Nothing

 
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Sometimes you believe you were born broken. Or perhaps it was the brutality of the world that pulled you apart. Slowly, but surely, over time. Now it seems you have become a mass of gaping wounds, that get so cruelly prodded here and there. Often by well meaning folks, but occasionally by those that are so caught up in their own misery, they don’t even see how deep they cut with just an ill-placed word, a look, or sometimes simply silence.

It’s the latter that hurts the most though isn’t it. The inability to communicate when it’s so desperately wanted and in need. That’s the kind of inaudible noise that starts to deafen over time. Kills you with the longing. The deep desire to know the unknown. And often, in the absence of answers, you start to make them up. Create fiction in your head so strong you’d swear it was the truth.

And when you can’t find the truth and your feral mind has been driven insane by its own version, you’ll start to seek it out at any cost, only it’s usually you that ends up paying. ‘Cause you can’t unread the lines. Cold and heartless as they are. The ones that reduce you to a paragraph of nothing. The ones that dig deep into your biggest wound. That one that never heals.

You read those lines with no surprise, yet filled with disappointment. Although it wasn't the first time you’d read them, nor been made to feel that way and it wasn’t the disscontempt from which they were produced that eroded you as it did. Ultimately, it was the echoing of all your greatest fears and insecurities being outlined by the hand of the one person you trusted to accept them, not make them a reason for leaving.

That’s the thing though, when you give yourself to love; in order to do it fully, you need to give yourself completely. Wounds and all. You must purge your greatest failures and trust the other person not to judge you. Because it’s not the totality of you, but it is a part and it’s a part you try to hide; that broken, messy, bitter side. The ugly bit. The bit you think no one will love. But they do, the right ones always do.

Yet you can’t know who the right ones are until you show them. Lay bare before them, defenceless, vulnerable, still raw from the last one who fooled you into thinking you were safe, before you stumbled upon the reality that damn near killed you with its cruelty. You know only too well that you’ll run through a hundred disappointments ‘til you find the one strong enough to carry your despair.

The one who looks at you as you crumble into nothing and still sees something worth picking up. Something worth loving. The one who doesn’t tear you apart with their constructive criticism. The one who doesn’t look at you like you’re something to fix. The one who accepts you in your current state, knowing you could be more, you could be better, but that you might never grow to be.

And you know from experience they exist, because you’ve found them once before. They showed you a type of love that terrified you. That in some way revolutionised, yet its impact was such that when it was over, you realised you’d spend your whole life trying to find something that’d match it. Because everything seemed somewhat superficial after that. A little pointless. If it wasn’t real, it wasn’t right.

So, now you lay awake at night, thinking over where it all went wrong. How you didn’t realise. How you could have put so much trust into someone that so casually broke it, without so much as an apology. You reread the words you’ve memorised, from the page you photographed inside your mind. Each syllable never ceasing to sting. The betrayal, the disappointment, the hurt. It all still cutting like a knife.

They told you they saw you, really saw you, where others had previously failed to do so. Yet in the end, they took those fractured pieces you had so courageously trusted to show them and used them against you. Used them to blindly break you where you were only just mending. Destroying the little fragmented good that was left. And now, once again, the world seems like the brutal place you always feared it to be.

Now you’re left to carry the weight of all your heartaches, whilst doing your best not to let them drown you, as you set off to swim those tides again. You tell yourself what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yet you know you’re more fragile than before. Because some bruises don’t heal, some breaks don’t mend and some things can’t be forgiven.

Maybe ain’t no good

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It’s true, it took a while for me to see you. Really see you. See the value you possessed. I was still emotionally wrapped in the arms of another. Wrapped in the arms of my past. But I told you this, at every twist and turn. You asked and I always answered. Always. Did I not? I looked you in the eye and told you I wasn’t sure, because I wasn’t.

But now I am.

Y’see, when I love, I love entirely. I am committed, bound to that love. Although, my dedication often keeps me tethered long after the lover has left. My heart still playing out the beat, even though the music has come to an end. This is who I am. I cannot shallow breathe. I inhale. I consume.

And that circus we inhabited, that land of possibilities, built on selfishness, didn’t help, as its fickleness fed yours. How could the idea of building something solid with you there not seem risky. Yet when you took me to your roots, showed me your kin, in that Gaelic light, I saw a man of worth. It’s just a shame his presence left as soon as the plane did.

But I meant it though, when I said that I choose you. Because I’ve honoured my last love now. Laid it to rest. Your love inspired me to do so. So perhaps you were right, in a way, you were a bandaid over the crack. Only it seems as though you healed me more than I ever thought you could.

But I will not wait for a maybe, anymore than I would have expected you to have waited for mine. Because we both deserve better than a maybe. Better than an ‘I might run away’, or an ‘I believe in second chances’, as you’re running out the door.

That concrete jungle we called home, peeled off layers. Swept away the detritus. But eventually, it left me bare. I became disinterested, disorientated and a sense of powerlessness washed over me like holy water, stripping me of sin. Yet returning to the lands that gave me life, have served to remind me of who I was and who I am.

And I am not a person who lives on maybes. I’ve built a life on taking chances, on seeing things through. On diving into the depths and learning how to swim along the way. And yes, sometimes I learn too late, but honestly, I think life’s too short not to leap over the kitchen table for what sets your soul on fire.

Sure, sometimes you get burnt, but you gotta accept that sometimes the lessons just come that way. That’s life baby. That’s living.

women

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We are the lions that sleep amongst sheep. Drawn to weak men who seek strong women that represent that which they cannot give themselves. Yet, whilst we are strong and capable, we have also learned to be soft, to be vulnerable, to understand our weaknesses do not define us, nor do they serve as representation of our whole.

We have learnt to be lovers, to be caregivers, to be mothers, whilst having to fend for ourselves. We have needed to be courageous whilst the world around us has been cruel. We are held accountable, held to a standard by those who do not do so for themselves. They see us as fragile, yet we have shown more toughness in one single menstrual cycle than most have shown in a lifetime.

We have been their saviours. We have been their muses and inspiration. We have wept for them when they could not weep themselves. We have also wept because of them, because they could not encompass the totality of their being. We have suffered through their insufferable hatred of themselves. And not hardened but softened ever more.

They have been shallow, cold, manipulative and when we have shown them love, empathy, forgiveness and understanding in return, they have perceived it as weakness, disqualified us as adversaries and left us for dead. Still, we go on.

I think of soft hearts and gentle curves and how they have been grabbed at, abused and broken. How we have offered our hopes and dreams and opened our doors to the possibility of a shared existence only to have them robbed and burned. Yet we build again and again and we do not lose hope.

We are the fearless, who have lived through the destruction. Battered and bruised but never defeated. Shedding ourselves each month so that we may one day bear their children. Giving life to a broken world.

We are the representation of all that they fear they will never be man enough to be. Soft yet powerful. Afraid yet courageous. Broken yet not bitter. We embody the duality that they have been taught to hide. We have been teachers when the lessons were unwilling to be learnt. We have forgiven even when it has been impossible to forget.

And we stand amongst the flock, ever more willing to take on the burden of their inabilities to feed themselves. We nurture when we could destroy. We cradle when we could suffocate out of the collective sorrow, bred by their misunderstandings of themselves.

We are the lions and you will know us by our roar.