My Perception Of Love Is My Character’s Flaw, Not My Poetry’s

I have seen a princess charge toward the G.I. who knelt before her, grab him by the collar, pull him to his feet, and say “No! We are equals! You will stand WITH me.”

I have often seen the tenderness of love exemplified this way.

Something that bothers me is how often my poetry is criticized for being “overly sentimental,” or “cliche” or “ignorant of the way those you’ve lost have hurt you” regarding the idea of love and those I’ve been that close to.

Blame me, not my poems, for that.

For it is a flaw in my character ladies and gentlemen. It is not limited to my poetry. Poetry merely translates the tongue of the heart. If that’s the language of a fool, then so be it.

For I am mature enough to know how tender and vulnerable love can be. I have been hurt through it in ways I hope none of you ever have to go through. I have put my heart through a lot by caring for people as freely as I do. Make no mistake: I know full well how painful and destructive the aftermath of love can be.

But I refuse to blame love for that.

Morning Reading Nov. 24: Ghosts and Going Barefoot

Normally, when I get to the poetry in my morning readings, I start with the final poem of the day before. This gives me another chance to digest it, in case I missed something or was too overwhelmed by the beauty of its ideas. Normally, I’ll read 3-10 poems in a morning after that.

Not today. Today, I only got through two.

The first poem of today’s reading is fantastic! I think I may need to take a few days in the winter just to analyze it and focus on it alone. Anyway, after that happened, I read the next one, expecting something lighter and less mind-blowing. 

Instead, I got a shorter poem that rocked my world even more. I think tomorrow I’ll go back and just read these two poems again. There’s so much to each, I may be able to spend three legitimate days just quoting and thinking about these two alone, which I will probably do, because that will be fun. 🙂

Expect nothing from diligently doing what you love, and it will give you more than you ever imagined possible. :). Here are some of the quotes I loved the most :).

(Note: /’s denote line breaks, which I include out of respect for the poet since I cannot figure out how to single-space text here manually at the moment).

“I try to see in what is left of the light down there / the two I was. The ghost of the boy in high school / just before I became myself. The other is the ghost / of the times later when I could fall in love: / the first time, and three years after that for eight / years, and the last time ten years after. I feel / a great tenderness for all the dozen ghosts down / there trying to remain what they were.” — from “Becoming Regardless” by Jack Gilbert


And the other, which is interesting to consider, though I promise I’m not even thinking about going barefoot style running just yet lol:

“No wonder your feet are so sensitive,” Ted mused. “They’re self-correcting devices. Covering your feet with cushioned shoes is like turning off your smoke alarms.” — from “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougall

“Unrealistic Expectations About Love”

Dear Reader,

I write this post with a warning that I’m not in any way lonely or in any way sad or in any way upset at how things are. In this post, I’ll say things that I mean to be observations, but that may, admittedly, sound like I’m complaining. I’m not. But for the vitality of transparency, for the goal of presenting my heart in the most true and honest way to my beloved reader as possible, I leave this worded in just such a way. My intention is not to complain or seem down at all, but rather to show my honesty with myself, and display the overwhelming hope that comes from knowing I’m not all I’ll become yet. I’ve got a long way to go, this is my admission of both where and how. But I’m not upset about where I am now. I just am excited for where I’ll go, and for how I grew in my heart this morning a little bit as I wrote this. Please keep that in mind as you read.


 “Unrealistic Expectations About Love”

I lay here. In the imperfect dark of my apartment, where light intrudes through the gaps in the blinds. I lay here in bed early on the morning of Christmas Eve, and a thought comes to mind.

Being familiar with social media and the variety of websites out there, I’ve come across many memes, usually posted by women, talking about how “Disney gave me unfairly high expectations about love.” Yet as I lay here in the early morning hours, I have a message for anyone who’s ever posted that:

…It wasn’t Disney movies that did it.

I say that because I, too, am overcome by a thought as I try to wrestle my mind back to sleep. At 1:30 today, I woke up for no apparent reason. I just couldn’t sleep. So I made some ramen soup and some tea and watched a couple of episodes of New Girl on Netflix. But as I lay back down, the question seeps into my brain and fills my head:

Do I expect too much of love?

I mean, besides the movie “UP” a few years ago, the last Disney movie I can remember watching falls to Pocahontas more than a decade ago when I was in my early youth. I haven’t had the influence of Disney that so many girls out there proclaim as why they believe lobe can be more.

Yet still I believe that it can, and in my darkest hours, when I’m home and the business of the day is done or has yet to start, I find myself questioning. A subtle tear rolls down my left cheek as I lie here in the darkness but I know not if it’s from what my body feels or what my soul feels.

The thought of somehow dreaming of living alone comes to mind, something I’ve never considered because I’ve always believed there’s a woman out there who will fulfill what I believe love is and what it can be, a woman who will be somehow even crazier about me than I am about her. A woman who’s heart won’t fight her when her mind asks it if I’m worth considering. A woman who’s mind I might have to convince but who’s heart will crave to be convinced, rather than the other way around as it usually seems to go with my recent relationships.

Normally, if I were being my historically under-confident self, I’d ask if that’s too much to ask, but even as I consider asking, a hidden and unrealized voice in my heart speaks up and says “No! Damn it! No! That’s not too much to ask, in fact you’ve been letting me down not requiring that before!”

Secretly, hidden from even my own awareness, is a stubbornness that suddenly makes me so confident in my belief system, that the idea of just being “old uncle Shelton” to my little brother’s kids, and “the guy who has a big but cozy house that he designed on his own and that he lives in alone,” doesn’t seem so bad. Out of nowhere, I realize that there’s tremendous truth to the words of the late great, Robin Williams, who said “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.” And while I don’t feel “alone” at all, and I know I can call on any of a hundred people on a whim if I need to, I do feel that I haven’t given the complexity and true essence of love proper respect until this very morning.

I’m a hopeless romantic, and an idealist. A respected professor in English here at K-State told me that five years ago. I believe love exists and that it isn’t too much of us to expect it to be beyond our wildest dreams. I believe there really is more to it than just liking someone enough to stay with them for years. I believe true love transcends what the mind knows or what the eyes see, and comes from the heart. I believe a loving relationship goes beyond being great friends with someone and goes beyond being physically attracted to them, and I believe that is apparent earlier on in relationships than we as a society tend to look.

And above all, I believe love is worth waiting for. Attraction, ladies and gentlemen, can lead to heartbreak, but true love, all forgiving love, never does. The problem is, too often Attraction’s failures hurt us enough that we eventually give up or become less picky, less sturdy on what we know love needs to be. That, my friends, is where people run into problems.

Love is everything you expect it to be. If you believe any of these things, or all of these things or all of these things and additionally other things about love, then I tell you that you are absolutely correct, and I say this because your heart knows what love is.

We can blame it on Disney movies if we want to, we can blame it on our faith or how our moms taught us. We can blame how we define love on anything we want. But the truth is that it’s our heart knows, Disney movies just sometimes put words to it before our minds do. The heart, the essence of what we are that guides our feelings before we even know why we feel them, is the only part of you that knows exactly what love is, and it will tell you when you find it.

I lay here, thinking about all the things I need to improve about myself. One day, I’ll have my act together. Financially, I’ll be in rhythm. One day, I’ll dress nice and cause women to do a double take in their minds when I encounter them. Right now, I feel like too much of me (from my under confidence to the way I dress) stands in my own way of finding true love, keeping women from even considering me. And I’m okay with that, that isn’t a complaint in any way, so I pray my beloved reader won’t take it as that. It’s just an admission and to myself that maybe right now I’m not ready in some key ways.

But my heart knows it’s almost there. It’s started to believe in itself, slowly but surely, and 2015 might just be the year it finally stops worrying about what other people think.

And I know that, because of one thing and one thing only: the fact that this morning, for the first time in my life, my heart told me it will actually settle for being alone instead of loving just to love.

That’s a really important distinction to make.

Growing Up, If Only A Little

I heard the ice break outside my window. I laid up in bed and watched out the window as one hooded figure about 5 feet tall slid carefully across the ice on the sidewalk across the street. It halted at the corner, and another figure of similar height and description approached from another direction to meet them.

I watched intently. On a foggy Manhattan morning in which the city actually received its first rain of the year, I wondered if I was about to watch some kind of drug deal go down or something. Here were these two hooded figures having a conversation at length and meeting on a dimly lit street corner at 7:00 A.m. on a Friday. I wondered also, should this be some kind of drug deal, if I was signing my death certificate, as I made no attempt to hide my face. Still, having wondered this, I figured any damage or damnation was already done, and I thus continued to watch.

After about five minutes of doing this I laid back down, my curiosity satisfied after seeing nothing. Then, after about 3 minutes of daydreaming, I heard what sounded like a big truck come to a stop. I looked up, and saw a school bus. And I laughed. 🙂

When my little brother came out to visit just before the end of 2013, I had a conversation with him. At 13 years old, he told me he didn’t want to grow up because it sounded like it sucked; with bills and job commitments and that kind of thing. At the time, I tried my best to explain to him that actually it was quite worth it. There was the freedom to do whatever you wanted if you could find a way to afford it (and so long as it was legal, which I feel goes without saying), there was the freedom to choose how hard to work and how far to go with what work you did and the freedom to choose where you worked at all. There was the freedom to not stress about anything when you didn’t want to, to wake up when you wanted to (based on your other commitments of course), and the freedom to decide HOW you wanted to live. To decide to rent a place, buy a place, and to decorate or make it whatever you wanted based on that, and who to live with or whether or not to live alone. The option to choose when to go drive, where to go drive, and what to go do on your drive. For all the hassles that adult life may have and cause, I tried to explain to him that it’s completely and wonderfully worth it.

But as I laid down in bed, having seen that school bus pick up those two kids and turn down the road toward the local elementary school, I realized that all the reasons in the world were irrelevant compared to this feeling. I laid down in my queen sized bed, checked my phone, and basked in the comfort of how soft it was. I had chosen it, and I had chosen well. Getting to simply feel happy as I lay there and daydream, about winning a poetry contest or taking the girl of my dreams out on a date, was the only reason I needed to be glad I’d grown up a little.

I wish I could have just imparted that feeling upon him…

Thanks for reading…

What The New Year Is For Me

This was originally a text message I sent to my close friend Alyssa yesterday. It was long, but God bless her heart for how she lets me write long texts to her and then tells me she enjoys them when I apologize for that. She did say it was soothing to read though, so out of respect to her I figured I’d take her suggestion and write it out. Enjoy 🙂


I like the new start. It’s important to me to, because it lets me kind of organize. For instance, some goals and things I did in 2013 I’ll never do again. Same with ’14, ’15 and so forth. Also, it’s fun to think about further down the road and wonder what’ll come to fruition that started in ’13. What will get stronger in ’14 because of it you know? Who will I look back with in four or five years and hear say “THAT grabbed my attention. It was *insert moment here* that made me think you might be the guy for me.” That kind of thing. New year is new hope; the moment the band aids come off from the wounds that were inflicted all year and patched in December. It’s the revelation of new power, broader and more prevalent ambition. It’s the recognition and renewed faith that passionate, zealous love for a person is something worth waiting to give to a girl, even though I had hoped to do so last year. It’s Spring returning, and the blossoming of the soul. It’s summer coming, it’s frisbee again and the hope of warmer weather. It’s the hope for rain to dance all the way home in after a story I wrote runs on the front page or a girl invites you to walk her to class every day because you kept her laughing for 10 solid minutes as you walked with her for the first time.

#LoveTangent 😛


Thanks for reading 🙂