I have been in a relationship
(it’s well past dating, let’s be honest)
for almost 5 months now –
and maybe that sounds…
well to each their own assumptions –
but regardless, it’s both impossibly good
and terrifyingly difficult.
even if they don’t quite seem to acknowledge it;
their humility and self awareness is a credit to them.
They’re kind and brilliant and loving,
and a list of other things
they’d probably face palm at me listing openly,
but regardless, its a long list.
Recognizing that this person
is a Good person,
who has done The Work to heal
and be a good partner
and be compassionate and empathetic,
it’s been a bucket of cold water
on what I expected
after years of
abuse, gaslighting, guilt, games, avoidance, and so on.
The growth it’s asking of me,
to show up and learn how to
ask for what I need
requires confronting just how much
of my own behaviors
have been protective and defensive;
how much I am
waiting for backlash or stonewalling,
and the unlearning I’m doing.
The tools I’ve been teaching myself
so I can show up honestly.
It’s hard to trust,
and there’s a tremendous amount of reservation
each time I say
But here I am, trying anyway,
On the other side of hesitation
I’m realizing how much I don’t hesitate.
I’m realizing just how much
loss and death
I love differently now.
I make choices differently.
I know all too well
that you are not guaranteed tomorrow,
and that has me
not wanting to give up on possible good things
but also not willing
to waste what time I have.
I have found a
brutal sort of pruning honesty within me,
and I am not always comforted by it’s existence.
It is also difficult at times for me to remember
that those who haven’t lost that deeply
are more cautious with change,
and do not have quite the same
fragile sense of time.
At times I might seem
frenetic or kinetic
because I know
I am not guaranteed tomorrow,
not with those I love,
not with the work I want to do,
not with myself.
I’ve known for
entirely too long
life is a fragile tenuous thing,
silver chain links
easily pulled apart,
sometimes by your own hands.
I have said that
frequent long visits
with death and suicidal ideation
made me realize that
if I am not afraid of death,
what do I have to be afraid of?
If I am not afraid of dying,
the theoretical worst thing that can happen,
what do I have to be afraid of?
Possibly not living as much as I can.
“The problem is,
you think you have time.”
It was one of the last things
Steve posted on Facebook before he died,
and he knew, and
it haunts me a bit
because for years
I tried to live and love
knowing it was going to end
sooner than I could ever be satisfied with.
And then there’s me now,
often trying to find the strength
and the will
to keep going one more day
feeling time flow through and past me
like breath from my lungs;
me, balancing on its silver threads and chains,
me, trying to find a balance
deciding if I can make it through
all the time I have left
and if I will ever have enough left.
I do not yet have
to describe the feeling
of the hope
that maybe there’s love and joy
and arms left for me to call home,
combined with the known
of how love lost breaks you.
It takes more courage than I have
more often than not
to let myself love you
when I know
both of those things,
but I keep telling you:
I believe you’re worth it.
I hope you feel that way too,
you who is hearing these words.