forgiveness written in the dirt

when all i had to offer was my worst
You saw my heavy heart and loved me first
your beauty staring down my brokenness
You chose to throw Your heart into the mess
compassion crashing down upon my debt
You were there 
all this time
like a river running through my failures
you carried me all this time

[splinters & stones // united]


to the first good man i knew

damn i miss you.

it's been 8 years now, and there are many days i don't. there are times i still think "i want to show perpa this!" but it's decreased to a wee blip of missing most days.

not today.     (will the non-linear chaos of grief ever stop surprising me?)

today it's the kind of sting that makes me breathe a little slower, as if it's a true physical ache and shallower inhales will ease it. today, it stabs me with a fierce shock, the way a mountain lake ices warm skin like a seizure. i wish i could jump in my car and speed my way across the st john's... i call it the house that built me, you know from the miranda lambert song? i need it.

i need a forehead kiss. & your hug, smelling like outdoors & sunshine, wood dust & old spice; stability. i need a cup of coffee. the strong black brew with cream to make it "blonde & bitter" that i still can't get perfect, in my favorite mug. the mint green one with the handle that curves into my hand just right that grandma always keeps on the bottom shelf above the microwave (tucked into the back left corner so nobody else will use it). i need to sit next to you on the back porch, with the airplane models swaying in the breeze. it'll be warm, and the swamp will be alive with cicadas, frogs & the occasional splash of gators fishing. i need to listen to stories about life & air force & Nasa, loving grandma since tenth grade, the shenanigans you & richard pulled in that tiny upstate NY town. i can see it all in my head knowing my way around the streets like i do. i wan to ask about the things you don't tell us; the gyroscope you designed for bombers in the gulf war, the shuttle engineering, the soccer scholarship you gave up so you could get a job to provide for your younger siblings instead. i need your steadfastness, your unconditional love, your ridiculous sense of humor, the way you get restless and have to take the truck on an errand nobody but us finds necessary. i need to sight down your rifle. feel the weighted balance and my own capability as i come *this close* to matching your target hits. i need to hear you talk about the difference between violence & protecting yourself. the weight of responsibility a weapon brings; the difference between outside force vs. inner character. damn, i need to laugh. i need to make you laugh, watch your eyes crinkle as you throw your head back. i need to look at your hands, and think how i hope mine are the same when i'm old. capable, calloused, tough. but still gentle with kittens & grandma & dogs & grandkids who are throwing fits over dropped blueberries. i need you. how am i supposed to live un-tethered, without you? oh i know i've been doing just fine for a while now. you would say.
but today i'm worn thin, i'm hollow, i'm fragile. i desperately want the safety net of your kindness.

i need to tell you so much. i think you know i loved you fiercely. we had the same language for that. but i had no idea at 21 how much of who i am was from you. you saved me from believing all men are monsters. you were the first good man i really knew, the best kind of man. i can't find words for the powerful influence having you in my life created. you encouraged my intelligence and resiliency; fostered my independence & courage. your life gave me the values i still carry today. you made me believe i was both capable enough to take good care of myself; and valuable enough to be well cared for. your impact is immeasurable.

i'm sorry i wasn't there that day.
i'm sorry i went home after work instead of going straight to the hospital.
i'm sorry i left early the day before, but my heart was bleeding up my throat and i couldn't keep it from seeping out, so i left before you could see me cry.
i'm sorry i was too young to have the right words.
i'm sorry i was so angry at you for leaving for a year. i just couldn't bear the loss of you both so quickly, when my world was already on fire in a hell you didn't know about.

"i miss you. they say i'll be ok; but i'm not going to, ever, get over you." 


perspective is a lovely hand to hold

"Celebration when your plan is working? Anyone can do that. But when you realize the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you chose to call it an epic; that's when you start to see what celebration is.  When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong that's celebration."  __shauna niequist

how i want this courage, this kind of fierce, joyful defiance.
God, help me let go of my perspective so it may unbend & flex into something that can find celebration. may i find the epic within the ugliness. may i see beautiful here, in the uncertainty of my tomorrows. may i create restful solitude from within the loneliness. may i trade in the hollow for healing; the cynical & bitter for wide-eyed hope. fill me.
here, in the in-between;
let me become a woman who creates space for celebration that invites others in. a place that doesn't compromise honesty but holds hope. let the lost, the hurting, the devastated & shattered find You in me. find shelter, find comfort, find the courage to see the sky.

"where there is hatred, may i bring love
where there is discord, may i bring harmony
where there is error, may i bring truth
where there is doubt, may i bring faith
where there is despair, may i bring hope
where there are shadows, may i bring light
where there is sadness, may i bring joy. 
grant that i may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, 
not to be understood as to understand, 
not to be loved as to love..."


i just finished brain on fire.

everybody should read it.  it sparked a lot of thought about things i already think about--how to fight against mental illness stigma, how to create greater empathy from the neuro-"typical" of us. how to understand better & reach out to include better & what are the best ways to communicate love to those who battle mental illness. i think this book could do some good in that direction.

but also.

i never had autoimmune encephalopathy i never hallucinated or experienced psychosis. i'm very grateful for this, and i wouldn't say that i have come close to experiencing what susannah did. it's incomparable.

but the first part of the book...shocked me with how releatable it was? the memories it stirred. i know what it's like to cave in, to lose pieces of your thought patterns and feel disconnected from your own neurons, to hide it for so long until you appear to flip personalities overnight but really you've fallen apart at the seems for a long time now. i just...yeah.

there's a lot of that to process.
and several people to thank. i thought was incredibly hard to love my whole life. (sure, mostly r/t abuse & for all the wrong reasons. i'm still difficult but for different reasons now lol) BUT what i didn't appreciate back then was that it could cause pain. that it probably hurt those i loved. the ones i let in were my closest, longest friends; i'm sorry they had to see me so devastated, broken, defeated, fragile. unable to sleep or eat or function as i used to. i believe i have communicated how grateful i am that they stood by me. but; i better understand with some distance just how that could have been. how mentally ill i was. & i don't think i can ever thank them enough. i jokingly refer to it as "that year i lost my mind" but truly, i did. it was a mental breakdown.

i haven't taken my healthy brain and functioning mind for granted ever since.
especially as there are still parts of me missing.


bury the horse

i'm sitting here in the break room cycling between red's "hold me now" & coldplay's "death & all of his friends in my ears. eating my weight in bacon for breakfast bc bacon makes everything survivable, am i right?

my demons are having a party in my head, my survival skills are kicking my ass. i wish i could have done things different yesterday. i wish i hadn't trusted my intensivist, i wish i'd spoken up about my instincts & trusted them, thought them out & verbalized them instead of shoving them down as stupid. i wish i'd been more aggressive. but in reality? my supervisors were fighting for my patient and if they could only get so far...common sense says i couldn't have done more.

even here, there reaches a point where control is an illusion. where i either have to face my weakness & limits as a human, or ignore it. sometimes i think it would be so much easier if
i only believer in what my eyes could see. if there was less weight to it all, if people were just flashes of brilliance in an infinite universe. but i don't. i believe we are immortal, stories; sparks that flame for a moment on this earth and then continue to our full blaze in eternity. (what. that still makes me a lil squeamish.) 

anyway. it matters. people matter. there's so much more than what my eyes can see. so ima fight. maybe i made mistakes? but it's over. i'm a damn sure not make the same ones. if i really believe in this God than He will fill up the cracks of my humanity with Himself. 

so i'm not gonna battle from beginning to end, not going cycle/recycle revenge on myself, not gonna follow death and all of his friends.  going to fight this out now. take a breather. gather my courage and strength so i can go hard until the day i die. i wanna meet death squarely; looking it in the face bleeding & beat up and able to say i'm ready, bc i left it all on the field. 


how i pray // letters to my ceiling

i told You to come after me.
i challenged you, last year; to prove you loved me. remember God? even though i say i believe you died on a cross to save me from myself. from striving for morality but always too broken, from the failures & mistakes & chains of my humanity, the sharp taste of death being an end. but i asked, if you really want me? well that feels like a fairytale. it seems distant and strange. so even though i have the sacrifice of your life.

i demanded more.

because i didn't
i didn't believe you would respond
i thought you would say:
"you're ungrateful
look what i have already done?
why can't you accept it
just open your eyes
i already proved my love
you are selfish, blind, lazy
too ignorant
or too willful
too scared?
to receive it. why would i waste any more on you?
there's a limit.
you are too much."

i'm still holding my breath for the harshness.

after all the tiny love letters, all the individual alphabet pieces spelling it out
so. very. gently
i can't...my mind fragments. cause you didn't say any of that.
you say i'm... worth it.
worth so much? extravagance.

worth pursuing--no matter how fast i run away, despite my fists pounding your chest, despite the bricks of fear and pain and anger i keep throwing at
you. despite my blind ignorant blame. all my dishonesty, all my rage that we both know belongs at a different door.

you act like you think i am worth convincing
above and beyond the basic
more than life and death?

it's like you...understand?
have compassion?
acknowledge that i am fragile?

what the hell do i do with this.

because i see you
oh God, i see you.
you're running after me
you love me fiercely
you will stop at nothing, use anyone, anything; to show that you love me.

i'm terrified
and relieved
devastated by a calm understanding that all you ask of me is relaxing. letting go. easing the weight off. fragment by fragment
you want my shattered heart

mostly... i'm afraid. but i still want it?

your love

please win.



this isn't supposed to be like this.

i'm the bad guy in this scenario, i hurt you. unintentionally. but, if there's blame to lay somewhere my door is the only one fitting.

i shouldn't have this war between mind & heart. my heart shouldn't be acting like it's broken. i know it seemed disconnected when you asked. but i really was thinking about grace. how much i don't deserve you. how incapable i am in this moment of my life to give you what you deserve. you didn't find me at my worst; but i'm still climbing up from it. i can't pretend that's ok. i can't give you part of me, when you should have all. i can't give you pieces when i would want all. i also couldn't say that if i had ever for one moment considered that an option...i don't know. it never crossed my mind. there's a lot of feeling hiding behind the things i don't allow my mind to access. damn... but even then i wouldn't have let myself fall for you. i can't be so selfish. i can't take advantage of your sincerity. you're not some little boy playing at romance. damn this would be a hell of a lot easier if you were. i tell myself you don't mean what you say, but you seem to have such a steady heart it makes it difficult to believe. you're intentional & thoughtful & as much as i'd like to pretend it's not true, you do know what you want. why and how did you ever see it in me? that's the part i'm confused about. you were right. i know i said i wasn't confused, but that was only in relation to where i needed to go with this. about whether or not we should still be friends at the level we'd grown into. i know i'm not in love with you, i don't like you as more than a friend. but i will forever be confused as to how you maintained feelings after knowing me? sometimes i think you looked at me and saw me as i truly am and chose to just care for me no matter where it went. but that's impossible. ? i created a sub-universe in my head (what's that word?) of my own years ago and i've been living in it ever since. where my armor was impenetrable. nobody could be attracted to me. not really. not with any depth or heart or reality.
this seemed fucking real.
i don't... i can't imagine that kind of fierce courage.
do you have any idea how much you flipped my entire universe off it's axis?
you think too much of me. you're not naive, but you are innocent. you wouldn't if you had more experience with women, i think; you wouldn't choose me. not because i'm less than you or not good enough. but there's better. there are others farther along in their pursuit of being their best selves. women who are richer in character, who aren't divided within, aren't in a crises with their spirituality, who are capable of loving you as well as a human can, who aren't so afraid or difficult or stubborn. you have a precious heart. you shouldn't settle for someone who has no idea what she's doing with hearts.

i regret all the things i couldn't say. i couldn't let my heart start beating. it felt like being frozen between time and space and pausing there, a thousand thoughts racing in my mind and my heart waking up to things that had never been considered. i don't know how i found words. it's surreal, like a code. where all the thoughts of heart and mind are battling each other but you see with startling clarity exactly what needs to be done. so you do just that. focus in on what's best for the person you're fighting for until all else fades out.
but you know there is going to be hell to pay after.

i wish i had asked for time to think & process before saying goodbye. i wish i had been a little more practical. had a few questions. i wish i had told you that i needed you for the season i had your friendship. i was drowning in isolation, unwilling to pull myself out or even unable to see that i needed too. til you told me what it looks like from outside. you're the reason i reached out to my squad, i was shutting them out and decided to just let the deepest, most powerful and amazing friends fade out of my life because the long-distance thing was too painful. but your words gave me courage to see the depth of my own need. what damage it would do to my soul. i knew all along they were worth it; but i let myself pretend to forget. i wish i'd said that you reminded me to stop running from my own depth. that your conversations re-ignited my passion for pushing in to life with all i have. i was lingering in the shallows, avoiding myself and letting my world stay in a numb greyscale. your intensity, so like my own, was a catalyst reminder that numb is worse than pain. i missed thinking deeply. missed creating space to write and process, missed engaging with the world on the level i'm capable of. i was on the ropes, and you kicked me back into the ring. i needed tangible challenges to overcome and remember what i'm made of, and you took me places i could physically fight out my fears. i wish i had said over and over until you believed me that this wouldn't work because i'm emotionally unavailable and incapable right now. not because you lack. not because of any deficit or deep flaws in you. i mean, we both have flaws a plenty. but who's to say if those would work themselves out for our growth or be incompatible? who knows if i could get over this insane age gap and not feel like i'm stealing time from you? things you won't know unless you give it a shot. while i'm being honest, you've got the kind of qualities i admire. steadiness, patience, gentleness. at least with me? i could lean on you and i don't think you would crumble. you earned my respect and a level of trust. i instinctively knew i was safe with you, and for once in my life i went with my gut. i don't regret that. maybe i do, a little, for your sake.
because if i find myself aching in my chest? damn. i can't bear to think what you must be fighting through. maybe not. maybe it was all in your head, and it's easier for you to let it go. maybe you're only attracted to me because i make you feel superior. maybe it's nothing real and this will fade quickly. god i hope so for your sake. hearts are tricky little bastards.

i just thought maybe if i vomited all my feelings and confusion out into the void without edit or correction it may help. it's hard to let my heart take the driver's seat like this. my logical brain won't be silent, it wants to jump in to every other word. silence the emotion that doesn't make sense because it's not reflective of reality. it's not accurate. but rationality already won the day, so my heart needs this moment to exist. i'm flying blind here. i've never been pursued because i was valued for myself. i've never said no from a place that wanted linger on how lovely it could be to say yes. i've never been cared about by someone that didn't have a single damn reason, that i haven't done anything for. i've never been the one to receive all of the blessing at another's expense.

grace. un-earned, un-deserved favor or approval. that's what i was experiencing. that's what you gave me. i have just been confronted with it, full force. and it knocked me off my feet. i'm at a loss.


things i needed to hear

you try your hardest to leave the past alone.
this crooked posture is all you’ve ever known.
it is the consequence of living in between
the weight of family and the pull of gravity.

you are so much more than your father’s son.
you are so much more than what i’ve become.

long before you were born there was light
hidden deep in these young, unfamiliar eyes.
a million choices, though little on their own,
become the heirloom of the heaviness you’ve known.

you are so much more than your father’s son.
you are so much more than what i’ve become,
what i’ve become

you pressed rewind for the thousandth time
when the tapes wore through.
so you memorized
those unscripted lines, desperate for some kind of clue:

when the scale tipped,
when you inherited a fight that you were born to lose.

it’s not your fault,
no, it’s not your fault,
i put this heavy heart in you.
i put this heavy heart in you.

you remind me of who i could have been,
had i been stronger and braver way back then.
a million choices, though little on their own,
became the heirloom of the heaviness we’ve known.
{heirloom, sleeping at last}

lately i have nothing to say.
nothing new. 

i avoid the stillness, the silence; i avoid looking within. i'm tired of the same old battles, tired of facing the same inherited demons.i think i've gotten away from my father & my past only to be slapped right back into place by a memory or a survivor skill rearing it's ugly head. i'm really ready for surgical procedure that removes ptsd from the brain. i'd be all in.
 i'm numb & i'm ok with it. skating through life on the surface.
//except i'm not. not truly. i miss depth. i miss putting words to pictures, giving voice to the aches & realizations & felt joys. i feel disconnected from my spirit. turns out, it's hard to have anything worthwhile to say when you've duct taped your soul. 

the barriers to freeing her are too many to name. my circumstances are one big catch-22; and so far every attempt to escape as been stymied. 

but seasons change. life moves forward. 
this heaviness is not my fault. i am so much more; and one day i'll be free to access all that "more" carries.