Just Another Failed Poet

A mix of comical, honest, and overly metaphoric.

Love Doesn’t Have Overdraft Fees

I’ve fallen into a variety of unhealthy and exhausting relationships. At times I held onto them, like losing them would be a fall from a ledge I couldn’t survive. I believed love was in a time of scarcity. I had grown up in a home that lacked love so that I assumed that, much like my mother’s finances, love had insufficient funds. I wasn’t able to withdraw any…until further notice.

So, if I saw any shimmer of affection I kidnapped it and tried to entertain it into staying. I would change my appearance, offer gifts and praise, or welcome them into my body. Anything in the hopes that they wouldn’t run away. If I didn’t get what I wanted, which…I wouldn’t because no one could give me what I needed, I would react in anger. I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid that I would never be loved. I didn’t realize that it was the love I didn’t have for myself that was causing that fear. Once I found that, I realized I would far rather be alone than be uncomfortable with someone else.

Recently, I had the opportunity to really put that to the test. Could I be myself with someone? Could I identify and voice my needs? Could I maintain healthy boundaries and cut it lose if things began to feel wrong? In the past, when things started to turn I would fight for things to work. I assumed we could find the happiness we had before. I decided it was my responsibility to fix it and, unsurprisingly, they seemed to rely on me to end it. That’s what you get when you insist on control, I suppose. I doubted whether I was over my own patriarchal inspired view of what I should be with someone. I wondered if I could truly embrace a partnership model. Today, I realized I am. I’m in it with a heart full of love for myself. A renewable resource that I can share as I please. I am here to live and adventure, and you are more than welcome to join but I won’t be less able without you…and that’s a pretty damn fine feeling to have.


So Human

so human

“And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Tired and with nerves frayed as an old shoelace, I stood rinsing out the mason jars of paint. My gaze laid lightly against the swirling colored suds.

Light… like the placing of a hand on a lover’s arm revealed by the break of morning. Afraid of waking them, because in sleep it all works out. Sometimes, you think that maybe that’s how you ruined things before. That quick rush of breath they took being shocked to waking…some realization came from that gasp. “Perhaps, if I avoid the gasp and keep my distance they will roll over with that soft, comfortable stretch into day.” Their eyes calmly lay upon you expecting that you must be a part of such peace. You – an irreplaceable segment of this good feeling. A gasp, however…means you can cause fear, doubt, or upset. It means one day you will let each other down. It means the chip that will become a cavern of distrust or detachment.

So. I lay silently as my abdomen cramps from sustaining these long, quiet breaths. My hand slowly makes contact with your soft skin, so as to add only the weight of an additional bed sheet. In my mind I chant “it’s only chemicals” again and again because I am close to a gasp of my own. “What if this one stayed.”

Today, a child came to me. He fell into arms, laid his head against mine, and held me with all of his heartache and confusion. I held him ready to absorb his hurt, give him space to feel, and work with him to find a solution. I wondered how many times I wished I had someone to fall into and remembered why I work with such fierce determination. I know how important it is to be heard, held, and cared for.

I gaze into the swirl of colors, lightly letting my eyes and anxiety rest on the soft, swirling suds.  “So it goes.”

Leave a Family, Take a Family (Christian Currency)


In my experience, Christmas has mostly been a holiday of feeling rootless and angry. Within the laundry list of holidays it seems the only to bring out a large magnifying glass to measure the lack in your existence. Are you of lower economic status? Do you have a small/non-existent family? Do you celebrate something else and no one seems to remember that?

Last year, I was a girlfriend visiting all of the family…and then some. It was a Christmas marathon really from 9am to beyond 11pm. A girlfriend of less than a year with her own family consisting of about 3 people who occasionally check-in with one another… meeting a large Boston family. I did well until we journeyed to a packed bar after 11:30 at night. My anxiety got the better of me and I basically shut-down until we left. Those with anxiety know the feeling of guilt that can come after. Despite all of the success of the day, I had failed. I know that I didn’t actually fail and I shouldn’t judge myself for my feelings. Except, I had failed. It was a mistake that would be held over me like a bough of holly guilt. A red flag of my inability to be the ideal partner. Despite my relationship ending because “he needed to find out why he was unhappy (depression) and go it alone (that lasted a few months)”, I was reminded of my error throughout and at the end of our partnership. It was hard not to feel like that failure would be engraved into my relationship tombstone.

I remember him looking forlorn and thinking perhaps he had put too much responsibility on me. My big forgiving eyes saying that it was all fine and taking my heavy girlfriend yoke adoringly. “I love his family. I hope I can earn my place within it.” Sometimes the need and guilt return from the desperation of wanting pride and love from my own family, only to fail them in spite of myself. It was too much for anyone. To meet the entirety of someone’s social circle and family, and show them the best of yourself. All in under a year. It felt like a multi-tiered interview…and I failed them. I failed another family. Even today, I took a shot of the same Anisette that I had with his Aunt in solidarity with the people that I fell in love with and lost.

I’ve gained and lost a few families in my life…and Christmas never gets easier. Today reminded me how easy Christmas can be with the right people. It still hurts. A lot. At a depth that echos the lonely, desperate whispered mantra “I am worthy of love…I am worthy of love…I am worthy of love.” But it’s moments like I had today that take that mantra from “I am worthy of love” to “I am loved”.

Ghosts of Plans

be nice to me.png

When I love, I love with all of me. It is passionate and earnest…like a child that comes with nothing but hope, love, and smiles. I invest like, like a man scratching off lottery tickets in the gas station. Everyday. Enjoying the rush, but pining for that winning reveal. 

I saw a future clearer than I’ve seen my own reflection. Brighter than the screen of my phone in the wee hours of night, pulling my pupils in tight. Perhaps, I was so drawn into my own gleaming future in action that I almost forgot that image. My mind had reconciled with a new future in view, while my heart had kept a scrap of that image in it’s desperate fingers. Muddying it with oily fingertips. 

I never got the reflection she did. I just held the mirror, trying to capture some light.

Thoughts Perspired 9:04

What if

I’m afraid to have children.

To find that I am a natural.



How much more would I resent

My. mother.


Healing is a Job and I Want to Resign


You might think that a break-up would be easier after a month break. I did. I genuinely thought that spending a month focused on myself and basically knowing the outcome would make it easier. Maybe, I was too understanding and should have lost my shit that night. I could have balled my fists and yelled, “This isn’t fair! You should fight! I’m worth it! I know I am! I finally KNOW I am!”  Instead I gave a supportive and loving send-off…and now I’m mad. Heck, I even had a chance to let loose later that night and a couple of snapchat snafus later. But, I didn’t. This isn’t a humble-brag. That would require me to feel good about it. Which…I know(?) I will be in the future. It’s all about not having regrets, right? But now, and for the past couple weeks, I have been angry and hurt.

People think that relationships are work…and they are. But I’ve always been game to take that work on. If you want to date, you sort of sign up to whatever the “welcome packet” is for that person. Healing, however, is a job that I do because I have to and some days I want to quit. Healing means feeling the feelings. In some regards, I am somewhat masculine in how I want to deal with healing. I want to avoid those feelings. 20-something me would go on a bender of drinks and dudes. There are plenty of detached and unavailable dudes in Chicago. It may be an illness for all I know. It may have spread like zombies. I’m glad I ran from 4am bars and a major city of tinder matches. Transportation while blacked out was too easy. It got expensive, but it was convenient. Dark times in dark hours, my friends.

Anyway, I’m not in my 20’s. I’m not in Chicago. Bars here close at 1 or 2 at the latest and transportation is not, I repeat not, easy when drinking. So, here I am embarking on my second break-up aftershock with new habits. I’m still failing and beating my self-up sometimes. It’s just simple stuff like:

-Knots in my back vs. liver damage and memory loss.

-Wondering if relationships are worth the risk vs. fearing I’ll die single. (I can’t believe that used to worry me. WHO CARES??)

-Looking for any signs I missed that this was inevitable vs. listing what I must have done wrong.

Some of the changes in my healing responses need some work. Right now, I feel annoying and weak. It’s only been just over three weeks and I’m already tired off my own upset. I keep dragging my upset butt around to keep active and see new sights, but a part of me is more ready to be sitting on the couch fuming or tearing up watching Netflix. I’m not the most patient and I have to be patient with myself right now.  It’s the emotional equivalent of smacking gum to deal with my feelings. Well, I’m on this bus and forgot my earbuds, so I guess I need to take full breaths and focus on a something else till my destination. This process may irritate me to the core, but I need to take this route to get where I need to be.


-Hopefully, someone will find this relatable and know they aren’t alone. This job is international and has more ties than ex- starbucks and wholefoods  employees combined.-

Two Weeks Notice


My dad officially put in his two weeks for being my father a little over a year ago. I had reached out to him after over 19 years and a slew of drink-induced google searches to see if he was still around. Maybe, I could get a clue as to what he was doing or if he attempted a third family. I managed to find a distant link on a Facebook profile with his email attached. I wasn’t sure if I would use it. In fact, it wasn’t until my half-sister used it to ask him about medical records that I even considered it. He had written her such a flourishing account that my curiosity was in the stars. You may wonder how a conversation with your father via email after almost two decades might go.

Myself: Hey, I’m not entirely sure what to say, what I am attempting, or what I hope to gain here. Seems every few years I check to see where you are. I was somewhat surprised how quickly you responded to [my half-sister] and decided to send, at the very least, a “hi”. I might as well put my research to use. 



Dad: Hello Stephanie, Well I responded quickly to [her] based on her request for medical information for her and my granddaughter. I have hoped to bond with her but never wanted to interfere with her mother and husband, now that her mother has passed I thought maybe she just might need me, as a father’s love never dies.

Your dad,

John Carl

You may be thinking, “Oh shit! That last line tho!” It just gets more warm and fuzzy, folks…

Myself: Understood. How have you been? 

Dad: All in all fine. Life never stops surprising you good or bad, but never have lost it’s wonder and mystery.

Myself: (Feeling pretty vindicated and irritated.) Ha. You are not wrong about that. Well, I won’t bother you with too many questions/rambles. Just wanted to check in, I guess. Family and such. 

Dad: Okie, goodnight. 

About three weeks later, I got the call that he had died. You know, once I had a psychic tell me that I was cursed. It had something to do with his name. She also told me I could get that taken care of by coming to her for services that were about $200 a visit, so…take that with a grain of salt. Looking back this Father’s Day, I felt like some sort of cursed princess that was set free. When he died, I finally was free to live for myself. No more living to spite someone I would never see again. No more fear that I had to be a skinny, gorgeous, pious success to prove to him that I hadn’t become the “fat, stupid whore” he had foretold when I was nine. And you know what, the woman I am for myself is so much better than the woman I was for him.

That photo, is from a Father-Daughter dance. I vaguely remember feeling like Cinderella in that dress and slow dancing with my father. But the memory of that night that always comes up is disappointment. In between songs, I had went up to a group of friends to chat. My father felt jilted by my leaving him on his own. When I returned to him, he made it clear that I was a terrible daughter and we left so that I could spend the remainder of the evening in my room. I’m sure that some people might think that thirty is a little old for a princess to be set free. I think the timing was just right. Happy Father’s Day, John. Thank you for leaving so that I can be the beautiful, passionate, loving light that I was always meant to be.