Day 30: Digging Up Mountains

The song in the mountains

is a bittersweet lament,

an open, pure yearning.

It echoes through caves

and muffled in snow, is swept away in the wind.

The awakened, the heart simple

as an unfolding bud sings of peace,

and of loneliness?

Were our wounds scrubbed clean,

excuses ripped open to let light rush in,

sear the soul raw and translucent.

Were we but vessels with warmth

seeping from our fingers.

 

Or if we sank into earth,

into the mud of each other’s skin,

messy, broken yearning.

Sensuous climbs to ancient ruins,

and tumbles down into waiting arms.

If alone we spend a hundred years

digging for truth, with who,

when that joy is learnt,

can we share the news?

When the secret of how to love is found,

is there time to offer it up?

 

Might there be other roads to the sun?

When was I taught a heart must be

flawless before it dares to cleave?

When was the cut made between Love

and loving you?

Give me your hand, darling, the way down is steep.

Through a broken, healed binding,

may we study the galaxies

we’re formed of underneath.

 

 

 

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Day 26: Earthquakes

I used to know someone with a heavy load.

She walked silently, thought if she said

nothing, no one would know.

She wanted to protect us.

We didn’t tell her how the

weight of something not even ours

was compressing our ribs,

made it hard to breathe,

hard to remember how

lightness felt.

We wanted to protect her.

Her life had been built

on shifting plates,

and since we’d moved in so close

when the ground shook

we all felt it.

Depression seeps like water under doorways,

hides in cupboards to jump out at you,

dresses like an old friend,

distinguishable only in his

muted colours and musty smell.

She was drawn to my joy,

I to her courage.

Then night fell,

and it took from me just one slip of certainty

to learn her sadness was stronger.

 

 

 

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Day 23: Watercolour Fish

Complete in ourselves,

but stronger together.

We are watercolour fish

who have mastered the swim

and now ache to fly.

Each with a wing,

we construct our ascent together.

Naked – we bare it all

and in being known, find safety

from the stones they’ve thrown.

We cling to each other,

not in desperation,

but because we know to love this deeply

is the greatest act of courage.

This connection outwits time and makes moments stretch.

It pulses out around us in cloudbursts of pink.

You are the sun,

I am the water,

and this passion is the soil in which we grow.

We are twin souls revolving.

Between us, our hands clasp

so we might spin out

to the ends of the universe

and always find our way home.

Because you love me,

I can do anything.

Because I love you,

let’s do it together.

 

Day 22: 11

My body belongs to love,

and love alone awakens me.

Your tongue may travel

while you grip my waist

with your hungry fingers

and no part of me responds.

If flowers and letters

precede promises of union,

for an instant I may be swayed.

But tell me we’re a team,

and I’m soft as warm butter.

Say it’s forever

and I lean into you, back arched,

slip my leg between yours.

Sighs drunk with affection

find replies in quiet moans.

Unexpected kisses make my

skin ache for your touch.

Whisper it was always me

and watch as I shiver with pleasure.

I am a creature of ones.

My heart joins but once,

a single devoted dive,

and my body follows suit,

in undivided motion.

 

 

 

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Day 18: It Knows My Name

Betrayal is the breaking of a promise.

I swore in my heart to stay, dear one,

though I never said it out loud.

Our interlocked fingers had burnt down to ash

long before I let go,

only the shell of it left,

like a log that holds its shape

while its inside turn to grey powder,

ready to burst into a cloud of the past.

Is that the same as breaking?

I promised I would try,

cut myself open one last time

and found I was empty from all the trying.

I was so tired, honey.

 

Betrayal sounds like willful destruction,

to throw away someone’s naked gifts,

like broken china on the dying grass.

I never wanted to break;

just your permission to leave.

You see it as failure

– and I can hardly blame you –

as I take a sledgehammer

to our castle in the air.

Shaken and dazed,

I step out from the ruins,

blinking in the glow

of colours I’d forgotten

in the years of our ash-grey chamber.

Knees buckled into rubble

and old picture-frame glass,

your heart bleeds through your chest,

and the scars on my own

weep in recognition.

Forgive me, darling, for changing my mind.

Day 12: Why Self-Love is Vital

I’ve heard it a thousand times: learn to love yourself before you try to love someone else.

I always thought it was a prudent game plan, an act of self-protection and diligence, like putting on your knee guards before you step out on the ice. You’re just…supposed to love yourself before giving someone your heart. That’s the order of things.

I didn’t realize loving yourself is how you learn to love others. That without practicing radical self-acceptance, you can’t love other people.

That’s right. Can’t. I don’t believe it’s possible.¬† Continue reading “Day 12: Why Self-Love is Vital”

Growing Out My Hair and Falling in Love

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamt of having gorgeous, thick, wavy hair down to my butt. Princess hair. Rapunzel hair. I would run my fingers through my wispy blonde bob cut by my mother, and imagine curls cascading behind me, brushing over my shoulders like a blanket, or a superhero cape.

I remember one day I went up to my purple bedroom about a dozen times, got on my knees and prayed for God to give me long hair. My family didn’t go to church so I knew little about God or praying, and treated it as more of a business negotiation.

“God,” I whispered, “if I wake up tomorrow with hair down to my butt, I promise I will go abroad and spend the rest of my life as a missionary.”

I had no idea what a missionary was, but I figured it had something to do with hacking through the jungle. Small price to pay for a fabulous ‘do, anyway. At five or six, the only thing I held in equal regard to long hair was the idea of being in love.

They were both things I assumed would happen one day, and they would be perfect, and when they did I would be complete and happy. When I was old enough. For the time being, my mum still cut my hair, and she kept it short, easy to manage.

I let it grow through junior high past my shoulders and had my first brush with romance. I sat next to him in class, held his hand, even let him kiss me a couple of times. But I was way too shy, too confused, still a baby, and the following year the boy was gone and my hair was back up to my ears.

In high school I tried to grow it out for a while, but I still didn’t really know how to take care of it and there was so much else to worry about and navigate. None of the boys noticed me anyway. At the end of tenth grade, I shaved my head and had a pixie cut until graduation. I told myself I didn’t need to look like the other girls or get the attention they did, and while that was true, I was also full of fear. So scared of rejection that I mentally and emotionally took myself out of the game. My hair became a symbol: can’t tie me down so don’t even try. That way when nobody tried, I could convince myself I’d chosen it. This is not to say that short hair isn’t beautiful. It absolutely is. Authenticity is beautiful. Confidence is beautiful. But a lot of the time, when I had short hair, I wore it like a suit of armour.

I started to grow it again when I went to university, and to my great shock a boy took interest in me. He made me laugh and I liked hanging out with him. But something wasn’t right. I should like him, what’s wrong with me? Someone finally wants me and I’m going to screw it up? I shut down, started ignoring him, he found someone else. Surprise, surprise, next year off came the hair. I was so afraid. Afraid of my femininity and my sexuality. Afraid it wouldn’t attract anyone. Afraid it would and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Afraid of my own power and all the things that were out of my control.

After university, I was letting it grow again, filled with fresh hope, when one night I was having some drinks with my roommates, and two of us shared a brief kiss. The dam burst instantly. I knew I loved her, and some of my fears started to make a whole lot more sense. We started dating.

She liked my hair short, fun and easy, something she could ruffle like a puppy’s fur, no tangles, no upkeep. And for a while I liked it too, I would have done anything to make her happy. But then I skipped a couple of haircuts, let my pixie get overgrown, and things got more complicated. I was in the awkward growing stage, not really knowing how to style it or take care of it, but willing to learn, willing to wait it out. I was ready for the commitment of longer hair, and I bought leave-in conditioner, elastics and a wooden brush. I wanted to put in the effort even though we were already exhausted. We both missed short, fun, and easy. For our own personal myriad of reasons, we broke up.

Now I’m growing it out again, solo this time, and while of course it doesn’t really matter what my hair looks like, it’s become something of a personal challenge for me. I want to prove to myself I can do the work, that I can see something through to the end, that commitment isn’t just a pipe dream. I want to learn how to manage something I’m not familiar with, instead of defaulting to what I know. I want to accept things even when they don’t look how I’d like and see the beauty in them, to show up and gently tease out the tangles instead of allowing them to become rats’ nests. I want to remind myself every day why I’m growing it longer and be grateful for it, especially now when I’m in the thick of the Shoulder-Length Itch.

I know it might seem superficial, it is just hair after all, but that little time of grooming each day is a marker of the time I must put into my most important relationship: the one with myself. That will always be my most important and grounding commitment, and in learning to love, honour, and forgive myself, I learn how to do the same with others. After all it is winter, and even when my hair’s misbehaving, static, flat or in my way –

it keeps me warm.