Tuesday, October 22, 2013

For You - Because you told me to be honest and this is me trying

Over the past few months, I've been writing more words than I speak. I've been writing pieces of poetry and prose, all of which are (hopefully) going to be combined into one big story. And I hope, at the end, I'm looking at something more elegant than the emotions I'm feeling as I write.
A friend told me to try honesty, but if I'm being honest the idea of honesty scares me.
I'm skin and bones, stitched together with good intentions and with the secrets and mistakes that haunt me pressed into the empty spaces in the small of my back, my hipbone, my collar bone, my ribcage. I'm trying to figure out life, and love, and God and myself and where exactly you start after you've hit the bottom. I've done it so many times you think I would know but it all feels so foreign to me, like I don't even fully understand this and my life is trial and error, hoping I don't make more mistakes than can be fixed. All these questions and secrets and words press up against the inside of me and sometimes it feels like my insides are going to burst out of me and sometimes it takes someone to remind me I'm still human. Sometimes I feel like a hurricane, and I'm not really sure what to do with that just yet.
So I write, so many words of poetry and prose and fiction and venting and talking to God with the cap locks on and I slowly begin to sort my way through this mess.
I try this thing called honesty, and this thing called working through your crap (easier said than done) and this thing called believing you are falling together not falling apart (a lot easier said than done).
And I'm trying.

I woke up in the middle of the night, my socks cold with frozen water, huddled in a pile of blankets. I stumbled to the bathroom and pushed back my hair, examining the bags under my eyes. I look like I’ve been wrestling tigers and sleeping with the serpents. My eyes are wild and my body is cut and torn. And I look at this girl in the mirror, the vulnerable one who feels inadequate, the one who’s finally feeling like an artist, and I touch her hand through the glass. And I tell her: "it’s ok to be afraid, darling." It’s ok.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Sadness is not beautiful and you are not meant to be lonely"

He said that everything said within the four walls of this room would be safe. He said that out of twenty four hours in a day its not too much to ask for one of them being spent being yourself. He asked if it was possible to love one person every day for the rest of your life and i said yes, but i don't know if you can without losing pieces of yourself. And before you go into it i think you must ask yourself how much you're willing to lose.

I'm tired of running from my ghosts and ghouls. I can honestly say i have nothing to say to them anymore.

Behind closed doors, through the tiny window in the wooden door, i saw her collapse. I saw her fall into her mother's arms and i looked away, ashamed to have once again been witnessing a moment to which i was not invited. And i thought of dark circles under her eyes and a wrinkled tee shirt and the hollowness that appears when you're holding more secrets than you know what to do with. And i realized everyone has their own demons.

I said once that i hated secrets because too many and the weight of it can feel as though it is crushing your vital organs.
I didn't realize until it was too late that people can be hurricanes, forces of nature so destructive but so captivating. And i'm still learning that one person can be both the poison and the cure. Its ok to fall in love with a damaged little thing and its ok to love the same person through the shards of your mosaic heart and its ok. Its not a metaphor or an allegory, it just is. And maybe that has to be enough.

At the end of the day, crawling into bed, with a mind full of stories and a heart full of promises, sometimes it isn't enough. And there is no finely spun poetry in the world that can take the place of the truth that was never received and the words never said. There is no explanation, there is no reason, it just is. When that time comes, when the secrets and questions feel too heavy and threaten to crush your very bones, there is only one answer, one my mother told me when i was a child as she stroked my hair. "Sleep now, little one, it will all look better in the morning." Most days it does but sometimes it doesn't.

I remember him saying once that in cases of dire insanity to hug a tree. Wrap your arms around the trunk, he said, and hold on. I'm spending my days looking for the biggest oak.

I know this guy and once he sat beside me in the library. I was spending too much time staring at the wall and not enough time reading my text book and he asked me a question. I don't remember what it was but i remember that i had only been looking for a way to let all my secrets out. Because the weight of them in your arms, pressed against your ribcage, tucked up against your hipbone, running down along your spine, its heavy and it pushes and i shift in my seat with discomfort. The thing about secrets, i'm learning, is that they demand to be told. In whispered words to your childhood best friend in a garage tucked away behind the bicycles, in a journal, in a scream that shakes the earth and sends animals running and ends in shoulder shaking sobs. Secrets demand to be told or the threat settles into your bones. And i'm learning that i have too many word defying secrets.

He said that words are safe here, in this room filled with test tubes and diagrams. It feels like a place my secrets could come out of hiding if only i sat still long enough and ignored the discomfort that came with their claws on the inside of my skin. He says that there are twenty four hours in a day and for this one, in this room, you are allowed to be yourself. And i feel them like butterfly wings on the inside of my stomach. I spent a really long time running from what happened to me and i spent a long time being really uncomfortable in my skin and i feel the nudging inside of me, telling me its time to stop, time to be who i really am. The secrets don't seem so daunting here and it doesn't matter if there are no stone cold answers for my mind to chew on and mull over because my soul knows.
Here in the back corner of this biology lab my soul knows

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Land of Enchantment

I've been thinking a lot lately. Writing a lot of poetry, collecting quotes and photographs. It's an interesting time for me, one full of so much sorrow and heart ache but also full of peace.
I might not have the words to process everything right now, but I have words to make stories, and I guess in a way my creating stories is me processing it all. So here's something I wrote with the inspiration I gathered from this post

4 times in 5 days. That had to be some sort of record, even in it was only a personal one. And the tears had to be some sort of reflection of the burdened state of her heart. They were poetry in their own way, speaking when no more words could be said.
The hardest word to say is goodbye. To the man you loved with all your crooked heart, to the tiny babe who held a piece of your heart, to friends and grandparents and those barely human but very much alive. Goodbye never gets easier.

She thought about this as she walked down the road that blistery October day, her toes and the tip of her nose growing colder.
A coffin the size no coffin should be, belonging to a tiny girl who was there that day when her life changed, a girl so loved by so many who had never met her. And it reminded her of a bigger coffin, one she stood over in march and sobbed over words unsaid and promises that didn't have time to be kept. And it reminded her of the others, the coffins she never saw but the lives of those behind them that had taken a piece of her with them as they passed on into the great perhaps.
The cruelty and brutality of death must be met with the gentle hand of hope for without it everything crumbles.
Loss had put years on her. Her forehead was slightly wrinkled now, her feet colder, her body more fatigued and frail.
Being berated time after time, being forced to say the hardest word until there are no more words left, only aching sobs, it takes a toll on one's physical body.
If she were to write the names of the deceased up her arm the total would be over two dozen.
It is said there is one living person for each dead 14 and she felt she had more than her fair share of names tattooed on her skin of those who had changed her and died too soon.
When she was younger, her aunt, a seasoned veteran of life herself, used to tell her stories as she brushed out her hair. She spoke of unicorns and fairies and once she spoke of the land of enchantment.
She said the sand there was holy, and there were healing springs of life. She collected sand in plastic bags and water in tiny jars and she gave them to her friends back home. One to the divorcee, one to the motherless child, one to the ill and dying. She offered these items to her loved ones, and also offered herself.
She said perhaps we are all collecting things, filling our bags and jars. We fill and collect the offerings of others and when we are finally full we pass on.
It isn't painful, she said, rather it is more like being underwater, a breath and then as one world slips away a new one takes its place. For those left behind, though, her aunt said, when they have offered up pieces of themselves that are now gone, its the most painful thing imaginable. Suddenly you are without this part of yourself, however large or small, and you must figure out how to let it go.
People help. so do long hot showers, coffee so strong and hot it can make you wince, poetry and tears.
But in the end the only cure for the unbearable ache of saying a permanent goodbye is time itself.
One day, even if it seems unthinkable, the smile will return.
Her heart was broken. She had offered up herself to those who had gone to explore the great perhaps and the agony of living with a fractured heart was almost too much to bear.
Goodbye seems to get caught in the throat, sticky like peanut butter, and the idea of time healing all wounds seems laughable.
The idea of venturing into the great perhaps seems more appealing when you're lying on the bathroom floor with a broken heart.
But, her aunt had said, there comes a time when you must get up. Take that hot shower, stomach a cup of piping hot coffee and put one foot in front of the other. Collect moments of your own that will sustain you for a lifetime and then some extra to stow away for your own journey, when the time comes.
Swallow the hope. While it tastes sickeningly sweet in the mouth in the stomach it is a helpful remedy.
A scar will form, a reminder of the one you loved and the part of the heart that was given away, one for every unspeakable goodbye.
"Don't be afraid, my dear," her aunt had told her. "Your heart knows how to heal, even when you deem it impossible. You are a vessel, giving and collecting love. This is life."
And so, with red rimmed eyes and pale skin, she decided to get up. To shower, and make that pot of coffee and pray her aunt had been right, that over time the ache would diminish.
Besides, there was still much more loving left to do.

Friday, October 4, 2013


You don't have to know what to say. You don't have to understand. But you do have to make words. Use your words.

When I was younger, my parents would always remind me to use my words. And through my growing up years I've heard that phrase echoed many a time.
But what happens when you don't know how to make words? What happens when you feel so much inside of you that there are no words?

I sat in the library this morning next to a boy who's in my biology class. My thoughts were going off in so many different directions and I felt completely broken.
"Are you ok?" He asked me. I looked up from my text book, the one I hadn't really been reading. He was watching me, with his big brown eyes.
"I don't know how to do this..." I said, meaning more than just the biology work set out before me.
"I know," He replied.
And somehow it wasn't the wrong thing to say.
He watched me for another minute before turning back to his own work and I stared at the clock and counted down the minutes.

There's this thing they call survivor's guilt. It's found in people who have survived a traumatic event, such as combat, natural disasters, epidemics and suicides.
The inside of my left wrist has seen far too many names in the past little while. Names of those I know who have died. People who died while I survived.
Right now the black ink has been rubbed off because of the bracelets I was wearing this morning, but the letters can still be made out.

My own broken heart has been beating rapidly all day, pounding against the inside of my chest. I am reminded of the journey I am continually walking, one I don't understand, one that is breaking me in so many ways.
I am so tired. I can barely find the strength in me to lift my head, to keep fighting, to keep this broken heart beating.
And there are moments, when you slip into bed at the end of a long day, or standing before a rising purple sun after hearing news like the kind I got this morning, and you think "How long can I keep doing this?"

My own broken heart beat a little faster today, as her little broken heart ceased to sustain life. Under the rising sun I fell to my knees because this isn't something I understand. My heart is heavy and full of things I can't yet make sense of, and it slams against the inside of my chest reminding me of this little one who's heart is whole now, a little one who is connected to me, from one broken heart to another.

I am broken. I am worn. I am tired of fighting this battle and I am tired of losing and I'm just plain tired. I can barely find it in me to hold myself up. I don't understand.
And even in all of this...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life Keeps Moving On

My jaw pops every time I chew a bite of my not dinner dinner (a half-eaten blueberry bagel). Sulfur water is woven into my hair, reminding me of what it felt like to be alive and it’s a feeling I don’t ever want to lose. I’m avoiding washing my hair because of it.

 My nail beds are chipped and cracked, pulling apart at the seams, and my elbows are rubbed red. I’m not exactly sure why but if I had to guess it would probably have something to do with change, and this thing that is inside of me pushing and trying to get out.

 I keep thinking of this moment, in early August, when I was petrified by the idea of change. He told me that that’s life and it happens that way for a reason and then he told me that it would all be alright and that he would be coming home to me soon and I realize now he was only half lying. Because in life there is always that constant state of change and I’m always caught hanging somewhere in the balance of it all and sooner or later, in some way or another, everything does turn out alright. But he never did come home to me.

 I sat on the side of a mountain, with my feet tucked up beneath me, and I thought about how sometimes people let you down and it’s all you can do to not be disappointed. Even though he promised he would try to not break your heart, he did anyway and what once seemed like magic is now fraying at the edges and sometimes you just have to take what someone can give you and use that to build your own world. I used to think I could fit into this fairytale of a life he wanted, even if it wasn’t what I wanted. And even though my mama said to never change for anyone I would have done it anyway because I thought maybe for once in my life I could finally be the princess in a fairytale. But I think trying to fit into a fairytale that isn’t your fairytale just leaves you with a broken heart. He’s still the prince, but there’s another girl playing Cinderella.

 I wasn’t foolish enough to think that life wasn’t ever going to change, but in some na├»ve way I did think things were going to stay the same. I thought that promises made during one of those swing set summers of my childhood would be kept because that’s what love is, it’s keeping the promise anyway. And I’m still in this town where I grew up and a college acceptance letter came in the mail, but there was no phone call or text message to share the news. And I get that people grow up and things change but all I can think of is the promise, and that love is keeping the promise anyway.

It’s October now and this year has proven to me how much things can change. I’m empty handed and heavy hearted. This life I’m living is making me tired and sometimes I forget why I’m even doing it until one morning I wake up and something makes all the loving worth the pain and it gets just a little easier to breathe, a little easier to remember who I am.