These are not suitcases. They are my stories. I carry them with me, yes, and at times – at 2ams and altitudes – my shoulders slump with their heft. The weight of past mistakes and all of the leaving. I spin the world backward, these times. Searching with my finger across the whirring, blurring globe for home. Are you nostalgic? she asked me once, and I said yes, as I understand it. I think writers, necessarily retrieve. I meant to say that memory matters. The past matters. But those words belong to another, so I left the thought behind.
I do – at times – have to turn myself around.
But these are not suitcases. I do not come with burdens, see. I arrive lush with autobiography. Stories spilling, swimming. I had a farm in Africa. I stood trembling at the door. There was a moment, just before. I sobbed and smiled. Here. And here. And here. I thought-. He was-. She was-. They were-. I was-. He sang in my ear. I shouldn’t have. I did. I came twice as he-. I saw the most-. I travelled to-. It made me feel. This is the … happiest I’ve ever been. Yes! I remember everything.
I remember every thing. I carry it all, swinging, dancing. Hands out, even to my sorrows. I never wanted a calm waters life. Though I waded through his once or twice. Just to see what it is to be light. And I found it heavier than I’d ever imagined, to carry no one thing at all.
Here, let me open for you now. These are not suitcases. They are my stories …
(Remember: Don’t believe a word I say. Just the way I say it)
♥ HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear readers! Here’s to all the stories in 2018 … ♥
A comment on a forgotten piece. News of a friend’s much deserved success. A restless night after too much wine and rain. And suddenly-
Third time has to be a charm, right?
(It was always about being loved).
“This story is about love, mostly. The kind of love you find in movies and songs, and also in quiet afternoons. This story is about a girl. A girl who loved a man. It’s about how this man knew she loved him because she told him. Once, and many times after that, because you only stumble with such words the first time. So she loved him, and he knew it, and it was then that the battles began.
Because love can so often feel like war, don’t you think?”
One foot in front of the other, my sisters. One foot in front of the other.
I’ll be there right beside you, every step of the way.
*Poster Art: WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON – JENNIFER MARAVILLAS*
Know your history. Know her story. Seek out Audre, Alice, Maya, Gloria – seek out all the incredible women who speak bone deep, beautiful truths. Then go tell your own story, loud, clear and proud. Your voice has never been more needed in this world.
Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women. ~ Maya Angelou
I can tin-plate my skin and heart against your impact, but always the cracks appear. Always, this slow shattering when the moon is full, or the sun is blinding.
It happens when I close my eyes. Or when I open them under water, or when I stand in the earliest morning, all surface and rain and disappearing.
All of the forgetting, and weights falling. As I dive back into the void.
(Loving you so often feels like letting go)
~ Kobi Yamada
So many people die protecting their heart, instead of exposing it. They never once say – Fuck it! I’m in. It wouldn’t work? Who cares! Let’s try! They never take the leap, and risk the fall. The knowing, finally, that you are on your way now. Or free to leave, once and for all. It might break their heart to find out. It should break their heart. That’s how you’re meant to use it.
That’s how the light gets in.
You cannot be tentative with love. You have to crash into it, you have to crack through it. Your heart can take it. That resilient little organ, every time it breaks, it cobbles back together somehow. It recalibrates around the ache, into something stronger.
You have to break your own heart. I hope you break your heart. Use it, while it is still drumming away, under the skin. Tell that person. Ask that person. Turn out your palms and say I’m here. I’m in. Don’t bequeath them your questions. Risk your heart – break it! – to find the answers. Maybe that person will help you put your heart back together. Maybe you’ll have to do it alone. It doesn’t matter. It recalibrates around the ache, into something stronger.
And the only way to really let go – is to know.
Image by Joanne Piechota
(So now you now. Time to let go)
“Cause you and I both loved
What you and I spoke of
And others just read of
Others only read of the love, the love that I love.”
The economic beauty of a song lyric. The last line of a poem. The way it hits – da-DUM! – that heart thud reveal. It’s why we write a thousand lines. To get to this. To you. Sifted letters, finger trickles, and pounded keys – this constant turning over words. Just to get to this. To you.
And I …
You and I.
Not so little you and I, anymore.
A stranger said hey, what’s it about – but you looked like a shot was fired. A gun powder flash across the face. My bullet lodged. Da-DUM!
I wrote a book.
I never got now I get to thank you.
“Cause you and I both loved what you and I spoke of
and others just read of, and if you could see me now
well then I’m almost finally out of
I’m finally out of, finally …
well I’m almost finally, finally, out of words.”
~ Jason Mraz
(What I was writing exactly a year ago today. Finishing. And starting all over again)