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.

The Labyrinth

We are told our futures lie inside our dreams–a virtual canvas of opportunity, we turn to the night to discover the light at the end of the tunnel.

We most often dream of love I think,  and spend our days searching the  streets contriving the moment our lives will fall neatly inside the very fairytale we only find in the darkness.

The irony of course, is that our dreams are creations born inside our memory, for we cannot dream of faces we haven’t seen–our bodies are only able to conjure up fragments of moments long forgotten, seen…but unknown. And so we lie still, unable to move forward, paralyzed by the memories that cannot out run the night. Silence is the Enemy of My Heart

But if all that haunts in twilight is forgotten by day, then what is forgotten by day, remains in the night. For the very memories that will linger inside our rotting bones, are created in the living we do today.

Who said we cannot bend time? Skew the past into believing it cannot haunt us anymore. Certainly I can recreate my second chance, for my awakened body has scars. Mappable in the sunlight, but only if I refuse to muralize them in the darkness.  All along I was trying to connect the dots, and write a story that never had an ending. It is a labyrinth of course, and our very minds cannot escape the day or the night. For we are always living, and always dying. And only our dreams themselves can discern the two.

I believe dreams may be for the young, but dreaming belongs to the aged. For the ones that kept on living, believing in the power of their own creations. Those who turned a bleeding cheek from very rules that can never be followed. Moments made in color, judged in black and white. You will find me searching in the middle, muddling my dreams even while I stay awake.

I fear that which I do not know, yet all along I’ve known it all. I should have seen this coming, even if only while I lied asleep.

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.

Culture of Me

Slowly, I am forgetting what it is like to hate and somehow, at the same time, realizing how closely connected to the pain I will somehow always remain.  My days come easily now, and it takes me less than 2 minutes to lay my head on my pillow, and fall instantly asleep. I seldom work to fill my time, but rather seek out the moments of stillness and comfortable silence.I haven’t stared out a window looking for a car to come home for over a year and a half. And even though I’ve always loved my children, I learned to love parenthood from a man who literally bounces off the giggles of the tiny people he calls his kids.

I have a man who cups my face in his hands at least 6 times a day and tells me he loves me. And when his hands fall from my face, he shows me he is telling the truth.His love is a generous dose of raw connectivity and tireless devotion. He’ll seek me out 24 times a day if he could, but he’ll fold my laundry and feed me in between.

And he loves my children as though they are his own.

He speaks in droves without saying a word, and when I grow confused, he hugs me the riddles. I understand his mind as clearly as his body, and I have yet to hide a feeling from him, even though I am finally quiet.

I haven’t seen my therapist in months, mostly because I know what he would say. These are the moments I worked for, and I no longer hold my breath in my mouth. There is an easiness to my life that I never imagined. In fact, I don’t think I even knew to want it.

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The Culture of Me

But somehow, I feel deep sadness and there are times I miss not knowing better. My sadness has its own culture, and it runs so deep, it lies in my genes, not in my memory–for that knows far better. I have so much to miss that my mind settles on nothing. Nothing at all. But I feel it, from a place I can’t touch.

There are the facts and there are the feelings, and I’m shocked at the lack of connectivity between the two. I should hate them all for leaving. Instead, I am sad for myself…I am scared for them…and I thankful for the ones who took their place.

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.

Wild Things

Today, I’ve been stuck on the absence of things. Emptiness, I suppose, is the realization that things are no longer as they once were. Space unfilled, seems like a void, except it is not.  Funny I’m back to thinking about opposites, and amazed to discover that the opposite of empty… is not full.

What lies deep inside my loneliness, is my ability to heal.  Like a winter perennial quietly waiting for spring, when things are removed, they are not always gone. Amanda Carrier BlogInstead, they lie deep inside me…searching quietly for nourishment.  Weeds feeding on next to nothing, my roots are spreading beneath and inside me all at once.  Extending who I am…reaching out and connecting me to the earth, and to you.

For years, I had six acres of my own land covered in creeping Charlies.  I spent hours pulling them each week. My hands tired and pained from the gripping, and of course from the ripping.  One day, I came home to my husband spraying them with weed killer. Armed with a pump and a hose, he casually sprayed my nemesis and explained that this would be the only way they wouldn’t come back.

Except that I wanted them to come back.  This was my chapel, my ritual, and I tugged and pulled at those creeping, crawling monsters and marveled at their ability to always beat me.  To me, this is not a weed.I marveled more at how confusing it was to pull and rip at a weed who produced delicate purple flowers.

It always took me two hours to remove all the purple and all the green from front yard.  And when I was done, I always knew I would be back.  For down below they were already growing, spreading and reaching.  Making the connections that would sustain their life.  If there is a cycle to this, it always turns on hope, even when we can’t feel it.  It feeds on a smile from a stranger, a door held open by the loss that proceeded it, an idea of a promise, the foundation of a second chance.

Until then, I’m trying to respect the silence, even if it is my enemy.  In my darkest hour, vacant and alone, I am still sifting through the absence of sound. I want to be inside it, to dance amidst the vibrations that remain, even as you no longer speak to me.  I was yours before you loved me, and when you walked away, I am still yours forever more.

Yes, wild things grow on less than a little.

The Road

It’s gray outside, and I’ve spent the day watching the sun struggling to give its final adieu to 2010.  Like an old friend you don’t want to watch leave, the sun keeps peeking through the clouds, even as it sets.

This year, unlike any before it, has been a complete story.  A beginning that hinted at its end.  With each passing day, I could no longer ignore the signs that my life, whether I liked it or not, was changing.  I couldn’t tilt the earth off its axis, make him love me as I needed, or say goodbye without the lingering feeling that I just might love him forever.

But 2010 taught me something else as well. The life you save, may be your own.  It was the first week in January that I admitted to my therapist I had but one fear.  What if, while I work to save my marriage, I end up discovering that it isn’t worth saving.  Nodding, he replied with 2 sentences:

1.  First you figure out where you are going.

2. Then you figure out who with.

Each passing month predicted the same outcome.  I was going to leave, and he was going to make me.  Once I made my final decision, he was going to stand in opposition for the first time in months.  Living life in reverse…it is easier to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission.

But by that time, 7 months after I began paving the road I would some day walk upon, I knew it wouldn’t be his hand I held on my journey.  He had taught me to walk alone, taught me to love myself more than him, taught me to trust my instincts.  With each brick I laid at my feet, it became more and more possible that I wasn’t going to love him forever. And perhaps, if I must really tell the truth…it had been many moons since I had really loved him at all. We teach people how to treat us. And he had taught me that loving him was like mixing a unique batch of poison inside of yourself.  The mixture would both mesmerize and intoxicate you.  If you loved too long, it would kill you.

2011 is here in just a few hours, and I am not dead.  I’m busy picking up all those broken tiny pieces and seeing what I can create from them.  A new me? An old me? A little of both?  This time, I don’t think I will use so much glue.  I think maybe I’ll simply keep them stashed away in a transparent vase filled with water.  Where they can move and dance, swirl and dip with each bump in the road.  I’m still laying bricks…but I have a new hand to hold.  And for the first time it is leading me down the road I’ve already paved.

The Ebb and Flow

What mesmerizes me most about a child, is his unnerving ability to trust the world around him.  The body and the mind, both committed in the same way…urging a spirit towards that which captivates it.  I wonder when this changes? I wonder most what makes us change?

Lately, my body feels like a child and my mind like a sad, beaten up old woman, whose wrinkles stand the test of time, even as they paint her face in ugliness.  There is a fight happening inside of me.  A child’s passion standing guard against a broken heart.

Part of me is waiting for one of them to give in, and the other patient in understanding this battle could last the test of time.  Perhaps it is in my nature to ponder the questions so completely that they become who I am…not the answers, but the puzzle.

Sometimes, while seeking the answers, I find myself searching for maps…my fingers following the routes, roads, and tributaries that lead me to where I am supposed to feel nothing…but instead, I get stuck inside a mural, living this life whose ebb and flow never quite lead me astray.  Instead I float down rivers, my body relaxed…waiting for the next rapid to beat and bruise me.  Silence is the enemy of my heart.

Is it possible that this body is ready to twist and turn along with the tide…unharmed, past the next rapid? Am I now, perhaps, finally equipped to bounce and slide right on past?

To answer this final question, I can’t help but get tripped up on what it means to love and what it means to hate. I am struck by how similar these too emotions are.  Struck more by the variance of subtleties that lie inside them both.  It is a tricky notion to say I love you…and a flippant one to clench your hands in anger.  Both fueled with passion, only one in fear.

I am questioning the difference between love and loving. One merely exists…while the other lives.  The place they occupy confuses me, and I”m searching to articulate the difference.

But one thing is for certain…I love one man, while I’m busy loving another.