Dear You Out There

There is something happening in the middle of my rib cage. It drums and drums to the rhythm of a mystic beat that sometimes doesn’t sound familiar to me. This liveliness scares me sometimes, and I am left vulnerable but powerful to the entity that shows itself. I reach out to you. I reach out hard, and long, and fast. And I reach out because dear you, please don’t hurt me. Dear you, when you hold this connection like a tentative little baby bird, ever so slightly vibrating in your hands. Its fragile heart beating so fast, so afraid, yet so lovely and vibrant.

Because dear you, the one who holds me at a distance, with walls impenetrable and large, looming and dark. If I were a bird, would you let me fly, still tethered to your beating heart so that there will always be a safe haven when I am to return? If I were a river, would you be the ocean that holds me accountable to the streams that drift apart from you? Will you still be a part of me? If I were a corpse, would you be the last breath I took before I bid farewell? Dear you, the slight and delicate beat that drums to the rhythm of my every need.

Because dear you, hold it true, hold it well, hold it fast and strong. I am not as threatening or as huge as my frail arms do pretend. I am delicate, and practically lifeless. Because dear you, please don’t hurt me. I belong to you.

A Broken Heart

It tastes like a thousand broken shards dipped in scalding hot honey. It is meant to sneak into your unsuspecting mouth by its sweet honey smell, only to stab and jab at your insides when you take a bite. The shards rip the inside of your cheeks, leaving them raw, bleeding, and awed by shocked horror.

And yet there is no relief from the would-be sweetness of honey. Because the temperature doesn’t send relief by cooling off, it stays scalding in your mouth while the spoonful cuts your tongue. It coils your words and minces your thoughts. Instead of sweet words you meant to say, the taste is so bitter that your words become poison and defensive. It leaves you feeling betrayed and defeated. You want to spit it out. No no, take it all back. It was a dirty trick. Disgusting in nature and no one asked for this. But the taste lingers and kills. You can’t do anything but swallow the bitter, rotten mouthful. And it goes down your throat like hot lava, making its way through your body, cutting and destroying everything in its path.

The mouthful spreads into your veins, takes over your blood stream. It cuts, it cuts, it cuts. There is no relief.

From the outside, you may even be able to fake the pain inside. You lick your lips and swallow the blood, smiling through sad, disappointed eyes. No I’m fine. I’m okay. How are you?

Once it’s in, that bitter honey slides through smoothly inside you. It invades every part of you. It takes away what was good about you. It strips you naked and then ridicules you. It laughs and sneers at you. Until there is nothing left. Until even the best armour you’ve built can’t hide the bleeding pores as you sweat out all the goodness and keep all the ugly.

The pain overwhelms you and you wish for nothing but sweet sweet sleep. Sometimes you can forget when you’re asleep. But you wake up everyday again, and in the morning you look around, and you see he bloody sweat.

You put your armour on. And you go on.

The Journey of the 30s

Life is marked by steady symbolic poles built with memories. The memories of the first 10 years of my life are sprinkled with some of the hardest and most tender experiences yet known to me. They consist of those bike ride evenings with my younger brother and sister before I became “too cool” to hang out with them — adolescence hitting me like it smacked my predecessors before me.

My childhood also marked the times when I visited our neighbors across the street, building our relationship slowly with twinkles of trust and light. They saw me walk to the bus stop for elementary school every morning, and they saw me leave the house we grew up in forever as I made my way to my first day in university. They have since passed.. before I had the opportunity to invite them to my wedding just a couple short years later.

The early years also staged some of the hardest times of my life, when our home life wasn’t always good, and the roughness left bruises and tears still stained in the muscle memory of my heart today. Into my teens, the next decade up, I marched into more uncertainty as my brainwork began to shift from “child” to “not yet adult,” marking my very first crush/love, and more confusion when it came to autonomy and independence.

Adolescence wasn’t fun. It had its fun moments, but I wouldn’t give anything to have to redo that part of my life.

My 20s’ was what I now dub as “the stage of desperation.” There is a term I once read, that read something like this: “If you meet an asshole in the morning, s/he is the asshole. If you keep meeting assholes all day, you are the asshole.” The 20s for me is this entire phrase. After breaking friends as quickly as I made them, I went through female friendships like waterfalls. They were my cascade friends. They came quickly, we connected quickly, and then I also very quickly gave them my life story, how needy I am, how much I want a best friend, and how THEY can help, and how much I love love love them. And shortly after that, they disengaged. Too much, too fast, too soon. My 20s marked the time in my life when my emotions were like a roller coaster – I loved too hard, I loved too fast, I loved too soon, I gave too much, I required too much, I asked too little, and I lost too much, too soon, too big. Up and down and all around. I flood lighted people with my personal business, and they left out of overwhelming confusion and disconnection. I blamed the world, and often myself, that I am too much to handle, and they are not enough for me. I was a constant victim.

I am glad to be out of 20s. Trust should not be a floodgate. Trust should be earned through twinkles of light, quiet actions of love, and the slow, steady connection of friendships that get built through years of mutual experiences… sometimes quiet, always steady, mostly good. Trust is when you know what your friend is having for lunch and their favorite coffee. Trust wasn’t when I spent two hours during a first or third coffee lunch date with a new friend telling them my life story and how hurt I was when my mother yelled at me over the kitchen table when I was nine years old.

I am turning 35 this year. I still lose friends, but not as often as I once did. I am managing to keep the small group of friends who I have learned to build and earn trust with… giving small pieces of myself over time, receiving small pieces of them over time in return.

When I turned 30, I thought to myself, “Well, that was 3 decades so far of crazy life experiences… many of which I care not to ever repeat again. Now time for the next half of my life. I know stuff now. I know stuff, so this should be easy. I’ve done my time, I’m good to go. 30s and on is what will be the ultimate time of my life.”

The 30s should be easy. I hear from so many of my older women friends how it was the 40s that they really truly became themselves. I thought, “Psshh… why wait another decade when I can do it now? The 30s will be the time when I become truly myself!” I am a mother of 2 girls. The 30s so far has not been what I had promised it to be. The 30s marks the decade I truly come into my own skin. The wild ride of learning, stripping away the old, covering in with the new.. The first 5 years of the 30s have been spent in confusion, denial, and anger. I have learned to show empathy and compassion to those around me. I have learned to love the ones who did me wrong. But now is when I really finally get that in order to love someone else deeply, I have to first learn to love myself just as deep.

The 30s marks a time when I shed the dependence of my self worth by looking into the mirror of another. I no longer want to be tethered to a safety net of “someone” else. I want to fly free and be okay with the wings I have been born with — that I will land on my own. Sometimes my landing will be rough. Sometimes it will leave me bruised. Sometimes it will be smooth and effortless. But at least, when I land, it is my own skill, and not because someone had a string to my wings, helping me along.

Here’s to flying.