Our Tangled Roots

I’m learning on the fly how to hold the pieces of myself together. It’s a skill I’ve never been good at before, I’ve so often crumbled, wilted, broken down, melted down. But now I know it isn’t just about me, now I know the ways in which the architecture of myself is interlocked with the structures of beloved others so that we hold one another up.

Did you know that some trees fuse their roots together? They share information and nutrients and become stronger within this interdependence.

I used to think that I wasn’t important, that my absence would be to the detriment of nobody. Wisdom came when I nearly ended my own existence and was confronted by the tremendous pain of a beloved. Now I can clearly see the way hurt spirals outwards and I feel, as a deep responsibility, the importance of my continual striving to keep myself intact.

Kindness is to never shame those who cannot cease their disintegration. Compassion is to understand the drive towards self-destruction and know it for what it is; the anguish of an animal in acute pain. Pain that may feel utterly inescapable. Pain that may be utterly inescapable.

Do you know that you are important? Perhaps you cannot conceive of the ways in which your existence enriches mine, perhaps you cannot believe that your absence would leave a permanent wound within my chest. Do you know that you are a source of love and light and joy? Do you know that I’m holding the pieces of myself together for you?

Look, can you see it? Love, can you feel it? My roots are fused with yours.

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I Wish

I wish I could travel back in time. Back to when you were wide eyed and tiny, back before the world had you so badly battered and bruised. I wish I could hold you in my arms, kiss your sweet forehead, stroke your soft hair and tell you that you’re safe. I wish I could have made you safe, kept you warm, sheltered from what was yet to come.

I wish I could soften the world around you. I would file and smooth the rough edges so they could no longer pierce your skin. I would take away the violent forces of inequality, brutality and modern forms of slavery that suck away your blood, breath, strength and hope. I would take you to an open field and watch you frolic in the daylight. I would strip away my clothes and frolic with you.

I wish that I could shoulder your burdens for you. If only I had a stronger frame with which to carry things, I would take it all off you so that you might experience a lightness so profound that you take to the sky like a butterfly.

Were it an option, I would take a thousand beatings to see you flying free. If I could negotiate with the Gods, I’d offer my soul in exchange for you emancipation.  But, mortal and small, all I can do is hold your beautiful hand and love you with all the things that I am.

Sometimes I feel overwhelming dismay at my own impotence. In the cold reality of existence, the beat of my heart feels like a speck of dust in the face of a tidal wave. Feeble, I feel, foolish. But when my heart pounds and glows just underneath my ribcage, I know it is the only thing I have to give.

Wash

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When he visits me, washing becomes an event. I demand that he scrubs me clean like I’m a naughty toddler. I whine when the water is too hot or too cold and splash about in hopes of getting his shirt wet because I like to make him mad. When he pulls the plug and I watch the water sucked down the drain, I push my arse into the air just asking him to push his fingers inside my holes. When he is away, washing becomes a display. I take photos and videos like a digital siren because I want to remind him of what is here for him. His eyes on me make me feel as if I exist and am beautiful and I am a junkie for his attention.

On my Instagram.

“I love you” words

How did we get here? Like you’re a stranger I always knew or actually I think I always imagined you but now you’re here and I can touch you and I keep thinking maybe I’m making you up but the details are so much more than my notions and daydreams and longings. I never thought you were real because you never think dreams are real and even when you believe them you never do. But I can touch you and you’re tangible, physical, beautiful.

My heart is racing and my body shakes sporadically from the adrenaline. Your hands are so much bigger than mine, your body is so much heavier and so you easily crush me under the weight of you and keep me still so still when sometimes you even stop my breath and it is solace and safety and you look into my eyes and our fear makes us glow all the brighter.

Freedom is an illusion because our time and physicality and capacity is limited so limited so finite. But don’t we just forget that in the moments that pass too quickly but are the most brilliant fireworks? Multichromatic paroxysms that make us gasp and our chests hurt and our tears mingle as our faces press together and we are afraid to be so vulnerable as to cry but, defiantly, rebelliously, we do. What sick fucker ever told us it was wrong to cry anyway? I want to lick up your tears, not to hide them but to adore them. I want to worship at the altar of your pain. I adore every aspect of your humanity.

Freedom is an illusion and yet the possibilities are so much greater than our poor, sweet, dear little brains can imagine when they are trapped in labyrinths and habits and well-trod pathways. It takes energy, bravery, compassion and comradery to break with tradition and roam in the wilderness. We hold hands and offer comforting “I love you” words as a means of sustenance and strength. We fuck and talk and talk and fuck until sleep and other practical matters such as the rest of everything demands our attention and then only for a little while.

Here you are with me in dark places I’ve only ever glimpsed alone before and then you shine your flashlight on me and see me and tell me I am beautiful and bravely ugly. Suddenly, loneliness is a memory. We share our worlds and pains and loves with one another, we make offerings and slowly we learn to trust and take them.

Treading Water

You’re treading water in a vast and dark ocean full of sunken memories and shipwrecked dreams. I’m in my little boat with my little lamp, a carefully protected firelight. Dotted in the distance I can see other boats, other little lights that bob up and down. We communicate with words that float across the water and with body language flickers. Sometimes, many times, our speaking shifts in shape as it travels from one vessel to another, lost in transit our tools for communication are imperfect but necessary and so we keep calling out to each other. We tell stories to share our pain and joy and we cultivate these fierce fragile fires that keep the cold dark at bay.

My eyes are fixed upon you as my mind scans the black, murky water. My body shudders with the memory of the time I too was treading water and how the only thing that got me out was the small cluster of boats that appeared around me. Arms reached down and pulled me out of the water over and over until I had gained enough strength, filled up with enough warmth to once again man my own vessel. I can feel the ghosts of that cold, of those waves, I can remember the fog of my perception, how I saw nothing ahead but the endless treading of water and how I began to close my eyes and let go. Oh the relief of sinking, oh the beauty of surrender.

The horror is bile in my throat. That wasn’t my time. My time will come but that wasn’t it. That would have been unnatural, wrong, ugly. That wasn’t the way I was supposed to go. That wasn’t my time. I still had light to shine in the world.

You’re gasping and choking on icy salt water and you flicker like a firefly. I look down at my hands and see traces of your phosphorescent moonlight which has entered my skin, I watch it travel through the rivers of my veins. I realise that my own light has grown and that the colours and textures revealed can only be observed or occur under the particular phenomena of our light in unity.

My vision of you blurs with the miniature oceans that spill from me and into the infinite everything. I’m calling out to you, imploring you to wait, to hold on, to trust me and to let me help. It doesn’t feel like a choice I have, it feels like I am trying to salvage some precious part of myself.

We only just met.

I pause. Instantly everything is still and quiet and barren and dry like a desert. Who the fuck am I? Who the fuck am I to think I can help? What do I know of the world? Of you? Of your struggles? Is my desire to help you ugly and stupid and selfish? Would it be more humane to let nature take its course? Is this what you actually want? Or is this foolish and naïve? Am I putting my own light at risk? Will I also be sucked down into the murk? Will all of us? What the fuck do I know of anything or anyone besides myself? Who the fuck am I to try help you?

Waves crash across the deck and I am soaked ice cold. My light doesn’t flicker, instead my skin is electrified and my heart pounds and my focus grows more fixed. Who the fuck am I to try help you? I don’t know. I know I’m just one small beacon of light with arms that are weak and easily tremble. But I know that even if I turned around and navigated my vessel elsewhere, every time that I closed my eyes, I would see you treading water and I would never be the same. I don’t know what I am but I know I don’t want to be that.

And I know that I love you.

And as I observe the particular beauty of your flickering light… it doesn’t feel like this is your time to go. Your time will come but I don’t believe that this is it. My heart tells me that you still have light to shine in the world. Phosphorescence, luminescence, moonlight.

So I remain here in my boat that bobs up and down, I remain here with my arm stretched out and my hands open to you. I hope you have the strength to hold on. I hope that I can provide you with enough warmth and light to sustain you and strengthen you so that we can make maps together and navigate us all to warmer places where our fires can grow.

We are weak. We are strong. We are scared. We are love.

Moonlight

You have a glow to you like moonlight, when I squint I swear I can see it. It suffuses your skin with an opalescent iridescence that feels like magic, like nostalgia, as if you’re a friend from a childhood we never had. I want to discover secret spaces with you, our eyes wide with curiosity and our hearts beating with excited nerves.

There’s this connection of chemistry and the language of eyes, like I can read the flickers and shifts within you and they are weather, phenomena that alters my own interior environments. The smell or something of you enters my bloodstream so that your desire becomes my own and in an Ouroboros of intoxication, I want you to feel good so that I can feel your feeling of it.

It’s so cold outside and when you tell me of that haunting wind that blows, I want to wrap myself around you or lay myself on top of you like my cat does in winter. I want to create a shelter of warmth and love and protect you like the precious thing I perceive you to be. I know I’m only one small creature and that nobody can ever be truly safe but I hope, at least, I can offer you a little warmth to help sustain that beautiful glow.

Ember

At some point almost every night, my giant, emotional, weighty puffball of a cat will make a little whirring beep sound at me which is her request that I lift the blankets and allow her onto my chest. Almost always, I acquiesce and, purring loudly, she climbs aboard, crushing my boobs until she is comfortably lying down.

She’s a big girl, Dicey, and the slightest movement will cause her to flop down sideways where I will ease her into a comfortable position with her head on my arm and her legs draped around my body in a sort of cuddle. There she will remain, impossibly, luxuriously soft and with a purr that crackles like a campfire and we will both drift into a blissful slumber of interspecies love until I either move her because I have lost circulation to my arm or she decides that she has tired of me and leaves. Sometimes, Wes, my husband, will join the cuddle and that will be almost more love than my chest can contain.

Once in a while, Dicey will become violently enraged by some movement I have made or some dream she has had and then she will attack me with terrifying ferocity which ultimately gets her propelled off the bed followed by a loud “FUCK YOU CUNT” which will not disturb Wes from his sleep because he is acclimatised to these night dramas.

Despite her violent outburst, I love that cat immensely and often reflect on the transient beauty of our time together, for her lifespan is so much shorter than mine and when she passes, only Wes and my hearts will truly break as our little family loses a precious member. Her existence, like ours, is temporal, a tiny ember of warm life in an impossibly vast universe, shortly we will all flicker out and memories of us will soon vanish also. Her, us, love. All of it will end.

I feel tiny pangs of the pain and sorrow of that cold, indifferent future reality and I perceive our current reality of love and warmth and comfort and sweetness as nothing short of miraculous, delicate, precious. Such an unlikely, glowing, ephemeral experiential jewel. Life and love a flower that blooms and withers in the course of a single day.  We will end but for the most microscopic of moments, we get to exist. For the most microscopic of moments, we get to love. I count my blessings. I see the beauty.