I think it’s interesting how I can write a phrase in a story or poem, only to find it come to life a year later - so when I look back on my work, there’s a new significance there I never dreamed of when first writing it.
How did it feel, Mom, to know how loved you really were?
Did it feel like what I felt, when everyone came together
To give me all the support and encouragement they could?
Isn’t it nice to know you won’t just be forgotten?
Isn’t it nice to know worlds rocked when you
Left us for a better place?
Isn’t it nice
To be loved?
You’ll always be loved.
A Look Inside
A man once told me my mind intrigued and frightened him. I’d have to agree.
My mind is a place I’ve found myself retreating to more and more ever since the last few months of being seventeen. A series of deaths dropped me into that realm with no warning, and I realized after a while it was harder to go than it was to stay.
Thus began my interaction emotional extremes. I’ve mentioned before that grief has a way of dulling you, yet it sharpens your senses and emotions to an almost unbearable clarity.
Let’s think of melodrama. Exaggerated actions, a full range of facial expressions, superfluous gesture… I experienced that all from within my shell of depression, which crushed my external indicators of emotion to just a poker face and deep, intense crying.
It was terribly disorienting. I couldn’t stand it after a while. I just wanted the whole world to go away.
More recently, I’ve been better about controlling myself. The emotional excesses are still just as intense, but they’re not quite so frequent. I suppose one could correlate that to my grieving - I’ve discovered that the more time passes, the less raw my emotional states become.
That said, I still experience terrible moments of no control. The anxiety I feel causes my heart to go at a rate I don’t think is possible. The bitterness puts memories and words on repeat in my head until I want to rip my hair out. The sadness pulls at my insides, and it has the smallest of triggers.
The way a girl turns her head.
The twisting of a leaf.
The temperature of a day.
And the rage. Oh, the rage is incomprehensible. I have injured myself during these fits. It’s stupid, I know.
I used to put a fist through glass when I was a child
Two years ago, I’d write messages on my arms in mechanical pencil
Hard enough to leave red for days
And a few weeks ago, I bashed the back of my head into a wall
Because of a girl I hope I never meet.
Stupid… yes. But are there healthier alternative?
I just want to pull back from it. It scares me - the emotional depth of my brain is just insane. It baffles me. I don’t know what to do with it.
And as strange as it is, I never can bring up these emotions on the fly, even if my acting calls for it.
It’s a dilemma. And I still don’t know the answers.
Sometimes I wonder if I ever will.
No doubt about it, “Fix You” by Coldplay is a great song.
When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse.
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
And high up above or down below
When you’re too in love to let it go
But if you never try you’ll never know
Just what you’re worth
Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
I also really like the refrain (chorus?).
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
But the last line. That last, titular line. “And I will try to fix you.” Three times. He sings it to us three times. Oh but don’t you understand, that people can’t be broken? There is no fixing. There is just healing. It took me so long to realize this.
I actually have someone to think for that. Before I met him, I was convinced I was broken. You can look in any of my works from two years ago - it’s a common concept I was obsessed with. People dying had temporarily disabled my belief in myself, and grief led me to believe I was something fractured; I couldn’t be made whole.
So, back to the guy. He was someone who cared for me deeply, and… to him, I was broken. He said as much to me, on several occasions. I don’t know if it was because I had believed that at that point and internalized it, or if he just took one look at me and used that label, but… after a while, I started bristling at the term. Who did he think I was? And for that matter, who did I think I was?
Broken? Psh. Don’t be foolish. Life throws curve balls. It knocks you down, then does it again when you try to get up. It blindsides you. It hurts you. It drains you. But it doesn’t break you.
No. You can never be broken. Your spirit may suffer, your brain may convince itself you are less than whole, but it’s not true.
Things get broken. Glass bottles, bedposts, toys, pencils - and they may be repaired, sometimes. Tree limbs break. Bones break. Hearts break. But people… people don’t break. Humans are resilient creatures. They can’t be broken.
Sure, you say, but what about people who have gone through unimaginable trauma? Victims? Soldiers? What about those that went through the Holocaust? Or those who live in war-torn countries where food and shelter and comfort is but a dream? What about people who suffer from physical or mental health issues? What about people with deep depression?
They live. As as long as they live, they don’t break. They can’t break. You can sit there and say, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to. I’m so tired. I cannot. I cannot.” - But that doesn’t mean you’ve given up. You just have to stop for a minute. Collect yourself. Keep breathing.
So quit calling yourself that. You’re not broken, dammit. And I don’t have to fix you. You don’t need to be fixed. Don’t ever think you do.
I wanted to fall into friendship way too fast
To be able to walk under the same umbrella,
Go to the store to buy souring milk with you,
And argue over who was paying for it.
I wanted to shop at different thrift stores
Ponder antiques and bargains, cross over
Cobblestones and arrive home, out of breath,
Safe and sound, while the rain slows down.
I wanted to take your hand and run
Run as far and as fast as I could
Just for the heck of it, just to get
A thrill, a buzz, an endorphin rush.
I wanted to dance out on the porch
With nothing but laughter, joy,
and a yellow harvest moon
As our accompaniment
I wanted to find your picture in a photo album
And have you by my side so we could marvel
At how we’ve both changed over the years
With rowdy kids and rowdier dogs all around
I wanted to be able to share stories of our exploits
To people thirty years down the line, to find wisdom
And revelations in each retelling as they laugh and joke
With the smell of rosemary lying heavy on the air
I wanted to be able to tell your every mood,
To pick apart each nuance and sentence
Until I arrive at the heart of the problem
And perhaps find ways to help you solve it
I wanted to trace the avenues of your ribs
Just to find that one spot where you’d shriek
And collapse into helpless convulsions of laughter.
Why yes, I am cruel. I thought you knew this already?
But instead, I watch the leaves turn magnificent colors
And ponder the passing of another season without you,
While the weather turns colder (warmer) colder again
And the driving rains fill the streets with icy puddles.
Life without you isn’t so bad, I just wish you’d come home
Just once, come back, just once, come back to see your old friends
Come back and see me, so I can update you on this small-town life
With all its convoluted complexities and incomprehensible ties.
Come back so I can see how much you’ve grown over the years.
Come back because I miss you, I need you, you’re all I think about
Because you were my first friend and the only one who understood
And I miss the good times together. I miss the slumber parties.
I miss the nights spent on the hood of that old Chevy pick-up truck
Identifying stars and satellites and sharing stories about our peers
I miss the way you’d make hot chocolate in a pan on the stove
Burning your fingers so many times it was almost laughable.
So hey, don’t forget me. I’m still here, waiting for you.
If you don’t want to come back, it’s okay. It really is.
We had our time together, and it was the time of my life.
And believe me when I say this: I’ll always treasure you.
The clock is sitting there, relentlessly ticking onwards
I’m trembling again.
Mentally unstable, snap out of it won’t you?
Traced the ridges of my sternum and wondered why poets depicted the heart as the harbinger of love.
Too many broken hearts left scattered in my wake. Most of them are my own.
There is something deeply wrong, he whispered into the dead air.
All I do is stare at the ceiling and tick each second off in my head.
Don’t ever make a promise you can’t keep.
She did everything, but I was the one who buried him. He knew it would come to this. He loved you, and he knew it would come to this. That’s family, I guess.
Give me something to live for
To lie for
To die for
Give me something to breathe for
To cry for
To sigh for.
Give me something to defend.
There is a deep, dragging sadness that no one seems to touch.
What right do I have to define you?
- Caleb says:
- warm dreams and warm people
- Morgan says:
- someday you may connect the two.