Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In Case of Suffering Break Glass

Tonight, we drove along the sunset-halo'd mountains headed home, and the twinkling lights below beckoned us into the twilight of the valley where we live. I held my hand out the passenger window, collecting the cool dusk in my palms, spreading my fingers, letting the night free, then trailing lazy digital contrails in the waning light. My hand. My bracelets, knuckles, long fingers, long strong healthy nails and sparkly glossy polish on manicured fingertips.

I flashed back on the time I'd pass the commute home by watching crimson blood trickle down my arms as I "fixed" my hands. Made sure every stroke I'd type hurt, putting tiny cuts in fingers and pulling, tearing my nails and cuticles to expose the raw white tissue beneath.

I remember swearing tearfully to my ex that I was broken, that I'd never write again. I'd never love again. I'd NEVER love myself.
I remember the hot sticky wetness of the blood as it beaded and ran. If the trails reached to my elbows I'd consider it "enough" and stash my toolkit until another time and place I allowed myself to spiral my thoughts that low. And by then, lightheaded and high from the scent of copper, my adrenaline had spiked and drained my energy enough that I no longer felt, no longer thought, and for the moment, no longer hurt. It felt like the only thing I could control. Maybe at that point, it was. But that was then.

Looking at my hands now in the sweet dying of the light, an L.A. sunset which has consistently kissed me goodnight for almost a year now, I can see how wrong I was. How everything has changed. I came to peace with my shortcomings, learned from them, forgave myself, and eventually learned to love the strong healthy person I became. Then I found love with someone else, and began to experience what a healthy, happy relationship feels like. Ah, Whisper-In-My-Ear 2010, THIS is what you meant...

It took a WHILE. It took time, a lot of work, 10 days of Buddhism, a night in a treehouse, lots of therapy, some fire, crying on many a shoulder, a little more fire, nachos, 7,000 miles and a long-distance nuptual bitch-slap, but EVERYTHING GOT BETTER. There and back again, but literally and figuratively in a different vehicle.

It took rebuilding, reframing, relearning, relabeling and relaxing. But it happened. And it totally got better.
So if you're reading this, and you're In It, allow me to be that whisper by your shoulder:
Trust me. I have been In It too. I have felt these feels, hurt this hurt. Hurt just as dark and deep as it gets- and gotten out.
I know you feel alone, like you have to hide whatever horrible thing you do to keep your hurt your own. I kept my razors in the center console and covered the rest up with a smile for as long as I could, until I broke. Stuck, stuck, stuck- in traffic and otherwise.

And somehow, same road, same hands- but there's no glass. There's night air. There's no suffocating heat. There's Santa Anna winds.
I dismissed any friend who ever promised me It Would Get Better, because I hid the extent of my hurt. They had no idea- they'd never hurt like I hurt. Like I hurt myself. So that should get me a little street cred. Listen up:

Whatever you're doing, decide to finish it. Wrap it up. Bandage that shit and start being gentle to yourself, because whether or not you're ready to accept it, you are so loved. And you may hate your skin or your job or the way your husband doesn't love you and not see a way out without blood. But if you give yourself a chance, you'll be on that same road later (it's always the same road) and dangling your fancy hands out the window while you let someone who loves you right drive for a while. And you will be so glad you hung in there- you're worth it. Get up. Fight. Every day. Whether or not you feel like it, you deserve the love you'll feel one day.