Outside In

Felt like a stranger
Looking in
A window
Confused by
The actions
Witnessed
Tones detected
Perceiving
A cycle
Of frustration
Embarrassment
Tears and
Exhaustion
Asking questions
Inside my head
What is wrong?
Why so upset?


Felt like a stranger
Looking in
A window
But I was not
A stranger
And I was not
Looking in
A window
It was a mirror
My reflection
In the panes-
A realization
That left me
Wondering
Whether to take
A step back
Or lean in closer

Admitting feelings of anxiety and depression is not always easy. And even harder to explain. This poem is an attempt to describe that feeling of being outside myself. Knowing my actions and feelings don’t make sense, but having difficulty controlling them.

I share because someone reading may need to know they are not alone. And simply put, it helps me accept my reflection with a bit more grace and understanding. ❤️

Take a Step

You haven’t been
Very happy
Lately

Humph!
I thought
Incensed

But I know it’s true
And those words?
Spoken in love
So, why is it
Still so hard
To admit?
As if speaking
The words
Out loud
Gives them power
When actually
The opposite is true

You’re right
I’m depressed
Not simply
End-of-school
Exhausted
Though also true

Today’s remedies?
Sunshine
Fresh air
Newly planted
Flowers
Only enough
Planning to
Ease some stress
For the coming week
Small steps
Moving me
Forward
Gentle reminding
Only I can take
Those steps
But I don’t
Need to
Take them
Alone…and
Neither do you

Inner Voice

My brain hurts
Well, actually
I think it’s numb
Tired body
Tired heart
Words are
Bouncing
Around
In my head
Aim is off
Can’t seem
To find
Their way out
Maybe for the best
Probably wouldn’t
Sound the same
If I said them
Out loud
Perhaps writing
Them down
Would help…

Today, I…
Need to rest
Don’t want to listen
Don’t feel like engaging

Whew! Think I feel better!

After writing this poem, I had a revelation. If I feel this way some days, so do my students. And while I can put my feelings into words, that is not always easy for children.

Ok, so maybe this wasn’t a revelation, but it was a reminder. I need to be aware of facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice-mine and my students. Tempering my actions and reactions by keeping the clues close at heart. ❤️

Precious Boy

Nothing compares with the contagious laughter of a child. The kind that brings tears because it can’t be stopped. One of my first-grade friends recently demonstrated this phenomenon.

He is always smiling. When I see him in the hallway, in the music room, getting in the car with his mom to go home. Such a sweet boy.

Those with an honest laugh also have a sincere cry…

Today in music class, students sang a song about Thanksgiving. I then asked, What are you thankful for? Such sweet answers. My family, friends, brother, sister, grandma, and on and on. Almost all of them mentioned a family member.

This friend was no exception. He said he was thankful for his mom. I immediately pictured him running to his car every afternoon. Always wearing that big smile.

We ended class by watching and listening to a song about Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t say it is a sad song, but sweet. When the song ended, I teased the class.

You guys haven’t asked me what I’m thankful for!

What are you thankful for, Mrs. Morris?

You guys!

I followed this with a comment about their sweet smiles. And then I mentioned my one friend’s contagious smile and laugh. It was time to line up. I noticed he had a funny look on his face, eyes downcast. So, I asked what was wrong.

Tears began to flow. While the others lined up, I knelt to talk with him.

My sister died. When she was little.

Oh, honey, I am so sorry.

I told him how special it was that he remembered her in his heart.

Precious boy. I will not soon forget his laughter or his tears. ❤️

Disclosure

Yesterday
My steps
Were heavy
Even the ones
Taking me
Where
I wanted
To go
Precious feet
Walked beside
In the sunlight
Of a clear
Fall day
Splashes
Of color
Painting
Our paths
Until the light
Slipped away
And heaviness
Completely
Draped
Demanding
To be named
Before sleep
Could come-
Now morning,
Fragments
Remain-
But I smile
At the beautiful
Pink sunrise

I have not written about depression lately. But honesty is my goal. And sometimes, admitting how I feel is the first step to feeling better. I love the fall colors and cooler temps. But when sunsets come earlier and cloudy days are multiplied, struggle sets in.

I am thankful for friends and family who understand and remind me it is ok.

The photo was actually taken a year ago. Matched today perfectly.

Tug of War

Parading around
In costumes
Recognizable
Masks
Distracting me
From the struggle
Taking root
In my soul
Feelings
Can be sneaky
That way

Tricksters thriving
On energy
Expended in a
Tug of War
That leaves
Me trying
To pull the rope
From both ends
There will never
Be a winner
Only the need
To let go
Of the rope
Even if
It means
Falling
In the mud

I often talk about poetry being therapeutic. This poem is a perfect example. It did not provide answers to the questions on my mind. However, writing the words down provided some tension relief. It also reminded me I don’t have to have all the answers right at this moment. Maybe you can relate. ☺️

More

Both familiar
And strange
How can this be?
Blonde hair
Streaks of gray
Blue eyes
Edged with lines
Same smile
Pretty much
My reflection
Is not all
I wish it was
Certain changes
Cause that
Familiar smile
To shrink
Until I look
Intently
Beyond
Temporary
Revealing
What resides
Within
Beauty
And ashes
Alike
Evidence
Of life’s
Experiences
Accumulated-
You are
More than
The reflection
Staring back at you

Two instances led to this reflection. The first one, a photograph. One in which I did not like the way I looked. At least, certain parts of me. The second, a comment from a student. I answered the question, What year were you born? 1967. The response-Then how in the world are you still alive?

That made me laugh. And then it made me smile. There is so much more to this life than how I look on any given day. And though I need to take better care of myself, the unseen will always be more important than the seen. So, in case you have any doubts-You are more! ❤️

Clipping Stitches

A simple
Solitary
Seed
Of doubt
Sewing stitches
Choking roots
Once confident
Threatening
Downward
Spiral
Second-guessing
Simplest decisions
Sense of dread
Starting
In the brain
Slowly shifts
Stomach
Tied in knots
Realization
Anxiety has
Once again
Crept in
Recognizing
Is step one
Clipping stitches
Step two
Freeing roots
To stretch
And grow
Crushing
The doubt
Regaining
Confidence

Whether the tiniest reason or no reason at all, anxiety just shows up some days. Sharing helps. You never know who may be able to relate. Be encouraged. ❤️

Good Company

Everything a chore
Getting dressed
Dishes, laundry
Talking, smiling
Each takes an
Effort beyond
The necessary
Every day is
Not this way
But today…
It is my reality
Trusting that
Giving voice
To the internal
Though difficult
Will bring relief
And if not for me
Possibly another
Not yet able to
Express their struggle-
Finding strength
In good company

This poem was an attempt to give words to a recent low period.
And though I am feeling better, I accept that it will not be my last. Such is this life. I share because it is so important to know we are not alone-even at our lowest. ❤

In Tune

Last week a piano technician came and tuned my new piano. Even though it is a beautiful new instrument, there are several reasons it needed tuning. Being moved to a new location. Sitting in a different space, with different temperatures, on a different type of floor. All factors that affect the way it sounds.

I listened as the technician worked. She listened to such tiny details. The way she would tune one note to its octave counterpart. When I played those notes together in a chord, I didn’t notice that they were out of tune. But hearing her pick them all apart, it was obvious.

The mechanics of a piano are fascinating. My explanation to students is usually simplified. Your finger presses down the key, which causes a hammer inside the piano to strike a string producing the sound.

Watching my piano being taken apart, actually viewing the insides, gave me a new perspective. Each piece has its place and must be perfectly aligned to produce a high-quality sound. Even a new piano needs time to adjust and sometimes requires a little assistance.

One thing stood out above the rest, voicing. I asked the technician about adjusting the voicing, making it a little less bright. Basically, taking the edge off of the sound. She explained that part of that process involves the felt material on the hammers.

A needle is used to soften the felt. When done correctly, it does not damage the material. It just slightly changes the way the hammers strike the strings.

Once the piano was put back together, I sat down to play. Wow! What a difference. Not only was it in tune, but it also had a much warmer tone. The sharp edge had been softened.

This experience made me think about my life. What if I’m in a new place, with new surroundings, expectations, and people? What if my reaction is one of fear or frustration? My words may sound edgy, sharp, or out of tune.

Like the felt on those hammers, something inside me needs to be softened. An adjustment might come in the form of an honest word from a trusted friend. Yes, stings for a moment. But the sting will not last if accepted with grace. The knowledge that someone loves me that much, however, is lasting.

Hopefully, as I continue playing my piano, I will be reminded to check my own tone. And will gracefully accept any needed adjustments to keep me in-tune with my husband and children, family and friends, the world around me.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

Schumann Arabesque Opus 18. One of my favorite piano pieces. Only the beginning theme and the conclusion. ❤