Freedom

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I sent you notes. Lovely little notes. You blushed. I did not think you would blush.

Your hand tucked the note to your inside jacket pocket and you smiled. Sheepish. Adorable.

Your hands outstretched, I came to you.

You were young, so you were a bit awkward. I didn’t care. Awkward was fine. But, I let little things that should have been red flags that you would be a life-long liar slip by like toy sailboats on a pond.

You always thought you knew more than me, and made sure I knew it. How did I not notice it then? How did I let it slip by, over and over and over? Toy sailboats.

I built up a tolerance.

We rode home in my old car–a hand-me-down from my parents. We talked for hours. I would eventually migrate to your lap, or we would end up on the curb, thighs touching, leaning warm onto each other.

You bought me flowers sometimes. I have photos for evidence, because you tried to make me believe it didn’t happen. You were a master at gaslighting, with the word “ridiculous” always at the ready to hack off another piece of my self-esteem.

You said you never loved me. But you did. You just can’t let her know that, because then she’d have to wonder if the little things you do now that make her feel loved will some day be magically disappeared by the very person who made her believe they existed. Like you did to me.

At least it doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s like recalling an old movie that you’ve seen dozens of times. Only you don’t really like the movie, and some people in the movie are saying you remember it wrong. I suppose we all take something to, and away, from things like that.

I remember when I was gutted. When it felt like I could never get to a place of indifference. And even if I did, it would be tragic.

It’s not tragic. It’s freeing.

 

What It Isn’t and Is

I want to preface this free-thought exercise by saying I’m totally fine. I’m not actually upset or struggling at the moment. I just channeled a lot of thoughts I’ve had over the past several years for different reasons – this isn’t about any one specific person or situation, it’s a composite of struggles and processes. It’s all of the good and “the upside down” (for you fellow Stranger Things fans!) that comes with just being human and forming (and trying to form), and unmaking, bonds with people. What those bonds are, and what they aren’t. Peace!

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Loki (he’s been gone a few years now) and my old art studio, which I could no longer keep.

It isn’t a beginning.

It is an end.

It isn’t a big house.

It isn’t a favorite book.

It isn’t tenderness and validation.

When you have to move on, it can be grueling. It can feel like ash and stone flying through the atmosphere. Why is it like that, no matter how bad it gets?

I look back at what it was. What it wasn’t. What it is now. What it isn’t today.

It is the absence of respect.

It is the presence of resentment.

It is an angry woman who reads her husband’s emails and lashes out because she is insecure – because of the way she got her husband to begin with. It isn’t a woman who accepts blame.

It is loss that is far more good than the subtraction of love, but the addition of self-respect.

It isn’t caring what you destroy until you’ve already crushed it to bits.

Looking down. Dust on your boots. Blood. Ash. And you wonder why people don’t want to have a happy chat.

It’s creepy little threats.

It’s a smell you can’t forget.

It is blame, not in the mirror, but outwards – for your very own flaws.

It is a bad review out of spite to manifest your petty anger.

It is accusing people of the very things you are guilty of.

It is shedding your own skin like  a reptile, if you ever had your own skin to begin with.

And it is assuming the identity of a Stepford Wife. “Whatever you like, I now like.” As if you are hollow inside.

It is long distance.

It is cold hearted.

It is selfish beyond selfish, but ultimately the best thing ever.

It is banana bread and canned peaches.

It is lilacs and gold roses.

It is forgetting as the memories scatter into darker corners with each passing week…month…year.

It isn’t the acceptance of the role you play, because you are perfect. Remember? You never do anything wrong.

It’s the fault of people who you believe take advantage of you, not your falseness that made them believe that they were not trespassers. It is the people who didn’t know you were lying who are to blame, not the person who lied.

“Why don’t you trust me?” HA! THAT IS HILARIOUS! Oh, the resentment when I showed skepticism was rich!

It is rape of my trust. It is sliding into a booth and planting a kiss on me without my permission. It is the everlasting overlapping of lies and truth that made a nice veneer. Thin and brittle, but it looked so shiny, rich, solid on the face. Fake. False. Fake. False.

It is the hot resentment on the back of your neck when you walk by because you took what you wanted and I still rose up from the ash. Poorer and richer. Depends on how you look at wealth, I suppose.

It is vulnerability.

It is feeling like a failure.

It isn’t closure.

When you want closure, when it is never going to be given to you (can it actually be given, anyway?) you have to keep working to find it.

Closure doesn’t come suddenly one day and BAM! You’re all better.

No – closure is a process. It is a place you first must find the path towards. Then walk the path. Then knock on the door. Sometimes nobody opens the door because they don’t give a fuck about you. Sometimes you have to open the goddam door yourself. And once that door is open, you have to keep going there for school, you keep having to learn your way to it. It doesn’t just wash over you. You don’t get out of it that easy.

It isn’t anointing.

It isn’t wound-less.

It is bleeding. Then dressing. Then scars.

It’s a lack of understanding.

It’s bad bad communication.

It isn’t perfection.

It isn’t absolution.

It is new walls with each assault.

It is stronger bricks.

It is a higher wall.

It is letters never sent.

It is apologies never received.

It is lies that burn my flesh.

It is hurt that tears at my heart.

Or tore. Or burned. It’s all of them at once.

It is fire and water and metal and earth.

It is humanness.

It is forgivable.

It isn’t forgettable.

The forgiveness is for yourself, not for them.

 

 

 

 

The Heart Tapestry

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I don’t know what motivates other people to do things–or not to do them. Nor do I pretend to believe that all hearts work the same way. I’m not here to judge why or how somebody does or doesn’t respond to me. How somebody does or doesn’t connect to me. I put it out into the universe, and if a thread comes back and weaves into the tapestry of my life, it will be all the more rich and colorful. All the more complex and beautiful.

What I don’t really have time for at this point in my life are those who can’t be bothered to connect, or worse, pick at the tapestry, snagging, leaving tears and frayed ends. My life is full of wonderful, beautiful, talented, insightful, caring people. If I never made another friend for the rest of my life, many beautiful connections would remain and sustain me.

Why am I writing about this? I saw a Timehop that reminded me of this topic. I had had a couple of really big hurts in my life, starting with a teen pregnancy, but 2009-2011 were the worst by far. I was reminded of how hard it was to recover from that kind of damage. It reminded me how much I had turned in on myself – for almost three years. I decided I didn’t want or need any new friends. It felt to vulnerable to open up to that. I closed up. Put up a wall. That is something I had never done before. Sure, I had some short-term hurts that made me withdraw for a bit, but being an optimist at heart, I always bounced back pretty quickly. I felt the risk was worth the payoff of a connection and a friend – before.

For the new friendships I’ve formed–I’m glad I dismantled the wall a bit – brick by brick, leaving a small space for people who really wanted to squeeze through. For those who chose the other side of the wall, or who I walled out, our time has passed, I guess. For my part, I’ve always been as authentic as I could. And I trusted–until I couldn’t–for reasons.

I didn’t always respond or behave the way I wish I would have–but I’m human. I’ve hopefully learned and evolved over the time with each bump and boulder in my path. Whatever mistakes I made, you got me honestly, and my honesty, and the sincerest bits of my heart.

The Wabi-Sabi Scar

We poured out our hearts in whispers.  You spoke, and I listened to your words, as we were sinking into the marshmallow bed.  Our faces were shadows only inches apart, and the room was quiet the way an adult’s bedroom is at night – all fan whirs and cotton sheet friction, and breathing.

Then I spoke and you listened.  Deeply.  Our perspectives were different, but our hearts in synchronization.

We talked about that time.  That scar.  The bad one.   And how it looked different from our respective views.  And then you said something like, our love has been tended carefully, like a bonsai tree.  Our love is like a wabi-sabi bowl, more beautiful for the broken part that was fixed.  And I imagined the crack that split us almost in half, now filled with gold.  Precious, strong, beautiful.  And I pondered that for a moment, ready to hold it a bit closer and replace my scar with a vein of gold.  Then you said that we, us, our love, is entwined … we are part of each other.  So tangled up and inseparable.  And I saw us, like a Klimt painting, gold swirls and stars, unable to tell where you end and I begin, as we float through the universe enveloped in a blanket of trust and love.  And as if on cue, you said that if you were to die and your spirit was floating around out there, that you would wait for me.   You would wait for my spirit to come find you when it was time and we would spend our time in the other-ether together.  Or something so close to that.  And I kept trying to repeat the last thing you said in my head so I wouldn’t forget it and could write it in our journal.  Then I chided myself for not just enjoying the moment and feeling compelled to record everything, which isn’t the same as engraving it on my heart.  So I just lay there, looking at the dark shape of your head and listened to your sweet protestations.  About Hindu re-incarnation and finding each other sooner next time.

I confessed to you – about then, the “bad” then … about something the scar left behind.  The thought that you chose me for this life … but the idea lingered that you saved your ether for her.  Maybe it’s selfish to want you throughout whatever transformations our souls will take (if any), but I can’t help myself, but I also couldn’t ask you for it.  And I cried, because you said it without even knowing I was living with that pain.  You reached out your fingers and touched that hurt with salve, easing the burn.  And I cried.  And you put your lips in my hair and told me how well we fit and how glad you are that we fought so hard for the us we are now.  And I melted into your embrace.

I told you about how I don’t like to write about deeply personal things in my blogs like I used to.  It feels so much more dangerous now than it once was.  And I wondered if writing about what has passed between us tonight was a mistake.  Or somehow cheapened it.  Or maybe it was a weird kind of bragging about recovering love from ashes.  But then I decided that I would write it all down because I wanted to remember it.  And I was also writing it for couples who are in a place that feels so dark and desperate they don’t think they will ever recover, because we did.

Tomorrow I am going to write some of the things you said into our couple’s journal.  I want to keep it close and remind myself that there is always light, even on a very dark night.

I’m super tired and can’t find the energy to look for an image to put with this or proofread it.  Goodnight ❤