It took me fourteen years to turn the cover page
and read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.
I could never get past the note to me
'For Katy, Our dear friend
and budding writer."
Why would you say something so nice?
I know you mean well
but compliments freeze us in a moment.
I never attempted to write.
It could bring riches.
I couldn't have that.
Have platitudes thrown at me
because I did something.
Something anyone else could do.
Something others, not myself,
could succeed at.
I've failed over and over again.
It's an old friend.
I've failed by being here fourteen years later
I am so concerned with my voice,
my word choices.
Concerned about opinions good and bad
but mostly good.
Negativity feeds and supports me,
it's easy to digest.
Goodness is rich and fatty
it sits on you in a way anyone should despise.
It clings to you in an effort to keep you warm.
It cares little for anything but your comfort.
Because it knows you're cold and need to warm up.
It tries to stay,
to be a familiar friend
but you run from it.
Lacing up your shoes
you run out the door.
Tell yourself that's what you are now
You're free, you've quieted the voices.
Positive words can't catch you.
Fast enough you can't even see the trees
let alone take in the world.
No need for positivity here on your own path
with an empty head,
It's easy to run,
it's hard to sit still.
Why would I sit to hear the sounds of others?
The noise of wounds and hurt.
My skin is hardened
and thin around a fragile frame,
there is not much to me.
And the fat hurts.
The comfort is uncomfortable.
I know there are things I want to say
but words beget words.
I don't want to listen.
I can't take more.
Where am I supposed to put it?
Am I really meant to open up and chew?
Swallow the fatty, salty, rich, umami of compliments.
Can I sprinkle it with the worn-down soles of my sneakers?
Can I reduce the calorie count?
Maybe run while you run after me.
Maybe if I'm far enough away I can't hear you whisper.