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.

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#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.

Ties the Bind

www.wellhappypeople.comI spent a lifetime preparing for the moments that waited ahead of me. Years of school predetermined my college graduation and I accepted my diploma with the same smile that cashed my first real paycheck.

Next would come my second true love and my first marriage would precede the birth of my first child by exactly 10 months. Nothing was out of order, everything neatly arranged.

I was so good at following directions; I don’t even remember questioning them.

But I don’t think you can prepare for sudden impact. It usually comes from nowhere. A car sliding towards you at the speed of light. A lie holding so many razor blades, it will take years to pick out the debris.

They say the only way to survive trauma is to roll with it. Let your body succumb to the impact, the punctures, the tears, the blunt force of it all. If this is true, it is because there are always two injuries happening at once—the impact and the way your insides respond. There must be a centripetal force to keep it all moving, ensuring your body will follow the desired path. Sometimes its denial, other times the responsibility you have to everyone around you. Stay the desired course…do not heed the warnings. Oddly, the worse it is, the more drawn your body is to the madness.  Battles raging inside us leave our minds impelled towards disaster. A self-fulfilling prophecy, we seek that which we are running from.

But there is courage in truth. The ability to listen quietly to the assault ravaging you, changing you. I’m not sure we promised God to rot in the debris of their lives. Somewhere inside, I believe he wishes us well. I suppose I need to believe he wishes us well.

For my muscles have memories, and they twitch at the sound of betrayal. And when hers was revealed to you, I mourned the loss of the trusting part of you. For he is gone forever. Lost to choices you never got to make.

But I’ve learned a few things from loss, and I’ve found the beauty in it.  For we didn’t leave because they cheated, and we didn’t leave because they lied. We left because we listened. And we learned without knowing, that it is always the letting go that saves us.

The beauty is that letting go works both ways. It releases and it binds–ties the two of us together so tightly, our muscles carry the same memory.  And even as our bodies stir as those forces keep trying to nudge us back inside the pain. We must remember to be quiet and listen.

So lie still with me awhile and lets let it all settle. Hold me tightly until the vibrations still. And know that when we finally decide to move again, the ripples will be entirely ours.

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.

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.

Tangled Up In You

There was a moment, late last night, that I lied in a haze stuck somewhere between dreaming and alertness. I was aware, yet confused.  My eyes were closed, my body still, yet I knew I was awake.  Usually, I don’t like these moments…stuck in a time I cannot measure.  My body gets wrapped up in my mind–and I’m familiar, only in these moments, of what I have to lose.

I have a keen ability to close my mind off from my body. Silencing my thoughts, allows my body to run free. I can fall in love in an instant, convince myself that chasing a feeling is as important as sustaining it.

I’m used to feeling with only half of myself. I can believe words without ever requiring a truthful action to accompany it.  I love you can exist even as you betray me.

This time feels different. When he touches me, his words burn in the back of my mind. When he kisses the small of my neck, I feel beautiful, and when he tells me I am, I remember how it felt when he held me.  This is my body relying on my mind…my mind reinforcing what my body feels…

When he leaves, my fingers remember the way his stomach feels, right before it meets his hips, and I cannot believe how much the words he sends me, resemble how good it feels to touch him.

And somehow…his body… tangled up in mine, can erase all the words still inscribed on my mind.  All the I hate you’s…all the goodbyes…all the lies, wash away. And all that remains, I suppose, is the way he sees me. I wonder most, if what he sees is what I am.

Second chances, it turns out, aren’t so much about starting over…but feeling your way through your thoughts…learning to trust that when a body reaches out for yours, it is possible that it isn’t going to hurt.



Coming to My Senses

Somewhere around my 14th year, I forgot I had five senses.  Trusting only my ears, I lived life believing what I heard.  Words became more than simple units of language, but instead, they created the way I saw the world.  My dreams were made of thousands of small yet powerful words, dancing together…choreographing the mural that would become my life.  I suppose this makes some sort of cosmic sense, considering the second definition of word is unit of meaning.

Coming to my sensesI’m starting to know better. Because the unit of meaning, the promise behind the words, if you will, lies not in the word itself, but in the soul of the one using it.  It lies in the action…what you can see, what you ultimately get.

Yes my ears are tricksters, paying more homage to your soul than to my own.

My other senses are much more loyal, even if I was not loyal to them.  I’ve recently discovered my nose.  Taking deep breaths…cleansing smooth, quiet breaths…sends chills down my arms.  A vessel for the oxygen this body needs, my nose is my greatest life line.

In truth, I’ve always had a sense of my eyes, except that I misunderstood them.  My eyes feel like the sea, with specs of hazel no one has ever noticed.  They busily search constantly for truth. They realize the subtlety in a nervous action, the way a smile hesitates on nerves.  But they cry at sappy movies and remain dry when my heart breaks.  They are constantly trying to find answers, but acting alone in doing so.

I’m embarrassed to say, I forgot I had hands and a tongue a very long time ago.  I got little enjoyment out of the textures of my life. The nuances fooled me. I searched for silk, but felt sand.  Now I try to catch water in my hands and am mesmerized when I get to watch it leak.  I can feel water in places as dry as the desert.  I am thirsty for things I cannot drink.

The madness, I now understand, exists in a place where your senses contradict each other.  When what you hear is not what you see.  When the salty taste of his skin reeks of her floral scent.  I imagine I had a choice, go mad or turn them off.

I turned my senses off and rested on my ears.  I believed the words I’m sorry more than anything else I’ve come to know.

Lying dormant for so long, I yearn for a life where I taste and feel my way along the path. Perhaps my coming to my senses journey, means walking through life backwards for a while, allowing my hands to smoothly sweep away my footprints, because I no longer think getting lost is a waste of time.

And when I’m ready to stop walking backwards…I’ll feel myself forwards.  I’ll become the incomprehensible silence that lies at the moment your senses no longer collide. My coming to my senses journey When the smell of fire is the same as your lovers touch, eyes that don’t turn away, a kiss on the nose, and the words I love you.

Until then, I’ll ride the textures of my experiences.

And I will not name them.

Foundations Made of Sand

Everyone keeps telling me this is all about time.  But it feels more like space.  And I think there is a subtle distance between the two.  Time feels like an eternity and space more like air.

In the space I occupy, I am eternally present. This was always my goal of course. But remaining here is a constant struggle. My mind trips me with lies and tells me I am weak, I am used.  Except I am neither.

My mind wants to punish my heart, for making stupid decisions, for trusting.

I said my brain would lead me through this and I promised to not listen to the longing in my chest, because my heart would always go back.  I lived in reverse.  Accepted the wrong apologies, denied the voices, believed the touch.

Now I think I had even this backwards, for it is my heart, shallowly beating that is leading me now.  Wounded, but not broken, I can eradicate what is left and build a lifetime upon it.

Foundations made of sand, it turns out, are not always washed away–but float separately in a sea of memory.

What might have been becomes an abstraction, a piece of me yes, all of me no.  I ignore the whispers because even cast aside, I lie here alive. I feel the weight, but still breathe.

This is not my story yet.

Butterflies

The butterflies are back, and I’m beginning to understand why.  I used to think they were my nerves.  Sharp darting sensations that fill my body when my brain is lost in translations.  But I was wrong. These butterflies dance through my body, whisking away the loneliness.  Their wings flap swiftly, dusting away everything that hurts. If I give them enough time, they’ll sweep away it all, my brain will take back over and I’ll be fine.

But for now if I stare into the distance long enough,while letting those butterflies dance, I find the irony. It’s in the words of course. The ones people keep saying and seldom mean. It’s a place of opposites…trust me really means good-bye.  The words and the actions are always tied together, and directly oppose each other.  My thoughts trip on the moments between.  Is it me? Or is it possible it has nothing to do with me. Aren’t these really the same thing anyway?

In a world where I love you and I’m sorry are constantly tied together, what is left? I can’t find my breath. But I’ve been here before. I can follow the path I created for myself. Move on. Pretend I’m not dying inside. Be strong. Smile…

Or I can let those butterflies dance, let the tears come, be alone…and remember that if I tell myself the truth long enough, someone else will too. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll choose me.