Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


I’ve blocked out large swaths of my childhood. There are large, gaping holes in the landscape of my memory, my mind acting as something like a psychological gopher, digging underneath certain places in my memory until the earth falls in beneath them. It’s a coping mechanism I’m sure, one I suppose I will eventually have to confront, but if the things I do remember are any indication, I’m not in any rush to till the land.

I remember one Christmas in particular. I remember the house we lived in. I remember the living room, and the tree standing tall and bright decorated next to the fireplace. I remember waking up early, as children are prone to do on Christmas morning, but laying in my bed terrified that I would get in trouble for waking anyone else up. There’d been a fight the night before after I’d gone to bed. And I didn’t know what I was walking into. I remember realizing, after laying there a time, that I would probably also get in trouble for not waking anyone up; for not pretending everything was great and normal and that I was any other kid with any other family. That my tardiness would delay the rest of the day and that the tension that would result would lay at my feet. I got up quietly, sliding down the side of my high poster bed. I stood outside my parents’ door for a long time, my heart a gong beat in my chest, before quietly entering and whispering as quietly as I could manage for my mom to wake up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thinking Out Loud

It happens at the times I am usually least on guard for it.

I’m over the most acute of it, the times when it would hit me unexpectedly and I'd have to stop in my tracks, my breath caught in my throat. When I'd need to talk myself through it, remind myself to stay present, in that moment, with this feeling, and and give myself permission to feel as I saw fit right then. I’m past the point where it consumed my days, where it filled every inch of the quiet spaces at night and kept me awake far into the haunting hours. It is no longer sharp, sudden, intense. I felt every pang of that.
Now, it’s the little things, the seemingly innocuous things, wrapped in unexpected melancholy. It’s when I’m putting on my watch in the morning. It’s looking up and realizing I'm walking past a club where we once went, remembering us tipsy, sweaty, in the middle of the floor molded together like art. It’s a song that shuffles on unexpectedly and smells like a summer night. It’s the radio silence in which we exist now and I know it means I can’t share something funny or sad or stressful or beautiful. It's in the memories I still bump into moving around my apartment, the edges still sharper than I prefer.
This is a lesson. And unlike the many other times I have been presented with the opportunity to learn this lesson and turned resolutely and headed in the other direction, I’ve learned it this time. I’ve learned how to bear the full weight of my emotions; to surrender to them and allow them to come. To not always feel bound by the need to be reasonable or graceful or unaffected. To process without drowning. How to allow a feeling to exist without existing for the feeling. How to baptize myself in proverbial emotional waters and emerge renewed, rather than being sucked under. I know that I am not weakened by loving, by losing, in a way that I have not always known. That I can remained unbroken even when I am laid bare. It’s a lesson I needed. That I, someone who tends to run, who tends to avoid, needed to learn.
I just never thought I’d be learning it with him.