Interlude #11

Dustin~

This is not goodbye.

How could it be, ever? You live on: fueling my heart, shining my eyes, whispering in my head and warming my soul. There is no longer any separation between us.

Your death still weighs on me, but not as much as it did. For all the mistakes you made, for all your missed opportunities, all your regrets, I have forgiven you. For all the things I should have done, should have said, should have seen, I forgive myself.

I can hear you in my head still, telling me I’m worth it when I wonder that I’m not, telling me I’m not alone when I’m cold in the night, telling me not to be so hard on myself when I make a mistake.

I know you heard the conversation he and I had about whether or not I’m a ‘good’ person, as opposed to a decent one. I could feel your anger at my answer, the one that sold myself short, the one that was too harsh.

You are right. I am a good person, after all. My inherent ability to divorce emotion from a situation makes me think I am harder, am colder, than I really am. You knew better, felt the heat of my heart and the warmth of my soul, felt my fears and my pain. You are the one who taught me to love on that grand scale, who took my scarred and beaten heart and broke it wide open.

I have promised you that I won’t date assholes anymore, the ones who use and abuse. I have promised you to only allow those people into my life who are good to me and for me, who give as much as they take. You taught me that I deserve better, and I will honor your dreams for me. 

Now the time has come to try to sort out how we move on together, as two made one. How to rejoin life, how to love again. How to be brave.

Come, love. The road is clear, the light is green. Let’s go.

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Make Me A Stone

"Christie Black and White" by Tracy Kahn

“Christie Black and White” by Tracy Kahn

And oh poor Atlas
Was a beast of a burden
You’ve been holding on a long time
And all this longing
And the ships are left to rust
That’s what the water gave us

So lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
Pockets full of stones

~ “What The Water Gave Me” by
Florence + The Machine, from “Ceremonials”

I don’t even know how to begin to describe what this weekend has been like for me, but if I had to sum it up in one word it would be “numb.”

Somewhere along the line, a switch was flipped, something hit redline, and my emotional systems just shut down. For most of Memorial Day weekend, I didn’t try to be with him and his memory, I just existed.

Sunday was the anniversary of Dustin’s death. For weeks I’ve been haunted by that day on my calendar, and when it came, I couldn’t feel a thing. Not love or happiness, just a dull aching and a blank stare.

And this after I felt I had finally turned a corner with my last post, felt something profound settle into place. After months of gut spilling across the internet, “Alchemy” was the only thing I’d written that gave me a sense of peace.

On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder if I was deliberately avoiding the issue that day, if I’d found a way to run from the pain and the loss and the longing, if I shut down in self-defense. I’m so tired of the hurting, of the tears. Now I am worried that on all the days I should have been brave enough to sit with the pain, I became a coward.

Given the whopper of a nightmare I had that night, I may be onto something there. Something dark is moving in deep places.

I need to find an outlet, a way to get through this. I am blocked creatively, couldn’t even write for days. My internal landscape is stagnant and still. When I look into my future, it’s through a dark glass.

Dustin gave me something I’d given him, unconditionally: he accepted me, just as I am and was, and he loved me for it.

I know I am not for everyone. My life isn’t where I want it to be, I’m carrying extra weight and have other physical issues I’m not pleased with, I have zero tolerance for bullshit, I can be a challenging partner, I can be logical to the point of insensitivity, and I can divorce emotion from a situation a little too well. I am intelligent-which should seem like a plus–but I’ve discovered the hard way that most men who say they want a smart woman generally mean only as long as she’s not more intelligent than he is.

And now here I am, having lost the one damn person who reveled in all the things that most other people think make me strange, who didn’t want to make me into someone else, who wanted to spend every morning of the rest of his life waking up next to me, who wanted to be by my side in the trenches as I tried to move my life–our lives–to a better place.

I would really, really love to throw something at the wall right now.

I had hope, for a while, that maybe something new was waiting to come into my life when the time was right, but no. I should have known better. Hope and I have always had a fraught relationship, so I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s let me down yet again. I am surprised by how much it hurt. Especially when I look at what I have to offer right now, and feel like a fool because I should have seen that coming.

And there it is. This is the reason I shut down, the one thing too many. That subtle rejection magnified the scope of my loss, drove home how lucky I had been, once upon a time. This, combined with the anniversary, ripped the bandages off the wounds, amplified the longing for what I’d had. I went back into survival mode.

And now I am going to pay for that.

Beneath a Pale Moon

Beneath a pale moon’s whispering
I wander again through the trackless night
Trying to find the we that was
Love’s fool laughing in the dark

Beneath a full moon’s staring
Down this road the bright edge of madness lies
Singing of the ribbonless wedding that never was
And the promise never delivered

Beneath a waning moon’s slipping
I chase our history through the broken stones
Of crashed castles built on the love that was
Fighting through the stumble and the pain

Beneath a new moon’s haunting
Peeling sanity to reveal bones lost in the founding
And the shards of a future that never was
Splintered in the night wind’s whistle

Come the morning sun’s rising
Good-bye in the night bird’s last song
Heavy head pillowed on dreams of what will be
Curled around my kintsukuroi soul
Love’s fool calling

Sunrise in the grass

Interlude #10

Dustin~

Oh, baby, here I go again. Nine months gone. I thought it would be better, less painful this time. I should have known better. 

I feel like someone is pulling glass-covered strings out of me, one at a time, a thin slivering pain. I am running out of ways to say I miss you. Still, and always.

I felt so strong today, so alive. My life is moving in the right direction, I am finally happy. I thought of how you loved me, how that set my soul alight. How I glowed with it, how I still do. How I did the same for you.

But such light creates shadows, creates the spaces for the loss to move and breathe and curl. To be reminded, once again, that this is an endless process. Yin and yang, balance. Joy and pain, love and loss. 

There is a part of me that isn’t ready to hope for more than what I have. Six months ago, I couldn’t even imagine being where I am now. Isn’t that enough? When did I become afraid of hope?

The loneliness has come back tonight, as deep as it ever was, swelling like still water suffering dropped stones. It’s been so long since you held me last…since anyone has. 

But I know I have to walk this road alone. No one can do this for me, take this pain and carry it in my stead. I know you would have spared me this if you could have. I know, baby. It’s all right.

Even after all that’s passed, how hard it’s been, it was worth it. You were worth it, forever and always. 

I miss you. I love you. 

Ascendant

Full MoonWomanRisingFromTheOcean

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
~Lao Tzu

After months of grueling mourning, after months of anger and pain and sadness, after months of struggle and heartbreak and endless loneliness…I cobbled myself together, went back to school, picked up a paintbrush.

After weeks of sleep deprivation and juggling of school and work and assignments and artwork, of nary a moment to myself to just breathe, I slid sideways into Spring Break and inhaled deeply.

And in the midst of all of this, all this fuss and bother and rushing here and there, when I finally came to a moment to breathe, I found a new woman waiting there for me. A bolder, stronger version; broken but whole, the cracks welded together with gold and silver. Still hurting, but my star is rising; I have become ascendant. I am finally rising above Dustin’s loss.

I still miss him, his warmth in the dark. I miss his insights and his sense of humor, his kindness.

I don’t miss his love, because I never lost it. And the strength and courage born of the love we shared has given me everything I needed to not only survive, but relearn how to thrive.

I have opened two online stores recently to sell my artwork, I am doing well in both my classes, I am eating better and losing weight. I found myself taken by surprise when someone asked me for a coffee date. A just-getting-to-know-you, pressure-free thing. And when I didn’t immediately shoot the idea down, I realized that somewhere in all my busyness, I had come a very long way indeed. So I accepted, all bewildered at myself.

I am not to the point where I can deal with things like expectations or hope for more. I am going and I will be open-minded, and those two things are so monumental that they’re more than enough.

This life is enough.

 

Spilled Bones

The Old Astronomer To His Pupil, by Sarah Williams

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
The Old Astronomer To His Pupil, by Sarah Williams

Spilled Bones

Spill the bones across the table
Read a future there
Trace the pattern of a soul
Writ large on every bone
Of life, of love, of spirit and hope

Tumble the bones end over end
Sparking dreams and starting fires
Tell me the tale I haven’t heard before
The happily ever after for the one left behind
Find what’s left of me there

When they stop their restless fall
Maybe they’ll share their peace
Spin stillness in their wake
Maybe the gods will listen
And grant clear eyes to a full heart

Every slivered bone
Lined with loss, curved by grief
Startled as stars
Curling into their cores
Exploding, scattering

Bracketing beginning and end
From stars whence we came
To stars we shall return
Lighting dark and lonely ways
In the night sky you wait for me