“If someone does not want me it is not the end of the world. But if I do not want me, the world is nothing but endings.”— Nayyirah Waheed
And so the year has turned to its close, and as I heal from wounds of my own choosing, I find myself turning introspective again. Not only of the year, but of the decade. I admit that I started this writing before Christmas, but found the words sticky and unwilling to lend themselves to exactly what I have been feeling. I hope that tonight, I may do them justice.
I suppose it’s a tad cliche to write an introspection. Everyone is doing it, right? I’ve heard grumbles here and there, but for me, it’s an important process. I have to sit and think on things past, so that I may move forward in peace, and with purpose. And to the oak tree, what are the caws of crows but mere distraction in its reaching for the sun?
On New Year’s Day, 10 years ago, I was, in a way, much the same as I am now. I woke up, alone, shaking off the unease and hollow ache that threatened to seep in around the edges. I remember how raw my stomach felt from the constant nausea of worry. I was recovering from lifesaving surgery and a broken heart, so worried about the future, and feeling so desolated. But even in the darkness of that day, I felt hope. Even if it was just a little.
So this New Year’s Day, as I awoke alone once more, feeling the familiar gnaw of existential dread threatening, I smiled to myself. Other than a change in hair color and length, you’d scarcely be able to tell by looking at me that it had been 10 years. I look like nothing happened, really.
And yet, there is so much that would be missed in that assumption:
Big things, little things.
Graduating from college with 3 degrees.
Dating, engagement, marriage, divorce.
I bought 3 houses, and sold 2 of them. Ditto on cars.
Two cats entered the decade with me, and I left it with 3 cats, a dog, and a snake.
I lost love, I lost friends, and experienced heart wrenching grief.
I mourned my Papa and Jonathan.
But I also gained new love, found new perspective, rediscovered what I covered up years ago.
There were days, weeks, and months in that 10 years that seemed so insurmountable that I would surely never make it through. Even so, there were also some of the best moments of my life. Moments lived in sun, love, and light. Beautiful times where I walked through dark forests and strolled on moonlit sands.
And best of all, I had Liam, who gave me the gift of motherhood.
Yes, perhaps a similar place, however not the same person I once was.
The last year, in particular, was a year of healing.
To be quite frank, I’ve never really loved myself in the way that would be considered healthy. I have always seen myself as some sort of Quasimodo; something to be hidden away. I suppose a lot of that has to do with my childhood. To that point, I am usually shocked when someone wants to be my friend, or compliments me. I suppose that’s incongruous with how I dress and present myself, but that’s merely me trying to hide in plain sight.
But in 2019, I saw change in myself. I looked into the mirror and finally, for once, I thought, “you know, you’re not a monster, maybe you’re all right after all”. That was a simple revelation that was 33 years overdue. Since then, I’ve worked on being kinder to myself, as well as others. I am no monster. And I deserve love, even from within.
I also learned much about myself in terms of unknown traumas that were driving my every day relationships. Especially one trauma, which I have often began writing a post about and then usually end up deleting: The sound of silence. Perhaps there will be a day where I finish that writing. At the very least, having identified that trauma and worked through it has freed me in ways that I never thought possible.
So yes, this New Year’s Day started very similar to the one 10 years ago. However, that dread? It didn’t last long. There was no hollow ache this time as I laid in bed watching sunlight dance across the sheets. Instead, there was the blush of love, and even more hope in my heart than I fear it can hold. Hope that everything that I have worked for, and worked on, will come to fruition this year. All of the scaffolding that I so carefully built in 2019 and before will finally become more than a ghost of an outline, but a fully fledged life.
Regardless of how the year unfolds, I have merely one resolution: do not give up. I have a lot of plans and projects, but if any fall through, I will not stop and despair. I will keep moving forward, refusing the desolation. Because I have hope in places where there previously wasn’t any. So much damn hope.
And I sincerely hope that in 10 years time, I’ll be waking up without dread, without aches and worry at all, and not alone. But there is much work to do in the interim.
To that end, I thought I’d share another poem of mine. This one was actually something I dreamt about a few months ago and did my best to write down as soon as I woke up. It’s a little surreal and disjointed, but I didn’t want to change it much since it was given in a dream. Thus, I present it as is, with all its flaws.
A poem written in a dream
The evening calls and I miss you,
A firebrand sun trailing pink and gold as it dies
This diurnal phoenix, a memory of your eyes.
Or perhaps it’s the morning when my heart aches most,
I’ve just spent the night with you only to wake alone, after all
My empty bed mocking me at morning’s call
And sometimes, I feel as though you’ve reached me,
Fingers lightly tracing my spine with a touch, a whisper
But I turn my head and see no one in the blur
And sometimes, in kind
I reach my hand out, stretching fingertips ever forward
Searching to find you over miles, across some great vastness
Across the universe, even, so that maybe, just once
I could touch you, too
This song we write, this dance
Is the cruelest
For we are a heartbeat away
Yet we can never touch.