Musings from My Younger Self | Three Country Heartbreak Poems

52Frames Week 10 Low Key

“Wilting Sunflower.” My submission for 52Frames Week 10: Low Key

Tonight I’m dropping in to make good on a promise I made last month—to share some of the “country heartbreak” poems of my youth.  I really have no idea what I was exposed to that made me write them. They might be based on songs I listened to, soap operas I watched, or even books I read. I repeat: I.have.no.idea.  By today’s standards, I lived a pretty sheltered life, so even though the subject matter of the poems is not comical, my knowing I had little to no first- (or even second-) hand experience makes these poems pretty funny to me. 

I wrote all three poems the same day, about a month after I turned 15. There was a note at the top of “Guilty” that “all grammatical errors were done on purpose.” 

Guilty! 
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

I turned my back
and you’re headed on another road.
Well, I’m glad you’re gone
‘cause I don’t want you no mo’.

Comin’ home late ev’ry night
wit’ whiskey on your breath;
I’m telling you now,
nothin’s happened, not jus’ yet.

‘Cause when I git started,
I’m gonna go rough,
‘cause it’s no-good punks like you
who make a woman’s life tough.

So when you’re found guilty,
don’t act like you’re surprised.
Your pathetic life
is gonna flash before your eyes.

Promises! Promises! Promises!
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

You promised you’d come back;
you said you’d be back quick.
You promised we’d get married;
you put me in a fix.

Well, now you are back,
only two years late;
now, you’re married,
and I’m not your mate.

You said you love me,
but how could you?
You’ve hurt my feelings
and double-crossed me too.

Now, here I am,
a heart as cold as ice;
I am so heartbroken
that I cry all night.

You made too many promises,
promises you didn’t keep.
You told me you love me,
but the love you had wasn’t deep.

Our Illegitimate Child
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

Life has no meaning now—
You have gone away.
I gaze out my window,
praying you’d come back some day.

Nothing seems to happen;
I guess, that’s how it’s meant to be—
I take two steps forward,
and you turn around and leave me.

Nothing or no one can replace you
or your smile,
only this one reminder—
our illegitimate child.

Yes. I know the poems are problematic and flawed, but as I told an Instagrammer who offered unsolicited tips on improving one of my “youthful poems,” adult me is going to let teenage me be who she was as a writer. If you’re not already following my Musings Instagram, click here to follow: Musings from My Younger Self.

Literary Wisdom: Sunflowers and Light

You Are One of the Lights

I am thinking about participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) this year. I participated from 2016-2019, but I missed the last couple of years because the thought of blogging daily during the height of the pandemic was overwhelming. Now, I feel like I might need the daily distraction of Pics and Posts to help me stay sane. I’ll spend the next couple of days figuring out a strategy (and topics), and we’ll see how life goes. I already missed Day 1, so if I decide to post every day, I will end on December 1 instead of November 30. 

For today, I’m sharing a postcard from my Wildflowers literary sister, Gina B. Her postcard carrying sunflowers and light arrived just when it should have. In this quote from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Dr. Van Helsing enthuses over the work of Mina Murray who transcribes the diaries of Lucy Westenra, Dracula’s first victim. 

Here’s an interesting tidbit: I could not read Dracula. One of my graduate professors suggested the book for my master’s thesis, but I only read a little more than half the book before deciding against including it in my work. I was having very vivid nightmares associated with the characters and plot and simply could not allow myself to be tortured any longer. Despite the nightmares, there’s no denying the postcard Gina B sent presents a beautiful bit of literary wisdom!

There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.

Dark | Sit with It

Sunflower from Arizona

I am sharing a piece I wrote just a few moments ago during a writing circle session. I chose the prompt “I wish” for the group, hoping that a fanciful tale of unicorn dreams and butterfly wishes would fall from my pen. Instead, after being unable to write about my feelings for weeks, this spilled out:

I wish I could take this darkness that has settled into my being over the last few weeks and kick it straight into oblivion, into the abyss from which it sprung. It has robbed me of sleep. It has taken my calm. It has driven me to consuming way too much chocolate and to long-overcome habits of rolling my eyes and sucking my teeth and impatience with the world. It has made me so unlike me. I wish I could pull myself up to dance on clouds and sing on rooftops and never, ever apologize for being too joyful. I wish God would release me from the grips of darkness. I wish He hadn’t invited me to let it steep. To let it all rise to the surface—the grief and vile feelings, the suppressed hurt and trauma that I have stuffed too far down because I don’t have the energy or capacity to deal. I wish I didn’t have to confront the darkness. I wish I didn’t have to do the hard work of grappling with it and wrestling with it. We know Light wins. Light always wins, so why not skip the drama and just win already? Ugh! I wish I didn’t have to sit with the darkness, especially when just a flicker of His light is enough.


About the Image: My sunflower-loving, Wildflowers: Blooming in Community friend, Jamise L, sent the beautiful photo-card to me shortly after my father’s passing. Having lost her own father five years ago, she is well-acquainted with the journey. Her note offered comfort, love, and a shoulder to lean on. Thanks for the sunshine, Jamise!

Follow My Musings!

Journals2

Please forgive my unplanned three-week absence. My brain held me hostage and wouldn’t let me write posts. That’s a post for another time (maybe); for now, I am dropping in to let you know, I did a thing! 😀

I created an Instagram page just for the “Musings from My Younger Self.” I launched it earlier this month (on my birthday) and have been having a “fabulous” time going through the cringe-worthy writings of my youth. The plan is to post to Instagram as I am curating a collection or two or three!

I am slowly desensitizing myself to the “cringe-factor,” but I am finding that the hardest thing to do is not edit my younger self, to simply let her be. She was insightful, funny, and disciplined in her writing practice–I can learn a lot from younger me! 

I’ll be sure to share with you what I’m calling a few of my “country heartbreak poems” later this month. For now, please check out one of the poems of my youth in The Gumbo Collective, the online literary arts journal of Oakwood University: Purple Rose.

And if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow my musings. Feel free to comment on the writings of the decades younger Chandra Lynn, even if you find them cringey too: Musings From My Younger Self.

We Were Designed for…

Many of us carry a world on our shoulders. We convinced ourselves that we must strive alone, that to ask for help in bearing the day-to-day struggles and everyday slights is a sign of weakness. In the mad, mad, madness of life, we forget that we are human, that we were not designed to shoulder so much weight. We were designed for community, for gathering, for singing, dancing, praying, and lifting together.

I Call Her “Too Much”

Too Much

When I crafted the autumn flower above for Sheila D’s 30-Day Creative Gathering (Day 24), I sent it to a friend and told her this one might be a little “too much,” so I decided not to use it. Unwilling to leave her in the heap of “never-to-be-seen-again” photo projects, I worked on her a little more.

I tried to mute her brilliance, but no matter what I did, her radiance seeped out. After looking at all the renditions, I looked at her again, and decided…too much is actually okay. 

So…

This one is for all of you who have ever felt the need to douse your light or mute your shine to make others comfortable. 

This one is for all of you who can tell from the side-eyes, rolled eyes, wide eyes, and blank stares that people just don’t know what to make of you.

This one is for all of you who have been told at one time or another you’re too silly, too loud, too dramatic, too “extra,” too smart, too colorful, too difficult, too much this or too much that.

This one’s for you. 

In spite of all those eyes and all those voices that don’t yet appreciate the grandeur of your extraordinary—your “too much”—keep being you. 

You might as well. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to subdue your light. Besides, the rest of us love you, and for us, your “too much” is actually okay!

#ThursdayTreeLove | Autumn Fractal

Autumn Fractal

My favorite season has begun! Let’s celebrate with gumbo and [despite what some of my NOLA folk say] pumpkin spice everything!

It is Agape Day, an annual day of service at my University, so the campus was quiet and virtually empty this morning. Since my service activity was scheduled for the afternoon, I took advantage of the solitude and took a nice walk through campus. I knew there would be photo-worthy scenes, but I intentionally left my camera behind. I wanted to just be without fiddling with camera settings and composition. 

My soul exhaled.

It had been far too long since my last “unhurried” tree walk. I stood in awe as the wind gently shook the leaves from trees and giggled inwardly as the shadows danced at my feet.

I know what’s coming.

In the midst of the busy, the chaotic, the clamoring of all the things for time, attention, and energy, there is a subtle movement toward order, leisure, and rest. 

I’m looking forward to the kinder pace that autumn brings and to that space of time when the days are short and the nights are long. 

Time for my soul to exhale. 

Happy Autumn!


About the Image: This is my autumn fractal, entitled “Falling Leaves.” It represents all the things I felt today as I walked through the trees and watched the leaves dance and play all the way to the ground. I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

This Ordinary Moment…

PL-1

Right now, I am sitting in the silence of this moment. In one of my favorite “just be” places. It is not my favorite hour of the evening. There is still the lingering hustle and bustle of the day–a load of laundry running, dishes waiting to be washed, son studying, hubby recuperating from surgery forcing himself to be still, and I’m trying to stop myself from ticking off in my brain all the things yet undone. Thankful that dinner for tomorrow is already prepared and we are one day closer to weekend. Right now is divine as I pause to put pen to page—fingers to keyboard—and find meaning in the mundane. The laundry. The dishes. The everyday rhythms of a household, of a life. It is all meaningful. It is all sacred. Gift and grace. So, as I survey the “yet to be done” landscape, I sigh with gratitude for the mundane, for the unremarkable, for the extraordinary sacredness of this ordinary moment.