I’m Not Lost

I don’t need your yellowed maps
For I’m not lost.
I left the trailhead long ago
In search of scorching magic,
Fire, and freedom.

I don’t need your midnight prayers
For I’m not lost.
I left the straight and narrow
In search of succulent beauty,
Life, and freedom.

Save those worried maps and prayers
For I’m not lost.
I’m a traveler, a wonder
And at last I’ve found my name,
My voice, and freedom.


You don’t have to

You don’t have to be good.
You don’t need to emotionally flog your tired soul
when you don’t meet your own definition of perfection.
You don’t have to be right.
Your theology doesn’t have to pristinely answer
all of your lingering, haunting questions.
You don’t have to be certain.
Your waves of doubt aren’t going to drown you;
they’ll help you to finally begin to heal.
You don’t have to be pure.
You’re not some white gown that can be spoiled;
you’re an enchantress, a body, a soul.
You don’t have to be devout.
Your beautiful life isn’t measured in how many
holy books you chant or prayers you whisper.
You don’t have to be tame.
You’re wild like the wind and fierce as fire,
you just don’t know it yet.
You don’t have to be selfless.
You’re a creature of worth and dignity,
and you deserve your care and kindness, too.
You don’t have to save the world.
You’re not responsible for saving more than one person,
and that person is you.

***

The first line, “You don’t have to be good,” was taken directly from Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem “Wild Geese.” After reading the first few line of her poem, I felt like I wanted to make a list of what I don’t have to do or be; I so often need to be reminded.


Whole

Whole.
Not fixed up.
Not repaired.

Whole.
Not bandaged up.
Not glued back together.

Whole.
Not broken.
Not smashed.

Whole.
Not cracked.
Not damaged.

Whole.
Not depraved.
Not lost.

Whole.
How many times do I have to say it
before I believe it?
How many times do I have to think it
before it’s true?


Wild Mystic

Come,
Come into the forest
You’ve walked that dusty path too long

Come,
Come into the forest
That colorless track is not your home

You’re a wild mystic
An untamed artist
An enchantress wrapped in spiritskin

You’re a wild mystic
A fire dancer
A colorful poet drenched in danger

You’re a wild mystic
An erotic soul
A holy hellion with a hidden flame

The fire is calling
Dance, dance

The wind is calling
Dance, dance

The moon is calling
Dance, dance

Come,
Come into the forest
Put one trembling foot in the forbidden grass

Come,
Come into the forest
That narrow road is not a mystic’s path


Girl

Don’t show cleavage it’ll will make the boys stumble
Don’t wear spaghetti straps it’ll make the boys lust
Don’t bend over without bending your knees,
it’ll remind the boys you have an ass
Don’t wear prints or logos,
it’ll remind the boys you have a chest
Don’t you care about your brothers in Christ?

Don’t be too assertive or they’ll know you’re not submissive
Don’t dress too boyish or they’ll know you’re not a lady
Don’t neglect your appearance,
it’ll make the boys think you’re lazy
Don’t spend too much time in front of the mirror,
it’ll make the boys think you’re vain
Don’t you care about your reputation?

Don’t wear red dresses or they’ll know you’re not a nice girl
Don’t take off your purity ring or they’ll think you’ve lost it
Don’t go for a car ride alone with a boy,
it’ll make him think you’re the slut you’re so bent on becoming
Don’t wear bikinis,
it’ll prove you’re not really a nice Christian girl
Don’t you care about the fact you’re a Christian woman?

Don’t give away kisses meant for your future husband
Don’t have sex or you’ll never marry a nice man
Don’t hug boys,
it’ll make them think it’s okay to touch you
Don’t lean on boys,
it’ll make them believe you’re promising them sex
Don’t you care about your sexual purity?

Don’t ask boys out or they’ll think you’re forward
Don’t flirt or they’ll know you’re not a good girl
Don’t feed a crush,
it’ll compromise your emotional purity
Don’t date unless you’re ready to get married,
it’ll lead to making out in the back of a boy’s car
Don’t you care about how you handle your relationships with boys?

Don’t forget that the point of college is to find a husband
Don’t become too educated or you’ll scare off potential suitors
Don’t read too much about theology,
it’ll intimidate the boys
Don’t be too opinionated,
it’ll seem unladylike
Don’t you care about getting married?

Don’t wonder what sex is like because that’s a sin
Don’t learn about your anatomy because that’ll lead to temptation
Don’t touch yourself,
it’ll show you mistakenly think you own your own body
Don’t make out with boys,
it’ll prove you don’t value Future Husband’s property
Don’t you care about God’s beautiful gift of sex?

Don’t go too far or that white dress will mean nothing
Don’t move in together or he’ll never marry you
Don’t forget to marry a man you can rely on,
it’ll be up to him to make all of your life decisions
Don’t sleep with your fiancé,
it’ll ruin the relationship and he might leave you
Don’t you care about your future marriage?

Don’t enjoy sex because that’ll mean you’re unwomanly
Don’t say no to sex because then your husband will stray
Don’t lead while having sex,
it’ll show you’re not a submissive wife
Don’t skip the sexy bedroom attire,
it’ll prove you’ve forgotten your goal is to please him
Don’t you care about God’s gift of sexual oneness in marriage?

Don’t be like those family-hating feminists
Don’t forget that a woman always puts herself second
Don’t put yourself ahead of your children,
it’ll show you’re selfish and a bad mother
Don’t disrespect your husband even if he hits you,
it’ll show you’re unsubmissive and a bad wife
Don’t you care about God’s design for the family?

Girl, don’t you care?