I’m proud of you for walking around with a knife wedged in your heart. For months, you lived with its weight on your chest, and breathed in and out even though you hurt so much. Do you remember when you were by the ocean, absorbing the calmness of the waves to keep yourself composed on the outside? I know you thought that you shouldn’t have felt as sad as you did, that you weren’t strong enough. But you mustered those smiles and you wandered the world when you could have stayed inside and hidden away from everything. You didn’t disappear, and were present for others. And while you perhaps weren’t quite yourself, you were trying your best to be those parts of her you still had access to. Do you realize now that you were fighting?
I know your confidence fell apart, that your trust in your own judgement was as fragile as it had ever been. Your occasional tendency to worry escalated to levels you had never experienced before, and your carefully made plans fell apart at your feet. You had to move forward, planning a shaky route down the uncomfortable unfamiliar of a whole new path, chasing away fear and doubt hour by hour. Oh, that doubt. It nearly ate you alive and cost you to lose yourself. But you never stopped struggling against it, desperate for change, knowing somewhere within you, your light of hope must be striving to shine its light and show you were still alive.
On top of all the loss and change, you had to deal with shock. You had to hold your head high and not give into the demons of your fragile mind. You had already been drifting in uncertainty, and this took more bravery than it might have at a time when your life was running much more smoothly. You came so very close to giving in, however knowing all that it would inevitably end up costing you, you were able to keep yourself hanging on. At first, you only succeeded minute by minute, but the more little gifts that life gave you, the easier this became. You can’t remember when the sharp heart pains subsided, and were amazed that they could. Slowly you re-learned how to take care of yourself and let hope reside where the hurt had spread throughout your veins, picking your words up and handing them out through your poetry to other hearts who bled like yours.
You endured, and gratitude filled your heart when you remembered all you had been so fortunate to have been spared. You survived in knowing there was purpose in that. Today, your voice is even stronger. You’re using it to reach out, hoping it will find the ones who need it the most.
I’ll end this by reminding you once again—
I’m proud of you.
Change can bring a weight with it. Dreams are deeper, sounds are richer, growth can be painful even in the moments you experience greater strength than you’ve felt for a long while. To move from a stagnant spot can bring on heaviness instead of releasing it. Underneath foggy skies, I try my best to fight it. I reset my mind over and over again, attempting to organize all that I’ve left scattered. I know that what is waiting for me on the other side is incredible, still I’m afraid. Because it is so much to carry, and requires more of me that I’ve set free in years. There comes a time though, when to remain still ceases to work. You have to start moving, and at first you’ll be overwhelmed with how heavy you feel. It simply has to be one step at a time without a choice…
Last night when I was trying to fall asleep, I had these random memories of my four year old self emerge from somewhere deep in the back of my mind. When I was in preschool, I still wasn’t walking all of the time. I remembered how I would crawl around, eager to find a game to play or a friend to greet. Of course, I walk well enough all these years later, yet I am much more aware of how I get around a lot differently than most of the people around me. I miss that little girl. I had forgotten how unapologetic she was for being herself. Her physical limitations didn’t stand in the way of her vibrant spirit. She cared a great deal more for sharing the beautiful things in the world around her; for all the moments when she could say- “Look, do you see it too? This is amazing.”
I grew up. It wasn’t long (probably around the age of seven), before I started to take in the perceptions of others more often than the wonders I still found all around me. I was walking regularly by then, but those other things I did in alternate ways became something I avoided when out in public. If I knew the struggle would be visible, I would choose not to bother. I hid, and this meant that some activities that left me out were by my own choice, not because there wasn’t a way that I could participate. I feared being stared at, judged or misunderstood as weaker than and helpless more than I cared about sitting on the sidelines. Four-year old me was too full of hope and enthusiasm to care, and she saw how we were all the same. She’d probably grow impatient with me pretty quickly.
I miss her. I feel a little more like her as the years go on. She’s wise. I hope she visits again and tells me more about what truly matters in this wondrous life.
How much is time a factor in easing the hurt that befalls us? This is a question I’ve examined quite often throughout the years. Pain tends to come and go in my world, and I never know what might cause it to resurface again. I have a great deal of difficulty with forgetting and not dwelling on what once was. Time truly does move swiftly ahead however, and I have experienced that stabbed in the heart kind of feelings slowly turn to heaviness, then to a dull ache, then to occasional pricks and pains every now and again. While this doesn’t mean that what wounded you won’t always be present, I think this signifies growth and learning in one form or another.
Hurt changes us, but we can change ourselves and in turn change others. Time allows us the space to create art or hope or answers out of the pieces of ourselves we’ve kept intact. The more of it we have, the more we can understand—and when understanding is shared, so is a new path. It’s a path that, although it won’t unfold all at once, shows us reason after reason to discover our whys, and to hold one another’s hands along the way.
While I think that time does heal, to me, it is simply an ingredient in the recipe. Healing is a journey that last our whole lives, one that involves all the intricate details of the marks we leave and how we love. It encompasses all the ways in which we are brave, and how we chose to simply be. The daring to live all of this sets us free no matter how much hurt or joy we are holding onto in this moment.
I never knew that time would move this slowly while flying by so fast. As I watch it now, I wait for something, all the while knowing I could have missed it without taking notice. I’m trying to find the place where I fit exactly as I was meant to, where I no longer have to keep thinking about how all the pieces are going to fit. It’s a state of mind that eludes me although it shouldn’t. At this hour, I don’t understand time. All I can hope for it to tell me is why it’s kept me on pause for so long…
Where does your mind go, when everything is still? Underneath a warm sun, in the absence of winds that swirl and circle back and forth then around again…like thoughts which keep you nervously driven to carry on? Mine go searching for the meaning of now and all the times I have ever experienced—and I feel weary. I want to move, yet there is nothing in particular calling my name. I want to feel, but fight against that treacherous tide, knowing a day like today could pull me too far underneath the surface. I work and I rest, however in both endeavors, vow to keep myself occupied. But in the steady slowness of these occupations, I, like these hours, stay still. Stillness is what is.
I miss the days when I worried a little bit less, and there was somehow enough time in my day to visit with a variety of ideas and adventures. I miss encountering someone new, learning their story, one that greatly impacted me no matter how different it was from my own. I miss not doubting that my plans were leading me somewhere and that all would be well in a universe where my dreams were at least almost exactly as I imagined them. I long for the more innocent hours I passed lost in my feelings, and I miss that time before I discovered the many dark paths those feelings would lead me down. I miss all the missteps, because even in those, I had so much more confidence than my falls would bring me.
I miss who I once was. I have lost her too many times. She is still here, but her elements have shifted shape—they had to so that she could continue to breathe life into her words. I know now that her wholeness lies somewhere on the other side of tomorrow.
I miss the story I once told myself about being thirty. In my naivety, still such a piece of this sensitive heart, I convinced myself that I would have it all together by now. I’m still waiting, watching others with wonderful careers and loving relationships as I continue figuring this life out. In the fall, I will round that corner to thirty-one. Most days, I have only me as I face this world, ever the fighter I always was. A dreamer, a writer, a giver of time and patience.
Although I miss the days when life had its ups and downs, yet everything seemed to fall into place just enough, this is where I am. Sometimes, you just need to let yourself go to that feeling of ‘I miss that.’