I made a goal this past year to write more. While, every so often, something happens in my life that makes me pull out my laptop and sink into a focus hole where all you can hear is the tap of the keyboard and the smell of my stress sweat, mostly what I like to write is short stories and poetry. I have done it since I was a little girl and it is my way of working through big things in my life. I've shared some things with a few trusted people and it felt good to open this part of my being to others. So, along with writing more, I would also like to amend my original goal with: Allowing others to read what I have written....more. #IWriteGood
The internet is a place of advertisements and lies. What we see on social media parades as real life but is really carefully curated content used to sell things. Some sell CBD lotion and essential oils while others sell themselves. I fall into the latter category. I use my social media to sell myself and my services. It's nothing I am ashamed of. I believe I have good things to offer those interested in learning handstands and hiring performing artists and I can only provide those services if others know I exist. My social media is not social at all, but rather selections from our lives that I believe will give people insight into the kind of teacher and performer I am.
Open up my Instagram and you will see acrobatics, handstands, and the sweetest 6-year-old on the planet, but, what you will not see is anything posted about my personal life. Bird has a dad who I met when I was 18, married at 21, and became a parent with at 23. This is all I will say about him for a few reasons, the most important of is that I respect him.
After finishing competing sports acro in my young teens I left acrobatics behind. I went to
school, worked, and while in university, began coaching acrobatics gymnastics. I continued coaching without doing much
more than the random handstand for years before a severe bout of depression drove me back to my own movement practice.
I was in my mid twenties, married, baby, house and all when I realized I had no idea who I was. So many seemingly unimportant things that I had passively agreed to accumulated until they formed my life. I let others create my identity without realizing it. I went to my doctor who sent me to therapy where a soft spoken man asked me where was the last time I was happy. The answer was easy. In the gym.
Coaching, cleaning, handstanding, or simply lying on the chalky mats in silence; There is a part of my identity that exists only in a gym.
So I went there and I began to move again. My body started feeling strong and for the first time in years, I began to feel strong too.
This story is still unfolding, which is why I don't talk about it in a public forum. The characters are real, complex, and in a constant state of growth. A picture may say a thousand words but it is only representative of a moment in time. Truth in one moment leads to growth in the next and I am not prepared to impede my family's growth by immortalizing a moment. I must live this life, Bird must grow in this life, and we are open to whatever future is best for those two things.
However, I think I have reached a distance now where I feel comfortable sharing a bit of writing I've done over the last three years that reflects my experience of divorce. I often work on a poem for years. Returning to it as I learn a new word or find greater insight or until I finally feel the piece is at peace. This is not the case for the following work. Though years in the making, it is unfinished. There are parts that don't convey and it causes me to stop, stumble, and become frustrated. Yet, that feels quite indicative of the topic. The words are still alive and I am still struggling with them. It's sad. That is how it leaves me. I wish there were a more profound way of saying it but I find Sad to be fitting. Swift and simple, it leaves a wake in the following silence. The fracturing of a family is sad. I use fracturing purposefully, because though a piece of paper may say it's done, there is a life left here, forced to toe two sides of a crevice that will never fully heal.
I sit crosslegged as the rubble settles around me. I dig my hand into the ash by my side. It is soft and familiar.
I trace little lines, create peaks and valleys, pile up the remnants of the past and watch them cascade down.
It is an interesting feeling, sitting on the ground as the shards of our happiness haphazardly hurl themselves this way and that. I might step forward, but I know no more of the perils of one path compared to another. The only thing I know is the grey dust littering the earth, and even that holds as much contempt as comfort. I contemplate, sitting here on the ground. The bed with its white cotton sheets is now a little castle of ash under my fingers. It’s soft silky touch is somehow similar.
I must busy my hands.
Maybe I’ll wet it, make it into a paste, lather my body and hope some of the past will sink in through my skin.
I will take all this mud, make it into bricks, shape it carefully, smoothing all the imperfections and place them to dry and harden in the sun. I will level the ground, wipe clean all the uneven piles and mounds and place each brick diligently. First in a row, watching for cracks and weak points. Then another row on top.
I will mix more ash and water and rubble into a cement to glue the bricks to one another. Slowly, I build a wall, then a room, then a roof. I will bring in flowers and make a hearth. It will smell of fresh herbs and warm bread and I will sit in it, all alone, my house built from memories of another life, waiting to hold another hand, waiting to feel safe, waiting.
Staying here is staying still and I wish you could still hold me, but instead I lay in my fortress built for one and hope this lesson it will instill: homes hold futures, a coffin holds the past.
It is stifling in here.
I'll trade death for dying. You are vital, and exiting existence is a solo adventure.
There is an indent in the soft powder littered on the ground. A space once filled that verifies my vitality. A void holds more validity than my shoes, which hold only my feet. Though it must have been my feet that carried us here. When I projected this place, it did not look like this. I ask my feet how our now has no ground to stand upon.
Maybe we have been at war too long. Heads down, we shielded our eyes and shut out the worry. I am wary of worry and I tarry on every word, because even the softest syllable is a projectile when you've been conditioned to protect yourself.
We burned the bridge to stop the past from pursuing and now to move past we must plunge into the flames. I stop for the first time to look around and watch the orange and yellow flickers with a sorrow and a longing. There was a time, another time, a time when all we wanted was more time. But the smoke is putrid now and the heat has warped even the clearest recollections until now they are hazy and distorted. The fire has shed light. Or maybe the smoke is just playing tricks on my mind.
I am dizzy.
Disillusioned with this illumination, and I am tired of standing in the light. Trial by fire they say. Get me out of this heat and smoke and ash so I can stop re-remembering.
I cannot leave this pile of rubble we have created. If I were another man I could walk away into any number of futures, a strong head wind will blow the smoke and I won't look back. But mirrors are strange things as a forward posture forces a backward gaze and we must face what stares reflected. The path behind is all we have to build the path in front so I turn my back to the mirror because I cannot reflect now. There is no place for contemplation on a battlefield, while the past is on fire, while my sun is not yet raised. Day is still in the early hours for us so we may as well take what unsteady steps can be formed from falling futures and try to forge something.
Either way, we will be sitting here in this pile of ash together.