I Promise, I Ain’t…

“I promise you, I promise I ain’t dealing with that (whatever ratchet dramatic happening is going on on TV/at work/in the lives of other people you SWEAR you ain’t about to deal with).  There is a reason I never really was absorbed in reality television. For me? The orchestration of ratchet dramatic is too much…and I’m a writer, so I can come up with better scenarios with people watching at work or Bread Co. in St. Louis.

If you get lost in Phaedra or Shawnie or OchoCinco’s ex-wife? Fine. No judgement. We all need shows we unplug with. But you have to remember those people are paid to air foolishness. They are paid to act up, drinks thrown on and to have phrases born out of public consumption for memes and likes and retweets. 

We’re a world of voyeurs. We lurk. We stalk. We share. We critique from behind the fourth wall of our televisions. By no means am I saying to cosign nonsense. What I am saying is in our voyeurism entertainment we forget our own potential to be in those same positions.

Phaedra’s husband is locked up. Joseline and Scrappy are constantly up to and in crazy. Peter Gunz got kids and no clue how to do other things that men his age know how to  do to keep a relationship.  But right when we think, “I promise I wouldn’t do (fill in the blank)…you should remember no one SAW youwhen you had a similar experience. 

No one made a hashtag.

No one made a meme.

No one made sure to quote you.

Don’t get so wrapped up in other people’s lives that you forget there may be a handful of people watching yours…no cable needed.

 

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Came Back. Now What?

Call it C-B-P.

Call it, ‘he know what he got over here.’

Call it ‘can’t no other woman be me to him. I got him”.

NO. Don’t call it any of this silly sh!t. Ever. I mean that–EVER. Why? You’re more the outer parts and the sweet center. You are more than what your hips, lips and fingertips can do and will do.

Let me break his down for you, so you ever remember this:

Sex does not keep man. 

 Sex does not domesticate people. 

Relationships are these dynamic crazy making constructs. These infallible pacts made by fallible people. And in those pacts, hidden in these promises, people mess up. And sometimes they mess up BADLY.  In that messing up, we find, sometimes, sex is a culprit of that break up. What do I mean, you ask?

There’s an phrase I love that says, “Affairs don’t begin in bedrooms, they begin with conversations.” The subtle flirting when you feel neglected. The attention when she got on your nerves. The rush when the work crush eats with you. You become known by someone…else. It feels good, you look forward to it.

You play touch and go with the boundaries of what you set up. You play with them so much that you dare to cross over them, and plan when you can. You get a good look at them close up, find the gaps–after too much thirst and hoping, you sprint towards the first opening. You sprint to the opening because what you see, what you have made up,  is sexy. It’s new. It’s the grand and favorite Christmas present. It’s the thing that was kept from you until you lay hold to it.

Then…it’s not at all what you wanted. There nothing lasting, nothing like the warmth you just had. It’s been worth all and nothing and you go back to what was all and everything, except, those boundaries, that guardrail that made you safe and secure is gone. The funny thing? Those boundaries are made by respect and time–both irreparable when lost or squandered. The dirty little secret is that in the sprint to find the next latest greatest, you don’t see all you’re running from…until you head back.

It’s when you head back that you see what you ran past:  fidelity, safety, endurance of love and its stamina. In the pursuing of what you deem new and lasting, and better than ever, you don’t focus on that long enough to see and remember it. Which pulls me towards this point.  How do you fix it–do you fix it? This beloveds, is where you must decide what is to be kept or thrown away. No, you should not be any place where you are not valued, are not honored and are subject to be taken advantage of. Never should you settle for that. What I offer is this solution:  reflection and reconciliation.

In the age of Lemonade, and  boss-level Black Girl Magic, I tell you to think about what it is you are to give up, gain and live with.  There is a pain that comes with infidelity that cannot be mimicked. It’s what you DO with that pain–how you exercise those demons–that determines the course of everything else you will encounter with this relationship and the aftermath of it.

Not everything is salvageable, yes, however, most things are learned from. Can it not be said that if you desire better with this person that you be able to love them even when it’s hardest to? One of the things I see with women my age and younger is some have forgotten the concept of time. Everything has to be instant, constant and solely beneficial. I offer this:  can you make lemonade? Can you see the tormentor as the cure? Do you have the stamina, the will, to start over again and make it better–together? That’s what it will take:  TOGETHER.

The together is what is hard, what does not like to be admitted to. It’s easier to throw it all away, and start over. Starting over invites newness, thrill and passion. To rebuild? That is to re-trust, admit fault and agree what you have worked for is more valuable than to start again with another.

Being told you would have to do the hard things over again and to forgive? Nah. That’s too much like right and too hard and we think will require something else of God in us to do. And I believe that’s right. It will. In spaces and times where there is a breech, something outside of yourself, has to remind what it in yourself what it is you want–and can hang on to. It has to remind you of what you it is you are worthy of, want and will work toward. And that, beloveds, is hard. It’s hard.

My romantic past is littered with these histories, these moments of decision where I had to determine what was once and better. I had to decide what I wanted to fight for. I decided that, now after living awhile, everything cannot be trashed and not everything salvaged.  I learned what it is that I wanted from myself and those that I share my space with. With me finding my love with my second husband, that has not been a crystal stair, I assure you. But I am old enough to know what one thing is definite:  my worth, my time, my affection, my fidelity goes far beyond bedroom antics. And bedroom antics won’t keep me.

 

You domesticate cows, not me.

 

 

 

Break Up-Now What

There is nothing clean about a break up. There is nothing sanitizing, and soapy and cleansing about losing time and energy with someone that you cared for. Nothing. I even hate the phrase ‘break up.’ Like what else can it be called?! There has to be something else.

A few years ago, Gwyneth Paltrow said she and the leader of Coldplay, whom she was married to, said they weren’t divorcing, they were ‘consciously uncoupling.’ That sounded even sillier. That’s a cheaper name for an annulment. That’s what some churches do:  it just ERASES your relationship. With like the quickness it takes to pee or blow your nose. It’s just OVER. That’s even worse. At least give me the respect of a spme paperwork! A call log, something! Don’t just say to me “Nall, I changed my mind, you and I never happened.”

Nah.

The harder thing about a break-up is to admit that you were involved with something that wound up not working. You admit, or begin to admit, something that you are a conscious part of  is indeed not working or able to work no matter what you do to fix it. That is hard. There are people for fear of being alone, will never, ever, admit that to themselves, which is more honorable to the relationship. Maybe we should call is ‘conscious honoring’.  This is where you admit what you are doing is not working. It won’t ever work, and you do what is in the best interest of you and your partner. But namely, you.

The thought of being alone is frightening to many people. With the society we have now, everyone is engaged, everyone is pulled in, downloaded, app-ready and a swipe away. We don’t now what it means to be ‘alone’ or by ourselves. We don’t have the luxury of listening to own thoughts on a consistent basis without a notification going off. That’s what makes these decisions and feeling so hard to deal with.

The dirty secret? No one can complete you, they can only complement you. They will only compliment you. It is not another person’s responsibility to heal you, complete you, fix you, and make your crooked ways straight.  You cannot assign, designate someone with the same issues or tendencies for mishaps and brokenness as you to somehow make everything about you that displays the same thing okay.

This is why break ups hit so hard…the dream shatters. The thought of forever is gone and you have to face that. You have to admit that what you chose isn’t working and may never work. There is an honesty that is brutal in admitting what we cannot do. It is always easier to be with someone else and construct new crises rather than to do introspection on what contributed to what lessons are gleaned from the relationship. That is hard. It is hard. There will never be a time where it is not hard. The investment of time, love and energy is hard to replace unless healing takes place.

Where does the ‘Now What’ come in? Right here.

You were an entire person before you met this person so know you have to reconnect with that person. The dirty secret no one tells you is that you aren’t the exact same person you where as when you got into that last relationship. You now have to incorporate those experiences, good and ill, to the grand tapestry that is now your life. There are things that were once foreign to you that you now have to accept and recognize as good or ill. Can you do that apart from time alone? No. Will this introspection be needed? Yes. Will it be painful? Without a doubt.

You, me, them, us…this is what a dear friend of mine calls ‘shadow work.’ These are the things that few people know about you, things that are still painful and that you haven’t worked through, but can be worked through without anyone seeing it. In that, with that, is a blessing. Why? So no one can see you bleeding. No one can see you struggle openly, and if they do, they can at least remind you that you won’t die in this period of not being with someone. In this age of everything together, it seems evil to be separate from things…especially people. But, it’s necessary! It’s necessary because you have to be content and happy with whom you are before you begin to search for someone to ‘complete’ you.

You are complete when you can look at your ‘shadow work’ and know that all you’ve done and the result is you working through that. This way, you are indeed the best you for YOU, and you cannot be, will not be defined by someone else’s thoughts of you or lack of identifying the awesome in you.

If you love you first, no one can love you last.

 

The Able Unshakeable (Pt. 3)

Hangover:

Noun.

1.the disagreeable physical aftereffects of drunkenness, such as a headache or stomach disorder, usually felt several hours after cessation of drinking.

2. something remaining behind from a former period or state of affairs.

3.any aftermath of or lingering effect from a distressing experience

*Alejandro peeked in and out of my life, he still does.
I see his influence in the cabinets and cupboards of my existence. I remember telling him in our throws together that he ‘was a high like none other’ and to not speak to him or after speaking to him, I felt a hangover.
This sense of a residue on my soul, this feeling of knowing without doubt or fear that this person has a knowledge of you that only someone that has crafted your soul would know. Almost as if he was looking over God’s shoulder.
You had that?
It’s like knowing porn or jazz–you know it when you see it…
**There were times that I wanted nothing else and no one else but him, and there were other times where I was so incensed that he could not see or believe he could have what he wanted, that I walked away from him!
I couldn’t take it, I didn’t understand it.
I could not fathom what we were crafting, what we believe that we were crafting, he would fear. Or settle for less than it.
**I would lie awake thinking, wondering why and how this had happened to me.
Why it had happened to me?
How does one mark or measure time or space when there seem to be fingerprints on your soul made by other hands?
I would think how I could get over him, that I had to get over him, that if he didn’t see what I held and hold for him and that I was determined to show him—but at what cost?
That cost was blindness and the losing of myself again. I couldn’t bare that. I couldn’t bare losing me again…even if that meant dividing my heart into hemispheres and quarters.
And him occupying a designated piece.
I couldn’t do it–and I didn’t know how I could get over him…I was so far under him.
The high of him, the thought of him.
How do you release all that you believe that you want?
I dated, even got married the first time in 2006. I had enough of waiting.
 I had enough of trying  to be split in two. I moved on…with a hitch in my heart.
I decided to move on, because, y’know, that’s what adults do. The killer part? He called me about a month or so before I got married in New Orleans.
He asked me why I was getting married. I said, “To get it over with.” I was in bed, with my fiance’, and I answered the phone half asleep.
Alejandro laughed–hard!
He didn’t believe it or  he didn’t believe we would make it. We didn’t–LOL But that’s besides the point.
Aight.
I know yall are like, “SIS! REALLY, WHAT THE HELL! If he was always BAE, why ain’t ch’all together?! We need all this tea, ma’am!”
Hold on.
I gotchu.
(Get a snack.)
I got married to my ex-husband because I loved him.
Did I use him to get over **Alejandro? Looking back on it? Yeah. I did.
 At the time, the ex-hubs was a really good boyfriend. He was a solid and righteous dude. He had his hang ups and issues, but it wasn’t anything that I thought couldn’t work through or he would grow out of. I mean I was 24, he was 21 (I KNOW!), and I loved him and he loved me and was DETERMINED me were going to make this isht happen–so help me!
I was going to move on with my life.
Worse part? There were months before we got married that there was a glimmer that Alejandro might have come to his senses.
 We talked about it, how we would do that whole ‘together’ thing, and…honestly? I didn’t believe him.
We had done this dance before:  he’d realize he loved me more than anyone else,  only to get scared and run.
This time? I decided it was better to take the sure thing. *Alejandro was not the sure thing. I hated admitting that…but he wasn’t.
As much as I loved him, as much as I wanted a life with him, I couldn’t trust him.
But…I couldn’t shake him!
It was good for a while with the ex hubs. We made life together. We were in love, young and childless.
We did goofy stuff, fun stuff and then we went on road trips and we were just…together! In that, all that life we were making together, we did what every couple in love does–we had a baby.
Our oldest was born in September 2007. In October 2007, I was washing dishes and I don’t even remember HOW I was thinking of him, but I was and fell to my knees.

No, I legit fell to my knees.
I cried.
I was like, “No, no. NO! I’m over him! NO!” Everything that I had thought about, repressed, lied to myself about–overtook me. There was no other word for it. From there, I don’t think I could ever repaired my marriage–that was it. That was legit the fuse to the end of it. His ghost, his residue, followed me, haunted me–no matter where I was or what I was doing.
**I was in love with him, and married to someone else.  And even after we got married, before the baby, I still talked to him…more.
I talked to him to the point my then husband demanded I stop! He didn’t like how it looked, he didn’t like feeling like his wife was with another man.
(Humph. I suppose I was.)
 The day I told him I could no longer speak to him? I cried. He cried. I remember I was listening to She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5 as I spoke to him on a CD player.
Oh, and the HOT, BOILING TEA?
Here it go, dahlin’.

*Alejandro was low-key dating someone in 2006 when he asked ME why I was getting married. This is the same broad he married. He married this broad (yes, broad!) while still having feelings for me. 
I got married in 2006, he got married either before then or after, still 2006. He married this woman, while still having items and stuff from me that he hid in his house.

How do I know this?
Because he read it to me–verbatim what I had said–years prior. 
His soon-to-be ex wife emailed me to leave her husband alone AFTER I had mailed him a letter his mother found that I had written  two months prior in 2007 (I mailed it in October 2007, she emailed me in December 2007).
To this day, she cannot stand me.
At ALL.
Has she ever met me? No. 
Ask me if I care? Nope.
She asked him if he had feelings for me. He told her no. She told him that she didn’t believe him because she saw how he “looked at pictures” of me. He and his wife are divorcing now and they have 2 children. So clearly,  I wasn’t the only one with a handprint on my soul. 
I’m not the only one that tried to move on…and somehow, he got haunted too.
From the saga beginning in 2003 with sleepless nights and Teenage Love Affair phone calls, to drunk phone calls where no English was spoken, fights over why I did what I wanted because he ‘wasn’t my man’ and why did he care, silent treatment with no contact, to so much laughter, I can look back on time with him and smile.
Does it still hurt? Sometimes.
 Would I trade it? No.
Have y’all heard everything?
NO. LMBO
But you have enough to proceed. He’s a part of my life, and as is our cycle,  he will pop up again before I die, and who knows what may happen?
We all make our way in the world one day at a time, and we don’t know which person will put the most impact on us.
That doesn’t mean that impact isn’t long lasting, hunty!
For all those, and there are less than 5 people that know the ENTIRE saga, and even those that have read the work I published, have asked me and still ask, “How are you not married to Alejandro?” And they are legit PUZZLED.
My answer? “He didn’t know what he wanted.”
Plain. Simple. Period.
The moral of this story–ain’t one. The lesson is to know what is to be loved utterly, valued completely and not be afraid of the back side of your tapestry.
The colors and knots and pieces that make up whom you are, the part some people play in your life.
Alejandro, for good or ill, is a part of me–it took me so long to admit that. Loving him, equipped me to love the man I have now.
I grin sometimes, and think this–
I have to live the rest of my life without Alejandro.
But…he has to live the rest of his life without me.
**-One of my favorite books is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of the themes of the books the relationship between Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby.  For this moment in time, I was Daisy. I hated that I was Daisy.
*-I’m still not telling y’all his real name. NO. Stop askin’.

The Able Unshakeable (Pt. 2)

I have had a handful of favorite professors in my college experience. One was Dr. Kurt Schreyer for my ENG 4670:  Shakespeare’s Tragedies & Comedies class. Even his name was hot!

(Anyway, I digress…)

He helped me to love Shaskespeare (Shax) again. He used Shax in casual conversation as I did, and low-key thought I was brilliant. He even wore a fedora in the winter!

But most of all, aside from him being in the US Navy in his last life, he swore. He was utterly dashing, brilliant, knew I was brilliant–and I liked Schreyer’s class because he did what most dashing men do. He made me…think!

He was able to treat me as a lowly nursing student, as a viable, intelligent English major: someone that used words as weapons of warfare or instruments of healing.

There was a time 8 years before that class that I thought such weaponry was gone from my arsenal. The gift, the talent, the instrument of my coping was gone. The cause? I had spent the better part of my 20s with a man with no prospects, goals or his own light.

For three years, I poured into him, his son and whatever life 20-22 year olds promise to make while having really good sex (or what I know know wasn’t as good as it could be… ).

But, between times of being naked and not naked, I decided that I was going to trust him, and love him and help him with all he needed. From money, to time with his son, to…all I had. In that taking, I conjured up all the strength, love and all the ancestral BGM (Black Girl Magic) I could think of.

Not for me, but for him!

Thinking, believing, hoping, he would put that back into me. I ran on fumes for the better half our relationship.

At the end of it, near the end of it, my mother made a stark observation. She told me to look at her.

I did.

She told me that I looked dead. She said my eyes had always shone, since I was a little girl, and they no longer were shining. She told me the relationship I was in was killing me.

And it was.

I knew it was. I  knew it was, when I was sitting with pen and paper and NOTHING came out of mixture of time and space and energy.

Since I was 8, even earlier, the stories, the words, would just come–THEY WOULD JUST COME. There was nothing–nothing. I thought it was gone. I just new it was gone. I mourned for it. I missed it. I would get smattering of it every now and then, the ebb and flow of its power like I was pulling the sword from the stone or a disciple of Hecate from Macbeth.

But in came the one I mentioned in the dedication of my book, *The Love Songs Of The Unrequited, Volume 1. The words came back, slowly, crawling and then with dam breaking speed.

That portion of me, that portion of self I thought my malevolent ex  had stolen from me along with everything else, was coming back. I was me again.  How can you not love someone that gave you back what you thought was gone?

Someone whom helped you regain the hope in you?

I shared worked with him, like a shy child and favorite teacher. At every positive acknowledging, every tear-born word, he heard, he accepted and told me that I was unlike any woman he had ever known.

The kicker?

He told me that I was talented and to keep writing.

He told me to keep going.

That was like breathing again after being underwater. It was glorious to see the light again, it was that dark for me without being able to write. I had a muse…he was it.

I wrote when I was happy. I wrote when I was sad. I wrote to deal without having him nearby. I wrote when I couldn’t talk to him. I wrote when I couldn’t sleep. I memorized his accent, his inflection, his voice, I locked him away in my heart–incomparable to anything before or since. There was *Alejandro and then everyone else.

With him being out of state, all I had to hang onto him was his voice, letters, cards and calls. I smiled again, jumped rope again (yes, OLD SKOOL ROPE!), stayed on the phone with him three hours a night, after working second shift (he worked first shift) and did we did stupid teenage things.

Oh, like what? Like this:

Me:  “No, I love you.”

Him: “I love you too.”

Silence.

(Same conversation after doing kissy-faces to the phone receiver)

Him: “You hang up, I have to go to work in the morning. I feel like crap when I can’t wake up.”

Me:  “Welp, gimme 5 more minutes and I’ll let you go. Por favor, mi amor? Para mi?

(An hour later, same conversation)

Me: *Alejandro, it’s (however stupid late in the morning it is).

Him:  (breathing in the phone, clearly asleep)

Me: (closing eyes, listening to him breathe. Hangs up the phone only when dial tone wakes me up. (I fell asleep like this more than I will admit here.))

Oh, yeah. We did that at…all in love and not giving a damn.

At 23, I was 16 again.

It was lovely. It was new, it was healthy. He loved me, and I knew to my depth of marrow that he did.

Oh, you wanna know how Shax fits into all this, you ask? Welp, anyone whom is close to me will eventually get a name from literature. Whether that be from a comic or a centuries old play, or a TV show I’m hooked on.

He was my Romeo, my Antony, my County Paris  and my Hamlet…and My Dean (you gotta be a fangirl to know #SPN).

He, too, was my Peter Parker. All mild-mannered, dorky, intelligent, strong and sweet.

He called me his MJ.

(I don’t care! I LOVE TOBEY AS SPIDER-MAN!)

MJ.

Mary. Jane.

Mary Jane Watson.

You would have to be a geek, or love one, to get how deep that is, and how sweet that is, and how I could not want the forever after with Parker.

Sigh.

Every time I would move beyond his grasp in the time we occupied–I would be dating, he would be dating  (but we still spoke on a fairly consistent basis), but I would think about him, him about me, and somehow come back together again.

The weirder thing?

He knew when I was ‘far’ from him, and he from me. We knew when the closeness wasn’t there or quite right.

Quite remarkable.

I was getting back to me.

My Able Unshakeable was a reminder that knights still do exist.

They still fight in wars, have armor and still find damsels in distress.

They still hold love and honor as virtues not punchlines.

They still find the broken in the beautiful ones.

They still are willing to tell the Queens of the realms, they can cry again–that strength and beauty she is clothed in, but it is not destiny always to rule alone.

There is one, will be one, to see tears behind smiles, childlike joy in laughter that reaches your toes and thinks your eyes hold light even when they are shut.

These chosen of your heart are able to see you as no one else. If the Fate of God be merciful, you get to spend your life with them.

As for me?

Maybe next lifetime.

I have this one to live out with a man that is able to do that…and he found me while I was yet hiding. How blessed am I?

I love you, Phillip**.

*-For sanity and anonymity, his legal name will not be mentioned here. He does know the work exists, and even the dedication. He has moved on with his life, and I wish him nothing but happiness and joy. He has earned it.

**-Yes, that is my  real husband’s real name.

[images from Google]

#13ReasonsWhy and #1ReasonWhyNot

(Notice:  This may contain spoilers.)

I am such a fan of Netflix, like most people that work nights or suffer from insomnia. I came upon 1HIRTEEN R3ASONS WHY.  I needed something new to watch after exhausting my reciting and analyzing of The Twilight Zone or other random Netflix documentaries. I saw this 13 episode show, and I thought that I could kill it in like 2-3 nights. Not so.

As a writer and a mother, it was indeed HARD for me to get through this series of episodes. I found myself wrapped up in what Hannah was feeling, and even turned my head as she committed suicide–yes, the show SHOWED it. They needed to. They needed to.

I was rapt in her voice, in what she was feeling and examined my own high school experiences and the potential awareness of what my children may experience. That was disheartening. As a woman in my 30’s with bigger things that I have come through than that 14-17 year old girl. I was bullied in middle school, and after Freshman year of high school, the bulling continued. I was made fun of because I was awkward, called ugly and fashionably different. I ignored it, yeah, but I found a solace in words, attentive parents and a core group of friends. High school was awkward and I hated it. 

I hated it because I was in a new school far from all else I had known in St. Louis Public School District and now I was in Jennings School Disctict. I hated it because I was bored. I hated it because I was–depressed. No one seemed to notice that I was depressed because I went on with life, and tried not to exist. I really, really did. After my father died my Senior year of high school, I wanted to leave school even more. I hated high school because I wanted to a be ANYWHERE else but the high school I was at. Those feelings were deeper than “not being comfortable in your own skin.”

What I saw with Hannah is this consistent abandonment. It’s the kind of abandonment that you see that ends up being learned helplessness. She tries to embrace life, even the dirty parts, ugly parts, but every time she reaches for the better–some new craziness is heaped on her. From Justin liking her, then turning their innocent evening together into a vicious rumor. To her ‘best friend’, Jessica,  finding popularity aside from her and then calling her a slut after being upset that their mutual friend, Alex, beginning to date Jessica. But yet Hannah is still a friend to her–consistently. Alex then puts Hannah’s name on a sexist list for best body parts, and her body is put up for public consumption:  cat calls, ass grabbing—all under the school’s nose.

I admired Hannah standing up for herself. I admired her for not getting sucked in to the vortex that is high school. I rooted for her, felt bad for her, and all of me that was a mother  and once a wounded girl wanted to snatch her back. I wanted to tell her that even though Tyler stalked her with pictures outside her house, Courtney used her as a shield to hide her own sexual identity, I wanted to tell her to hold on. I wanted to tell her not to give up! 

When Marcus made her wait for their Valentine’s Day date,  tried to paw under her skirt because he thought she was DTF and “easy” was and she pushed him out of her booth? I cheered. I was proud of her. I was horrified when Zack didn’t come to her rescue, because he saw what people where doing to her. I was mad that Clay was afraid to go after her, and was so hung up on avenging her after she was dead. I rooted for him to not be a timid boy like 17 year old boys can be and go after her!

 I was upset at the counselor that seemed so focused on the whole forest that he could never see the trees and couldn’t reassure her that she wasn’t alone or crazy after her rape. As an adult, I understand his predicament-the icy way responsibility gives you tunnel vision in the wrong direction.

When Brian published her poem? I celebrated. I wanted her to see she had talent. But I understand and understood the need for privacy as a writer. I am familiar with the cocoons we make to create and can become horrified when those walls are breeched. On top of what she was living through, I get WHY it hurt so much. In times of pain, you really don’t want people to bust out your genius thinking they did you a favor.

I was horrified when she sat in the rub of water, with clothes, and razors and cut horizontally up her arm. I was a hopeless voyeur as she contemplated whether or not she wanted her heart to still beat. I wanted to stop her, I wanted to tell her that she would get through it. I wanted to grab her arm and tell her this:

Hannah, stop! You do not need to kill yourself over people that you won’t even remember after graduation. Hold on, Hannah. You don’t have to give any more of you away. I promise you that it sucks right now, it hurts right now, and I know you can’t see any light anywhere…and I know you want it to stop hurting. But in order for it to stop hurting you have to see where this ends up. There are things you can do. Think of what you’re leaving…think of the story you have left to write. Don’t quit in the middle! Don’t quit! Wait! We can make it, let me help you! Just– put the razor down, shug! If you want this life, if you want better, you are going to have to rage against the dying of the light. You gotta fight. You are gonna have to fight. Death does not revel in the reaping of the young. Get out the tub and we can talk…”

At the last few minutes at end of the series, I looked off past the screen I was watching, and thought. I was mad she was dead.

 I was mad at Clay. 
I wanted to slap Jessica and Justin until I GOT TIRED.  I wanted Marcus and Zack not to be so arrogant and smug. I wanted Courtney’s iron crisp life wrinkled!

 I wanted Jessica to realize that real friends, real friendship, is forged toughest when both people recognize they are needed. 

Then I thought of that quiet, shy, wallflower that had my name. I wanted so much to even reassure the portion of my 16-17 year old self not to give up. I wanted to remind myself that even though it was dark and horrible and my father was dying…I didn’t have to die with him. 

My dreams, my heart where not to be buried with him. I was going to be okay. In the diligence of living, I had to be able to LIVE. I had to remind myself of what my anchors were, where they were, and how to drop them and not to drop them on drifting people.

The reason why I chose to live, and remind myself to keep living is because I want to see where this life ends up. I want to see how my story ends. I want to own every part of me that is wounded, impaired and secret. I refuse to give my happiness, power and autonomy to another person. This meant that I was going to have to remember the rock that I had been given to stand on in my soul. The part of me that stands  up for herself, no matter what and who is able to withstand bullsh!t because I recognize it as bullsh!t. 

I wanted to tell Hannah that she had something to hold on to, that it’s beyond what she thought and that if she just hangs on…if she just hung on…she could have joy again, and Clay would be an awesome and doting boyfriend and Bryce will get what’s coming to him because Clay was brave enough to go in a lion’s den came out with his head. 

What you have to do in the mean time, she may ask? LIVE. You live because that is the goal of life…and that gift is yours.

Make no mistake, I am a proponent of therapy, prayer, faith communities and coping strategies; and if need be, medication.

 I believe that mental health is a real crisis, an important issue and I believe there are pains and wounds that people cannot see that are deeper than anything that will bleed. 

I believe there are people that suffer on this spectrum in silence and there are some that shout at the ends of guns, inside cars or razors in tubs. We have to take stock of those whom walk wounded around us. We can’t ignore them. We can’t ignore the Hannah’s. They need to know it’ll be better. They need to know life still belongs to them. 

The gift of voice and words is that you have to right to edit, record and honor what you feel. You can’t let all the noise stop your heart from beating. You have to be strong enough to realize this is…hard.
 This is why it’s important to have people that know when your swag is off, when your mood is changing, when your eyes no longer shine…there has to be one that is willing to through you a life preserver or even go out in your rowboat, and reach out.

I’ve decided to be a Life Preserver. I have a boat, and my lifeguard walks on water.

The Able Unshakeable (Part 1)

There are the people in your life that clearly know they belong in it, but will never come into it in any desired capacity.

There are people in your life that believe that they belong in it, but you will never let in.

Then there are those people that come in believing that have all right to be there, and you agree. Then the pursuit of all that love entails.

The hunt as it were.

The state of being together, but not really together, and them in your life makes everything sweeter, and lighter, and easier. They make loving yourself easier, because they love you.

I have one like that.

It took me years to not think of him without my heart fluttering. If you’re honest, you have one like that too. The person that no one can hold a candle to, or someone that is the archetype of what a good mate is, or the best boyfriend or girlfriend. The person your heart remembers.

I remember taking a Psych class, I remember the name of it was called the Study of Psychodynamic Substances. A fancy name of the drugs that alter your mind, as it were. There is something the class referenced to called EM.

This is short for emotional memory.

Now, stay with me because I’m about to help you out! This type of memory is purely somatic. Meaning, your own body has a memory independent of the more sentient memory–memory and memories you store in your brain.

In this class, this type of memory is totally based on sensations and impulses–or even catalysts to or of both ideals.

That. BLEW. ME. AWAY!

To find out that my body had a (bleep) memory? That changed game forever. Why? I could then begin to put a name to what it was I was feeling.

Keep in mind, I’m happily married now. I’m a college grad, a mother, a writer, a blogger and with like 9 other things I want to do and see before I leave the world and go back to God.

But I am aware of the ‘ghosts’ in my life that have this effect on me. Those people that come into thought when I try and do something else, concentrate on happier things. Most of the time I’m successful–I keep some at bay, have exercised the others to the point they are non-existent.

But there is one that I have to remain armed at the ready over.

Even admitting it sounds like a form of defeat. It shows where the chink in the armor is. It shows where I can be hit at–a heart map, if you will.

The Unshakeable One.

The Able Unshakeable.

This is the one that makes you think ‘what if’. This is the person whom at a thought is able to cause emotional havoc in both spectrum directions depending on where you are emotionally. The one that can show you where it is you could go if they would only come in.

The one that you never envisioned having to live life without, only realizing the indignity of having to. The one that when you hear their name you have to pretend that you won’t cry or scream, blush, get horny thinking about or become incensed.

The one that knew what every inflection of voice meant, where every mood came from, the one that could soothe you with a look. The one that your heart sang such sweet sonnets for.

The one that didn’t know what they wanted, but knew they wanted you, but you would wait your life for.

But I suppose you do, don’t you?

In Julius Ceasar, the most famous line quoted is by Ceasar’s wife, Calpurnia, in Act 2, Scene 2, page 2:

“Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”

In this quote I find solace when it relates to the Unshakable One.

I know that in accepting of what is not, and may never be, I have marked the end of what once was and is no more.

I am of no illusion of what time has given, and even, stolen from me. I accept that life before him and after him have indeed been marked.

In the marking, in this death, I do not fear.

His presence may come, but it cannot remain…at least not always. He gave me a glimpse at forever but left me with mortality, questions and the desire to know just how on Earth he had gotten such a hold on me!

I wondered often, alone, out loud and with tears, how had I loved someone with lioness ferocity, with the fidelity of a Queen…and not be with him?

It stunned me.

As a writer, I had to find the glitch in the script. I had to get to the plot twist, only to realize…*Alejandro and I were the plot twist. We were the glitch in the system.

I didn’t think what he found in me and me in him was even able to be found in  anyone anymore. What we were reaching for didn’t make sense to heartbroken people, cynical people.

We were a celestial anomaly–and I loved it! I reveled in it. I had found something akin to jasper, diamonds and topaz.  I loved him and he loved me. And I knew from the DEPTH of me that he did.

After being in a broken state after a necessary (I cannot stress how necessary it was to leave that dude alone!) breakup in the Summer of 2002 I was still hurting when I met *Alejandro that December. We exchanged numbers and when I heard his voice? I blushed.

BLUSHED. HARD.

As our affection grew, he was a heart starter, I could breathe again. He reminded me I was intelligent and gorgeous and worthy of love. Nothing could be so, would be so amazing…and I enjoyed it.

The more I got of him, the more I wanted and the more we gave to each other. The amazing thing? There was nothing like anything before or since…how could I not want it? But yet…here I am and there he is and…was.

I understand every love is different, indeed, and I am and was thrilled he reminded me that I was worthy of it.

*-Not his real name.

[images from Google and Shutterstock]