I have been listless these last weeks. Love, or lack of it, the culprit. It came out of nowhere, like a Summer storm, and I was caught up in the wild, sudden loveliness of it; it left just as quickly, and I was bereft. Where was the man who was holding me a moment ago, filling my ears with words as sweet as roses, where was the chest where my head so sweetly fit?
The truth is that I was grasping at ghosts the whole time. The man I fell for was smoke and shadow, a trick of the light. A man like that can't be kept. The tighter I held on, the less was left. I found myself with handfuls of ashes, fistfuls of only air.
And yet, and yet. Would I take back the last four months? The education of the body, the handling of the bones, the falling, the freedom, the fear? I wouldn't, not for anything. I needed to know that I was capable. I needed to know that I could break open like that. I needed to wear those strings of particular words like pearls, touch them, feel their cool weight against my skin, gleam with their soft spots of reflected light.
I feared, I think, that love might kill me. I thought if it ended I would bend and break, like a switch of willow in a high wind. I thought I would seal myself shut again, cordon off the body and corral the heart, live the quiet, dusty life of an Immaculate.
Instead, I am sitting with my grief, knowing already that it will pass. We fall for the wrong ones, sometimes, the ones whose edges never really fit with ours, and that's ok, that's part of the human experience. People change. Hearts change. We change, and that is necessary, and right.
Growth hurts. I remember when I was fifteen, sixteen, my hormones gone suddenly wild; my bones creaked in the night like ships as they stretched, the new nubs of my breasts were two bruises that ached and ached. I shot up like a hothouse flower, and I hated it; I was a stranger in my own body for months as it quite literally changed and rebuilt itself around me, like living in a house where the rooms switched every day, where windows were suddenly doors, and ceilings were underfoot one minute and overhead the next.
But growth is crucial to development, even if we might not like it at the time, even if we feel that it's cruel, even if it's unwanted, even if it hurts. Maybe even especially if it hurts. Even as I tell myself this, my heart feels like a stone, heavy and hard, clunking dully in the space behind my ribs. Knowing that pain will pass doesn't lessen the immediate experience of it. Nor does it mean that I can sleep easily at night again instead of charting the acres of ceiling like an astronomer mapping the stars.
It does mean that I can take how I'm feeling a day at a time (or an hour at a time, or a minute). It does mean that I'm certain that, given enough time, the space between clock-ticks will expand and relax again, and the pillow won't only be something to wrestle with in the deepest hours of the night. It does mean that I will be ready to love again when it happens for me, and it will, because I am open, and I have much to give.
The heart is an ocean. It isn't always safe. The salt stings, and its wrecks are countless. But oh my goodness, are there treasures untold in its depths.