I have been writing for as long as I can remember. It comes & goes, it ebbs & flows, it pours out at times & every once in a while it rhymes : ) but it has always been an experience for me in many ways over the years. Sometimes so much that it actually hurts to do. I can physically feel my heart expanding, my breath in my lungs, the weight of my words & it often comes with tears &/or intense emotions. It can also suck up hours of my time. In these moments I can see why Bukowski & Hemingway & so many of the other greats went down the rabbit hole. So, I’ve shut it off a lot over the years. For various reasons, whether my own or someone else’s, sometimes many excuses, kickings & screamings that ended up finally producing things when I gave in that were out of body experiences I don’t necessarily remember & wasn’t prepared for.
One such example is a poetry marathon I recently participated in. I have never done anything like it before & when I stumbled across something about it, somewhere on a deeply found page in the recesses of the internet that I know I was meant to find but don’t remember exactly how I did, I knew I had to do it. Being that it was my first time, I opted for the half marathon which consisted of 12 poems written in 12 hours, one per hour, posted to a set-up WordPress page within the parameters of each hour. I had become painstakingly aware that I was shying away from writing again & when I ‘happened’ upon it, I thought, this is just what I need to awaken my wordliness again. I signed up. What I didn’t realize in signing up was that not only would it open my writing but that a community would come with it too.
All but one continent was represented in the marathon (sorry, Antarctica), with about 350 poets, writers, musers, dreamers from all over the world, of all different nationalities, ethnicities, faiths, locations & ages. All come together to pour their personal words out for 12 or 24 hours. I can’t help but smile typing that, how WORDS can bring people TOGETHER & doesn’t have to cause separation or angst. That’s a beautiful thing to me. I began to check out the Facebook page set up for us & chatted in threads with the others about the excitement & dauntingness of this path before us. I embarked on this journey starting at 6am on a Saturday morning & trekked forward in a bathrobe ALL day long with snacks at the ready & my trusty kitty companion at my side till 6pm. And I wrote. I wrote, & I wrote & I wrote. I didn’t prepare, I didn’t make a list of topics, I barely looked at the prompts, I engaged in conversation with the other marathoners each time I finished for the hour, I let my thoughts flow from every place. And then I wrote some more. Some of the things that came out astounded me. I didn’t know from where they had come, what deep parts of the closed off pieces of myself they began to emerge out of, but slowly, surely, they started to form. Some short, some long, different genres & styles, some very familiar, some new to me, stretching my words in all different directions. They formed: all 12 of them (thepoetrymarathon.com/blog/author/SarahNoelle/).
I wanted to share one in particular with y’all because…..well…..it awakened something in me when I read it back. I usually just write without much editing or paying attention necessarily to what I’m writing till I’m done & then I go back & read & sometimes I don’t edit at all or change a few things, add or delete others. I didn’t edit this. I just wrote. Out of body, out of mind, out of heart, out of soul. And when I re-read it, it didn’t feel like I had written it but that it had been written for me to read & have a light bulb moment. To open my eyes to something I hadn’t seen in a long time within myself: MYSELF.
Have You Seen My Boxes?
sometimes i wonder if anyone has actually seen me
i know with obvious senses they have
whether through sight, smell, taste or touch
but have they SEEN me
the parts that sometimes aren’t what they appear
the parts they have to engage
to clear cobwebs from
that no one has looked for in a long while
the very best parts of me that have been packed away
in the attic way up high & the basement down below
waiting to be discovered
they were packed away long ago when they kept getting forgotten
when people stopped looking for them
if they even ever did before giving up if it became a challenge to look harder
the actual search required too much effort
keeping only what pieces out that were needed or beneficial
the rest got stashed
the best things
the most valuable
the ones that got overshadowed
that went unused
the best parts
they got put in boxes, on shelves, behind closet doors & inside cabinets
stored away in hopes that one day they would be found or needed
when i ask if anyone has seen me
the real question might be
how long has it been
since i have seen myself
since i have allowed myself the opportunity to be seen
to be unpacked
how much have i simply allowed myself & others to put me in boxes
boxes i never belonged in to begin with
What boxes have you put yourself in or allowed others to put you in? What parts of yourself have you shut off, covered up, or secretly tucked away in order to make others happy, to make yourself forget, because you didn’t think someone could handle them or you didn’t want to deal with them or believe they exist? I could make you a whole list for myself, as I’m sure you could for yourself. But why do we shut ourselves out, down & off in life so many times? It’s because somewhere along the way we forgot. We forgot that we matter. That our stuff matters. That ‘baggage’ doesn’t have to be negative or serve as a death sentence in our lives & our relationships.
When I travel, I take baggage with me: clothing, toiletries, sunscreen, shoes, gifts for people I’m visiting, etc. I take it because it assists in the tasks at hand, it clothes me, cleanses me, protects me, & enables me to care for others. I don’t let my baggage own me…I OWN IT. Just because we have baggage doesn’t mean we have to allow it to run our lives in a horrible way. True, it may cost a bit sometimes to travel with, but the best things in life definitely are not free, they come with a price. Sometimes a high price. But it’s still stuff. It is things that make up who we are, that we carry with us, that we can choose to use for the positive in our lives no matter how much negativity could come from them if we allow that side to rule or take control. We don’t have to assume that our baggage is what keeps people at bay. The right people won’t put you in boxes & will help you carry your baggage, as you will with theirs. And often times, little by little, you’ll find that when you are out of these boxes & having help carrying your things, they become lighter, you become freer to let some of it go, to give some of it away, to leave some of it behind & to keep only the best parts taken away from opening yourself up & unpacking…& then to keep them in the open, able to be applied to your life, your relationships, your jobs, your family, etc, to give them all the parts of you & not hide them anymore. To trust that we matter, & we deserve to live an open, unpacked life free of hiding, stifling or boxing up.
You don’t belong in a box! Stop treating yourself & others like boxes are our final resting places, meant to be forgotten, to collect dust, to never be fully loved or accepted or cherished. That is no life to live.
Live free. Live open. Live life out of the box. Unbox yourself!
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