When I opened my eyes I could hear it was still coming. The rain has been coming for a while now, but yesterday it was serious and there were pools of standing water in nearly every crack and crevasse. I rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock on my phone: 2:22 - it was early but at least it was a good, no rather a perfect time (I simply adore those double twos).
I started thinking about a number of things…..the pending loss of my dear sweet house/teammate who will be finishing her contract in 5 short weeks. This idea kindled a memory of pupino strategically moving his dog dishes around after being fed in such a way that it was clear he had a plan. Next came a hazy thought of my brother and his alleged frustration about me being so indescribably far away. This was followed by a flash of the handsome gentleman I recently met with a rush of what it feels like to be close to him. We experience each other intensely (secondary to some uncanny chemistry) each and every time we run into each other. Then just like that I pictured two of my close friends in Denver. Both brides-to-be who must be feeling overwhelmed by the immensity of it all; but, who take time to check in on me nonetheless. I imagined seeing them in a few short weeks at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge. I was struck by the realization that I am most definitely ready for a break, and, then I drifted back to sleep, a head full of the important characters in my life. I awake with a slight chill in the morning, the rain was still coming.
I make the small cup of coffee over a small gas stove in the percolator I carried across the globe. The first sip feels like my single most enjoyable indulgence in this desolate place. I move to the hammock and listen to the rain. In the mornings I don’t rush around like I typically do in the West trying to organize, get ready, check e-mail, check voicemail, pay bills, feed the dog, blow-dry my hair put on make-up. Here I am no longer in the business of rushing.
I am also no longer in the business of seeming. I recently received a couple (actually a number) of calls from the people who know me best. These people are clearly more than a little bit worried about me. They hear my voice crack when I talk about what I am seeing, go stoic when I talk about all the ex-combatants and their veiled threats and go numb when I talk about the trauma that surrounds me and they are all worried. So tonight I sat once again in my hammock and thought about their expressed concern while I watched the clouds move and change in front of me. They shifted and altered themselves so dramatically it was as if I was strolling though an art museum glancing at different palates, different ideas.
ready for a break
I realize that I am exhausted. I have become more withdrawn or maybe a better word would be obscure, as in faint, unclear, distant. I say that and think that’s not it exactly because the thing that I am most tired of is how visible I am. Every movement, every gesture every look – watched, studied, judged. Empty coffee cups gather around my sitting spaces: the few places I feel unwatched are scattered and my journal is full of unfinished thoughts.
This is not to say that I do not feel love for this place, because I do; sometimes I feel it so strongly that I think I might be having a panic attack. In those moments, my heart races uncontrollably and I worry that I may throw up. The love I feel is for these wounded souls who surround me, souls who have survived more than I can even image and they move on, grow - love. Although there are some days where it makes sense that I feel so alone and tired of being seen and it feels so difficult to accept the fact that there is simply no one I can reach out and touch and say nothing with because of the inherent power my “otherness” holds. I am warn down by this reality, hence the need for a break.
reflecting back: a different version of me
For a long time I never revealed what I felt. In my late teens and early twenties I lived by a simple principle: never willingly show fear or pain. I have always been expressive and playful but I was always strong, some would even say tough. I also became exquisitely good at feeling the emotions of others, even the unexpressed ones, and therefore I became good at what I chose to do. Then, following some of my own therapy, I realized that pain or fear must have been the only thing I was feeling – because if there had been anything else, I could have expressed it without violating my principle. I always liked to laugh but aside from my silent boughts of laughter, emotions were a sorted affair. Only now do I realize I was only half way there.
Based on my principle, I was unable to show any of my feelings because in the end they were all painful, one way or the other. The most exquisite joy was a sting to the heart, and love – love was a crisis of the soul. So I lived a very contained very controlled life. I never endured a crippling heart break but I also never endured intoxicating love; I never risked my pride to the point of failure but I also never took a risk for something that seemed unattainable and attained it.
For the last few years I worked on adjusting my principle, and it worked, or at least it worked half way. I was able to speak what I felt, but now I realize that rarely, in any other way, did I truly display emotion. I did so in periodic outbursts, uncontrollable releases but rarely about love and rarely in a fluid expressive manner that didn’t end with me asking the question “am I making sense?” or “do you think I’m crazy?”
In the last few years I reached a point where I could express my feelings through language (except with one kindred spirit out there who may or may not know I am making reference to them because they would have to feel it: with this individual I was chronically reticent). Until recently I had yet to reach a point where I truly felt it and spoke about it in the same instant.
Now I am doing both and those who know me best are concerned and rightfully so. It seems I can’t control it yet. I’m like a little pup: blind and grateful and exposed. It’s like I’ve been cured from a self-inflicted defect and now I can love not just in the general but in the specific and it hurts, painfully so.
So even though it is hard here and I am a little traumatized, I am not ready to walk away. I’m utterly exhausted in body and spirit but it still feels marvelous. And, knowing I have those of you out there who are having your very own abduction fantasies and are ready to jump on a plane to come and rescue me from myself gives me a feeling that is indeed a crisis but a crisis of feeling loved.