How can I sustain both sides of our love? You feel nothing. I feel everything. I feel it all. How can we be together when you are nowhere? I've always fallen for you. I'm falling deep into the helpless dark. I jumped down, searching for you. I was planning to pull you up, but it's too sharp a climb. We both need both hands. I'm trying to talk you out of it; now realizing that you have to want to save yourself is heartbreaking. You haven't the strength to make your own way—how could you possibly support me as well? I need to be adored. I need to be loved entirely so I can be filled back up with all I give in kind. Instead, I'm slowly sinking and I don't know how to get us together.
I ought to stop trying to love you better. It's not the answer, despite my attempts. I have so little to give in proportion to what could possibly quench you. I am pouring myself into your scorched aridness. I'm gushing over you. My showers of affection fall on your parched landscape, drying so quickly I cannot tell if they sink in, or simply evaporate into nothingness. What does it matter? My love won’t save you. While you cannot feel a thing, I am drowning in your desert.
Originally written April 2014 I’m reeling at my losses. They are what I’ve
known my entire life. They stand, point to point, marking each moment I’ve
become more alone. Oft times when I open up to someone they eventually close me
down. Now many of my closest friends are people I hardly know. One has to
start somewhere it seems. All the starting is disheartening when it will
only lead to ending again. I’m frayed and I’m wary. Still, I feel the
impulse to plug myself fully into loving others. Despite this, I can't
seem to muster the energy required to trust again. My bleeding heart has a
faded pulse. I am drained. Won’t someone please, please, please recharge
The woman screaming at her six year old daughter at the thrift store today is absolutely breaking my heart. Oh, that young child, how she cries. I hear the tremor of shame and powerlessness in her sobs as her mother verbally berates her for being impolite.
Look down, here I go, I am the little girl. I'm so sad, I'm so bad, I'm unloved, unworthy, alone. Why does this always happen to me, why is mommy so mean? Why can't we be happy?
A flick of my eyes to the right, I zoom into the stressed-out mother. I'm so goddamn tired of taking care of this kid, she's being such a little brat and I'm not going to take it. Kids should be respectful, someone's got to teach them. Someone taught me.
Eyes shift left, a tall salesclerk with a kind face and terror in her eyes, that's who I am. I tell the mother it's okay, her daughter is just a little child. I'm so upset, I see this all the time—these angry, cruel women who yell at their kids. Sometimes I just can't handle my job because of it.
I come back to myself to find my hand reaching out to pat the mother on the back. To what end? To distract, to console, to de-escalate her abuse towards her child. I tell her it's okay, she's just a little kid. She angrily tells me it’s not okay for kids to misbehave.
I want to reach out, I want to prostrate myself across her path and tell her to calm the fuck down. I want to hire a babysitter so she can get a break. I want to take her child away from her. I want to teach her how to be soft and kind; show her how to discipline without cruelty, and teach with love. I want to surround her in community so she doesn't have to go it alone, so she never reaches her breaking point and lashes out at the vulnerable child at her feet. I want to hug and hold her daughter, look deep into her lovely young eyes, and tell her that she's wonderful, tell her it's not okay for anyone to hurt her. I want to protect her from her mother, and I want to protect her mother from herself.
All I can do is nothing at all.
The mother storms off out of the store with her crying child in tow. My hand is at my heart. I try to hold it together but it's too late. Oh, my fragile heart, you're no good to anyone. My feelings won't change a thing. I'm helpless. It's hopeless.
The salesclerk and I make eye contact, lean into one another and hold hugging each other for a moment. We've bonded over our joint fears and hopes for a little girl who doesn't know how much we care. I hope she's okay. I hope she'll be okay. My tears fall, but they don't cleanse me. I have no relief, and I'll never know. I have no connection to her. I will always feel the acute disconnect of not being able to really help her. It's not enough, and there is no more.
I will not let my past dictate my
present. My losses do not define me.
It's as though I've been burdened by a load of
bricks on my sternum, weighing down my chest. This is what it is to have a
heavy heart. Each burden has a name: sorrow, dejection, regret,
loneliness, and doubt. As I progress westward, they’re slowly being unloaded. Perhaps
by the time I make it to the coast the pressure will be off. I'd finally be
free to breathe again.
Though I long for a hit of blissful happiness I
don't know how to safely feel it any more. The possibility of plunging into emotional
peaks and valleys, high-highs and low-lows, feels too great a risk. I've been
trying to flat line. I've weighted my wayward heart, trying to keep it in
place. I'm a bit terrified to relinquish my emotional compression. I ought to
know better. This heart is a wonderer and a wanderer. She's searching. She
needs to soar to better have a viewpoint of where to nest. Happiness is
uplifting. I can find my way with far more success when I’m up.
The road sign says Hope is 25 kilometers away.
I can’t wait to find it. Nightfall’s shadow has gathered by the highway’s edge.
Everything will be a bit brighter when I get there. The exit sign is well lit,
pointing me to what I could use a good dose of. Instead I pass by—not stopping.
Or, is it Hope passing me by? I’m not sure I’ll ever find it again. I’m headed
for the edge of the country and don’t have time to linger.
I enter Vancouver by midnight. Is this the
darkest hour or the start of a new day? It’s hard to tell, driving in the dark,
when I feel like breaking down. I’m exhausted in every way. The travel almost done,
the rest is to come. Endings are really the start of the next story. I want to
believe this is where I once again begin.
Settling into my lodgings, I take in the past
few months’ disappointments. I’d like to sleep it all off. Can I dream away my
doubts? Slumber off my sorrows? It’s time to shut off the bedroom light, and
try to shut off my mind. My restless thoughts should just give it a rest
already. I want to be here, present. I’ve come so far. I’m miles away. It
takes me so much focus to fall asleep but I eventually get there.
Morning arrives, filtering into my room with
tranquil, creamy light. I dress in like colours, to reflect my conscious
attempt at a sunny outlook. A day spent wandering aimlessly about, with no
agenda, is precisely what is needed. Walking along the seawall I can see how
far I’ve come. Moving forward means walking away. Holding on to the past will
only hold me back, so I let go. I feel my remaining heart-weights cast off. This
un-anchoring sets me free to coast along. I shall carry on.
With my recovered light-heartedness, I find space
to fill myself with improvement, and only optimism will do. Hope comes before
Vancouver. I thought I’d left it behind. It’s a delight to discover it has
accompanied me upon on my arrival—an unexpected, but much welcome, companion.
Life is so exquisitely meaningless, yet it means so much to
me. There are a thousand reasons why every instant has beauty and wonder. The
small curve of my young son’s cheek catches my breath with its form. I shaped
that face inside myself; now, he strides forward to face the world. I am in awe
of the miniscule beginnings that stretch larger, outward, into each of us and
beyond. He and I both come from the elements of stars, and will cycle back
again, in turn. The profundity of how absolutely connected everything is, on an
elemental scale, remains astonishing.
A cluster of cells—united in purpose—divide to multiply.
Repetition and pattern, the rules of formation engage. Are you flora? Or, are
you fauna? There are rules for your making. Why do you form thusly so? We
cannot say exactly why, only how. As such, then, how curious, and how marvelous;
how remarkable it all is! The lifespan of a person is usually within the
confines of only one century. This proves to be no more than a mere speck in
the ever-expanding continuum of time. The lifespan of an adult mayfly is
usually within the confines of only one day. It is a fully lived life, though
brief in comparison to our own human experience. This extraordinary brevity causes
me to pulse with gratitude for the chance to even exist. Look closer and you
will see lifetimes lived within a moment. Epic dramas of tiny proportions are
contained within a single dewdrop.
There is nothing exceptionally exceptional about existence.
It occurs hourly, and is ended likewise. There is nothing special about being
alive, other than that it is happening to you. The conscious framework of your
own being is the only reason you have any meaning at all.
The meaning of life is what you make of it. My life means
nothing, but I shall make the most of it. Nothing matters, really. How, then,
do I find that all the nothingness matters most of all?
My life ebbs and flows in every unexpected way. I used to believe
it was my duty to commandeer my own ship, and, thusly, always set a direct
course for my final destination. In recent years, I have found the journey to
be far more enjoyable taking a rafting approach. The learnings I’ve taken from
past experiences provide me with paddles to steer through dangerous or tricky
circumstances. Trusted, supportive
friends are the life preservers I use to keep myself afloat through times of
difficulty. Other than that, my only job is to let the current guide me through
these winding waters. I cannot see around the bend, but I will experience it
when I get there. I am part passenger, and part gentle navigator. Now that I no
longer need to constantly focus on what may be coming, I can finally appreciate
the scenery surrounding me. It’s nice to be here.
Everything is achingly beautiful. Have you ever surrendered
to overwhelming fear/loss/jealousy/anxiety and let it seep through you, soaking
you completely in your own grief? Don’t stop there; this is only the start. The
test is to feel everything, every single thing. Feel the streaming abysmal
dismay, the bitter terror of abandonment, the paralyzing clutch of profound
sorrow. When it rises over you, then crashes down, the trick is to keep
breathing. You have to fight for air, kicking and screaming your way to the
surface. Break through, breathe through, swim for shore. The waves will pass
over, and fall away. You’ll see. You felt their every pummel, thought you’d
drown in your own emotions. Now you understand they actually pushed you to your
destination. Dry land. Safety. The terrible, brutal beauty of it all.
At eight years old, I had an existential crisis regarding my
future ambivalence towards playing with Barbie dolls. I was certain that within
the next year or two, I would lose all desire and interest to play with the
vapid plastic beauty, and, as such, felt a profound sense of loss at the
prospect. At the time, there was immense satisfaction found through investing
my time in making certain Barbie’s every outfit suited each imaginary occasion.
I mourned my impending decrease in pleasure, despite concurrently reasoning
that I would not feel sad when it actually happened. To be sure, I was aware
that people tend to stop playing with dolls when they no longer find it fun.
Still, my younger self felt a pang of sorrow for my hypothetical future loss.
At thirty-four years old, I had an existential crisis
regarding my future breakup with my love. I was certain within the next year or
two, he would lose all desire and interest to be with me, and, perhaps, the
feeling would be mutual. As such, I felt a profound sense of loss at the
prospect. At the time, there was immense satisfaction found through investing
my time in the relationship. I mourned my impending decrease in pleasure,
despite concurrently reasoning that I would not feel sad when it actually
happened. To be sure, I was aware that people tend to break up when they no
longer want to be together. Still, my younger self felt a pang of sorrow for my
hypothetical future loss.
I am here, physically, but my thoughts are usually far. My
mind easily drifts forward, spiralling through possibility. Potential outcomes
are carefully considered. Mental plans, drafted and revised, form my map to
direct my future state. I experience emotions for what is yet to perhaps not
come. Joy or sorrow, contentment or loss – physically I experience a broad
range of feelings from imagined events, which may or may not occur. It’s so
much worse this way.
It would be preferable to contain my emotional reactions to
actual occurrences. As a person of overwhelming sentimentalities, I feel it
all, and it’s exhausting. I need to break my forecasting habit. Letting go of
what’s to come will better serve me. Feeling only what’s real, that’s where to
focus. The future, uncertain, but I’m certain to be fine. I need to be - right here, right now.