When Happy Up & Walks Away

How perfectly draining to at the same time always feel like far too much and yet never quite enough. – Tyler Knott Gregson

Be prepared;
Insecurity is going to come
It will not knock, but break down your door during a dinner date
Invite itself in and sit at the table,
Foam at the mouth like a hungry dog
It’s okay, let it in, set an extra plate
Tell the boy he has to leave, it’s not a good time,
Insecurity has something to say and you need to hear it
Feed it and love it, for this is a gift in disguise

It has a message and it goes something like this:
You are confusing the people you should love with the people you shouldn’t
You are confusing the people who love you with the people who don’t

Insecurity is here to teach you a lesson about packaging
The boy has a great singing voice, he makes a lot of money
He does things you wish you could do,
Volunteers with children and uses a French press
He showed up on your doorstep in a shiny new package
And when the magic hits you, you forget the reasons you are special

In the brightness of his light,
You forgot all the reasons you love yourself
After all, the package you are wrapped in was stamped and sent decades ago
You were swept away by all the reasons you love him,
it’s okay. Insecurity is here to teach you that new isn’t better,
Shiny isn’t superior, trendy isn’t triumphant
When he held your hand while you dreamed, you forgot the magical way you can quiet your own mind when it’s time to sleep
When he rolled with you down the hill, you forget that you once climbed a mountain all by yourself

And when it’s over,
You might be scared because your happy seemingly just up and walked away,
You are confused because lonely looks different than you remember it
It’s no longer an empty room,
But, rather, a room filled with thirty people and none of them want to hold your hand

It’s okay, remember, your happy isn’t gone;
Your happy is just no longer 5’9” with strong arms,
It’s the tall peppermint latte you buy yourself on a long day.
It’s a short trip to the bookstore to buy flimsy paperback books.
And, it’s okay, it’s still your happy. It just looks a little different now.

And, baby girl, remember your strength isn’t gone just because insecurity outstayed it’s welcome

Don’t forget; strength isn’t a penny pressed in a factory,
It is the painting that didn’t come out like you wanted, but still looks beautiful
Your strength hangs limply on your wall, when everyone else’s dances in the night
The rest of the world has strength that screams out loud, and yours never speaks up
It’s okay; your strength is quiet, maybe different, but it’s there
It’s spending the day simply just trying to survive your unwelcome visitor
It’s learning how to weather phrases like, “I just don’t like you that way”
It’s being brave enough to cry when your mind tells you not to

In time,
You may wonder if anyone will ever notice how hard you are working
The person next to you just fed fifteen homeless people
All you did was get out of bed.
It’s okay, keep working.
Your strength doesn’t have to grunt like a jock at the gym,
It just needs to get the job done.

And, now, finally, insecurity will pack its bags and leave
Because you gave it everything you had and it still took more
It chewed up your carpet so now you can build sturdy hardwood floors
Ripped off your packaging so now you can choose your new design
Your colors will shine brighter, you’ll wrap yourself in translucent paper
So people can see your humble soul instead of just your tough skin,
And, maybe now, it’s time for that dinner date again



elias doesn’t play with toy guns

daddy brought me candy
a different piece each day
on weekends we’d take walks
or sit outside and play
my favorite game was hide and seek
but i never played with toy guns
my dad told me they were dangerous
and in real life they weren’t for fun
i never saw my dad take his out
until one day in the spring
when i thought i heard thunder
and the alarms started to ring
daddy kissed mommy
and before he said goodbye
he told me he’d be back later and
i believed him ‘cus he never lied
but the days went by
and we couldn’t find dad
we couldn’t even look for him
because the bombs were too bad
i worked hard in school
so if he came back he’d be proud
but soon mommy kept us home
as more of the city burned big clouds
she made that decision
when nazir was sent home
after the bad guys invaded his class
and lodged bullets in bones
last week we decided
the war was just too bad
mommy was a nervous wreck
but we took the chance we had
she sold our three mantel pieces
made up of pure gold
they had been kept in the family
for years and years never sold
but she said it was necessary
and the boat would take us away
to a place where we could find peace
and i’d be able to once again play
after she paid the men money
we loaded the small boat
and for days and days on end
we did nothing but float
i didn’t know it then
but a surprise i would soon get
because our final destination
didn’t turn out to be a tent
instead we ran into a storm
and our boat blew upside down
while i struggled to catch my breath
an angel gave me my crown
just when i got nervous
and bit my lip not to cry
daddy came to pick me up
and lifted me up into the sky
my family is a family again
i play with nazir in the clouds
and i no longer wake up
from the civil war’s loud sounds
to the other families back home
our memory may make them sad
but i’m happy we live in peace
and i can eat candy with my dad


they say you get a soulmate
everybody has just one
and when you finally meet them
the world becomes more fun
but i’ve met people near and far
no two are quite the same
and in their laugh or pretty eyes
i’ve found the cure to pain
the painter i loved dearly
taught me how to chase my dreams
and the one that loved nature
showed me things i’ve never seen
the guy who loved music
opened my world to something new
and the one that found me in the dirt
taught me love is true
none of them worked out
because it wasn’t meant to be
but pieces of their souls
I’ve kept safely within me
the problem i’ve found with soulmates
is they can never stay too long
for they open up a part of you
that you need to carry on
their spirits can be kept
but they were never meant to stay
because this is your journey
only you yourself can pave the way
for when it comes to soulmates
you love them just too much
it almost seems to break you
every time you touch
so gather what they’ve taught you
and soon i think you’ll see
those soulmates were there to show you
the person you should be
think fondly of the painter
while you boldly chase your dreams
and keep your thirst wide open
for the things you’ve never seen
though you may have hoped
they would stay and never leave
trust me, child, when i say
you’re where you need to be
so hold your chin up soldier
and wipe away your tears
use all that they’ve taught you
to finally face your fears
your journey isn’t over
because your soulmates went away
in fact you might just find
they are with you everyday

only mean

i sat quietly near the ocean
when he told me i’m too nice
trying to pick up frazzled thoughts
that felt like scattered rice

not long ago, one called me mean
so now i was confused
how one person could see one thing
and the next saw something new

all of a sudden it occurred to me
that i was more than just a word
to fit myself into a single flat description
felt a lot like caging a wild bird

still, this all did very little to help;
the realization didn’t set me free
i was curious who would
like me for the one and only me

then a bird sat upon my shoulder and
whispered wisdom in my ear
“people only echo the things
they themselves have grown to fear”

so next time someone tells you
that you are not worthy of their love
i’ll bet more times than not
it’s themselves they’re thinking of

don’t forget that they are carrying
their own heavy burdens, too
so when you feel like striking back
know you’re not the only one that’s blue

simply sit beside the ocean and think
you have more depth than the sea
therefore you could never be boiled down
to only nice or only mean


I lay on his flat stomach and we start talking about
Our experimentation and experiences and it’s clear
Out of my league, so I listen to him talk about coke and molly,
Turning over the words in my mind while trying hard
To freak out because his rib cage reminds me what it’s like
To feel safe and his beautiful smile reminds me that
To love someone isn’t so bad of an idea after all but then
I realize that I can’t stop my mind from going there…
Fall for someone with such a streak of rebellion would both feed
My curiosity and kill the innocence I’ve been raised with, so I
My voice to a level of coolness and ask about other drugs
With more serious names and consequences and he stops
But then sees the look of naivety in my eyes. “I’m not trying
To kill myself, here, I’m just out for a good time.” He laughs.
Confused but smile and wonder why I never thought about how
Much fun these drugs might be and by the end of the week I’m
Sitting in his living room, convincing myself that this is fun,
and after a few weeks this is fun and I’m no longer
But he tells me that after he lost his dad to brain cancer he
Snorted a few lines and drank shots and succeeded in his quest
Forget, without catching the irony of harming his brain and I suddenly
Know this is more than fun; I know deep down if I stay by his side I will
To find a way to let go of the annoying feeling serving to warn me that
Someday, his way will be my way and it’ll be the farthest thing from