what i had to do.


at a sleepless, sad 2 a.m. this week i was re-reading an issue of make/shift magazine, which is seriously my new favorite thing. it’s like a 70’s feminist journal for the 10’s. raw, real, intense, diverse and hella queer. i read a sentence that struck me so much that i read it at least ten times before i could continue. it’s written by a person named goldie dartmouth, and it went: “she left me for someone else and it  felt like i’d been split wide open. i was like a punctured water main; i cried constantly. i couldn’t deal with the love no longer being there. when you’re a survivor, with mental health problems and an abusive family of origin, these things hurt in a particular way. the pain of having trusted and felt safe, and then having that extinguished, reverberates deep inside. with her, i felt i could finally relax for the first time in my life.  i felt safe enough to be a child–playful, vulnerable, and precious. my dream had been to stay that way.” and i thought, oh, that’s it. that’s why.

my recent breakup/move has put me in a very, very bad place mentally. the worst place i’ve been in a decade. maybe the worst place ever. in the thick of it, last tuesday, i watched the sun rise joylessly and i thought, over and over again, i’m not going to make it out. i’m not going to get through this. and throughout everything, everything, i have always had the unshakeable belief that, no matter what, i’d be able to get through it. and the loss of this hope was so terrifying. i didn’t know what to do. it looked like things were headed for the bad, the really bad, the irredeemably and irreversibly bad…

but then i had a miracle. literally, and don’t roll your fucking eyes at me. i did a chakra meditation from the amazing book urban tantra and i don’t want to talk too much about it here, but i will tell you that i felt an energy go through me so intense that my eyelids were literally vibrating against my eyeballs. i felt something bad leaving me. when i glanced at the clock, an hour had gone by, but it felt like only a few minutes. and when i got up, i was myself again. still sad & heartbroken but not this half-dead ghost. i do believe, truly, that i experienced a miracle, and that it saved my life.

last week, i searched for a picture of myself taken almost exactly ten years ago. halloween 2001, 19 years old & drunk & pissing on a car. on my face is an expression of pure glee. this was taken during one of the worst years. my first year as a teenage throwaway, marked by poverty & hunger & the genuine belief that i was a terrible person. the genuine belief that nothing was gonna get better, that i would always be this poor & drunk & crazy. but still, still, i had this capacity for joy. i wanted to find that picture to remind myself. that all is not lost. that there is still some hope.

on friday i finally found it. the expression on my face is a little more drunk/insane that i had remembered, but i still like it. i was going to hang it on my refrigerator, but then i came across my baggie of magnetic poetry and decided to hold it up with words. the first word i pulled from the bag was “survive”, and it felt so powerful in my hand. i sat there & held it for so long, then i stuck it to the left of my head. i started putting other words on the refrigerator, occasionally pulling aside one that struck me and adding it to the picture. and i harvested words, for an hour it seemed, until i had this, this message from the universe, this message from my older self to my younger one:

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