“I’m never gonna play
hard to get
when I know your life
has been hard enough already.
When we all know everyone’s life
has been hard enough already
it’s hard to watch
the game we make of love,
like everyone’s playing checkers
with their scars,
whenever they get out
without a broken heart.
Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
there’s gonna have to be
a thousand separate heavens
for all of my separate parts…”
Boomerang played me this spoken word piece and it was as if Andrea Gibson said everything I had ever wanted to write in my whole life in one short piece. It was as if my soul was coming out of someone else’s mouth. It was earthquaking.
We left camp so late today, and when we were hiking I put the piece on repeat, letting it vibrate inside of me as Felix and I trotted along, each of us alone with our thoughts.
I remembered my first date with Boomerang, when I was just realizing that honesty is the only way to move forward, the only way I can live with myself. I invited B over to work on a puzzle with me, spread over this busy poinsettia patterned vinyl tablecloth that I loved deeply. I kept my eyes on the puzzle and I told Boomerang everything, all the secrets that I hated myself for, all the ugly parts that were unlovable.
I said I was an alcoholic, a nasty cheater, unemotional, empty, depressed, just out of a relationship. I said I was crazy and unworthy and broken. And I never looked up.
I needed to know if all of my baggage would be accepted, for I simply couldn’t pretend anymore. I couldn’t grit my teeth and say I was normal. I’ve never been normal.
Sometimes I still feel just like that beat down young person I was then, so scared to be authentically me. When I meet new people, I sometimes wish I could hold out all my scars like I did on that date, show them all at once so I can stop being so scared of my truth slipping out before I am ready.
Sometimes I still struggle to tell the truth, to unwind the protective layers around my being and just let in the light.
Sometimes I still lie, refusing to do the work of being me.
But more often than not, I practice at opening my mouth and saying, “here I am.”
Last night Felix and I talked about that shattering place we all sometimes go to — the place where there is something unfixable inside us that feels like it will never go away or get better. Last night I practiced being me, taking out pieces that I have tucked far down inside me and holding them up so we both could see.
They were less scary in the light of our headlamps. I am not a monster. And truth, it turns out, does set them free.
I talked to a great friend yesterday. She told me, all sagely with years of truth telling, to walk toward love and away from chaos.
So here I am. I’m walking, I’m shattering, I’m loving, I’m learning, I’m here, I’m here, this is me.