Is it my fault my best days are gone? That I strive more fruitlessly with every effort? I wasn’t enough. I guess I could have been, if I wasn’t so busy pretending I was good at pretending.
I know you knew — since I’m making admissions — knew I had more to give. Did you know I knew too? I held on to things you wanted. You called them my gifts. I know I’m supposed to be sorry, but I can’t feel anything about that yet. Anymore? There were “gifts” no one would receive, which came first — the questions: “What are we celebrating?” “Again?” “Do I have to?”
Life is hard, I have learned. And I am soft. Or just exhausted. I have found my limit. And even if I defined it for myself, I learned where to draw the lines from you. Did I misunderstand something? Probably, I suppose. Inevitable, with so many questions unanswered… unasked. It kills me,
but softly. It kills us, really slowly, like long drags on short breaks not wanting to rush, tip us off, like frogs in the pot. Nothing to get excited about here. But the heat is on, and rising, like we’ll learn to deal with it, like it’s just a phase and can’t keep going forever…
“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”
— Audre Lorde, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”
It’s tight in my gut like I swallowed something whole and have been holding it intestinally, unable to will myself to let go. This grip has grown strong over long years of winding my way of being around and around it — a string of silences balled up, filling my belly with empty
promise. There is no ignorance sufficient to escape the elephant I fear, who walks within me. Obvious and unstated, pressing me out into oblivion, it goes its own lumbering way, without saying so much as, “So what?” Immune to challenge, my deep-seated diplomat swims the river of my life, daily drinks its weight, as I wait for my fear of elephants to dissipate.
I am mourning the words I searched my soul for in vigilant silence, which were found too heavy for a world so unbearably light. They would fail me and fall flat, as their gravity requires. Who would risk being crushed to catch their meaning? Will my writings paper the walls behind the dancing lights, the blue-haze graffiti we graze upon, blindly chewing cud over water coolers and what dinner tables have survived into this new age of reality televised to advise our communal ruminations and measure us into herds until there is only one? Don’t you get it? There is an elephant wading in and damming the river of life that would flow out of me, but doesn’t dare.
July 4 has come and gone again. All day my thoughts meandered through a muggy haze of irony.
Maybe it was the week of increasingly prolific explosions giving suburbia a nightly theatrical production of the dangerous conditions that inspire Syrian and Palestinian families to seek refuge so far from their ancestral homes. Or maybe Continue reading “Living the Lie of Independence”