you need to rewire your hardware she said
because your associations have gone all wrong
because this is normal she explains, pointing inside the circle she drew
& this is you she states in her matter of fact tone,
tapping the paper
the empty space outlying the black ink curve.
because you take intimacy
but sense danger
& withdraw
from someone you love.
this is bad, she explains.
as if me coming to her wasn’t doing my part in admitting something was off.. with me.
your subconscious is telling you it’s wrong
even if you aren’t thinking it
you’re feeling it
so bring it to your level of consciousness
& disassociate it, is her casual solution.
like reminding someone to not forget their lunch at home next time.
like telling someone to remember to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
like its so easy.
like its instinctive.
like duh.
do what everyone else knows to do.

no guides
no pamphlets on the 12 Steps Towards an Intimate Future
just an irreverent ultimatum:
if you want to be alone for the rest of your life, continue on this path.
you don’t have to care about sex or intimacy.
because you will be alone if you are like this.


i am far from a good christian
i still feel weird about stating a religious preference
because religions get a bad rap
& their followers are the worst.

i hold the agnostic card in my back pocket when im cornered
to play neutral when questions get too tough
& prayers get too touchy feely
as I gaze at my meal with head bowed.

but once i met you
something changed
as cliche & cheesy as that sounds.
maybe it was timing
i reached a point where agnosticism wasnt giving me enough
at the end of the day

maybe you can call that His work
or atheists call it luck
but something changed
& theres a yearning
a craving
for more.
im not wholly convinced yet
but its a start.
with the questions
& the discussions
& the links to video sermons
that make me feel a little less lost.

& maybe the intent has other motives
but isnt that the covert way He makes things work sometimes?
i cant speak for anyone else’s plan but my own
so for right now,
hearing you talk
about living a righteous life
is enough.

the forgotten list v2.0

[in no particular order]
1. Makes me laugh. There’s few things i love more than to unabashedly, head thrown back, silver fillings visible, straight from the gut — laugh. My sincerest “care bear” laugh as it was once called, is one of the greatest gifts you can give to me. & i get, that over the years, even the faintest chuckling over witty text banter will fade, but i’d like to think that someone meant for me could still manage to make me laugh at myself when im taking myself too seriously.

2. Supportive. To be specific: supportive in the way i need support. There’s many ways a partner can be supportive, but what I need, & the way I need it, may not coincide with how you think you can best support me. But i’ve known myself a lot longer than you have, so when it comes down to the overbearing stress of life, i can appreciate someone who sets their pride & home remedies aside & listens to what would best work for me.

3. Financially smart. i know this wasnt on the old list.. because when i wrote the old list, finances were some great mess of a storm that is always talked about, but i could only see it ever in the distant future. it didnt really affect me or hold any bearing on my day to day life. but then student loans, and credit cards, & training without pay for a career, & car insurance, & vet bills all happened. my parents, admittedly, are not good with money. we dont talk about money, & so i never learned “smart money skills.” but im trying. which is why i need someone who wont further muddle my shaky idea of what an Asset vs Liability is [taking a tip from Rich Dad Poor Dad], & tempt me into those “treat yourself, YOLO!” shopping sprees. you dont have to be rich. its not about finding someone to fund my “get out of debt” plan. & i dont expect you to be financially responsible for me. but if you’re self-sufficient, & can pass on a few tips on how to make a dollar go a little further, i could really see a not-so-distant future together.

4. Assertive. somehow that descriptor doesnt sit well with me, but “Not a Pushover” would herald a different sort of list. a longer list of all the characteristics i’d hope to avoid. what i really mean is.. someone who’s unafraid of me. who’s unafraid of calling me out on my bullshit.. but does so in a tactful, compassionate manner. ive dated the pushovers, & ive dated the power-tripping egocentrics too.. neither last because i eventually grew tired of being always right [even though i knew i was bulldozing them, & getting away with murder] or was so disgusted with myself for being someone’s passive, restrained, “yes” girl. i want someone who knows how to challenge me, & does it for no other reason than helping me to be better.

4. Loyal. i know this is kind of assumed… don’t cheat — emotionally, physically, in any capacity. but i also mean this in the sense of i want someone to have my back, even when maybe i don’t deserve it. someone who will vouch for me in conversations when i’m not there to do it myself, or maybe it’s not my place to defend myself.  i don’t ever want our dirty laundry aired out for his parents, siblings, coworkers, friends, to see. i want peace of mind that the person im with, won’t hesitate to express his loyalty to us as a unit. this is especially important to me when it comes to family. (refer to #6)

5. Resilient. i want someone who can weather the storms that are me. i’m difficult, & moody, & don’t know what i want until it’s staring me in the face, & have introverted tendencies in the most inconvenient times & places, & the list goes on & on… and despite my best efforts to be the best version of me i can be, some days will slip through the cracks & my demons will show. it doesn’t mean i’m not the person who you courted & fell in love with, it just means i’m a work in progress, as are you, & i’d like us to give eachother the benefit of the doubt. i want someone who can wrap me up in their arms & hold me ’til the crazy passes, & not write me off for being comfortable enough to expose that part of me to you.

6. Family approved. When you marry, you marry the family– this goes both ways. my family must genuinely like you. not in a, “well this is who she chose so we’ll support her” kind of grimacing way, but in a, “where’s (love of my life’s name)? we really miss him!” i think i work really hard to win over in-laws. there’s a certain level of formality i’ve never broken character with around the in-laws, no matter the length of relationship. i’d expect the same effort of you. that being said, i’ll do it even if i don’t particularly understand them, because you come as a packaged deal & no one should ever have to choose between the two. i think a healthy relationship with in-laws is important, but so are boundaries & i need someone who’s up to the challenge of mediating that.



lets let it go unspoken
because the timid poking & prodding
prefaced with, “i dont want this to turn into an argument”

never prevents it from turning into one nonetheless.
or into subdued silence.
the latter at least plays decoy for the argument raging on in my head
& the voice cast as you at least commits to listening
& reasoning
& compromising.. a little.
lets be real here. its still you
just my imagined, toned down version of you.


because id rather reluctantly come to terms on my own
with the fact that anything you say you’ll try to do,
or hope to do,
to assuage my anger
will only deal me unbidden disappointment in the future.

no, id rather not.
so instead i’ll seek solace in the quiet foxhole we’ve dug ourselves into
out of the direct line of fire
but not out of the war.


“so how are you two anyway?”

“well, i think we’ve reached that point where we know each other well enough to not push the others buttons…
but we’ve also reached the point where we know each other well enough to know what makes the other happy.. & we’re not going out of our way to do so.”

complacency must be the drug
responsible for slowing the blood flow to the heart
& thinning the oxygen to the brain
which if not induced in such a state,
there would be internal sirens firing off
Get out! Escape! Leave now!

in the first flush,
i tend to burn brightly
with a ravenous hunger for the new
the unexplored
& just as quickly,
then fade
into a subdued
the kind of hushed light
that becomes so small,
so quietly
that one would barely even notice.
like a steady
a comfort for its presence
but void of any real warmth.

& i can never remember,
at what point i let my flame
become a $1.97 glass Made in China bulb.