hello again.

hello again. it’s been a while since i’ve done this. it’s been a while since lots of things. mornings spent in coffee shops. group chats with friends. sunsets that turn everything sepia, and then orange, deep red. aimless poetry. feeling like my journal is safe, that it’s pages can contain my feelings when i write them down and hold onto them, don’t let them escape. feeling like any space is safe for my feelings, for that matter.

the truth (and this is a truth that my therapist has known for 15 months and that i am only beginning to grasp) is that i have been wandering further and further away from the emily that i want to be. the emily that makes me feel good and glowing in my soul.

the other day she asked me who that person is. in my head, that emily is sitting in campos. obligatory soy mocha on the table. she’s writing in her journal, some pithy observations about her day, about how the trees outside her window are losing their leaves and this makes her feel sad, but at the same time it’s sort of poetic, right, because she’s changing along with the seasons and they grow and fall together. in my head, that emily is falling in love ten times a day and coming up with endless metaphors and symbols that connect all the seemingly disparate parts of her life into one, big, swaying spider’s web, glinting when the sunlight hits it just right. (spiders are one of these symbols). she tattoos this on her body.

in my head this emily is just infinitely feeling in a way and a with a capacity she’s never grasped before. like rilke’s protagonist

learning to see.

Why, I cannot say, but all things enter more deeply into me

… There is a place within me of which I knew nothing.

Now all things tend that way.

it’s been a while since things tended that way. and to drop the poetics, quite frankly, i fucking miss it. i miss feeling connected to myself and the world and the people around me. two years ago if you asked me how i felt i would’ve written you a 10 page poem. now i’ll just tell you that i’m tired. down to the marrow in my bones, to use an already exhausted metaphor (was that this year, or last? i can’t remember).

lately i’ve been crying in the shower often and having conversations in my head where i explain why i’m upset to people who have upset me. it sounds trivial, but i haven’t done either in a while. i am taking the increased crying as a sign that i am, i guess, beginning to let things enter more deeply into me. still in the shallows, but it’s movement nonetheless. i’m taking the internal dialogues as a sign that i’m processing hurt. that i am beginning to unravel layer upon layer upon messy layer of pain that i shoved into a dark closet to avoid. i am not sure how this will pan out. i am not sure whether i can do this in steps or whether shifting one layer unleashes an avalanche. i am not sure i could survive an avalanche. (have i ever been sure?)

last week my therapist drew an arrow on the board and told me that there are only two options, that i am either moving closer towards the person i want to be, or further away from her. and i said but what about stagnation. what if i’m not moving, what if i’m staying in the middle, covers pulled over my head in bed. and she said but this arrow is still moving, regardless of whether you are. and if you are in bed (she did not use this metaphor) you are letting the person you want to be get further away. the next morning i set an alarm for 7:21am.

maybe all this talk of the ‘person i want to be’ is confusing. sometimes i don’t know who i’m talking about. i don’t think i’ve ever truly been her, truthfully i don’t know if that’s possible. i know that i’ve been closer to her in the past than i am right now. i know that i feel a lot of shame about that (even though i know healing is not linear). i know some days this all feels completely and utterly out of reach, like i’ve blown up my only path to her and i’ll never be able to return. at the end of the day, all i want is to be living a life where i truly embody what i value. i know that i value emotion, and genuine connections with friends, and being in nature, and making art, and consuming art, and honesty, and good cups of coffee. i know that this life feels like reading a john ashbery poem (i know that i value john ashbery poems).

i do not know whether i am getting closer to this person. but i am trying (god i am trying) to wake up in the morning and go forward.

By em

a sometimes poet, sometimes painter, always philosopher

1 comment

  1. For me, it comes in waves. Both in a healing sense and a progressional sense – perhaps it’s the same thing. Surfing and meditation are activities that personally aid me the most. By staying present and becoming aware of myself, I notice different parts of me exposing themselves ALL THE TIME. The sort of parts that I wish instead to let go of, to burn off like dead wood, such that a core husk of my desired self remains, a blank slate to build anew. It’s a long process.

    No matter how good it feels to respond with intellect in your mind, these conversations are unintentionally manifested dialogue, fraught with reaction, fueled by the unconscious and is ultimately not real. Be careful with this. The mind can’t tell the difference between an unconscious manifestation and the present moment – the deeper you embody and act out memories and experiences, the deeper your emotional response to those memories. God forbid you accidentally tie in dopamine releases to negative thought loops – talk about opening the doorway to a pit of depression… I think you’re aware of these things though, which is encouraging. Most people do this sort of stuff completely unaware of what’s going on internally, particularly in western society, and as they cannot dissociate or observe themselves, they just live within it. Their personal and lineal history combines to define their truth. For the most part, this appears to be set within the structures and substructures of a sort of falsehood. Have you observed people in conversations at your cafe? The way some people react mid-conversation to a dialogue that doesn’t actually exist? I personally do this a lot – nearly all day (the reacting… and observing), in fact. For me, awareness comes in waves.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your content. You share a lot of perspective about your past. I’m not sure what exercises you and your therapist come up with or thought pattern altering behaviours you engage in, but I’d love to hear about your future and your desires. That is, if it’s what you want of course, to set an aim, move forward and act forthrightly in the world – but not in a rush, never in a rush, move at the pace you feel, with the knowing that another day is another brick in the wall of your life (maybe find a different metaphor if it’s not inspiring enough.. I like walls though. Walls are sturdy and require solid foundations. Personally, I’m not one for being a rainbow riding leprechaun in search of pots of gold… Well.. Sometimes). Have you ever sat down and meditated on what your best life looks like? 5 years… 10 years out?? Sure, use your memory to take stock of where you are, but use only your imagination when thinking of the future. Don’t allow your creativity around the very best you could imagine for yourself be stifled by your memories. Only look forward, and write it.

    Then think about the version of yourself that would live out this life. Let’s call this version of yourself your best self. Define it. Take your time. Pretend that you’re writing this for someone that you want the absolute best for. The things pulling you backwards and down is ultimately set by limits you allow. And it’s ultimately you who will spiral yourself forwards and upwards when you choose to do so. This is not hippy mumbo jumbo.

    This exercise is something that gets me out of bed, out for a surf and taking on my day. When you’re living out your dreams, it’s easier to remain measured, within yourself and open to finding positives in your course of action and conscious experience. Our lives become either exactly what we consciously choose for ourselves, or the literal manifestation of our reactive states to our surroundings. Of course, some people don’t want this for themselves – the responsibility of defining their very wants and needs is a burden too heavy to bare. They encounter a heavy feeling of aversion due to being unworthy of their highest selves, and thus never define their hopes and dreams, preventing any kind of sacrificial progress towards real importance and a reworking of their valuation structures. It is not for us to judge them either way. It is a journey we all may undertake, if we so choose. You are still so young and are ever growing.

    It is healthy to mourn the loss of your past self. Do not shame your current self of pity your former self for not having the realisations and thoughts that now make themselves apparent to you. Try not to be so final about it. I wish you light, luck and fortune in your journey.


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