I Quit Therapy
I don’t know how to be fragile.
I don’t know how to present my broken heart.
I’m not good at healing,
I think that’s the hardest part.
I feel bone weary, down to my very core,
It hurts and it’s tiring, to be so very sore.
I don’t know how to be transparent;
I’d rather hide all of my hurt,
To bundle it up in apology cards
Would feel a little bit too curt.
I feel dramatic, and a little bit too much.
That’s why I’m nomadic, never close enough to touch.
They say to communicate,
Like it’s easy as apple pie,
But nothing’s very sweet
About feelings that make you cry.
La Petite Mort
Isn’t it a fragile, desperate thing to love someone?
To be so inadvertently enraptured by someone’s mere presense you could watch them for days and still find your eyes soften at the corners when they enter the room.
There is certainly something dangerously reckless about loving. To love someone is to give yourself up to them and absorb the parts of them that no one but you likes, to be those things for them and then still love yourself on their behalf - to show them how it can be done. To love is to be devoted, to be burdened but to not realize it.
It’s painfully obvious when you’re in love. True love doesn’t float down from the heavens and cling to you like a hero’s cloak. It’s a dirty thing, like bed sheets after a weekend together; wrinkled and pungent, covered in stains. But you know it, it’s so deeply familiar that you can identify every last bit of its ugliness and trace it back to happier times that bring delicate smiles to your lips. Delicate, because even as those moments are remembered you realize how fleeting they really are.
No, to love someone isn’t poetic, it’s not a promise of happiness or glory. To love is to know pain because to love is to inevitably lose.
You will lose.
You do lose.
To love is to know that bliss is temporary, but pain is too.
Pretty girls don’t hunt for purple flowers in the shadows of sunday afternoons. Proper girls can’t be followed by muddy boot prints on dry pavement during a drought. Practical girls won’t step outside at night just to watch their breath fly away on the crisp autumn air. But pretty, proper, practical girls don’t, can’t and won’t know the wildness of living the way we do.
1 Year, 8 Months, Still Counting
The cheque finally came. Twenty months was a long enough wait.
Seeing the business name printed across the top of the cheque in bold, imposing letters transports me back to a time when I stared at the similarly printed numbers on a police officer’s badge through damp eyelashes. So aloof in their officiality, those numbers, yet I clung to them, tried to memorize them amidst the chaos I stood in...
My hands shake around my heavy burden, white knuckles clutch on to every important, fragile pocession I had in my bedroom when they arrived. I watch them frantically ripping apart boxes I had hurriedly packed and sealed just hours before, throwing the contents outside one item at a time. I hadn’t escaped in time. My boyfriend’s steady voice hits me in waves along with their angry, bitter shouts, “I think we should just stop and talk about this for a moment,” he reasons, “think this over.” Reason doesn’t reach the alcoholic or her violent boyfriend as they throw my duvet out onto the lawn. In the back of my mind a shaky thought reminds me that my dogs are scared and probably out there, hiding with the rest of my worldly posessions that had been so unceremoniously ejected from the house I’d been renting with my tormentors. My knees wobble and I briefly wonder if I could manage to go five steps towards the door, let alone find the dogs I lost in the moments my ex-roomate and her Hell’s Angel came bursting through the locked door. I hear heavy boots coming up the front steps and look to my right to find two uniformed police officers stepping into the house, their eyes moving quickly from left to right, hands resting on their guns as they take in the damage around them before finally seeing me, “Samantha?” One of them, the taller one with brown hair, has made eye contact with me and my rabbit heart picks up faster than it had been before, but I can’t answer him.
“Yes, that’s Sam. Sorry officer, she’s in shock, I haven’t been able to get her to calm down since she called 911. I can answer your questions,” ever reasonable and calm, my boyfriend appears in the hall with the officers and I, ready to deftly weave all the threads of the evening’s events that I could not make sense of anymore into a simple, ugly, tapestry so onlookers could see exactly what had happened here.
I blink in and out of the next hour of statements. Blink, as my roommate screams at me from another room interrupting my quiet, painfully drawn-up recollection to the police, calling me a liar. Blink, as the police warn her to stop interrupting or they’ll charge her with mischief and impaired driving. Did she drive here drunk? Blink, as she and her boyfriend claim I’m violent and squatting in the house without paying rent, “I hired her to help me start a business and thought I’d help her out of her previous situation by letting her live here with me, you have no idea how good I’ve been to her but she totally took advantage of me. Don’t let her fool you, she’s just playing the victim, she put those marks on herself.” Blink, as my practical boyfriend defends me in his statement as I find myself suddenly with the floor beneath my knees, hunched over and taking heavy breaths while I try to remember how I managed to fall. “Sam called me a few hours ago and said she had to get out of the house, that she’d quit and was leaving as soon as she could because those two had been violent towards her. She expressed her fear of staying in the house any longer, she thought they’d kill her, though I told her that only happens in movies,” my boyfriend laughs with his trademark smirk still in place, seemingly oblivious to the broken objects and glass scattered across the house or the lingering metallic smell of fear and anger, “So I said I’d just come help her pack tonight.”
Yes, twenty months was long enough. Twenty months of weekly counselling. Twenty months of self-medicating. Twenty months of telling myself it would get better, only for twenty months of hating myself, hating them. Twenty months of loathing. But the cheque finally came so I can just forget about it all, right? Delete the evidence of my mistreatment from my laptop, forget I had those demons that lurked in folders titled “Cartel Assholes.” I wish I could delete them from my life entirely but “you get what you get and you accept it and move on,” mother always said. So why is it so hard to move on? Even with a cheque in my hands that proves the courts found them guilty. A cheque that’s supposed to pay for their sins and resurrect me? Yeah, right. Twenty months ago I stood in a house that had wine stains on the walls and bloody knives in the sink as I struggled to look at my tormetor, a drunk with cut marks on her ankles where she could hide them because her reputation was more important than blood stains in her shoes. She loved to make herself out to be the damsel in distress but she left blood everywhere she went, she even tainted me with it but I can’t hide my scars.
Maybe twenty months wasn’t long enough. Even with the cheque in my hands - a monetary symbol that I fought and won against people who tried to kill me, tried to steal my ideas and bury me under lies - proof that I’m a survivor, I still struggle with the immense and undeniable weight of my own defencelessness. I still stand in that house, twenty months and a cheque can’t cure my vulnerability.
You are a piece of a puzzle whose artwork you are not aware of yet.
Not as broken as it looks, still floats, smells like wood and salt and home.
Wandering in the Woods
While passing by a river, I saw a fish swim side-by-side another fish. I looked across the river and saw a deer drinking water with its own companion. Above me I could see two eagles flying in perfect unison. The woods left me feeling so lonely I decided to travel to the city to find my own soul mate, and so I did; his name’s Maurice, he‘s an optometrist with a twin brother and they tell me I need glasses.
Where are you?
Did you forget how to find me after giving me a chance to finally live? I’ve called you so often I’ve lost track of our encounters, but each time has led to an ominous goodbye - you have always been the dark cloud on my horizon. I’ve been on borrowed time for too long and we both know it, so where are you? Now that I’m ready for you, now that I’m finally finished my work here, now that I’ve truly lived. I’ve felt your cold hand on my shoulder before, hurrying me on before my time. I’ve felt you watching me from the shadowy places in between my stuttered breaths, but you’ve gone now. Where are you now that I want you?
Mourn me in the light, celebrate me in the dark; let my life have meaning.
“You’re not the only one in our society who’s struggling.”
My dad rants on about his friend whose boss screwed him out of twenty-four-hundred dollars, has a son with asbergers and a depressed wife who works at Walmart while they struggle to make ends meet. I can hardly hear him over the thoughts of my own sad situation.
“He’s stressed, Sam. That’s what this world is doing to us. That’s what we’ve done to ourselves.”
I think about my impending homelessness and the way I quit my horrible job, foolishly thinking how easy it would be to find a new one with my skills in the field. I think about how I can count the number of people who care about me on one hand. I look down at my blue velvet heels and contemplate how many of those people would answer my distress call.
“Come back to the bay, you have friends here. Everyone likes you here. I know you feel like giving up, but don’t. You don’t know how much you are loved. Give it time, everything will work out.”
I remain silent as my dad carries the conversation on the other end of the phone, zoning in and out of his monologue. Am I even someone who can succeed? I’ve been down this road before, I’ve fallen down so many times I can no longer keep track. How much longer ’til I find something that works for me.
“You are not a failure, I know you’re thinking it. I don’t. I think you are a great human being, someone who can change the world for the better. I love you, Sam.”
“I love you too dad,” I murmur into the phone like I’ve lost the will to speak.
“Don’t quit at life, I know how stressed you are. Just remember, it’s not you - it’s this world.”