i like to leave things better than i found them.

September 9, 2011

I’m supposed to be working.
I’m supposed to be wheeling and dealing and marketing.
I’m supposed to be making money.

Instead I’m sitting and thinking and staring out the window at the empty lot across the street and watching a rare Georgia breeze persuade the trees. Instead I’m shirking text messages and avoiding missed calls while getting lost in the pangs and gears of my heart and mind. Whenever I was distant as a child, or rebellious or somehow wayward, my mother would point her finger at me and say We need to have a heart to heart! It’s too difficult to explain how someone can lose their mother without her passing away, so I won’t. But any time I feel something that I don’t want to feel, I think of her words. There’s a certain skill one must possess in giving themselves their own heart to heart, and I’ve never developed the skill. This creates a woman who secretly questions every other person’s words and compares them to their deeds, usually determined unsatisfactory.

Often times, I’m not even sure what I think or feel about something emotive until it comes out of my mouth. This comes from years of not acknowledging discomfort, pain or ache, until with such practice, the rogue emotion is suppressed before it’s even a blip on the radar. This creates a woman, who in mid-sentence, may stutter at the realization of her own feelings or a woman who appears poised and charming but is boiling underneath. Or a woman who goes around with a constant vague distraction or essence of guilt and she doesn’t know why.

I’m supposed to be honest.
I’m supposed to be more accepting of those I love than those I don’t.
I’m supposed to be tolerant and just.

I’m accusable of being a sophist in public, and a mourner in private and I sometimes have to try on the truth to see if it fits. I only know once it’s expressed aloud if I really meant it. There are many words that, under no circumstances, should be uttered unless they’re unconditionally true without question – and for this reason, it takes me quite a long time to make up my mind. This creates a woman, who with others, speaks of and flirts with things too freely which do not matter, and who alone, ruminates over the things that do. Or a woman, who when her mind is made up, simply cannot unmake it.

But I am a gift made for sharing, and am not selfish enough to run and hide. I say this as I have a habit of letting things develop past the point of no return where smarts creep into selfishness. Admittedly, I shine brighter with reciprocity. Though, I have yet to find someone who mutually matches me in accountability of words and actions. I take strolls through others’ dark places and somehow leave a little light. I once read the phrase I like to leave things better than I found them, and I do – and I’m right to say that I had to leave them. This typically leaves me worse for wear. And this creates a woman, though steadfast, keeps connections at a distance of those she wants closest for fear of disappointment and having to piece herself back together once more.

I’m supposed to be strong.
I’m supposed to be able to recognize red flags and be intelligent enough to walk away.
I’m supposed to be looking out for number one.

Instead I’m sitting and thinking and staring out the window at the empty lot across the street daring not to say aloud that maybe this time, hopefully this time, I’m supposed to be proven wrong.

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8 Responses to “i like to leave things better than i found them.”

  1. Wow. That is all I really know to say. This is going to sound so corny, but it is 100% true… I feel like you are inside my head and you are articulating my life experience… but you have done it way better than I have thus far been able to. And I consider myself to be decent with words and articulating thoughts. But this is so real, so honest, so raw that aside from THESE words… I am speechless. Well done. Excellent post.

    • Fountains said

      I breathe a sigh of relief and smile to know that someone else out there is just like me. You encourage me greatly, and inspire me to keep saying the things that make me uncomfortable or look too deeply at myself – all in hopes of understanding myself better and therefore the world. And if I’m fortunate enough, to have someone else read it and feel understood. What you’ve said means a lot to me. More than you know.

      • I am so glad. I was really moved by this piece. It is probably one I will read again and again because I relate and because I believe there are several layers to it. I love your poetry a lot. But don’t stop writing these types of “truthful” essays either. you are good at them and I have learned, through my writing, that my best stuff comes when I am being open and honest and raw. More people will relate than you realize. They probably will never tell you… but your writing will be a blessing to them because 1. you had the guts to tell the truth and 2. they will be so relieved they are not alone. Keep it up!

        Have a great weekend!

      • Fountains said

        Thank you endlessly, Joanna. I will continue. And with renewed purpose. 🙂

  2. blitzken said

    I have an image in my head of you walking around in your own mind, turning on different lamps, sometimes looking for something, sometimes just checking out to see what’s there.

    • Fountains said

      There are no words… I cannot express to you how much I adore this description or how frighteningly accurate it may be. So incredibly perfect. This is going to stay with me forever. Love it. Thank you. 🙂

  3. NK said

    These larger pieces are incredible. Not only do you describe things beautifully, but in baring your soul it never comes across as anything other than pure art. The repetitions (I’m supposed to) are brilliantly placed and hold everything together very well. You’re going to be the next great thing… I have a feeling about that.

    • Fountains said

      Shucks, I’m pretty floored with the reception of these essay-like rants. Wish I were better at articulating my gratitude. I just feel fortunate, so honored and that’s the best I can articulate when I read one of your comments. You stun me with your support, and your compliments. I’ve been given endless encouragement and for that feeling – I haven’t any words good enough to express it. Thank you a thousand times over, each one meaning more than the last.

say something to me.

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