always ashamed


I’ve always been good at looking at the past,

building a trajectory of the future.

Foresight, wisdom,

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:
her marriage,

her children,

her friendships.


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?


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