A year ago, I gave up the fight. The little girl that lies beneath the woman said no more.
I unwound the bandages on my soul as each pill went down my throat. I let my scars weep for all I couldn’t change. 42 years and all I had to show was a broken shadowboxer.
Unspeakable things happened in the days that followed. The gates closed. I lost my fight. I lost my way.
In paper sock and crazy house pajamas I picked up the handle of the payphone and called the meteorologist. The hurricane alarm sounded. As the eye of my storm, the calm ,went into action… I repeated the lies I was told to say. I willed myself not to cry. I bit back the horror in deep gouges into my cheeks. I still remember the ray of sunshine that hit my eyes, when they released me to my ride.
I flew far, far away a day later. I became an orphan of choice. I could not be touched without flinching. I sweated out hugs…In the eaves of an old farmhouse I played lost and found with my mind. It was my friends who sat near and whispered Please Stay.
Its was a low, low road.
I began, in fits and starts to find my way….I ducked and swayed with all life threw at me. On country roads I played chicken with dark thoughts. Under the stars on a roof with ghosts and in the vault of songs I began to find my color again. My verve. My cadence.
It wasn’t love, or any mad proclamation that made me remove the veils that covered my eyes. It was in parts Time….. and guts.
It was a night with AN old friend, who wrapped me in his aged wise embrace and explained to me that the hurt never really vanishes. The nightmares become stories that you tell over whiskey and lies. The scars on my body will fade as will my red hair. But my heart shines in the tears that escape from my eyes. The breathe of life escapes me as I gasp into my lover’s mouth. The anger pours into walls and crates and contracts. My past becomes a gumbo and suddenly I am glowing….
I suffer from PTSD and anxiety. I have days of depression that I call the black mariahs…where I think I can’t survive ONE> MORE> FUCKING> THING> Where I hate my scarred and aged body. Where I curse vehemently all those who hurt me so deeply. I feel loss all around….Where I swear I am defeated and belong back in the paper socks and crazy-house pajamas. It’s in these moments I try to focus or if I can’t focus…DISTRACT.. I pour a glass of wine… I turn on the music and move my body. I have learned to ride the pain. To breathe out the blows. To get up no matter how bloody and bruised. I have learned to take love when its offered. Steal laughs when its inappropriate. I try to know that, with every struggle there is a story of how you survive it. A victory. A sword made out of words so strong it defeats the dragon de jour.
I still hide my disfiguring wounds. I still dream of letting my wild horses run. I still hate the flawed psyche, that is the coal my body feeds from. But I don’t hear “Please Stay” very often anymore.
Because like surviving any Hurricane, you have to lean into your will, take precautions and if you’re really crazy…. Ride out the storm…..