Monday, July 9, 2018

“One of the greatest barriers to empathy is the fear of saying the wrong thing or the need to make everything better. Let me go on record as saying (putting you at ease a little bit, hopefully) that when someone has experienced something very traumatic - a significant loss - there’s nothing you can say to make it better. All you can do is to be with people in that space. So if all you can come up with is, ‘I don’t know what to say. I just know that I want to be with you in this. I don’t know how to make it better. I just know that I’m dying inside to make it better. I want to help.’ What we all need when we’re in struggle is the ability for other people to look us in the eye, to be with us, to embrace us, and to be willing to be with us.”

-Brene Brown

All the What-If's are blooming in her head and that's how I know I am very tired.
When I was fifteen, I sat in the passenger seat of your car. I always try to remember what car you were driving but I can't remember any of the details except the leather was the color of sand. You are smoking a cigarette and your sunglasses are grey and reflective. If I look at them through the rearview mirror, I can see the traffic chasing us. I am fifteen and I can't decide if I hate you, if I feel sorry for you or if I am just very simply angry with you. I don't know what I am expecting from you. I don't know if I am expecting an explanation that is too grandiose to grasp, or if I am wanting an apology that will beg me to forgive you even though I am not the one to give you forgiveness.

Your voice is impatient with me, I can feel the exasperation, I can feel the sharpness of you when you tell me what to expect from men in my life. You bestow it upon me as if it is a gift; you are giving me the greatest piece of knowledge I could ever receive in my life. Only you could make a curse sound like a treasure. I suddenly feel like the smoke from your cigarette is choking me and I need air. I roll down the window, I take a deep breath and feel the wind whip through my hair. I wish the wind could take away the words you just gave to me. I look at you, not looking at me and wonder how so much of me is you and how much I wish I could give you all the good parts of me.

There will be more moments like this and there will be times where I am crying too hard to keep hearing your voice over the telephone so I hand it to Mom where she tells you in a very steely voice that is one octave below a growl, "Leave her alone." Sometimes my anger with you bubbles over until it explodes into an orchestra of noise and my voice rises and rises until suddenly, we are in competition of who can make their truth the loudest. And after the dial tone echoes in my ear, all that I am left with is a deep shame. How did we get here? You are my blood but water is thicker. There will be other times where I wonder if you could be who you are supposed to be for me, so we meet at a Starbucks where we awkwardly catch up on each other's lives and you ask me questions that ask for answers you should already know. Sometimes you act like you know me better than you do, and sometimes I am grateful for this but other times it leaves me feeling heavy and foggy headed. Sometimes you tell me you love me and sometimes I say it back, even though we both know it's half hearted. Sometimes you make me laugh until my stomach hurts and sometimes I look at you and wonder if we could start over. Sometimes I think I am willing to erase the past because Mom is so strong, Mom is happy, Mom put together the million cracked pieces you left behind and you are just a memory to her. Sometimes there are times I look at her and I look at Ethan and I find it so difficult to forgive you because I feel my heart break for the both of them. There are so many 'sometimes' with you but I learn to find my way to the other side.

My birthday passed without a text from you. I noticed but I didn't find myself surprised. I wondered if you felt the same when it was your birthday or Father's Day and there was silence from me. There came a time where I decided I respected you enough to be nothing to you. I realized this as I stood in front of a mirror, my eyes puffy and red with my eye make up smudged with my heart broken because I thought I loved someone and that someone loved me but that was just a charade we were both playing. I looked at myself and witnessed a reflection of you. I saw your nose, I saw your cupid's bow. I saw you. I can't hate you and love myself. I see you in Ethan all the time. I hear it in his voice, I see it in the way he carries himself and I feel it in how intelligent he is. I see you in the parts I admire the most about him. I can't hate you and love him. I look at Mom and my heart fills with gratitude and tenderness towards her and I am thankful that she showed me I can be strong by myself, that a life of being true to your heart is better than living in a shadow, and that there is a deep strength in believing in yourself when your faith in everything else is wavering. I can't hate you and be so proud and admiring of who she is. It is because of you.

Sometimes I smell whiffs of your cologne as I am walking out of a gas station, or when I am walking in the middle of a grocery store. Sometimes I look back and half expect that it's you even though it is impossible. Sometimes I take it as a sign that I need to reach out to you, I need you to know that I am still here and maybe there is still a chance, but that feeling dissipates as quickly as it comes. Those long stretches of silence continues to settle between us. I'm older now, I'm twenty nine years old and there is so much about me you do not know. You do not know my saddest moments, you do not know what my favorite color is, you do not know what makes me laugh, and you do not know how much I still believe in love.

You do not know that now, when I think of you, I think of the man who used to let her and her brother stay up way past their bedtimes, so they could share a bowl of strawberries and Cool Whip as the summer heat enveloped them. You do not know that this is how I am choosing to remember you now. Not because I have forgotten but because this is the way I chose to grieve what was and what will never be.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

"This is why blind Orpheus praises love and why love gouges out our eyes and why all lovers smell their way to Dover. That is why innocence has so much to account for, why Venus appears least saintly in the attitudes of shame. This is lost children and the deep sweetness of the pulp, a blue thrumming at the formed bone, river, flame, quicksilver. It is not the fire we hunger for and not the ash. It is the still hour, a deer come slowly to the creek at dusk, the table set for abstinence, windows full of flowers like summer in the provinces vanishing when the moon’s half-face pallor rises on the dark flax line of the hills."

-Robert Hass

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"The importance of touch is that it places you. It is the medium of the articulation of a relationship. Touch yields two different senses–that of connection and that of separateness. It makes for a sense of oneness … as well as for a sense of difference. One thing is sure: if we are not touched, we might begin to suspect that we are not here."

- Kathleen Woodword, from Aging and its Discontents (Indiana University Press, 1991)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"— for love like mine can never be gotten over."

-Edgar Allan Poe

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"You loved a man who treated you like absinthe, half poison and half god."

-Clementine von Radics

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Do you lose your temper easily? I don’t on the whole, but when I do, I really feel closer to God than at other times."

Franz Kafka

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"She glows. 
Her heavy strands of black hair slide / Like serpents over somber, blood-red plush. / She stands there as a rose within the night. / The dark-red rose so deep within the night."

Gertrud Kolmar

Saturday, August 19, 2017

“I HAVE A FANTASY DREAM PERSON. He’s a writer—a novelist. He dresses like a writer would, with cozy clothes. And he works out every day. He’s fit. He can walk for miles and he’s not vain. He absolutely adores me. He’s really pleased that I like traveling and gallivanting too. See, he doesn’t like going out; he can’t because he has to write all the time. When I come in at 2 AM and I’m really drunk, he makes sure that I get to bed (he was still up, working of course). He makes sure I have a glass of water and some aspirin. Then when I dream and wake up in the middle of the night, he writes down my dream so I don’t forget it. In the morning, he wakes me up and asks me, “So what happened last night? Did you have a good time?” And I tell him what happened.“

-Tracey Emin