Bicoastal — a poem about differences, regret, and acceptance
It was a foggy, humid, beautiful gray day today. I had a lot to do and a lot on my mind. I've had one appointment after another, dealing with my own health issues as my loved ones deal with theirs, as well as some recent losses that have weighed heavily on all of us. I'm having some procedures done in the coming weeks that are much needed but that I'm also very nervous about. My mind is not chaotic but it is very contemplative.
I'm not fighting it. I'm meditating a lot and focusing on acceptance. Nearly all of the last five years was wasted on anxiety or trying to overcome it, and I've come to realize that the source of that struggle is the fruitless fight against reality. I had an image of what I wanted for my life and not one bit of the present fits into that cookie cutter. But I'm not unhappy. I'm undeniably blessed.
I'm finally learning that I can embrace the dreamer in me that conceptualized bigger things even if my present and future turn out quite differently. That I can embrace the conflicts that come with relationships just as much as I embrace the peaceful moments. That the creative part of me doesn't have to be in conflict with the mundane part of me. And that sometimes the struggle is actually the best part because that's when you find out who you really are.
This poem comes from that mind space and is about a complicated family relationship that I found myself contemplating today. I spent a lot of my younger years in anger and confusion about certain situations, and now, at age 35, I can see very clearly that the fault often lies with me. Sometimes when we're hurt by someone, we say that familiar phrase, "It's their loss." But as time goes by and denial washes away, we realize it's our loss too. It doesn't mean things could have been different, but it's a blessing when they can be different in the here and now.
This poem recognizes those differences, those regrets, and the eventual acceptance of everything exactly as it is. Consider it a reminder to say your own version of the Serenity Prayer ("God, grand me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference") and to forgive even when we think we can't.
Your noble bay is empty of its curative waters
but these islands are awash with emotion—
a sensitive sympathy, a motherless melancholy.
I'll keep it quiet, keep it modest, keep it to myself
because if I never said I loved you,
it makes no sense to say I'll miss you.
But every breath you took mattered
and I'm marinated in memories
that you've long since forgotten.
It's too late to change the time
so some acceptance is in order,
but I do regret a thing or two
and I admit the fault was mine.
I was the textbook only child,
unsure of how to interact
and lost in her own mind.
I was angry that you loved the others
differently than you loved me.
If only I'd given you a window to observe my madness—
to get a grip on the energy that makes me tick.
It wouldn't have changed things between us that much
but it would have meant that I was present—that I tried.
And any animosity between us would have been
based on what is real instead of on rumors and lies.
Regardless, where we are feels right.
There's a lightness in the love now,
something I sought but could not create.
It is natural and built by time itself.
From where I sit, I must let go
and accept what we are
as well as what we were.
We're so similar in our bicoastal estates—
too similar in so many ways.
Too focused on what we can't change.
Too separate, both soon swept away.