Missing Me

Missing Me

As a 40-something year old 

special education teacher

with anxiety and depression, 

I really don’t have too many moments 

to miss things. 

Sometimes I miss Sunday nights 

of bad TV and bleached roots. 

I miss the nights I could stay awake 

past 9 o’clock. 

But what I really miss is the me I was 

before common core and crippling debt. 

I miss the Sarah Jessica Parker, 

Girls Just Want to Have Fun, 

9 year old dancer in me, 

the one who performed in front of strangers

in the neighbor’s front yard on hot summer afternoons. 

I miss the frolicking-through-carnivals me, 

the stuffed purple unicorns and corn dogs me, 

the me who belted out “The Right Stuff” 

at the top of the ferris wheel. 

Sometimes I miss being afraid of thunderstorms, 

Those questionable days watching out for the dark clouds 

rolling in while at the community pool, knowing exactly 

when it was time to run like hell for the arms 

of the college-age lifeguard. 

I was pretty smart for an 11 year old.

Yes I do miss the naive me, 

the one who fell hard for hugs from boys, 

not knowing they were simply looking 

to feel my early-developed rack against their bodies. 

I miss no-makeup-wearing me, 

the small sips from Dad’s beer bottle me, 

the me who sat at the coffee table

with tomato soup, grilled cheese, and Hollywood Squares.

I miss my mother teaching me how to apply 

three shades of eyeshadow, on her bare knee, 

the only light coming from the TV. 

I miss the me that cut her own hair 

and refused to wear a real bra, 

the jumping off the swings 

at absurd heights, daredevil in me, 

the skateboarding on tennis courts me, 

the me that curled up on couches 

with boys after school and listened 

to cassette recordings of dirty comics. 

I miss the me who kissed an older guy 

who dipped and pretended to like it, 

I miss the young, savage, wine-cooler drinking, 

menthol cigarette smoking, crossing a busy 

highway in the dark kind of me, 

the girl who wasn’t afraid of screwing up, 

if she ever really existed. 

I miss the daily poem writing, 

the 2 am epiphany kind of me, 

the student in me who still knew the world 

was hers for the taking, 

the young adult in me who was okay 

with minimum balances 

and boyish men who should have married their mothers. 

I miss the me who truly believed 

she could teach young minds to love

Shel Silverstein, 

collecting rocks and words, 

and putting words on rocks, 

writing stories about magic coins, 

and how to love. themselves. first. 

Despite the things I know I miss, 

I’ve realized I can’t really miss them at all, 

for the walls of my brain, adorned with 

Garbage Pail Kids, bubble gum cigarettes, 

New Kids on the Block posters, and peeled skin

from many sunburns – they may never crumble 

in the chaos of now. 

The me who could write a term paper in one day, 

the me who could go 40 years without breaking a bone, 

and the me who trusted this thing called love – she’s there, 

in the recesses of the mind, striving to live again 

like ghosts and ivy.  

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