Compost: I don’t have


Here’s another one of those writing exercises in which I wrote fast – not even stopping to scratch my head or pausing to think – for 10 minutes, and started nearly every sentence with the same phrase, in this case “I don’t have.”  These exercises nearly always introduce me to a facet of myself I didn’t know was there. Try it yourself and see. Caution:  this is totally unedited!

I don’t have enough time to live the life I want yet I seem to have time to live just the way I am. I don’t have anxiety-free thoughts. I don’t have enough ideas. I don’t have enough experience. I don’t have proof. I don’t have authority. I don’t have freedom from this wrenching fear of not enough, not enough. I don’t have much beauty anymore, and I don’t have men falling at my feet. I don’t have the way to go, I don’t have a map of my life. I don’t have oh my goodness so many things but it makes me sad to focus on them. I don’t have a house in Baltimore. I don’t have daisies in a chain around my throat. I don’t have green fingernails. I don’t have cancer or diabetes or a life-threatening disease, and my mirror doesn’t show the eyes of death looking back at me. I don’t have 17 cats like the crazy cat-woman on the next block. I don’t have chickens in my yard scratching up corn and whistling down bugs. I don’t have bats in the dark hidden eaves of my house, thank goodness. I don’t have a t-shirted maid to sweep my floors and make my counters sparkle. I don’t have black skin or green eyes. I don’t have a 20-year old’s perky breasts which stand at attention in the cold. Mine are droopy but I love them anyway, they are warmth and comfort and mother nourishment, they say I am a woman and glad to be one. I don’t have a house on a lake, although I can see a triangled slice of Lake Sammamish when I stand on my porch in the depth of winter when the leaves are turning to mulch. I don’t have a billion dollars, or a million, or even an expired lottery ticket. I don’t have rings on my toes to make the tigers laugh. I don’t have a convent in my neighborhood, so I don’t have to listen to the refined snorts of nuns.


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