The regularity and repetition
Of mustard and avocado colored squares adorning our kitchen wallpaper,
Thin paper pinned to fabric for Mom to sew our matching mother daughter outfits,
Rings hidden within tree trunks, the fur of our tiger cat, and the wings of a butterfly,
Keys on the piano, the chorus of songs, the rhyming scheme of simple poems,
Dad rising at the same time each day, weekend or not, his precise morning routine,
That I once joined in with, but later listened to and pictured from my teenage bed,
Dinner at 6 pm every night, with a meat, starch and two vegetables,
The stripes of my bell bottom corduroy pants, the paisleys of my blouse,
Pattern blocks in primary math, our “identical” art hanging on bulletin boards, 
The SRA reading kits in 3rd grade with the predictable, "right there" answers,
Matching the Farrah Fawcett feathering of the left side of my head to the right ,
Computer coding If-then statements on the TRS-80 in 8th grade math,
The patterns of my childhood.

Also the regularity and repetition
Of people pleasing and appeasing, equating achievement with love,
Fear of authority and thinking “they” must know me better than I know myself,
Lying to protect myself from the interrogation and scrutiny of every mistake,
Masking my Self so as not to be “too much,” while also knowing I’m not enough,
Noticing dysfunction, but understanding it is not something we speak of,
Coping with trauma on my own for fear of disappointing,
Because we tough it out, never quit, and don’t show weakness,
Feeling different, intense, and overthinking, and thus not belonging,
Protecting myself from pain and from being seen, being heard, being known,
While also craving those very things, more than anything,
Generations that came before and paved the way for these thoughts,
Feelings, reactions, responses, and reactions
The patterns of my childhood.

Photo:  Chicago, IL  9.26.19 by LA

2 responses to “Patterns”

  1. Wow. This is beautiful writing. I love how you start with the physical patterns, many of which I recognized from my own childhood, and then moved onto the deeper ones. Your poem really highlights how we are shaped through perfectionism and our families own brand of dysfunction. I could feel the way the patterns weave together. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s such a journey to reclaim our selves in our truest, most authentic essence!

      Liked by 1 person

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