Two weeks back, we wrote about our perceived imperfections, based on the poem of the same name by Elizabeth Carlson. Her opening line is “I’m learning to fall in love with my imperfections,” which set the stage for writing about how each woman’s perceptions of and feelings about herself have shifted over time. While many women chose to write directly from the poem, even incorporating specific lines or concepts from the poem, others used the ideas as a jumping off point for writing that might have gone in a different direction.
The interesting thing about the weekly practice of creating a ‘found poem’ from the lines written in group is putting these disparate and often unrelated writings into one coherent context. It is a challenge. It is also a delight for the women to hear their own words mingling with one another’s in unexpected ways. As often happens, this particular poem elicited squeals of delight as women recognized their own phrases and leaned into a new interpretation of them as a communal effort.
THIS IS MY LIFE, THE SOMETIMES FICTIONAL ME
I don’t think I could have wished my life as me,
let my needs be trampled by my need for equanimity,
in love with people who abused me,
the empty pit in my heart
suppressing my spirit –
a girl who didn’t know how to ask for help,
for freedom from jail, DOC, snow, oppressive heat.
Reality is impermanence,
something missing in my life.
I have lost my family.
I used to be quiet,
knew what to say and when
as if in perfect command.
Now I am lonely and insecure
not who I used to know, but who I know now.
Perfect was when there were no lies
a time that cannot be replaced;
perfect was when I wasn’t me.
I really hate that.
I’ll never find in life all my freedoms –
to ride bareback
learn to dance
able to feel happy once again,
my happy side
outside the box.
My imperfections help mold me into me;
mistakes are a chapter in my book.
I am not the mistake
but perfect enough.