Kaleidoscope

I’ve been
unwittingly whittled,
strip, strip.
Unyielding shields yielded,
torn, scraped away,
rip.
A diamond-crusted raincoat.
A once-steadfast stay.
An exoskeleton
deflecting unexpected blows.
Dragon scales
refracting light
in shimmering displays
of prismatic rainbows.
Brilliant, but invisible
thankless, but bold
something surrounding me,
keeping me whole.

Destroyed
before I could notice its presence,
Gone
before I could fathom its absence.

 Chipped at endlessly,
chip,
chip,
breaking flakily away,
as defenses lost ground and
insecurities took grip.
Eroding
slowly
Creeping
without cession
Numbing
the slow
but steady
progression
of insistant
exposure,
until I was
naked, wind-whipped, sunburnt
without closure

How did I miss the fixed
drip,
drip,
of my warm, orange, liquid courage
leaking in oily tears
onto asphalt?
Black, hungry, heedless
 it swallowed my oil slick
surrendered from allegorical slit wrists.
Oblivious to my sacrificial rainbow stains,
careless of symbolic,
Heroic remains
of life before grey.

Or maybe not a drip but a
tic,
tic,
Sands slip
through an inevitable hour glass
that won’t flip.
(Flip!)
Won’t right itself to fill its self-made void
or turn back time I didn’t know to miss.
A tangly mess of a brave child
who couldn’t care less

When life couldn’t have been clearer,
It was rainbows and hope.
And her mind wasn’t a mirror.
It was a kaleidoscope.

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You’re Spoiled; Stop Being Ashamed

I have some things to say about this “I’m Spoiled; Stop Shaming Me” article that’s going around. I’ll do this by responding to quotes taken directly from it, but here is the link to the full article, which you should always read before you read a response to one:

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/im-spoiled-but-havent-had-everything-handed-to-me

“Stop shaming people like me because we’re lucky to have parents who want to do so much for us… Just because I have parents who want to provide more than emotional support and have different values does not make either of us wrong in any way.”

So listen. Okay, so you were spoiled. And okay, that’s not your fault, and arguably not a fault at all. As you said, people have different parenting styles and philosophies that inform them, and, sure, that’s okay. But your focus on the *desire* behind your parents providing financially for essentially every aspect of your life just demonstrates the privilege and ignorance of privilege that, in my experience/opinion, that particular style of parenting doesn’t highlight very well.

“Yes, my parents make sure I am taken care of until I can provide for myself. They highly value education and social skills.”

Okay, but so do mine? Just because they can’t afford to (and absolutely would not if they could) pay my way through life (even as a young adult) doesn’t mean they don’t value education and social skills. In fact, the opposite could be argued— but, again, that’s a philosophical debate. My point is that just because a family can’t, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t if they could.

Sure, you say you love your parents and are grateful for your their attitude on parenting. As you should be! It is mature to acknowledge that you have something to be grateful for here. However, you fail to mention that your gratitude for the fact that they have the means to accomplish this style. It’s important to realize that it’s not just that they are great people who “highly value education”. Rather, it’s that a series of events, likely not wholly within their control, which lead them to be fortunate enough to be in a position where they are able to make that call without majorly detrimental financial consequences. A lot of people value education, but they also have to eat every day.

“…They don’t want me losing both of these things because of a job. You learn professional social skills at a job, not everyday social skills.”

I’ll go ahead and say this is just incorrect, but I guess you’d have to hold down a job to know that? I mean, it depends on your profession, but if you really think serving tables or working in a team of coworkers doesn’t have anything to do with every day social skills, then…? And who says you have to choose between the two? I’m trying to stay away from shaming here, but that just seems like a ridiculous thing to say to me.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t mind having a parenting style like this one day.”

Uh, yeah, because that would mean you have a *lot* of disposable income, and who doesn’t want that? Obviously most of us would like the opportunity to live without the taxing drain of financial stress, while also providing that benefit for your children. That is some pretty serious wealth you’ve described.

I, personally, am extremely grateful for the way my parents raised me. I could scarcely count the ways, and I am so proud to be their daughter. For me, looking back with a semi-adult-maybe-sortof-mature perspective, it looks like just the right balance where I learned to appreciate what I got *and* what I didn’t. It’s great that you seem to feel the same way. But you have to expect that many people are likely to feel resentful of that. Surely you can imagine why someone would— someone who has had to work since before they were legal adults to help pay rent, or to pay their way through college, or even just to go on that ski trip that all their friends go on without question every year. There are many different levels of privilege.

What might suit you better than bitterness at surly classmates with snide comments about silver spoons would be to find comfort and confidence in the fact that you agree with how you were raised. Maybe expressing that gratitude to them, your peers, might change their view of you, which you seem to care quite a lot about. Asserting that you realize your privilege can make you a lot more relatable to people. Or just stop caring what people think. I know that’s easier said than done; I spend way to much of my time considering how my words and actions sound and look to other people, thinking about the image I’m projecting. Really, we’d probably both be better off just letting things like that go.

You say people shame you, but you have a choice in whether or not you feel shame. Truthfully, though, I have to say that if having so much financial privilege that people sometimes poke fun at you is one of your highest concerns… I’m sorry, but you should maybe check your privilege.

Phantom pleasure firmly squeezes

As ghost fists grasp my slippery reminiscence

Like your gentle mind-hand brushing the glowing eye of my burning memory stove.

Yeah, that’s an Adventure Time reference.

It’s sewn un-seamlessly into the belly of my clumsy,

Vaguely pornographic poem–

a scary thing to put on paper

when I’ve read the wreaths of smoky swirls slung Tuesday into stanzas in an elegant portrayal of

a mind that sometimes

harms and haunts you;

A mind smoldering when it’s not clean on fire singing

Screaming flaming refrains.

Sometimes I think you see yourself as aftermath.

Largely crispy carbon remains the likes of which you’ve seen dug up

somewhere

in the middle of nowhere

You probably even tasted it.

But I hope you see you’re green and leafy, wet and breathing

…though more of a shade loving fern -marked resilient on the care tag at the garden center- than an orchid…

*Next page, New pen*

Lubed with liquor that L word leaves our lips a little more lightly

But lingers on mine well into sobriety.

*Next page, Pencil*

I’ve been trying to finish this poem for months.

Maybe I don’t want to.

 

Drumpf

Frightening incompetence
Paired with
Blind, bold, blaring confidence
(Unwarranted)
Instilled in those 
Who hear their hidden hatreds echoed,
Resonating unapologetically,
Unearthing and affirming once-buried beliefs
Rooted in
Intolerance
Inaccuracy
Insecurity
And ignorance.
Fearful that freedom will change hands
Or color.
A transfer reminiscent of Wall Street
Rather than
A boundless expansion.
Fear is the line dividing
And the force driving
Our country off a cliff