In my early 20s, my boyfriend, an English major, wrote a poem about me. In its intimacy, it was both beautiful and frightening at the same time. While he read it to me, I remember simultaneously thinking, “OMG, he can see right through me,” and “he read this to his poetry class who are coming for dinner tomorrow!” For the first time in my life, I was standing naked in the world—a feeling I now recognize as intimacy (in-to-me-see) and deeply cherish in my relationships.
I had that “standing naked in the world” feeling when writing my first book and again when reading from my second to an audience collected to celebrate its launch. So, in honour of choosing nakedness over mystery, I wrote this poem to remind me of why I am here.
Here, at the crossroads,
comes the quantum leap,
the opportunity to choose or cast away deepest desire.
I stand readied at the edge of choice
having recognized the once unknown opportunity,
the vehicle to express the dream.
I can see it so clearly now,
that long-held deep yearning
to stand naked in the world, to know and be known.
Shuddering at stepping away from solid ground,
my soul wages war with my fears.
For more than a moment, my doubt roots firmly.
Gradually, courage and sanity return
and I remind myself this choice is a gift
from me, for me, for all.
And I quickly coin the first phrase
of the first chapter
of the first book.