maybe moment

There are no pictures from this moment.

There were no people watching, there is no concept of how it looked from afar, although I can imagine:

They would have seen you put your hand on my face, would have seen me close my eyes to feel more of your touch. They would have seen my smile.

They would have seen you pull me close, and then our laughter as we bumped heads.

They would have seen our lengthy sighs because all of the emotion needed more room, and deep breaths offered space.

They would have seen me cry because

1. I cry frequently and without hesitation

and

2. How does anyone keep all of that happiness inside?

I’m glad no one saw this moment. Even more glad that I remembered it and can write it down.

That’s the beauty of writing. Maybe this moment never happened or maybe parts of it did at different times with different people. Maybe it happened exactly like this. Do I care? Does anyone?

I love the person I am more and more each day.

I love this moment, real or fake, old or yet to come.

I am also not afraid to say, I love the thought of you in it.

“But why should I care?”

We cannot collectively socially evolve without generational wisdom. With each person born we start anew and face such similar emotional struggles as each person before. Unless we begin to honor the wisdom of those who have come before us, we will never know true progress.

Those who have been stripped of their generational wisdom have been wronged in the deepest of forms by their erasers, their oppressors. The young generations of the oppressors have a social and moral responsibility to honor and make space for those who their ancestors erased.

We are bound to those who came before us. Denying the atrocities of your ancestors is denying how you have come into being. It is not your responsibility to flog yourself for their actions; it is your responsibility to make space for the generational progress that would and should have been.

growing down

My mother tells me I was always brave.

That I would run from her safely held hand to climb trees and walls and things we passed on the street.

At first she was afraid, until she noticed my surefooted ease.

She tells me that I did not laugh or cry without good reason

And that I never spoke unless I had something important to say.

She says I did a lot of looking around and watching, learning.

That I was detail oriented about my interests.

All-consumed by passions.

I was sure of myself every step of the way.

Maybe I have some things to learn from Little Me.

What happened in this life that I am suddenly sure of nothing?

Where did I drop my courage?

What happened to the intensity with which I listened and observed?

Where is the thoughtfulness behind my words?

And why do they call it growing up when I had all the tools I needed the moment I came into this world?

to a series

This post is about my love for A Series of Unfortunate Events.

This 13 book series by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) is one of the most meaningful series I read in my young life. I remember my obsession began around third grade. Now, as it was made into a Netflix series, my admiration for the fictional world that the Baudelaires live in is brought back to my attention. I truly believe this series to be a great work of art.

When I was younger, these books gave me agency. They helped me understand that adults are not always right, and they (we) definitely do not always know what is best. These books reminded me to stay curious. To take interest in poetry, music, the arts, science, and to above all read constantly and steadily like my life depended on it. These books are, at heart, truly inspiring.

Now, as an adult in my early 20s, I am reminded of this inspiration. Even more intensely, I am reminded of the importance of kindness, of empathy, of the constant battle of trying to make the world a better place. This series makes me remember how important it is to try, desperately and without end, to always make the world a better place, even when it feels futile. These books remind me to find and work to create a strong community around me. They remind me who I want to be. I want to be curious and kind, empathetic and intelligent, strong-willed and resilient. I want to research and read, to write, to make music, to find things that inspire me and follow them down a rabbit hole to see where they take me. I want to be loving, heroic, brave, and grounded. Smart. Curious. Kind.

If I remain as these things, or at least fight to be them for the rest of my life, I will never lose myself. I must not let the darkness of the world overtake my goodness, passion, and love. I am grateful for Daniel Handler’s words, and for the world of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

 

Other books that influenced me around the same age:

Harry Potter series, His Dark Materials trilogy, Emily of a New Moon trilogy, Coraline, The Alchemist Series, Julie of the Wolves series, Each Little Bird That Sings, The Anybodies, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, Magic Treehouse Series, and many, many more . . . all deserve a post of respect if I had the time.

fear

I’m scared that I’m apathetic at heart.

I’m scared that I’m a bully to my friends.

I’m scared that I’m a bad and selfish person.

I’m scared that I’ve already found true love and left it.

I’m scared that I will never become someone truly great.

I’m scared of my strong desire to become someone truly great.

I’m scared I will live in poverty.

I’m scared I will become rich and be selfish with my money.

I’m scared that I will always feel romantically lonely.

I’m scared that romantic stability and internal, individual growth are mutually exclusive.

(I’m scared that the above is only true because I make it so)

I’m scared that I am super basic and in no way unique.

I’m scared that I’m too unique and no one will ever understand me.

I’m scared of my own inability to notice toxic people in my life.

I’m scared of trusting the wrong people and being taken advantage of, again.

I’m scared that I’m a horrible writer.

I’m scared that no one will ever like my work (what work?).

I’m scared that they will and writing will never be truly personal again.

I’m scared that people will lie and say they like it when they don’t.

I’m scared of caring SO MUCH about EVERYTHING.

I’m scared of finally settling down . . . and then freaking out and leaving.

I’m scared of being manipulated.

I’m scared of being accidentally manipulative.

I’m scared that I will never have my own family.

I’m scared that I will and it will consume all of my personal goals.

I’m scared that I can’t seem to really finish anything.

I’m scared of how hard I feel things, and how quickly it changes.

I’m scared that my fate may not be in my own hands.

I’m terrified that it could be.

 

 

 

(Previously published by Harness Magazine at http://www.harnessmagazine.com)

past the anger

Finally, finally, the anger has mostly subsided. I was waiting for this. Although it’s very easy to call to the surface if I take even a moment to think about the cowardly way you avoid difficult conversations with me.

Breathe. We won’t get into that here. I am relieved that this anger has mostly transformed into resolved sadness and even in some cases, understanding.

You never meant to hurt me with your heavy lead-on and unexpected rejection. You just haven’t yet figured out how to communicate your feelings, needs, and wants in real time. And I happen to be a heartbroken recipient of that personal avoidance. A casualty. Poor thing, you don’t mean to leave destruction in your wake. (Wait how the hell is that my fault? It’s okay for you to be horrible as long as you don’t mean to??) No. Shhh. The anger is secondary.

You said you need Friend Me now, and I am so very used to giving you the Me that you need at the time. I will do it again. Friend Me. Hmm. Who is she again? I’ve been in love with you for so long I can barely remember what she’s like. Oh I think I got it! She’s that smiling, detached but supportive Me. The one who cracks jokes and welcomes any topic of conversation during the once-every-few-months video chat. She can read you better, the one who is not in love. She sees when your face breaks into that “wow that’s right she is really cool and makes me feel good, I kinda forgot” goofy smile. That smile is addictive. It’s like a big gold medal of honor; see I am what you want!

But that seems hard now. You say you need Friend Me but what about Friend You? I don’t know . . . this gets a little messy. My friends don’t completely forget about or ignore my birthday. They also show at least mild concern when I tell them I broke my nose, and check in when I tell them how depressed I am.

This is where the resolved sadness comes in. You have not been a friend to me. The distinction between can’t and won’t no longer matters here, it is simply a truth. I don’t even know what Friend You looks like. I do know Friend Me very well though. She sends you packages, makes sure your stress levels are manageable, rearranges her schedule and drives long distances to see you. Oops, maybe this is the Me that’s in love. I’m not sure there is a difference.

Now I’m feeling embarrassed. The worst part of all is that I’m still in love with you. But maybe as I let the anger transform, so will my love. Or at least my pitiful pleasing, which sometimes (always) feels like love.

I’m not here to be angry. I’m not even here to be hurt or sad. I’m here to be done. This will not be an easy task as habits are very hard to break, but I’m showing up to do the work.

It feels exciting and good to free up this huge space in my head and heart that has been occupied by all that is you since . . . 2012? 2015? Who knows when it really started. Who cares anymore. I am going to be free from a jail of my own making! If that’s not something to smile about I don’t know what is.

I have transformed the anger but I will not ignore the gut-wrenching sadness that fills my entire stomach when I think about losing you. But it is okay, there is a lot you must lose to feel free. Besides I’m not really losing you. It’s more like . . . I’m retiring the idea of a life with you in it. I’m shoving it so far back in a corner of my consciousness that I will be able to go about my life without thinking of you. And hopefully, someday, I will forget where I put it. I will lose the thought of you.

 

 

 

(Previously published by Harness Magazine at http://www.harnessmagazine.com)

patterns

Isn’t it fun to think you’ll be The One? To grow up reading fantasy novels focused on the Chosen One, the Savior, the One Who Changes Everything?

The one who finally breaks his toxic patterns.

You stay by his side through the years, loving him unconditionally. No matter how many women you watch him hurt (he will someday grow out of that behavior). No matter how many times he callously shifts in and out of your life.

You stop everything when he comes back into your life under the pretense of reconnecting as old friends or flames: you have been both, you are both. Maybe it was only a few weeks, a few months, maybe this time it was more than a year. It doesn’t matter. In these times, you let him take everything. You let him take your time, words, love, and worst of all, thoughts. Scratch that, you give it willingly. Anything he asks for anytime he wants it, you are there to give it. It feels so good and the best part is that he loves you for it. He loves that you are always on his schedule, always there. Who wouldn’t? Reliable positive energy for years and years. And a key point is that you’re never resentful when he disappears, you never mind.

Oh but you do. You very much mind, but you let it happen in the name of steadfast reliability and unconditional loyalty. It’s your thing. You believe this to be love. You give and you give and never ask for anything in return.

Isn’t it addicting to think you’ll be The One? Isn’t it romantic? He always comes back to you, that has to mean something.

But someday, you will be unable to give without receiving. You will be spent. You will ask for more from him. It will be the wrong time and the wrong place simply because there was never going to be a right time or a right place.

You will get your heart absolutely broken.

And then sometime after, maybe weeks, maybe years, you will see that you were never The One. That there was never going to be The One because his patterns of coming and going, love and indifference, were never going to be changed by anyone but him. And really, you knew this. That’s why you were so scared to ask for anything.

You watched him treat other women this way, and then you realized he had been doing this to you too. The only variable factor that made you so special was that you put up with it. If this is true, you don’t want to be special anymore.

You now, not without difficulty, understand the disservice you were doing to yourself, and to him, by reinforcing toxic behaviors. Allowing him to take and take without giving anything in return created the unspoken affirmation of, “I allow you to treat me badly. I will love you anyway. I will never leave, no matter how I am treated.”

When you stop allowing this, when you alter the way your relationship has been working in false harmony for years, he will be indignant. He will be angry. I mean you are the one that’s changing everything, taking away something you have been giving freely for years.

You will be confused and sad, but not forever. You will focus on the love you are already receiving. You will make space for healthy relationships.

If you love someone, you must hold them accountable for their actions. In this instance, loving accountability equates to the painful reality of being able to finally say goodbye.

 

 

(Previously published by Harness Magazine at http://www.harnessmagazine.com)