Last fall I said to myself and a few other people
That I was ready to "deal with my shit,"
As I put it then.
I expected the outcome would be my inner wounds being healed.
A season of "hospital,"
In which I would tend to old hurts
With clean bandages and gentle hands.
A time of playing nurse in a crisp uniform,
Tucking the hurt under soft white sheets with care.
That's not what I'm experiencing.
Instead, it feels more like
I'm being introduced to multiple war victims inside of me.
One by one, they present themselves.
I drop my neatly-rolled-up bandages
As my hands fly up to cover my eyes.
I'm no nurse; I'm horrified.
Sometimes their faces are only recognizable as faces
Because there are two eyes in the middle of
Broken, bleeding flesh.
Sometimes their bodies are so twisted
I think they must be dead.
I prepare to give one of them a good burial.
I rearrange the limbs piled unnaturally on one another,
Mourning as I do,
But draw back in horror
When hoarse breaths suddenly begin.
Oh God...it's not dead.
I can only stand and weep helplessly before these forms,
Too broken to fix,
Yet still alive.
I choke back the bile sometimes as I look into their faces.
I lean in to hear the whispered words
Coming from what used to be a mouth,
Expecting to hear a last word,
Or a plea to help it end its misery.
And I feel willing;
It would be merciful to assist them in this way.
But instead they whisper,
That they don't want death.
And oh God
They don't want to just be "fixed."
They want and need
Their woundedness to be accepted and loved.
I'm looking into these scarred faces
And instead of flinching and calling for a nurse
To cover up the bloody mess already
And get that goddamned surgeon over here and
FIX THIS MESS,
I'm seeing that these seemingly destroyed,
Nearly-unidentifiable piles of broken flesh
Want to be embraced.
I want to run.
And it's then I realize that I've been here before
And I've run before.
And I'll be here again if I run now.
So I bend to pick one of these broken, bloody forms up,
The smell of it making me almost ill,
And pull it close against my chest,
And hold it like one of my own children.
I hum a little bit of "Adelweiss," soft and low,
As I did to my babies, swaying a bit,
And patting its little back.
I murmur words into its ear....
And I suddenly realize
These are the words I've been longing to hear
For my whole life.
So I say them again.
Until the little form in my arms finally relaxes
Monday, July 11, 2011
Dealing with my shit
Lately I've been feeling this....tenderness, for lack of a better word, I guess? I haven't been able to explain the feeling very well until now, and suddenly this afternoon, after listening to this song, the words to describe my feelings are right here on my lap, calmly sitting, looking up at me expectantly, as if they've been here all along, just waiting for me to pick them up. So here they are...the words that match my feelings. And the song that helped me voice them is below my writing.