water washes away

sitting in my car, rain smashing into the windshield
coming hugely into the narrow slit I’ve opened in the window
smoke hazing around the inside of the cabin

It is pouring (again)

giant crocodile tears wetting my sweater
I don’t dare lower the window any further not even to tap my ash
thunder competing with the din of the rain on my roof

I have eaten and smoked and am grateful for the help I had in making it through this day.
I am not alone.

i do not know if I can take being loved this way.

Yesterday was my birthday.
I turned 53 years old.
I spent the entire weekend with people and missing people who clearly love me and who I love so much.
I spent the weekend

I spent the weekend doing familiar birthday things,
Going to the Lyndhurst craft fair as I have done for decades
(maybe half the artists this time, different layout, timed ticketing, all due to covid restrictions)
stressing out from all of the unknowns
(known and unknown, thank you D. Rumsfeld)
wanting so much for normalcy
(but what is “normal”, anyway? I certainly don’t have a fucking clue)
feeling so much that I have to explain even though I know I don’t
It seems like all I have been doing for the past three and a half years is explaining and explaining and explaining because honestly I
don’t understand any of it.
Just when I think I do I get caught off guard and none of it makes sense again.

I suppose I’m not explaining to others so much as to myself.

I miss all of the things that we talked about, all of those things that we never did.
All of the ways we responded to each other, all of the good, all of the terrible.
The contrast, I think,
the contrast is what’s killing me now.
i do not know if I can take being loved this way.

I can say things out loud and
I can say things out loud and not worry about feeling stupid for saying them.
Being made to feel stupid for saying them.
I can say things out loud and not worry about
I can say things out loud and not worry about being instantly and immediately criticized.
I can say things out loud and not worry about who might be on my side.

I know
I know for sure
I know now that you loved me but I didn’t then. I never knew for sure. I never knew from one minute to the next.
You would rescind and retract your love like the outgoing tide.
Snatch it away from me,
away from my

craven, grasping, grubby little paws

I want to forgive you for saying these things to me.
I want to forgive you for this so much.

How can I miss you so much and still be so angry at the things you did to me?
That we did to each other.

I told your sister once that I never really had an accurate sense of your feeling for me, not that I felt I could believe anyway. That I always thought you thought I was stupid and not enough and too much all at once.
That now I can look at the last things you wrote, and know.
I can look at all the small lovelinesses you left behind.
I can look at those things and know that they are real, they are proof.
Not soon enough to be able to enjoy with you, no.

The very desperate need to hold onto them

((craven, grasping, grubby little paws)screaming to the sky to talk to you
for you to hear me

I am trying so hard to do everything I can to be well.
I am still so
I am still so unwell but I don’t feel crushed by having to hold up every other damn thing anymore if only because I have given up on everything it seems)

I can look at the small lovelinesses that you left and see them for the huge gestures that they were. Everything is relative.

I can see the unexplored and forever unknown possibility of us becoming better to each other, to ourselves.
Knowing how difficult it was even in the very best of us
knowing I would not be this person if you were still alive
proving my progress to the memory of a dead man
wanting so much to escape your critical eye, your devastating words
and yet wanting to show you that I am okay
I am not okay.

Yesterday was my birthday.
I felt loved, and cherished, and adored, and so sad for what we never had.
If you could see how people treat me now.
If you could see how people love me now and aren’t afraid to say, to show.
I know you would, too.

On defeating toxic masculinity

The article I linked below was posted in a women’s group I’m in, and it needs to be shared far and wide.

There are men I know, men I have dated, men I have married, on both sides of this: men who are doing the hard work to become more emotionally vulnerable, to open up to other men, who are relying on each other and their therapists, and men who aren’t there yet.

Things I am learning about myself after Gary’s death include the now-ingrained understanding that it is not my job to be anyone’s one and only ANYTHING. In my fifty-one years on this planet, my entry into therapy at age twelve, and my twenty-six years with a formal diagnosis, I have always done the hard work. I am a damaged individual, absofuckingtively. I am a product of my genetics and my upbringing and all of the fucked up shit that people have done to me and that I have survived.

That’s the key: I have survived. I have absolutely leaned on others for support, for aid, for guidance. To just listen to me when I am truly inconsolable. When people ask “are you okay???” and my response is “No, I am not.” To actually sit with me and be interested in why instead of ordering drinks.

I have some incredible women friends now, a Squad of Strength, a Posse of Power, a Coven of Courage. These women, my Sisterhood of the Salt are invaluable to me, are precious to me. I don’t ask for permission from them, nor validation that what I’m ever doing is the right thing to do. What my tribe unequivocally offers up to me is a safe place, a place of love and support. A place where I will be listened to, where objective opinions are welcomed. Where difficult questions are asked, and always with care and great love. It isn’t an echo chamber, not in the least. I know that some of what I’m experiencing is tempered by my illness, my neediness, my fear. But these women on the whole continue to ask the good, convoluted-yet-simple questions that make me think hard, and allow me to untangle my feelings around some very tricky situations. All without judgment. All with thoughts towards my safety first.

I don’t know how men can possibly do without this kind of thing.

“Toxic masculinity—and the persistent idea that feelings are a ‘female thing’—has left a generation of straight men stranded on emotionally-stunted island, unable to forge intimate relationships with other men. It’s women who are paying the price.”

Every person should read this article. And do the hard, messy work.