precipitating events

Love, pretty things, soulfood

Trying to stay present. Soak in all of the glorious sensations of new love. Let go of my instinct to recoil when a man sings my praises. Silence the voices in my head ringing the warning bells of, that’s what they all say.

Somewhere deep down I’m confused as to why the beginnings are filled with eloquent soliloquies about how I’m an angel and so much of everything that they’ve ever wanted. The ends come riddled with stone cold projections about things that I have never been. We both know the truth, and it’s not their version of the story most of the time. But, I let go these days. Remember.

Today, the place that I live now.

Today, I dig claws into my reservoir of optimism, syphoned and over tapped some time ago. Just a woman naked under the full moon of lust. Dancing for heavy rains of abundant care. Prayers that this time, he really means it.

Tempering my heart with intentional inner dialogue: even if it doesn’t work out, I will be a better person for loving.

Just here, now, balanced on the edge of fear, attempting to translate this visceral feeling that somewhere between our mutual words of adulation is an incredibly viable promise of lasting love, and still, me, searching for words.

Living in incredible awe of you, of me, and the phenomenon of falling in love. Kissing good night my attempts to rationalize magic. I am so sorry for doing that to you.

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My mother

Love, soulfood

Your presence has always been a warm spring afternoon that pops up in the dead of winter.

Lovely beyond measure, surprising, short-lived.

The contrast. Stark.

The thrill. Intense.

Just enough to hold me over.

You’ve always came in seasons.

utttttt oh

Love, pretty things, soulfood

Just there. Always. Last year. Next weekend. Today with 30 minutes notice.

What do you want to do?

Let’s explore.

Opened door.
Up a mountain.
Side of the road, head thrown back, star gazing. Beaming blinding moon.

His arm must have been just floating behind my back. Asking sweet gentle permission, is this okay?

Okay, well there’s the Big Dipper you know that. And then where there would be a line that goes to Polaris. The North Star. The one that all of the other ones rotate around. But that’s some old time sailor stuff.

Over there, you see that cluster of stars with the bright one in the middle, that’s the one on the Subaru logo. Pleiades.

There’s Orion and those there are his belt of course. And the one that looks like a sigma that’s Cassiopeia. And then there’s this one and I know I was supposed to remember the shape, but I’m not sure anymore.

Later he would say I’m not very good at stars. I’d say you did pretty well.

The stages of a break up

domestication, Love, silly goose, soulfood

1- this prob isn’t going to last, tread lightly. bookend every criticism with 2 compliments.

2- yup, getting back together, at least for makeup sex, picking out the wedding dress right now.

3- that mother fucking asshole. probs going to burn his house down. unless he apologizes at some point in the next 72 hours, I don’t want to lose all of those hours of pinteresting our future baby’s nursery.

4- ahhhh good. he really sees his mistakes and has shown satisfactory remorse. yay I won’t die alone.

5- ohhh for fucks sake. dude literally can’t even fake being nice for 3 days.

(repeat steps 1-5, 3 to 7 times until you’re worn down to cinders of your former self. you’ll know it’s time for step 6 when you look at his pictures and expletives accidentally jut out)

6- you’re dead to me. outta lives. unplugged the gaming console and took a long walk to the woods to bury the last remaining drops of hope, empathy, and love that I had for you.

7- sit shiva for 5 days.

8- do you, but for real this time.

Still

domestication, soulfood, therapy

31 years ago I was just a heart beat in my mama’s belly.

30 years ago I was just a sweet baby in my mama’s arms.

12 years ago I was just a girl leaving her mama’s house.

10 years ago I was just a mama with a heart beat in her belly.

5 years ago I was just a woman leaving her the place where she’d grown.

1 year ago I was just a girl watching her mama marry a man who had long been no good.

5 days ago I was just a woman witnessing the heart break of self sacrifice in her mama’s voice.

Today, I’m just a heart beat, holding fast to the tension of in between. Honoring time and decisions that shouldn’t be rushed. Biting my urge to rescue, rally, defend.

Just a heart beat humbled by the ticking hands of what we do, and who we do it to. Ourselves.

Under it all, a girl who surrendered to love. Looked away from the fact that relationship requires two sets of open hands ready to receive and two sets of open hands ready to give.

Now, coiled, heaving, betrayed by no one but herself. One thousand reasons why. And none of them matter when your face is pressed hard against the cold damp ground, bottom, home, beginning, nothing and absolutely everything.

You’ll get up you always do. But I think you should stay there a while. Take inventory of your pieces and just sit with them. Still.

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.

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.

Alright

create, soulfood

I’m learning how to make
coffee for one.
Three cups instead of six.

How to ask for help
from people who haven’t promised
to love me.

How to look in the mirror and see promise,
instead of the steeled look of
resilience
and the hollowness of failed aspirations.

I’m learning the balance between
woman and fear
woman and trust
woman and vulnerability.

So much to learn in a world set up for twos.

It was all so beautiful

Love, pretty things, soulfood, therapy

I met this boy with a big nose, a skateboard and a heart of gold. He asked me to be his girlfriend on a swing set. We would walk to the same pizza shop every afternoon that summer and then his mother would drive us in her old Saab to the movie theater. We were those kids in the back row groping each other’s bodies with the immediacy of learning sexual touch for the first time. It felt like Christmas morning and singing the hook from your favorite song too loudly at a stoplight. Every. Single. Time.

This boy and I. We didn’t know better. The only pertinent information was that we were both mild-mannered and utterly infatuated with each other. He would come to be my first great love. The one who would ruin it for every man to come.

What do you mean, men don’t buy you gifts just because it’s Tuesday? What do you mean, men don’t write whole albums of love songs for you yearly? What do you mean you don’t want to lie in bed with me all day exploring every bend and crevice in my body? What do you mean not every disagreement can be worked out be me batting my eyes and leaning in for a kiss? What do you mean?

Our love was sweet as pie and twice as nice. I lived in unadulterated young love bliss with that boy grown man, myself slowly losing my grip on girlhood, for five years.

I hope everyone knows at least once how it feels to be adored. What it means to wake up in the morning a fleshy temple for someone else’s devotion. The space between us, six inches, or six states, oozed with the divine nectar of love. Innocence. Joy.

What do you fucking mean it’s not going to be like that?

The past eleven years have felt like one long fall from that cliff. Hitting every boulder on my way down. Bruised, bloody, and gashed. You should never hike in sandals. Bring plenty of water. Tell your friends where you’re headed. It’s dangerous out there. It requires lots of perseverance. A steadfastness in exactly who you really are or you will be shaken. To your core.
Shaken.

In a crumpled pile at the base of that mountain again. I remember this place well. The rocks that at first looked ominous now glisten in the light. The little specks of mica call me to pull them in for a closer look. The dried pine needles can be gathered in around you, they make a descent enough bed.

Even that patch of cactus can be touched if you’re careful. There it is in all of its splendor, long lost hope for a heavy spring rain instead content with sipping from the morning dew.