The Broken Thing

I have a beautiful son.  He is not handsome, dominant, or masculine. He is simply, beautiful.  Unlike his younger sisters, who unharness their energy for the whole world to consume, his is an energy that lingers. I sense it around me at all times, but I cannot name it. Like a ghost lurking in the shadows, he is more of this world than in it.

He asks me a million questions, and yet is never tiresome. When he speaks, he finds some part of my body to softly stroke with his fingertips—the inner part of my wrist, or the tips of my hair.  Even though he stands nearly five feet tall, he finds it impossible to discuss his day without climbing onto my lap. In our quietest moments, he still calls me mama. For now.to my son

It seems unfathomable that this lanky little boy already knows so much about loss. Divorce teaches this at an alarming rate. And no one prepares you for the longevity of the pain. He is caught now, in two worlds—the longing for the old, with the ease of the new. He loves two fathers, and he doesn’t want to choose.

I do my best to not make him.  As I understand, better than anyone, the ability to reside firmly in two different places all at once. I catch myself struggling to teach my son the nuances of love, loyalty, fidelity, and marriage, while proving that his parents had none of these things. It is remarkable how quickly we forget, that when we fail ourselves, we have already failed our children. Worse yet, the spoils of divorce go to no one. This small creature does not care who lied versus who left. There are no awards given to those who kept their heads high—I lie in the same ruins as he does. As we all do.

The second time was supposed to mend all the broken promises—a showcase for what should have been.  I can see he is paying attention. He likes to dance in my living room and pretend he has big muscles.  Two opposing parts of him, living in unison. He is developing a sense of who he is, who he wants to be.

And more and more, he is asking more of me. Last night, amidst homework, a basketball game, and those lingering fingers, he mourned the family he no longer has. And as I sat there listening, able, for the first time, to hold back my own tears, I apologized for something I am not sorry for. Someday, I want him to seek happy with the same ferocity as his Monday evening dance moves. I want him to by loyal to himself before anyone else. Sometimes, leaving is the kindest gift you can give yourself.

No one prepares you for the moment you are held accountable for your choices—even if at the time, it didn’t feel like a choice at all.  But it occurs to me now, hours after I watched those tears fall quickly from his face, that I still have choices. Forgiving the past that lead me here, gives my children the opportunity to have their family again—even if it is a whole lot bigger. We control the meaning of the words we use to define ourselves, and remembering where we came from; will make the place we someday reside, all the more fulfilling.

Wearing White

I used to disappear on purpose. I’d lag back behind a crowd and wait to see how long it would take before he’d noticed I was gone. A few times I even ducked behind trees—and tried to blend into a landscape that was larger and more colorful than me.

When he’d make his way to the car, without hesitation, and without ever reaching for my hand, I’d pretend I lost him and act like nothing happened. Erasure is supposed to be subtle, but I watched myself disappear from his eyes piece by piece. My hands came first, my body last. I can’t remember when he no longer saw my tears, but I vividly recall the first day I no longer knew how to cry.

#99miles

#99miles

No one prepares you for the second time. It is always the first that holds our imaginations. Pure and magnificent, we are all masterminds of the dreams we pass on to our children.  We are the leading actors of an ideal we will mourn when they too, cannot capture it. And finally, we will scorn them for it.

But there is no road map for the return to love. Redefining happiness takes a million miles and it is certainly messy business. In the beginning you spend all your time trying to pretend you aren’t scarred, beaten, and exhausted. And the day after, you spend all your time trying to explain why.

But then he loves you anyway. And it is in this place where the confusion comes. And you stay here a very very long time.

And then he loves you anyway.

The place where it no longer matters who you once were is lonely, scary, and freeing. Even your friends can’t exist here with you because they’ll pull you back, remind you of the poison you consumed every day, and when they aren’t looking, they’ll remind you of the poison you gave out. And they’ll validate it.  It is for this reason most of us twitch, struggle, wiggle, and squirm ourselves into staying the same. It is for this reason we hide the wrinkles, camouflage the scars, and wipe away the blood until we are perfect again. And we are never told about how pure and magnificent we will be when the suffering stops.

I ordered my wedding dress yesterday without ever trying it on. I am uncertain how my thrice pregnant belly will look cloaked in off-white and beads, but I can’t bring myself to care, because it is too late for perfect. I no longer stay one place for long. There’s a million miles to travel now, and more suffering will surely begin tomorrow. But I no longer blend well into trees.

Instincts

You say I spend too much time dancing with ghosts…too far away to reach and too close to leave.If that is true, it is more a waltz then a tango…gentle, but shameless all same.

As I slide across a life I am beginning to love, I can’t help but feel his breath upon my skin. Mostly, I feel the breath glide past the tiny hairs on the back of my neck, and I can’t help but wonder if there is a difference between my instincts and this ghost. Instincts It seems to have a spirit all its own, and I think sometimes, I am too quick to name him.

He latches not onto me, but instead onto the circumstances that come with moving on. Some people call this doubt I suppose. I try not to be quick to name it and am thankful for the moments that are entirely mine when I trust what my heart is telling me.

The truth is that I carry him as a comfort because it is the only thing that is entirely mine. A reality born from the gasps I never let out and sealed in my own perception. There is comfort in knowing what happens next and so I am at risk of fulfilling my greatest expectations. Again. Always again.

The irony is that I have deep gratitude for this provocative dancing partner…for the love he gave me and for the love he stole back. For pushing me to my edge and for teaching me that even loyalty needs limits. But mostly, I am grateful for the dancing.

I used to think I was the kind of broken that was never going to heal. And there are sometimes that I still do. But I care less about the consequences because it seems to me that broken things let more light in. Sunlight can permeate my entire body, and it offers me a warmth that puts me to rest at night.

All along you’ve known my whole story. You are just now beginning to understand it. It’s all written here, and the words make far more sense than my voice. I could say to you, “if you’d only known me then,” and spend a million minutes painting the portraits of my past. But I smiled less and I am smarter now and if you listen closely, I’m inviting you to dance with me. In the sunlight, where everyone can see.

I’m moving closer everyday and I know that the ghost can’t hurt me anymore. The problem, my friend, is that you still can.

Unmeritted Mercy

I’ve read the Bible, in its entirety, just once.

I’ve stood before the eyes of God and pledged to love one man for the rest of my life, and lied.

I’ve sat inside pews of the smoothest oak and witnessed the connection between other people’s souls and heaven, and felt left out.

I’ve heard the tiny whispers of a child’s prayer and wept.

And I’ve prayed, just once, for the life of an unborn child.

But I don’t think I knew grace until I told you who I was and you loved me anyway.

I learn the most from stories, and my deep infatuation with words has left me searching for perfect endings.  My youth still dreams, but my wisdom tells me sometimes other people write them for you.

I’m starting to understand that my ghosts haunt you as much as they haunt me.  Dreams are for the young, and they keep resurrecting the ashes from my past.  Each time I try to wipe them away, they disappear into the sunlight, only to appear again in the darkness.  But spring is coming now, it is floating on the cool breeze sweeping winter away. The days are getting longer and darkness is pushed away by your grace.  Amanda Carrier

If the Bible is the story of creation, of a generous life and of faith, then ours is story of endurance.  As though you have already forgiven me for future mistakes, your touch is as light as the sun. My breath steadies itself in your presence. And I see you search for me in my silence. Locked far away, my words lie still.  But I’m experiencing you more in the stillness, than I ever could struggling with words.  This is our moment shared, a place entirely ours…with no beginning and no end.

Perhaps I’ll find God tucked somewhere deep inside you because I do best with things I can hold. So I’m going to float inside the idea of you for awhile, make your words the current for mine.  I’m catching up to you now and am close behind.

Dripping Past

I know loving me is hard. I can feel it sometimes when you look at me. As though you are trying so hard to understand what lies inside. I feel clear as glass when you are in the room. And the more you accept, the more you get.  So please be careful what you wish for.

I know I send you a thousand words, most contradicting the others. I’m always moving and I feel hard to hold on to.  Yet I seem stuck in the same place. Its quicksand really…and I heard I better move slowly.

Lately I’ve been slippery as silk and the past drips from me like water. I can feel myself wet and exposed, and this is all taking entirely too long.  I’m saying prayers that your threshold for love can bare all I’ve lost.     Because with each thing you give me, I whisper goodbye to another thing stolen from me.  I forgot to tell you that you are loving me back to life.  And I know it is taking entirely too long.Don't let go.

What I never showed and you’ve always seen, is just revealing itself to me.  I’m circling it, dancing around it, peeking inside and mostly I’m scared of what I see. With each confusing glance, I look to you to explain it all because you are the only person who has never looked away.

I know the answers are out there, waiting for me.  And I feel you urging me forward.  But the only time I feel strong enough to move, is when I’m lost in you.  Keep calling my name and please don’t let go of my hand.

The First Time

I hated my body until you touched it. And I am sure why. They say that youth is wasted on the young. But I’m starting to think they are wrong.  I used to have dreams about the first time. A first kiss, a first love, a first marriage.  I think firsts are given to the young because they are imperfect, fleeting, and full of lies. I hated my body until you touched it.

I used to think I would never be loved again because I was someone else’s first. I used to think stretch marks from someone else’s baby would revolt the next man to touch them.

It turns out, I was wrong.

He likes to tell me I am sexy, and I spend too much time acting like this idea is crazy.

Because the truth, I’m now learning to tell, is that when I am with him, I feel sexy.

Seconds seem more real to me now, because they are covered in the scars left behind from the damage I did this body and this mind when I was too young to know better.

These scars may lie on the outside, but they offer a tiny glimpse of the wreckage that lies beneath.  Ugly things are more interesting than pretty things. More interesting because they tell a story.  I used to spend a lot of time exaggerating my daily life. Now, I love everything that is simple about it.

The reality is that my past isn’t nearly as pretty as I tried to make it.  And I wasn’t nearly as ok as I told you I was.  The beauty is that you already knew that. Myths have a way of being proven wrong, and the truth it seems, is always revealed.  If your touch brought my body back to life, your vision of me cleared the wreckage from my soul. You dusted off forgotten pieces of me, and you polished it until I shined.

In the morning, hazy eyed from a long nights sleep and an early morning touch, I can’t help but think I like seeing myself through your eyes.  And that my second chance is really about learning to love myself for the very first time.

Chasing the Sun

I think I’ve had a thousand beginnings.  And each one is slightly less scary than the one before.  I used to plan ahead, remain perched upon what was supposed to happen, instead of feeling what was actually happening. I’m less obsessed with the future now, as I understand it will always remain slightly out of my reach.Chasing the Sun

I imagine the earth feels this way about the sun…Always rotating trying to feel its warmth upon its face.  I must have thought the future held some contract of dreams fulfilled, lies untold, promises kept.  But the future keeps rotating…changing, always just slightly out of my reach.

But the sun remains a steady companion.  It greets me each morning, wakes me with a fresh promise.  Things are going to keep changing…but what was once old, will be come new again.  The beginnings will keep coming, and the endings are yet another promise. There is certainty here–a comfort in the process.  If losing love is like a window through my heart, regaining it must feel like a moment stuck in time.

I’m starting to sense that it is the present that offers the real possibility.  No longer searching for dreams fulfilled because I am too busy fulfilling them. I don’t question the chance, the inevitable opportunity that comes with new beginnings.  And I do not fear the end. This place used to feel like hope abandoned. Now, it has become a consummation of possibility.

The wildness, that must occupy this space, is palpable.  I feel it with each passing decision even as I abandon all logic.  I can both articulate it and forget it all at once.  And if I remain here long enough, sunlight on my face, my past will be wiped clean by somebody else’s  dream.  And with each lover’s touch, not even the fingerprints will remain.