four months

Don’t write here as much as I used to.

Life is…busy. Consumed with the effort to dig myself out of the current struggle and move on to the next.

At the end of the night, after meals are cooked, packaged, and tied up in grocery bags, I dig through my bag for wrinkly dollar bills to stuff in the Coffee Can of Hopes and Dreams. I don’t wash my face or my hair. All of that has to wait till daylight.

I set out my work clothes: a simple uniform I’ve made for myself of leggings, shorts, boot socks, long shirt. Bandanna. And then I tug the one I have on over my eyes and try to sleep. Here on the trundle in a soft fuzzy blanket, next to the space heater. I try not to plan or worry or calculate bills. Solace is reading a cute fluffy comic after a long day and listening to Jess snore like a puppy.

It’s kind of similar to sleeping between the freight and the driver’s seat in a way. We are still moving, even if there are no tires humming beneath us. And even if paychecks have gotten smaller I still put the tips in that can and think in five years this memory will feel as far away as August of 2016 is becoming now.

That helps me sleep.

That helps me get through one day to the next.

When the can is full I’ll deposit it, and then I’ll fill it again. And again. Till I get to that place I’m working for. Just gotta be patient and work hard and don’t give up. Never give up.

…I wish I had hugged that lady whose dog died.

But at least we got her ticket comped. And neither of us will said a word about how high I stacked cheese on the plate she asked for.

I hope someone is holding her. The first night they’re gone is the worst.

…Seems like I’ve lived through nights like that a lot this past year and a half.

 


 

Getting that yearly itch to act on weird impulses.

Did some shit last night I shouldn’t have, but it was good to push my limits a little. Okay, so alcohol still makes me sleepy. But it also pushed some of the heavy shit off long enough for me to enjoy being at a party, around people, actually being present instead of anxious and waiting to leave.

Who is this person? She handles so much shit. She cooks every night and preps on Sundays, bakes cookies and actually sells them, has a small modicum of pride. Confidence. Feeling more and more like I’m not just taking up space. It’s not perfect. Still don’t have a home. Still scraping by from paycheck to paycheck. Trying to hold onto savings and build it up whenever I can. But I’m managing. I’m okay.

This doesn’t have to be so hard. I can take the good moments here and there when I find them. Otherwise this shit will break me and right now holding steady is miraculous all by itself.

I want to shave off all this hair. Be as sharp as I feel.

But that’s because it’s February, and I always shed off everything once winter starts melting into spring.

 


 

I’m not a denizen of this place. I come into the daylight world out of sheer necessity, because I have no choice but to participate in it and play by its rules. I stay here to work, and to live like a normal person, and wait for those times when I can slip out the back door and go running. Lose myself in the dark, in the place where I am still me and still retain my full sense of self.

It’s like a wolf in me, pacing endlessly, whining at the door. No matter how comfortable I try to make it, it only wants one thing.

Night skies. Running. Late nights. Scribbling endlessly. Giving myself over to the thing that creates at my own expense. Burns me in the act of doing, making, being the thing that I really am. Me without the armored plating, layers of cloth and paint and canvas spooling at my feet, all the trappings of the daylight world. Bird-mad. One eye black, one eye blue. Half-smiling, half-sad, all sharp little shark teeth and fast claws.

Bits of me are slipping and sliding over each other, leaping for purchase. Some of it is the age-old seasonal migration I’ve known since childhood; some of it tectonic plates rearranging into new continents. Nothing clicks, nothing settles.

It’s unnerving, the way the ground ripples beneath me.

I’m myself and I’m not. There’s a bunch of broken glass around me. Things once protected on a shelf, splattered at my feet. Bloody bits of glass between my toes while I try to figure out where to walk. Because the places that used to be safe aren’t, and the rest is new and unknown and fucking terrifying.

I am more defined by what I am not, what I am no longer. I have so much of my old life to sell. Things I might have kept have lost their meaning. More of it is lost as I go.

I’m not who I used to be.

It’s better to keep on my feet than pause to grieve all the things I’m still casting off. Old bits of identity. Old memories dyeing themselves new colors. The whole of me is changing and there is no time to stand still and watch. I just have to keep going.

We’re forming new rituals. Razing down what was, building what will be. Carving places for ourselves, broken as we are. Benches and beds and hammocks and bathtubs. We’re still trying to map the place we want to live, even as we build it, and so much of this is reckless. I don’t know what I’m doing, sometimes. I’ve taken on so many risks. I’ve done so much because I can, because it was possible and I took it by the throat and decided I’d deal with the consequences.

We are ancient wild gods planting in a garden unguided. We’re making this up as we go along. Throwing the seeds for morning glories in a bomb crater, challenging arid soil, working over the detritus of our old lives, our old loves. Tilling the bones of things we thought we’d buried forever.

This place isn’t enclosed and safe. It’s just you and me under a wide-open expanse, our only shelter each other, our only protection a concerted effort to ensure we survive.

I know how to survive. So do you. But working in concert to do it together—it’s artless, it’s ugly, it’s violent.

But in all honesty I thrive on that passion, no matter how violent it gets.

I am unmaking.

I’m unraveling.

I’ve gone so far past “fucked up” I’m not sure at times who I am now, or what I’m becoming.

But I’m here for your becoming, too. I’ll share my grit and my grip and my grasp and my give.

When I decided to follow you I had no idea how to do it except one foot at a time. I’m still not good at keeping in step. Too fast or too slow or meandering. But I am finding my direction and so are you.

Everything we do is from the bottom. From scratch. But I think it another year’s time, we might have a harvest. So much changes so quickly. And it’s too time consuming to take stock of what’s gained and what is lost.

It’s unlike me, not to pause.

Even now, I’m looking ahead.

Maybe we are new gods in an old forest.

Maybe we ought to pause for each other every so often, if only to try and remember a moment years from now when we look back.

And if we feel like running, then we’ll run and be nighttime creatures.

I think that’s how we found each other now some two years ago.

So when the weather warms and smells like honey, let’s go roaming.

Let’s figure out a way to run free now and again in our nighttime world.

 


 

Love is not equitable with things you give up, sacrifice, or put on hold for someone else. Love is contribution. It adds and multiplies. Love does not diminish you. It doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself. Love is connection, warmth, comfort, kindness. It’s purposeful. Meaningful. It fills. It eases. It renews.

Sacrifice isn’t love. Misery isn’t love. Acceptance isn’t love. Waiting isn’t love. But we don’t learn without making mistakes, and we don’t learn without having to grow.

Love cannot truly exist when it is motivated by fear–of being alone, or being unwanted, of being ugly or unlikable or too broken for anyone else to ever love. It’s impossible for love to exist in those places because its presence does not wound.

Many things masquerade as love. Loneliness, lust, possessiveness, obsession, passion…none of those could ever be anything but damaging. Love does not make you less. It makes you more.If you’re crying all time and lonely and feel like words don’t match actions…something is probably wrong. If you’ve become a martyr for someone else’s happiness, that’s not love. That kind of motivation tears down and destroys.

Love generates love, simply from the joy of passing it on. It does not feel like loss.

But when you lose love, god, will you know. And no amount of deluding yourself will take its place.

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