The Half-Hearted Life

Took a little break for myself this past week. Had a plan, but did not follow it, as usual; I juggle too many activities and too many people to fit all the time I went for each of them in a day. As much as I want to write 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year, there is way too much happening for me to prioritize that. I will write though, and I do write, and while I write, my inner critic rebukes me: “You’re half-assing this. Either do it right or don’t do it at all.”

It’s always the same, whether I write, practice yoga, play the violin, or even play video games: I am not doing it right, and I should call it quits today and try again the next day. Maybe I do half-ass everything, because nothing truly real or impactful. Maybe I expect too much from life. After the novelty evaporates, everything becomes a grind, but I’d rather grind away at a keyboard than do nothing at all.

I half-assed my way through college, riffing in my essays more so than researching them, but they all turned out well, because in the end, I had enough pride in my work that I did not want to turn in garbage. Maybe I could have done so much more with them, but the imagination runs wild and sometimes disappoints me. Most poems into which I poured my whole heart are not ones I like now, while some poems I wrote in a single draft became my favorites. Effort does not necessarily lead to quality, but my goals will, because even if I am not living as passionately as I want, if I make steps toward those goals, I will eventually reach them, and the outcome will be the same.

I do not care if I write 50,000 words or only 25,000 this month as long as I establish better writing practices. It will never feel good enough to please my inner critic, but I can shut him up by reminding him of his own sins. It requires focus on the process instead of on goals that oftentimes feel unattainable while trusting those goals will lead me in the right direction. Allowing both to serve their purposes rather than relying too much on the process or the goal, the present or the future, will allow everything to settle in their proper places, and it will not feel like such a balancing act.

Fables

Eve bit first,
setting precedent.
Han shot first.
That was changed.
The world defies narratives.
What really matters?

My Own Version of Bughead

I feel like Jughead when she comes around.
She would make the perfect Betty.
We have little in common and live on opposite ends
of the valley. We hail from different schools.
I once went to hers, but then I moved.
I live among a different crowd now, one lacking
in pep and smiles, one dressed entirely in black.

I have a dark side, but she has one too.
I wear mine on a jacket, but she hides hers.
I only saw a hint, but I heard the rumors.
They draw me closer to her. We converge
at the penumbra, unblinded by light,
unhidden by darkness. We see each other
as we truly are: moody and distant,
mean when necessary or preferable,
but willing, wanting to come together
to form something greater than us apart.

On opposite sides of the valley, but still, we meet
most nights through mutual friends and excuses
to see her that hide how I truly feel from us both.
Not sure I’d call this love or need, but I want to feel
both for her. She’s more physical. I’m not spiritual,
but I’m a writer in search of a narrative
that doesn’t revolve around death, an escape
from one cliche into another but one I have not
experienced much living my life alone
with only movies and music to keep me company.
She can be the cure, the golden ticket off the screen.
She rarely looks my way, but she smiles
when she does. I interpret it as love
even if the feeling is not reciprocated.

Maybe all my reasons are wrong and we don’t belong
together. She still has eyes for another guy.
I still fight a crusade to reclaim my pride.
Hard to please and quick to leave, but I cannot survive
another loss. I have no more time to nurse the wounds
of another dream abandoning me. I have no life
outside of the narratives I write. She may be my escape,
and I may be hers. We may just be a fling, a distraction
from things I still do not want to think about.
Either way, she means more to me than anything
else, at least for the time being.

Speed Bump

I would run if I could walk
without a limp. It rarely shows,
but only because I stand still
instead of embarass myself
with stumbles and falls.
I am not weak or incomplete.
God botched my wiring,
forcing me into acrobatics
for movements others take
for granted. The effort exhausts
me for nothing to gain,
so I hide inside a chair
to hide a limp that will not be fixed,
because it hurts less never to walk
again than to fall on my face
in front of a world that is not my friend.

My Reality

I end the year where I began, but with brand new eyes and direction. The year had its share of disappointments and anxieties, but the anxieties hardened my diamond dust heart, and the disappointments freed the hellfire within. How many times had I returned to the past until I realized that the soul I sought was not a mate’s, but the reflection of my own? Fortunately, my fairy blood hides the age that would confess my failures. That’s what always frightened me most: not the failure, but the appearance of it on me.

True sight has revealed that the masks you wear hide not beauty, but disfigurement no less vulgar than mine. You conceal yours; I flaunt mine. Why shouldn’t I? I am now unbound by gravity, and I wield the same magic as everybody else. Arguably more. I do not wish to wage proxy wars for a traitor anymore. I want to stay home and work on things. For what purpose? I no longer know—is anything real?—but it doesn’t matter. I conclude there is nothing worth chasing in the world, and the high ones already stand beside me. I have everything I need. I want more of me.

I want my waverly roots to settle into the soil. I want glamour to gleam on my face and my tongue. I want a bigger home to spread my wings. I want to learn how to fly and not just to leap. I will accept your reality, but I will remain in my dream.

A hybrid can withstand these things.

New Day

Frozen in eternal nightmares, the past
lived forever as the present. No choice,
no matter how drastic, would end the dream.
I always woke up in the same bed, same place,
on a ship sailing toward an island nowhere
in particular. I chased dragons there
hunting for the truth but finding
only lies that preserved my destiny.
In truth, I hunted for lies to avoid the truth
that the person I wanted to be had already died.
I was no hero or savior. I was a living failure.
Frozen in a dream, I fought the same battles,
performed the same rituals, replayed the same scenes
where my life had meaning as I slept
under the presence of the full moon.

A blue rose scarred my face, shattered the hate
that kept me asleep. I fell from the clouds
and hit the concrete. Gravity crushed me,
molded carbon into diamond. With your first cry,
I was awake. I gave up the sword and turned
to the heart. I learned that life is not a fight to win.
You don’t need a weapon. You need me
to be your shield. You need me to be your wings.
For you, I’ve given up everything I hoped to be—
the sun, the moon, the star—and will give you everything
you need so that you are not lost inside a dream.

Rules

No pastor practices what they will preach.
They speak of forgiveness to stack the deck,
because it’s easier to fleece a sheep
than wolves that bite back and aim for the neck.

Those who can’t do will teach you to be cruel
by bending the rules when it suits their desires.
Morality enslaves. Only the fool
hath said of his own heart it is a liar.

Each heresy erects a wall and deems
it truth, but what is truth? Limitations
appeasing gods unseen except in dreams,
and dreams? Reality’s resignation.

Apostate to all ideology
unshackles life’s endless possibility.