Coming Out to Myself
I stare at the waitress in Costa, vulva twitching,
She has a fine pair of breasts.
I’d love to hold them in my hands.
And look at her bum in those skinny jeans.
No wedding ring either.
Reminds me of my teacher in fifth class.
Fuck… I am one of them.
It’s hard enough to live in a world that doesn’t accept everyone for who they are; it is even more difficult to live in your head and not know how to accept who you are – or not even know who you are. Anne Walsh Donnelly’s The Woman with an Owl Tattoo is, for all intents and purposes, a poetic memoir. It’s the thoughts, feelings, experiences, and acknowledgment that no matter the age, no matter the life already lived, and to pull a phrase from Sarah Kay, no matter the wreckage.
Mid-Life does not a wasted life make, and Donnelly’s journey from birth to marriage to children to divorce to finding love pressed against the cheek of a woman is a reminder that life can begin whenever it makes sense – or whenever you feel as if you are okay to start living. It’s the recognition that families will be okay. That parents and children still love you regardless of who you were born to be. It’s being told that “making love is for making babies / and gays are intrinsically disordered,” and realizing all the misguided beliefs behind that statement. Realizing that your love for another is in no way a disorder.
Life is not always happy, but you can make your way in that direction if you are willing to be yourself regardless of all else. It’s the getting rid of the fairy tale lifestyle, and allowing yourself to “save the princess, / she tickles my balloon, palms / the basket, licks my dragon’s / amber breath without guarantee / of a happy-ever-anything.”