February 22, 2013

I am an oyster.

I am an oyster.
I make you the most beautiful pearl, offer it to you.
I hope the pearl will be worthy in your eyes of a special, singular setting.
I fear that it will seem pretty, but ordinary, and will be just one among many.

But it doesn't even make it onto a strand with the others you have collected.  Instead,
You eat my meat.
My shell is ripped in twain.
You promise me that I am delicious, then
You toss me away,
And announce to the world that oysters are aphrodisiacs.

February 15, 2013

Transition into Singledom

I haven't been single since 1999, and then only for a couple months.  I basically haven't been single in my adult life until now.  I was a teenager when I was single last, and a pretty oblivious one at that.  I have never been taken in by flirtation, but I also wasn't always aware of it.
I am struck and disappointed by how much more vulnerable I feel without the shield of the excuse, "I have a boyfriend."  I am annoyed to realize how much I depended on another human for a sense of ease navigating new friendships and relationships.  I have always been friendly, and I hope I remain so, but I now see how being friendly--especially without the caveat that I'm already otherwise engaged with another--might be misconstrued as romantic encouragement.  Ew.  And sad.
It's been one week that I've been single.  A busy week.  A really emotionally intense week.  I feel like I'm doing pretty well moving on on the surface, but my body is not letting me get away with it so quickly.  I want it all to be okay, I want to just be productive at work, and in dance, and making pendants, and seeing friends...but my body feels completely discombobulated still.  Still exhausted, still weak-muscled and sorrowful (though not quite as acutely so), but also very confused and outside myself.
I had a great show last night, for instance, but I felt like I wasn't connected or present.  I was distracted but not by anything in particular, not from anything particular.  As people came up to introduce themselves and thank me after the show, in hindsight I feel like I didn't offer any of them the decency of real presence.  I smiled, and shook their hands and asked their names, and tried to listen to them...but I didn't feel like I was really able to absorb or offer a real exchange of energy.
I keep coming back to the mental image of two parts of me:  my logical self, and my heart self.  My logical self is the one I know well.  It is disciplined and experienced and mature.  It is often right, but isn't threatened by that which it does not know, because it knows how to methodically find a reasonable answer or solution. It is patient and relaxed because it's confident.  I grew up in a quasi-Buddhist home, and have thus absorbed the teachings and practice of mindfulness.  My heart self, though, is recently born, and it is wild, untamed, young, like a toddler with unrefined black and white wishes, demands, cares.  It is impatient, and has a ton of energy, which can be brilliant if focused, but if exhausted is like an albatross around the neck.  My heart has always been subservient to my mind, especially in the realm of relationships.  Now that it has been loosed, I don't recognize myself.  I am unable reign it in.  I'm not sure I would want to curb it even if I could--my heart is probably a very important part of me, and likely should be allowed the same freedom to grow, learn, and mature as I have proffered my mind.  Still, part of what felt safe letting my heart explore in the first place was that I was doing so in the confines of a relationship (familiar and comfortable in and of itself, even though the partner was new and different).  To have been shaken out of that situation throws me altogether into an abrupt state of transition.  I'm not just in a new city, newly not a student for the first time ever, allowing my heart to explore for the first time ever, but also single.  It makes me feel like a loose cannon.  I feel unpredictable and unreliable.  I always thought of myself as someone who had their sh*t together, and part of that was the stability I gained from being in a long-term, committed relationship.  Without that, I feel a little bit like a pinball.  All over the place, for no reason, most of the time.  My heart is leading this zig-zag non-path, and I feel like I'm embroiled in a child's tantrum--my mind-self is only able to sit back and be patient while the turmoil continues.

February 10, 2013

Being Present with Heartbreak

Heartbroken Truth. Collage by Alyssum Pohl
What is this feeling?  How do I feel?  Why don't I hear more people talk about heartbreak?  Is it because it's so personal that people keep it under wraps?  I have been on the verge of crying for hours, but nothing spills over.  My skin feels like it's crawling, and has for days--and I can't escape it.  I can't get out of my skin.  I feel sorrow.  My head hurts.  My chest is tight while my heart feels like it's an over-full balloon, and I have to keep reminding myself to breathe.  It's different than anxiety, though, it's not that I can't breathe, it's that I keep forgetting to.  My brows are constantly knitted, my jaw is stiff. My skin is crawling, and my muscles feel weak underneath.  I am afraid of moving on.  I am afraid of not moving on.  I am worried about the distraction these feelings will cause at work, I am looking forward to the distraction work will cause from these feelings. I want to scratch my eyes out and peel my face off, the beginning of getting out of my crawling skin.  My throat is clenched, that vulnerable spot.  Baring it brings me closer to tears.  Yes, throat bared, eyes upward into the darkness, my lips quiver, I hear a sad whimper burble from deep inside, and tears appear on my cheeks as though pumped from the pit of my belly, rivulets of molten sorrow.  I ache.  

The space around my eyes hurts, I feel a constant exhaustion.  I want to sweep up my life, and take care of myself, but first I -- I can't. The simple things take longer, weigh heavier, seem more impossible than I've experienced before.  Eating is something I force myself to do, sometimes.  I had a bowl of cereal, some peanut butter cups today, for instance.  Thank goodness a friend coaxed me out of the house and plied me with a hearty Ethiopian meal.  This constellation of fatigue, tightness, crawling skin, and expansion is new to me, makes up heartbreak.  I am alive, I am trying to encompass what this is and feel it from the inside out.  I don't understand how it works yet.  My logical explanations for why things are the way they are don't help quell these feelings.  My intermittent moments of freedom from these feelings don't lessen the intensity of them when they return.  It's not like sickness where you can sleep through it as your body processes the foreigner, and wake up well; if you sleep, the heartbreak naps too, and is there for you in the morning to experience entirely.  It's a heavy visitor, it rides my back, forcing me to trudge, bent over and debilitated.  Relief seems like a question I don't even know how to ask.