The Well

Well friends, clearly, consistency is my greatest enemy. Imagine me in a Catholic church in a confession booth when I say this, but it’s been a few weeks since my last confession.  And, I’m trying and barely succeeding at not feeling guilty about it. This, friends, is what constitutes “personal growth” for me, I think.

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind in the last month. A bit of personal news: I’ve gone back to work part-time! I’m back at my old stomping grounds working with young people who have aged out of the foster care system. This time, though, I get to focus on clients who are parenting to provide them with resources and support to break the generational cycle of CPS involvement. I’m equal parts excited and nervous to step back into my social work roots.

And, in connection with this new chapter, comes this week’s poem.

This is a poem I wrote several months ago. It was written for a few dear friends of mine and for myself. With the idea in mind that there are people and circumstances in life that often require we give so much of ourselves that we feel drained and empty on the other side. And once we’ve given all we have, it becomes clear we are no longer valuable and are; therefore, left behind. Feeling worthless or useless or both.

What I wanted to say with this poem is that there is more to us than what has been taken from us. And learning how to give to ourselves is something we must learn to do and practice doing, every day.

I posted this poem on the bulletin board behind my desk at work, as a reminder to myself and to my clients that no person is ever “empty”. I’m posting it here for the same reason.

Thanks for reading, friends.


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-Alexandra Lane

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“Keep Going”

Today’s the last day of National Poetry Month and Justin Timberlake memes abound in anticipation of May.

As a farewell to a month of intentionally writing and reading more poems (though I hope this discipline will not stop with April’s end), here is one I wrote about poetry itself.

Poetry has served many functions for me. One of its more profound uses has been as a conduit for grief, and therefore, healing.

I have found it true over and over again that to embrace grief, to walk hand in hand with it for a time, is part of that path to healing. Poetry creates space to sit intentionally in those uncomfortable emotions. It thrives in them. It breathes and comes to life in the moments when we are close to our sorrows and our joys.

The path to healing often comes with more pain, which is why it is so seldom tread.

Poetry pushes my feet forward and says, “Keep going.”

Thank you for reading, friends.

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C-Section

Hey friends,

April is C-Section Awareness Month. And also, it’s National Poetry Month. So, naturally, when one finds herself in a “kill two birds with one stone” situation, one must, in fact, kill two birds with one stone. For the month of April, I’ve been trying to write a poem a day. I haven’t made it every day, but I have developed more of a habit of writing, and that feels like a victory for me. The first poem I wrote this month, stemmed from an idea I’ve been chewing on for months. What does it mean for me to love my body? This post-pregnancy, post c-section–stretch marks, scars, and all–body, in the here and now?

I would often look in the mirror and wish these things away. This poem is an attempt to reframe the story–to honor these marks for their place on my body and in my life.

Thanks for reading.

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Sacred Spaces

Hello, friends. It’s nice to come back to this space again. I’ve been taking a break from this blog while I’ve been working on another project. Now that that is finished, I am going to try and return to my weekly posts as best I can.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve just wrapped up a truly seismic collaboration with a Houston-based artist, Lanecia Rouse Tinsley (check out her work here), commissioned by my church Southeast Raleigh Table, for the forty day season of Lent. I was able to follow the weekly scripture readings, write a poem, and then hand-off those words to Lanecia for her to give them flesh and bones.

It not only was a dream come true for me to see a visual representation of how my words made someone feel, but it gave me the courage to name myself.

It was the first time I’ve ever called myself a poet and believed it. And the first time I allowed someone to call me a poet and believed it. That is no small feat for me. It takes quite a bit of effort for me to tell my self-doubt to sit the hell down and allow myself to accept words like this.

Rumi said, “You were born with wings, why do you prefer to crawl through life?”

Calling myself a poet, and allowing others to do the same, is the equivalent of leaving behind my hands and knees and accepting my wings.

I have always feared the possibility that someone will tell me, or worse–think and not tell me, that I do not deserve these wings. And there will always be those that think you are not good enough to fly. I am still afraid of those people. And yet, the words still come and something has to be done with them.

I recently had some dear friends speak words to me, about me, over me and a theme emerged. A theme that was, at once, exhilarating and intimidating.

Create. Creator. Cultivate.

Words are powerful things when believed. They can create sacred spaces and just as easily, they can destroy those spaces. Too often I have played the role of destroyer in my own life. I must forgive myself for that. And that forgiveness will have to be an active choice. Every day.

So, here is how I find forgiveness:

to live into these words spoken over me;

to speak those words over myself;

to believe those words;

and to create sacred spaces for myself and others.

Pretty simple, right?

As always, I am thankful you stopped by.

Alexandra

 

 

On Grief and Grandfathers

Hello, friends.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been taking a break from the blog while I’ve been writing poems and collaborating with Lanecia Rouse Tinsley, an amazing artist in Houston, for a Lenten project for Southeast Raleigh Table. As I’m new to sharing my writing publicly, I felt it best to focus on one project at time. But though this is Holy Week and the Lenten project has not quite come to a close, it felt time to post something.

This particular Holy Week also bears witness to an anniversary. One weighed down in grief. It seems to me, we should have another word for these kind of anniversaries, so as to not confuse them with those we’d like to celebrate, rather than mourn. But that’s another poem for another time, I suppose.

Two years ago, on March 28th, my grandfather passed away. And in the throes of the newborn fog, I was handed a grief and I had no idea what to do with it. I have learned much about myself in these last two years and one thing has become quite clear. I need to write. I need to write in order to work out the things that feel unworkable.

So as has become my new normal, I sat down to write a poem and here’s what came out. So on this “anniversary,” it feels the right time and space for sharing.

Thank you for reading, as always.


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Book of Love.

Hi yes, it is valentine’s day and herein lies an obligatory sappy post about love. sorry. but also i’ve mentioned before that when i feel “cheesy”, this is often when I am at my more authentic self. so, this is one of those moments. i haven’t written many love poems, but i wrote this one a while ago and recently gave it to my husband for valentine’s day.

there are not many metaphors more appropriate to describe our relationship than a book. we danced to Peter Gabriel’s version of “The Book of Love” at our wedding, we both love to read…i mean the poem just writes itself, right? this particular one happened while sitting across the table from him at a coffee shop. we had just been to our favorite used bookstore and had piles of used books around us. and i got to thinking about how the life of a book is written on its spine. how many times it’s been opened and closed. and how the experience of opening up a brand new book and the experience of opening up a book that has been read over and over again are both delightful, but in different ways.  as it is the evolution of relationships.

and you know what they say, the more alexes in your life…the more fun it is. so here’s to double the alex and double the fun.

anyways, happy valentine’s day.


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Sorry.

I say “sorry” too much. I apologize for things that are my fault, are not my fault, and those things that haven’t even happened yet, but may, eventually, be my fault. Some of it is just par for the course in the life of an empath who anticipates others’ emotions like it’s my job. But the rest of it, I’ve come to realize is really just a way for me to disappear. To not take up any space of my own for fear of taking any of yours. So, I apologize to the cashier in the grocery line because I can’t stuff the receipt in my wallet fast enough to get out of the next customer’s way. Or I feel guilty for taking too long to parallel park because I’ve inconvenienced the car behind me.

Not all apologizing is bad, mind you. I’m not talking about the “actually did something wrong and need to own up and make amends” type of apologizing. But, rather, the “let me anticipate what I’ll do wrong and apologize before you can get mad at me” apologies. I’m pretty tired of those. I’m sick of them. They’re not apologies. They aren’t admissions of guilt. They are admissions of shame.

So here is a poem about my perpetual apologies. About breathing in shame like oxygen and breathing out apologies like carbon dioxide.

And, maybe this is a step in breaking the cycle.

Here I am. I am taking up space. Albeit virtual and cloud-like, but space, nonetheless.


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