Natalie.

Have I told you lately that I love you?

Have I reminded you that I value you more than I let on?

Have I told you I think you are precious, irreplaceable, the most tender of songs?

You are.

You are kind and you are thoughtful. You care so deeply you are always digging scars deep into your own flesh.

You feel everyone’s pain so much you often ignore your own needs. You simply forget.

Stay you, darling, stay you. Your insides are more beautiful when you remember all the battles you’ve been through.

Sometimes you forget to be kind to you. To treat yourself like your mother would do. Like your father or your nieces. Love yourself like they do. Don’t forget to.

Have I told you lately I love you?

You are amber droplets dazzling the trees. You are summer winds inspiring someone somewhere to just jump in.

You are hot nights on mountain tops, following dreams and not condemning those who are not.

Don’t forget, darling, you are perfectly you. Sometimes you need to remind yourself that because no one can love you like you need to do.

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Dear Fear,

Dear Fear, how did we end up here? When did we let letting go tarnish our crystalline halls? When did we invite the uninvited to batter our walls?

How did we become unseen to each other and when did we start looking for better cover?

When did did our names become synonymous and interchangeable? How did we not notice the turning table?

We hold fast to each other in once familiar hallways, now littered with skeletons we step over to get away.

We stumble past the threshold clawing for more air. It’s been hard to breath with dust filled air.

Dear Fear, how did we ever get here? How did we so quietly become the same?

Sweet Fear, I’m taking back my name.

Unprepared.

These heavy clouds are gray and full, not following me but completely darkening my world.

Bursts of rain tricked me into thinking it was the worst. I’ve been wet before. I’ve been hurt.

But these clouds rumble all around shaking the very trees and forewarning me. These heavy clouds can’t hold back the catastrophic pour. I feel it coming and I can’t hold it back anymore.

I’ve used my rain boots, my umbrella, I’ve stayed covered. This one threatens to drown like no other.

I’m racing for the high ground, shoes laced tight, a half functioning heart. I’m running from the sound, no hope in sight, this is the hardest part.

It will rain. It will pour. I’m trying to get higher so I don’t have to drown anymore.

Rewrite. Erase.

I replay it them rewrite it in my head. I keep the parts I love and erase and rewrite what make a me cry in my bed.

I keep the arms that held me warm and safe. I’d keep the eyes that dripped honey and lips I loved to taste.

I’d keep that chortle that filled my heart. The big hands that held mine and traced all of my curves in perfect arcs.

I’d rewrite the words he used. I’d scribble over when he turned cold. I’d change the callous demeanor into the times he made me feel like home.

I don’t think a heart can handle a quake quite like this. I don’t think they are made much for the size of this fissure.

I’d rewrite your earthquake to be more gentle so we would not break.

I’d keep those sunset eyes and boyish smile. I’d erase, I’d rewrite, just to feel okay after awhile.

Bitch.

I went to a domestic abuse website to confirm that I wasn’t crazy. I’m not. He fit the descriptions I let slide and I realize being ashamed is a waste of my time.

It isn’t an organic feeling. Shame. It’s what society thinks we should feel. I can be relieved, hurt, but I don’t need to feed myself shame for my meals.

The little wedges that made up the ‘abuse’ wheel were little shards depicting who I knew I was with. We all lose ourselves, sometimes, but I won’t be ashamed of this.

Of course he hates me now, I’m not the wilted petal he had pressed in his book. This was a horror story that I let go in hopes no one else would look.

Funny how reading about what I already knew made me calm. It made me okay. Funny how something so sick made me sane.

Strange how what was so comfortably familiar was something cruel. But here we are and I am free. I won’t feel ashamed of what I let someone else make me be.

A bitch, I hear. But being a bitch doesn’t sound so bad to me.

 

 

He said.

‘I don’t love you’, he said.

He meant to say that he doesn’t love my independent streak.

He meant to say, ‘I don’t love myself.’

He meant to say he didn’t love that I didn’t fill his void.

He meant to say that if I could forget my fear and continue doing whatever he says then he could keep the farce going.

He meant to say, ‘Why do you get upset when I pretend not to care and call you a petty bitch?”

He meant to say he is desperately lonely and the shadows choke him at night and all the pills and smoke won’t light the way like my warm body did.

He meant to say he was furious that my standards for behavior aren’t low anymore and that he doesn’t want strive to be better. That if he can’t control me he doesn’t want me.

He meant that he’s angry I see how he has been controlling me and that I won’t let it continue.

He meant to say he doesn’t want to do it all alone and is upset and scared.

‘I don’t love you’, he said.

That’s not what he meant.

Shovels.

We are taught to deny them, control them, hide them.

Our whole lives are hemmed in being afraid to feel. Take those feelings, darling, bottle them up, no one will love someone not healed.

We are raised to bury them deep in the earth. Claw until your fingers bleed. Hide those feelings. Don’t let them see.

My feelings are spilling down my face. They burn the more I let them come. I was never good with a shovel, I don’t bury them. They control me and look what I’ve become.

I’ve become stronger than I ever knew a feeling could let me be. All the feelings come pouring out and I’m crippled and feel wounded mortally.

It’s chaos in my mind. Feelings filling me up and wildly roaming as if they know they can’t be caged, this time.

My feelings for you are exploding fireworks inside a house. Walls burst open, flames erupt, everyone get out.

We are told all our lives to keep them quiet. Keep them calm. Your face must be a white board, don’t let those feelings riot.

My feelings soak my face and keep you far away. You bottle them up and your body can’t sustain.

I’m trying to keep my feelings from terrorizing streets. You keep yours buried and I know it feels fatal, I know it must hurt. Please, darling, dig them up, get them out of the dirt.

Long ago.

A shoulder tap, a turn, green eyes, did you think I’d be taken down like that?

Did you think a coincidence in the sun would make me fall? Did you think I’d see those green eyes and want you back, lies and all?

Follow me, watch me, film me. I see you. You wanted to be seen. She didn’t seem to like the straying of your greens.

The storm we lived in settled down into dusty roads. We were done long long ago. It’s stale moments I remember fondly. Laughing, loving, hand holding, all blindly.

But all these poisons can’t be drunk to bring me back. It seems I like liars, narcissists, sociopaths.

Break the mold, don’t drink the poison, be bold. We have all been done long long ago.

Waste.

Waste.

The particles that float aimlessly down hot streets in the summer. The wrapper that missed the trash can. The left overs you had to throw away.

Waste.

Tick of the hand where there isn’t any love. And laughter. No cold toes burrowed under warm legs and fingers intertwined. The steady movement of those hands where bodies didn’t push and pull each other in. Where your body didn’t fit inside of mine and didn’t make me shiver.

That is a waste of time.

Not me.

The time that was wasted was the time where time was threaded with your lies. The times you couldn’t spare anyone attention. The time filled with absolutely nothing. That was a waste of time.

The years are filled in mason jars decorating my shelves. I love those jars and wanted them to mean something to you because they won’t to anyone else.

But you don’t and they don’t. Now I’m the sole keeper of the memories. I’m the keeper of all that waste you hate. The only rememberer who will love those bits of waste in jars. Nobody but you and I can care but you’ve dumped them for all the empty jars you have to spare.

How wasteful.