I Am Capable. {poetry}

Sometimes in our lives, we can get so caught up in the day-to-day, the grocery list, the bills paid, the quality time we want with our children.

It’s easy, when you are so caught up, to stress and allow the negative thoughts to hold you prisoner. I know this is what I do to myself, I think of all the ways I’m not measuring up, even to my own standards. There are ways to simplify.

There are words you can say out loud or in your head as a reminder. A voice that soothes you and says, “Yes, yes you can make mistakes, you can disappoint people, you can be imperfect.” This same voice tells me that I am good at things, I am working toward being a better me.

There are many things I can do (even those things don’t have to be perfect), whether silly or small, or things I only do for myself. They don’t have to be shiny things wrapped up with bows. I could be a great pessimist, or the best at ruining pancakes because I flip them too soon. The point is to be recognized and accepted by yourself.

We all need a little (or a lot) of self-love.

I can create.
I can imagine things differently,
or look at a photograph of him as a baby and cry because I will never know that perfect moment again
because he is growing
and sometimes I miss the playtime.
I miss the mixed-up words he would say, like cohuter (computer) or roomhawk (harmonica)
I can say that I don’t stifle him

I can make loose ends come together last minute and get by with pennies in a jar.
I can raise a child alone for 10 years.
I can make people feel beautiful,
to make them take notice of the beauty that already surrounds them.
I can get depressed and stay in bed all day.
I can be hyper-vigilant.
I can overreact.
I can apologize.

I can have a whole room laughing
and make a fool out of myself.
I can multitask like a mama octopus.
I can eat a pint of ice cream sitting in my bed while watching
Law and Order reruns.

I can remember numbers, addresses, old phone numbers, etc.
I can speak with my grandparents through dreams, they found me and warned me of their death.
I can feel most like myself when in the forest.
I can walk barefoot all summer long.
I can forgive.
I can choose not to watch the news because I’m too empathic, it simply hurts too much.
Because I can’t always hear the horrible news of war and death and politics and racism,
I can ignore them (and need to for my sanity sometimes)

I know this about myself.

I can feel alone in a crowded room.
I can recite all the lyrics to ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by the Sugar Hill Gang.
I can rely on a few good friends.
I can be fierce like a tiger.
I can protect my son.

I can use my voice for change.
I can fix just about anything except cars.
I can keep finding my inner writer.
I can keep sending out poems and getting rejected without letting it affect my ego.
I can make mistakes.
I can be cruel.
I can love so completely,
So deeply.
I can forgive.
I can forget
and then forgive some more.

There are days where I scream out loud
“I can’t take it anymore!”
But the truth is,
I really can.

What are the things you can do that keep you going? The ways that help you cope? I revisit this list and it changes with me, yet doesn’t define me. I find new things I can do or accomplish, I find humor in the silly things I can’t do, like reach the top shelf in my cabinets. I can is such a powerful statement. We all can.


CourtneyQuinlanCourtney Quinlan is an artist dabbling in writing prose and poetry, making jewelry, and an ever evolving photographer, who likes getting crafty with nature and loves to get some paint on brushes and let them do the talking. She lives in Vermont as a single parent to a boy on the autism spectrum. She loves being in the woods, has a serious affinity for swamps and bogs, and would eat Thai food every day for the rest of her life if it was possible. She can often be found lost in thought, advocating for disability rights or gardening. Her mantra is: Live out loud, unfiltered, eyes full of wonder, love as hard as you can. Repeat.


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