I’ve always been good at looking at the past,
building a trajectory of the future.
call it what you will,
old soul, mom-sense,
it can be kinda cool
when I realize what will happen
long before it does
and can prevent the bad,
stop the stain
before the hurt occurs.
in my own life,
this skill seems to turn to sin
as I’m slowly incapacitated
by my ability to see possibilities
I hear every inflection of my mother’s voice:
all the tempered rage, the bitter shreds, the biting hatred
the deep pain of the deep injustices of her life:
but it’s always easier to look at her unhappiness
than to look at mine
and see the links between the two.
I want to believe that I’m my own person
that I won’t repeat her mistakes,
that I can be happy,
that I can be kind,
that when I’m 52
I won’t expect my middle child to listen and accept my broken, sobbing self
over the telephone.
Anne Lamott says the most subversive thing a person can do
is to show up to life
and not be ashamed.
But everything I do makes me ashamed.
Every misplaced thought
every late-awakening morning
every bitter response
swallowed down and choking me from within.
everytime I realize how strongly I want my own way.
i just want things to go
i’m ashamed of it,
but i can’t seem to change.
O Father, Son, and Spirit,
Most gentle Trinity,
Help my wayward soul.
Turn my heart to thee.
I cannot even want what’s right,
much less do as I should:
how can I keep from repeating mistakes?
how can I ever be good?