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
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.