Taking Notes

The trees have taught me
that strength comes with time
that patience is key
that there is a time to bloom
and a time to rest
that everything has a season
that life – both new and old – always returns
that conviction is like the deepest
most far-reaching roots
to stand tall
but to also bend and twist with grace
that sometimes parts of you have to die
for stronger things to take their place

A Brief History

I was 12 years old
round faced
and doe eyed
soft inside
and out
when I learned that I didn’t like surprises
anymore
All I had was shock and a dad-sized hole
when I swore I wouldn’t be caught unaware
again

Fortresses were built on an aching heart
and emotions were folded up
and tucked away
into dark corners
that were easy to ignore
Organized
Tidy
Put together
If my life couldn’t be that way
then the illusion would

Survival skills learned in the throws of adolescence
served me with a predictable
automated faithfulness
that people couldn’t duplicate
Until those I wanted around
began to drift
a w a y

On one side, the promise of safety
On the other, the essential rawness of humanity
With a foot in each side
you’re always straddling a line
in constant threat
of being split in
ha
lf
of making life-long companions with whatever lies in the void
It’s hard to let go of something that held the promise
of forever

I threw myself into the very things that I had
spent years avoiding
vulnerability
human connections
with complete
and reckless
abandon
A mental demolition
A heartfelt upheaval
As I learn to shed the old and don the new
As I learn to stay in the present
As I mourn the friends who have left
and the women I used to be
As I celebrate the friends who have reached
through the void
during my lowest points
As I welcome the woman I am becoming
a “storm child made of wild and flame”

Haunted

“Our beds are crowded”
but so are any other places we’ve staked claim to
coffee shops
parks
hiking trails
It’s always me
dozens of familiar strangers
and four of my closest apparitions
For good or for ill
or, like so many things
in this life,
an alchemy of both
I carry them with me
Lessons and companions
Memories and possibilities

Definitions

Merriam-Webster defines brave as
“feeling or showing no fear”
but when Fear has made a home in your mind
and you’re not quite sure how to evict him
just yet
I think courageous is a better fit
for those moments when you stand
a little straighter
and hold your head
a little higher