Dear You

Having not written here in months,

long months,

it really seems to me I would do anything other than write about this, about my story.

It is perhaps my words I fear most.

But is was only other people’s words that saved me.

Could my words do the same, for someone else?

If only one – then that’s enough.

Let the words tear me in two to spill them out – that is enough.

Let me tell you what I am afraid of.

There are things that seem small, weak even, in the light of possibly saving a life, as mine has been saved.

I am afraid of…

being called

  • bitter
  • unforgiving
  • clinging to the past

or any of the other ugly things people say to those holding their broken hearts up to the light

  • alienating those in my life who still don’t understand, fully, the danger I see in some of the things I was taught, things I absorbed
  • harming my relationship with my son, who knows *some*, but does not need to know all. And in this space I do not want to hold back out of fear of exposing something, someone, myself and my wounds included.

I do not want to be known as

  • a person with answers
  • an answer myself somehow

I am tired of damages. I am tired of defending. I do not want to be tired anymore.

But not speaking, not writing, has not made me

not tired.

Instead I find myself caught in a kind of perpetual inhale. Lung and heart full to bursting

with all I know but do not say.

It has been assumed that I am many things

a liar

maybe even a whore

a homewrecker on two counts.

I don’t like lies. Not even the small ones, though I imagine that for a very long time I was guilty of the most common one

“How are you?”

“I’m doing well – and you?”

I am tired of those stories. I am ready to write my own. And so maybe when I find myself turning to talk to those ghosts – the past, the imagined present, those faces that used to smile at me,

I need instead to turn.

Because who I really want to speak to is the person who cannot breathe. The person caught in conversation with their own ghosts.

I will write to you, Dear One, whose heart is likely clutched so tightly in your stiff hands.

I will say,

Dear you,

You can breathe.

I know it might seem like you can’t.

That you ought not dare to let too much air into your tightened lungs

That a single full breath might crack apart all you are trying to hold on to.

But it will not

So long as what you are holding onto

is true.

But you will likely find, if your fingers are stiff, and you cannot move,

That your cramped hands are not holding tight to your heart at all.

They instead are holding tight to the image of all you thought you had to be, were told to be,

All you thought life was supposed to hold.

That is not your heart there.

It is not your heart

and it is not truth.

If you take a deep breath, in you will see

what is held so tightly in your hand was handed to you long, long ago.

Just breath in.

One full breath.

And do not try to solve the puzzle of this extra weight.

Just breath. And see.

Dear you,

who suddenly, shockingly, doesn’t know where your heart even is

now that you know it’s not what you were holding

Dear you, who cannot imagine

full

unclenched

fully alive

You do not even have to imagine these things to breathe.

one breath out

one breath in

Breathing until you can say

Here I am.

Here I am.

Here I am

to be continued

For more on “homewrecking,” read this beautiful work by Natalie Hoffman

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