Volunteers

Locked in a room
With six other dudes
The leaders
The Board of Directors

Decisions needed
Plans of action
Of attack

Something
Anything

All we do
Is disagree
Fighting over nothing
Clucking
Squabbling

Going nowhere
Our members tire
Directors retire
One guy expires
Fighting fire
For hire

Board of Directors
Room for deflectors
Sprockets
Driving a chain
Round and round

Doing nothing
For nothing

Emotional Instability

Emotional people are amazing. Some cry during movies because they are vulnerable to let even fictional empathy pull at their heart strings. They are the people who see you suffering even when you think no one can understand. They are the people who genuinely say, “You are not alone.”

I am emotional, and I wish I could help others feel loved, but something gets in my way. It’s a burner that gets ignited by criticism or even imagined opposition. It is emotional instability, and it often appears as egotism or narcissism to other people.

I blame my emotional instability for just about every failure I can remember. Whether I was smart enough or strong enough never held me back. It was always a wave of anxiety that took over my impulses, threw caution to the wind, and burned the bridges I had carefully built.

This year, for example, I had the profound honor to serve as president of a local club. I was floored by the opportunity. I felt like a little kid sitting on my father’s lap in our 1980’s station wagon, trying to reach the 2 and 10 positions of the steering wheel. I was most certainly promoted beyond my skill level while being given a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.

I would like to believe I did at least a few things in the last year that someone will remember positively. Most important to me, I took the position to help my best friend live her dream of leading the club as Vice President. She was hesitant and fearful the more experienced members of the club would not respect her and stifle her efforts. I volunteered to take the reigns of the club to ensure she had every door open to her. And, she lived up to my faith. Her contributions to the club and reputation are higher than either of us imagined. She booked for the club some of its best contributors in recent history.

I won’t be remembered fondly by everyone. I was crass on a few occasions. I was hard on at least one volunteer, and even though the rest of the board fully supported and mostly agreed with my actions regarding that one volunteer, I still reflect on that experience and wish I had not spewed quit as much vitriol.

Bridges have been burned in every club primarily because of my emotional instability. I have been kicked out of church groups, brought shame upon my family, and I am sure I am on more than one list for people to never talk to again.

I am embarrassed and haunted by every time I have put my foot in my mouth and for every relationship I have ruined.

So, why am I airing this dirty laundry?

I believe others can feel alienated by their emotional instability as well. If you feel alone, I want you to know that you aren’t alone at all. You are not uniquely unloveable or flawed. Your emotions are welcome and loved. The instability is the part to improve upon. Know there are people who believe in you now, just as you are. They also believe you can stabilize your emotions.

I don’t know you, but I believe we can all, with the right approach, stabilize our emotions. And when we do, I believe there is a world of joy and intimacy waiting for us with arms wide open.

I Will Do The Same

When all you want is out of reach
And everything you once believed
Falls away like leaves from trees
Trampled in bits beneath their feet
Know this is not how your story ends

When the bare walls are closing in
And you think everyone you once loved
Has turned their back and run
Leaving you crowded in loneliness
Know this is not how your story ends

When the seasons tear down your dreams
and loneliness spoils nearly everything
When your shattered mind is your darkest fear
And you run from the kaleidoscope of terror
Spinning incessantly between your ears
Know this is not how your story ends

Hold on with all you are
I promise you
I will do the same

When your feelings are crashing waves
Toppling each other to kiss the shore
Pulling back in search for more
Know they shape the landscape of tomorrow
Tonight is not when your story ends

Because you aren’t as broken as you think
And if you are, you’re broken just right
To me, you’re a desperately needed light
A beacon calling is bravely into tomorrow
Tonight is not when our story ends

Hold on with all you are
I promise you
I will do the same

Eluded

Why aren’t you here
where I need you most?

Why aren’t you here
as I call out to you?

Deaf, I listen for you
between echoes of futility
repeating in my head.

Blind, I look for you
in this abysmal void
of my endless night.

Are you there?
Are you anywhere?

Are you–were you ever–real?

Why I Cower

I’m like a lion in the cage
when you come in wielding
your whip and wooden stool.

The kids see the fear in my eyes
and think it’s the whip
driving me back into the corner.

They don’t appreciate my need
to prioritize my attention
on the one most immediate threat.

They don’t realize I’m looking
at the four legs of that stool
all moving in perfect unison.

Four separate points of interest
–four separate threats–
all attacking with equal immediacy.

I am not afraid of the weapon.
I am afraid of the chair.
I am afraid of the thing they take for granted.

But I’m not a lion in a cage.
You aren’t a circus tamer
and they aren’t children.

We’re just two people
in a casual conversation
trying to get to know each other.

But my anxiety and fear are still evident
in my eyes and my body language,
and they still misunderstand

why I cower.