A graveyard filled with the corpses from my past. I’ve spent decades trying to ignore the endless crying from inside the coffins. Damaged and wounded versions of myself begging to be released and acknowledged.
I look back at 2017 and I get the sense that there were many years compressed into one. I realized it is because I was trying to be more mindful and quiet and I was not on autopilot. I didn’t try to distract myself from what I was thinking and feeling as often. I acknowledged my emotions better than I ever have. I even accepted the uncomfortable, painful and embarrassing ones. So much life that I would have hidden from or ignored, I enjoyed. I apologized when I was wrong and forgave when I felt wronged.
2018 will be filled with more joy because of what I’ve learned in 2017. Learning to practice meditation has been key in pursuit of peace. I define who my family is, loving someone doesn’t mean I can’t let go, love isn’t a reason to allow my heart to be hurt or used. I can love deeper and stronger if I take care of myself first and it isn’t being selfish.
I will continue to work on my mental health and feel less ashamed of my illness. I am going to continue to develop positive, healthy relationships. Keep investing love, time and energy into my wife and our family. And work harder than ever to put it within my power to protect my family from financial worry.
I’ve been struggling. Much has happened since last year that has had a tremendous impact on me. It has translated into an inability to keep from breaking down into anxiety.
It is so hard for me to accept that my strength and self-denial can’t overcome depression or a panic attack. My mind can’t bully my body into behaving this time. It isn’t easy like learning not to shiver in the cold or not feel hunger.
I hate the knowledge I’ve been granted about the existence of someone fragile and vulnerable that makes up a part of me. He has a need to be handled gently, kindly and with love. He wants to be able to rest and lay down his armor without fear of attack.
I have to acknowledge his need to exist alongside all my selves.
My mother made me help her get my sister’s dog into the back of our old beat up 9 passenger station wagon and hold it back there. The dog and I were in the third seat that faced the back window. I saw our house fade into the distance as my mom drove many miles. Then there were no houses only cotton fields that seemed to grow right up to the edge of the world.
Suddenly, the dog and I lurched forward as mom pulled off the road and hit the brakes. She told me to put it out. I opened the door and pushed the dog out and told it to stay. I still remember the sad and confused look on the dog’s face as we drove off. I never knew if it was my sister or the dog being punished. I never saw the dog again either.
It happens in the early mornings drinking coffee in the gentle sun. Or when something beautiful happens, and I feel the need to share. I’ll pick up my cellphone then quickly set it back down, it hits me like a fist hard against my chest, my mother won’t answer my calls anymore.
She drifted away so slowly from me as the Jehovah’s Witnesses pressured her. Too busy to plan anything then missed calls and unanswered texts began the process of disengaging herself from me. I’d stop over, but no one ever seemed to be home. I never believed she’d genuinely shun me for being gay.
I tell myself, I’m an adult I’m not a baby that still needs her mommy. I don’t need silly Spanish lullabies or a hug as a safe harbor from a shitty world. I will create my own family circle where love isn’t conditional or something to be shamed over. Piece by piece I will remake my broken heart.
When my mother’s cruelest cut was to say, “you disgust me.” life would become a battle against my nature with scripture and spirit my sword and shield. God would be my coping skill.
Slaying my worldly thoughts and desires day after day. Self-inflicted cuts upon my own heart and soul were praised and honored. Flagellating my curiosity until I no longer questioned.
Lovesickness forcefully coming through my dreams into reality. My cry came unbidden, deep and guttural at what I’d discovered. Love more potent than fear of disappointing and causing shame. I committed to an authentic, truthful self.
Reborn, no longer shackled, no longer chained.
Reborn outside my mother’s womb, I am no longer her child.
I am no longer a child.
In a flash, I became conscious of your love’s searching touch upon my heartstrings. I believed myself impenetrable, of stone and steel, not blood and bone. Gently you’ve been guiding me considerate of my inexperience. Eyes locked, slowly you move with me, pressing me into your heart, your hand on mine. We will grow together, independent yet intertwined.
You were just supposed to know
I needed a hug
I wanted to feel safe
I was afraid of your indifference more than your anger
You were making me anxious and fearful about the person I was inside
When I was in pain when my heart ached
You were supposed to know
I was outside my house, the one on Hollyhock, in the front yard underneath a tree. I was working on my bike. I wasn’t allowed back inside. I felt the sunshine on my face coming through the tree in a semi rhythmic way as the wind gently blew the leaves, I was shaded then unshaded. I felt the warm breeze dry the tears from my cheeks. There was no specific reason for the tears I couldn’t tell if they were happy or sad. There was only a vague sense of unease filling me. Unable to remember the cause, fear stirring inside me. I knew I had to go and there wasn’t much time. I had to leave before who? what?
I tried to ride off, but the chain kept slipping and skipping. Wishing I had my own tools I was forced to go back. Sitting in the dirt I tried to tighten the chain without success. I cut the palm of my hand removing a link from the chain. The blood was mixing with the dirt and grease on the bicycle chain. I got distracted watching it drip from my hand onto an ant that had gotten in the way. I had nothing to clean the wound with, so I wiped my hand on my pant leg. The cut was deep, it burned and throbbed but I wasn’t allowed back inside.
I rode off again but in the way that usually happens in dreams, it became a big truck. The sun’s glare was in my eyes and I was having a hard time seeing. It was so bright it was burning my eyes and making my head ache. I felt responsible to keep going even though I felt out of control. I didn’t know where I was going, I just knew to drive and go fast. I was angry I felt betrayed, but I couldn’t articulate the reasons for it in my head. I had hot angry tears that wouldn’t quite fall from my eyes. The a/c was blowing hot dusty stale air in my face further irritating me. I just knew I was not going to be allowed back inside.
I wake up clenching my jaw and my hands in fists in the morning.
I’m not turning away I’m trying to understand.
Allowing the muscles to spasm, pulling my shoulders back, head forward. I don’t fight my grief, I scream from deep inside my belly at what is lost, what is gone.
After my breath has been exhausted my visitor departs. I lay on my bed head pounding, eyes burning with bitter tears. I let the pain flow through me and embrace me. I embrace it in return until it dissipates and I understand.
I try to trace back to the beginning the desire to destroy myself. The knowledge that I don’t deserve this good and satisfying life. Unintentionally I’m fooling the people who know and love me. I’m not who they think I am.
I wonder how long I can distract myself with the beginning before I commit to the end.
I lived in a binary world for so long
It fucked with my head
Black or white
Good or evil
It fucked with my heart
If it isn’t loved it is hated
No longer my cross to bear
It will not fuck with my soul
Sitting with my heart.
Life bangs me up sometimes. I get rocked about. Battered, bruised my vulnerable heart sometimes cries. Miraculously it survives.
Sadness softens when I sit with it now and then. The intensity of the pain goes down a tiny notch.
Rest deepens with reflection on all the love I received, smiles and hugs.
Death has no mastery.
Sitting beside the river, in silence from thoughts. Energy from running water and blowing wind enters my body from my toe tips and flows out the top of my head. Loving energy swirls in my being fortifying and sanctifying it. I’m filled with undeniable truth, I’m not alone, I never was.
That I’m able to quiet my thoughts through meditation, even when it’s only a few minutes at a time, has deeply affected my life and sanity. I don’t constantly feel a vague sense of hopeless unease. I’m able go longer between attacks by the mean voice in my head that tries to convince me that I’m worthless, stupid, unloved and unworthy of anyone’s friendship. I can sleep most nights without nightmares. I don’t stay up ruminating and regretting. I recognize that I’m enough.