“So many things are changing, I’m in a world that’s breaking my heart.”
I couldn’t have spoken sooner when I confirmed that I’m always in my feelings. I’ve been deeply affected by my recent experiences. Circumstance-altering things happened in the space of a few weeks and of course, I didn’t know what to do about it. I had to tell myself to try and deal with them one at a time. Though that was difficult as well – because they all seemed to affect each other, even though they occurred in independently of each other.
I’ll tell a story.
The Recipe – SiR
Things were going well for her. It seemed, for the first time in a long time, that she was truly happy. From the bottom up. She endeavoured to be as descriptive as possible when people asked her what was going so well. She wasn’t good at that but she tried nonetheless.
Someone had crept in and was warming up her heart, slowly. They really had crept in. Bliss was new to her. The reciprocity she had always spoken about seemed to be knocking on her door. So she allowed herself to hope after a month or so. Not to close her eyes, but to squint them every now and then, to turn reality into the potential to be happy with someone for any given time. She had already spent so much time being happy by herself – she figured it was okay to leave space for someone else.
Late night conversations took away her me-time but that was okay because this was new. It was nice.
She knew she found it hard to express emotion even though she felt a lot of it. I can write it down and I can say it to myself. She would say. But when it comes to expressing it to people, I stumble over my words. I feel self-conscious and embarrassed to be honest.
She told him that vulnerability and intimacy were mountains she was still climbing. She recognised that it was one thing to be vulnerable around yourself and God. And it was another to do it around someone who you’d like to hide your flaws from. But shouldn’t it have been easier around someone who said you could take as long as you needed to do it?
When she felt her heart telling her to be brave, she expressed herself to him. And that’s when she learnt that reciprocity doesn’t mean anything. She didn’t know it was fleeting until it was over.
That Was Then – Lalah Hathaway
What was happening anyway? She would spend the next month wondering if her words cut so deep, and if her admittance of struggling to be open made them heavier than she intended. Could she travel to the past and convince herself against bravery?
Meanwhile, she was moved from one store to another, making the same things every day, speaking to the same people, and wondering if this was worth it for what she was getting paid. There was a job offer waiting in her inbox and she didn’t know what to do about it. Was she ready to face the real world? She knew her occupation was a result of running. So was this God telling her to stop being so scared?
The other store was good. She wished she had been there all along. But finally, she was told to accept the new job offer and she was happy for the advice because more than anything, she needed someone to tell her what to do. She didn’t know anymore. She worked there for three days.
And on the last day, a Thursday, she locked up. She played her music loud and allowed herself to get stuck in wondering again – was what she said that bad? Why was their last conversation so dismissive? Hurt. That word rang through her head every day. Was she that bad?
She closed the store at 6 o’clock. And she remembered how she’d done the same thing exactly two years ago in the same spot, as life pulled her in different directions then too. Was God telling her this was the last time, for real, this time? He prompted her to wonder exactly why she was there. Was fear ever a good excuse? It felt so circular, so symbolic.
She walked by the Thames and found a bench. Shortly after she shed tears, Just Like Water, Victory, Mr Intentional, I Gotta Find Peace of Mind, That Was Then. They played from her heart. She wrote Hoax and went home feeling lighter yet more realised – now there was even more to think about, and she didn’t have the strength for it. She was meant to start her new job next week.
On Sunday she walked from Angel to Moorgate. She had been aiming for London Bridge. She boarded a bus when her feet grew tired and cried at the top, at the front, just like she did when she was in school. So many tears came from an overwhelming feeling of stagnancy. Are you telling me nothing has changed? She thought to herself. Five years later… more tears fell. It was overwhelm at the thought of everything. In the background she heard, …please help me forget about him. He takes all my energy, trapped in my memories, constantly holding me, constantly holding me. I need to tell you all the pain he’s caused...
She believes in life. And she believes that what you believe in can hurt you. Yet she couldn’t get past the fact that someone had hurt her. People never really hurt her. How did he get through? She told herself that she’d never let herself down again.
Now she is writing poems that no one will ever see. It’s too vulnerable for me. Shame holds her back as she tries to convince herself that feeling hurt is nothing to be ashamed of. So she keeps on wondering how she is so affected by it all.
On Your Own – Lalah Hathaway
At her new desk she writes thoughts and lines and verses. She looks out of windows wondering how life is allowed to move so fast. She aims to be patient with herself every time he slips into her mind. She begs her memories to let her go, ease her pain.
The rollercoaster that life is will not let her off, yet she is comforted by the fact that her friends and family are on it with her, albeit screaming because of their own fears.
She heard things will look up and she wants to believe this, despite knowing the clocks went backwards today and this is only autumn.
The season is changing, and so is she. It’s a painful change but she appreciates that change is never bliss. She’ll hold on.