I have long been a lover of language, with descriptive words swirling through my brain like dancing leaves in late autumn. I grew up surrounded by books, carrying them around like other kids carry teddy bears. I was read to from an early age and when I could begin to decipher the shapes of letters and how putting them together made sounds and then words and then sentences, I would read aloud to my parents and then my dolls. I read for fun, anything I could get my hands on, including cereal boxes, dictionaries, encyclopedias and even the phone book. Poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction, novels and short stories, commentary and editorial stretched my mind and fed my soul. Early on- All of A Kind Family, Dr. Seuss, Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins and Highlights Magazine. I wish I had saved them since they would likely be worth a great deal at this point. As is, they were worth everything to this wordsmith.
Writing came easily as well, and I remember eagerly anticipating writing assignments in school, as much as I dreaded math assignments. It was as if my brain was hard wired for words, but numbers felt like an indecipherable language. When I took my SATs, I was grateful that I knocked the English/Writing portions out of the park to compensate for my lower scores on the Math section. I have compassion for anyone whose learning style is divergent. I struggled with comprehending Algebra. To this day, I admire those whose STEM oriented brains are full speed ahead. My great niece most definitely is in that category.
Although poetry is not my primary writing style, I worked for several years as a greeting card text writer for Kathy Davis Designs, a prominent company whose work is whimsical, heartfelt and colorful. This morning, I had an inspiration while reading the newsletter from Suleika Jaouad, writer, advocate, and motivational speaker. She is the author of the “Life, Interrupted” column in The New York Times. I admire her fortitude, as she has been facing Leukemia, with the loving support of her husband, Jon Batiste. I have followed along her journey and cheer her on from afar. May she heal and thrive.
She spoke about a style of poetry called abecedarian in which each letter in a pattern, starts the line or stanza. She shared a poem by Roger Reeves, called “The Alphabet, for Naima.” After reading it, I decided to write my own.
Recovering Type A+ Workaholic
All things to all people is who I thought I had to be
Bearing responsibility for the feelings of those in my life
Carrying the weight of the world
Designed to do it all
Effortlessly, or so it seemed
Forgetting that it was not only okay to take a breather, but necessary
Go-getter/go to person for family and friends
Happy on the surface
Ignoring my own needs and feeling inauthentic
Joyful juicy living, juxtaposing times of sadness,
Knowledgeable because I thought I had to be, with all of the answers
Loving my life as I was creating it, except when I didn’t
My mantra was “Life is grand,” even when it didn’t feel like it
Nicey-nice as a friend had described me, rather than genuinely expressing how I felt
Open to changing after a literal heart opening experience (heart attack in 2014)
Progress, not perfection, people loving, rather than people pleasing
Questioning my intentions, rather than co-dependent caregiving
Recognizing that I am both resilient and relieved of responsibility for the choices of others
Supremely satisfied with most of my own choices as I approach my ‘will you still need me, will you still feed me?’ 64th birthday
Trusting my instincts and intuitive abilities
Understanding the woman in the mirror far more than ever before
Validating myself, rather than expecting affirmation from others
Wonder Woman cape is thrown off, and I get to wear it by choice, rather than obligation
Xylophone keys with colorful sounds emerging as I tap them, making the music of my soul
Yesteryear’s choices no longer hold me captive
-Edie Weinstein, © Copyright 2022
I encourage you to pen your own poetry, without censoring or editing, until after it is written. Choose a topic that calls to you and let the words flow.