There were three of them. I struggled to break free of their grip but it was to no avail. Two held my arms behind my back and the other one proceeded to repeatedly slam me into the side of the bed. They took a mattress off one of the beds, placed it on the floor and pulled me down onto it. Albeit in vain, I made many attempts to free myself. Two held me down while the other poured buckets of water over my face. Each time I managed to catch my breath, I was confronted afresh by this irrefutable, yet often unwelcomed, verity:
Two days later, they ‘accompanied’ me into the shower. As the sounds of my screams filled the space, they were interrupted by another noise. I opened my eyes briefly. Whether I did so out of shock or sheer disbelief, I am unsure. What my eyes and ears gave witness to in that moment will never be eradicated from memory. To intentionally inflict pain upon another is, in and of itself, an atrocious act. But for one to display evidence of enjoyment while doing so is such a divergence from that which my mind can conceive that any attempts to adequately describe it are futile. Perhaps this person forced upon themself a dissonance so strong, that the evocation of laughter was a necessary ingredient for it to be actualized. A mystery indeed; for I am not privy to the motives of human beings.
My tears ask not why.
My body needs no surveyance for the trauma it has endured.
I have known since childhood that dark closets and spaces beneath beds were not where the real danger lies. No images conjured by the subconscious were parallel to what I experienced during my wake. So absolute is the fear engineered by human hands that an imaginary monster replicating anything of the like is outright ludicrous.
Yet, somehow I find myself frequently disheartened and dismayed by the callousness of human kind. Surely, it was all supposed to be more beautiful than this. more loving than this.
After a week of enduring that which I will not unveil in its entirety, I was allowed to call one of the two numbers I knew from recollection. Although I was unable to give voice to my encounters, I made it known that I no longer wanted to stay at this ‘recovery’ center.
I had arrived at this place after experiencing a severe side effect to a pharmaceutical ‘remedy’. Until this point in my life, my knowledge of amnesia was derived from the perspective of television shows and cinematic productions. Had I known that the temporary erasure of my identity was a viable side effect of the medication prescribed to me, I would have reconsidered its consumption. Nevertheless, since rewinding of time is currently not in my realm of possibilities, I must make peace with that which has reached its completion.
The next day I met Jose, also known as Antonio.
“Everything will be okay.” He possessed a calmness to his voice that implored the trust of friends and strangers alike.
I would go to his ‘recovery’ center until I was ready to leave. This readiness was as swift as the turning of a traffic light from yellow to red when punctuality to one’s destination is in jeopardy.
But my departure was delayed exponentially (weeks) by the locks on the ‘bedroom’ door and chains on the front gate. I spent most of my time locked in a bedroom with ten women. This accommodation, if you could call it that, left much to be desired. The main bedroom consisted of ten sets of bunk beds and two toilets. There was no plumbing and the toilets could only be flushed with the aid of dumping water in them. They never gave us enough water to accomplish this task.
“It’s just waste.” Squatting over a toilet filled with other people’s excretions, resisting nausea and finding ways to ‘adjust’ to the constant stench that penetrated the room and my nostrils, required a great amount of mental gymnastics on my part. The windows (small square holes in the concrete structure) were not effective for ventilation or sunlight. The bedroom was upstairs and the remainder of the facility was downstairs. This consisted of a kitchen, an outdoor eating area, a small open space, a room off the side where the other prisoners sometimes conducted ‘recovery’ meetings, another toilet and two ‘showers’. We were allowed to ‘shower’ every few days or so. They would fill buckets with water and we were each allowed one bucket and given time to clean ourselves. The dirt that accumulated on my body could never be fully removed.
Being locked in the room for sometimes twenty hours a day waged war on my efforts to remain grounded. I did taebo movements, yoga and qigong in the small space between the beds. I spent hours meditating and focusing my mind on affirmations.
I am loved.
I am resilient. .
Everything is working out for my highest good.
I am freedom.
I came here for love. I won’t give up.
I made several ‘requests’ to leave but they were ignored. One day I ‘informed’ a staff member to relay to the owners that I am an American citizen and that if they did not let me go I would report them to the embassy. Being that I was in Mexico alone and still inside their prison, I quickly realized this wasn’t the wisest route. Jose stated that if I attempted to leave (as if I could somehow magically remove the chains from the gate), he would call the police. Unaware of what connections he had to law enforcement, I made the conscious choice to ‘play nice’ until I could find an effective way to exit their premises. My requests to call my sisters were not only delayed but I was told by Jose that they did not want to speak with me.
It was necessary for me to do a great deal of pretending for the sake of my survival. I have no doubt that the delay of my departure was necessary for the financial benefit of the owners. I was personally driven to the atm by staff and owners (twice) so that they could collect ‘payment’. (Payment that had already been made by my sister.)
After almost four weeks and strategic endeavors, I left Trad Centro. A few days after that, I left Mexico.
I have not the energy or capacity to tell this story in its entirety.
More will be revealed… in time.
If you would like to advocate for the women who are still in these conditions, I have a campaign with more information here: https://chng.it/wfh6Ryrckv
(Rename and post of a piece published on Medium summer 2020.)
This year will be different. This year I will not think about what day it is. It is a Sunday, like any other Sunday. It isn’t special. There’s nothing to worry about. This won’t hurt at all. I’ll survive this. More than survive, I will breeze through it. Watch a few light-hearted movies, take a long bath and stay off social media is all I need to do. Easy peasy.
This is my mantra.
Said with the fervency of a Buddhist monk. What was I to invoke? Peace.
The ability to inhale clean air despite the dust storming around me. See clearly beyond the mirages of dirt before my eyes. And what were they?
Illusions in the atmosphere.
That I could magically manifest a reality; I could ‘will’ myself into the finish line without ever moving my feet. Transport myself into a victory void of perspiration, mud and sore muscles. Void of defeat. Void of loss. Heartbreak. I would tout a black belt without ever having stepped on the mat! The effects of this day would wash over me like the cool rain on a sunswept day. The trickling of the water on my skin granting relief I hadn’t needed to ‘tip in’ for. And my sadness would escape me as the water escapes the clouds.
Free of this prison that sucked me up without ever asking my permission. Holding me captive until the massiveness of this day becomes too much to contain. Break or be broken.
Like this day.
Like my family.
Like my dreams of ever celebrating this day, taking joy in the way millions of children do as they post pictures. Memories. Moments.
With their kids on their shoulders.
Carrying the weight of these little beings.
Not my father.
For it was I who carried the weight of him.
How heavy was his soul.
Folding under its pressure.
Not strong enough to lift.
Too small to hold.
Too weak to steady.
Too fragile to balance.
Trembling. Unabated, as the heaviness becomes one with my being.
His legs. His arms. His hands.
Exploring my body as though it was an ancient treasure chest waiting to be discovered. As though fate had made it his destiny to discover.
His legs. His arms. His hands.
Defiling my sanctuary. How dare he not respect its holiness! Does he not know how sacred of a place this is?
His legs. His arms. His hands.
Violent. Destructive. Unrepentant.
Thrusting. Forceful. Reckless.
Breaking. Tearing. Ripping.
The veil torn as darkness explodes like the breaking of a dam. Flooding my sanctuary with its debris. Pieces. Separated. Lost in the expansiveness of the ocean.
Like me. Pieces of my soul. My being.
Decades in the abyss of my subconscious.
Dare I venture into the void to retrieve?
Dare I transform the mirage into reality?
Dare I go back to that sanctuary?
Not exactly. For remnants appear like the eruption of a volcano. Vocal. Unwanted but unable to ignore. Unable to look away. Demanding to be seen. Burning. Aching. Dissolving everything it touches with the heat of its presence.
Then returning to stillness. Dormant. Resting.
As though it had not ‘just’ devoured everything that was.
As though it had not reduced everything I built to mere sandcastles.
As though its Power hadn’t rendered me powerless.
For the grounds to be fertile again.
Over and over.
Again and again.
Knowing it wouldn’t last.
As sandcastles never do.
And yet I stay here. For I know this land. This is home. This volcano. This land. This longing.
Seemingly invincible yet shrinking with each new eruption.
Was it not supposed to be fireproof?
No contender for the heat.
Until I am left defenseless.
No longer waiting.
No longer building.
To venture beyond this land.
These grounds will never be fertile again.
I start walking. To where, I do not know. All I see are ashes.
Ashes. Stretching as far as my field of vision expands.
I keep walking. Tired. Thirsty.
I keep walking. Through the ashes.
I keep walking. Through the fear.
I keep walking.
I see something!
At the tip of my vision.
At the edge…just beyond the reach of the eruptions.
A bit of green.
Could it be?!
With each step, it gets greener and greener.
I see it.
I keep walking.
Like the birds in that enormous sky.
I keep walking.
Trees. Vibrant. Full. Flourishing. Fruitful. So much fruit. My mouth coming alive.
I reach the edge. My feet right at the place where the grass meets the ashes. Overwhelming desire. I can almost taste it.
I close my eyes.
I lift my right foot. Set it down. Slowly. Carefully.
I lift my left foot. Set it down. Slowly. Carefully.
I smile. Breathe in deeply.
Exhale and open my eyes.
Why am I here?!
I recognize this place. It is bigger than I remember but its essence is unmistakable.
Tears fall as the gravity of this moment pulls me into a collapsed ball. My body collides with the floor, unable to withstand the force of such a blow.
Had not my eyes beheld trees with an abundance of fruit?
Was it another mirage? Illusion in the atmosphere.
Its resemblance, a vague recollection.
I lift my body off the floor. Stumbling then still. Present. Being. Seeing.
My eyes, refusing to be rushed as they adjust to the darkness.
Shattered, boarded up windows; a few cracks allowing just enough light to see into the space.
Dust. Debris. Waste.
Instead of pews, there are beds. The first bed belonged to him. His bed making way for the others. And there were so many others. Different sizes. Shapes. Some I remember. Some I don’t. One is just a mattress on the floor. One is bare. All, battered or broken to some degree. White sheets. Gray sheets. Plaid sheets. Yellow sheets. All, old and worn. Dirty. Dusty. Stained. Unsalvageable.
I decide to take a step forward. I lift my foot. It is met with light resistance. I pull harder, breaking its grip. I turn my shoe to examine what I had stepped in. A dark black substance. Curious of the texture, I glide my fingers over its surface. It feels like it is composed of old bubble gum and molasses. Gumlasses. I couldn’t get it off.
I move forward, feeling its stickiness with each step. I reach the center of the room; the windows nearer. The light exposing. Revealing. Gumlasses everywhere.
It embodies this place. Or does this place embody it?
Integrated. It has become one with the atmosphere. One with the beds. One with the sheets. One with the altar. The floor. The walls. The doors. The ceiling. It is one with every piece of debris. One with the dirt. Small particles amid the dust. It is at every step. Every corner. Every crevice.
It is on every picture. Every memory. Every moment. It is in every breath. Inhale. Exhale. Chest rising higher and higher. The enormity of its presence overwhelms. I fear it will engulf me.
But it is I who swallows it.
My stomach, unable to digest. Unable to contain. My body regurgitating.
I know this feeling.
This house of…
Constructed quite some time ago. Built on a graveyard; scattered remains brought by the death of these beds. Skeletons of ‘never enough.’ Rooms filled with the ghosts of yesterday. No amount of exorcising would suffice. Are they not the rightful inhabitants, anyway? Was I not inherently bad? Damaged. Soiled. Broken. Shattered like these windows. Boarded up; not enough light to eradicate the darkness.
My darkness. His darkness. This darkness…
I must move through.
Every step a little more effort than the one before; as the stickiness builds. As the residue accumulates below my feet.
I reach the altar. My nostrils ambushed by the stench of dried vomit. Ejected morsels beneath blankets of fungi.
Little Debbie wrappers. Too many to count. Razor blades. Tissues with dried blood. Hundreds of little pieces of paper with the words ‘I hate you’ and ‘You’re ugly’ written on them. Broken mirrors. Distorted reflections. Images. Moments frozen in time. I bend down to get a closer look at the picture before my feet. I don’t touch it. It is covered with stickiness. I am sitting on the couch in an EMDR therapy session. Body. Stiff. Eyes. Dismal. I remember this session. My eyes are moving left to right. Watching the small red circle. Left to right. Right to Left. Trance. Transported. From an adult on this couch to a child in his bed. My body jolted by this abruptness of time travel.
My body. Shaken.
My body. Awakened.
My body. BETRAYING.
Confused by this incongruous response.
Enraged as shame expands in my throat, leaving no room to speak. Silent.
Burdened by the evidence that I am broken.
My eyes too heavy to meet those of my therapist.
She speaks but I don’t hear her; the voices are too loud.
How could my body do this to me?
How could my body respond with arousal to such a horrendous thing as this?
How could you betray me?
ANSWER ME! Damn it!
I… betrayed you?
Look around this altar. It is you that has betrayed me. I carry the scars made by your hands. I store the memories in my cells. My skin. My flesh. Forever changed. How you have hated ME. Destroyed ME. Abandoned ME. Despite my numerous sacrifices. Who is it that holds the darkness?
Pain. Sadness. Anger. Rage. Shame. Grief.
Placed all in my hands so that your little mind wouldn’t succumb to demise.
It is ‘I’ who remembered so the brain could forget.
Until it was ready.
Until you were ready.
It is I who has lugged this around for years. Dragging. Holding. Gripping.
Struggling to stay strong. Fighting to stay well. An impossible feat for such a place as this.
Years of sleepless nights. Screams. Disturbing. Waking. Breaking.
Trapped in this sanctuary.
Year after year.
Day after day.
Wondering if you will ever return. Wondering when and if I am to be released from this defiled place. This darkness. This altar. Wondering if I will ever be more. More than sacrificial slaughter for these gods of stained sheets. These gods of broken beds. Wondering. Wanting. Waiting. To feel more. See more. Do more. Be more. To be free.
I did not betray you.
Perhaps there could be compassion for what I’ve been through? I did not ask to be awakened so young. To be aroused before I could even read or comprehend the meaning of such a word. I did not want that any more than you. Abuse guised as love and affection. Pain camouflaged as pleasure. I am meant to be awakened; to be aroused. To feel pleasure. But it was not meant to take place on these beds. It was not meant to take place when I was so small. So fragile.
I am just as confused as you.
I did ‘not’ betray you.
On the contrary. I have carried the weight of His hunger. Their hunger. Your hunger.
And each time. I was the one left starving.
I inhale slowly. Mouth open, I release. Out into the atmosphere.
I look ahead. Behind the altar are two doors. One Copper. One Gray. I head to the door on the farthest left. Copper. I reach for the handle. Twist the knob. It opens in my direction. I walk in. There is light shining through the cracks of the broken windows. The room is smaller than the main sanctuary floor, making it easier on my eyes to absorb what is contained in this space. There’s a painting of a tiger hanging on the wall. Two green sofas. There are games everywhere. Monopoly. Operation. Yahtzee. Decks of cards throughout. A basketball. Two cabbage patch dolls. Trolls. Jump Ropes. Drawing pads and pencils. An abundance of books; easily a hundred. I am in the living room of my childhood home. I notice two small chests on the coffee table. I walk over to inspect its contents. The box on the left is wooden. Scratched. Faded. Tarnished with the stickiness I have come to expect. It has only my name written on it. I explore this one first. Carefully opening, determined not to leave with any of the stickiness on my hands. So far, successful. Photos. Myself. My siblings. Our mom. Our dad. Photos of parades with our mom. Photos of fishing trips with our dad. Road trips up north. Memories. School plays. Field trips. Christmas. Wrapping paper everywhere. Games. Thanksgiving dinners together. Old photos. Sticky photos. Surely there was at least one still intact? Searching. Delicately. Anxiously. Almost to the end of the stack. Hopelessness materializing in my bones. Wait. I think I see one, unscathed. The very last one. Or would it be the first? I pull it close. Hold it with the fullness of my hands. I am five in this picture. My hair is in little ponytails. I am smiling. Wide. Teeth showing. Chubby cheeks. Bright. Curious. Undefiled. I hold the picture to my chest, savoring this moment. It is the only picture I have been able to fully grasp. I place it in my pocket.
I observe the second chest. Glass. Clean. No stickiness. It has the names of all my siblings. My name is not included. I discover it has the same pictures that were in my chest. The same photos but a stark difference. All untouched. Unharmed. Unspoiled. He had not torn through their veils with his darkness. They had not carried the weight of his soul. I look at a picture of my mom and all of us. I look in the faces and eyes of my siblings. Why do they get to have memories unscathed? I look at them. Together. I look at me. Separate. Detached. And I remember. The resentment. Theirs. Mine. I remember the loneliness. The type of loneliness that finds you at three in the morning. Dark. Quiet. Every sound magnified. Unsettling. Undeniable. The stillness of the night refusing to conceal. Refusing to pretend. I remember. The anger. My anger. Explosive. They had all felt the power of its blast. I was the raving one. The crazy one. The rebellious one. I remember. How they had called me the devil; how fitting a name for the hell of his darkness. If only they had known the numerous ways in which my soul was tortured. The toll my body paid. The price of being ‘daddy’s girl.’ The cost of his hunger. Ravenous. Insatiable. The cost of my hunger. Craving. Aching.
I look into the eyes and face of my mom. Rage moves like fire through my body. Burning. Boiling. Where was she when these beds were formed? How could she not have known? Not sensed anything. Weren’t mothers supposed to protect? And was she not also to blame for my hunger? Her arms incapable of holding. Leaving me starving. Empty. Just waiting for him to fill. Had she not left me alone? Rotting. Wasting. In the dungeon of his darkness. If only she had been a light, guiding me out. If only she had been a safe harbor instead of someone I also needed to seek shelter from.
Breaking under the weight of these pictures, I unload them in the glass box. I pick up my box and empty its photos into theirs. I set it back down, pick up the glass box, walk to the door and push it open. I turn back around. With all the strength in me, I hurl the glass box against the wall. I watch as the photos fall. Watch as the glass breaks. Watch as it shatters into the atmosphere.
I walk out the door. Closing it with such force, the sound echoes through the room.
I look at the second door. Gray.
I look back at the entrance to the sanctuary. Temptation.
I take a deep breath. My feet propel forward. The second door is just ten steps from the first. I place my hand on the knob, twist and push the door open. I step in. It looks similar to the room before. The same cracks in the window. The same light. The same size. Only there are no games. No books. No dolls. Nothing on the floor. Two gray sofas. A gray coffee table with a large gray chest atop; the size of the previous two combined. The walls. Gray. No tiger painting but instead portraits of my siblings. Adults. Each one in their own frame. My mom. In her own frame. I walk around the room, looking at each picture. Each photo. Each being.
I walk to the coffee table. I open the chest. Similar pictures as the ones before, but these are all clean. And the eyes and faces are different. We are happy. Together. I am not separate in these photos. And there’s more. Pictures of me with my dad. No stickiness. Pictures of my mom holding me. Face bright. Eyes big. Smile real.
What is this? Is this some kind of joke?! I toss the pictures back inside. The room is changing.
Suffocating. Enclosing. Choking. Grief lodging in my throat.
I can’t breathe.
Crushed under its force. Formless.
Unveiling. Exposing. Releasing.
Love. Belonging. Family.
Childhood. Innocence. Safety.
What I would give to have memories untainted by his darkness.
To have a mother who I could show the beds to.
Tell her how the stains got there. How they had left me feeling dirty.
How was my little body ever to get clean on its own?
Kidnapped. My purity, the ransom for his hunger.
Will the ground ever stop moving beneath me?
I stand up, preparing myself to leave. I look around the room again. My eyes meet hers. Her photo. The farthest from mine. I walk over. Stare into her eyes.
Seeing. Perhaps for the first time.
Listening. Her eyes. Telling.
Books of pain. Stories of sadness. Chapters of grief.
Hearing. Her eyes speaking.
I would have given more if only I had known how.
I never wanted to leave you starving.
Denying my own hunger, left me incapable of feeding yours.
I didn’t know how to be a safe harbor. My ship. Always at sea.
I could navigate rough waters. I could keep us alive.
How I wish I had learned to anchor at the dock.
Rest in the stillness. Bask in the sunlight.
Pulled you from the darkness. His darkness.
But you were not alone in that dungeon. For I too carried the weight of his soul.
I look into her eyes.
I see loneliness.
I see ache.
I see strength.
I look into her eyes.
I walk back to the door, out of this room and into the open sanctuary floor. I face the door. Still behind the altar, I begin moving in its direction. Walking a different path than the one I had taken to get here. After a few steps, I notice another container. This one looks like one of those photo boxes they sell at art stores, except it is twenty times the size. I carefully move its lid and look through. More photos. More memories. People. Faces, I remember. Faces, I’ve forgotten. Friends. Losses. Every picture. Every memory. Tainted with stickiness. Shame always coming back to the surface. People I couldn’t love. People who couldn’t love me. People I couldn’t ‘let’ love me. For I had not really known what love was. Love was pain. Love was abuse. Love had been a distorted concept. Theories formed by the principles of these beds. Photos. People who had tried to give to me. People I had tried to give to; attempting to feed them while my own hunger went unnourished. People who tried to feed my hunger, only too soon to realize that my appetite was insatiable. For I had not yet done the work of filling myself. Of loving myself. Wholly. Completely. I had not yet connected to the immense love of the Universe. The endless love of the One whose love fills. Overflows. The One whose love freed me from my cage. The One whose love has moved with me through this sanctuary. Loving. Healing. Restoring. Always present. Always enough. Always.
I began walking to the entrance. When I reach the door, I look out over this sanctuary. And I let out a long sigh of relief. What now? I feel an urge to look down. Kerosene oil and a box of matches. I pick up the kerosene oil. Walk through the sanctuary, tossing it over every bed, over the altar and inside the rooms. I walk back to the entrance. Pick up the box of matches. Remove one. Lift my hand. Turn my head to the right.
What’s that? Under the bed? Under his bed. Is that…
I set the box of matches down and walk over to the bed.
I push it aside.
White. In the floor. What could possibly be here?
No doorknob. Instead a circle door handle. I pull it open.
White light floods the room.
There are steps leading down into the unknown.
I lower down into the opening and walk down the steps. There’s a hallway about ten feet long. And a single glass door where it ends. I walk slowly down the hallway. White walls. No stickiness. No darkness exists in this place.
I get to the door. I reach for the handle and twist. It is locked. I look through the glass into the room. The room expands beyond my vision.
I see a colorful mural on the wall. A small white bookshelf filled with children’s books. Coloring books and crayons on the floor. A play mat. I press my face as close to the glass as I can, trying to take in more of the room. Right at the edge, I see a shape. A shadow.
Is someone in there?
I knock on the door.
The shadow now moving. The shape coming closer.
I catch my breath, unaware that I had stopped breathing.
I drop to my knees as the gravity of this moment draws me in.
I stare at them through the glass. They stare back.
Eyes: Big and Wide. Curious. Questioning. Scared. Face soft. Innocent. Full. Chubby cheeks.
Hair in little ponytails.
We stare. I at them. They at me.
We stare, as if meeting each other for the first time yet knowing we were always meant to be.
And then they walk away.
“Wait. Don’t go.” Unsure if they could hear me through the glass.
I watch as their little body becomes a shape again. A shadow.
It moves again. Coming back. I see them. Holding something in their hand.
They bend down and push it under the door and then walk away.
I look down at the floor. The key!
I quickly unlock the door. Burst in. Tearful. Joyful.
They are sitting in a purple plush chair, facing away from the door.
I walk over to the front of the chair. Bend down.
Their head rises. Tears streaming down their face.
“Oh, love. Have you been here all this time?”
They nod, slowly. “I was waiting for you. It is scary up there.”
Their voice small. Squeaky.
I reach out and touch their face. Wipe their tears.
“Oh, love. I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I know it is scary. You are safe now. I’m here. I have you.”
They look at me. “Can I go now?”
I smile, reassuringly.
“Yes, love. Let’s go.”
I scoop them up, gently in my arms. Lift them onto my torso. They wrap their arms around me. Tight.
I carry them out the room. I carry them down the hall. I carry them up the stairs. I carry them to the entrance. Door wide open. I look out.
Blue skies. Birds soaring.
Trees. Vibrant. Full. Flourishing. Fruitful. So much fruit.
I see a rack with two white garments. Hanging. Flowing.
I set them down. We stand in the entryway. I remove my shoes. Their shoes. I remove my clothes. Their clothes. I toss our clothes and shoes into the atmosphere. We will carry no residue from this place.
I pick up the box of matches. Strike the match and toss it into the abyss.
We walk out into the open. We put on our new garments. White. Clean. I pick them up. We walk further out into the green pasture. Letting the flames devour the darkness of this place. Letting the flames destroy everything in the atmosphere. It can burn.
We will build a new sanctuary. Not on these grounds. It could never dwell here.
We build a new sanctuary. Fill it with light. Fill it with love.
We build it in this new place. This beautiful place. This flourishing place.
Where we are free.
Kai Alexzander Love
Love and be loved, dear ones.
May we all be free from our cages. May we all be connected to the One whose love is endless. May we all be FREE.
I glanced up from my book and saw light. Their* smile; how it mirrored the magnetism of the Universe. Pulling me to them. Them to me. We met at a meditation retreat in Big Bear.
(*Both this person and myself use the pronouns ‘they, them’ as a singular. We exist outside of the binary.)
They later said they don’t know why they came and introduced themselves; it wasn’t their usual character.
I remember the pure joy we shared as they accompanied me to find a tree.
It was beautiful; this tree.
steady. still. gentle.
Not many render the word gentle to the descriptive visage of a tree. But.
I feel their gentleness every time we meet.
I remember us talking after one of the groups. How closely we sat; each one leaning against the other, closing the gap of time and space.
I remember the ease between us when I drove up for a visit. We sat separately, together; reading.
Shifted into subconsciousness as tiredness swept over us, then emerged from our afternoon naps in almost perfect synchronicity.
I remember the day I moved in. Departing San Diego at sunrise; car fully packed for the journey ahead. I remember how overwhelmed I felt, arriving at this unknown place.
Time and time again, I have stood here;
this precipice of change.
Daring to answer the call of my heart.
Risking everything that is for the possibility of what could be.
Daring to move: beyond comfort. beyond fear.
How irrational is this thing:
Causing my breath to quicken in the night as I went from my bed to the bathroom.
Let’s not forget the horrors that have happened in the night.
Such a diligent tyrant is it,
a skilled conjurer:
masterfully manifesting phantoms
never satisfied with just the capture
Please don’t do this to me, I say.
I just want to go to the bathroom in peace.
Please don’t do this to me, we say.
I just really want to be free.
it cares not of our peace.
it cares not of our dreams.
it cares not of our soul.
it cares not of these things.
No amount of begging.
No amount of pleading.
Pointless are our attempts to employ reason.
to see just ‘how long’ it can keep us imprisoned.
how long can it get us to listen?
louder and louder
LOuder and LOuder
LOUDer and LOUDer
LOUDER and LOUDER
such illustrious contortions
from this grand magician
the way it distorts. the way that it lies
anything to get us to listen:
“I know that with this person, you can’t share the deepest parts of you;
and what you really desire, is a love that feels alive.
But do you really want to risk being alone for something that may never be actualized?
At least you have ‘someone’ by your side.
You want to leave your job to follow a silly dream?
I’m not saying it won’t work out; but things don’t always go your way.
Your job isn’t that bad.
I just want you to be safe.
If you take these risks, who knows if you’ll be okay.
I know you don’t feel connected to your purpose;
you’re wondering if maybe there’s ‘more’.
But you don’t know what’s out there.
Do you really want to walk through that door?”
ensnared by this sham
fear then devours
it. has. won.
and now our demise:
and what of our soul
our love and
what of this precious
we install security systems
this room, we’ll paint green
we hang up our beautiful pictures
display all our shiny things
we host a big party
so all we know can see
just how happy we are
“I’m doing so well. Look at me.”
We don’t escape our prisons.
we move in,
“Look at what I’ve acquired.
Can’t you see that I’m happy here.
I have everything I need.
You have no proof of this prison of fear?”
we deny and we excuse
strategic in what we display
and in moments of stillness
we feel it rise. we feel the ache
“I CANNOT BREATHE IN HERE.
SET. ME. FREE. OF. THIS. CAGE!
THERE IS ‘NOTHING’ ABOUT ME
THAT IS MEANT TO BE TAMED!”
we hear its voice as clear as day
we drown it out
we look away
and so we numb
this ache of our ‘existence’
we dare not look
at how our light has dimmed
we dare not look
at this decorated prison
How can something not real, achieve something so splendid?
there’s more of the story to be told.
as for that tyrant
when it spoke in my ear
I answered it back:
“I am safe.
I will NOT listen to fear.”
night after night
again and again
I recited my mantra
I would not let fear win
decades in its prison
I was finally free
I’ll be damned if I go back in
it would not capture me
I heard its voice. felt its rage
fear: desperate to seize
one day I left my room
and the only one I heard was me.
I told my housemate about my fear.
I remember their compassion; they bought night lights and put one in the hallway.
I remember when we drove to the desert; another meditation retreat. We played this game: finding things from a-z.
Speaking of games, competitive Scorpios that we are: I remember when we agreed on a tie in Phase 10. We laughed at our own ridiculousness of such an impossible thing.
I remember struggling throughout my time at the retreat. And I remember every time my friend showed kindness to me:
On day two, I found a note. One word was written, metta: a meditation practice of sending loving-kindness to ourselves and others. A heart was drawn but no name. It didn’t need one. I knew who it was from.
On day three, they came over, stooped down, placed their hands tenderly on my legs and asked how I was doing. They were warm. They were gentle.
I remember lounging on the couch at home, watching what we called ‘trash tv’.
We played singing bowls. We meditated. We danced it out. We were silly. We were free.
I remember when there was friction, we’d find a way to talk it out. There’s one conversation that still rests in my heart. We explored how we could be in harmony. How could ‘their strong’ and ‘my strong’ coexist in this space in a way that doesn’t wound. And if it does, how can we bring ourselves back?
“Strong soft.” I said.
“What does that mean?”
I expounded. ‘Their strong’ and ‘my strong’ could soften in moments when we find ourselves shifting into disharmony. We pause. We reflect. We soften to that which is in us. We soften to that which is in the other. And in this softening, we keep our ‘strong’. Can not the way of the warrior, be also the path of peace?
We agreed. We would commit to ‘strong soft’ in moments where our egos might emerge and lead us astray. When our egos might emerge and lead us away:
away from light
away from seeing.
And emerged it did
it came like a fire
Putting to test
this ‘strong soft’ desire.
I remember the day they arrived. We were trying to get through another episode of trash tv before they drove up. Their partner, two children, two of their friends and two dogs, coming from Phoenix for spring break. The plan was for them to stay two weeks. It was at the start of the pandemic. My housemate decided that they wanted to do a trial live in with their partner. This trial was originally supposed to take place in June, which was going to be when I moved into a new place; they no longer wanted to wait.
Here it comes… the ignition.
“This is not what we agreed. It feels overwhelming with all the change. It’s too much to ask of me.”
“This is what I want.” they said. “It’s my house so it’s really up to me.”
And there it was, our ego
the fire, it was lit
a small blaze, to begin
bigger and bigger, did it get.
I lost my job due to the organization needing to close its doors on account of the pandemic. I felt powerless; this is the last place I wanted to be. I remember waking up to this strange sound. It was around midnight. I looked toward my door and saw there was something on the floor. I turned my lamp on and discovered an envelope.
Inside it: a notice for me to move out.
I responded that I was unable to move due to the loss of my job and ongoing pandemic; California was one of the many states that put protections into place for renters.
“You still have 2.5 weeks to find housing. I will be seeking legal action if you fail to move out by May 31, 2020.”
“I know my rights.”
“This is legally my home. The sheriff will escort you out if you fail to leave on your own.”
I remember this day; remember the burn; my heart scorched from the blaze.
I remembered George Floyd; it was after his murder. Only a mere four days.
We had both enrolled in a meditation facilitator training with InsightLA. It was the first day. I was in San Diego. Hearing the teachers speak of the principles of being in community, I remembered something.
I sent them a text; surely we can find the path of peace
I remember looking at my phone
seeing their words and
for a moment, everything stood still
my breath. my body. frozen in space
surely, this is not real.
I came back to find my things removed from the laundry room. A lock on its door and not given a key.
Cracking and kindling
the fire I felt
from my blood
into my bones
the embers were spreading
the embers were catching
inside the home.
Please be still
was my plea
quiet is what I need from you
the thing about fire
it knows its own power
it would ‘not’ be told what to do
this fire was wild
any attempts to quench it would not keep
this fire was loud
Listen up. This fire would speak.
“Threatening a black person with police
you think that’s okay
I know you want me to move
but is ‘this’ the way
locking the laundry room
just to fuck with me
these tactics of using power
are rooted in white supremacy
you believe your status and skin
gives you the upper hand
but my ancestors are with me
against this, they will continue to stand
you think this is a threat
I assure you; it is not
waging war with fire isn’t safe
it is much too wild. much too hot
once it gets moving
it will not be easily stopped
you’re adding fuel
trying to burn me
do you think you can stand this close to the flame
and not also experience its heat?
this is not light.
this is darkness, can’t you see?”
“THEN LET ME HAVE MY DARKNESS!” They screamed.
Soon after, they filed an eviction notice. Their partner drew a picture of an hourglass and placed it on the front door. I was sitting close by, writing, ‘Not My Father.’ The children asked who it was for. I remember hearing ‘This is for Kai.’ I didn’t respond:
something new was being birthed out of me.
The next month, they went to a friend’s house nearby in preparation for their surgery. The partner, children and dogs all left.
One day they came to the house; I assume it was just to check up on things.
My friend was visiting from San Diego and they asked him to leave.
When he didn’t, they called the police.
it didn’t stop there
it was difficult to breathe
with all the smoke in the air
then came the night
the flames combusted everywhere
One day when they came to pick up some things, I heard them whisper to their partner that they would return to the house after I left. I hadn’t said I was moving.
something was stirring
on this night
I could feel.
I’d love to believe this night was really just a dream
but I have the scars
they are with me,
I could hear my intuition saying to put the security latch on the backyard door. The backyard has a huge brick fence; secure inside the gated community. Still, I decided to listen. I was restless. It was almost 1am and I couldn’t sleep.
I heard a noise and looked out; someone was in the backyard. I heard the door unlock. I heard the key. Then banging, as the person pushed harder and harder trying to get in. The latch; preventing their entry. I turned on a light and called the police. I stayed on the phone with the dispatcher until the police arrived, in two minutes time; the police station being only a block away. They looked around, took my report and then left.
Two days later, my housemate and partner came by the house. Unaware that I was watching, the partner ‘tested’ a key to the backyard door. They had sent someone to break in.
I try not to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t put the latch on the door. But I do:
Think about it.
This person I loved
and once called my friend
knew of past horrors
that took place on my skin
they knew where to strike
knew precisely where to hit
this was the burn
my body would not forget.
Where is your evidence
can you prove it was them
I’m just sharing my story
I’m not here to convince
I wish I could say that on this night, I was brave
reminisce on how boldly I stood up to fear
but this was the scorch, that would do me in
there was nothing but ashes left here.
I placed my mattress against my door
laid down in a fetal position
held tightly to my ‘leigh bear’
avoiding capture, my only mission
fear howled and it screamed
and just like that,
I was back in its prison
Shortly after, I packed up my car and drove across the country to go stay with my sister.
This fire had burned. This fire had blazed
destroying everything that dare stand in its way
this fire, it broke
this fire, it took
on my way out
I took one more look
the rubble. remains
devastation. the debris
what had become of them
what had become of me
what was under this ruin
what was it that I couldn’t see
what’s behind the smoke
what lies underneath
was it anger. was it hate
was it white supremacy
were these at the root
or were they just a smokescreen
closer and closer I looked
what did I find
that old tyrant fear
trying to hide.
Wow. mad respect
I must admit you’re really good
the way you have us looking
I took a deep breath
It was time for me to go
from deep in my heart
these last words I spoke:
Please forgive me.
I love you.
I thank you.
A prayer sent out into the Universe, if you will.
“To cause things to move back in balance”, is what the word translates to.
It is a Hawaiian practice of healing and forgiveness. At its core it simply means: at some time, at some moment, I have caused harm. I haven’t always chosen the way of light. And in doing so, I contribute to the darkness and fear that exists in this plane. It does not mean that I deserved to experience this trauma or that the Universe is somehow ‘paying me back.’ No, this Universe, with its massive love, is much more gracious than that. It simply acknowledges that within me, within us, are both light and dark.
My intention. my desire:
to choose love
to choose light
my humanity. this condition
does not always get that right
this darkness that is in them
is part of my makeup as well
I’ve set many of fires
I’ve got my own stories to tell
so I send metta to this being
whose metta I also once knew
I send love with the hope
that they escape fear’s prison, too.
the divine that is in me
recognizes the divine that is in them
for is this not the reason
is this not the reason we’re here
to live out our soul’s purpose
to be free
from prisons of fear
did we travel all this way
just to ‘play it safe’
breath into us
to live our lives out in a cage?
Answer this question for you
I will answer the question for me
I am here for something
much, much bigger you see
for it alone possesses the power
to, from prison’s fear,
set me free.
It’s the thing that gave me life
It is what I am made of
I came here for one thing and one thing only
‘This’ is what I came here for
I came here for LOVE.
-Kai Alexzander Love
Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash
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When I showed up to my mom’s house for thanksgiving dinner, he was there. No one informed me that he would be coming. When he attempted to hug me, I pulled back and then proceeded to tell him to never touch me again. Confused looks were on the faces of everyone, with my mom’s face standing out the most. ‘Tell the truth!” I screamed.
I had this recurring dream several times a year for perhaps what may have been close to a decade. Sometimes the place would change, but it always ended the same. I showed up. He was there. I became enraged and the dream would end with me screaming at him to tell the truth. Each time I woke up feeling shaken by the dream; my subconscious relentlessly processing in my sleep that which I was incapable of doing in my wake.
I made every effort to avoid him. I wouldn’t come around if he came in town, even if it meant not showing up to the holiday dinner. Once, when living with my sister, I had to retreat to a friends house. I avoided and changed any conversation where his presence could be found. Sometimes the mere mention of his name yielded cataclysmic emotional shifts. I did not offer any explanations; simultaneously no inquiries regarding my absence or conduct were rendered.
I kept my secret.
I kept his secret.
I kept our secret.
I believed keeping this secret ensured a sense of safety. Safety is crucial to surviving. I couldn’t risk more rejection, shame or hurt. The path to this conclusion is somewhat unclear. I believe it was planted during childhood and continued to grow until its roots were embedded into my subconscious. How do I eradicate something so strong, so entrenched, so intertwined with my being?
The dreams became increasingly intense. I would awake unsettled. They became too pervasive to ignore. This secret was not keeping me from harm. It offered no protection. It was a growing tumor: malignant, threatening, wild and unmanageable.
After talking with my therapist, I decided it was time. I wrote a letter to my mom telling her that her brother had sexually abused me during my childhood. I explained to her that I had kept it to myself for so long out of fear, I did not place any blame on her and I was not ready or may not ever be ready to have an actual conversation around it.
My mom cut off contact with him. For the first time in my life, I felt that my mom honored my inner child. I don’t believe this was solely about me; she has her own story. But while other family members did not stop communication with him, my mom did. I believe anything less would have felt like a betrayal, because this is what I have felt as others have continued to have him in their lives. I don’t believe an adult can bring harm to the body and soul of an innocent and vulnerable child and ‘change’ without doing extensive therapeutic work. I don’t know where he is in his life or if he would even admit to the harm he caused. What I do know is that I am moving forward in healing the damage done to my body and soul.
Do secrets keep you safe?
Perhaps, secrets keep you sick.
It has been months since I have told my mom about the abuse. Normally in the same time frame, I would have had another one of the recurring dreams. I haven’t had that dream since being honest. I did have a dream with him in it. In that dream, I looked at him and said I was no longer angry about what had happened. I did not wake up unsettled. I woke up with peace.
I remember a few years ago seeing quite a number of people post #nonewfriends on Facebook. I thought it was a bit absurd at the time. I now understand that it was from a song but because I am not always hip with the times, I seldom know where these new phrases and sayings originate. My initial thinking was to question why someone would close themselves off to new friends. Is not meeting new people and making connections an unavoidable part of the human experience? To be alive is to be human. To be human is to connect. To connect is to open oneself to the possibility of inviting others to share in this journey of breathing and being.
But it isn’t absurd. Opening up to new people and new friendships is like playing a game of poker. There is only one certainty and that’s the cards in your hands. You wait to see how others play the game. What bets they make. You pay attention to their facial expressions and body language. Are they honest? Are they bluffing? Do you go in a little more? Do you fold? Is what you hold in your hands good enough?
Is what I hold in my hands ‘good enough’?
Up until a few weeks ago, I held this belief that I was disposable. Not consciously or intentionally. It was a hidden yet powerful un-‘truth’, camouflaging itself as anxiety and fear of rejection. Bred during childhood, it bore offspring of low self-love and fear of abandonment that has continued into my adult years. Its DNA twined into behaviors, thought patterns and the way I perceive and interact with the world and people around me.
Surely, it would be understandable if I did not want to open myself up to new people? I can’t see what cards they hold. I don’t know if they will stick around. Why take the risk when I already have people who love me and have been a part of my journey? I have a few friends. I love and care about them all. Two are people I consider to be my best friends. They have both been in my life for over twenty years. They are loyal, supportive, honest, kind and I am about 99.99% sure they aren’t going anywhere. They have seen me in both my darkness and my light. They have witnessed much of my humanity. Its brokenness and its beauty. They understand my vulnerability and sensitivity. They don’t judge me or have expectations of who I am ‘supposed’ to be. They don’t attempt to mold me into what they want or need. They love me and I love them. They are dear to my heart. Dearer than anyone who has yet to walk this earth during the same time span as I.
Opening up to new people can be a vulnerable thing for most of us. It takes time to build relationships. To see what’s in each other’s hands and hearts. To know if it’s safe to trust. We take risks, little by little, because there’s no way of seeing the full picture. Sometimes you discover a person who is authentic and open and the connection becomes a positive part of your journey. And sometimes you find out a little late in the game that a person is dishonest or that they were hiding cards under the table and only showed what they wanted you to see. And the reality is that many of us, at one time or another, have been both of these people.
I do open myself up to new people. But it gets exhausting at times. It would be easier, I believe, to have a motto of no new friends. Safer, I suppose. Less vulnerable. Less risk. Less grief. I love hard and feel deep. I am sensitive, kind, expressive, intense, raw, a little rough around the edges and sometimes a little too honest for people’s taste. I will let you in if I feel that I can take a risk with my heart but in many settings, such as work, and with some people (dishonest), I will erect a wall so high and strong, you couldn’t penetrate it if you had a hundred grenades. I am finding it more difficult than usual to want to be vulnerable and connect. I am doing an immense amount of work to undo much of the damage done from years of childhood abuse and trauma. This means facing fears, challenging old belief patterns, showing up to therapy and being vulnerable when what I really want to do is cancel and never go back. It means sitting in yoga class doing poses while everything within my body screams ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ It means allowing myself to feel grief that I have suppressed for years and not rushing the process to get over being hurt and betrayed by someone I trusted and allowed to see me. It means not judging myself when my Scorpio claws come out. Admitting that the anger and claws are really just a way to avoid the grief and making genuine efforts to forgive. And I am a MAJOR work in progress when it comes to forgiveness. Minor offenses, sure. (maybe lol) But in some instances when I trust and truly allow myself to be vulnerable over a long period of time, the hurt of their betrayal can feel like being stabbed in a wound that was just beginning to heal. And knowing that it’s not just about this wound. But the wounds that were already there before they ever came along, doesn’t make it any easier to heal.
What I discover is that some people want the sunshine but not the rain. One of the things that always baffles me about living in California are the people who incessantly complain about the weather on days where its not the perfect amount of sunshine and in the 70’s. And that’s how some human beings are. They want charming, funny, kind, adventurous Kai. But the reality is that I have complex ptsd and still lots of healing to do. It does not define me and until a few weeks ago, I truly believed that my wounds made me disposable; that somehow I was broken and damaged by my past. That it was understandable for a person to invest in the easy and back away when they see the pieces that are ‘not so easy.’ Or when I don’t fit into the picture that they painted of me. And my trauma has been a major source of the shame that I have been carrying. But I refuse to believe that I am disposable. I have a lot of work to do but I am showing up and truly doing the best that I can. I am facing what feels impossible and moving barriers that I once believed were indestructible barricades. What I now understand is that I have no control over another person’s perception or actions. If they walk in on chapter eleven of my journey with no understanding of what has come before or interest in what will come after, they can choose to put the book down. Or they can keep reading. And I am learning to be okay. I am realizing that I am valued and loved and that my scars don’t make me disposable no more than anyone else’s. I have never looked at a person and thought they were less than because of what they have been through. Why then did I hold that belief of myself? Am I not just as human as the next person? I am not an expert on being vulnerable. But what I know is that vulnerability is needed for me to heal. That within my humanity is the capacity to be vulnerable and I get to choose whether or not, I want embrace it.
I think of humanity and vulnerability as an onion. Cutting into an onion… peeling through its layers is not an experience that many enjoy. Who wakes up and exclaims “I can’t wait to peel this onion later when I cook!” Now an onion in and of itself, uncooked, does not do much for me. I would be hella shocked if I were to encounter someone who goes around snacking on onions. When added to a recipe, however, it enhances the flavor. It is a necessary ingredient to some of the most savory and well loved dishes that many enjoy: Chili, stuffing, burgers, an array of soups and stews and the list goes on. Some of us truly enjoy cooking and we find pleasure in not only the finished product but the process itself. But when a recipe calls for an onion, we don’t look forward to the peeling, the tears, the unavoidable sting as it reaches our eyes. We attempt to shield ourselves from the discomfort. abbreviate the ache.
look away.cover oureyes. move faster.
I have even gone so far as to try to ‘psych myself’ into trying to control the affects of cutting an onion. I kid you not. I made a serious effort to convince myself that ‘this time’ I will not let this onion get the best of me. Laughable right? Surely, it is an inescapable by-product to which I cannot avoid if I want the full experience of the dish I am preparing.
The same can be said of vulnerability.
To be vulnerable. To open up and allow someone to see the hidden, beautiful, complicated, raw and sometimes deeply scarred layers that exist within…
Is hard. uncomfortable. scary. almost grueling at times. It carries with it an unavoidable sting that penetrates the soul in a way that makes us want to take cover. We attempt to shield ourselves from the discomfort. abbreviate the ache.
Look away: We distract ourselves with things and temporary solutions that numb our need for love and connection. We spend hours on social media and more time looking into a screen than we do looking into each other.
Cover our eyes: Truth is light, so we wear shades every chance we get to make ourselves more comfortable. We filter things through these lenses without wondering if perhaps, there’s a better view.
Move faster: We take on a lot of ‘projects’ and responsibilities and pride ourselves in ‘being busy.’ We don’t slow down because to slow down is to feel.
But there is more than just discomfort when being vulnerable. There is freedom. Growth. Healing. There is light and love and an inexplicable beauty. When I am vulnerable with someone who is safe, I feel empowered. If I am able to move beyond the ache: the shame, fear and insecurities, I become that much more closer to being fully who I was born to be. And in doing so, I am able to hold a little more compassion and love in my heart for not only others, but myself as well.
It is an inescapable by-product of humanity to which I cannot avoid if i want the full experience of being human and truly connecting to myself and the world around me.
“Intimacy means that we’re safe enough to reveal the truth about ourselves in all its creative chaos.” – Marianne Williamson
“Intimacy means that we’re safe enough…”
Intimacy is not easy.
It is beauty and brokenness
it is heart and soul and
Tears that are safe to flow
It is smiles and laughter and
Hugs that make you feel at home
It is love moving
It is wonder. adventure
exploration of the unknown
humanity exposed: into me see.
“… to reveal the truth about ourselves…”
I am Kai. I am vulnerable, honest, compassionate and highly sensitive. I am a strong, resilient person with a resolve to heal, grow and become as free and light as I possibly can. But sometimes. Sometimes I feel broken. Sometimes I feel unlovable. Sometimes I feel unwanted. and intimacy can be difficult. When someone is getting close, seeing into me, I become afraid. Fear so powerful, it vibrates throughout my body. Fear so powerful, I feel like a little child.
To a child, safety and security is everything. It is life and death. It is survival. When a child encounters loss. death. abuse. trauma. it breeds abandonment and becomes embedded into the subconscious.
Embedded into my subconscious. Working its way into my awareness, my emotions, my body and my relationships. Sometimes, I think it would be much easier, to hide. To have relationships that fill time and space but neglect to replenish my heart and soul. To run when the discomfort sets in and stay on the surface where its safe. avoid the challenges. the heartbreak. the shattering. But I want more than what meets the eye. I want to connect to those around me, build relationships based on honesty and authenticity, sit with the discomfort of being seen and move through the fear. Into me see.
“…in all its creative chaos.”
My soul is a museum;
past and present interwoven into a space that both reveals and conceals
moments and memories sculpted behind skin
love. loss; people and places
a gallery of forgotten faces
delicate pieces behind glass cases
“I don’t love casually. When I love it’s fierce. It’s my soul ripped wide open and raw. It’s my whole heart on display. It’s all I have and everything I know, handed over to you, like a gift. And I hope you unwrap it gently.” – Stephanie Bennett-Henry
Within each of us lies the ability to love and be loved. Children possess this love in its purest form. As adults, this love can get clouded. Selfish. Messy. Underneath the surface, we want to love. To connect. And in the brokenness that can sometimes occur, our inner child still reaches…
They reach even when we cannot.
I miss her. I miss my friend.
Five year old within. Familiar feelings. Coming alive again.
Ancient messages of old. ‘Everyone leaves. There’s something wrong with me.’
The memories. Repeat. Pictures I won’t delete
Being silly and card games
Sharing music and heartache
Adventures on birthday
Hugs that felt safe
Two souls. We embraced
Hearts that once could see.
Hearts that once were free,
And here we are again. A reality that is not real.