Lost in You

You are the father I always wanted

You are the lover I always needed.

Next to you I was as calm as a rock.

With you I was as wild as a storm.

So I came back again. After everything. I could not stay away.

I know now: You are no soulmate. And this is no fairytale.

It was a frenzy. A flock of sparrows that swarms and then comes to rest suddenly.

I cannot explain us in moments. It was in the movement we made together:

The flashes of dark. Sudden ruptures of light. Bursts of secret sadism. The pain of pushing and pulling endlessly.

And finally out of my throat black spores erupted all over you.

This was my deepest fantasy, manifested as raw as sunlight. I could never have enough.

So we dug down together, until it collapsed all around us.

And now I am sick of you. I am sick from you.

I will never be so deeply lost in you.

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How it is

This is how it is

This is what it’s like

I’ve reached my late 20’s, and the floors are never clean enough

I can’t keep up with the grass- it keeps growing- it’s seeds spreading everywhere while I sleep facing away

Spiders sneak through the old siding of the house- they nibble at the backs of my legs while I dream.

Friday morning they canceled my yoga class so I climbed the butte downtown

The freeway whoosh drives the thoughts of my meditation up to the hills crowned in smoke

They have been drowning in it all summer

Each day the sun burns orange, brightening the night

But every surviving oak tree still twists up proud into the sky seeking safer air

And my heart aches with love for this valley as it burns, as it hates us, as sickens me.

This valley will boil me alive some day. But where else would I go to die by earth’s hand?

This is how it is

This is what it’s like

Here I am: the age I always wanted to be

Is this what I wanted?

Cheap house, cheap clothes, cheap couches. Cheap everything.

And my body tired far beyond its age.

Yet I have made a life for myself where most of the time

I am okay

I don’t get touched when I don’t want to be

Except once a year in a dream

I grow to accept the failings of my body

The healing of my body

The inevitable imperfections of this life

Questions hover around my future

Will the garden flourish?

Will the spiders ever stop biting me in my sleep?

Will I be forced to flee this burning valley someday?

Every year I feel the sun get hotter

Every day I feel my body struggle

Every summer the wind chokes me

Yet somehow, more than ever

I find peace

Finding My Vibration

When I find my own vibration it feels like I am sliding into silky water-

It feels like the crunching deep earth crystals beneath my feet.

In my vibration I glow emerald. The color pulses alive in my chest.

My vibration feels like a silty coat of electricity all over my body. It leaves my skin buzzing.

My frequency. My home vibration. My deepest essence.

This is a place I must return to always. Drifting back to these pools of emerald, to the grey rock that grounds my feet down.

The edges of my heart shine forward and up. I unfold from the core.

My home frequency. My deepest vibration. The wavelength of my spirit. This is the sensation that makes up me.

I Don’t Trust My Body

It is so hard for me to trust my own body. Some people feel easy in their bodies. They assume their body will automatically do the things it needs to take care of itself. They know their hearts will speed up when they run and slow when they lie down. They believe their lungs can handle the exertion of being in motion, they have felt that their nerves can take the stress of a hard day, they are assured that their livers can sift through the toxins they encounter and will protect them. They live their lives without thinking much about their bodies and how they function. They assume it will all be fine. Their bodies will take care of themselves.

I do not feel this way about my body. I never have. I have always thought that there was something deeply wrong with my body. I have always had an idea in my head that I will die young, and strangely. That people will scratch their heads in surprise when they hear about it, and how it happened. I have always been convinced that I need to be careful with my body, more than other people. I can’t trust that I will not die at any moment. I feel that I must tiptoe around my body, that I should subject it to too much or it might just break down. It could all just collapse at any moment: I track my heart beat to make sure it stays steady. I listen to my own breathing all day to make sure it doesn’t stop. I have lived my life in this fear, outside of the natural flow others find in their bodies.

I look back to find the deep roots of this problem, emotional and physical, that is now manifested. My parents never trusted me growing upno matter what I did to try to prove it. They always told me that trust is earned, but somehow I could never earn it. They didn’t trust my abilities, they didn’t trust my motivation, they didn’t trust my desires. Eventually, when faced with an impossible situation, there is nothing to do but internalize the very problem you are faced with. No matter what I did I would not be able to make my mother happy. If I was perfect, by her standards, she would be happy. But no body can ever be perfect. And eventually I turned this in on myself- finding all the imperfections in my own body.

I was betrayed by my own culture. My body was compromised from early on but no one intervened. My body cannot tolerate the expectations that are normal in this society: to eat foods that are toxic to us, to soak up the poisons in our shampoos and body washes, to live a life drenched in stress, to cope with the every day violence that is synonymous with womanhood. And no one helped me. My body was left to desperately survive on it’s own- so what could it do except internalize that is is inadequate? But it is not. It struggles like everyone else’s- the fact that it can put up with less of the stress that we are all under is a sign of it’s own strength, a sign of it’s own ability to sift right from wrong, to set clear boundaries with myself and my own culture and say NO, this is not how I was meant to live. Nobody knew how to help me until I was deep into autoimmune disease and I sought answers on my own.

What was my body supposed to learn from a world that didn’t help me as I struggled, except that I cannot trust myself, and there is no hope for me? The message was that I must suffer alone- I cannot trust my body to take of myself, and I cannot trust others to take care of my body.

So now these messages manifest in my disease. My body over reacts to everything. And I cannot trust it. It responds strangely and suddenly, without warning the inflammation starts and I feel like I am dying. Every fear I’ve ever had has been realized in this illness.

And yet, somehow, little by little, I am beginning to heal. I try to pull my illness out of me from the roots. Reaching down even farther, seeing if I can find those firm and stubborn seeds deeply imbedded in my cells, in my psyche, in my spirit. And the truth I know is that to heal I must open. I must allow. I must trust. I must forgive every betrayal of my own body.

Things I Will Never Forget (What I Learned From My Illness)

There are things I would never have known otherwise.

There are things that will always be different now.

There are things I find hard to explain:

All the things I have learned from my sickness.

Like how it tastes to eat soup for every meal every day for eight months straight.

Like the time it takes to read every ingredient on everything ever (that day I spent hours in the hygiene aisle, just wanting to wash my hair).

The way I learned to say “I’m sorry, I can’t” so well that it started to ache in my mouth.

The feeling that washed over me when I left the doctor appointment, clutching close the new list of things that were wrong.

How I became so tired of evaluating each possible treatment, of trying to decide what to do next.

The sinking dread of knowing: I’m just rotting away. The fervent praying- the wild hoping- can I stop it? Is it possible to heal?

The deep weakness that took over my body- as if I am taking each step with weights locked around my ankles (the day in the market I couldn’t lift that jar of coconut oil I wanted and had to ask for help).

There are things I will never take for granted again, like how much energy it actually takes to get up from my bed and walk to the kitchen, or the bathroom, or to press the gas pedal down in my car.

What it feels like to lie face down on my bed, only to feel my heart start pounding my whole body, wondering if it will ever stop?

Like how it is to have my skin burn and ache every time you tried to touch me tenderly.

All the dreams I’ve had of possible futures: all the longings I’ve had for the past (remember when I was cute and light and carefree in my body?).

When I try to explain myself- my every quirk- my every issue. How much is too much? Every question somehow leads back to my illness.

The terror I felt when I looked at the one page single column list of the last foods I could still tolerate.

And my face, my soft skin covered in blisters- in hives- in a swollen red flush. The itching pain. Afraid of your touch.

Resting. Eating. Sleeping. Appointments. Supplements. Nothing else. A never ending cycle.

The deep feeling of exhaustion as it seeps into each corner of me. Like my body is breaking and here I am, stuck inside.

The smell of meat broth boiling. Being told I smell like celery.

The hours spent reading health blogs. Autoimmune instagram inspiration. Nutrition research. Medical journals. Crying in frustration- trying to understand it all. Will this be the thing that saves my life?

Counting calories. Tracking nutrients. Taking foods out. Adding them back in. Taking them out again. Falling asleep at 8:30.

There are so many things I have learned. There are so many things I will never forget.

Like what is the true meaning of patience. Of diligence. Of despair. Of surrender.

Like how to say no. To everything.

Like how to strategize my precious energy: what will I need for the next three hours so I won’t have to get up again?

How it feels to know my body is flooded with invaders. Overrun with them. And in response it’s shutting down.

What it’s like to wake up with my legs hot and weak. Like they are filled with fire and jelly.

Time passes. Months. A whole year of sickness. And another. How many years will I lose?

What it’s like to be afraid of everything: sunshine. Cold. Fragrance. Pollution. Leftovers.

There is a deep ache. There is an unspeakable grief. Why me? Why my life? Trying to make sense of it. Trying to find some meaning in it.

The long game. The waiting. The hoping. The affirmations, repeated endlessly to outweigh my fears: I will heal. I will heal. I will heal.

The things I have lost. People. Places. Pastimes. Familiarity. Wondering if anyone will want me like this?

The things I regain- the indescribable joy at the smallest victories. My body moving strongly again. Climbing a hill. Running a block. Doing one thing, and then another. How much I missed the piney smell of the mountains.

Will I ever see the stars from deep wilderness again?

Time passes. Changes unfold. My life comes back to me- little by little. Sliver by sliver.

But no matter how much I heal, there I things I will never take for granted again.

There are things I will never forget.

No Matter What

No matter what, the ocean and the starlight will be there to hold me,

and crows will dart between the trees along my path.

I release it: the need to know. To control. To direct.

To be anything more than a pebble that is whisked down to the beach by the sifting of sand under creek water.

I surrender. I sink into the fog of the universe.

I know that no matter what, I will be held like sunlight in the hands of the trees.

This is my place. I belong here. I say it again to myself.

The smell of the mountains will pull me up when I stumble. The dampness of fall rain will cool me when I am burning. The wind will settle me. The clouds will push my shoulders back to earth.

Through heart break. Through loss. When I am broken open.

No matter what. The ocean. The starlight. The mountains. The rain.

The world is still there. Outside of me.

After

After the break up

After the reconnection

Where does this leave our story?

I can finally face it. How I’m letting you go.

Or at least the idea I had of you.

It was an illusion. A dream I constructed.

Like a child desperately seeking a shape in the clouds.

So here we are:

At the beginning of something new. Or at least different.

Finally sitting with what is real.

But I feel strange here. I keep looking over my shoulder: looking back at our past. At how we got to here.

Remember when we heard that warning? Know when it is time to release. Know when the tether has gotten too tight.

It meant nothing to me then. I couldn’t see then what it would feel like now.

Life is painful that way. The sweetness. The sadness. That tender, bitter sensation that lets you know you have stumbled on truth.

I have been swallowed by the pain of it.

This is the next part of our story. This is the next lesson.

There was no lie.

I could not have gotten what I needed then, if I knew where we would be now.

So this is what was always meant for us.

There is no other way it could have been.

Because I gave you everything then, I know how to survive this now.

The tragedy of it is as thick as a ripe fruit in my mouth.

And with the tragedy I am returned to myself.

This is how it always needed to be.

This is how it always was meant to end.

The Lesson

As always, the lesson learned is to pull my energy inward. Go deeper. Be more inside of myself.

As always, the truth I needed is to hold each moment in my mind. Unfold myself. Every second of life is evidence I am accepted by the world.

My existence itself is proof.

As always, the lesson is to be slower, breathe awareness into everything. Notice what I bring in. Notice everything I release.

My existence itself is the universe playing.

As always, the lesson is all the things I have already known. Remembering again and again. Lifetime after lifetime.

Pull inward. Move slowly. Be now. Live like you are divine.

Water Mother

Flow of water, what can you teach me?

I am lost, lost like a child-

But there are lost children in all of us.

We all share it: those first terrible moments outside of the womb.

Our primary wound. Universal. Lodged in the space between memory and DNA.

And we spend our lives trying to return to this comfort we cannot remember. Our first home.

Seeking those wisps of sensation. Murmurs of comfort. The yearning to know: we are safe. We are loved.

A feeling that comes from the inside out.

Water mother: find me here floating, suspended in water, deep in the center of myself.

Teach me to contain myself like a small pool of light and moss.

Teach me to unfurl like the gentle hand of a fern.

Teach me to pull in and tendril out again like a brave little tributary, tasting new ground.

Water mother, teach me to change. To reconfigure. To stir up the river bed in the river bed in the winter, so when summer comes we can find beautiful stones uncovered from last year’s mud.

Crawling Through the Mud

How do I heal?

My body smells betrayal in every cure.

So I crawl through the mud:

Put together a puzzle of disconnected pieces.

Each part pulls me in a different direction-

Disjointed-

They will not speak to each other.

Every one running along its own frantic path. Out of touch- spinning away.

My body is a room full of trapped parakeets. Like a beach of slippery sand. Pulling itself backwards.

So I crawl through the mud:

Finding my way. One step by one step.

Turning down to dial. Reeling in each disparate part. Holding them together as they scramble away.

Tightly.

Patiently.

I cannot run from my own journey.

I cannot run from my own self.