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photo by Colin A. Danville

photo by Colin A. Danville

You think these loads, these shames, are mine. A pile accumulated through generations of misplaced dreams, the ancient waste from swallowing and breathing in all the things that don’t feel good. You want me to take your shame and wrap it around my dreams of what love could be. So that you feel better about carrying a load you never had to carry. You want me to apologize for the existence of your shames. You want me say it is actually my fault that your choices were your own to make. You want me to feel the pain of what it is to deny the self its truest expression. You want me to know suffering, deep suffering in the spirit. A suffering you inflict on yourself because the elders, the traditions, the hardened neuropaths in your brain have all told you that this is the only way to be a man. You want me to agree with you that I caused you to lose yourself in the illusion that life could be different, and fun, and magical, and take on shapes not validated by your memories or your mothers. You want me to bury myself in the grief that consumes you and scares you. You want me to slay the monster for you, but you are your own monster. And even though I love you, I will not kill for you.

I have to now ask myself, “What do I want?”, as I have become quite the expert in knowing what you want from me. I have spent hours, days, months, lifetimes it feels, dissecting, reflecting, processing how your wants affect my capacity to be me. I have dabbled in giving over my power to you, to others. It never works. I am mulling over the course of events that brought us to this point in the journey, this tangle in the brush with life’s ultimatums. Or maybe that’s just a roundabout way of saying compromise has soured itself on too many concessions. That in committing ourselves to genuine happiness, we have snagged irreparably on the stretch of selves that are wholly incompatible. This truth we have unearthed is painfully liberating. Or maybe all liberation bears its own pain, and it’s unnecessary to point this out. But I hear underneath all that rage and disappointment in your voice, a longing for me to still cover the gaps with my own arms. Reach out to soothe the broken heart you are struggling to piece back together. Take care of you. Hold your hand while you peel back the shell that covers the vulnerable and penetrable you. Assure you that the loneliness on the road to your higher self will not dismantle those pillars of identity you have pitted against reality. But that would be a denial of everything it has taken to cultivate my own garden.  And even though I love you, I will not lie for you.

You are my mirror. Sometimes it is so hard to see myself through you, but my vision is never impaired. My heart might be muddled in frustrations, but the potency of your vibration in my life is certainly a creation of my choosing. This chaos is still beautiful to me. I often feel like we are at once the riddle and its unraveler. Why did we spin it this way? Do we need to know? Does knowing empower more or less doing? Is love supposed to keep us warm when the storm of self discovery sends bitter, incessant winds? (Is there some way to communicate this all to you without having to first plot my words and intentions in such a public space?) This is what I ponder in the mornings, especially the mornings after we make more rubble. The dawn and its persistent light, a slow brew that steeps these thoughts throughout my day. Nature is so intelligent in that way. Its rituals of gradual expansion have taught me how to appreciate the nuances of every process. That every immeasurable progression is still worthy of being acknowledged. That this tedious practice of owning all of my parts is what allows me to exist in my fullness.

My truth and my methods are uncomfortable for you. My layers are too complex for your simplicities. My words take up too much space on your bottom line. My identities are too round for your boxes. My relationship to space and origins is too transient for your roots. My heart is too infinite to not, after all this, want what is best for you. But even though I love you, I can not become more convenient for you. Be less of who I am so that your irreconcilable pieces lay flat and undisturbed in the spaces you don’t want to grow. I can not just become small and invisible so that your expectations can play out their rules in my body. I can not be that woman whose whole self is measured by her ability to sustain a man’s sense of place in a shifting world. This is a choice I am making. And even though I love you, I will not choose for you.

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