I would sleep in.
And spend an hour not contorting myself or punishing myself with the confrontations of my own thoughts, but craft beautiful words onto a page, or ponder my dreams over a pot French Earl Grey.
I would pick my toast into a thousand pieces and lick the butter from my fingers.
I would stop telling myself what I “should” do and get on with
loving the fuck out of my messy overcommitted heart.
I would stop apologising
I would say to the inauthentic:
“I’m gonna stop you right there"
and walk away
I would pick up my camera and photograph myself
Because she beautiful and worthy
And wants to be known
I would bathe in frankincense and play hypnotic tabla music from every room
I would put up the price of my work
Because my art is not there your convenience and you are buying a piece of my soul.
I would teach - but only to those I could truly serve.
I would make music.
God would I make music.
I would close the thesaurus and write something real
I would be a different woman every single day
out of myself.
And when he returns to the fold, you have lost him. Just when you are energized and ready to go again, you realise that none of this is on your terms. It’s on his, and that any understanding that you may have shared, was fleeting. He was never yours to lose, and you wonder for the thousandth time that night, how you could have willingly devoted yourself to this neverending seesaw of ambiguity.
But he comes to you, broken. He comes to you with tears threatening to break through their stoic threshold. He looks at you, ashen-faced and defensive, wincing like a wounded animal that needs your love but is too afraid to do anything other than wrap its protective instincts around itself.
You sigh, you begin the dance, and you extend – reaching higher and further than certainly you had ever intended to, and gradually he lets you in – knowing the end of his sabbatical is nigh.
He promises to let go faster next time
He promises to let you in
He promises that all he needs is right here in this space
Renewed, you find reserves that you never knew you had, and then he is gone.
It’s okay – you think. This time, there were victories. This time – he understood.
He returns to the fold, and you cannot shake your thoughts, and yet, you must.
So you drink deeply, and begin again.
I am sitting here in my too-muchness.
Did you know this was going to happen? Did you see the wave of rolling regret before it crashed at my feet? Is that why you go to ground? Last night I went to bed smiling. I was triumphant. I was sage-like. I was wise. I was the woman who dug deep and singlehandely pulled out my heart barely beating and bruised and held it in front of your eyes. I showed you my scars, pointing to them with calm and non-trembling hands. You did this. And this. And this. I showed you until you cried real tears that I was sure would either never come or that I wouldn’t believe if they did. You cried and I cried and then we laughed because the crying was too much to bear.
All day I have preached compassion to skeptical hearts. Like I was some kind of mystical goddess who had suddenly unlocked the secret to ending the world’s sadness. I was high on the scent of possibility, giddy with decisions that surely meant I had evolved. I waited for the medal to be placed around my neck, the handshake that ensured my place amongst legends.
Surely they would build statues in my likeness and sing songs in my honour.
I would be dressed in white and gold and I would be redeemed. After all – I had done The Work and then I returned, benevolent. Compassionate. Saintly.
And now you are nowhere to be found and my newfound faith is being severely tested. I feel the shift in my chest. I write a message. And then another. And then, another – as if I could somehow nonchalantly laugh off my thinly veiled attempts at making sure you weren’t going to run again.
I know the space is imperative. I distract myself with tea and notebooks and resist the urge to check my messages for the fourteenth time.
Was this how it went down last time?
How do I do this?
I had faith that you wouldn’t hurt me again – but do I have faith in myself?
I bite my nails and try not to imagine the worst.
“You can’t resist your patterns”
All my “patterns” led me to your door. Remember me?
The greatest teacher you will ever know.
My patterns were prologue. My patterns were practice.
My patterns put me in the path of the one that would tighten his grip on me so hard that I learned to be innovative and fight for the sanctity of my soul
I fought for the right to autonomy.
I fought for my space and boundaries.
I fought for sovereignty.
My resistance to your chokehold was the result of lifetimes of oppression. So when you tell me that I can’t resist my patterns, tongue dripping with loathing and scorn as if I am going to find another man and then another and another and I am going to lead them all a merry dance and leave a trail of broken hearts so you can call me a harlot and sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that my predisposition for the affection from others was what drove me from your door, instead of the old fashioned truth.
You were the one I had been searching for and if I am guilty of patterns, it’s only due to sifting through shards of broken men, like shells, until I could find one that could cut me the deepest.
And there you are – black and shining and wielding your judgement like a sword and your arrogance like a shield. And only as I lay dying on your beach, did I remember that there was more to my existence than living to be hurt by you. I licked my wounds clean, launched at you with every last drop of indignance that I had and got in my boat and left you on the shore.
You sliced through my skin and left me scarred and as I pulled away, I pulled fragments of your from my splintered skin, drowning the pain in liquid that set fire to the embers in my belly.
Patterns? I wear them like tattoos on my skin.
My fear lives in the lining of a skin that I shed long ago. It crept in under the cover of darkness and camouflaged itself down to every freckle and every hair until it covered me completely and when I woke I could not tell where it stopped and I began.
My fear is a dark-eyed demon whispering pretty words with one hand between my thighs and the other with my hair entangled in its fingers while it purrs seductively that I can be anything I want as long as I let it have control.
That without it I am nothing.
My fear lives between microseconds that my heart stops and between those spaces – I can live a lifetime.
The spaces between I can choose to surrender to darkness or make a conscious push towards the light. There were days that I thought I would choose to stay in the darkness.
My fear goes by many names such as “What if” “What then” “I’m not” “He said” “I’ll never.” “I can’t.”
It is in every blank page unwritten on, every note never sung, every word I dared not speak, every dance I never took, every cliff I didn’t jump from, every branch I didn’t walk along, every road I didn’t take, every hand I never took, every caution I held onto instead of throwing it to the wind, every wrong I didn’t right.
I once got into a car with fear and drove all night across vast bridges and oceans while staring at an upside down moon, down a road to my own undoing.
Every sin I couldn’t redeem, every sin I couldn’t forgive myself for, every stifled word, every story I created in my head, every vulnerability I suffered alone, every smiling reflection, every prayer of gratitude I choose not to utter, hidden in the silk lining of my ego.