First things first,
You’re allowed to put your
bad poetry out into the world
for your little audience to see.
You’re also allowed to have a sugar belly
Cloud shaped and disobedient
Because you actually eat all types of food and enjoy it
And you don’t get your heart rate up enough.
You’re allowed to not call your father
Because you’re trying to have healthy boundaries
And your feelings have been hurt for decades
And the lump in your throat is a red light that says STOP.
You’re allowed to eat biscuits & gravy for breakfast
In a drive thru even
With half hearted plans to make up for it later
With fresh melon and a salad.
You’re allowed to never again
Go to the business networking functions
That made you anxious and bored to tears
And left you feeling like you were standing on Mars
And you could see who felt this way too,
And yet there we were, trudging through.
You’re allowed to go out in the golden sun
And feel its hot hug on you for hours
Without shrouding yourself in twenty-five layers
Of protective garment and liquid chemicals.
You’re allowed to say “No thank you” at night
In your large underwear and thread bare t-shirt
When you want to rest in the nest of your big blankets
And read again like you did at age twelve.
You’re allowed to be wrong
When you state your brazen opinion
On a podcast that can be heard
All the way in London…or Latvia.
You’re allowed to leave one star
On the product you reviewed
When it arrived to your door
Cheaper and uglier than it was on the computer.
You’re allowed to say
I don’t want to do this anymore
– this company
– this direction
– this reality
I’d rather do that…and I will…and I am!
You’re allowed to have clownish eyebrows
That you don’t color in before leaving the house
And hair above your lip
That glistens in the afternoon light
When people are talking to you and noticing.
You’re allowed to put your name
On the things you’ve done.
I created this poem.
I created this idea.
It was ME.
You’re allowed to look sideways
At what the neighbors are doing
And to judge them silently
And love them silently, too.
You’re allowed to decide
That you no longer want
To be around people
Who only know how to talk about
Parenting and furniture
Or speak badly of most others
Or lack bravery and can only talk about
Subjects that are light, airy, and safe.
They’re never good listeners anyway.
You’re allowed to say
I don’t want another baby today, and maybe never
Because I like my life like it is
And I get to take baths when I feel like it
And think too hard about world suffering
And abstract, philosophical things
And visit my friends for brunch.
You’re allowed to say goodbye to everything
In your closet which was never you
The high-heels that hurt, the homogenized
Anne Taylor slacks and shirts
And forgive yourself for forgetting
That wasn’t you in the first place.
You’re allowed to make your house a shrine
Of who you and your people really are
With your outdated picture frames
And tribal masks you bought at seventeen
Your paintings of women dancing
And too many photographs of the people you love
Covering your fridge and tabletops.
You’re allowed to plop your beach chair by the lake
When everyone is working on a weekday,
Without guilt, because you are working too
Just cracking the code for doing it differently.
You’re allowed to take up drums at 37
To sing the wrong words to Kirtan
To dislike yoga festivals for their showboating and distraction
“Pardon me, your Ego is showing.” …”Namaste.”
You’re allowed to get all your old books back out
To restock your shelves from the Goodwill
With titles you always wanted – stinking of actual paper
So that you can remember everything you ever loved
About yourself and why you’re here.
You’re allowed to let your clients
And acquaintances in the community
Who knew you one way
To know you this way
Because they’re people, too
And this poem is about them, too.
You’re allowed to be seen, heard, and valued
In the most sappy expression of the term
Because you lost so much time
Not allowing those things.
When you have your self worth
Like, really HAVE it,
It is stunning what all you are allowed.
And you want to tell everyone,
You’re allowed this, too.
You’re allowed this, too!
– Kendallauren Heath