ON SHRAPNEL

October 12, 2017

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I want you to think on the phrase: "hardening your heart." I'm not sure if it's christian rhetoric--for some reason, I think it is? But, it's been on my mind for few days. I know I haven't written to you in a while but I haven't been feeling that ache in my rib cage to share. My life lately has been a private, holy dream. Sharing it, over analyzing it, and making it into something concrete seems cheap. I've puzzled over what to write to you about this weird lunar journey because I want to keep myself accountable to this unburdening, so I'm going to clear my creative conscious by speaking in a metaphor about those ideas before I get into the meat.

 

in which we are part feral dog

The first odd thing that happened between n and I was the graveyard. Something like a walk I think after we'd had long days, something like a week after our first date. n and I were doing that thing where every touch feels like it holds the secrets of a dynasty and the potential of an eclipse. I can say that feeling ten different ways and I think you'd still know what I'd mean. Like smelling hyacinths on the subway. There I go again. 

 

We were picking out headstones and reading them, imposing stories on a lot of dead names when we saw the coyote. It wasn't dusk but Fall's reach was growing and the sky was white-gray. At first we thought it was someone's dog, but the low, inquisitive way it walked seemed too animal. n and I followed it. Far enough to feel in a dream where you don't die. But close enough. We lost it soon and a woman in a car pulled up to us and asked us where we'd parked. Feathers hung in her window. She seemed to think it implausible that we'd walked. That graveyards were for more than grief. She said she was locking up and was glad we hadn't driven. Then she was gone.

 

The second coyote slipped through the fence somehow and we both saw and didn't see it happen, couldn't quantify it. When we found the first coyote still, crouched by the mausoleum we knew this had been conjured for us, a scenario for us to escape, to shoulder up against together. We played pretend in the fading light. n and I imagined the gate we entered locked, even though the woman knew we were still inside. We imagined the coyote appearing behind us, gone from leading us somewhere else in time to feral and small enough to wound. 

 

When we got to the fence, it was locked. We made it over with a few hefts and that teamwork. 

 

THE MEAT

 

When I tell that story in person to you, I try to get you laughing. It's absurd, scary movie nonsense. Yes, n and I were locked into the graveyard, and yes we did see two coyotes at dusk. Yes we panicked and yes we thought we were in a scary movie. But, the aura hovering over that memory now and the energy as it happened, you had to be there of course.

 

The last few weeks have felt so so charged with meaning. I'm emerging from a stale version of myself and committing to accountability, communication, patience. If I'm feeling lazy and self-centered, I try to say so, interrogate it with those it might affect. And these deep dark pockets of anger or self-loathing tucked inside of me are floating to the surface and popping, one at a time. Emotionally, it's been a rocket and a doldrums. Waffling between one state and another is exhausting and my ability to interface with some people or jobs or experiences has lagged as a result (but I'm going on vacation soon so I'll be right as rain briefly). The point of this post is in saying bad things happen to us and mean people happen to us and bad mean things happen in the world. I've seen too many of my friends do this and I'm doing it too/have done it: we take those bad feelings and make them into impregnable silence. We sew our hurt up into plastic packets and file them away. 

 

They swell and shrink with any change in our atmosphere. For me, dating n is really really cracking these open. I'm in it so hard and all of the anxiety of previous relationships is being triggered. And I hate using that word not because I'm against the concept but because it feels like I have no control and that you know I have no control when you try not to "trigger" me. But, the last few weeks, I've realized that it is a hair trigger though; it's a light, quick word from n or my surroundings that sends me spiraling into anxiety or grief. And it's happening because I'm so close to being done with this emotional labor. A relationship ending is painful and for me, my worldview and sense of self are typically shaken. I sheltered a lot of blame for things that were beyond my control and now I'm seeing that there's forgiveness out there and it cracks me up a little every time. In a laughing sort of way and in an egg sort of way. Like smelling hyacinths on the subway. Implausible and lovely.

 

Don't harden your heart. Sheesh. It's a living, pumping, soft tissue vessel that was meant to be so. Experiencing your feelings is so private (I guess not for me tho) and you deserve the right to do so on your own terms and in your own way. But hecking do it. Don't seal it up and micromanage it or it will own you. 

 

Dirge/Rant over. I'm going to a wedding with n this weekend and I feel like I'll have a report to give when I get back so look out world. xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vulgar, bike riding, record slinging, book reading poet with a passion for pool and the Midwest. 

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