Every time someone else’s phone rings,
my heart thinks it’s you, and I reach
to answer reflexively, just like I
can’t help but search for your face
in every passing car –
I’m lost. Isn’t that what
you were afraid you always wanted?
Every time my phone lights up,
my heart beats faster, wondering
if I’ll see your name, but
everything collapses when it’s
someone else; congratulations,
I can’t breathe without you –
tu me manques (I miss you).
Every time I think of you,
my heart turns into a bomb
and everything bruises, proving
I am not bulletproof, and I don’t
know which of us holds the gun –
but somebody’s always dying.
Every time I say I love you,
my heart feels its own mortality,
and I realize that I don’t know how to say I
anymore, but we is still broken,
and even though I was born
to survive, this isn’t what living
is supposed to feel like.
Every time I kiss the silence,
my heart calls me a coward,
and there is nothing honest
about the embrace – it feels
too much like drowning,
but I can’t remember air.
Every time you don’t call,
my heart stops – I feel like
I’ve been dead all year,
but I could never be
indifferent, never turn
love into apology,
so this is how I hold forgiveness,
an offering made of the wrong verbs
and every missed phone call –
whatever happens, or doesn’t happen,
it will still – it will always –
The hardest part of a miracle
isn’t believing it happened,
it isn’t tasting the wine,
or finding the right red shoes
to dance on the water –
no, it’s trying to explain it
to somebody else
in a language neither of you
Remember the time the earthquake stopped
and I cried for days? Everything
was in ruins, until you gave me
a prayer made of kisses, the promise
of presence, a benediction,
a laying of the hands –
you were the rosary I carried with me, tucked
inside my blind heart.
Now, I am cradling
my faith more carefully.
Now, I am looking
to you like a wolf
stares at the moon.
The flood has come
and gone; all the rivers
marvel at their changes,
tides tasting of salt
This is how we want
for stitches, while
wearing a smile.
The hardest part of a miracle
is how much it looks like
a mistake –
how frantically you try
and hide your scars,
as if love
is a thing from which
we need saving.
The truth, at last:
I have burnt every bridge
inside my bones, and my soul
is playing dead in this, our silence.
But I hold my heart
sacred, above all else,
and there is no sacrament
for fear, so what stale bread
have you been swallowing?
Have you ever watched a boxer tape up his hands – the precision in preparing for a fight? It is methodical, like surgery, each woven line clean enough to cut if it had an edge. It is acceptance of the inevitable: that bruises happen, and the best we can do is prepare ourselves. It doesn’t matter who swings first; we are our own weapons. And this sacrifice of our pristine selves is ragged and ugly. Someone rings a bell, you get in the ring, and all of hell starts.
The opposite offering is violets in a bowl at daybreak. Remember what you were doing August 2012? Remember the words and the phone ringing, how everything just stopped in a single breath? Change, no matter how you dress it up, is never pretty. The bowl cracks. The violets don’t mean forever. And yet, it is its own beginning. It is how things become more than what they were. It is how we become more than what we are.
The secret to each thing is vulnerability. In order to gain, you have to give up yourself. This is how a heartbeat slows to match another. This is how you run, ready for a chase. This is how we offer broken ribs and glass, bloody lips and rivers. This is how the lingering night dares to bring out the stars –how the moon says yes when we cannot find the words. This is how passion demands tribute, how the hours fall away, and how we lose everything to find ourselves.
If there’s one thing you remember, let it be this: no fight, however beautiful, asks for permission; no promise ever asks for forgiveness; and no true kiss is anything less than madness.
Tell me: how ready are you to tape up your hands? How beautiful are your violets at daybreak?
Some call it weakness, this brazen tendency toward vulnerability; fragility worn like a new dress, a heart that bends and promises, gives and waits, with nothing but stars for expectations. Despite false perceptions, openness is not a fault line, or a crooked compass, or a price; it is strength that resembles forgiveness, it is passion that resembles sacrifice; it is love that only ever resembles itself. Today, winter is waiting for a reason not to exist; its fingers are dragging the earth like a wolf hunting for spring – a reminder that every moment can be something else, if you’re hungry enough. Tomorrow, the moon will ask the world for everything, and it does not matter how small your courage is, only that you have. It does not matter how deep your fears are, only that you deny them – everything, lately, a lesson that cautions against foolish acceptance. Unclench your heart – it is not a fist. Unstick your jaw – gospels are not grief. Unbind yourself – promises are not meant to be prisons. Consider this: maybe need is having a back alley brawl with want – or maybe it doesn’t realize it’s fighting itself, and everything is bruised and sparking. There are days full of ice, waiting for a word of flame. There are hearts full of love, waiting for a touch of grace. There are always reasons to wake up ravenous for someone else’s strict prayers, but that which feeds you should never leave you empty. Some will see vulnerability as less; some will see fragility as a lack of faith; some will offer the word survival as a convenient noose, desperate for your to hang yourself – but there is no power in keeping to your knees for the sake of someone else’s religion, and fire is a better fate than frozen. Remember, remember this: even wings become weapons against gravity, and falling sometimes feels like freedom even when it hurts. Love sometimes means burning your own house down and marveling at the ashes; there no getting away clean, but you forget how strong scar tissue is – and that there’s always beauty in the wreck.
The plan was simple:
keep quiet, keep away,
like the game we played as children,
running through lines
and never looking back –
an easy escape.
But, then, all my lies
turned to ghosts, my heart
swelling like a bruise,
all ugly colors
and broken magic tricks,
a love too bloody
to ever forget the word fight.
Then, I broke a dish
just to empathize
with the word shatter.
Then, I swallowed nails
just to remember
what the word strong
Then, I forgot everything
except your voice
turning into a miracle
whenever you spoke my name.
Today, this is where
I am living –
in the silences of a thousand
and my love is an open box
that whispers too late,
you’ve already let the monster out.
The plan was simple; it was your
blueprint, your careful instructions,
a way out of this wayward
fairytale; but you overlooked
the structure of all good stories,
selling the word need
at too low of a discount.
Love is feeling,
not a weapon; love
is obliging, never obligating –
but so what
if I need you?
but so what
if I miss you?
but so what
if I stay away?
You can dam
any river, but that
won’t change the rain.
“There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.” ― William S. Burroughs
Confession: Sometimes, I am terrible at being patient. Because to be patient, one must relinquish control – or the idea of control. Patience means taking a step back and leaving something alone. And I’m not remarkable GOOD at that. I’m a doer. A fixer. A speaker. A saver. I’m all action and all heart. So, sitting still? Not natural.
But, then again, sometimes it is necessary. This morning, I kept thinking of a line from The Princess Bride: if you rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles. As silly as it seems, that idea resonates. Rushing doesn’t necessarily mean getting. Quick doesn’t mean better. And fast doesn’t always equal satisfied.
That is so easy to forget in this day in age, where most people want NOW and have forgotten to appreciate the long game – the long run. Yes, it is important to live and be in the moment. But there’s also something to be said for keeping an eye toward the future. It is, as most things are, a balancing act – an act. Your mileage may vary. Your circumstances may transform. Everything changes. This is the constant.
Yesterday, I was reading a bit of astrology. It was from @anneortelee on Twitter. She wrote: End this once and for all. You really do have to let go, to make room for something better.
When I read it, the statement really grabbed me – with iron, icy fingers. My first thoughts were, “I want to be the something the ‘something better’ ” and, “How often do we really get in our way?” The first thought is fairly self-explanatory, even without any context. We all – no matter what the circumstance, relationship, or occasion – want to be chosen. We want to be what somebody wants. We want people to like our art, to listen, and to appreciate us. The basic desire of humanity is, I think, our need to be appreciated for who we are as people. Not what we do for a living. Not how much money we make. Not what we can do for someone us. Who we are – the fundamental core of our being. But that’s another topic for another day.
There are times where we cling like hell to something that is no longer good for us. It’s familiar, and that familiarity is mistaken for ease. It’s what we know, and let’s face it: the unknown is terrifying. So, we keep to old patterns. We walk the same dark alleys. We stay still in even the most uncomfortable spot.
Often times, I think there is this horrible fear that we don’t deserve better. That we don’t deserve to be happy – that we aren’t worthy of the thing that we want, regardless of what it is. So, we feed ourselves excuses and call them reasons. All these conjured ideas of Why Not. We fight even the idea of letting go in pursuit of something better, and it continually boggles my mind.
Because there’s always a way, darlings. If you believe, if you try, if you strive – there’s always a way. And maybe that belief is terrifying. If that’s true (and it is), then there’s really no actual reason to hold yourself back. Especially when you realize that you’re standing in between you…and yourself.
Sometimes, you need a bit of distance to see what you really need. Sometimes, that distance is enough to shift your perspective from fear to belief. Because: you’re never too old. It’s never too late. And it’s never a bad time to fall in love, go after a dream, and be true to yourself.
Passions, wherever they lie, are a strange thing. Passion can twist your world into something foreign. It will steal your sleep. It will occupy your thoughts thoroughly and without mercy. But passion is what keeps us alive. Passion is what makes life living.
Let go of what doesn’t make you madly passionate. Don’t walk away from what inspires your heart. And, for the love of all caffeinated things, go after your desires. Chase what you love. Run after it. Risk everything for it. Because, as Chuck Palahniuk once said, “The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”
I can remember, exactly, how I felt the first time someone I respected told me that I talk too much. I was about 12 years old. I was curious about everything. I was forever thinking out loud and asking questions. Then, in the company of an adult I pretty much worshipped, I must’ve asked one too many questions – or shared one too many of the thoughts in my head.
“You know,” he began, “If you talk less, when you do talk, people will be more inclined to listen to what you say.”
I’m sure my face turned red. I know that the words stopped coming, then. I kept quiet. I felt an odd sense of shame. Maybe worse, I felt silly. The incident made me feel very small, unworthy almost in a way that was foreign to me.
When you tell someone to stop talking, it isn’t that you’re just telling them to be quiet. You are telling them that they are unworthy of being heard – that what might be important to them is not, in fact, important at all. After all, if it was, wouldn’t you want to listen? When you tell someone to talk less, especially a child, you aren’t simply commenting on what he/she has to say – you’re kicking at who he/she is. Because we are, among other things, our thoughts. We are the things we dare to question, love, ask, examine, and share. After all, an unexamined life is not worth living.
Since that incident, and about a thousand after it, I’ve struggled with the art of offering – what to say, what to hold back, and who to tell at all. You don’t, if you’re wise, share your deepest thoughts with strangers. Sometimes, honestly, you don’t even share those with friends. They aren’t always pretty, and we are afraid, aren’t we? Of being rejected or dismissed for some part of who we are – some part that may not quite shine as brightly as the rest. Some space within us that’s rusted or tarnished – a blackened penny at the bottom of a secret well.
Sometimes, I hold things in. I hold things back. The reason is that there’s still that small voice, sometimes, that insists with quiet determination that I’m not worth listening to – that what I have to say or want to say doesn’t matter. That it is simply chatter that might annoy someone. As such, perhaps to combat that fear, I always do my best to not just listen to the words coming out of your mouth – but to really hear you. Active listening. There is nothing passive about me. But that is hardly the point I want to make now.
I have an ungodly tendency to just…blurt things out. If I’ve held in something for so long, something I’m afraid to release out into the world, I may spill it at the worst possible moment. I have, especially in matters of the heart, the worst timing you could ever imagine. But even with that fear that someone burrows its way inside my nincompoop of a head, I will say the uncomfortable, difficult, scary, and problematic things. I have grown accustomed to the mess. I have learned to accept the fear. I’ve begun, I suppose, to brace for the inevitable silence that might follow some confession.
Is silence the worst thing? No, it isn’t. Because silence is a reaction, perhaps, of surprise. Silence, following a confession, means I heard you. Silence, often, says I’m thinking. I’m taking it in. Because, let’s face it: we all ninja-drop emotional bombs. We all sputter out uncomfortable truths or questions. I did that a few weeks ago. I asked something I had no intention of asking, but in a moment of complete emotional nakedness, the words were out of my mouth before I knew it was happening. My brain basically got bitchslapped by my heart, which took over the verbal parade. Incidentally, unlike the moment from my childhood, this confession and question didn’t leave me feeling shamed. I was/am proud of myself for it. Sure, the timing could’ve been worlds better. But, honestly, good timing is a myth perpetuated by a lot of less than savvy things. Trust me on that.
Back to my point: a how a person reacts matters. It is important, when someone tells us something profound, that it is acknowledged. It doesn’t have to be met with a grand parade (honestly, no parades – and no clowns). Something as simple as, “I hear you. I heard what you said. I need time to process that.” There are a thousand ways to do that right. There’s only really one way to do it wrong, which is to invalidate someone else’s feelings, thoughts, and/or existence.
So, yes. Maybe I talk too much sometimes. Maybe my timing is beyond ridiculous, veering into abysmal. But I’ve learned over the years that anyone worth talking to, will hear you even when the rest of the world is noisy, even when the words come out in fits and starts, and even when the situation is impossible.
It’s the impossible moments and things we should live for. It’s the impossible hearts we know and stands we take. After all, impossible just means someone else doesn’t believe. Impossible just means it hasn’t happened yet. Impossible means fight, means challenge.
I am, after all, a perfectly impossible girl. I wouldn’t have it any other way, darlings.
How impossible are you?