We all need a sanctuary

We all need a sanctuary. A safe space where we can immerse ourselves, unwind and perk up. Whether your sanctuary is the quiet zen of a yoga class or the hour you set aside to cook yourself dinner, these sacred spaces serve us in more ways than one. They give us freedom we may never have expected, simply by allowing our minds to wander in new directions and forget ourselves for a second.

I found a new sanctuary in my life and that’s from where today’s post stems. I recently enrolled in a Writers Studio Fiction & Poetry class. I was searching for a way to bring my writing to the next level, and after attending a Meetup and letting the idea marinate for awhile, I decided to go for it. And I’m so glad I did. I find myself looking forward to the two hours a week where I do nothing but geek out on writing with other writers. Learning and sharing and gently pushing myself to new places. Sometimes it’s really the little things that keep us both looking forward and keeping our heads down.

So today, I’d like to share with you a piece I produced during my time in this class. It’s a poem, about growing up and getting rid of the training wheels. About looking back and feeling at ease. It’s a poem about the word “like.”

Thanks for being here and spending some time in my little world,

Elizabeth

~

Like

Like,

a filler like no other.

A word with so little value that it makes words like

whatever and duh

sound rich with meaning.

 

“I think that like, you know…”

went the special cadence of my teenage sentences.

those empty words peppered in hither and tither

giving my syntax an awkward, gangly quality,

much like my physical state.

 

But, like, everyone did it.

my friends and peers,

we all laid a claim on this word

staking our likes in the ground

with a meekness reserved for topsoil,

the likes never went deep.

 

You couldn’t have walked one foot through the hallway of my junior high without running into a like.

“Like, she said..”

“Like, it was so stupid.”

a word so full of air, we all grasped onto it like a lifesaver at sea.

For me, it was a cushion

to pad the power of my voice, god forbid it should be laid

bare.

 

Like was a word, custom-made for people like me

the ones still unsure of their place in the world

the ones who felt warm and secure in the company of the empty

Like was the tool we used to speak

to get our words out, one way or another.

like, it was at least good for that.

 

And so, this is why I’m grateful to the like.

For it’s subtle, vapid powers

to get us all

bubbling and interacting like

aimless Abercrombied hens,

communicating in the only way we knew how.

 

Like has all but disappeared from my current vocabulary

It only makes an occasional reappearance in silly exchanges

or valley girl impressions.

 

but when I listen to the ephemeral conversations of my younger cousin

rife with “likes” and “you knows” and “kindas”

I smile sweetly at the memory

and feel glad that the likes of digital networks hadn’t

yet come to power in my generation.

 

our likes were reserved for faltering speech and inane gossip

pink and vulnerable

fresh and green

we were

softening the blow of any word uttered in the hopes

of being liked.

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