Sunday, April 5, 2009

Walking Barefoot

A poem dedicated to Lucy and her picture.

Shedding my shoes, slipping out of my socks,
I embarked on a journey over small jagged rocks.
With each poke, each prick, every last pinch,
I stifled a cry, refusing to flinch.
I pressed on despite feet, bruised, bloody and sore,
But soon found myself hurting, down on all fours.
Diffusing such discomfort seemed really quite clever
Until my knuckles and knees were rubbed raw like leather.
I was only half way, half the pain still remained,
When I threw in the towel and took a much needed break.
It was then that I saw it, just an arm-length's apart
A fist-sized gray stone, shaped much like a heart.
Just seconds before giving in, accepting defeat,
An emblem of love lay just at my feet.
Tracing its edges with my outstretched hand,
I forgot the sting I felt and released a tearful laugh.
With newfound motivation and strength to restart,
I fired a fervent prayer from the depths of my heart.
Jumping to my feet I continued on my path,
when suddenly my afflictions didn't seem all that bad.
Those brief moments of anguish, thoughts of giving up,
Were eclipsed by a reminder of the power of love.

I'm struggling. Struggling to figure things out in my head, struggling to have a positive outlook. I am weighed down by thoughts of doubt and feelings of self-reproach, constantly reminded that I'm doomed to live a life of second-bests. I'm usually the strong, positive one so I feel no guilt whatsoever for feeling depressed, hopeless and discouraged.

I was denied acceptance into BYU's visual arts program, my intended major. I can't say I was surprised; due to some last minute decisions I had less than a week to put together a portfolio and construct an acceptable application. Needless to say it wasn't my best. Even then, I felt hopeful, like the universe was on my side. With all the optimistic "for sures" and "no questions" from reassuring friends, I started to believe them and shunned any feelings of inadequacy. In other words I set my self up to be pummeled by the impending rejection.

My brother and sister-in-law awaited eagerly as I ripped open the envelope which contained the answer to one of the most plaguing questions: what next? Even as I held the suspiciously light envelope, I brushed away the nagging voice screaming "Yeah right!!" and read the content of the letter with a forced smile. The first word I saw was "unfortunately." That is very, very unfortunate indeed. Pinning on my good-sport smile I shook my head, the only form of outward expression I could muster. My brother and his wife took the hint and left me to my new found agony, not before offering kind words of reassurance.

I cried into my knees for about 8.5 minutes. I have never been turned down for anything in my entire life, I thought bitterly. I didn't know what to do next. The self-portrait I had been busy working on sat abandoned and had I allowed myself a few more minutes to sulk, it probably would've met its demise somewhere at the bottom of the waste bin. The idea of doing art at that very moment was laughable.

Wanting to avoid the inevitable condolences from loved ones I kept this bit of news to myself and whenever anyone inquired about it I found myself answering rather sharply, "I didn't get in." I didn't want the empty words of comfort from roommates, ward members or classmates. Thankfully though, I did find myself wrapped in some arms, able to let out some needed steam and tears. That's what I needed: quiet time to cry. Words get in the way. I love those cradling arms that boost my morale and never cease to fill me with true affection. Nothing compares to being held in loving arms, for in those hushed moments the calming sense of hope washes over me once again. Denial from some silly department heads is nothing compared to the idea of losing that love. If only I could stay in those arms forever.