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The Thing Under the Thing

Onion Layers

You were laying on the carpet
Like you’re satin in a coffin
“You said, “Do you believe what you’re saying?”
Yeah, right now, but not that often

-Modest Mouse, Satin in a Coffin

I fell down the mountain hard last year. I thought it wouldn’t end. Now my psyche is splayed out on some tenuous outcropping of life all twistedbroketorn, hoping that I’ve stopped.

Just hold on.
Hold on.
Hold on.

My ex-mother-in-law once told my son right in front of me, “God gave you diabetes for a reason. He wanted to make you stronger.”

And then my hands were squeezing her arms, bruising bone, shaking her until her teeth shattered. Screaming at her face until my spit was blood.

That’s what I wanted to do but thankfully didn’t.

When it is suggested that we look at times of challenge, failure, and loss as a sadistic benevolence from some invisible force or as disguised good fortune, I want to kick every adorable baby creature the Earth has to offer. Right in the face.

When you utter words like “every cloud has a sliver lining” or “everything happens for a reason” a baby dolphin has been escape velocity punted right in its ever-fucking cuteness. Remember that.

Nothing of actual import changes, you know, the deep shit, the things that live in us subliminally, unless there’s some pain. Sometimes it takes the kind of pain that breaks you.

I cleared the board of my life clean. I intellectualized myself to the atom. I tried to love. All my efforts failed. The pain was epic.

I’m broken. I’m at the end of all things.

Maybe that’s what was necessary. Like how the giant sequoia tree needs fire to thrive.

It’s all motherfucking inside, man. It just keeps manifesting outside—in the people I dance with, in my habits, my beliefs, my circumstances….the ones that repeat, the ones that dog me.

The ones that make me suffer.

It’s not the thing.

It’s the thing
under the thing
under the thing
under the thing
under the thing.

This thing.

Others have forced the child-me to swallow bad seeds or wounded me through their own wounds. But no one is now. The adult-me is still tending what’s grown inside over the years as if not a single day has passed. What’s grown is distorted and fractured. Oppositional. Knots in knots in knots. A riddle I told myself but don’t know the answer to. A path that circles back on itself. A deep deep hurt.

I can’t let it go. I can’t banish it, hide it, deny it, numb it, run from it. I have to embrace it. It’s time to reintegrate my shattered Self.

It’s time to heal.

I love you
but damn it hurts

Some of the pain is
a sweet sacrifice
an unselfish bloodletting
Some of the pain is
an empty silence
that leaves me starving

The hunger makes me wonder,
was love fed to my child-heart
as a small note pinned to my skin
that read:

Take this, eat it 
let it be enough
or else
or else
or else I’ll leave.
Then who will
who will
who will love you?

Maybe love shouldn’t hurt
unless its vocals are off key
unless its form can’t find balance
unless the curve of its line draws
a circle that never closes
unless the cost is
loss of Self

Maybe love shouldn’t hurt
I think that might be true
but for now
it’s only theory

Photo Credit: Flickr/rawdonfox
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