Rock bottom. Everyone experiences it in their lifetime…sometimes multiple times, unfortunately. Is it unfortunate though? Perhaps for some, I think. For me, it did what all the stories and magazines and books say it will do: it built me. Sitting at the bottom of an endless cavern of self doubt and misery morphed me into something different. Like a butterfly finally breaking free of it’s cocoon, I opened my wings and thought “Look how beautiful I am”. The self love grew at an extremely quick rate. Just like time flies, so did my passion for life. And I began to realize that in the end, i’m all I’ve got, so I better treat me right.
And now a night alone on the couch with wine and popcorn sounds better than any date. A day of self love and encouragement sounds better than any social gathering. I am confident and strong, and at times this seems like more of a curse than a blessing, for I haven’t found that many others to surround myself with that are in the same place in life as me. They’re worth waiting for. As for me, I’ll allow my love to grow and multiply and spread it around my little world like jam of a warm piece of toast.
My life changed the day I realized I should ask myself what I can learn from others rather than what I can teach them. My life changed when I realized I’ll never be like anyone else but myself. I changed when I realized that change isn’t a bad word.
Most of all I began to grow when I learned how to water myself.
I buried my face into your neck
Took a deep breath, shakily
It was something better than oxygen
I spoke your name
Commanded your attention, received it
It was something better than ecstasy
I let you go
Allowed the tears to fall, rapidly
It was something worse than despair
In grade school I had friends. Just a few good ones. My one saving grace in life when I was younger, between the ages of 8-12, is that I had some good friends to walk to school with. Every morning I would walk a block to my friend K’s house. Then we’d walk a few houses over to A’s house. A’s mom worked a Monday through Friday and was up early in the morning. Their house had a specific smell to it. One that has stuck with me to this day, 22 years later. As a kid I didn’t really know what it was, but now when I think back it was mainly coffee with some fruit and the normal smells of a home mixed together. Occasionally you’d be able to smell a home cooked breakfast mixed in. It was such a calming smell. Each morning I’d walk into A’s house and the smell would greet me and linger in my sense of smell. I loved it. If for some reason we were running late and I didn’t get to go inside A’s house, it made me feel like I missed out on something. A morning ritual. I’ve come to realize with time that it wasn’t just the smell that brought such joy to my morning. I enjoyed going to A’s house because it was like an alternate reality to my life. My life was chaotic. My mother and I were poor and I never knew any other way of growing up than without money. I didn’t know how it felt to have new shoes, how it felt to have brand new clothes, how it felt to not have to rely on the kindness of others to get the things I need or wanted in life. I constantly reeked of cigarette smoke and my (future) beautiful curly hair was always a mess. My mother worked hard at a job that barely brought in enough to pay the bills. At the time I wasn’t aware of her addiction to scratch tickets, but now in my older years I realize a lot of things my youthful naivety kept me from noticing. Going to A’s house was like a breath of fresh air. A’s mother was also divorced with a young daughter but she worked a decent job that brought in enough money to pay the bills and mortgage on a really nice house located in a safe neighborhood in a good school district. A didn’t go without. She had everything she needed. She had long blonde hair, THICK, with braces and she walked with terrible posture. She wore glasses. And she was the stereotypical nerd. She was extremely intelligent and if you needed help with your homework she was the girl to ask. I don’t know why she was my friend but I didn’t deserve her.
The truth is, I bullied her. I was mean to her. K and I were mean to her. Me more so than K. I made fun of A a lot. For being nerdy. For being smart. For being such a good kid. I was jealous because she had more than me. In my stupid little kid brain I was jealous because she had things that were out of her control. I was jealous because she had a mother that worked a normal job so her family didn’t go without. Jealous because she didn’t live in the neighborhood crack house. Jealous because she didn’t have to share a room with someone else in a house where multiple people chain smoked cigarettes and did crack in the master bedroom for days on end. At least I can credit my mother with that: She never touched the drugs. And before we moved into that home (that was owned by her best friend at the time) no one was doing crack. Times changed and things got crazy and it’s a long story. But I was jealous so I was cruel. And I am ashamed of that.
I found A one day on Facebook and messaged her. I apologized. Not to make myself feel better, but just because I wanted to let her know she deserved better than that. And I was so happy to hear she was living an amazing life. Her brains got her far. She got her braces off and improved her posture and turned into a woman as physically beautiful as she is on the inside.
I didn’t deserve to have A as a friend, but I am absolutely grateful she accepted me for who I was even when I couldn’t do the same for her.
I hope he laughs a lot.
I say this instead of ‘I hope he’s happy’ because happiness is so cliche. It’s eluded me for the majority of my life. Instead, I’ve been filled with a satiating contentedness. An appreciation and acceptance that this is life. What is will be and fighting it is tiring and mostly useless as an end result.
I say this to the future man I’ll love. Because no matter how hard I’ve tried to convince myself to give up, I can’t. I simply and wholeheartedly cannot. I am a human. Humans are social, they are not meant to be alone. Loneliness is the end. It’s the darkness that you look into but see no light. It’s the Friday nights home alone for the 3rd week in a row and all you crave is human interaction. And yet, loneliness can still present itself as an uninvited guest even when you’re not particularly alone. It’s the dark shadow that has a tendency to follow you, and it torments.
I hope he laughs a lot. I can almost hear it. Almost. His laugh. Hearty and contagious. And I hope one day it is I who musters this glorious sound from his chest to his vocal chords to my ears and then to my heart.
And I hope he’s my best friend. And I hope we can talk about anything, and not take things too seriously. I hope I look at him and see goodness. I hope I touch him and feel the kind of love that radiates from my fingertips all the way into my very bones.
I hope I wake up next to him and feel like there’s no where else I’d rather be in the world than beside him.
Yes, I decided I’m not giving up. I’m changing my recipe for loneliness.
Still the sight of you sends ice through my veins
All these years later and the soft skin on your chest still brings me back
I can still smell your salty skin, you
I once took comfort in the little dip between your chest and shoulder
The small little crevice made by your collar bone, I could collect rain there
I’d drink it and I’d be nourished back to life
You were the love of my life
You are everything I’ve come to hate
Let’s talk about a man
His scent as I bury my face in his neck
The taste of his skin as I gently bite down
It’s primal, this need to nip and bite and taste
How about the way his smooth back feels as it runs under my soft hands, feeling… always feeling
Greedy and alive
His lower back, taut and ready and willing
To be touched and caressed
And the energy, shared between us as our bodies touch in the most intimate way
Feeling things we won’t forget until next time
Saying things we’ll forget tomorrow
Touch me, with more than just your hands
I feel you in my bones
They vibrate when I’m alone
All the images I’ve been shown
In sepia tone
I feel you in my bones
In all time zones
Be still, my vibrating bones
Beneath your skin there are dragon’s scales
Shiny and holographic, laced with gold
Occasionally on a quick movement or a start, I catch a glimpse of that gold glitter in my periphery
We’re never taught what love is, we’re shown
And we never get to decide if we’re shown well
As soon as it happens it can be gone
With nothing but the memory of a glimpse
A glimpse of glitter gold
From a young age you’re taught to look both ways before you cross the street. As life goes on you’re taught to look both ways when you’re driving through an intersection. Look both ways when you’re stepping off a curb. This adds up to the idea that you should always look both ways, no matter what you’re doing. Don’t become complacent.
In every aspect of our lives we look both ways. When making a decision we weigh the pros and cons. We imagine the different outcomes. It could either go this way or that way. When we chose to love we make a conscious decision to open our hearts, or not to.
Looking both ways makes everything simpler yet more complicated.
Sometimes it’s easier just to be impulsive.