Sometimes I write sappy poems. This is one of them. I loved every single second of milking every line for all the cheese I could muster. I wish you all the merriest of Monday nights.

Sleep well, my friends.

–Leanne Rebecca

Scars

Scars  It’s been enough years that the emotions have died in time.   I remember the day like I would a news story— facts blocked in a reel, a non-biased documentary framing a girl and her brush with death, her fear and loss of childhood.  I grew up in acceptance of new routine, ignoring diminished dignity moving past the stages of self-pity, and learned not to question misfortune.  No one would know the stories behind these scars, would know about the scars at all, scars hidden under t-shirts, the only evidence I’m slightly broken.

I write about this once a year and once a year only. Fourteen years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I remember that day in chunks: when my pediatrician told us to drive to the hospital, when the nurse weighed me and commented that I was skin and bones, when I had to pee so badly as they were admitting me that I almost went in my pants, the first shot they gave me, the first shot I gave myself, sobbing in my mom’s arms in my dark hospital room, convinced that I’d never be able to eat pizza again.

Type 1 diabetes isn’t one of those diseases that people know you have. Aside from insulin pumps and hordes of empty juice boxes, we’re undetectable. I don’t hide my condition, but I don’t bring it up either. It’s a part of me now, locked into every moment of every day, burned into my routine, into my history, and into my future.

This is my confessional. Sometimes I’m still embarrassed to bring out my insulin pump at the dinner table, even with my closest friends. It’s been fourteen years and I still struggle with dosing food correctly. I don’t like to admit when I don’t feel well and I cancel doctor’s appointments when I’ve had trouble controlling my blood sugars just so my doctor won’t find out that I’m “failing” at being a good diabetic.

I’m not shy about my disease. I always welcome conversation and questions and will share my stories to anyone that cares to ask. It’s a strange dichotomy: being an open book that’s shoved inside a backpack.

Thanks for listening to my D-Day story. I guarantee next March 26th will reveal another chapter.

-Leanne Rebecca

I

Irrational

Irrational  I sat inverted into introspection, ankles wrapped in tension, and focused on my insides, trying to perceive the sensations of the organs, convinced like a hypochondriac that I could feel something there.   Fear imploded into my chest as if my heart had turned to lead, heavy with emotions that didn’t need to exist yet, or at all.   I couldn’t feel the ground when I stood.

None of us can keep it together 100% of the time, especially when we’re afraid. We eventually learn that it’s ok to fall apart. We become pros at putting the pieces back together, so good in fact that most people around us wouldn’t know we were struggling unless we wrote a poem about it and put it on the internet.

–Leanne Rebecca

The Circle

The Circle  I look out for you  with more composure than myself, bleeding your wounds between my own.  You fall. I fall.   I cradle you in my circle, heart fused to yours, sensing the falters of your beats in the contract of loyalty.   It’s written in trust and sealed in faith, a promise more binding than love:   Once you’re in the circle, I won’t let you leave.

This one is dedicated to my friends. I read an article yesterday talking about the differences between introverted and extroverted people. I fall right in the middle of both, equally outgoing as an extrovert and equally introspective as an introvert. What that basically boils down to is that relationships mean the world to me. I care for the people in my world with an almost unhealthy level of intensity. Annoying as it may be, they always know I have their back.

Have a great Sunday!

–Leanne Rebecca