the ache in wide open space, begging to be filled. The beating drums of reality resonating off the damaged walls and bouncing from the other side. Loud and echoing and obnoxious in its volume. the silence deafening in the background and the inbetween. one being rocking against a cracked corner, hands unable to shield the sound that leaves bleeding ears and shaking limbs. so small in this space so vast, the other side can’t be seen. Just ache and emptiness and fullness all at once. Bones rejecting the melody of pain, muscles strapped from the scrape of soul escaping the body and running for cover. A mind, barely able to concentrate on thought, desperately trying to develop a plan of escape and only barely able to focus on survival alone.
it is the depths I fear. Traveling the road ahead that leads me to all the places I do not wish to visit, but know I must stop at on my way. To gather supplies for my journey and to meet with demons I have known before. So I stepped forward through knotted vines and held splitting bark on my way to my first stop. my footing lost so many times. I struggled for balance as my head spinned and fear pulsed louder than my words of self comfort. But I stretched and pulled until I found the small cottage in the woods with the smoking chimney and broken door. Promising easy entry and zero safety. I entered with a knock, not even knowing if an answer would be had, but certain i had to enter. The shallow breath behind the door cracked it slightly for me, my fear lightening as I realized this demon feared me more than I feared her. She shriveled under long stringy, unkept hair, falling over her face, shadowing her eyes that never dared look at mine. Her full gown of tattered cotton told me stories of a life seeking comfort and warmth, yet finding harm and leaving these missions battered and worn and worse for the experience. her shoulders hunched from years of carrying a weight her frame was never meant to support. her hands hard and cracked and still somehow fragile and gentle. She shuffled with an uncertainty and a distrust that made me wish to sweep her up and hug her, but I knew she would never know how to receive my gift. So I followed slowly, leaving a distance to allow her safety, towards the warmth of the hearth I know she prepared special for me in anticipation of my arrival. I smelled the sage and bay leaves she added, and appreciated that she cared for me in that way. I let her sit first, her body fallen onto a pillow on the floor, knees to chest. Handing me a soft blanket, she wrapped one around herself, leaving just her face exposed (if shaded in hair truly counts as exposed) in hopes she could tranform into nothingness to avoid being seen. I know this well. So I let her silence fill the room and mix with my own, and our bond grew in energy and without words to pressure the moments. The more time we spent there, the more I understood what I was there for. To see her when she hid. To value her when she wanted nothing more than to disappear into the background. To love her when she couldnt find the love for herself. I spent the entire night there. To avoid the treacherous road in the dark and to enjoy the tranquility that only staring into a fire can provide. I felt safe inside, even with a door that refused to do its job, but I didn’t want to leave her alone there. I handed her my bag, an offer to add some things and travel with me. She looked down and softly shook her head in reluctant refusal. I understood. I was no more ready to spend that kind of time with her than she was me. I rose up to leave, and I saw her eager lips part to speak, but she quickly caught herself. I knew her need to speak quick and frantic, to tell of all her emotion without a thought of how it would be received. And her remembrance that it usually ended with her feeling ashamed and embarrassed, and the receiver of her words smiling softly as they struggled to find kind words to say good bye. She simply grabbed my hand and squeezed, refused the return of the blanket I had come to depend upon for false protection, and opened the door for me. We avoided looking at each other, both crying. As I walked, I heard all she wished to say as whispers in the wind. She want to know love. She wanted to feel worthy of love. She hated herself for having need and for the times she spoke of those needs. The shame she felt around being too much and thus not good enough. For wanting attention. For needing affection. For wishing for loving hands and affectionate eyes. For feeling selfish when being disappointed by reluctant embraces and hard stares. Her words flowed from the winds through my veins in perfect connection, chilling me to the bone with the feelings of neglect and lack and not good enough. I cried them back out. I tried. But so much remained, scratching my insides, sandpaper and grits, painful and constant. I begged her to stop. I promised to meet her again. I meant it. I assured her it was not good bye, but I was tired from a day and night of no sleep and dangerous travel, and the emotions she was drawing were cutting, and making movement difficult. She wished me well, as I felt her pull back into hiding. I missed her presence immediately, but knew I had to let her go for now.
It’s all passing by. Temporary. Nothing timeless, but not limited by or ruled by the guidelines of time either.
So how can I let them know me? Curious as to how many times I’ve done this before. Kept out others. What is brave in that? All of the strength I used in building the impenetrable wall around me, I could have spent finding the dark places. The spaces I don’t always want to visit myself. Remembering. But I remember so little of it. Just plowed right through it all and called myself a survivor. But what did I survive if I never felt the experience? If I was too busy thinking ahead to put energy into yesterday? But in my mad rush for the next adventure, i missed the opportunity to come back to myself. To recognize myself in the mirror. For my body to again match my spirit. For my soul to recognize its mission. But instead, I ran to some finish line that never existed. And with those experiences, went my memories. My stories escape me.
If I could swirl back around and travel the path one more time, I’d stick around more. I’d pick a spot after a troublesome day and sit with it all. I don’t know that I’d change much. The trials were meant to be felt. I have to believe they still created me.
I wish I had taken more time to ease into this truth. But I did as with everything else, I jumped into it. But this time, I vowed to be with this truth. Feel what needed to be felt and be with the story until it told the hidden details of itself.
I was told that I am too closed by someone I spent half my life with. I used to feel he didn’t know me at all. He argues I never let him. I believe this to be my truth. I didn’t. I knew him. I need to know everyone I get close to. I want to know their stories without offering mine, to see their soul and judge their intentions. I wear emotions like a necklace for everyone to gaze at, yet my words stick in my throat. My truth is mine and shared with so few. And so little shared with the rest that it’s nothing more than an image that they thought they may have seen. Nothing more than a half story drawn in the sand.
and I stay quiet
Somewhere along the way I’ve learned not to say a word.
That my voice falls unworthy on holy ears and my truth is unwelcome in its need.
That it is bothersome and requires too much. Its presence leaving a thick trail of requirements in its wake.
Requirements that never wish to be fulfilled. a burden and a weight that ultimately gets dropped behind a fleeing soul that does not want to carry any additional pressure.
And so I pick it back up, placing it quickly back into my shoulder bag, ridden with guilt and shame over having shared a need that was mine to bear.
hoping I would learn this time. Until I don’t again.
But until I don’t, I stay quiet.
It was never yours to take from me
Yet I gave it all away
Every last morsel of what was mine
And when resentment sets in and the anger beats with my heart, pulsing flush across my face
Know that it is not you I blame
You could only take what I offered
You stole nothing
But I yearn to have it back
To give you something else instead
Something of myself that you have not had before
But I realize you want the gifts I already gave
And do not appreciate me trying to snatch them back in the dark of night
Or negotiate a trade during the heat of anger
I know these gifts are your only security
Those gifts I gave you
Left me without a shell of protection
I had to create another
But not willing to make the same mistake twice, I keep this one to myself
So I don’t allow you entrance
I can not bring myself to give up the little parts of me that I have found along the way
I add those to the discarded parts that you’ve rejected and hide them away for later
I began to rebuild under this new shell
But as I grow, this new home is suffocating, and irritation is the unfortunate consequence
I place that burden unfairly on you, I know
But I also know that if I break this shell
If I retain what is my whole
If I do not give up anything that causes you discomfort
You will not recognize me anymore
And you will not love what hides under this shell
That space that occupies time that you did not notice existed
That waits for no one and takes mercy upon none
The place where dreams are too distant to trust, and reality is too painful to believe
Where hopes lie with no real belief in their potential
Words are spoken that need to be for peace, not that must
Where truth is held hostage, and concession is given a voice
Where a pure love is a wish upon a star, and the draining energy of the environment crushes it deeper into stone
Where it becomes impossible to tell what love is supposed to look like anymore
Everything that once made sense no longer does
Every piece of knowledge is subject to inquisition, and there is no trust upon what once was truth
Can love exist as something so different to two separate souls?
Where is the point of cooperation, where the two begin to resemble one another?
What does it mean if they continue along parallel paths, never touching?
What if convergence happens? Will they mold into one seamless and beautiful stream?
Or repel to opposite ends of the universe?
This is the space
Where nothing seems possible, and it is easier to ignore its presence
Until it catches those very souls off guard and forces time to slow down while they see what they have created
And they close their eyes and wait for the moment to pass
I received a visit from disappointment today
Unannounced, unwanted, uninvited
No call to see if I was up for company or in the mood to entertain
Just nails scratching my door demanding I show up and accept the awkward gift of his surprise visit
Creeping in through the space I made when I cracked the door to see who was so obnoxiously announcing their presence
Slipping in under the chain lock, not needing much space to force entry into my previously comfort zone
Smirking as the pressure mounted and I couldn’t find the breath that connects me to my truth
Laughing as the wave of anger drowned my confidence and took the ground from under my feet
Whispering in my ear as I swam as quickly as I could to escape; proof that I was no match for his pace
Tiring quickly, the need to stop overwhelming
So I drop, and I wait for the wave to pass, for my breath to return
When I just release – for the love of peace and all things tranquil and serene.
On those occasions when I remember that I am fine where I am.
That my place is right here at this very moment in time, the hands of the world clock placed me here.
When I stop plowing through my world.
Destination in mind, peripheral vision a complete blur.
Missing every scene in my life, as it’s distorted lines fly by me to merge with my past.
Maybe it takes too much work to be here
To stop, to look, to calm the mind of what needs to be done, what deadline looms
So I plow and run and shove and reach, spending each moment involved in something, anything that will sufficiently waste my time, typically a way in which I later look at with regret
Always yearning to feel like I accomplished something, burning for the precious feeling of contentment, of completeness, if I just do one more senseless act I will be whole…
Yet how many accomplishments must come and go. My target always set on my next accomplishment before I have reached the last.
It is not now, nor has it ever been, simply seeking an accomplishment. No, it never has been.
See the vision in my head – the dream – is to reach the destination. To sit with a warm cup of tea and cozy blanket, big socks and a fuzzy sweatshirt.
Soak it all in, the goal reached, the pride, the love, the gratitude to the universe for allowing me to always do more than I think I am capable of.
But there is no rest upon a creaky porch swing, wondering where the free birds roam and what they have seen. No time spent beneath the tree as it whispers it’s stories of harsh winters passed and it’s perfect view of rebirths.
No, because I just keep running on to the next, afraid to stop
Fearful of what I will miss, what I should be, what I should do
So I neglect what I am missing, what I am, and what I am here to do.
And in reaching these goals, I find, I stop reaching for the bigger ones. The ones that will make me feel fulfillment, and I fill my time with senseless, useless pursuits of false happiness.
So today, as I run and rush and hustle, I will do so aware that if I must fly by the beauty this moment provides, it had better be for good. No wasting time with the unimportant, no…it must serve my soul. It must touch my heart, it must call to me like my wolf pack screaming in need in the heat of the night leaving me no choice but to answer.
If it does not, I will be aware. And if I do not listen to my call, whether it be for quiet contemplation or saving the world, I will do so fully aware that I am choosing nonsense above my soul.
Every moment is a choice. Even when we do not like to admit it.
The waves of life instantly fall to darkness.
The waters treacherous.
The only question is whether to watch as the waves pound the deck,
Threatening with every drip the imminent sinking that it intends to deliver.
Promising destruction and devastation.
Testing to see if you have the guts to watch or will cower and run for cover.
Either way, the result will be the same.
It’s just how you will go down.
Still fighting and hoping,
Or crying, scrunched up in a ball, water rising inch by inch up a shaking, terrified body.
Watch every wave.
If it is going to sink you, you watch it, and you make it watch you.
Do not fall easily to the ground and cover your wounded face so it can throw blows to your back.
Watch it. Let it see your pain. Let it see your tears.
Allow your tears to warm it’s cold blows to your heart.
No. If you are going down, have your eyes wide open.
And even if you know you have limited time, spend it preparing your survival.
Just in case.
Just in case the sun fights back,
Jamming its way through the darkness, calming the waves.
Just in case.
Just in case the waves remember how much they truly loved carrying you.
How much they would miss the taste of your tears.
Just in case.
Just in case you still want to float along the open sea.
Just in case you find you desperately want to plant your feet back on solid ground.
Just in case you find you have a choice.
When you think you might be broken. A million unreachable paths laid out before you. None of them make a bit of sense. None of them offer comfort. Nothing familiar appears at the entrance to any of them. So you spin out of control, trying to decide. You turn and turn until your world turns into a dizzy mess before your eyes. You have no direction. You can not stop, but you have no idea how to start. So you spin and spin and hope with all your heart that someone will just come rescue you, and tell you that you can stop…they will guide you. You are fine. You don’t have to be scared. You will be led.
But no one is coming for you. In fact, you will be leading this expedition. There will be people depending on you. And you are not prepared to guide. No, you ae not even prepared to stop and chose a path. None look promising, ominous clouds covering everything in sight. You are not ready to guide this exploration to better days, and you have no way.
You…I. I. I will leave my heart there in the swirling mess of chaos I leave behind. I will pick a road, any road, the one ahead when my eyes clear up and my vision returns. Any old road. And I will travel it. Carrying the load I must, dragging behind me what remains of my world, and just walk. Slowly. Quickly. It really doesn’t matter, so long as I go where I fear. So long as I drag my feet forward when my knees want to buckle. So long as I know that there is only one chance I have at survival – trust. Trust that everything is what it was meant to be. Trust that I am where I am meant to be. Trust that this is my path…even if it feels foreign.