Eulogy [prologue]

It was one of the most intimate moments we’d ever shared.

I forget what I was in line for.  I guess I had tuned out all the other people.  I do that sometimes – the noise and the buzzing feeling I get in social situations lead me to focus on something else, something smaller, less loud.  Staring at a penny that looked like it might be glued to the ground by my foot, hands in my pockets, I waited in the line.

All of a sudden someone brushed up against me.  Not like when a stranger passes by and grazes an elbow, more like when you back yourself into a wall.  Only this time the wall had backed into me.  Someone was behind me, someone big.  I could feel them, their warmth covered me like a blanket.  Hands – rougher than mine and calloused – slid into my pockets behind my own.  A head rested itself on my shoulder.  I could feel a bit of stubble on the side of my face, hot breath next to my cheek.

It was sweet, not salacious.  It was familiar, and I knew it was you without having to turn around.  What I didn’t know was why it was you.  Why were you there, standing in line with me – with me and in the middle of all these other people?  It didn’t make any sense, and I thought about questioning it but stopped myself.  It didn’t need to make sense.  I’d ask questions later.  For now, I just wanted to stand here staring at a glued-down penny, your big rough hands nestled behind mine in the deep pockets of my overalls, your head on my shoulder.

We didn’t talk. The line didn’t move.  The wind didn’t blow, the birds didn’t sing.  Nothing happened and at the same time, everything happened. We stood there together, me with you and you with me, hands in pockets.

A millisecond later I was startled awake by the loud creaking of my bedroom windowsill.  These windows get to complaining whenever there’s a thunderstorm like the one tonight. It’s hot and raining heavy and the wood is moving around under the pressure.

I smiled at the absurdity of that moment.

A finger-snap ago I had been happy, in a sunny place feeling warm and secure, and just as I’d begun to thank my lucky stars or guardian angels or whoever was in charge of this sort of thing, I had been jerked back.  Back to a cold lonely bedroom on a rainy night, back to lonely insecure darkness. Back to what was real.

It was one of the most intimate moments we’d ever shared, and it was a dream.

This is the nature of us.

 

Instagram

I am losing hope.

I feel disfigured

Disgusting

Unsuccessful

Untalented

Betrayed

Stupid

Sad

Tired

Mostly tired.

Hashtag: good vibes only.

Conditioned

Lady and the Tramp

Is the first time

I remember being told

That the guy

(From the wrong side of the tracks)

Has a heart of Gold.

 

Next was Johnny Castle –

(A classic example)

of

The nobility of blind love.

And I think about them and

I wonder:

If this is why my mom went under

So many times?

 

The guy who would drink

And pull her around

(by her hair)

With all his affairs –

He nearly broke her.

 

And the man she married (twice)

He played so nice,

Smiling, and smiling,

Snorted our inheritance.

(At least he never hit us.)

 

We moved so much,

New schools, new houses

(Mouses)

That big wooden mansion

The creaky door

Frigid nights lying on a cold floor

Crying.

 

Is this love or is this dying?

Why do they feel the same?

 

I write about love so much,

(And inside me it’s all twisted)

An abstract, a theory

Sewn together with earthworms

And memories that feel like

Delusions.

 

What I have learned,

What I have earned

Is at least the certainty

That

 

Love does not mean pain,

It doesn’t scream or steal or lie

And many times

You can love someone and

Still walk away

Because it’s wrong –

(The side of the tracks you’re on,)

And no one is singing

There is no happy ending,

So you go.

 

(So I go.)

 

A Toast.

To the ones we’ve lost

To the ones we’ve loved

To the ones who left us

And a nod to all the rest.

To the one with deep sea eyes

And thunderstorm laugh

Whose bloody red heart

Is inside my chest:

Happy New Year.

Don’t fuck it up.

xo

He Was Wearing a Red Shirt

I had the worst dream of my life last night.

In all my 39 years I have never experienced a dream like that one.  I hope I never will again.  Give me demons, give me suffocation, give me any of the other dreams that have scared me awake in the past.  I’ll take them gladly, in exchange for this one.

I woke up choking on my own sobs, absolutely breaking down in my bed, somewhere in the middle of consciousness.  When I finally looked up and realized I was in my room, I cried louder but this time they were big, hot tears of gratitude and relief.

It was only a dream? I walked over and checked on my kids, placing a hand on each one to feel them breathing.  I sighed.  I stood up and paced around fora while.

In my understanding, dreams are not just thoughts we have while sleeping. They are another level of consciousness, an alternate reality.  In sleep we travel to the dimensions we cannot reach when we are awake.  Dreams represent the subconscious mind, intuition, possibility, and the unknown realms.  Sometimes they offer solutions, sometimes they offer us greater insight into ourselves.  Sometimes they destroy things in us that need to be destroyed, and that we are resistant to releasing, in order to move us forward towards our highest selves.

Consider me moved.

Recorded in my dream journal for future exploration, or maybe just to get it out of my head.  It could have easily been real, and I will always be grateful for the moment I woke up.

 

 

 

Inked

If you got a tattoo

For me

What would it be?

My eyes? My nose?

A beautiful rose?

No…

I think it must be

A star, or better

A whole constellation

Yes that’s what it will be

A constellation on fire!

More permanent

Than ink

Than a supernova

Than me or you,

Ancient

Ignited

Eternal

Within, without,

Above, below

Primal, ethereal

True.

So would you?

Still Life [version 1]

She grew up here, in this garden.

Rooted in the soil, watered by the rain and heated by the sun.  Not nourished by the sun, exactly, as she had never been brave enough to expose herself to its light.  Not refreshed by the rain, exactly, since she never let it touch her face. But this was fine.  This was life.

She was a tightly closed bud with delicate yellow petals, and even shut into herself like this, she was a wonder to behold. Every day people walked by the garden on their way to – she didn’t know where – and sometimes they’d stop and look at all the flowers and plants.  Their eyes were always drawn to her, because she was tall and graceful and otherworldly.  Still, they could not truly see her, as she remained tightly shut, afraid to let in the light.

One day, a man stopped on the sidewalk to peruse the flowers, as people often did.  He noticed her like all the rest before him, for she was tall and graceful and otherworldly.  But he didn’t just look at her and walk away.  Curious and inspired, he knelt gracefully beside the garden, leaned his face over her, and began to whisper in a voice so low that only she could hear.

He told her she was lovely – a treasure, if truth be told.  He told her she was a gift too precious to stay so tightly shut.  He told her she was unique, and he had never known another like her.  He told her it was safe to look upon the sunlight – that even though it might seem scary to expose her true self, the risk would be worth it.

When he was satisfied with all he had said, the man stood up, brushed the dirt off his hands, and walked away.

She – the tightly closed bud with delicate yellow petals – stood tall and motionless, but the man and his remarks touched her deeply.  His words echoed in the raindrops that fell heavy and loud over the garden that night.

The next morning, she decided to face her fears, and she began to stretch out her long, lovely petals. For the first time she felt a bit of the sun’s warmth inside her and she knew she could never be shut again.

Over the course of the day the beautiful yellow flower opened herself completely to the bright sun above.  She allowed herself to be vulnerable.  She allowed herself to be brave.  In doing so, she revealed her nearly indescribable beauty to the world around her, and she made it a better place.  People now stopped to photograph the garden and several of them gasped at the ethereal, glittering light that seemed to radiate out from the tips of her petals.  She was happier than she had ever been.

She had bloomed.

A few more days went by and the once tightly closed bud, who was now a fully realized golden garden goddess, began to notice some changes in herself.  Her leaves were drooping a bit, her petals sagging and falling off.  She knew what was happening, but she hadn’t expected it to happen so quickly.  Just as she was pondering her newly wilting countenance, she felt the cool of a shadow over her.  It was the kind stranger who had awakened her days earlier, come to whisper to her once more.

Ever so gently he leaned down and again spoke in a voice that only she could perceive.

He told her she was lovely, but more than that, she was brave.  He told her that her courage had transformed the world.  He pointed out that ladybugs, bees, and butterflies had been attracted to her radiant aura, her honey-like scent.  He told her about the crowds of people who had come to see her.  He told her he had painted a most incredible portrait of her and he thanked her for her gift.

When he was satisfied with all he had said, the man stood up, brushed off his hands, and walked away again.

By nightfall, the beautiful flower had wilted completely to the ground.  She lay there, cool in the dirt, and pondered her long life shut away from the sun – and her short but glorious time under its rays.  It was worth it, she knew.

She had been closed off for so long, until a magnanimous stranger simultaneously enlivened and doomed her.  His near-silent, secret whispers had provoked her to the edge of her greatest fears.  He had introduced her to the sun.  Oh! – the hot, beaming, delicious sunlight – and how it playfully danced and glided over her magnificent petals.  That was her favorite part.

She prepared herself for the slow and peaceful fading back down into the earth that had born her, and she considered the irony that in destroying herself she had finally learned what it was to live.

Her life had not been the garden, or the breeze, or the people walking by or even in how long she stood there, afraid and tightly shut.  No, all of that was simply existing.  For the tightly closed bud with the beautiful yellow petals, the meaning of life – and the measure of it, too – was in the blossoming.

Choose the Wolf.

The dialogue in New Moon when Bella tells Jacob, “I’m not like a car you can fix. I’m never going to run right.”

Every woman has felt that/thought that/said that.

Especially when presented with a choice in partner who is the antithesis to a former abusive partner. A partner who is kind, generous, unassuming. Who doesn’t raise his voice or play mind games. A partner who seems to genuinely listen. Who laughs at her jokes and remembers the name of her favorite movie and brings her flowers for no reason.

No reason. But there has to be a reason.

She searches his romantic gestures for explanation because she’s never had love without lies, without strings, without a catch.

Being face to face with a person who is solid, who is good, it’s startling. It is uncharted territory. It’s for someone else, because someone that great could not truly love someone like us. Suddenly we see with clarity just how dysfunctional our previous partnerships were.

In the movie, Bella chooses Edward. Edward, who crushed her spirit, who left her in pieces on the floor.

It was Jacob who healed her, who brought life back to her empty shell of a body, who pointed her towards the sun on the grayest of days. When she called to him, he came. Always. He was faithful and loyal and true.

She chose to spend her (eternal) life with a man who broke her.

Why am I writing about this? Because it’s on tv right now and I just watched Bella say those words to Jacob and it struck me how similar this is to real life. I’m annoyed by the romanticized abuse, the willful walk towards pain, narcissism, sadness.

So many women (men, too, I suppose) choose the love they think they deserve instead of the one the actually DO deserve – the one that will allow them to become their best selves alongside a partner who nurtures and encourages them.

I want to say to everyone reading this: You deserve a Jacob. Someone warm and understanding who treats you like the treasure you are. Do not settle for an Edward just because he’s pretty or it hurts to let him go. Better it hurt once, for now, than every day, for the rest of your life.

Given a choice between a vampire and a werewolf, always choose the wolf.

Echo

Sending little notes

Emotional bread crumbs

Into the ether

Straining eyes and ears

For the slightest response

As if a ghost –

A vapor –

Might take the bait

And, hearing my words,

Whisper them back.

Goodnight

I want to die an old woman

Smirking in her sleep

Dreaming about all the rules I broke

All the hearts, too.

I want to have been several women

By then,

Having lived myriad lives

The thought of dying only saddens me

When I think

Of disappointing myself.