Sometimes my mind doesn’t have words to speak, but my body is writing absolute novels.
That is my current work. To translate what my body is saying. She’s screaming on the inside, and I barely know how to listen to her, never mind translate into words.
“Hush up,” I was taught to tell her. “You’re messy and not to be trusted.”
There’s a book inside me that’s dying to be written, but it feels like its fate is bound to my ability to find my way back into my body. It’s a pretty large order, after a lifetime of pure disconnect, of being reminded every week for the 23 years I went to church that “this isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship.”
My mind continued to accept that as truth, week after week, but my heart knew what a relationship felt like and that wasn’t it. But they covered all their bases by also repeatedly telling me “Oh yeah, the heart is deceptively wicked, so don’t trust anything it says.”
Making me hate the wild feelings in my body. Keeping me fractured and confused. I couldn’t figure out why I constantly skipped church as a teenager and broke all the rules at bible college like it was a game. My mind believed their truth. Why was the rest of my body fighting so hard against me? I was never going to be any good at this religion thing if my heart was so determined to rebel.
“Come back to yourself. Stop thinking. Feel something, goddamn it!”
I may come across as tapped into my feelings—and I do make most decisions based on what feels good—but paradoxically I feel way more at ease living in my head rather than my body. The answers to everything can be found in reading or journaling, and I’m a very quick problem solver. But in things that involve letting go and opening up—alcohol, weed, dancing, sex, the beautiful pleasures of life—I often feel stiff and uncomfortable. The whole time I’m fighting my brain.
“Stay in control, don’t let go! NO, STOP OVERTHINKING AND JUST FEEL FOR FUCKING ONCE.” Over and over, circling circling.
It is a practice in letting go. No more knowledge or information or logic. Let go let go let go. Feel feel feel.
Listen to the heart, for it is the wellspring of all life.
The concept of reincarnation feels good to me, so I believe in it. I don’t have any proof for it, just subtle resonance. Like a boy I fell in love with, body, mind, and soul—after barely knowing him any length of time at all—because it felt like we’d been lovers in a past life. He was very familiar to me.
In my own body I feel ageless. Ancient. I’m not always the smartest person in the room, but on a cellular level I feel incredibly wise.
This is definitely not my first go at life on earth, I think to myself every time I consider myself.
I want to come back to earth when I die, live a thousand lifetimes. Experience new things, learn new lessons, punch bad guys, kiss good guys, make things lighter and brighter.
Fuck waiting on the sidelines for eternity, stacked up souls in heaven and hell, waiting for God to pull the plug on his earth project. Please don’t ever pull the plug. Let me go back to my home. I want LIFE, not a conclusion. I love life so much, the mystery and the magic, that I want to do it over and over for all of forever.
I feel like I do all my living and breathing and dying on the inside, and by the time I finally feel ready to share what’s been happening, it’s already old news.
Charles Mingus, an American jazz musician, said “I’m trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it’s difficult is because I’m changing all the time.”
Like how the cells on different body parts get replaced every few weeks or months or years. I feel like my brain restructures itself creatively and philosophically every ten days, so if I don’t hustle and share the rough drafts of what I’m thinking, it’ll soon be irrelevant. Stale old thoughts from a person who doesn’t even exist anymore.
Just gotta get comfortable with leaving a paper trail. No longer hiding ideas away in a locked drawer, but tucking them away into little nooks and crannies accessible to other people.
We sat on the beach and
drank the sea. Foamy
tops spilling over salt
rimmed glasses. Our skin
sparkled and softened in
the golden light. Drunk
on the waves, baked by
The art of finding myself was discovered in the practice of losing myself.
Bit by bit, drip by drip. A dare, a challenge.
I’d watch trees in autumn happily shake loose the weight of their leaves and I’d look at my own in sadness. They were a part of me; they couldn’t come free. The same old leaves, year after year. Ragged edges, disintegrating, but still firmly attached.
The trees would laugh and wave their branches at me. “What are you so worried about? We lost it all and we’re still here. Feeling freer than free.”
It seemed a melancholy process, a dance with grief, to lose everything. But it also looked unspeakably, joyfully freeing. So bit by bit, drip by drip, I practiced slowly setting to the ground the ways of being that had grown all over my body.
The more I lost, the more I mourned. But the more I began to feel like myself. As if life wasn’t exclusively about learning and collecting, but also about being comfortable with shedding the pieces that clung to me starting the second that I came out of the womb.
Drip, drip, drop. Beautiful undressing.
I told my sister that I felt like the moon. There one day, gone the next. Bright and visible and craving attention, and then all of a sudden fleeing, hibernating, non-existent. It was kind of tiring, I told her. Always waking up each day a little bit different. The phases never stuck around long enough to stabilize or feel comfortable.
My sister said she was jealous of that. She wished she could change quicker but felt like she was always there, like the sun. And if she wasn’t it was because she was unable to push away the thick dark clouds that turned her invisible, unable to gauge when she’d shine again.
I said her consistency sounded kind of nice. She said she liked my ability to quickly bounce back.
The sun and the moon have always been in love with each other.
I leave a little bit of coffee or tea in the bottom of my mugs, and when I clean the kitchen I make sure there’s always a dish or two left unwashed in the sink. I abandon TV shows right before watching the final season and if I get interrupted in conversations I never trail back around to finish the point I was trying to make.
A prayer, an offering, to the gods. So that hopefully as they sit up there, watching me, gossiping about me, they come to the conclusion that “Clearly this girl is just getting started. She’s so messy, so many moving parts and unfinished projects in her life.”
Yes, I’ll finish this tomorrow. Agreed, there’s still so much for me to do here. I promise to come back in the morning. No, I’m not ready to leave yet.
Not a fear of death, not a superstition, but a celebration of life. Look! I’m here, I’m messy, I am moving pieces and parts everywhere I go, I’m alive, I am now.
I make sure I always start more projects than I can possibly finish, because if I’ve run out of projects and all my loops are closed I’ll know for sure that I’ve died.
I don’t know what to write anymore so I’m just going to write my feelings.
Which is what I should have been doing all along, because every time I ask myself what I want to do with my life I reply, “I just want to write stories and make people feel things.” But it’s kind of tough to make people feel things when I strip all the emotion out of my writing.
I’m emotionally honest with myself though. Of course I am. That’s all I ever am. It’s basically my religion—that brutally honest moralistic authenticity, baby—my INFP power. But when I express myself to others, it’s edited so much that it feels like sterile dusty soil after decades of planting the same shitty crops on them. Words, writing, voices. All hollowed out until there’s nothing of myself left.
I’ve had trouble communicating my feelings my entire life, and I guess that comes from growing up with emotionally unavailable parents. It’s been seeping into my writing without me even realizing it. Until I began to feel like I could only write when I was pissed off or when I wanted to crack jokes. That’s the only way I, a generationally emotionally unavailable person, knows how to connect with others. Pick fights or deflect intimacy with humor. Friction. Chaos. Ah, familiar comforts.
But what do I do if I’m not offending people by criticizing their religion or cracking jokes while having sex with people I barely know? Do I make people happy? Do I make people cry? I suppose it’s time to openly face my feelings or give up writing. That’s all I have left to offer, that’s the only way out. Fuck facts, face my feelings, share what I find.
Layers of death pressed into life
A thousand and one
Cycles of evolutions
To create this compression
I feel the whisper
Of life buried and overturned
And spread out across surfaces
How can you think you know me?
I am a cycle of evolutions too
I am made up of a million and one
Deaths pressed into life
I am not me
You are not you
We are made of each other
And of the ground we’ll return to