You have my word

One word can change your life.

I am good with my hands; you are good with my heart

A love letter of lost love:

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My darling,

I know you love my writing but it’s easy to hide behind words that sound beautiful and it’s easy to draw meaning from words where meaning wasn’t meant. What I’m trying to say is… today I am simply going to say what I mean and if it happens to sound beautiful, then so be it.

I know. though, that nothing I write will ever be as beautiful as you. I could use the most sophisticated, glamorous, superfluous words that exist… No possible combination of human sounds could ever be as glorious as the sound your silhouette makes when I close my eyes. No poem will ever be as perfect as your lips, nor the darkest tale reflect even a fraction of the depth of your eyes and of your soul.

Your voice has a ring to it, and it calls me all the time. Grace is the sound you make when you talk. You are only gentle and guiding. Regal, you are, gorgeous.

I know I am good with my hands; I know you are good with my heart. I know there is dust in my lungs and sometimes I lose my mind trying to fight out of the fog.

So I will always bury myself into your chest, and lose myself between your every breath and you’ll be the only one to find me. I fear that if anyone else should find me first they would try and uproot me from where I’ve planted myself between your ribs. Don’t let me go. Do not let them know I am safe with you here. Leave only a breath of a fingerprint on the atmosphere.

You are safe. You are splendid. You are like nothing else I have ever wanted.

I was always afraid I would never fall in love. It’s not the kind of thing you can explain properly if you’ve never felt it. Actually … I’m not sure if it’s explainable even after it’s been felt.

See, falling in love is perhaps an experience or moment shaped simply by everyone’s own interpretation of what it’s meant to be. We’re thousands of years into existence and we’re still writing about it. Love. It is massive. It is immeasurable. It is infinite. So it begs to be said that when you say you love me… I still wonder where I’m going to find space to put it all because I am small… I am so small, my darling, and you love so big.

I’ll make the next part quick, but it felt like a whirlpool. Maybe that’s why I dream of water sometimes – there was so much all of not enough everywhere you and I couldn’t swim quick enough to come up for air before swallowing water and there’s always a lot of coughing and spluttering and gasping after that… We are breathing together now, but back then…

I tried to stay away for a while, or at least until… the moment they told me I couldn’t have you, you were all I wanted; the moment they told me you couldn’t hold me, you were all I needed close; the moment they told me I had to rise above you, was the moment I fell in love with you. I’ve fallen for you so many times I’ve forgotten how it feels to stand on my own two feet.

And I know now what they mean when they say, you have to be cruel to be kind. Love is kind, but it also hurts like a bitch. And it leaves burns and it bleeds and there are scars and gravel-filled knees and broken bones and perhaps the greater the injury, the greater the depth of love because no one falls that hard and gets up without a scratch.

And counting everything in our wake – not a moment spared, I would not have had it any other way. I love you. I love you every bump and scratch and scab. I love you every plaster cast and brain scan. I love you the messy and weak. I love you healthy. I love you strong and wild and free. I love you mending and bandaged and laughing. You are everything that no one else could ever be for me.

You have given meaning to thousands of songs I’d always heard but never understood. And I want no other. Only you. I do. I do. I do.

I love you.

Father figures

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I figured out that my father was not a father figure when I was only three. It’s funny how counting is one of the first things that teachers teach. My father was a teacher and he taught me in beatings.

One. I lost count of the number of lashes so I tallied in bruises and battered self-esteem.

Two. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Two parents with two more children on the way. Too much trouble. Twins. Two things I won’t be able to protect. Too little. Too young. Too undone and I’ve only just learned to walk with my own two feet.

Three. This is my earliest memory. He is stood with his wooden baton in hand. It’s twenty plus years later and I still don’t understand. Here is something he didn’t know then, that I know now, that he didn’t think of then, that I have hidden in my chest. He did not beat me…enough…to keep me small, keep me cowering, keep me ashamed, keep me crawling because he’d beaten out the will to walk. No more. I am here standing tall and I taught myself how to do that.

Four. My therapist said that I can’t work out my daddy issues while working out my mommy issues. He said, although they’re part of a set, the word “parents” doesn’t quite cover it. So I changed therapists. I promise you the timing is a coincidence but I am hoping this will be the one to help me through this. I’ve been looking for someone that’ll tell me that I will never be like my father.

Five. I don’t know how I’m still alive.

Six. Sing a song of sick silly six pence – pent up parent, white picket fence, pretence, defence, intense, recompense, present tense, sixth sense, suspense, incense, incest, be my guest, second best, molest, get undressed, detest, confess, infest, depressed, possessed, transgress, stress, manifest, unrest, process, digress… I digress. There is no word that rhymes with the way I felt when he touched me for the first time. It sounds something like shattering bones with a hint of rolling bottles across the floor. It smells like iron and blood on the walls from last night and I know that it’s not mine. It tastes like terror – like his tongue was a sickle used to harvest my dreams before they were even within my reach.

Seven. I do not understand God as a father when my own figure of a father was just a hollow shadow man. I learned to sleep with one eye open and always look over my shoulder.

Eight. They say it is never too late and time will heal, but my heart is way past its expiry date and my father used to say that if I got home ten minutes before curfew then I was on time but if I was on time then I was late. We don’t talk at all these days but I hope he rolls over when I show up twenty minutes past the time that his body is lowered into his grave.

Nine. I was never good at maths. Perhaps that’s God’s way of saying sorry for making me count the times I was forced to lie about my father’s crimes against my own body.

Ten. Perhaps this is my way of saying sorry I’ve wasted your time. Perhaps this is my way of realising that I get to start again… on my own terms… with my own phrases… without the margins of figures or fallen fathers. Perhaps this is my way of doing it better than him.

I am powerful because I can be broken

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I believe that some people were made to break things. I believe that others were just meant to break – to break down – to break apart – to be broken. Like how a child builds a castle made of sand close enough to tempt the ocean waves. The truth is, it was never going to stand but they wait until the water can no longer hold itself back – till it lashes at the structure in swells and still has the nerve to go back and lick the wounds with smaller ripples. I have never seen such joy derived from such destruction. The smile on that child’s face when the walls are torn back to earth like it was his own will that did the breaking.

I am that sandcastle. I am built of things that were never meant to stand. Others have built what they thought would last, filling me with stones and shells. But the waves will come. And they do. And they crash. And they tumble. And they tear down. And they break. They break me. Everyone is a wave waiting to break me. I am made to break – to break down – to break apart – to be broken. I wait.

I wait to be watered down in the most violent way possible like the sea swallows the sand and eventually the child. Everyone is a wave and I do not stand a chance. I do not stand a chance against the man on the corner of the street watching me walk by on my way home. I do not stand a chance against the crowd with gleaming teeth outside the bar I stumble out of. I do not stand a chance against the women I let into my bed with other people’s skin still under their fingernails. I do not stand a chance against myself with my twisted hands and shamed skin made of sand.

I was one of those born with the power to be broken and not to do the breaking. Yes, a power to be broken – that’s a power – a super power even! Can you imagine having to build yourself up after everything has warred against you in hopes of tearing you down? Sometimes they win; sometimes I lose. But I get up again and build, and do not allow myself to crumble until the next wave hits. Power is getting up over and over despite the knowledge that destruction will come.

I am powerful because I can be broken. I am powerful because I do not leave myself this way – I pick myself up every day. I am powerful because I know I have done it myself. I am powerful because, in spite of their best attempts to crush me in the worst way, I do not back down. I am powerful because even though I know I was not built to stand – being made of sand – I plant myself as firmly as I can until they come. I am powerful because I do not break them in the same way. I am powerful because I have been broken and I continue to stand.

 

 

If you’re reading this, you’ve attempted suicide at least once

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I know this is a bold and brazen statement to make when I know nothing of your life. Even if you haven’t actually tried to kill yourself, I am certain the thought has crossed your mind because light can’t always be seen from the darkness. This is not a judgement; this is for me as much as it is for you.

If you are reading this and have escaped the untimely claws of death then let me tell you I am glad you’ve made it so far. I am glad the blade didn’t cut deep enough, the gas didn’t work fast enough, the words didn’t shatter hard enough, the platform wasn’t high enough, the pills didn’t poison your insides enough, the rope didn’t hold long enough, the water didn’t flood deeply enough, the darkness wasn’t thick enough.

I am glad that you are breathing – even through corrupted lungs. I am glad you get to witness another day. I am glad you are reading this. I am glad you are here and because of that I am not alone. You are not alone either and perhaps that’s the point of it all. Look closely and you’ll notice that the difference between “living” and “loving” is one letter. Perhaps if we focus more on loving each other we’ll do better at living together – less alone.

Loving is a strange concept when it’s a wrestle to even acknowledge you’re worth something, but stick with me for a short while…

See, loving (read: “living”) is not some abstract, esoteric, out-of-touch, emotionally-charged feeling reserved for those lucky enough to find their soulmate. Loving (read: “living”) is for all of us. It’s practical. If loving (read: “living”) doesn’t involve action – a doing word – then it carries no meaning. Ergo, if living doesn’t involve action it carries no meaning.

Loving is easier than we make it out to be; living is easier than we make it out to be. It’s the dying that requires hard work. It’s the giving up and giving in that requires planning and effort but ultimately stops us from moving… stops us from meaning. It’s our resolve to fight for meaning that keeps us in motion; our resolve allows us to love and to live.

The fight for meaning looks different for everyone; it looks different for me and it looks different for you. The fight for meaning sometimes looks like excavating yourself from under the covers after a night of weeping. Sometimes it looks like habitually making a cup of coffee in the morning because this small ritual gives you purpose. Sometimes the fight takes the form of religion, sport, art, sleep, parties, treatment or travel. Sometimes the fight is finding yourself on the doorstep of a friend quietly asking if you can stay a while.

We are all fighting to live – to love. Surely this means we all have something to offer – to give. We have all defied death for a chance to try again – to persevere. If you’re reading this you’ve probably attempted suicide at least once before (physically, mentally or emotionally) but you have the chance now to help someone else or yourself – to be alive.

I see you. I acknowledge you. I salute your life. I am glad you are here. Keep fighting to love, to give, to persevere, to be alive.

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I would love to hear your story if you need someone to talk to or just want to share. Feel free to comment below or send me an email directly here. I am here to listen and not to judge. I am here to fight and love with you.

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