the dying green foliage wraps the mountain like a torn and tattered blanket. beneath–dry dusty earth. above–a sky so utterly bright and blue that it looks as phony as those catchpenny paintings sold to suckers on the boardwalk. another day in paradise. sameness and soullessness masquerading as niceness.
Helios’ beggarly voice (can you not hear him begging for your gratitude?!) does not drown out the whispers of extinction. i will not pray to you. shameless thief–this is not your season! i will hunt you down, plunge this pen into your belly and drag it up toward your throat. i will take the hot sticky mess that spills out of you, lay it on a stone and pray for rain. a humble rain that will not shame me. a rain to which i will grant my gratitude freely.
look away for a second (I know how badly you wish to gaze at your worshipers) and i will murder you while wearing a smile. i will be here waiting…
I feel a sweet drowsy sadness. The kind that wants a hug but also space for thoughtfulness.
I said goodbye to my therapist today. Perhaps not forever, but for now. We were in agreement that I had taken a lot in over a relatively short period and that I was integrating it into my life.
We talked a bit about the changes we saw in me. He told me I was a beautiful human and I expressed my appreciation for him. Then we watched hummingbirds through the window and talked about them and the branches and the flowers. Somehow this seemed like a perfect ending—a metaphor for how we were together: quiet, wise, observant, sensitive, soulful.
I know this is the right thing for me but it’s never easy to say goodbye. The kid in me is saying that I need to cling to him; he believes that the therapist fills his emptiness. The kid is too young to realize that he was but a loving guide who helped me do it myself. Oh yes, the kid is having an anxious cry now. He’s afraid. He’ll be okay—I’ll tend to him.
All grief deserves time and sweetness even if life doesn’t always allow for it. I think of all the clients, therapists and friends and lovers I have said goodbye to over my life and my heart expands. Unfortunately this is all the time I have to grieve today. Responsibility calls and I need to set the grief aside for a while.
To think is to stray from the truth.
Solitude is real. Loneliness is something I think my way into.
Anger is real. Thoughts turn it to hatred.
Love is real. Thoughts convince me I should cling to it.
This emptiness I feel is a flimsy lie built by thought. I will not allow it to stand between me and a strong beating heart.
It hurts to write this because it is taking me away from gazing at the world.
Reasons are exhausting and I am weary of being weary.
Sometimes I feel compelled to write even when I have nothing to say. It has become a way of conversing with myself and not allowing my solitude to transform into loneliness.
I am slightly less interested in what people have to say about me even when I am open and full of love. I don’t feel like being dug into; I want to dig here on this blog or while I look out the window. I currently resent therapy for the way it forces me to explore at a designated time and hour. The healing power of being witnessed currently means less to me.
I used to dream of finding a good interpersonal therapy group where now that sounds like a nightmare. I do not wish to receive feedback by anyone other than my small handful of loved ones.
In my history I have used retreat, avoidance and collapse as a way of coping. But I know that my current desire to flee therapy and to speak less is not avoidance because my heart sees beauty everywhere. I feel so much love. That is not collapse—those are signs of being fully alive.
Some would say I am not really living if I’m not traveling or in a partnership or if I don’t have children or attend social gatherings (or at least the voices I have internalized would). But I get more out of a walk to a bad restaurant than many do after a weekend in Paris. And I have more sensuality and romance in my “lonely” life than many couples have in theirs.
I realize now that the flip side of my trauma is that it forced me to learn to be with myself. And I’m tired of fighting that. My heart remains open to change but for now I would like to look out my window or have quiet coffee time with a friend who knows me even when I do not speak.
This desire for quiet retreat and quiet company is not a way of avoiding life: it’s a way of feeling alive.
If I am to be alone then I would like to be so with grace. I do not wish to be bitter and angry. I want my heart to get bigger; to grow increasingly attuned to beauty.
My romance will be with The Mundane. I will fall in love with dandelions peaking through cracked sidewalks; warm expressions that soften hardened faces; the steady sound of passing cars; shadows that dance on hardwood floors…
I will find beauty in the everydayness that many find boring. And my attraction will be all the more precious to me for that reason.
I reach with my fingers to turn the page of the book, my thumb on one side of the page, my index and middle finger on the other. I close my eyes and rub my thumb in small circular motions—the paper feels soft and yet subtly coarse. It is a comforting, familiar feeling and one I have enjoyed since childhood.
When the trauma takes a backseat in my life I become more aware of my blessings as well as my longings. Feeling the paper reminds me that I am a sensual person. I am grateful for the way this connects me to the world and sad that I cannot directly share my sensuality with anyone.
In this moment what I am missing is not sex, but the reciprocal expression of sensuality. I remember how lovely it was to explore her body with my fingers. It was a form of creative expression on a living breathing canvas. Her breath, her smile, her laughter—her entire nervous system—guided my brush strokes.
I smile as I write this, as the memories of it flood back to me. I cry as well. I am grateful to have so much in my life and I’m sad that something so essential is missing.
I take a bite of my apple. It’s a lovely and satisfying balance of sweet and tart. Another bite: my teeth puncture the peel. I watch the juice drip between my thumb and index finger. I lick that part of my hand and taste how saltiness of my skin mixes with the flavors of the apple.
This will have to do.
Tears are streaming down your face. You’re feeling that inborn loneliness that you wonder if you’ll ever be free of.
I lean my shoulder against the wall and watch you sob. You wonder aloud, without the slightest hint of drama, if the loneliness will kill you. My heart beats calmly but solidly. I watch you with a love that you don’t notice and that I fear you would misunderstand.
I pull a box of tulsi tea from my cupboard and show it to you. This is your tea. I made space in the cupboard for you. I know my home isn’t much—generic white walls made of cheap plaster; the smell of mildewy gym clothes and five dollar shower soap. But there is love here. And it is a place that understands loneliness.
I make your tea and we walk over to my sofa and sit down. You continue to cry. You say you can’t emote but you’ve been crying since you arrived. I get it: depressed, shutdown, lonely and numb—you were hungry for a witness.
You asked for my face—“a face” to be more precise. Here it is. And were you to look up you might notice that it is full of love and appreciation. It’s too painful to take in. I don’t have or want the power to make you drink. I’ll set the tea down whenever you’re thirsty. How much you drink will always be up to you.
It’s time for you to depart—I have plans with another friend. I thank you for reaching out and letting me share these precious moments. You smile and say you’re hungry. You look melancholy and relaxed. I sense that you will disappear for a while. I’ll put your tea back in the cupboard.