She knew she was susceptible.

She understood her circumstances

enough to know

that when her need was great,

her self-esteem battered,

and her heart depleted,

she was considered fair game

and had to be vigilant.

She knew enough to accept

that a kind word or gesture,

a certain turn of phrase,

sometimes even

the smallest courtesy

put her heart into

a free-fall that would end

with her desolation.

So she moved carefully,

spoke quietly

and kept her thoughts

locked up tightly

within herself.

She was ripe and ready

to fall into skilled hands

which made her wary

and desperate

to keep a resolute grip

on her self-control

in an attempt to avoid

any wrong choices

in a moment of weakness.

She wanted most of all

to turn away from anything

that would shame her

when she looked back on it.

But there were times,

oh, there was more

than just one time,

when to feel the breath

of another against her skin…

she would carefully consider

deliberately risking




The Art of Being Ugly

I woke up ugly this morning.

Not on the outside although it wasn’t one of my better days, but my heart, my thoughts and my perception of things were on the hard side. I woke up gritting my teeth and knew it would be a struggle to contain the harshness from those who didn’t deserve it.

Which was everyone.

I usually don’t feel this way, and I don’t like it. I used to deny its existence or hide it from myself, missing every important lesson the meanness was trying to teach me.

I’m a slow learner but when I finally get it, it sticks.

Listening to the ugly parts of me is the only way to see where I’m being foolish in ways that injure my heart. Shaking hands with the side of me that wants to strike out helps me see where I’ve set myself up for failure. The “righteous” part of me that wants to cause equivalent pain in another is a 911 call for pulling my head out of my ass and taking a good look at where I’m standing…

And how fast I’m sinking.

I’m about chest high in bad attitude right now, cigarette in one hand and wine glass in the other, listening to the ugly. I don’t apologize for the contents of either hand or the content of my mind.

I’m sorting it out.

The more I listen the more it recedes, slowing my breath and easing the tightness in my jaw. My heart softens again and my mind settles. I see the adjustments I need to make to defuse my dilemma.

Fortunately, most will never meet the ugly I talk to from time to time, even though that side of me is an important part of who I am.┬áIf I don’t listen to the black-hearted, judgmental, vigilante part of me…

How will I ever grow?