dear shelley: (the one who says I’m a whore)

not shelley,
+++ the one I taught
+++as a 6th grader

not shelley,
+++the one I know
+++from chicago

but shelley,
+++the one from ohio
+++who says I’m trash

does it make you mad
+++to know your words
+++make my fire burn brighter?

your anger delights
+++my power, it validates
+++my self-worth beyond yours

did you hear my laughter
+++with each straight letter
+++and proud period?

shelley from ohio,
+++insults mean nothing
+++when you’ve already been through hell

words are made of mere letters–
+++they have no power over me
+++when I have power over them

C. Streetlights

As a child, C. Streetlights listened to birds pecking at her rooftop, but instead of fearing them, was convinced they would set her free and she’d someday see the stars. Southern California sunshine never gave C. Streetlights the blonde hair or blue eyes she needed to fit in with her high school’s beach girls, her inability to smell like teen spirit kept her from the grunge movement, and she wasn’t peppy enough to cheer. She ebbed and flowed with the tide, not a misfit but not exactly fitting in, either. Streetlights grew up, as people do, earned a few degrees and became a teacher. She spent her days discussing topics like essay writing, Romeo and Juliet, the difference between a paragraph and a sentence, and for God’s sake, please stop eating the glue sticks. She has met many fools, but admires Don Quixote most because he taught her that it didn’t matter that the dragon turned out to be a windmill. What mattered was that he chose to fight the dragon in the first place. Streetlights now lives in the mountains with a husband, two miracle children, and a dog who eats Kleenex. She retired from teaching so she can raise her children to pick up their underwear from the bathroom floor, to write, and to slay windmills and dragons. She is happy to report that she can finally see the stars.

Categories: Emotional HealthFeaturedGive a Damn with C. StreetlightsPoetry

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C. Streetlights

C. Streetlights

As a child, C. Streetlights listened to birds pecking at her rooftop, but instead of fearing them, was convinced they would set her free and she’d someday see the stars. Southern California sunshine never gave C. Streetlights the blonde hair or blue eyes she needed to fit in with her high school’s beach girls, her inability to smell like teen spirit kept her from the grunge movement, and she wasn’t peppy enough to cheer. She ebbed and flowed with the tide, not a misfit but not exactly fitting in, either. Streetlights grew up, as people do, earned a few degrees and became a teacher. She spent her days discussing topics like essay writing, Romeo and Juliet, the difference between a paragraph and a sentence, and for God’s sake, please stop eating the glue sticks. She has met many fools, but admires Don Quixote most because he taught her that it didn’t matter that the dragon turned out to be a windmill. What mattered was that he chose to fight the dragon in the first place. Streetlights now lives in the mountains with a husband, two miracle children, and a dog who eats Kleenex. She retired from teaching so she can raise her children to pick up their underwear from the bathroom floor, to write, and to slay windmills and dragons. She is happy to report that she can finally see the stars.

2 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Brava, C. I’ll never understand women who don’t lift other women up. How insecure she must be to even attempt to tear you down. I’m sorry you experienced this though, as usual, am awed by your example and strength.

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