I've been thinking about this blog post for months. Months? Is that true?
At one point it was called, "On the real." Then I changed it to, "The Truth."
I wanted to write about how lately, I've been a little uncomfortable with only showing the good stuff.
This came up a few times in conversation with friends after my breakup in February. How the shock of my ex and I splitting was not just mine, but the shock was shared. You always looked so happy, everyone said.
And this came up after a day when I was alone and lonely and afraid, even though I was in love with another woman I thought was the one, a woman who loved me, simply and wholly. I think.
I was alone on a Saturday morning sobbing uncontrollably. No, not uncontrollably. Just sobbing. She had left the night before, annoyed with me, and I had slammed my front door in frustration. I yelled. I felt like the world was falling apart. She just wanted to go to sleep after a long week. Didn't want to talk. I did. I didn't say it.
I called a few friends who have been my life lines this year. Because this year, I've needed a lot of help. It's been hard to tell when something small, a small fight between my lover and I, was really something small or something actually pointing me toward myself. Hard to tell if I was crying over the moment, over her, or out of a fear of abandonment after my long-ex ripped our life to shreds in mere hours, or if I was crying because something in my body was trying to speak that I wasn't yet ready to hear, or if I was crying because I was sad, still. Simply sad.
This sort-of unknowing came after I was forced to leave New Mexico and my lover of almost 8 years. I spent 3 months walking around this city in heartbreak, in reckoning, in obsessive thoughts, in tears, in pain. And then I set myself free. Well, someone told me she was married and I took a deep breath, cut her off completely, and forced myself to be free, to see through my own eyes again. I started to write again. I began to let go. I wrote lists about what I wanted, how I wanted to live, how I wanted to show up for another. Lists about the kind of person I wanted to be with so I didn't just fall for the next person to pay attention to me. (My long-ex was the first person in years who looked at me, and I was so hungry I didn't even think is she right for me? I just took her in, I fell for her like leaves.) So I wrote lists and defined what I wanted. This time it had to be me who decided. I didn't think it would happen so quickly, but it did. And I believe in this power. I have to. It brought me to the best love yet.
And I burned photos of the long-ex in the bathtub. Burnt sage and palo santo. Put what I wanted from my life in the window under the full moon. Asked myself for the life I wanted. Then I went out looking for it. I was looking for her.
And it's amazing who you find when you define her. There she was, everything I wanted. And she filled me. And I took her. And she took me. And it was intense and passionate and I still believe it was magic even though it was probably too much, too fast, too soon, too full of high expectations.
I do not discount or dismiss the power of us. We love/loved each other. We wanted everything. I wanted everything. I wanted to feel like everything. And I was. And so was she. And it was everything and it brought me back to myself, my body, my heart and sex and life like nothing I could have imagined.
I'm speaking in past tense because 4 and some months later, it's over and it's painful. And I am looking back at the pain I've been carrying, the desire.
After almost 8 years in a relationship that never fought and barely bickered, barely confronted a thing, I was terrified of anything that felt angry or frustrated or unstable. I couldn't tell what was normal and what was some sign that the new love and I were trying too hard. Maybe I was trying too hard. Maybe it doesn't matter.
When I'd call my friends for help sorting out the details, I heard myself sobbing like I did after I left the long-ex. I still don't know which pain was for which moment, which lover, which argument or silence.
I don't want to keep talking about the long-ex and the better-ex. I am trying to separate myself from it all for a while and I am still in love. And I can blame them and analyze and try to make sense and excuse and apologize and blame myself because all I've been doing for months is blaming myself and trying to fix myself and quiet the self and unleash the self but the truth is simple: I love. I love the woman I left even though she ripped my life out from under me in a day and I love the woman here in Denver more who fought with me and asked me to be whole. The truth is I have never known what I want. But still, I want. Still, I love.
No, that is not true. I contradict. I do know what I want. I know myself very very well. My body is a mountain of want, a river of desire, a flooding of passion and yearning and connection and sensuality. I may contradict and get confused, but if I don't say it now I never will: I have never done a thing I didn't want to do. Maybe this is the problem of learning that you also give yourself too freely, that something about the way you were born and raised and maybe the stars made you codependent, made you so easily able to put yourself to the side to be with and give to another--that I actually do these things AND I know that I have never given myself away for nothing. Yes, this is the truth of my pain these months: I have been trying to fix what isn't broken. What happens if I simply accept that I love how I love? That I have made no mistakes. That even in my wavering and waffling I have been more me than ever? I have loved better than ever? I have been loved and it's all just. fucking. perfect.
And this is holy. Desire is holy. Bodies are holy. Mistakes are holy. Attachment as it unravels is holy. My tears and sobs and prayers on my floor with my wet face to the dog hair and dirt are holy.
The fact that we can't help but only show off what is good, is holy.
The fact that I want to resist the need to overshare all the beauty from here, too, is holy.
I want you to see my pain. I want you to see my sadness. My too-muchness. My insataible hunger for more. I want to be met here. Meet me here, won't you?
Maybe I'm turning away from what won't meet me here. Maybe I push and prod at the boundary when the boundary is not mine and not right for me because I need the other person to tell me to go.
Maybe all of this is true and I still don't want to let go. I still want to love. I still want the connection, the body in my bed, the beautiful, messy sometimes infuriating other lover in front of me. There is no more maybe. This is true. This is me. And I'm not ashamed of it. Here is my vow to not be ashamed of myself and what I want anymore. My vow to say, come to me, and I will receive you. Don't come, and I'll still want you. I'll want the women of my life forever, and I will be both blue and full of light simultaneously and it does not for one single second take away from my big giant heart, my body that is strong and changing, my soul like a river, my Self, becoming.
Recently I wrote, "don't be afraid to tell the truth about your life" on a student draft.
This, as I've been walking around hiding some of my truth every day. I'm a mess. A beautiful mess who was loved anyway. Who is loved. Who loves so fucking hard. Who tries to love with my whole self and often fails. I've been a dark mess searching for the light. I've been reaching but it wasn't wrong. I've been told I have to do my inner work, my codependent work, on my own and it's true but it's also true that I have kept parts of me sacred. It's true that I sometimes burden others with my story. I can own this and let it shift. I want to be story. I want your story. Let's lay our burdens on the table and see them, dance on them, share them, but not ingest and carry them anymore--not our own and not each other's. But please, let us lay them in the light without shame.
My friend has been telling me all week to let go. Boundaries are hard. I don't trust them in myself. I never have. It's how I was raised and I was raised in so many beautiful, strong, powerful ways and I was also raised to distrust myself, to ignore boundary and push boundary and not even know what the word boundary means. My friend said, "if you don't go toward yourself now, with all your love, you never will."
And she's right. The most painful part of the story of these months is that we can own all our messy ways we relate and still forget to tend to ourselves, first.
And here's my vow to tell the whole story as I live it, more honestly.
All the photos of the sun poking through the trees
and the dog running with me, mouth open, tongue draped around the orange ball between his teeth
and the woman I fell in love with so fast this summer smiling at me on a good day
after a magical weekend walking on red dirt between enormous arches and goblin dirt creatures
as the sun rose across an entire desert canyon of this earth's wanting, our bodies together entwined
hands on each other's hearts faces calm eyes bright and blue and green a love growing then gone
right beside the many moments of my grief like a pill stuck in my throat
my reactive heart pushing it all away
my anxiety circling me around the room wanting to punch walls because focus is so hard
because something in me can't quite let go of a voice that says, you can't do anything right so why try
my long walks with Pablo convincing myself I can show up even though sometimes I feel like I've failed at every single thing I've tried, yelling out loud to no one like a woman who should be committed in this city that doesn't seem to mind no matter how many times I circle the block in tears.
And then, here I am.
I am here when I accept the months of tears and sex and joy and pain.
I am here when I show up to teach even though I still think I'm unprepared but I am so wholly prepared and I love them with my entire goddamn giant heart and we write and talk about images and the mass shooting in Las Vegas and how to show up and breathe trust language and story even when we don't believe breath or story or words are even things we own anymore.
I am here when the mantras work, when the sayings on my mirror and notecards are more than affirmations but poems. When my body settles, when I go to the poetry reading or sit down to write amongst a community of strangers. When I participate in a community talk about Citizen by Claudia Rankine and am led through a hybrid image/text writing prompt. I am here when I step outside and take a photo of the blue sky with the bright yellow sunset between two city buildings and then write. I write raw and with heart and gumption and an energy shows up in me that I haven't ever felt. It means almost nothing. Or, it means everything.
The truth is sometimes I'm overwhelmed. But I'm not as overwhelmed as I once thought. I'm calm and grounded, more than I've ever been. I cry a lot, and am nervous, and perhaps let myself love too soon because I was uncomfortable and unsure and I grasped a little too hard, but I also let go and I loved. I fucking loved. I was just me, showing up. I believed in her, in all the hers, in all the loves. I believe in myself, in all my love. What I mean is there's more to tell, more to show, more to offer. What I mean is the stories of our lives matter. And sometimes they're just the dirt under our feet as we look at the sky, the arches where the sun peaks through, the complimentary colors of us, the yellow and the blues.
Don't be afraid to tell the truth.