Forgotten Sanctuary

(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.

Peace?

Stillness.

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?

These mirages.

Delusions.

Illusions in the atmosphere.

My 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.

Gushing.

Bursting.

Breaking!

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.

Broken.

Like this day.

Broken.

Like my family.

Broken.

Like me.

Broken.

Like my dreams of ever celebrating this day, taking joy in the way millions of children do as they post pictures. Memories. Moments.

Fathers.

With their kids on their shoulders.

Fathers.

Their bodies…

Lifting.

Fathers.

Their hands…

Holding.

Fathers.

Their arms…

Steadying.

Fathers.

Their legs…

Balancing.

Fathers.

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.

My body…

Folding under its pressure.

My body…

Crushing.

My body…

Not strong enough to lift.

My hands.

Too small to hold.

My arms.

Too weak to steady.

My legs.

Too fragile to balance.

Trembling. Unabated, as the heaviness becomes one with my being.

His being.

His body…

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 body…

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 body…

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.

Lost.

Like me. Pieces of my soul. My being.

Separated.

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?

Defiled sanctuary.

Abandoned sanctuary.

Forgotten sanctuary.

Forgotten?

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.

Naked.

Exposed.

Bare.

Barren.

Longing.

Waiting.

For the grounds to be fertile again.

Building.

Rebuilding.

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.

This shelter.

This…

Cage.

Seemingly invincible yet shrinking with each new eruption.

Was it not supposed to be fireproof?

Shrinking.

No contender for the heat.

Shrinking.

Until I am left defenseless.

Naked.

Exposed.

Bare.

Barren.

Longing.

Ready.

No longer waiting.

Ready.

No longer building.

Ready.

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.

Until.

I see something!

There!

At the tip of my vision.

There!

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.

It’s beautiful.

I keep walking.

Closer.

Hope.

Rising.

Closer.

Hope.

Soaring.

Like the birds in that enormous sky.

I keep walking.

Trees. Vibrant. Full. Flourishing. Fruitful. So much fruit. My mouth coming alive.

Wetness.

Waking.

Wanting.

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.

No!

No!

No!

Why am I here?!

I recognize this place. It is bigger than I remember but its essence is unmistakable.

My sanctuary.

Forgotten sanctuary.

Abandoned sanctuary.

Defiled sanctuary.

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.

This 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.

My body.

Remembering.

My body.

Experiencing.

My body.

Recalling.

I know this feeling.

This dwelling.

This house of…

Shame.

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.

Aroused?

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!

Betray you?

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?

His darkness.

Their darkness.

Your 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.

This prison.

Waiting.

Year after year.

Waiting.

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.

Selah.

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.

Grief.

Blocking.

Grief.

Strangling.

Grief.

Squeezing.

Crushed under its force. Formless.

Fetal.

Feeling.

Flooding.

Waves…

Of truth.

Waves…

Of longing.

Waves…

Of loss.

Truth.

Unveiling. Exposing. Releasing.

Longing.

Love. Belonging. Family.

Loss.

Childhood. Innocence. Safety.

Childhood.

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?

Innocence.

Kidnapped. My purity, the ransom for his hunger.

Safety.

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.

Light.

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 feel.

Compassion.

Forgiveness.

Hope.

I feel.

Love

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.

Wait.

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.

And…

Another door!

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.

We stare.

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.

Photo by Tara Evans on Unsplash

Kai Alexzander Love

-I came here for love

There’s a Storm Coming

LISTEN

Can you HEAR the whistling in the winds.

The ocean longs to be still once again. 

The tides are high; 

getting ready to flood this land. 

LISTEN 

Can you FEEL the movement of the trees. 

If we are willing, to us they will speak. 

They are not moved by the rustling of the leaves. 

If we are ready, their stillness, they will teach. 

LISTEN

Can you SEE the ground moving beneath our feet. 

We must look beyond, in order to perceive. 

This quake cannot be measured from tools made by man. 

This quake is extremely powerful; this quake will shake the land. 

LISTEN 

Do you KNOW that there’s a storm up ahead. 

Will we take heed of the sirens; 

are our hearts and minds prepared. 

The prophet is the one who feels. 

The prophet is the one to see. 

There’s always a black sheep in the family;

what will happen if they cease to be.

Could their victory now become a defeat. 

When will this storm hit the land, I wonder. 

Will it be two years before this storm, we will see. 

Will it be months or weeks before the tide reaches this land. 

Will there be ten earthquakes or will there be three.  

Kai Alexzander Love 

-I came here for love

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Don’t Touch Me

Don’t touch me.

This body has bore the weight of his sin;

penetrated by his darkness,

again and again.

exploring places that were never his to find,

conquering my sacredness,

defiling it. each time.

he was ‘their’ father;

I WILL never claim him as mine.

Don’t touch me.

Her anger was much heavier,

than this body could ever hold.

but try to carry it, I did.

my body. to collapse.

my body. to enfold.

This body wore the garments of her rage;

her hands. did not nurture.

her hands. were not safe.

taking baths. my only refuge.

she ‘even’ managed to take that away.

My body loves water;

baths were where I could ‘be’.

wet, wrinkly and raw;

THIS is when she chose to hit me.

and what about the door that was locked?

my mom ‘would’ find a way in, you see.

The terrain was much too dangerous;

her anger:

a minefield,

I tried my best to ‘be good’ for.

they said that I was ‘bad’.

surely this, did I deserve.

But there’s a REASON we don’t send CHILDREN to war!

Don’t touch me.

I know you want to connect;

what you want is intimacy, my friend.

I’m sorry to disappoint.

there are too many horrors,

in the graveyards of this skin.

their hands. were NOT warm.

their hands. did not hold.

my body: IN SHOCK;

frostbit from their cold.

I know you want to touch.

I fear my body would fold.

Her anger isn’t the ‘only’ minefield,

my body. a hazard;

who knows ‘what’ will set it off.

there’s no switch.

there’s NO stop sign;

that makes everything come to a halt.

Do you know that I slept in closets?

terrified someone would hurt me.

when left alone at night,

until I graduated high school,

this is where I would be.

So please get over yourself.

when I say don’t touch me,

it is NOT about you.

this is only a fraction of my story.

the nightmares I have are NOT dreams;

the nightmares I have are true.

And who has been there to hold me?

when I awake from the terror,

my sleep. now done.

other than myself?

I’m sad to say,

there has only been one:

one that I’ve let hold this body.

one that I’ve let touch this skin.

not only did it take EVERYTHING in me,

but I was in my thirties by then.

THIRTIES before I could be vulnerable ‘enough’,

to allow someone else’s arms to nurture me.

thirties before ‘safety’ I could feel,

without my insides wanting to scream.

She touched me.

is this what it’s like?

to be. nurtured.

to feel. safe.

I never want to let this go.

I want this feeling to always stay.

I need to heal what has been.

set my body,

FREE

from this cage:

this prison of,

his lust.

this prison of,

her rage.

Please touch me.

I want this skin,

this body,

to say.

I will NOT be a prisoner.

I WILL be free.

I will do WHATEVER it takes.

many have judged MY journey;

you are too sensitive, they say.

why do you feel SO intensely?

your soul is TOO vulnerable. TOO raw.

Because…

I HAD to feel EVERYTHING,

to walk out of my cage.

and when i had NO more strength,

I CRAWLED!

I would NOT drown in their darkness.

Trauma WOULD NOT be the end of me.

LOVE is my divine birthright;

I would claim it.

I would be FREE.

I care not, HOW painful it is.

I will scour EVERY inch of my soul;

I will bathe it with light.

I will bathe it with love.

I WILL be healed.

I WILL be whole.

I will soften to the hardest places in me.

I will look at that which I really don’t want to see.

and I WON’T stop,

until i am utterly,

WITHOUT a doubt,

FULLY

COMPLETELY

TOTALLY

FREE!

I said what I said.

the end of me,

my trauma WOULD NOT be.

my childhood.

the abuse. the agony. the grief.

there are STILL some memories,

my mind cannot retrieve.

But, Little Kai, I went back for;

they are NOW safe within me.

I learned:

to re-parent myself.

to see my inner child,

my adult self,

and EVEN my body,

through eyes of love.

I am MUCH MORE than my story.

I AM more than my past;

love

light

resilience

those ARE the things I am made of.

this journey has led me to places,

I NEVER thought I’d see.

to healing,

to hope,

UNIMAGINABLE love,

and OH! SO MUCH peace!

I am ‘extremely’ comfortable in my body.

I love it. I nurture it.

I’m ALWAYS dancing,

ever so free.

my body is no longer a minefield;

it’s NOW okay to come close.

you can touch it.

I know that I do;

no longer afraid of pleasure,

no longer afraid,

my trauma will explode.

I used to ABHOR my body.

now all I feel for it is LOVE.

How did I get this freedom, you ask,

we want to know,

what path did you take?

well, I’ve said it before;

I’ll say it again.

it was the road not many want to take.

you know,

the one that requires you to trust?

to take risks,

to step into ‘the unknown’.

to be honest,

come out of hiding,

your heart and soul, to be shown.

Oh it was ‘that’ road, you say,

I don’t know if that path is for me.

I don’t think I have what it takes,

but in my heart, I ‘really do’ want to be free.

it’s just…. I’m SO comfortable in my cage.

‘maybe’ this is where I’m supposed to be?

Cut the bullshit. You DO have it in you.

it is not too hard,

if the cage, you really want out.

this is coming from someone who’s first memory of sex,

was age five:

a dick in their mouth.

I DO have compassion. I KNOW it’s not easy.

to look within. to heal,

to reckon with truth.

the resilience. the resolve. the strength;

that is in me,

can also be found in you.

it is in ALL beings.

we are all made of something DIVINE.

I was NOT an ‘exception’ to the rule;

I didn’t get lucky and ‘manage’ to survive.

I am persistent in my pursuit of truth.

I REFUSE to ‘settle’ for anything less.

I’ve known darkness;

addiction. grief. despair.

I’ve known ALL of these things.

pain and abuse?

I’ve had MORE than my share.

there’s a reason I’m relentless,

in my pursuit of the light.

I HAVE to believe there is more for me there.

I remember the bottle of pills in my hand;

this world does not ‘really’ want me.

I remember the nights,

scared and alone:

of this cage, I will NEVER be free.

I remember the blood oozing from my skin;

NO ONE else was going to hurt me.

I remember the loneliness,

the ache of of my soul:

is ‘this’ really ALL I was meant to be?

so when I say that there IS more,

when i say that there IS hope,

when I say that there IS freedom,

trust me. I KNOW!

there IS healing. there IS love.

more than our hearts could ever dream.

that is, ‘if’ we are willing to surrender:

our hearts. our souls. our minds.

EVERYTHING.

If our souls. our hearts. our minds,

are not at peace.

then our souls. our hearts. our minds,

must be free.

if our souls. our hearts. our minds,

desire ‘MORE’.

our souls. our hearts. our minds,

must let go.

we must be willing to lay it ALL on the line:

our attachments. our egos. our need to be ‘right’.

we must be willing to LOOK;

look at truth. look at darkness. look at light.

and if we are,

willing,

what will we see?

more beauty than our minds could ever believe!

IF ONLY,

we will leave our cages behind.

IF ONLY,

we will set ourselves FREE!

Kai Alexzander Love 

  • I came here for love

Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

The Fire Starter

“Hi. I’m V.”

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:

fear

Causing my breath to quicken in the night as I went from my bed to the bathroom.

darkness.

taunting

darkness.

haunting

Let’s not forget the horrors that have happened in the night.

Such a diligent tyrant is it,

fear

a skilled conjurer:

masterfully manifesting phantoms

hunting.

chasing.

reaching.

never satisfied with just the capture

it seizes.

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.

resolved

relentless

its purpose

its mission:

to see just ‘how long’ it can keep us imprisoned.

how long can it get us to listen?

louder and louder

it calls.

LOuder and LOuder

it quickens.

LOUDer and LOUDer

it spreads.

LOUDER and LOUDER

it thickens.

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?”

deceptive delusions

luring illusions

We.

are.

transfixed.

ensnared by this sham

we succumb.

fear then devours

it. has. won.

and now our demise:

we are…

undone

and what of our soul

our love and

our light

what of this precious

divine

birthright?

Well…

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.”

No.

We don’t escape our prisons.

we move in,

permanently.

“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

Our soul,

stinging

Our soul,

screaming:

“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

Tell me.

How can something not real, achieve something so splendid?

your answer

please hold

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

Until,

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:

from connection

from being

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.

Tinder.

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.

Kindling.

“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.”

Tinder.

“I know my rights.”

Kindling.

“This is legally my home. The sheriff will escort you out if you fail to leave on your own.”

Burn.

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.

Strong soft.

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 me

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

No.

this fire was wild

uncultivated

any attempts to quench it would not keep

this fire was loud

reverberating

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.

more kindling

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.

I remember,

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,

still

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

it pursued.

then seized

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

Until,

what did I find

that old tyrant fear

that trickster

trying to hide.

Wow. mad respect

I must admit you’re really good

the way you have us looking

at everything

but you.

I took a deep breath

It was time for me to go

from deep in my heart

these last words I spoke:

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

I love you.

I thank you.

Ho’oponopono:

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

we came.

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

Dear wordpress followers, please follow me over to:

medium.com/@iamkailove

What is this monster?

I wonder what it would feel like to be swallowed whole by something so massive its entire throat and body can contain the fullness of my entire being

I wonder what it would feel like as I moved from the wetness of its tongue through the narrowness of the throat and into the darkness of its stomach

maybe fast

then…

slow

how would I move through all these parts

In what way would I be digested?

slowly dissolving, breaking down as I become one with this thing that swallowed me whole

sustaining the life of the very thing that killed me

this thing?

No.

this…

Monster.

decider of my existence

this…

Monster.

concluding that I was disposable

Dissolving.

fast

then

slow

Dissolving.

flesh

bones

skin

blood

Humanity.

humanness

taken.

captured

eaten alive by this thing

this…

Monster.

taking

this…

Monster.

breaking

this…

Monster.

grasping

this…

Monster.

gripping

seizing

all that I am.

all that I could have been.

swallowed.

legs First.

ensuring I can’t see what is to become of me until…

it is too late

I am here

alive

living

breathing

being

I am here

suffocating

breaking

aching

fading

darkness

Death.

much more

than flesh and bones

much more

than skin and blood

Death.

much

Death.

more.

Death.

the gentle touch of a light wind

Death.

the wetness of the eyes as tears begin their escape

Death.

the forming of the face as a smile enters the atmosphere

Death.

the rise and fall of the

belly

Breath!

death…

breath…

Death!

Breath!

death…

breath…

Death!

Breath!

death…

breath…

Death!

Death!

breath…

death…

Breath!

Death!

breath…

death…

Breath!

Death!

breath…

death…

Breath!

AH!

I can’t breathe!

What is this?!

this…

Monster!

taking

breaking

suffocating…

Me!

Me?

The monster is me?

What.

But…

I don’t understand.

How could the monster be me?

 

-Kai Alexzander Love

Follow me on Medium where I will be publishing my pieces.

http://www.medium.com/@callmekailove

#loveandbeloved

May we all be brave enough to see in what ways are we our own monster…

Photo credit: Cristian Newman for sharing their work on Unsplash.

 

Secrets Keep you… safe?

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.

#Love and be loved

#No New Friends

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 our eyes. 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.

Love and be loved, dear ones

See and be seen.

 

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

 

Into Me See

“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

love         shifting

love         healing

love         giving

love         taking

love         building

love         breaking

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

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# love and be loved friends

 

Photo Credit: gift- Kira auf der Heide

 

Hearts that could see

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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,

ache

And here we are again.  A reality that is not real.

Tears that wait until night…

then overflow into my dreams.

Mourning.

Hold on. Here comes the light.

 

 

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# love and be loved friends

 

 

(1) Photo by Gerome Viavant on Unsplash

(2) Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Adventurosity

 

 

After camping in Cuyamaca, my friend and I decided to take an impromptu drive to Mount Laguna. I had never been and was curious. Plus, I am always down for an adventure. I had no idea what the drive would be like and I must admit, if I had known, there is a very high probability that I would not have gone. I have driven up mountains before. But I had never experienced driving up a mountain where the road is a few feet from the edge and there are no barriers or rocks to prevent one from falling. I looked in the rear view mirror at my friend who was driving behind me. “What are they going to do if I accidentally fall off the edge?” I was freaking out, to say the least. 😳

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love being in the mountains. I love looking out and feeling like I am a part of this great big world. I love the instant peace that accompanies it. But I HATE driving up mountains. The first time I went to Big Bear, I refused to drive the mountain part. My friend did the driving. I was actually thinking about this person before I reached this point in my drive to Mount Laguna. Thinking about our trip to Big Bear. Thinking. Grieving. The sadness hit me like a wave right before I realized Mount Laguna was where my story would potentially end. Okay. Okay. ‘maybe‘ I am being a bit dramatic. 🙄

The thing is, even though I was afraid, I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t go back. I had no choice but to ride it out and keep moving forward. I kept breathing. I reminded myself that my car does not have an auto pilot so as long as I stay focused, I should be okay. And I was. I made it to Mount Laguna and it was beautiful! Oh my god! The trees! Orange. Yellow. Yes! I moved to San Diego from Tennessee in 2015 and one of the things I miss the most are the colors of the trees in the fall. (And my friends, of course.) My friend was looking at me with a weird expression and I explained to them how amazing it was to see trees with colors other than green. I was grateful. I am grateful. I have a hidden child-like wonder about me and I can sometimes find joy in the simplest things.

Wherever we are on our journey, there will always be moments of fear. There will be times we have to take risks and we can’t always know what will happen. As a matter of fact, we can’t ever really know what the future holds. But there is one constant that will always remain. Beauty. There is always beauty, should we choose to see it. I don’t know if I would have gone to Mount Laguna if I knew about that drive. I do know that if I had not gone, I would never have gotten to take in the beauty of the trees. It was worth it. Now had the trees been just a regular green… I would have given Mount Laguna the side eye. 😕Just kidding.

Take risks, my friends. Our journeys will take us to places that bring up fear. grief. sadness. joy. wonder. Beauty

#love and be loved