Survival

Word over word. One little truth at a time. Pulling myself up that rope, away from the muck down here.

I am saving myself. And I am reaching back to save you, too …

Jacqueline Rock Bublitz by Joanne Piechota at body, remember

You live out the confusions until they become clear.” ~ Anais Nin

 

 

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The weight of it

I never expected to be happy. Not in the sense that I would have a big, rich life, a red-like-Christmas life, where every day was tinsel and jolly. I only ever wanted to survive my own heart. To find small moments of light in the dark, to live knowing I’d find that light sometimes, even just a pinprick of it, to guide me.

I never expected to find peace. Not in the sense that I would come to terms, eventually, with what happened to my mother. With what happened to me. I wanted, or hoped instead, to learn to carry what happened, so that I could build some kind of emotional muscle, stronger tissue, and suddenly it wouldn’t all seem so heavy. I’d be able to walk with the weight of it, and just keep going. Like those young women, in their bright cotton dresses and bare feet, who carry water on their heads for miles. The ones who live in those dustbowl places, where everything is far away. If you tried to do that without practice, without years, you’d stagger, you’d spill your water, or crumple at the shoulders from all that weight sitting on your head. But they can do it, because that’s what they do every day. That’s what their muscle has learnt to remember.

I thought perhaps I might get the chance to teach my body what to remember, too.

~ Alice, Into the After

Balloon Girl, Red Heart by Banksy
The Girl with the Red Balloon ~ Banksy

Without my permission

Wednesday April 17th, 2013

Today is my last day. Of what? Of being alive? Of being in this world? Not exactly, because I’m here still, in a way. I can see everything and feel everything, although I’ve been trying to get that right, because it’s not exactly feeling, is it? It’s not the same as wrapping your fingers around a warm coffee mug, or flipping the pillow to the cold side, of finding the cool relief on your cheek, before you go back to sleep. It’s not that. It’s not immediate and ephemeral and lost to the next sensation just as you start to feel the first.

It’s something more complete. Something less connected to space and time. A kind of knowing, more than feeling. Sort of how you can swim under water and through it and across its surface all at the same time. Immersed. Perhaps that’s a better word for the way I experience the world now.

I’m here still, in a way. I am immersed.

At any rate, we’ve reached that date. We’ve come to today. I want to tell you about it, because they keep getting it wrong. The way people always get it wrong when they speak for you. When they tell your story.

My story, the one I lived.

Today is my last day. Today is the last day I lived my story. The last day I lived. There was an I, and it was me, and I was at the centre of my story, until someone else decided to take over. Until that man wrote my last pages. Without my permission.

You think you are the centre, that if you hold on tight enough, even when things try to pull you away, you’ll make it. But then someone enters the space you have created for yourself, they take up all the room, and suddenly you’re pushed right out of your skin.

It’s their story now.

There was an I, and now there is a he, a him, a his.

Today is my last day, Elliot. The last day of my story.

~ Alice, Into the After

On the Rocks

All that stays unknown

There he is, the morning of.

It is summer and he feels good in his skin. Stretched to the corners of his life, filling them out. Everything is as it should be; he is where he should be. He’s solid here, close to the ground, nothing shifting underneath him.

There he is. Oblivious and satisfied, this morning of.

Oblivious: Unaware. Without memory.

Oblivion then, is this. All that stays unknown. There are fires forgotten, under that skin. Little licks in his veins he tries to out-run. Thinking flames can be exhausted this way. Not knowing a single spark can revive.

And how close he is to burning, now.

There. Here. There he is.

He’s out the door, and the sky is blue, and he’s running along, not knowing her name. He’ll hear it today, this name, for the very first time. Unaware of the dreams she’ll soon gather, of the clocks and counting just ahead.

He doesn’t know that he will remember. And that she is his memory, waiting.

(I never, not for a single day, forget)