just when I feel I’ve finally made a home of my own body,
I meet someone so brilliant-blinding I think
“this is who I need to be.”
And maybe that’s okay,
maybe it’s all right I’m always changing
and shedding loose skin,
trying on new selves like clothes
to find out which fits best.
My first year of college I exchanged
but now it’s just pieces;
bangles over beads,
boots instead of sandals,
and maybe it’s okay
that I’ll never be quite comfortable
in my metaphorical wardrobe,
that I’m always searching the racks
for something better,
something tighter or looser
or bolder or camouflage.
I’ve worn skeptic and cynic
and while they cloaked me confidence
maybe it’s time I open back up.
I’ve tried tragic, victim, damsel,
they made me feel poetic
maybe it’s time I try strong.
I’ve tried hardened, callous, stone
because I thought
the people who’ve hurt me
should get hurt back;
but now I think forgiveness
is the jumpsuit
waiting in my shopping cart,
the one I’ve been too scared to buy
because it’s such a hard
ensemble to pull off.
I want to feel beautiful no matter what I’m wearing,
but I know some colors won’t complement my skin
and some styles won’t show off
the favorite pieces of my being I want to be seen
like my shoulder tattoo
and my bottomless laughter
and my capacity to be kind
which could use a good flexing
because I’ve been keeping it dormant
since I mistook it for a weakness.
Maybe it’s okay to have chameleon skin.
Maybe shape-shifter is fine.
Maybe to take a few steps back –
try on childhood skorts
or mom’s old saddle shoes –
as long as it’s followed by a few
sturdy leaps forward.
Maybe change is okay,
and progression is key,
and we all outgrow
favorite sweaters we’ve worn holes through
and sometimes it’s all right to feel
a little out of place
or just a little bit imperfect
because what knocks us off-balance
is what keeps us grasping out for something more.