The Tethered Heart

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Why is it important for me to project the tiny light of my mind out into your life?  It would be far easier to mark up my journal with misspelled ink stain and blue verbage .  I would not feel constantly compelled to check my stats or to hope for your love.   But if I didn’t do this, didn’t reach digital fingers out towards you, there would be no way for us to talk on this level.  I wouldn’t be able to look back on myself with the clarity that only time and distance provides.  And most importantly,  there would be no spy glass over my heart.  And I need that.  I need to look in.  I need you to look in.tumblr_mliegeh3901qaiyl9o1_500

It is common to find me standing on the podium of untethered selfishness.  I write this in reference to my stance on family.  For many reasons, some relevant, most imagined, I have always functioned like a person with no natural family.   In my mind there is no blood waiting to catch my fall.  So I had better not fall.  The ledge, however thrilling, is just too dangerous for me.  In the past I have lept, landing firmly on safe ground or terribly, on my back, on a granite slap.   There is nothing unique about my struggle.  I want love.  Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t.  As I age the wanting becomes just as interesting as the getting/not getting.  What used to tear me up now brings a strange kind of knowledge.  You will hear the same silly saying whenever love fails.  “They are doing the best they can.”  I have said this myself.  I don’t believe it.  It makes literally no sense.  Doing the best you can means not intentionally damaging someone.  It means being fair and using your heart, not your ego to dictate your actions.  The wisdom I earn from the giving and receiving of pain is this…we are only as good as the love we give.  And if ones heart is eroded with regret and fear, the ability to be bigger than your demons is nearly and tragically impossible.  Now, stay with me here, I have a point, I promise.

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I held a baby.  The child of my soul sister.  This woman has been a part of every great moment in my life.  If not physically, then mentally.  She has broken my heart and healed every wound that life has seen fit to give me.  When we fight I don’t sleep.  No matter how many years flow between us we remain insanely too real with each other.  There is no artifice.  And she made a baby.  Being so far away made me think that this would be like any other baby.  Cute, fussy, and thank god I don’t have one.  And then someone shoots an arrow through your heart.  And you are made inhuman with a love so all consuming that there is no fire hot enough to burn it out of you.  Your cells meld together to become one giant heart beat that threatens to crush every iota of hate and loneliness in your soul.  And you let them, you watch in amazement as they roust the devils from your head and send them screaming out the back door.  I am forever altered by this.  I, thus far, have known no greater love.

The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse-1956

Rendered blind and dumb by love is a new feeling.  Wording my way around hurt and hope is my specialty.  I can strike the tallest of men down with my mouth.  I can talk myself into and out of anything.  I can lie.  And I do.  I told myself that I didn’t need a family, at least not in the commonly known sense.  I erected a stone wall around the idea of home and left it by the sea.  I only visit when I require pain.  And yet if finds me here, now.  Unbeknownst to me a family was building itself in my life.  Despite my better efforts, home came to me.   Just like the surprise I felt at meeting and instantly loving this little creature, I am shocked by how beautifully my house has designed itself.

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And now I have the greatest knowledge of all.  Nothing matters in this life aside from being front and center to all of the things that come your way.  The shit, the joy, the love, the pain, they all bind us to the dream of who we hope to be.  The demons guide us just as fundamentally as the angels do.  I hope to be the bearer of love, the drinker of wine, the writer of words, the dancer with the lightest of feet, and the keeper of this love so absolute that time or distance will never come close to touching it.  There is nothing perfect about how we came to be and I forgive myself for thinking it should have been.  Welcome to the world Oliver and welcome back Josi.

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Dear Diary…..

As I moved from one mountain cottage (aka shanty) to the next, an old journal was unearthed.  I was an avid journalist up until fairly recently and, for the most part, consider it to be a healthy and fascinating thing to engage in.  There is a certain level of embarrassment/awe that comes up when I revisit the older ones.  In the ’95-’96 book I was head over heals for Ayn Rand and her “Objectivism”.  And my words reflect it.  Clearly I had ready access to a thesaurus, I’ll just leave it at that.  I’m sure I was a real joy to be around.  Holy, holy.

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So, this particular volume that I found was solely based on my first grown up love affair.  It starts around 1998, somewhere between high school and the real world.  I took it to the bar last night, lurked in the corner booth, drank vodka, and hopped on the time machine.  Below are a few of the entries that brought me the deepest moments of pause.  There is a rawness and hope that I barely remember.  I look back on that time as a hazy story that happened to somebody else.  It felt real nice to be reminded.

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July 9th ’98

Determined sunshine, strange inconceivable perfection between us.  Once given to the dance, always slated to being the dancer.  Quietly following the dreams in my head, while joyously living out his.  Trying to build a crystal hallway around his mind, where within, his fantasies can hold feasts.
Today I am lurching, swinging high and swaying low.  I am becoming my own heroine by defeating our snarl-toothed demons.
Took his picture under the cherry tree with sun and wet grass- his imperfect perfection, my heart saturated with awe.
I’ve often looked upon you with interest beyond adoration.  I’ve dissected your beauty until I found the center.  I have many times watched you sleep, felt your night cloak setting in.  Seen your muscles twitch and your lips form dream words.  I’ve looked when others turn away.

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Sept. 30th ’98           I am waiting patiently for him.  Earlier I searched frantically for him, scratching at my eyes and making vows of wicked medicine.  It’s vanity, mania, loneliness, this hunger for a man.  It moves me to starvation of Ethiopian proportions.  I miss him in my days, minutes like holes in the sky.  Our nights go quickly, spent boldly by lovers rich with love.  Our days, the ones we wrench from duties greedy hands, are captured by sunlight and burnt into the sand.  I want so much from this.  I am a woman ablaze.

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Nov. 12th ’98          When I think about love, images of death defying acts for the cause fill my head.  Tall men in coat and tails balancing on distant peaks, howling at the moon for love!  Pale addicts injecting lawless love into a thirsty vein!  The weather worn faces of loves flit through my mind in militant succession.  I dazzle at what lengths the imagination bounds, all in the fury of love.  In real life, love is a secret, my fears, the closet that contains it.  I love like a rich man with cancer, spending dollar upon dollar on precious life.  Yet the canyon between what I feel and what I expose contains a river as wide and fierce as winter.  So odd, the picture of me on one side and him on the other, the rivers path carving into the sides.
Sometimes I hold him and think about our love, our canyon.  And that speaks the pain I cannot.  I wonder whether my imagined definition of love is as fearless as I had thought.

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And much later….

Jan. 12th ’00

Good bye my love.  I’ll remember the whisper.

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And much, much later….

Nov. 27th ’12            To look back on these pages is a bit heartbreaking.  How deeply I believed in love!  How flowery my musings!  And now there is an older, more complex women in her place.  I wish I was sitting across the table from that girl.  I imagine her knee taps and her fingers drum an antsy cadence on the Formica.  She would probably be peeling the label off her beer.  I’d ask her about her day and maybe she’d tell of Short Sands, red wine, salty surf bodies, and a dog, then a puppy, now long dead.  And constantly buzzing around her, the three most important girls in the world, Mandy, Elisha, and Camille.  And one boy, _____.   If I were to ask of the girls, she’d flare up, “Deeper than blood!” “A love that will last forever,” She’d say.  “No stronger bond!”  And the boy?  She’d blush and burn.  Squirm in her seat.  “Him.”
So much has gone and come since then.  The love that came after was, in fact, much deeper, in a way.  But this first love had such a hold on my heart.  So much so that when the hand was removed, the heart went with it.  How I loved then was so ravenous.  I wanted to eat him alive.  I wanted his soul in my stomach.  And I did it.  I ate him.
There is no real reason to look back with regret.  That girl was vibrant and full of love.  And this woman is strong and smart.  Comparing the two will leave you wanting.  I do wish I could go back.  Be less angry.  Be in less of a hurry.  Be more mindful of how perfect it all was.  But at least now, I can remember.  And that feels wonderful.