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Author & Poet exploring the strength in vulnerability and the vulnerability in strength…

The Mask

One day
I put on a mask
To make you love me
Not because you asked
But because I feared
The look in your eyes
Disappointment, I believe it was
So I
Settled the mask into place
Tweaked it
Made it beautiful
Perfected it to make you happy
Created exactly what
Made you smile
Turned the look in your eye to approval
Made you love me
As time passed
I deceived myself
I accepted the mask as
The real me
I forgot who I was under
The mask
When the mask cracked
As they will
I quickly — before anyone could see
Plastered the cracks
Filled in the holes
Blended the paint
Hid the damaged and weakened foundation
Corrected its imperfections
Settled the mask back into…

For much of my life, every time I let me out to play, work, or live, something went wrong. Someone would hurt me, or I would hurt someone. I’d lose a friend. I would disappoint someone. I’d see that look of judgment. Mostly though I ended up feeling like I didn’t belong, that I didn’t fit in, that something was wrong with me. I would then retreat behind my mask and secure it in place.

I was reminded of how prevalent my mask has been in my life recently while reading Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle. She describes her representative…

Meme — May 7, 2009-March 31, 2021

Me Me Me
(for Meme)

Your tiny face looked up
Introducing you not by name
But by attitude
You would not be forgotten
A week later you reminded us
You belonged in our home
And then you introduced yourself
To the kitten in my arms
Claimed him in your charming way
And home with us you both came. …

(for Daddy)

Never one for idle hands
You created and built
A lifetime of memories and moments
You left behind a legacy
Of love and hard work
You handed your family
The callouses you earned
On hands…

Here we are again… At the end of another year!

I had such big plans for 2020!

I really want to write some empowering, inspiring, hopeful words right now, but they’re not coming. They will come again but not today.

I have never been one to think the clock ticking over to a new year is anything more than arbitrary. It changes nothing other than the number we have to write on dated material and resetting the tax year… It doesn’t make us more whatever it is we want to be. It doesn’t erase whatever bad we want to ignore…

I recently read I was thumbing through one day while reading — yeah, I was looking ahead — and came across Robert Frost and As I think about the world in which we currently live, I find myself drawn to A Collection of Poems by Robert Frost. It’s a beautiful book and one I’d been salivating over for a while, ever since I saw it in Costco several months ago. It is filled with poems that speak to my heart, my imagination, my core.
Nothing Gold Can Stay, and the first thought that popped in my head was “Stay gold…

Sometimes people are surprised to learn that I fit the description of a hillbilly, a person from a backwoods area (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary) because I’m not what people often expect a hillbilly to be. But I am.

I grew up on a farm in a “holler” in a small town in Eastern Kentucky. Both my parents grew up in the same general area where I grew up. They also both grew up on farms. My mom’s parents lived on “the ridge” above our house on the other side of the woods. My dad’s mom lived “over town” but back yet another…

I stepped my toe into the surf
Knowing if you did the same
We’d be connected by
The water between us
The tears of yesterday
Salting the sea
That finds its way
To the inlets and outlets
To the beginnings and ends
To the shores of every country
Ebbing and flowing
Taking the grains of sand
Squishing around my toes away
And bringing them back again
I thought of you and knew
It didn’t matter
We can’t see that
The ocean we share
Is part of the life
We don’t share
Crashing toward you
Breaking toward me
Rushing between us
Seemingly calm and flat one minute
Angry and roiling the next
We bask in the sun
We shudder in the rain
Yet we forget
What touches you
Touches me

Earlier this week, Sam Falco blogged about exchanging letters when he was younger in his post, Letters, and it struck a cord with me. I’ve been thinking about it ever since because I remember having a whole network of friends and family that I exchanged letters with for years just like Sam did.
Over time, those letters dwindled to almost zero. I occasionally have the urge to start writing letters again. I’ll buy some nice stationery. I’ll write a few letters. I’ll put the stationery in a drawer and forget about it. Eventually, I’ll feel the desire to write…

As we’ve all practiced social distancing and self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been a bit challenged to eat the whole food plant based diet I normally do. I generally eat an abundance of fresh produce. I went to the grocery as I normally do for a few weeks but practiced social distancing, but each week I also picked up a few frozen versions of some of the things we eat on a regular basis, just in case the need arose.

As I thought about how to prepare to be able to eat a whole food plant based diet without…

TL Cooper

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