the one where I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and a lot more tunnel

Things are bad, and going to get worse. That’s an odd way to begin a post that is ultimately about hope, but there it is.

After struggling to keep the house, it looks like I’m starting forclosure. This may trigger a bankruptcy. Nothing I can do about that. I still love my wife (Exwife, the hard voice in my head reminds, and I have to agree. Exwife) but I have accepted she left of her own free will and is never coming back. I have accepted that I am alone.  I have started to be at peace without her and with alone. I have even accepted love, and my fears, and company and companionship. All of these are good steps on the way to being a healthy adult. That is hopeful.

Tonight I write because I think I have taken another step.

I have to admit now that my Exwife and I shared a lot of common interests. My best friend constantly says never marry your best friend because if you lose your marriage, you lose it all. I can’t say I agree, and we have discussed it, always agreeing to disagree at the end.  But I can see where my best friend is coming from. After my Ex- left, every genre of movie, every TV show, every novel we read and talked about was suddenly a gateway back to our togetherness. And after she left, our loving, sharing, togetherness was like wearing blood soaked trousers in a river of piranha. All the things I used to do to unwind, to relax, brought me pain. I would watch comedies in tears, vintage scifi made me feel abandoned, and fantasy left me cold and alone and despondant. I had shared everything with her, and it was a gateway back to a love I would never know again. I stopped being able to relax, to unwind, and it caused some severe damage.

But today I watched Hot Fuzz. After Shaun of the Dead, my wife – normally a caustic reviewer and critic of everything, was genuinely delighted. We devoured all three of the Cornetto Trilogy together. We agreed that they were well done, and it was a bright moment together to see them. There were more movies like this, and after they were all simply forbidden to me. They caused me to become depressed, withdrawn, and sullen.

I watched Hot Fuzz tonight, and I laughed again.

So the road ahead is bad. But at least I have some part of me back.

And if that isn’t hope, I don’t know what is.

 

 

the one written in the dead of night

I stand in the darkness,

firing arrows into the night sky.

The burning tips glitter,archer.jpg

and hold my fulfilled promises.

They find purchase in the velvet black,

and burn there as a testament of my love.

Will they be seen?

Can the other part of my soul discern the pattern?

Are they brave enough to follow

My Constellation.

Will they follow them back,

and know I was never without them

for strength or hope?

More yet.

Will they know they were never truly without me?

the one where it is Day One

So 2016 was pretty rough. 2017 looks like the uglier, angrier brother come to finish what the casually cruel started with just a touch of sadism to give it a whole new feel. Or maybe that’s just my perspective.

I am dutifully and diligently avoiding work, which is good since I am drunk, and I never work well while drunk. But I made a post to facebook about my new thing, and I’d thought I’d mention it.

Fear.

I keep calling this new thing living without fear. But that’s not true. You never live without fear. Fear, in and of itself is good. It’s what tells you to disconnect the garbage disposal before fishing for that ring, to chalk the car tires before changing oil, or to pause before sending that Rwandan prince your bank account info. So it’s not about fear. It’s about cowardice.

I don’t have to tell anyone who has been abused that the thing that you hate isn’t actually the person who abused you. I was beaten up a lot (a LOT) as a kid. It isn’t the bully you hate, really. It is your self. It is knowing that if you had ever dared throw that punch (spoken up for yourself, left the deadbeat, etc.) that you may have been pummeled to within an inch of your life, or even killed.  But you would have died as YOU. The real you. Not the coward that cringes when the little punk (literally in my sense, it was the 90s) mocks you and tries to make you feel worthless, and succeeds by putting your head between their knees and jumping backward across the playground leaving bruises you have to lie to your parents to explain.

It is the cowardice that hurts. The knowledge that you never stood up for yourself in any meaningful way. The ingrained belief that this means you are not worth it.

I have been abandoned. Battered. Hurt. But I am alive. And from this day forth, I’m going to do my best to live without cowardice. ‘Without fear.’ By being brave. Not callous, not reckless, but brave. I am trying to stand up for myself. And if it costs anyone else their self-esteem, their power, their comfort, tough.

You get the truth, or you get nothing.

The Jackass at work who refuses to do his job. The pushy sales guy who needs a tic-tac. Even my friends and lovers. I am not going to live in silence because my feelings matter. I will stand up for myself even if no one else does.

Wow. I have had a lot to drink and Grammarly is earning its money tonight.

But the truth is, this cowardice, this fear of failure, of never being worthy or valued, of being rejected? The truth is it never goes away. Never.

So every day I wake up and make the same promise to myself. And every day I fail in big ways or small. And every day I get up and do it again. Every Day is Living Without Fear: Day One.

So for all you out there who feel the same way:

It’s always Day One.

And you are always worth the attempt.

 

 

The one where I hear a heartbeat…

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I just got back from cleaning out the den in the house my wife and I shared. She left a year ago and inside that room is the sum total of our life together she did not pick through to start anew. I’ve moved to a new city and have a crappy little apartment I need to fill. I needed winter clothes and blankets so I went back with my girlfriend. Another ex- was there (renting the place with some good friends) and without the support of the two of them, I never could have done it.
 
Inside was wedding videos, and the saved accoutrements of that day. I have the silver chalice from which my ex-wife and I drank to our undying love. The teddy bear sent to us to celebrate the birth of our child that would not live to be born. Burned hopes and dead dreams like the tomb of a life that would never happen. I found old poems I had written to her and anniversary cards she had scribbled to me. Echoes of a love that is gone. I packed up what I needed, sifting through these artifacts like a bones from a long dead civilization.
 
I wept. A lot.
 
But, in the end, I have started to heal. Not just manage. Not just shove it aside into a nightmare box to unspool in my head when I go to sleep. I have started to heal. To accept myself and move beyond being a crippled little thing.
I have found my strength again.
More importantly, I have found my weaknesses. I am starting to become a more complete person. I don’t know if it was on purpose or accidental. I am not sure that matters. In the end I am starting to fix the things inside of me that hold me back without sacrificing the things that are good but cause me to look at ugly truths and move forward.
I hope the same for everyone.
Because pain is not the end. It is not an end unto itself, but it is a beginning. A good sign that better things are coming.
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The one where I admit I’m taking my own advice…

We‘re all in the same game, just different levels. Dealing with the same hell, just different devils. — attributed to many.
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I keep finding broken hearts looking for help. I find I have advice to give them.
More than that I find the advice I have for them is the advice I need.
And I hope, the advice others need.
Because none of us are in this life alone. None of us get out of it alive.
Giving each other comfort is the least we can do.
 
First, stop being noble. Cry. Honestly cry. Cry, wail, and weep. Be sad. Being sad at the loss of love is normal. It is ok. It is HEALTHY. It is Ok to be sad. Let it out and let the peace that comes after be yours. You must let go of those hopes, dreams and plans that will never happen with those that have decided to leave. You can’t make them stay and that is OK. But you have to mourn their loss so you are left with the worthy and loving person that is left: You.
 
Next, do what you have done for everyone else your whole life: forgiveness. Take honest stock in your flaws, and forgive yourself for them. Physical, Mental, Emotional. Look at all the things you think are wrong with you and forgive yourself for them. Stop punishing yourself for them. Accept yourself and be at peace with who you are. From here you can look upon yourself and realize what are honest flaws that you need to work on, and what are quirks that make you vulnerable.
 
Being vulnerable can leave you open to be hurt, but it is no flaw. Having an open heart takes strength. And never confuse pain with weakness. A giant may carry a castle up a mountain and it may cause great fatigue and even pain, but none would doubt its strength.
 
Once you give yourself the forgiveness you bestow on others you can start on the process of changing what you really don’t like about yourself. Give yourself priority. Working out, taking up hobbies, traveling where you want. Going to the theater (live or screen) not to share the experience but because YOU enjoy it. In short: date yourself. Show yourself the love you bestow on others.
 
It starts with forgiveness. Of turning your most powerful heart upon yourself and giving yourself the attention, respect, and even some slack that you bestow upon everyone else.
 
Next is fear. You must address your fears, identify them and overcome them. Not of spiders or the dark, but of abandonment, loneliness, of self worth, and even commitment. Find them. Identify them. Know they are there and how they make you react to given situations. Work to understand them and pry their ghostly fingers from your heart. You can overcome them, but you must know their names to do it.
 
Next is friends. You have them. Bring them close. Rely on them. Communicate with them. Celebrate with them. You are never a burden. You are their friend. Stop being paralyzed and isolated by fear and guilt. If your friends are unworthy, then find ones that are.
 
Friends, lovers, and mates are people. To find them you must go to where they are. You will not find them alone in the dark. Walk to where there is light and laughter. If you want someone who shares your interests, do things you are interested in. Cooking classes, Meetup.org groups, local festivals are all places that may have activities that speak to you. It is something you enjoy, allowing you to love yourself, allows you to meet with friends, gaining support, and provide you with a venue to meet someone who will love you for the amazing person you are.
 
You are a beautiful woman. Once you learn to be comfortable in your own skin, to WANT someone instead of NEED, you will be more than beautiful. You will glow. You will shine like a sun. You will attract someone who is worthy of you, and have the strength and judgement to turn away those who are unworthy.
 
More than that I haven’t figured it out yet.
I found the road. I can guide you to it, but I’m only a few steps further down it than you are. Stumbling, faint of heart, but still walking upright. And when I have to, I crawl.

The one where I tell the truth…

 

 

surrounded_by_darkness_by_cheetahdiago-d8mls4y.jpgThings have been hard. But they are getting better. I’m standing taller. And every day there seems another thing to knock me back down. But I’m getting up again. Every damn time.

But I’m not writing a lot yet. So I’m speaking how I can. Healing as I can. Getting better as I can.

 

Truth

I wander,

lost

In the alien void,

a cloak,

a ghost.

A ripple of blackness in the void of sharp things and night.

 

Then I see one,

lost and alone.

A perfectly formed creature of light and life

grimly trudging in this place

where it does not live,

and does not belong.

 

For it stumbles to its knees.

And my heart aches

For this is a being of the sun

but its glow is so faint

flickering and faltering

weeping golden drop of dusk into a dark world that does not care.

 

I glide forward

insides twisting and dancing

deathly afraid of the glowing, beautiful thing.

I touch it and it burns me.

Fire upon my dark skin

But the light, the light is brighter as it searches the darkness for hope.

 

I see the embers of my flame kissed hand,

and to the face of beauty that weeps

and I spread myself like the dusk

and settle upon the burning beauty

The agony is immediate

And it fills all my senses as I scream…

 

And then it is gone, running.

It is bright again,

it is healthy, whole.

and as fireflies borne of my own skin flicker past my eyes

It is able to move on

and it does.

 

I see the burning dawn on the horizon

I know the angel will be alright.

So I flee into the dark

The caves, alone

in the night that never ends

alone.

 

But again, in starlight

I emerge and wander in my sadness

and again, a beautiful wanderer

and again, used and discarded.

To make them strong

left to convalesce in the dank.

 

But it changed me, these angels.

I saw a simmering radiance on the walls of my cave

and I knew the burns had healed black

But inside, the fire still burned

Still glowed.

And I wondered if the night would ever have me back.

 

But then it came,

An angel with only a flicker of luster

wounded and alone.

And I stayed my hand,

for fear and memory burned me.

Worse than any reality ever could.

 

But those eyes, those glorious portal of a sojourning soul

could finally see me and begged for contact,

for understanding.

I dove into the angel and the fire turned me into a bonfire.

But I knew the true nature of love.

And it is what you give, not what you receive.

 

I fell to the rocks,

Fire tracing my every fiber, discarded and alone.

I heard the angel shift,

I waited to hear it walk away.

But then it touched me, lifted me

and held me to its burning breast.

 

I screamed and I roared

I burned and I felt I would die

and so it set me down

and began to walk to the dawn

but even as it walked, and the fires died on my skin

I saw the angel, and saw the beautiful burning soul streaked with the blackest night.

 

I dragged myself from the thorny ground

And I flew for the celestial form

I settled about it

but it flung me off

and ran for the dawn

powerful, and light, and dark, and strong.

 

I chased it with tenacity

and with speed and soul and songs

and still it ran.

Until I realized it wasn’t running from the night.

It was running from me, and the hurt it could do to me.

And we came to the celestial line, and it stumbled again.

 

I raced beyond it as it again fell,

Standing between a painful life with it and the doom behind me.

and I saw the sparkling streams of sadness

strung through with darkness, my darkness eating at the light.

But the sun was coming. Coming for me.

And the angel reached for me, afraid.

 

I burst with speed I flew like the wind.

Into the arms of the sun.

The light it seared me

it punched through to my core.

It ripped apart everything it touched

And I screamed in the light, my flaws laid bare.

 

I cried as I burned, in the light of a new dawn

Fears like fissures dripping with fire

and an amalgam of truth punching into my core

as I screamed.

I cried.

The angel crawled beyond endurance to the edge of the dawn.

 

It reached for me

from inside the night,

Tears falling like rain.

And I reached for it,

fires from my body

pouring black smoke into the sky

 

The angel lurched, it flailed, the sky burning the night inside it

and it came under the nourishing eye of the day.

It enveloped me into its arms.

and together we burned,

and together we cried

as the night was taken from us in a conflagration

 

And finally, finally,

one did for me what I had always done for them.

And after I looked into the angel’s perfect eyes.

And I waited. For we were burning.

But I had hope.

That at least We would burn together.

 

Burn until the night, the darkness inside,

was gone forever,

and we could walk hand in hand.

Through every day, and every night,

together.

The one where I go back to my roots

a-warrior
Not mine, but it speaks to me. Much respect to the artist.

I started writing as a poet. A bad one. Yeah, I’m sure that’s a surprise to everyone.

Pimply, round. Lonely. I could only express myself through words packed like a fist from the mouth of a volcano. On paper.

I have gone through a divorce, as clean and fast as anyone I have ever heard of. The emotional cost, however, has been vast. It has taken a toll on my creative side. Every time I get to something emotional, something real, I shy away like an animal faced with fire.

My health is improving and now the emotional rebuilding has begun. My temper has been bad as of late. Adversity is no longer a mountain to be overcome, but a punishment from a fickle and uncaring god. I can’t live like that, and that means a change. I can only hope those around me will cut me slack when I need it and be hard on me when it is called for. I have also decided to go back to the beginning.

I need to start writing. For my sanity, for my future, and for my… To have a purpose again.

So, back to the beginning. Bad poetry stuttered out from an embarrassed pen.

And by that road, I will get back to where I need to be.

 

It Survives

I am told that my love is water.

And I worry.

For water, tempestuous and tossed,

It swallows and it storms.

And shatters the heavens with electric fangs.

It uses knives made of its own body

to carve stone from the mountain face.

And to rush down valleys sweeping everything from its path.

The voice inside me, it knows these truths

And it burns with the cold of a thousand fathoms

Feels the pressure of merciless depths of my passion

And I wonder who will plumb me.

To know me even where the brightest sun cannot see

But who would want to,

And who would dare

To swim in the uncounted

unknowable

depths

Where the brightest sun cannot see.

But then I remember that the sun does shine

And it dances on the surface of my adoration

like angels at play.

And though it can rage, it can also heal,

Falling gently on living things

Bringing life to the moonscape

and health to the wilting.

It can fulfill any vessel,

And quench any thirst

Brave enough to press lips to sip

And it may be frozen

Locked in prison for millennia

it may be buried in the shifting sands,

too far for mortal hands to reveal

But though it be boiled on desert rocks

Or tossed into the sky on thousand foot drops

It may be smashed into vapor, trod into dirt,

It may be beaten and left and forgotten

But my love is water

and it will sneak into the sky

And form dragons and wolves and lions

It may turn black and threaten

It may scatter the sunlight into beautiful spectrums

But it never dies

And it never fails

It cannot be destroyed

For it is my love.

And it always, always survives.

Even where the brightest sun cannot see.