Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How the light gets in: 2 years, in retrospect


"don't dwell on what has passed away
or what is yet to be"

He sings with almost eery depth, that Leonard. The notes breathe into the blue blood cells of my body's ocean. My mind floats over all that's passed in the past 2 years. I don't heed advice very well.

This head has rested in 300 spots. Beds, basements, backyards, barn yards. Tree houses, tents, teepees. Tall grasses along Interstates in the middle of fucking nowhere. Other peoples houses, garages, guest rooms. Jesus Christ. I'm so tired of vagabonding, I told a friend. Feels like a long road home to nowhere? he asked. --Exactly. I want my own bed set. Sheets. Shit on the walls that says something about who I am.

This body split from the body it rested next to for 7 and a half years. After 7 and a half months of living on bicycles together, crazy shit happens. For better and for worse.

I'm so glad I can still call you, I said. It's the way family should be, he said. I blow loose cry-like snot into a rough paper towel. I'm sorry I'm always such a mess when I call. --It's okay, Rach. You're still my best friend. We don't have to give that up.

I've tried on other bodies to fill the void in my bed, my heart, my Friday nights. Some thought they fit me, but I disagreed. Some felt like a perfect match to me, but were too expensive, or already taken by the idea of someone else. Some were impossible for reasons that make you want to hate The Way It Is. I'm learning to go naked. It's uncomfortable, healthy. Strengthening. And when I'm too tired to be so strong, I'm learning to go home and ask my mother to read to me like a child.

Certain things cannot be taken from us. Like love, creativity, forgiveness. We can take them from ourselves, though. I have. Many times. Too many, perhaps, over the past two years, past twenty five. I'm learning to be more generous with myself. It's an art form: suffering less.

"ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering"

It's not the kind of thing I like to do: offer less-than-perfect. I think in truth, I'm a closet perfectionist. But when you're half-homeless, half-jobless, partner-less for the first time as an adult, and anything but energized, you learn the value of Fuck it. Oh well. This is the best I can do right now.

You forgive me, right? You never wanted anything else, did you?

For a few months I worked at a coffee shop in the city. I was broke, community-less and desperate. In coffee shops, the state of humanity is crystal clear. Why is everyone so fucking depressed? I'd wonder. Then my world got pulled out from under me.

I stood teary-eyed, toasting scones for customers, pouring black coffee into white mugs. Love swelling my heart, I saw for the first time, truly, how deeply most people suffer. I began loving everyone more. Leaning on strangers shoulders. Hugging. Asking nothing much of anyone.

"there is a crack, a crack in everything
that's how the light gets in"

We couldn't believe it'd really been two years when we did the math on our phone-tag saga. We told each other the abridged versions of our lives. The parallels were palatable. Epic cross-country journeys for love. Exquisite losses. Little money. Lots of recovery.

--How do I seem now? I asked. Different, right?
Like Joni Mitchell's Blue album, he said. Her earlier stuff was okay, but something changed in her when she did Ladies of the Canyon and Blue. 
--She lost a lot, I said.
She got humble, he said.
--I feel weathered, and really really glad. 
It's beautiful, Rach. Growing up looks good on you.

"every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee" 


I embarrassed myself the other night. Totally lost my shit. Like, side-walk-fetal-position-while-it's-raining-outside shit losing. It felt excellent. Like breaking something after so much around me had broken. I was breaking my expectations. Curling up in disappointment. Letting those feelings live. Letting them go.

I've been feeling like a quiet wanderer since that night. Like the hurricane is over and I'm trolling the wreckage for small signs of something familiar, but in my heart, I know it's time to look in a new way--not for something, but gently at things, as they are. I'm changed, completely, and nothing will ever look the same. Not this face. Not that house. Not these hands, nor feet. It's all curious now. It's all wild.

Maybe in this shapeless home, I don't need to know the face of God, but I can let the face of everything look at me. And I can feel held by the feeling of seeing.

 

3 comments:

Cherie Murray said...

Beautiful words, brave in their honesty. Breathtaking. Once you come out the other side, there is no going back. I'm learning that this year too.

Sending you love & light.

victoria said...

this is gorgeous.

Kimberley said...

Ah, the vivid beauty of someone splitting open. Look at the streaming light!