strength is found in the vulnerable

a lot of old and buried wounds have been surfacing lately
triggers from the outside world reminding me that all of the experiences of my life are woven into the fabric of my being
my bones, my flesh, the sinew and muscle
the soft and gooey bits, the firm and unfaltering

I used to be really afraid of painful memories and the emotions that came with
and maybe now I’m just a little bit afraid
but mostly I see how every painful memory is stored somewhere in this
flesh and bone expression
and when it comes up into my mind, my awareness
and I feel that tightness in my chest, or the quivering of my lips,
leaky eyes
it is actually an opportunity to dig really, really deep
and face it
to not hold onto it or identify with it, but to surrender to that same pain that
I was not strong enough to endure
at the time of said making-of-the-memory

I see all of the traumatic events of my existence
unfolding in due time
always to be recognized, to be processed, to be let go of

too often those memories have surfaced and I have not been
strong enough to let them go
and so they stay buried
nestled in my smile, my eyes, my heart
the creases in my hands, the roundness of my hips
my browline

and they end up as all the bits I don’t like about myself

but emotions really are just energy in motion
and so the movement of my body
the poking and tapping and prodding
of all the bits of my physical expression
coaxes the body to release
and allow for all the bottled up feelings
to surface up to the mind
and when I can recognize that the memory is just that,
a memory
I can make the decision to be completely and totally
vulnerable to it
to let light be shed on the ugliest layers of my self
and release it
or I can decide to bury it deeper, for later
for when it inevitably resurfaces again

so if nothing else today,
I can be brave enough
to be vulnerable with my self
and with you
and recognize that life is filled with pain and suffering
but I don’t have to let that
take over the narration of my story

every moment is an opportunity
to get really, really real
and there is incredible freedom
in being totally, authentically
vulnerable
to your experience

it is a big and wide and courageous journey
to take!

5/99 ~ it could have been a missed connection

i had lied to him
that afternoon
hanging out sun-drenched, legs splayed on the dock
the strait of georgia
and an anticipation of me having to board a plane soon

a lull in the conversation and i say
‘yeah, i had a thought about finding an edible for the flight, but no luck’
not true
‘oh? i can help you out with that! come see’
it was time to get going anyways

so we’re in the truck
i’m thc sober going on nine months
and a pit of nerves sits in my stomach
‘is this a good idea?’
i don’t know why i said i wanted this

‘oh, you’ll be fine’

by the time i pass through security, life starts to tilt
and i wander around in an impermeable bubble of anxiety
and everyone surely knows that i’m not quite right
so i sit alone in the corner of a waiting area
trying to appear normal

i sneak a peek around, no one is watching
of course

life is full on tilt by now
and i have to paddle my bubble to the shores of
my waiting area
it’s going to be time to board soon

i sit next to a woman who is stretching
and she’s moving her body this way and that
and it looks like it feels SO GOOD
so i start shimmying in my seat,
the thc forcing my body to do the same

it’s rare to see someone in a public domain
such as an airport
so zoned in and focused on their own body
maybe she was a yogi, or a dancer
and i could completely relate to her need to
stretch out her bits and bobbles
and because it’s such a rare sight to see
i just had this feeling that we could connect on something
so personal

i was just so drawn to this woman

so
i sat up straight in my seat
and raised my arms up overhead, face towards the ceiling
and sighed with relief as tendon and muscle
found their proper homes

‘stretching is as contagious as yawning’ i say to her
as i stand up to join her
and now we’re both contorting our bodies
in the busy waiting area

she looks at me wide-eyed, coming out of her zone
and leans over and whispers to me
‘i just consumed an edible. i like seriously can’t help myself’
and i start laughing
and any anxiety i had left me
as i said, ‘oh my god, me too! i just knew there was
something about you …’
and we looked at each other and laughed and laughed
and stretched
comforted in sharing this tilty life together

it wasn’t long before we parted ways
boarded flights
and
i still remember what she looks like
and what she was wearing
it was maybe only 15 minutes of a lifetime
but it lingers

it serves as a juxtaposition to
all the missed connections
i can still vividly remember
where fear overruled the incredible desire to connect
with someone who stood out from the crowd
with someone who really caught my eye
all of the times i wanted to reach out
but walked away instead

and it gets me wondering about
all the missed opportunities to really
find solace in another human
to share just a moment that could linger
long after

i’d like to think that i won’t let these snippets of life
pass me by
i’d like to think so
but i’m still missing far more connections
than i make

but
i’d like to think so

4/99 ~ if nothing else, feelings can change

woke up today feeling really rather shitty

the kind where it’s like

man, i just woke up

what could have gone wrong

already

 

and every interaction this morning

was just

mediocre

from the first cup of coffee to

the last line in my journal

even a brisk morning walk against a backdrop of

golden oranges and brilliant reds

wet yellow leaves

couldn’t get me shaking this feeling

 

i frowned my way to the yoga studio

and cried and moaned

and opened my hips

it felt so good to feel the pain of

relaxing into the clenched and constricted bits

i had to jelly walk home

with swinging hips and a loose caboose

and a furrowed brow

 

the dogs, well those dogs

i can always count on them to bowl me over with joy

when i get home

but i say ‘down doodle, down. get down’ though i want him to

consume me whole with his eccentric adoration

i can always count on him

to love me anyways

 

‘so you guys want to go for a walk. when i’m ready, we’ll go’

but they look up at me with jaws hanging open, panting

ears pointed in prepartion to hear me say okay, let’s go

they’re underfoot until i do, so

 

‘okay, let’s go. put your leash on. no? okay, fine. i’ll do it’

and we’re off

and i feel so rotten

like i look at the sky and shake my head at the contrast

from just yesterday

i yank their leashes as they yank my arms

 

the rain starts falling. i look up at the trees overhead

and recall times before when i would feel

incredible ecstasy

such joy

in remembering that i was alive

and connected to all that surrounds

i could look up at the trees

and feel full in my heart

the stress of trying to achieve or be or do anything

would melt away

and i was free

 

the same furrowed brow and i

recalled that feeling as though

far removed from here and now

is it really just so simple to feel like that?

 

and it really was just like that

that i start laughing

 

hysterically, tears prickling the corners of my eyes

the events of the day so far, playing over in my mind

all the more ridiculous. absurd!

it was me coming to the realization that i was walking around

in a self-induced pit of despair

for no particular reason

 

and  my storm began parting

my eyes softened, my heart

and i noticed the nuances in the clouds

and how the raindrops felt on my cheeks

how the dogs lapped up new scents with such

present wonder

and i remembered i could feel that too

 

and i did

and i laughed some more

 

it’s just a choice.

that

i can change my feelings,

if nothing else

 

if nothing else.