so what if he dies

Love, soulfood

The best thing that ever happened to me was that my grandmother, my best friend, my confidant, my hero, died when I was 19 years old.

I was gobsmacked by the reality that just like that poof your entire world can crumble. The person who I had ran earth shattering loving energy with since the moment I was born was gone.

I spent the next couple of years in chaos. Trying to find the meaning of life, trying to find a way out of my own pain, trying to find a way, period. Through sex, drugs, rock and roll… okay more like jam bands, and a baby. I decided that I would love harder. I would love bigger. I would not let things go unsaid. I wanted for my people to know that they were my people.

What I was really doing was trying to live with no regrets. Out of a hedonistic need to build pillars of “I did the best I could” around my shattered heart, in anticipation for the next heart break that was inevitable.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that I wasn’t strong enough to love like that. 
I allowed people to mistake my tenderness, my surrender to love, my willingness to stick things out as weakness. I allowed myself to be mistreated back into a place of shelter. A calloused place where I questioned the wisdom of my generous trust.

I lived in that place for years. There that I had no one to face but myself.

And then one day, this beautiful man floated into my life. His magnetism, is his own. He sucked me right in. Much to both of our surprise he was my soulmate. A mirror. A challenge. Embodiment of the pulse in my veins. My favorite person to be in the ring with. We did what you are supposed to do in a good relationship, we healed eachother. Well at least he healed me. Pealed away all of those layers of defense.

We have seen our share of bad days. Terrible days. Drag out, fetal position, rip your heart out days. But for everyone of those there was a repair that lasted ten times as long.

No walls. Honesty. Brutal often. A free exchange of being. Predictable, steadiness, presence.

And I lost him too.

The second best thing that ever happened to me was that I lost my best friend, my life partner, the father of my child. 

Ju and I are still in heated debate about my right to have not handled his sickness well. Debate about whether or not I was an asshole to a sick dying man that I put out on his ass. We may never resolve that debate. I may never stop being defensive about it. But, because there is no other way I’m going to lay down that sword. Instead, just saying this. I don’t have the capacity to be totally selfless. I held onto resentments. I felt sorry for myself. I didn’t handle it well. I was bad to you when I shouldn’t have been. And mostly I’m sorry to myself for all of the crippling guilt that I have held onto about that.

There I was, destroyed and somehow liberated. Like an inmate up for parole who wasn’t sure that she could actually live on the outside.

Thank you for that too. Alone. Wounded. Confused. That’s where I do my best internal work. This time that shit was deep, and I came out the other side as a profoundly better person.

Reminded that life is not about attachment to outcomes. It is about the moment, the process. Journey. Not destination. How many times I said it and finally life beat that shit into me. Adversity is the greatest teacher if you are open to the lesson.

As I embrace the fact that as time ticks on I will have the loss of many more to add onto the list of excruciating pain that I am grateful for. Reminded. I am made of water. Fluid. Accommodating. Moveable. Unable to be crushed, just displaced. Eventually reconfiguring, flowing through. Nothing more, nothing less. Just am in this form, on this earth, with these people until I’m, we’re not.

I think I might go ahead and do a couple of things with myself while I’m here.

 

 

 

Advertisements

we all fall down

Love, soulfood

You can fall apart anyway that you choose.

I fell apart for a full year.

Some hours, days, publically because I needed everyone to see my heart being ripped out. Some hours, days, it was just quiet tears, muted sobs, gasps for air alone. In a classroom. At the grocery store. Those were the times that I couldn’t control it. Many hours it was in my therapist’s office. Long explanations of how it all came to be, my personal accountability, the injustice of a dying partner. Every Tuesday at nine I rattled and wailed until I felt my soul burning hot, festering and finally purging the sorrow that coated all of my being. Each time I would find my feet, walk out the door and magically it filled up again.

I fell apart naked, in my back yard under the desert sun. I would wait until my flesh was on fire. It made the loneliness retreat somewhere further inside. I cocooned myself in my hammock. Savored every ounce of the sensation of ease. I tried to stock pile it for later that day, for later that year. I got in my car and drove. I got on a plane and flew. I got on my knees and prayed.

I fell apart on my couch in sweltering heat. Slowly watching my body shrink. Taking long labored drags from joints. I fell apart in dance, hip hop, slow jams, gut wrenching love ballads. I danced my pain all over my tile floor. I fell apart with my friends, over dozen of phone conversations, dozens of nights full of wine and infinite good-bye hugs.

I fell apart before, during and after sex with strange men. I clawed my agony into their backs. Whispered please, I’m loveable, in my moans. But none of them were willing to witness a broken bleeding woman. They wanted me to be a me that I wasn’t even sure still existed. And still I tried. It was hallow and insincere. I oscillated between vulnerable self-disclosure and telling them absolutely nothing at all. I learned everything:
People like to talk, I can listen. People are not trying to bare your burdens, I pretend to be light well. I can say every single thing that’s hard to say and only hear back, why are you telling me this? I’m telling you because I want you to see me. I need empathy. I need the distraction of you for just a moment.

Yeah, well I need you to chill, I just met you. Heard.

I fell apart through ink spilled over paper, bleeding sad poetry, antidotal stories, words of my disbelief, affirmations after affirmation:

You are worthy. The Universe is inherently good. Good things ARE happening to you. Trust the timing of your life. Breathe.

I fell apart a thousand times in the arms and ears of the man who put me there. Not maliciously but due to circumstance and the instinctual tug to find love and cling to it for dear life.

I fell apart with a baby in my arms. Blessedly rocking and kissing the only creature that can make everything okay. I threw my head back and screamed more than once don’t you fucking dare take this from me too.

Suffice it to say, I fell apart. Totally. Falling and learning are synonymous. I learned who my family is. The places that are safe to be unbuttoned. I learned all of the corners of my shadow and it turns out that even beneath the buried trauma, pain, cowardness, mistrust and anger is a pulsing orb of light. I am good. I am worthy. I am love.

And then in a way that I have yet to find words for the shards of me started recoagulating into a breathtaking powerhouse of a woman. Cautioned, steady, open, delightful. She is okay. And will continue to be okay through all of the future storms. A seasoned sailor of trepid seas. Riding.

You know how you know that you’re healing. It’s when you look sorrow in the eye, lean into his chest, stay there for an impossibly long time. Then because you can, you pull away, relock eyes and smile.

Christmas Day

Love, pretty things, soulfood

I’ve found God in this forest over and over again.

I’ve sat just as I am now on the side of a mountain and sobbed. I’ve looked at the sun beaming between the tree tops, painting lace all over the pine needles and prayed for strength. I’ve laid on pine cones and mourned the loss of the things that I could not control. And today, I walked over rock and ice in tremendous gratitude for the breath of life, the elegance of divine timing, the ability to change.

Grounded and flying.
Alive, every cell of all of us.
Surrender.
Trust.
Promise.

My sweet Lord.

Perfectionist

Love, pretty things, silly goose, soulfood, your body

These bodies that we’re in. What a funny device. All of this ambulating. The arch of your back on the inhale. The way that you kiss the top of my head, and then the center of my forehead. The back of your thighs.

 

Sometimes I get the urge to wrap your body around mine and take off down a rolling grassy hill. Sort of sure that we’ll gash our knees open but so delighted by the joy of momentum and gravity and I could care less. Grass stained and out of breath, let’s do it again.

The Choke Hold Of Possibility

Love, soulfood, your body

What is this thing that we do. We will let someone between our thighs, let them caress the parts of us that we would never expose in public. We will whisper the song of lust, desire and fantasy into their mouth gaped open in a resounding yes. But we won’t tell that same person how we feel about them. We wont say I like you and I don’t know what that means. We won’t say every night I lie in my bed reimagining the sensation of our bodies discovering and reciprocating. I won’t say that for a moment yesterday I slipped into a day dream about us having a cook out in our backyard, our kids playing tag weaving their lanky bodies between adults. One of us shouts hey be careful and then we lock eyes because truly this is what we’ve always wanted.

 

I can’t say any of that. I’m careful to not always be the one who instigates the text. I hold my breath every time that you say you’re on your way over. Still surprised when the door bell finally rings. Sometimes the butterflies will bubble up into my esophagus leaving me between dry heaves and fainting in anticipation, of your next word, the next time you kiss me on the top of my head, the next time.

I have no idea if there will actually be a next time.

Girl get your life together. This man knows nothing about you. Has no obligation to you. There’s a good chance that you terrify him. Hell there’s a good chance that you terrify you too.

So here we are. I inhale you like the air right after a rainstorm when you’re laying next to me. And I want to throw up every time that you text me. I hold my breath for thirty seconds and then I look. Exhale. I’m irrational and you never miss a beat.

Scratch That

Love, soulfood

You know what, never mind. I just got so caught up in my little girl emotions, that I forgot who I was.

 

Girl you are a mastermind of the interpersonal relationship. You are an artist, a poet. You are a student of psychology and resilience. You are living an authentic life. You are thirty years old. You have made all of the strange turns in life. You have learned through blood sweat and tears how to negotiate, respect and care for a partner. You are selfless and you are fierce.

 

Yeah but still every time that I see you I wonder if it will be the last.

Profile Update

domestication, Love, social awareness, soulfood, therapy, your body

I am not Beyoncé. Hard to believe I know. I am also not June Cleaver, Jessica Alba or Princess Di. I probably have more in common with Julia Louis-Dryfus and Elizabeth Warren. Today I updated my Bumble profile to the perfect mix of setting reasonable expectation while still sounding fun, sexy, uninhibited, and classy . Choosing pictures where I look subtly breath taking, but down to earth. Literal earth, at least two nature pics and one selfie in heals. Shots with the perfect amount of I like to party sex appeal but not party so hard that I’d suck your dick on the first date sex appeal.

 

And it occurred to me, WHAT IN THE FUCK ARE WE DOING TO OURSELVES.

 

So here’s my honest to God’s truth Bumble profile:

Hi I’m Reagon. Pronounced Ray-gun. Yes, like the president. In fact that’s my shtick (follow me on FB, Insta, Twitter, & Snap @reagonforpres). [Hey, if I can’t get a cup of coffee or a cocktail at least I can get a few more followers… add this to future branding campaign advice.]

 

Any way, I clean up real nice, in fact I was recently told that I look like a living doll. But I also, regularly look like a homeless person. Also, like clock work every year I do no shave November, and December, and sometimes January, February and half of March. By spring break every year I can Rapunzel style French braid my pubes down to my ankles and sculpt my leg hair into a punk rock Mohawk. Hot right?

Honestly, because we just met I’ll painstakingly shave, pluck and pull 80% of the hairs out of my body. They were all blonde to being with so this process annoys me highly but so does the prospect of dying alone. So here we are.

To appease all of your inquisitive minds, the drapes match the rug. And I do have rug. Fuck ladies, let’s stop paying Tammy at the local Wax Palace $100.00 every ten days to rip the hairs out of our vag okay? Like, can we add that to our next national ballot? It’s clear ya’ll aren’t actually down for the revolution, but can we at least let my lady hair sail free?

Sorry about that tangent. It’s nice to meet you.

 

Today I woke up on a twin sized air mattress next to the beaming eyes of the most exquisite creature that I have ever seen. Between me lovingly gazing into my daughter’s eyes in a sweet sleepy stupor I tried to identify what that old familiar sound was. Oh my God what is that??? It sounds like the dog is barfing in the tent. Oh my God THE DOG IS BARFING IN THE BED, IN THE TENT. I somehow contorted my body even further than should be humanly possible and clung to my blankets for another ten minutes. Partially because I was freezing fucking cold and partially because I wasn’t exactly bouncing out of bed over joyed to clean up dog vomit. But I did, eventually, and as promised it was fucking disgusting. This thought crossed my mind numerous times, I’m so glad that no one has to see me dressed in seven layers of clothes, thick wool socks shoved in flip flops cleaning up barf. And trust the flip flop socks didn’t give off a sexy geisha vibe.

 

The nice thing about waking up to a steamy pile of vomit is that your day really only goes up from there.

 

I made a fire. I ate a hotdog for breakfast. I took down the campsite. I wrestled the tent like an alligator into it’s impossibly tiny bag. At one point resorting to laying my entire body on the stabbing rocks, again seeking solace in thank God that no one can see me and laughing at the heavens, “Ohhhh mother fucker, this damn tent is a real metaphor for my life. Well look at this God I DID IT! Un-barfed, neatly folded and then artfully crammed and shoved into it’s pouch. Zipper amazingly closed and all done by me, myself and me. Alone. Fuck. I surrender.”

I’m not trying to do that shit ever again by myself. But I will because of the RBG in me.

After the seventy-second load to the car I stripped out of three layers of clothes. Taking amusement in the breadth of my own undressing capacity. Hot dudes that I bring home from the bar get the Dita Von Teese dimly lit peak-a-boo slow undress session. But, in the wild there I am teeter-tottering on top of my six year old tennis shoes with the grace of a hippo with flamingo legs. A real homage to Eric Carle, without the tear jerking sentiment.

 

And then I drove our three barely pulsing corpses back home. The two things that I miss most about having a man:

1) being the passenger

2) indulging in the helpless girl act long enough to not be the one who has to catch and release the parade of spiders that are fleeing into my home at the moment

 

Here’s the thing: I CAN DO ANYTHING. Literally, anything. I look back to my younger years with bewildered awe. I can’t believe that I did all of that. I look into my future with bewildered aweee, girl you still got it. The thing that changes once you know that you’re powerful beyond measure. That you are divinity incarnate. That your talents can’t be contained. Is that you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone anymore.

 

Yes, I want to be seen. I want to be heard. I want to be held. I don’t really care if you know that I’m a total sex kitten in my embodied sexual prime. I don’t care if you know that I spent thirty minutes today unclogging my bathroom drain. While interjecting like a school girl, ewwweee this is soooo sick. I don’t care if you know that I smoke a bowl in my hammock or that I wrote a highly intimidating business letter all today. Really I just don’t care anymore.

 

I’m just going to keep showing up as me. Vast, unapologetic, liberated, loving, loud, soft, determined, tired, me. Maybe I’ll charm you. Maybe I’ll scare you (I’m good for that). But if you’re the type that looks at fire and sees beauty then maybe we should get coffee. And maybe you could pick me up. I’m serious about never wanting to drive again.

 

Sincerely,

Splendid, complicated, lovely, exhilarating, real as fuck Reagon

education

Love, soulfood

The Things You Taught Me:

To love bar soap.
How to accept rejection gracefully.
What it is like to be betrayed by your own boundaries.

How to argue my point.
To laugh early and often
That sometimes there is no explaining myself, stop trying.

To witness my own mastery in fabricating the depth of love that I wanted so badly.
The joy of having a man to travel with.
The diagnosis for the pain in my belly,
feels like a swallowed scream,
often doubling me over in pain.
Her name is grief.

The art of cooking with butter.
What it feels like to dance with selflessness.
To love jazz music.

How it feels to be the desperate one.

When to let go of other people’s judgment.
To recognize that regret often coats the soles of my feet,
forcing cantilever, deliberate steps.
How to be profoundly diplomatic in all points of contention.

The sting of indifference.
How to give my self emotional sutures,
forcing the sides of my flesh back together,
healing over the void that I called destiny, mutual, boundless, love.

How to wear a scar.

Slow Jam

Love, soulfood

I miss you when I’m cutting an onion. Half way through when I would normally yell uncle and bring you the knife, I just stand there and lean into the fire welling in my lash line, spilling down my face.

I miss you when it’s too early to be dancing at a bar, but I’m old and can’t wait until midnight to get the party started any more. So, instead of pounding the rest of my drink and reaching out for your hand. I slowly sip a gin and tonic, reciting affirmations like dance like no one is looking, and dance like everyone is looking, and you only live once, and fuck it this is your joy, and waltz out to a barren floor and do my thing.

A stadium of narrowed eyes glance up from their phones and scanning my body. I see them, every one of them. Ninety percent disgust me. Exactly one of them is drunk enough to remove himself from his stool to ask me to dance. He’s a short hispanic man who thinks that every song is the rumba. You know, these hips grew up on hip hop and soul jams, so I’m forced to dig deep into my muscle memory. Where I pull out those months of Zumba taught by a peppy Latino named Frank and that time that we took bachata lessons and the instructor said in no uncertain way that it was a shame that such a smooth man like yourself was partnered with me. But I make do, because I feel the most like me when I’m in motion, and at least someone was willing to be my surrogate partner.

I miss you when last call comes and I get ushered out of the club in a flood of people. People asking for my number. Small hispanic man asking when I would be there again. I don’t know, I grimace and tipsily wedge my way through the crowd. Once I hit the night air I realize it’s almost two. How did that happen. And more impressively how am I not dead, that was multiple solid hours of dancing for a girl who barely does any cardio. There I am, stripped of inquiring eyes. Alone. In the dark, dead streets of a city that I’m beginning to despise.

If I’m lucky enough to make it home with out being accosted, I walk in my door lie down on my couch and slowly breath. Attempting to regulate the excruciating pain of being one person in a 1,000 square feet, that used to feel far too small. Now it feels like the Taj Mahal. The mausoleum of my shattered expectations, buried in a tomb that implanted in my left atrium. When I’m awake at night because it’s still hard to fall asleep without anyone to curl in next to I hear it. Well I hear the blood pounding around it, making a new path, doing everything that it can to keep me alive.

Alive some hours more than others. It’s just those little things that happen all day long that remind me that alone is not a home. It’s a temporary residence. I like to keep the bed made and not make too much noise when I come in. Out of respect for it’s impermanence. So that when the time comes for me to move out of the slow dread of solo that the transition will be easy. Don’t worry I’m being careful about packing back up this baggage, going to try and take as little of it as possible on the next flight.

 

Solid Advice

Love, soulfood, therapy

Sometimes the best advice is novice advice. Seriously. I’m in the business of counseling people. Counseling is actually a total misnomer. Really what you’re supposed to do is basically say nothing, and then just paraphrase everything that the person already said. Do not give advice. Do not tell antidotal stories. Do not interject from your own experience. Above all else do not tell them what to do. It is not how humans make change. Self-motivation is a real thing. In fact it is the only thing.

 

Hi my name is Reagon and I’m straight trippin’ over this man that I’m in emotional limbo with. We’re at that juncture where I carry my stomach in my sternum, my emotions and thoughts splayed out all over my insides like a broken mirror. Reflecting things that I wish weren’t there.

 

So, I start calling friends. It’s amazing how many people don’t answer on a Tuesday afternoon, it’s like you all have lives or something. But the truth is that the person who picked up the phone said exactly what I needed to hear. She tempered, “Sorry for playing the devils advocate but why are you doing this to yourself?” We talked about the reality that somewhere inside I feel unlovable. Undeserving. That I self-sabotage and project my shit on the other person.

 

Damn. Occasionally someone says something that pries back my eyelids to a reality that I haven’t even had the balls to admit to myself. Somewhere inside you feel unlovable. Fuck, there it is again.

 

That’s all of those deeply knotted familial roots. A household full of people, slated to love me unconditionally that told me that I wasn’t shit most days. Still ring my phone to remind me every now and again. My mother thought that she was keeping me humble. She didn’t want to see another beautiful girl acting like the world owed her something. Didn’t want to see another talented girl receiving gifts of veneration. Didn’t want to believe that things could be easy, different, promising for her own baby. Maybe it wasn’t a lack of faith but instead the narrowed perspective of trauma, the tunnel vision of overwhelm, the darkness of loneliness.

 

Either way who in the fuck does that? Sick people. I say that with a lot of understanding and love. Broken people work hard to create gravity. Misery loves company. And there I was absolutely splendid.

 

I bought that narrative. I became obsessed with perfection so that no one would see the truth. I excelled as a distraction to the shit show that was our home. I self-loathed. I gave sheepish consolations to people that told me that I had the world in my palm. That I could do anything. That I was enough. Okay, sure.

 

I have spent ten years de-programing myself. Replacing “you’re a piece of work” with you’ll have peace and it will work. Some days are easy. I look in the mirror and I see God. Some days I look in the mirror and dissect every part of my physical, emotional and mental visage. And those days mash up into one stream of life that I sail every damn day.

 

You see we get comfortable. Start believing that we’re fortified and over it. Grown and transformed. Only half braced for the bottom to fall out. For the man that steadily and sweetly reassembled the pieces of you that had been devastated by the natural disaster that is having a family and attempting to recreate that family.

 

That man. He pushed me every single day to chase my dreams and then come home in the evenings and enjoy the fruit of my labors. He was my fucking rock. Steadfast. My creative springboard. He was laughter, play, brutal honesty, and mostly the safe space that I needed to find myself. To love myself. And he’s gone. I’m loosening the grip on that heart cord but it’s hard.

 

It’s hard to stand up, really stand up, by yourself when you’re used to someone having their hand gently resting at the base of your spine. There for when you get tired, when you’re carrying too much and when you just need to relax.

 

I’m a fucking mess. A mess with good friends who understand all of it. Who have been there. Who remind me over and over, you are one of the strongest people that I know. You’ve got this.

 

She says, “It all boils down to spending time and enjoying the presence of another person. Simple.”

 

It is actually that simple. And sometimes I need someone to keep it real with me. To do the bad therapist thing and to tell you a story about herself, “There was a period of time where I told Jeff that I loved him and he wouldn’t say it back. I just had to hold that down for him for a while and trust that things would come around. He said, I have a lot of love for you I just can’t say that I love you yet. And you can’t do anything but have respect for that.”

 

That’s the mark of a strong woman. A fortress. A woman sculpted by the wind and the flow of failed relationships and broken hearts. Standing her ground in honesty and patience. Exactly the woman that I needed to talk to.