What I mean to say is, I’m sorry. I’m sorry everything’s changed. I’m sorry my bones are dark with mourning and need, sorry I don’t feel the way I used to, sorry the light doesn’t catch in my eyes. When I was 17, I’d lie in the grass near my house and watch the sky with such wonder, it’s astonishing I didn’t implode on the spot. I was so full. Where did she go; that marvel, that gleam? I miss her terribly.
What I mean to say is, what am I doing? I’m split. A part of me is hanging on so hard to the past I think I’ll die if I let go, but a part of me wants to cut those years off like a rotten leg—pretend I only just came into being, that I have always been like this. I’ve carried so much shame with me all my life, but I’m just realizing it now. Or, maybe I’m finally realizing how not okay it is. How somewhere along the line I stopped believing it was alright to call myself Writer or Poet or Author or Warrior or Brave, just because I wasn’t doing those things well enough. I read great literature so I’d have something to aspire to, fueled by the hot, strange beauty, but in doing so, I burned myself. I began to feel like an imposter among my own words. I gave up Writer and Poet and Author and Warrior and Brave, because they just weren’t mine enough. I let them belong to others. I became a spectator to myself.
What I mean to say is, it’s a hard world. There are beautiful things, yes, moments that catch me off guard and stun me with love, but they seem to grow further and further apart. Nothing is easy. What use are those once beloved flowery words and strung-out phrases of effulgence, which now make me squirm with embarrassment? I don’t write like a child anymore. I write like someone who’s worn out, someone who just wants to slip off her shoes and rest for a while. I am trying to be okay with that. I’m trying to accept the lostness. I’m trying to exist, somehow, in this jumble of souls. I’m trying to figure out my place in it all. I used to know everything, but I don’t know anything anymore.
What I mean to say is, life isn’t romantic. The human heart isn’t romantic. Romance isn’t romantic. The poets were right when they said blood was never beautiful, it was just red. I want to spin you a story of angels and upsurge and glow, but I can’t. I can’t be silver. I cannot be delicate. I can’t breathe lilacs or moonbeams, when what I really need to breathe is oxygen, right down to my belly where my soul has clenched itself tight. I cannot live like poetry, though I tear myself apart trying. I can’t.
What I mean to say is, I’m Still Here. Even though it feels like I’m not. Even though I go home and wash the dishes and stand in the dark watching the skyline under its field of stars while this gnawing, unfillable pit within me writhes to be heard. I’m still here, writing these flawed sentences, wondering at the meaning of everything. The world isn’t familiar anymore, and neither am I, but I still have some things. I have my voice. My resilience. A body that sobs and laughs. Love. Clouds and water and comets and bees. The sky. The earth. All of it.