Friday, March 27, 2015

Dear John, I mean, Winter

We need to talk.
This isn't working out.
You're a bit...clingy.
Newsflash: It's Spring. That's your cue to go, but once again, you've overstayed your welcome.
Sure, we had the occasional good time. You were sort of charming at Christmas. Sledding that one day was kind of fun. And I enjoyed those drinks by the fire in my flannel pajamas. But I thought you always understood that I wasn't serious about pursuing anything with you.
Don't look so surprised.
We're not exactly on the same page.
To quote Patty Loveless and to paraphrase every Taylor Swift song, you don't even know who I am. You want me to be covered up all the time, and that's not me. It never has been. You're cloudy and cold, while I'm sunny and warm. You're boots, and I'm flip-flops. You're hot chocolate, and I'm sweet tea. (Okay. Okay. I'm wine. I'm always wine. Whatever.)
The point is, we aren't compatible.
No, don't go down that road. This is not all about Spring. What a tease, that one. Hot one day, cool the next, hinting at wonderful things to come but taking its sweet time giving up the goods. Spring is merely my rebound, a fun little fling. We'll have a few laughs, maybe roll around in the tulips, but Spring will never have my heart. That belongs to Summer.
What I have with Summer is real and beautiful. It's porch sits, fireflies and fireworks, baby. Even if what you say is true, and Summer does eventually leave me again, it's still worth the time we have together. I'm needy like that with Summer. You know how it is.
Please wipe those flurries away and let me move on. It's time to let go, dammit. I can't even bear to open the coat closet and see your things. I'm packing them up today. No more, Winter.
Also, don't draw this thing out. No lingering, hoping I'll change my mind. I won't. In fact, I'd prefer it if you don't come around for a long, long time. I've tried to just be friends, but -- can we get real? -- you're a pain in the ass with serious attachment issues.
Maybe you need some therapy. You're even driving away those who once defended you. I live in Kentucky, and I think you're rude -- what with all that school canceling and family bonding you forced upon us. (Thank God for individual Netflix queues, am I right?)
I can only imagine how New Englanders feel about you now. You came on way too strong this year. What's with you and the Polar-Vortex-Siberian-Express-snow-for-months-on-end bullcrap?
Oh, geez. You're upset. That explains this whole "out like a lion" March thing. Look, it's not all bad. I sort of admire you for being true to yourself and owning it, but to everything there is a season, and it's time to turn! turn! turn!
It's not you, Winter. It's...
Sigh. I can't lie.
It's totally freaking you.
I'll leave the ice scrapers and gloves by the door.
I know Summer won't answer my calls yet (I've been trying since January. Does that make me look too eager?), so I'm going to see if Spring wants to hook up this weekend, maybe show me some blossoms.
Good riddance, Winter.
Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Daffodil Dreams

I walk through March,
the season
of snow and sun
shadow and light
freeze and thaw.

I yearn for the verdant rooms of spring
yet linger in the cool corners of winter.

Be like the crocus,
the daffodil
the tulip,
I urge myself.

Break through the frosted earth.
Allow the dormant, tight parts to
and gloriously

But you pull me under the pines
where remnants of yesterday’s snows
are slow to melt
and daffodils

Daffodil Dreams poem by Jennifer Jenkins McAnulty, Penned from the Porch, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Penned: The Sequel. Starring that Woman who Hordes Chocodiles

Let's try this again, shall we?

Blogging, I mean.

Writing, I mean.

Living, I mean.

I haven't been doing any of those things. Not really -- and certainly not fully.

Why not, the two of you (myself included) who still read this blog might ask?

Was it because:

(a). I was held hostage by grief after my mother's death.
(b). I was trying to save a fun and challenging -- ultimately floundering -- real job.
(c). I was easing into a second marriage (to a REPUBLICAN).
(d). I was prioritizing precious, all-too-fleeting time with my busy adolescent children.
(e). I was hording snack cakes, thanks to Hostess resurrecting my beloved Chocodiles .
(f). All of the above?

 Did you bubble in "C"? That's understandable. After all, my husband retweeted Ann Coulter the other day and still owns a Rush Limbaugh "Patriot Police" mug, in spite of his marriage to the coolest liberal woman ever (next to the glorious, wine-sipping Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Or maybe you answered "E" because you noticed I've gained 10 pounds.

The correct answer, however, is "F. All of the above". Each one, in some way, factored into my failure to pen from the porch.

But frankly, my friends, I lost my writing voice.

I lost my voice when I temporarily misplaced my confidence. I did not practice what I penned. I did not extend grace to myself, and I certainly did not believe I was enough.

I could explain why, and in time, I might. Let's just say, for now, that we all have crosses to bear in life, and I am bearing mine. I have tried to carry it all gracefully, and most importantly, sanely. There are days that takes everything I have. While lugging around my past, my burdens, my regrets, my misgivings and my fears, I muted my muse. I stopped writing.

I convinced myself that I did not have anything important or unique to say, that my words didn't matter to anyone. I started to believe all the negative things my inner critics were shouting -- the bastards -- and I quit on my muse. She was here, waiting for me to match the work with the inspiration, and I flipped her the bird.

Admittedly, I also spent too much time on social media and Netflix. In my defense, Orange is the New Black is the shiz. (Related: Netflix is convinced I'm a black lesbian. If only, Netflix. If. Only.)

But you know what? I forgive myself.

No matter what life threw my way, I woke up every day, planted two feet firmly on the floor and tried to find the good. Over and over, I did this. Every. Day. That counts, friends. That counts big-time. We should congratulate more people for standing up each day. There are days that is as monumental as climbing Everest.

Fortunately, I'm strong. My mama didn't raise weenies. I'm also a Taurus, and while I don't subscribe to astrology, I am incredibly stubborn and bullish. If I believe in something, I fight for it.

Did I give up Chocodiles? No. Did Chocodiles return to store shelves? Yes. Did I remove the seats from my minivan to buy every box in the Tri-state area? Yes. Do my jeans fit? No.  Did I have a point to make? That remains to be seen.

But that is what the Porch is for, isn't it? Seeing if I have any points to make? Even if I don't say anything wise, I can at least, maybe, make someone, somewhere, feel something. Perhaps that something is "Why did I read this dribble?" But that's okay. It still means that I showed up and tried to connect what is my head to your heart. That matters to me.

Writing is my calling. I might find other jobs to pay the bills, but I am my truest, best self when I write.

I like to filter the world through words; sift through the junk drawers of my mind; and pull out whatever is in there -- whether it is silly, embarrassing, heavy or dusty. And I can explain those double-A batteries in the nightstand of my head. They go in the TV remote for my brain's Hugh Jackman channel.

I want to blog again, even though I probably won't get a book deal from it. Or write "you guys" enough. Or use the F-word gratuitously (mainly because I still literally say "the F-word", and that's pretty wordy). Check this: I won't even tell you how to parent. Therefore, it is unlikely the Porch will  draw in thousands of followers. I don't care. It's still a great place to romp and roam and stretch my creative muscles.

I didn't give up on delicious, chocolate-dipped Twinkie flesh, and I won't give up on my calling. In addition to blogging, I'm dabbling in poetry, memoirs and other ventures. As the floodgates opened, I even began fleshing out a manuscript idea that I don't hate. Perhaps I'll gather the courage soon to send my words out into the places where people pay writers.

If Hostess can bring back my beloved snack cake, anything could happen.

In the meantime, I hope you'll return to the Porch and sit a spell. I've missed you.