Strong Love


I bend and break to the will of their demands, simply because I am so afraid that if I say no, they will leave me.

I glance in the mirror only to see sadness, yet know I am the only one who placed its presence upon my face. I am better than this, I tell myself, as I sob silently behind closed doors.

How did we get here, I ask myself for the hundredth time this year. How did the one before and the one before that not teach us what it was to be brave. To be alone.

I see the pictures, the replicas of our time spent together. The setup stands the same, but I have to focus my eyes a little to see that it is not my own figure that stands beside him now. It is another version of myself. A little younger. A little prettier. I have to steady my nerves, quell the gathering of tears that sit behind my now closed eyes. The ones that wish they could erase those images and the imaginary ones that they invoke. Of him and her playing out the roles that were once ours. Unwrapping the dreams that once belonged to us. The ones we would speak about in lengthy conversations that bled into the night.

It’s over, I say. Our time is done. The waiting, the constant waiting, for his return, has finally come to an end.

I try not to feel as though my heart might stop at any moment. That I did not waste four years to loving an illusion of a man who could never be all that he professed he might one day become. I try to accept it as the blessing wrapped in a jagged lesson that it was. He was my heart opener. He was my core work.

He laid the ground for the one that followed. The one who made me feel safe and uneasy at the same time. The one who’s love I could not appreciate until it was gone. As I sat and picked the wallpaper off the walls with my vain disinterest, because my head was locked in a bundle of thoughts about someone else.

He gave me medicine wrapped in honey. He gave me hope, just to take it away. He was unstable and I fed his insecurities as though it were the only thing I had to do that day and every other after. And just when I’d pushed him to the edge of it all, I ran like the wind had knives in my back, only to regret it later.

And just when I was done regretting. Just when I’d let myself fill in the crack. The next one came along. Like a burning fire ripping through all my rationale. Wide-eyed on youthful enthusiasm, offering me the world on a plate. Only to realise he’d already given it away the day before to someone else. Someone who’s shoes I nearly fit, but clearly didn’t and never would.

I’d watch him softly meditate and feel myself burning with love. Only to later burn in his chaos. Suffering the fallout from the signals that were so mixed I thought my head was spinning right off my shoulders and into the trash I started to feel.

I did this, I thought. I did this again.

I felt the pinch of trying to fit into a space that was clearly too small. A little room, I’d beg and they’d close in another wall just to watch me squirm. And I did, didn’t I. I had the strength to blow the whole thing up, but I was so afraid. So afraid.

Play small, I whispered to myself as they’d gently sleep beside me. Lost in peaceful dreams as I lay wide awake with disappointed anguish once again.

This isn’t how love is meant to be. This isn’t partnership. This isn’t what I wanted. But I gave it to myself all the same.

I touch the scar that runs across my heart and realise that this feels worse than the rejection I’m afraid will come from asking for what I need. Because I’ve been rejecting myself over and over again. And when I run out on each and every love that comes into my turgid path, I am running from myself.

And I’m tired of running. So fucking tired.

I want the soft love. The strong love. The I’m not going anywhere kinda love. The holds me and helps me to sit with the terror I feel at losing it type love. The handles my broken mind as though it were captain of a ship chartered for the choppiest seas one could ever imagine and is still down for it sorta love.

It takes a strong person to give that level of love. And I am acknowledging that I have to be a strong person to get a strong person to give me the strong love I demand in lieu of all the weak moments I have served myself over the past thirty loves.

I have to stop bending and breaking in fear of the thing I fear most and yet do to myself over and over again. I am my own self-fulfilling prophecy and I must write amends.

Here we are again


I have calloused hands from holding on too tight. A death grip around your heart, trying to keep it in my possession, knowing only too well that I am fighting a losing battle. I push you away with my concerns. Turn you off with my anxiety.

How did we get here, again?

I feel good on my own. I orbit my own contentedness. I become so self-absorbed that the presence of others becomes insignificant. It’s just me and my own mind. Floating aimlessly in ignorant bliss. But that’s when it happens. Like a comet crashing into my side, causing a cavity I know I’ll never fill.

I fall into the black hole of obsession. Chasing you like a drug high I wish to endlessly recreate. All those cracks in me expanding until I am simply held together by virtue of my will to stay a little longer by your side. But I can’t, can I. Because it’s too much and then not enough.

I seek answers in your last love and hold myself against her. I know, I know we are not the same. That what I have to offer will be wildly different. That what I have to teach cannot be taught by her. Yet I will still compare and suck the joy from my veins in doing so. I will worry and plant seeds of doubt in you that grow into weeds, poking holes in what we have.

I tell myself that I am better off alone. That I am better without the complication of another person’s galaxy, causing chaos in my own. That I am safer in my own atmosphere. Calmer. And yet, I know it is implausible to maintain the type of solitude that keeps me sane, as these interactions appear unavoidable. Inescapable.

So here we are again. Here I am with you, hoping upon hope that I can do better than the last time. That I can learn. That I can let this go when the time comes and not force it out the door like I usually do. Not run from it, as though it were a fire I lit, which spread through every room in my once loved home.

I will try to trust until you reveal to me that I was right to worry. I will try until you tell me that there’s nothing left to try for. I will unclench my hands from your heart and release you to stay or go, depending on your thoughts that day. I will accept that maybe the lessons I have to teach you are not the ones you wish to learn. I will stand here in the dark, until you turn the light on and show me that you’ve gone home.

Dead Wood

I awake feeling as though I am the sun. As though it is midday and I am glorious and shining at full capacity. As though I radiate the type of warmth that would melt away the sins of every dark moment ever experienced. I am alive. I. Am. Alive. My mind whirls with ideas that spin and twirl and bounce ecstatically from wall to wall. I believe myself to be capable of anything and most likely, everything. That there are no parameters. No boundaries. No limits to what I can achieve. I am expansive. I am hopeful. I call every friend in my contacts list. I speak to strangers as if I knew them all along. I am flirtatious. I am rambunctious. I am captivating. I am in a manic high, which I know will only end in tears.

I awake feeling as though the walls have come crashing in. As though the sky has darkened and proclaimed that sunlight has been banned. As though everything is impossible. I am heavy. Everything is a burden. I hold my dreams, my joy, my loved ones, yet there is thick glass between us now. I am numb to all the hope that had once left me sleepless in excitement. I walk and wish the road would never end. I feel as though I am incapable. I cannot possibly imagine how any day will be good again. How anyone will ever understand this thick fog I have found myself wading through. I run from love as if it is the plague. I destroy it. Set fire to it as though it were tissue paper and I a lit match. I do not know how to work through this, so I work myself out of it instead. I am a tornado, unable to maintain the growth I made the day before. I am a blizzard, icing everyone out. Words no longer drip from my mouth. I am a violent streak, hitting and screaming and biting a piece of flesh I resent for not working as it should. I am the bitterness at how my brain is dead wood, whilst everyone else’s is a forest, bursting at the seams with life. I am a ghost before I am dead. I am distant, whilst being held. I want to die, because I cannot cope with this anymore.

I awake light as fresh linen, drying in the summer’s breeze. I am forgetful of the sorrows I once felt. I feel as if today I am a new version of myself. As if yesterday was someone else. Thinking of that person I feel embarrassed and ashamed. I feel confused at how my mood can swing like a pendulum, attempting to find grace. I feel lethargic from all the trying. I think of doctor’s appointments made in the shadows that I consider cancelling in the light. I think of pills that made me motionless. Pills that saved doors from ripping off their hinges and my head from being hit again. I think of unanswered calls and harsh words and big decisions made on top of mountains and suffered in the bog I rolled into when I fell. I am tears cried into an ocean of my greatest despair at never being in the middle of the boat which is now sinking. I am hopelessness. I am the inability to know when this will get better. I am sick of this shit.

I am twenty years of hiding. I am the smiling face concealing all the pain. I am the one you turn to. I am the one who disappears for days and weeks whilst I fall apart and put myself back together again, whilst you didn’t even notice I was gone. I am trying to tell you without knowing how to tell you. I am struggling. I feel alone. I feel unsupported, whilst pushing everyone away. I am unable to explain the magnitude of how each day is difficult for me, as I walk out the door that took me twenty anxious minutes to escape through. I am the one falling apart, wishing you would hold me. I am the one breaking under the weight of your constraints. I am the one putting on as brave a face as I can make, as I know you do not understand what it is to have a rotten brain. What it is to be stuck. To be fragmented, yet still look whole. What it is to get through each day as if it were a marathon. I wish it was my leg that was broken and not my mind. I cannot count on the plans that I make in my best moments, which become distant memories before the day is done. I am a boulder inhabiting a house I have outgrown. I am the meltdown over the smallest of things. I am incapable of processing when things don’t go to plan. I am the one who has dragged my carcass to every work day, every appointment, every yoga class, every country in some vain attempt to get better. To power through. To keep going. To seem like the relatively well adjusted person I am not. I am the one who can count on one hand the nights I have slept through. I am the one who is impressed when I actually manage to get anything done. I am resentful of how strong I have to be when no one realises. I am bitter at all the times I am accused of being weak, in the midst of a battle no one would know how to wage. I am the one who waits patiently for things to fall apart, whilst holding onto the goodness as best as the moment will let me. I am the one who longs for a family I am afraid I will fail and ruin. I am the one being kept afloat, whilst I fear I will never support myself again. I am the one who is hurting. I am the one dying for it to be recognised. For it to be named. I am the one who cannot conceive of how this will ever be fixed. I am the one praying it would go the fuck away.