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

Competition

Competition   She learned the hard way that hearts aren’t for winning, that we can fight like wild animals for the eyes of our desire’s prey, but even the fastest of cheetahs and the bravest of lions and the determined of wolves can’t rearrange evolution’s chain.   Some ducks aren’t destined to fly.

Our hearts are our own to hold and our own to love. One of my good friends made the point a few days ago that 99% of all our romantic relationships will fail until one day it doesn’t. Through it all, we must always remember to love ourselves no matter how hopeless we may become at times, no matter how much we feel like the ugly duckling that no one wants.

Have fun this weekend lovies!

–Leanne Rebecca

Photograph

Photograph  She nurtured the outside with as much sweat as she could, building her image with layers of lies to the point of almost believing, her ego stacked on new muscle, new clothes, a new haircut.   She flaunted the addiction with calculated precision,  presenting an edited version of self, tight skinny jeans to evoke jealousy, manipulating  the perceptions around to see only what she wanted.   They accepted the picture  she showed them, unaware, uncaring what ticked inside, because a girl like that, so beautiful, so outgoing could never feel invisible beneath her designer t-shirts.

My friend Katie took this picture of me. I didn’t know she was taking it at the time, otherwise I probably would have made a silly face or looked away. There’s something about candid pictures that are the best because they expose a side of us we so frequently hide from the world.

Tonight’s song is “Fly” by Sleeping with Sirens. Loving their new album.

What are you most afraid for people to see? For me, it’s fear.

–Leanne Rebecca

Solace

Solace  There’s a divide in the memories, skating the line of nostalgia and regret, submerged both in deep admiration for the moments worth holding and drowning at the same time, gasping for resolution, for forgiveness, finding solace only in knowing that tomorrow’s memories  are whole, yet to be broken by mistakes or the complexities of emotion.

Today is a brand new day, a day to let go, a day to take hold, a day to live in the moment. We are all shaped by our histories. They are written in the scars in our skin and the rhythms of our hearts, but those marks of yesterdays do not dictate who we will be today. Let what once was live in memory. Laugh at the good ones and learn from the bad ones. Remember, you are always moving forward.

–Leanne Rebecca

The Not Quite

The Not Quite  I only thought about it for one hour a day, in the hours of bedtime tea, my reflection staring back at me while brushing my teeth before the siphoning of light  as night’s shadows settled in my eyes.  Only in that time did I feel like the not quite, drifting to sleep in the lullabies that haunted the air in my lungs, analyzing too intensely the songs sung in the daylight.   Only in that hour did I give permission to disclose this expression, my secret anxieties to flood my sheets as pinot noir pinked my cheeks, a rush of heat in a kiss of honesty.   Only then did I question everything, the not quite searching for a reason, deciphering the origins of these lesions, falling into dreams gripped by a heart stripped to its vulnerability.

Uncharacteristic rhyme tonight. There’s something about this poem that I really love. I almost didn’t write one, just thought maybe I’d let the TV drown out thinking until falling asleep, but I couldn’t just ignore my inner poet fighting to come out. She didn’t want to be ignored and I’m so glad I listened.

Good night!

–Leanne Rebecca

Daydream

Daydream  My brain got lost in making pancakes, hands moving in autopilot, measuring and mixing without need for consciousness, the steps ingrained in muscle memory.  I wasn’t in the room, hovering over the griddle, sprinkling chocolate chips. I’d floated into my future, grasping at visions of the you that doesn’t exist and how you’d tickle my waist as I flipped our pancakes.  I laughed and you hugged me from behind as I piled the cakes onto the serving plate your aunt gave us at our wedding.  I’m sorry you had to go  before you could eat any.  I wrapped them in plastic  so you could have them later.

I put my iTunes on shuffle this morning and the first 3 songs that came up all had the word “daydream” in the title. I wonder how much time in the day I spend lost in my own head, making up stories and pretending like I did as a kid. We never really grow out of that. We just learn to act out the scenes inside our brains instead of with toys.

I hope you have a glorious Saturday!

–Leanne Rebecca

All I Wanted

All I Wanted  I said it all through silence. Wrote it— everything I wanted to purge dumped on the page in stream of consciousness, all I wanted yanked out of my head, said in the quiescence of introspection and closed into the pages of yesterday, burned into history, never spoken, saying more in the silence of my secrets than if I’d let impulse  escape the confines of my notebook.   You’ll never know all that I wanted to tell you but maybe that’s better.

True stories. Also, listen to Paramore’s “All I Wanted” and scream along.

Sweet dreams!

–Leanne Rebecca

This Heart

This Heart  She wrote her heart into a notebook, writing the beat in her secrets, infusing the lines with jagged tears, the breaks and palpitations of falling with no one to catch you.   She hoped her heart would find a home in the pages, hugged by memories cast into words and stored on a shelf.  But her heart refused to live only in ink, rebelling in her chest, punching at her lungs and demanding a voice more profound than poetry, screaming in severe chest pains for love.

This poem is inspired by “Before You Start Your Day” by Twenty One Pilots. It’s one of their most melancholy songs and brings me to tears just about every time I hear it. I listened to it on repeat as I wrote this poem. It requires deep introspection, allowing yourself to really feel what’s going on inside. This poem was hard to write but sometimes those are the most important ones to get out.

Sleep well, my friends.

–Leanne Rebecca

When It Happens

When It Happens  My first reaction was to feel flattered, hearing only the whispered words you look hot in those tight jeans.  I said thanks and went back to my desk, toggling my mouse to wake up the screen as the revulsion set in, not sure what I’d say the next time we ran into each other in the hallway.  I wanted to pull my head and arms into my sweatshirt and hang out for a few minutes, rendered untouchable, invisible from eyes twice my age with ignorant wives.   Instead I continued working on the report I’d started before lunch.

My Saturday morning poems are usually my favorite, not because I think they are at all superior to my other ones, but because I love starting my weekend with “me” time. This week was a mess of ups and downs. I tested friendships, rekindled others, and rode the doubt-confidence spectrum. So taking a few minutes this morning to think through everything I’d survived in the past few days was blissful.

I have a Spotify playlist blasting and everything I need to make today a good memory tomorrow.

Have an epic weekend!

–Leanne Rebecca

Naked

Naked  I stumble to the full length mirror on the closet, squinting through the sleep still in my eyes not yet adjusted to the artificial light, abrasive and unforgiving.  I lift my shirt to assess yesterday’s damages, exposing the angles of manipulation to the judgment looking back, sucking it in from all sides, strategizing an outfit to minimize the lumps, a necklace to draw the eyes up, applying concealer to the body like I would a blemish, bathed in the makeup of a wardrobe.

I’d be hypocritical if I told you not to look critically at yourself. After all, I write poems that explore the complexities of who I am–the good, the bad, the perplexing, the mundane, and the ridiculous. I write to understand why sometimes I struggle with certain emotions and other times I can brush them off. I write to know more about myself, looking critically at the dark corners of my brain. I dive deep, drawing out secrets that hurt or burdens that tug down at my shoulders. I find this kind of analysis scary, but cathartic.

I know who I am and refuse to change. I’m stubborn like that.

All this being said, I also caution this critique of yourself, especially when it crosses into physical appearance. It’s always good to strive for something. It is never good to torture yourself in the process. I promise, you’re more beautiful than you know.

Tell me which aspects of yourself that you are head over heels in love with. I absolutely adore my sarcasm. I smile at my gift for all things random. I love that I can totally rock bedhead.

–Leanne Rebecca

The True Orchid

The True Orchid  I walked right past it the first time— hidden behind the ones  begging for eyes like supermodels, asking for attention in the spotlight.   The plaque at the entrance of the exhibit talked about the rarities of these flowers, but as I moseyed through by myself I felt underwhelmed.  It was only on my second time around the room, that I caught the hint of pink peeking out from behind a white array, an interruption of the purity surrounding.  I stopped walking, wishing I could step off the path and get a closer look at the most intriguing orchid in the room, the one hiding its splendor, the one that so many people missed.

I don’t often write about flowers. Though I love nature, I never feel particularly inspired by it. However, there was something about this experience today that grabbed me. It was as if the hiding orchid had an emotion, or at least scratched at the emotions I was feeling in that moment. I’m still not even sure what that flower looked like, recessed off the pathway, but by far it was my favorite one today.

If you’re wondering, the exhibit is at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. It’s a beautiful and historically significant place that I highly recommend you visit.

Good night lovelies!

–Leanne Rebecca