Do you remember the first words that fell off your lips?
Or the first thing that caused joy to well up?
Funny, the things we remember.
So important, our first steps.
Yet we never get to see them.
Remember the rush of our chubby baby legs working how we wanted.
Or our first words.
I wonder what mine were?
Maybe it’s better not to know.
So silly, the way we see ourselves.
Lost in memories and thought loops
Experiences we label and poke at (from an unsafe distance).
Staring into mirrors that distort
And ask the wrong questions.
Peering into eyes that hide behind plastic masks,
Use paint to hoodwink reality.
What do you remember?
I get these flashes.
I don’t want them.
My chest breaks in half
Everything is frozen in blazing nausea
And the world goes dark
They color my sleep in muddy hues
Robbing intimate moments of safety.
I got so sick
Sick of paying for others’ sins.
Confused body, still paying with sickly health.
The only things I remember, hurt.
I wish it wasn’t that way.
Wish I could hold happy childhood memories in my thoughts
Like little flakes of gold, suspended
Always there to infuse me with heart swelling snapshots.
The foundation all the healthy people have
The people who don’t fall apart every day.
But protection came at a cost.
My mom bought me gold flakes at a field trip once
I think they’re in storage.
I wish I could remember
The day I was born.
I wonder what it felt like.
But if I tell…
If I tell, you might look at me
Like I’m made of porcelain, so easily broken
Or smothered in slime I can never remove
(Even though I didn’t put it there)
It infuriates me.
Perhaps if I hurt you, you won’t see me as weak
But I’m not a bully, so I’ll wait for you to hurt me first.
Silly memories, telling me you will.
I wish I could remember what I felt the day I was born.
Would I be the same person?
Would there be something at the center of me, holding me up?
Convincing me that I am solid and here and…
I wish I could remember.
What emotions flooded my body, the day I was born?
Can you take me back to the beginning, before everything became broken?
I mean, I’ve had friends. Loads. I never had a problem making friends. But this was different. He didn’t want to have sex with me. He didn’t want to stay in an unhealthy phase of life. He did want to connect. To uplift. To be uplifted. Real friendship.
I typically only get along with people this way when they’re older than me by a decade or two. Been that way since I was a munchkin. I tried to fight it for a while in my teen years. But why? I mean, I believe we existed before this life. I could be substantially older than my mother. My younger brother could be eons older than me. *shrug*
Anywho, the amazing thing about this, is the relationship was healthy. The only healthy relationship this gal has ever had from start to finish.
I met him in the blogosphere when I began blogging, about 6 years ago. We had a lot in common. We critiqued each other’s novels. I learned a lot. He was honest. We called each other out. We consoled one another. We got each other… On the same wavelength, you know? He sent me a box of books. If that doesn’t scream friendship right there, I don’t know what does.
This relationship has been my rock. He, along with a book series and my family, are the reasons I got vulnerable enough to consider therapy. Which I chose to allow me to change my life for the better.
This relationship is what got me through a lot of my issues. Helped me remain humane with myself. Remember that I mattered, wasn’t a monster, and having issues didn’t make me unlovable. I learned to trust someone. I learned self-value in part because of this friendship. Someone else who saw all my damage could love me.
But, as I’ve recently learned, friendships don’t last forever. Not even the healthy ones. People change. We grow, evolve, move forward in different directions. This friendship died a healthy death.
That’s never happened before, and I, therefore, didn’t know how to deal with it. All my unhealthy coping mechanisms were gone, you know? I’d burned them alive and let them die the painful death we needed them to die. So I looked for a healthy one.
I chose to write about it.
I figured I’d share the resulting poem with you. I cried writing it. I cried reading it. I cried sending it. But I cannot say I have any regrets. I cannot say I regret anything with this relationship. I believe we all have people come into our lives for a reason. And I believe we come into others’ lives for a purpose.
Maybe the truth is that I did NOT lose something this year. I grew. He grew. We figured out how to create a real relationship where neither of us ended up hating one another, but instead parted in healthy ways for healthy reasons. We bettered each others’ lives. Ta da. Healthy relationship. I certainly learned a lot about myself (and my writing).
But I digress. Here are my blood and tears, encapsulated in ink and vocal chords.
Perhaps this is part of becoming new
I am not so broken up
But I am
How can I be a phantom
Yet so brilliantly alive
In the same heart beats
Through my veins
All at once
Then not at all
These same tears
Are saying two different things
Perhaps this is part of becoming new
Shedding dead skins
And remembering them fondly
These dew drops of joy
I’ll store them in a jar
There will be so many more mornings
Dewdrops to collect
I’ll keep the safety
In this snapshot
Never having to worry
More was building
I never breathed so freely
I think maybe perhaps
I will buy some new jars
Open the lids
I cut my hair short
Put my old stories through the shredder
I sent out a letter
There’s a purple ruby on my desk
It’s from you
Perhaps this is part of becoming new
Final nail in the coffin
Of the phantom in me
Last crack in my shell
Something winged set free
Dying a natural death
In other words, change
Alchemy of the soul
We each need different chemicals
To destroy ourselves
So we can rebuild our bones
Trade fins for wings
Maturation into brilliancy
This is part of becoming new
You were a much-needed ingredient
So I could see the dead skin cells
I clung to
Wipe them away
Close my eyes
Clean up with all these tears
To break through
And pull myself out
And ever so new
It was is time
Please wake up
To something beautiful
I believe there comes a time to look objectively at my life and decide if there are any beliefs, behaviors, projects, relationships, dreams, and/or time spent in any other ways that are doing more harm than good, or simply need to be allowed to die a natural death.
I have spent 6 years on a story. One which has changed altogether 3 times. One which has brought me much joy and realization, illumination in my own life.
But this story is more closely tied to my uncertainty and shifting life purposes than I was aware. Blair does not know what her story is or how to arrange in her heart all the pieces of her puzzle.
This is because, I do not know these precise things.
I cannot yet tell you Blair’s story. To all those who have read one of her stories, I am ever grateful for your help in revealing a part of my soul to me. But I must admit, you have not met Blair in her fullness.
It is time Blair and I move on together, to further discover our own lives.
It’s time I begin anew.
I will always love Blair. I will tell her story at some future date.
But to do so today would be a sham, a disgrace, a lie.
And there is a difference between perseverance and sheer stubborn denial.
So, I must confess, I was wrong. I haven’t lost the urge to write. I’ve lost the desire to try to force something that isn’t ready.
But this is great freaking news!
I am moving on.
I find I am excited by this new, empty page.
There is a dragon unlike I’ve ever met meandering around in the back of my mind; napping, checking in on zombies, solving mysteries to keep herself from going mad, and eating a lot of peaches.
I’m interested in her, in this strange new feel she brings.
In conclusion, I’m eternally grateful that I have not been published.
I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know myself at all. Consequently, my stories were places where I could escape the nastiness of my life. I cram packed it when violence, anger, death, and not much else.
I can no longer be the writer I was before.
I’ve imbued myself with lessons learned and truths identified. I’m glad for these stories, critiques, experiences, and rejections. They give me traction to climb my life’s mountains and the cushion and helmet I will need when I trip, stumble, and almost fall off.
Because let’s be honest, soul eater or dragon, I’m a wobbly individual.
As writers – no, as any creative type out there in this insane asylum world – I think we’re insulting ourselves when we talk about capturing and keeping a muse.
There is no muse.
There is you.
You’re inspired, you’re helped by a Higher Power if you believe in such things (a deity, the universe, a spark of something, whatever you believe), you work hard, and enjoy it, and you write (or do whatever your brand of creativity is).
You don’t yank some robe wearing, fancy-shmancy, cocktail drinking, snobbish, childish, prudish, or sensually enslaving chick out of the ether and chain her to your desk. You don’t capture a muse. You don’t lure a muse. You don’t entice, beg to attend to you, leave food out for, sit around and wait for, write until you hope it’ll show up – a muse.
YOU put in the work.
You capture inspiration that works for you.
You find time, you find a reason, you enjoy, you feel driven – to write.
You write until you feel that magic. You write when you don’t feel it.
You do all of this.
I’m not trying to offend anyone who believes in finding their muse.
I simply think we’ve taken it way too freaking far. It’s gone from metaphoric to depressing.
It’s our responsibility to create the stories in our head into something magickal, fierce, lovable. We should get the credit for putting in the work.
I think we deserve to think better of ourselves.
We don’t need to wait for someone/something out of our control to saunter on in, decide we’re worth her/his time all of sudden, and lend a hand.
If a muse exists, it’s you. Its inside you. I’m not talking multiple personality disorder (which by the way is now DID). I’m talking you. If you want to use it metaphorically, go right ahead. But I’m tired of people talking like they’re not the amazingness behind their amazingness. We all draw inspiration from the world and people around us. But we’re the one dedicating time to what we’re doing.
So, if you must believe in a muse. Believe you’re your own muse.
I wrote this a few days ago when I entertained (for about half a day) the idea of writing one blog post a day in Rara’s November #nanopoblano. (I think I’d run out of things to talk about and probably get real boring. For some reason, I really like the idea of trying anyway.)
Anywho – afterward, I opened up “Zen in the Art of Creativity” by Ray Bradbury and started reading the next essay. Which happened to be on the ever-elusive muse.
In my opinion, his essay backs up my crazy ranting. To feed your muse is to always be hungry for life. Your muse is a collective of everything you’ve absorbed and stored. If I’m reading it correctly.
Meaning, your muse isn’t some creature you keep chained in the basement after you lure it and bash it over the head.
Your muse is everything which inspires you. Every breath you take in while you’re imagining. Your muse is every childlike awe. Every memory filled with angst or wonder.
Your muse is you. The hidden you. The real you. The you that screams inside your skull and heart when the fake you is speaking through a mask.
Your muse is inside you, behind your rib cage, peering out, waiting.
So stop selling yourself short.
If you want to feed your muse, figure out what you’re hungry for.