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.


before you can be a grief counselor, cry.

Love, soulfood

I walked into grief class fifteen minuets late, thinking that I was fifteen minuets early. I sat in the only open chair, quickly settled and scrambled for what to say in my introduction. Shit I missed the prompt. My turn comes I freeze and then launch into a Reagon in an interview speech about how I think this is an extremely relevant way to help people, it’s important work albeit hard.

What I meant to say was:
Because I have been absolutely devastated and I will be absolutely devastated again. I need to know how to not totally lose my shit. I’m a mental apocalypse prepper if you will. I’m here because my grandma died and my boyfriend is going to.

It’s not that I’m delusional and think that me and all of you good people have drank from the everlasting well. It’s that I -foolish it may be- believe that I me and mine will grow into old age. We’ll die in our sleep when we’re good and ready…. or we’ll all go out in a massive weather event directly related to global warming… but either way my-our- death/s will either be timely or communal.

When I was six my grandma had open heart surgery. From that day forward I kept a silent semi-concious tally of the days that we had left together. In high school I began writing poetry about her to brace myself for her loss. I knew for thirteen years that I was going to lose her and that it would be the most horrendous thing that would ever happen to me. I was right.

I didn’t live those thirteen years in fear. When I was with her the thought of loosing her never crossed my mind. Instead it creeped up on me as I looked in the mirror, when I woke up in the middle of the night and as the last jump and skip that my brain would make in a series of thoughts.

It’s been NINE years since I’ve seen and held that beautiful soul. I’ve started talking to her more and more lately, but I’m quickly deduced to water works. I want to answer back for her in her voice with exactly the thing that she would say. But those memories are fading into a sun bleached blur more and more every day. I wish that I would have written all of it down. I wish that there was a tape. I wish that there was a recording. I wish so badly that there was a way in this earthly realm that I could hear her just one last time. And then tie that time to my wrist as a house arrest bracelet for my despair.

She’d say Reagon Cara in the most sweetly concocted blend of disapproval and prolific love.
She’d call me RC and pop some delicious confection in my mouth, a cookie, a candy, a fire ball.
She’d call me doll baby and contort herself to accommodate an adult size version of me and the always impossibly tiny version of her in her rocking chair.
She’d say- Ohhh yeah tell me all about it. And I did. Infant, teen, grad student, she will always be my ear.
She’d say every time she helped me change my clothes- skin the cat. And once after her stroke- I waited on you like one little pig waits on another. She was unrehearsed poetry and theatrics living the life of small time socialite and Grammy.
She’d say once- but Reagon is the most honest person that I’ve ever known. And I stood up straighter for the rest of my life.

Last week I went back to her kitchen. I stepped down off of the spindled wooden chair under the wall phone. And looked at every inch of that kitchen. A green plastic bowel on the counter. I could smell it, clean, piping hot, delicious. I could taste it clean, piping hot, delicious. The brown patterned low pile carpet under my feet. Her kitchen feels simply like a place you want to be. What I wouldn’t give to set your table one last time my darling Grammy.

For ever yours,