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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 @ 3:44 pm
Something shifts. The weather, the colour of the leaves. The temperature of the air. And with this, my heart becomes fragile.
A leaf quivers in the wind, holding tenously to a thin twig.
I waver for the first time in months. I feel an ache, a clenching vulnerability. Strong and raw emotions that grip and twist up my chest and throat. A resurgence of grief. Sadness. I can’t do this.
I sit on my couch and meditate, a cold wind blowing across my face through the open sliding glass door. In meditation, I hug my eight-year-old self, press her to my chest and place my hand on the back of her head. I feel her small, warm body against my chest, and my heart lets go and I cry and cry and cry. I see you. You are precious. I love you.
I think about how hard I have been working to grow and flourish in the face of transition. Rebuilding my life: furnishing my apartment, re-establishing myself in the office, taking on more responsibility at work, taking sailing lessons, taking climbing lessons, trying to make new friends and build my community, putting myself out there in a hundred different ways. Risking my heart in love.
I am on the phone with Russell. On the nights that we don’t see each other, we talk on the phone, even though we are only four blocks apart. I tell him that I’ve had a hard night, and he listens but I can hear him doing the dishes in the background.
“You’ve been through a lot this year,” he says, which is helpful and is true but feels brief. He then moves on and talks about his night, and I know that he’s excited about what he was doing, but still I start to cry silently. It’s my trauma - the resurfacing of feeling unseen. The projection of my past onto the present. I hide the crying. I don’t want to hide it, but it seems unfair for him to have to tend something that was caused by the man before. I breathe into it and hope that he can’t hear it in my voice. Is this the start of when things change? Of when the magic of the relationship dissolves into transactional love?
I don’t know that I can bear it. I don’t know that I can continue in this. Is my castle falling around me? Have you all been waiting for this? I can’t do this much longer unless I know that he loves me. I don’t want to admit this; I don’t want to admit this need, but I can only give so much of my heart away.
Perhaps this will all pass. Perhaps faltering is all a part of this. Perhaps I can clamber back up and find an even steadier footing than before.
He came to see me yesterday afternoon, and I had his shirt off before he could remove his shoes. My back pressed against the plaster wall of my apartment. Then in the bedroom in full daylight, the blinds open, devouring each other with passion. Aferwards, I told him quietly what it was like for me, a verbal journal entry, told just how I write here. My voice, the rhythm and lyrical nature of my inner voice. He listened and hugged me, then made a joke because he couldn't tolerate the intimacy. Then we cycled out around the seawall, found a secret beach, and danced and ate snacks until it was dark and we were too cold to continue. Then fell asleep in each other's arms under a pile of blankets in his double bed.
Whenever I falter, whenever I feel myself pulling up the drawbridge, I must remember how he pulls me towards him as soon as he wakes in the morning. Of how tenderly he kisses my collarbones. Of how he holds my hand tightly in the dark of the movie theatre, for the entire duration of the movie.
Maybe I need more time for myself. Maybe this is my call to action, a call to do more work on myself. To ensure that I am not ignoring that sturdy, strong child, the quiet and thoughtful girl with curious ideas and a wild creativity. She wants to be loved and seen, that’s for sure, but she also needs to have her own quiet walks among the ferns in the forest, time to sit cross-legged on the carpeted floor of the library with a stack of books too heavy to carry home, and a blank sheet of paper to draw out her perception of the world.
The quiet unfolding of wings.